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“what do I wriiiiite?”

I have a friend who has a wine company.  They sell wine deals online.  Simple.

But his whole business is based off the emails they send out.

If the email is interesting and makes people want to buy wine, he makes money.

If it doesn’t, he’s stuck with thousands of dollars of unsold wine.  (perhaps I can help finish some)  ;)  ;)

So he sends out several emails a week about wine, and asked me the same question I hear from a lot of people with email lists:

“But what do I wriiiiitttee about???”

He thinks because he’s only selling wine, he’s running out of interesting stuff to talk about. “NONSENSE!!!” I screamed at him as I slapped him across the face!

I went on to brag about how I could personally find at least 50 interesting emails IN THE NEXT 2 MINUTES to send out to his subscribers that would also help sell lots of wine.

Currently his wine emails go out purely with deals, kind of like this:

Dear wine list subscriber,

Here is a wine deal that we have acquired.  It is First Press brand Cabernet Sauvignon.

You can buy it here for $40 a bottle:

 
Instead of making this email (sent to thousands of people) just a straight promotional email to jam some product down their throat, why not add some value to them instead?

This way they will look forward to your emails, and trust your emails, and be more likely to BUY from your emails.

Instead of slapping a promotion in their face, how about we give them some really good information like this sample email:


Ok, here’s a trick I learned from serving wine for 8 years:

“Wine is first tasted by the eyes, and second by the mouth.”

This is important because you can improve the “taste” of your wine by presenting it differently.  Cool huh?

In all my years as a wine taster, I’ve figured out how to make wine “taste” better to people by presenting it differently.

So here’s two cool things you can do to make your wine experience more enjoyable, in particular for the Cabernet Sauvignon we’re got today (these are great tactics to use at your next dinner party)!
First.) Explain the flavors in the wine.

So for the First Press wine we’ve got today, I would use this script with my guests:

“Ok everyone, this is a Cabernet Sauvignon from First Press Wineries in Napa Valley.  The grapes they use are picked later than the regular harvest, so put your nose in the glass and take a slow & deep breathe of the wine. You’ll smell a “deep texture” which essentially means a dark grape flavor.

Since this is a Cabernet Sauvignon wine, it will have a higher level of what wine makers call “bitterness”, which means it goes really well with salty cured meats.  If you all take a sip of the First Press wine and eat a slice of imported pepperoni, you’ll see how well they compliment each other.”
Second.) Serve with a salty meat.

For a Cabernet Sauvignon wine like today’s special, serve with Bridgeford Pepperoni. You can get it at most stores, it’s about $12 a log, and you just slice it up before a party, and people LOVE this stuff!  But mainly, it compliments First Press Cabernet Sauvignon like a glove (It has a salt capacity of .3%, and so does the First Press Cabernet Sauvignon).

Whenever you pair a wine and meat, people rate the wine higher than simply drinking it alone (and have a more “full” experience)!

YOU’RE DONE!
Doing these two things increased customers experience by THREE full points out of ten on our our wine tasting surveys, so this is unanimously shown to improve the wine experience:

1.) Simply explain the flavors.

2.) Serve with a salted meat that compliments the wine.

A simple trick to make your (and your guests) wine experience much more full.  Just so you know, we have the First Press Cabernet Sauvignon on sale today, and only 120 bottle left.

So if you grab a bottle (or 5) now, you get a $70 bottle of wine for only $20.  This is a helluva a deal, and you can save this email and use the exact script above at your next event, and end up with very delighted guests!

You can buy the First Press Cabernet Sauvignon at a 75% discount by clicking the bottle below:


Sincerely,

Neville
P.S.  If you have any questions about this First Press Cab, feel free to reply to this email, and I’ll personally answer your questions.

P.P.S.  Seriously, if you haven’t had a First Press cab with Bridgeford Pepperoni before, you’re really missing out on one of my favorite pairings!

 

Now wasn’t that a better email than simply sending out the promotion?

It helps make people DESIRE your product and want to buy it on the spot.

