Today we finished our week of fun work.
Wednesday and Thursday were spent with the Big Game Plan Players www.thebiggameplan.com .
There are few things that get me more pumped than to see people set a target, plan it, do it and make it.
This is a group action takers. I could not be more proud of them and the awesome work they are doing!
Special thanks to J, who flew in from Bucharest. We’re having a meeting in Ireland in April and she could have waited, but did not want to miss the focus sessions and meeting personally with other players.
Side note: You have GOT to get in or form a group of 15+ like minded people. You cannot believe how this will make your business accelerate.
Our Mastermind ReDefined group has been meeting since Thursday afternoon. We’re having an AWESOME time of brainstorming among peers.
Last night we went to a Dallas Stars hockey game. Big time thanks to the www.twitter.com/barefoot_exec and Carrie’s team for hosting a great event. Fun!
You know, refunds and returns are part of business. Here’s a philosophy you might want to adopt.
This is what some might call common sense. Others might just call weird.
Here it is…
If I buy something and it flat out does not work, I might as for a refund.
However, if I learn or discover anything. I NEVER ask for a refund. Because that stuff’s in my brain. It’s not right for the product creator for me to take their information and use it and not pay them for it.
And “using it” means…
Regardless of the intention of the product if an idea hits on page 54, or video 3 or four minutes into the MP3. That’s an idea that would not have existed or triggered without that purchase.
So is it fair to ask for a refund when it spurs thought or direction? When new knowledge is gained or old knowledge is resuscitated?
With product consumption, you and I are changed forever. It may be two years from now that you think, “Oh…I remember reading that in ‘Name of Book’ I need to put that in action.”
That would be wrong to move forward with if you had gotten a refund, right?
OK, let’s get more personal for example…
You’re selling an MP3 program.
Decides it’s “Not for him.”
Gets a refund.
A year later.
He’s still wading around in the same market.
He remembers something you said.
It sets him on fire.
He finally moves forward because of YOU!
But he got a refund?
That’s just silly.
Practice intellectual integrity and you will attract people like you to your online business.
Success is NOT an Accident,
DIRECT RESPONSE BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES FOR MERCHANTS
Marketing models that employ “Free-Trial”, “Deferred Billing” and/or “Shipping Only” are considered trial offers for purposes of this communication. Consumers must be receiving a tangible good or contracted service in exchange for charging of payment cards. Incentivized discount offers are acceptable when the cardholder is receiving goods or services in exchange for payment; however we will be unable to support accounts engaging in hidden or delayed charges and ‘free’ offers that are not truly free.
- Avoid using terms in your marketing and offer presentation such as “Free”, “Risk Free” or any similar and potentially misleading phrases when consumers will be enrolled in a monthly continuity program at the end of a trial period, or will be paying a deferred charge for the trial period. The phrase “Free Trial” is prohibited unless there is truly no cost or obligation incurred by the consumer.
- “Shipping & Handling Only” offers must be a fair and accurate shipping charge reasonable to be accrued by the merchant for providing the product.
- Trial offers must be extended for a minimum of 10 days.
- Trial periods should not begin until the product is shipped to the consumer.
- Avoid creating a ‘false sense of urgency’ for the consumer. Unless the consumer’s ability to order is genuinely taken away after a specified timeframe or order count is reached, this practice is prohibited. Use of applications such as countdown clocks, tickers, or language such as “Offer Expires Today!” is also prohibited.
- Product claims, by law, must be truthful. Claims regarding effectiveness must be substantiated by clinical research conducted to support the claims, and consistent with the formulas and ingredients in your product
- Qualifications for trial periods of a product should follow pre-determined rules disqualifying consumers who do not meet parameters, including but not limited to: Age, Weight, Height, and Location.
- Unreasonable claims or guarantees are prohibited. Examples of claims considered unreasonable are:
“Flushes Pounds”, “Flushes Toxins”, “Builds Muscles”
- Stating that use of a product will result in permanent weight loss
- Stating that a product will cause the consumer to lose a specified amount of weight in a specified timeframe
- Stating that a product will cause substantial weight loss no matter what or how much the consumer eats.
- Stating that use of a product can cause weight loss (or muscle growth) in specific body parts
“Free Money”, “Instant Money”
- Stating that the product can substitute the income of a full time job
- Stating that money can be earned with little to no effort or investment
- Stating that use of a product will earn you hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars
Additional examples include:
- Stating that the product has been successfully used by an unrealistic or unsubstantiated number of people
- Stating that a product will secure the consumer a job, either at the product’s company or another company
- Stating or implying that a product is endorsed or in any way associated with President Obama or a government entity
- Endorsements and testimonials of user experiences must reflect the true and honest opinions of the endorsee(s).
- Endorsements and testimonials provided must present a clear picture to consumers of realistic results of using the product. If advertisers do not have substantiation of a specific claim or endorsement, then generally expected results must be clearly disclosed and backed by substantiation of any claims.
- Blogs used for promotional purposes must be in compliance with published FTC guidelines, representing an accurate and full representation of the endorsee, or clearly designated as a fictional story if developed internally for marketing purposes.
- News Sites published in marketing materials must be in compliance with published FTC guidelines, and must be clearly presented to the consumer as an advertorial. Written consent should be obtained from a media outlet prior to using the logo.
- Implied celebrity endorsement by use of an image in your marketing is prohibited without express legal written consent.
AFFILIATE MARKETING (CPA) NETWORKS
A significant contributing factor to Historical Excessive chargeback violations has been the utilization of CPA Networks. Transactions generated from internet traffic and all other lead sources must be managed and monitored for potential fraud using an approved system. Third Party service engagement may be a requirement for account approval.
- CPA Networks should contractually be held accountable for monitoring traffic generated from participating marketers.
- Merchants must have monitoring plans in place to detect suspect traffic and monitor Affiliate and Sub-Affiliate performance.
BILLING TERMS DISCLOSURE
The FTC has recently published guidelines regarding “Negative Option” enrollment programs and is taking a very aggressive position against merchants utilizing/employing this business practice. Recommendations taken in part from the FTC’s website may include but are not limited to the following:
- Negative Option disclosures must be clear and conspicuous to the consumer and comply with published FTC principals.
- The full price of products sold must be within reasonable “fair market value”
- Under no circumstances should consumers be billed for a product or service not disclosed.
- Consumers must be required to validate understanding of the terms of the offer twice during order submission. The first validation can take place with the initial offer presentation prior to submission of credit card information, and the second during the checkout process. The confirmation order page must also require consumers to acknowledge that they agree to the Terms & Conditions and authorize the merchant to charge the credit card for the disclosed dollar amount. Terms must be displayed adjacent to the “submit”, “confirm” or any other “call to action” button confirming the order. The price must be within 100 pixels of the “submit”, “confirm” or any other “call to action” button.
- Terms must be in a minimum 12-point “easy to read” font.
- Avoid visually distracting graphics from the display of terms.
- Pre-checked boxes must never be used.
- Consumers should be required to actively and individually select each offer or bonus during the checkout process when there are multiple offers or up sells presented. No offers or up sells should be pre–selected or pre-checked.
- Consumers should not be able to move forward in the offer or checkout until the box acknowledging the terms is checked.
- Verbiage must clearly disclose the enrollment into an ongoing membership with no distraction. An example of an acceptable disclosure is: “By clicking “Submit” you acknowledge that you understand you are being enrolled in a 10 day trial for $4.95, and after expiration of the 10 day trial period you will be charged $59 per month until you cancel your service”
- All products or services purchased when the call-to-action button is clicked should be billed as a single charge unless the order is fulfilled at different times requiring multiple charges.
- Shipping and Handling should not be billed separate from charges for the product or service.
- A merchant may not bill a consumer the full price twice in a 30-day span. An acceptable billing cycle example would be:
- Day 1 – Consumer signs up for a 10 day trial offer with paid shipping of $4.95 charged at the time of order.
- Day 11 – The first monthly order is shipped and the consumer is billed the full price of $59.