Now my friend doesn’t think it’s possible to send out so many emails about wine and still keep it interesting.  WRONG.

Let’s just rattle off some suggestions right off the top of our heads for email ideas:
–The best wines to drink with turkey during Thanksgiving.
–The best wines to buy and let age in the closet.
–How swirl your glass of wine properly and sniff it.
–3 ways to serve your wine all fancy-like.
–What the heck is a wine decanter?
–How to drink a Pinot Grigio.
–How Italians drink their wine.
–Say this traditional Italian toast at your wine party

There’s literally endless amounts of great emails we can send out, and still relate them right back to the products we’re selling.

As for now, I’m off!  Me and Noah took a workcation for a few weeks, and we’re currently in Bangkok and found a place to watch the SuperBowl (at 5:30am)!!

With Noah in Bangkok:

 

As we nerdily work on laptops whilst watching the SuperBowl,  I’m working on this email ABOUT emailing……and he’s working on a new AppSumo plugin that smart-detects how to capture the emails of people coming to your site.  You can check it out here:
http://www.appsumo.com/list-builder/

By the way, we saw those “big riots” going on in Bangkok right now.  In person is was more like a concert and market, and looked like a big peaceful music festival. #mediamanipulation

Adios!
-Neville – Kopywriter who teaches kopywriting 

P.S.  I have a Google Doc full of emails I can write out at any time, it might be helpful for you to make a document with all these ideas also!

December 2013 Goals

Dammit I hate posting these so late in the month, but here-goes my December 2013 goals:

December 2013 Goals

1st I’m porting the copywriting courses to MemberMouse.  Existing members won’t notice a thing, but moving forward I’ll be able to do cooler stuff with a proper membership system rather than my current method of using Frontpage 2003.  (Wow, I still use a TEN year old piece of software for my webpages).

 

Next I’ve been dying to send out another NevBox because people loved them so much, but I didn’t wanna just do ANOTHER one on copywriting (at least not right away because at the time I felt I couldn’t live up to the same value the first one provided).

This particular one is going to be called the “Life Changer” NevBox.  I’m really excited about it because the change it should have on a person will be immense.

I was at odds with this at first, because the best customers (from a strictly business perspective) are people will a lot of money.  However I think THIS particular product would have the GREATEST net-effect on people without a lot of money.

I still felt strongly about doing it, so I’m continuing despite the possible economic risk.

Just got back from Cancun for an Indian beach wedding, that was my only hope for a warm winter.  Hope you’re staying warm too!

why can’t I party as much on a friday as I get older?

It’s FRIDAY!!  In college that used to mean soon as it became dark outside I would get jitters to go out.  I literally had to go out on the weekends.  Hanging with friends, frat parties, clubbing, bowling, art gallery opening, picnics, meteor watching parties, house party…..I ALWAYS had to do something on the weekends, I literally could not stay home or I’d get jittery.  

This was probably a remnant of my childhood since my parents were very socially active.  I remember through elementary school, middle school, and high school, it was pretty much the norm to attend at least 2-3 parties over the weekend plus other activities.

Friends at school would tell me their family just, “stayed at home and got a movie from Blockbuster and ordered a pizza.”  This was LAME I thought, since that was never a normal thing for my active family.

Even after college I kept that pace up…..actually I increased it.
Remove the classes + add some income = party time!

Now all this partying wasn’t just drinking and crazy stuff.  A lot of times it was cool events and social clubs and entrepreneur clubs and tech meetups, but it was still an active social life.

However, now that I’m 30 (almost 31), it’s slowed down a bit.

People always say “As I get older I can’t drink as much” or “As I get older I can’t go out as much.”

…..I understand that, but I don’t think it’s fully a function of age.

For the drinking part, physiologically you CAN drink as much when you’re older, but the increased fat, decreased muscle mass, age-related problems, medications, and decreased frequency of drinking (aka lower tolerance) causes this for the most part.