- Day 41 – The second monthly order is shipped and the consumer is billed the full price of $59.
- Consumers should not be billed prior to shipment of products.
Merchants must not make it difficult for consumers to exercise the disclosed cancellation procedures and all cancellation requests must be honored in accordance with the stated terms of the transaction.
- Refund policies must be disclosed prior to the sale completion. Establish a clear, concise statement of your refund and credit policy. Your policy should be consistent with the objectives of your business and the products or services sold.
- Merchants must not require return of any trial offer product samples in order for the consumer to receive a refund, or cancel their ongoing subscription.
- “Full Money Back” or “Full Satisfaction” guarantees are considered false and prohibited unless the offer provides a full refund on all products, including but not limited to Shipping & Handling charges.
- Refunds should be for the full amount charged including shipping and handling
- All future billing to a customer should be canceled when a refund is issued.
- All future billing to a customer should be canceled when a chargeback is received.
BACK END OFFERS, AKA UP SELLS OR CROSS SELLS:
All sales should be directly between the business entities (merchants) processing the transactions and the consumer, with consumer authorization for all purchases.
- Under no circumstances can consumer data be shared with another company as this is a violation of Brand Regulations, including but not limited to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.
- Forced and hidden up sells are strictly prohibited
- Up Sells with recurring charges are prohibited, regardless of consumer opt-in or acknowledgement of the offer.
- A one-time bonus offer may be extended to the consumer for an additional product offered by the same company as the initial transaction. The price of the bonus offer must be clearly disclosed and the consumer must acknowledge the terms of the sale prior to providing credit card information for completion of the sale, and again at order confirmation/ submission.
- ALL MERCHANTS DEFINED AS OFFERING A DIRECT MARKETING PRODUCT WILL BE ASSIGNED A DESCRIPTOR FORMATTED TO COMPLY WITH VISA REQUIREMENTS, TO INCLUDE AN *.
- Billing descriptor should be consistent with the website name, marketing materials, purchase confirmation, and shipping notification (if any) sent to the consumer.
- Orders must be fulfilled in a timely manner. It is recommended that all products be shipped within 48 hours (2 business days) from the date of order.
- A confirmation email should be provided for all online orderswith physical shipment, within the prior 5 days to shipment or 2 days following shipment, including the following information:
- Merchant contact information (at minimum a consumer service phone number)
- Order information including purchaser’s name, unique order or customer ID, summary of item(s) purchased
- Terms of the order, including initial amount billed and future billing schedule (this should be stressed)
- Cancellation and refund policy
- Delivery confirmation / tracking information
- An invoice should be included with the product including the following information:
- Merchant contact information (at minimum a consumer service phone number)
- Terms of the order, including initial amount billed and future billing schedule
- Cancellation and refund policy
- Multiple methods of cancellation must be provided for consumers to cancel or request refunds, including at least two options of contact. Example of acceptable service channels include: phone, email, mail, and online chat. Phone support is strongly recommended as one of the options.
- “Contact Us” information including contact methods and hours of availability should be prominently displayed in all marketing, offer and payment pages, as well as included in purchase confirmations, invoices and any other communication with consumers.
- Customer Service must be easily accessible and available during reasonable business hours
- Refund and Cancellation Policies must be followed as disclosed to the consumer at the time of order
- Hold times to reach Customer Service must be less than 2 minutes.
- After hours voice mail should include a greeting that properly identifies the merchant to the consumer, provides hours of Customer Service availability and an expectation for call back.
Some would say he’s having a rough year.
I’d say he made bad decisions and now is experiencing the consequences.
We all do.
Good and bad decisions have results. Good and bad.
Nothing strange about it.
That’s the way life works, right?
With all the changes the FTC is bringing and how it affects marketing online – it’s more important than ever to shoot straight.
(Of course, you’re already doing that.)
But do it even better.
Less crazy copy and more “this is the way it is” copy.
More clarity about the end results and what folks will be getting when they buy from you.
The sneaky Tiger Woods days of online marketing are hitting the FTC spotlight.
Here’s the stand I take…
You may know that Zig Ziglar suffered a fall that affected his short-term memory. When the whole Woods “scandal” hit the media his family joked, “It’s a good thing you have a short-term memory now you can’t remember all those girl friends.”
Obviously, that’s funny because of his incredibly visible love for “The Red Head.”
Zig’s response to the comment was, “When you always tell the truth and do the right thing you do not have to have a good memory.”
And that’s the easiest way to stay clean and proctected from the FTC. Do what they say do, completely above board. Always base yourself in honestly and integrity. Period.
Success is NOT an Accident,
Content makes the net go round! Content is the basis for all online communication. Unlike other forms of writing, it serves two purposes – to attract human readers and to attract search engines.
By using keywords and specific styles of writing, you can use content on your websites and blogs to increase your presence in your niche, sell products or make money through other monetization methods. You can even use content to drive traffic through article marketing and blogging.
Make no mistake about it content is KING!
What is it?
Content is all of the writing that is used to make money as an Internet marketer. You can use content on your blog to increase your presence in your niche and build a relationship with your audience. You can also use content on a mini-site or authority site to offer value to visitors. You can use content to create a product that you can sell from your blog or mini-site. You can also use content to drive traffic to your website.
What are three keys to doing it successfully?
Using a keyword research tool, you should find popular keywords for your topic before you create any content for your website. The content on your website should use keywords from your research so that your website ranks in the search engine results for those terms. Find keywords that relate to your niche but that have a minimum amount of competition. You’ll get better use out of your content that way.
Unfortunately, a lot of marketers focus so much on the keywords that they forget that their content is supposed to be read by humans beings. Make your content interesting and fresh. Try to offer tips in your niche or highlight an often overlooked area of information. This will draw readers to your blog or website.
You can get multiple uses out of the same piece of content. A blog post can be reworked and used as an article to be distributed to article directories. You can use part of the same blog post as an e-mail marketing message to your list. You can collect several blog posts together and create a special report.
Can you give me an example?
- You do some keyword research in your niche and find a phrase that is popular with low competition.
- You create a blog post using this phrase with lots of helpful content for your audience.
- You then rework the blog post and create an article on the same topic.
- You distribute the article to several article directories and get lots of new traffic back to your blog.
- You can write a whole series of posts based on this particular phrase and similar phrases.
After several posts, you can create a report with all of the posts and give it away to build your list, or sell it.
Now that last line will be overlooked by the bast majority but I made several thousands in one day using that last tip.
Success is NOT an Accident,
more content than you could ever use…
Nicheology Profit Letter
by Paul Evans, Nicheology.com
It’s the weekend and here I am “working” again.
Or as my friends say, “Doing something on the computer and somehow
There are days when it’s hard to believe how much fun this is.
Just sitting here in the living room with my boy – watching some bizarre
show on elephants on Animal Planet.
Nicheology members, here’s the next in the “Find Your Niche” series. This
blows the doors off typical internet marketing niche-finding training. And
it explains why so many “marketers” work extremely hard to get you to
go down a completely dead end road.
You might start laughing when you compare what some gurus are
trying to get you to do online that would never, never, never fly in the
As you watch module 3 pay close attention to the “combustible combination”
section. It just might hold the key to your breakthrough.
And for Club Level folks, check this out…
It’s a super sneaky way to highjack customer attention from your
competition. This totally ignored angle can really boost your traffic.
Plus, a way to leverage this concept in your market. You will never
run out of product ideas using this simple method.
Finally, I was talking to my friend Jim Edwards this morning. I actually bought
my very first ebook from him. He’s an internet marketing pioneer and I owe
a ton of my success to Jim.
In fact, I’ve been a member of his site for over 2.5 years. I actually pay
and won’t let him give it to me. (I’m one of those weirdos who feel
like you shouldn’t take value for free, even if you can.)
Go check it out…
Well, time to go. “Weird, True and Freaky” is starting on AP. This must be
what the boy was waiting on.
Success is NOT an Accident!