For the going out part, I agree some of it is a decreased stamina issue as you age, but I think a whooollee lot of it is a DESIRE issue.

Let me nerdily calculate this out for you:

Let’s assume I entered college at age 18.  I was in college for 5 years (slow track for me).
How many times do you think I went out?

45 weeks a year I did at least two events (extremely lowball figure) = 90 x 5 years =
450 times.  
After college from age 23 till 26 I went out 5 days a week probably 45 weeks of the year.  45 x 5 x 4 =
900 times.

From age 26-30 went out maybe
400 times.  

…..ok, enough fuzzy math (and notice I was only account for 45 weeks a year not 52….I assume all those numbers are WAY more especially during the crazy holiday times.

THE POINT OF THIS IS:

By the time someone with a reasonably active social life is 30, they’ve been “out” over 2,000 times!

 

That number kinda blows your mind right??

When I was 23 if someone said, “Hey let’s randomly go out to 6th St!” (austin’s party area) I was sooooo down.

But at age 30 if someone said, “Hey it’s Tuesday let’s randomly go out to 6th St and get drunk” I would probably say ::in nerdy excited voice:: “No thanks I’m gonna sit at home and get some work done then read, then blog, then play with my 3D printer.”

That’s not always true, but it happens more and more frequently as I get older.

But it’s NOT a function of age, it’s a function of experience.  

Those two things just happen to correlate to each other.

To prove this….see if you know someone who missed out on much of their youthful freedom.  Maybe they got married crazily early then got a divorce when older, or always lived at home with strict parents, or had to provide for their family and never got to play.

When these people get older then all of a sudden come into freedom, they start going out with the youthful exuberance of a 21 year old, even though they’re weirdly old to be acting like that.  But eventually they get over it….like after going out 2,000 times :-P

Anyhow, there was no real point to this email other than to present an alternative view of this.
So if you’re not going out as much, it’s not because you’re old…..maybe you’re just not as EXCITED for the same old stuff anymore.  And maybe other things in life become more exciting.

With that, have a GREAT Friday!  And think of something to get excited about!
Maybe add some Novelty, Beauty, Growth, & Love in your day?

Sincerely,
A 30 year old Neville Medhora

P.S.  If you want, lemme know in the comments what get’s you excited as you’ve gotten older.  I’m FASCINATED by the changing enjoyments of people.  Would love to hear yours, no matter how silly :-)

Attending a nerdy conference FinCon

So this past weekend I attended a conference for financial bloggers called FinCon.

I honestly didn’t know this existed until a friend said he was going.  So at the last minute I decided “what the hell” and tried to go.

The idea of a bunch of nerds who blog about their finances online getting together at a conference made me laugh.  FREAKIN LOSERS!!

Then I realized I was one of the first people online to publicly list his finances online……
And that my blog is literally named “Neville’s Financial Blog”……….

So I started to make some plans for headed to St. Louis for it, but FinCon was already sold out, and every hotel within 1.5 miles of the conference center was sold out! (apparently the St. Louis Cardinals was in the finals and the stadium was right next to the event).

Bummer.

Fortunately they had a “ticket exchange” and a “roommate exchange” for late stragglers like to me, so I scalped a ticket and found a roommate to split a room with.

Now I’ve actually been to a lot of conferences over the years, and it’s pretty clear the same thing happens each time:

You get a certain amount of value out of the speakers and events, but you get the MOST value from just meeting other people at the conference.  

So if Lazy Larry stays home and watches every speech online and takes notes….he’ll come away with some good nuggets of information.

But if Friendly Freddy actually goes to the conference, and even misses a few of the sessions because he’s hungover……he will still get more out of the conference than Lazy Larry because he’s at the conference mingling, making friends, going out to breakfast/lunch/dinner with all the other nerds at the conference and building up a network of like-minded people.    

Anyhow……soon after arriving I realized FinCon is the ONLY place where it’s appropriate to walk up to a stranger and ask
“Hi, what’s your blog??”

Even more interesting was that you’d usually have heard of the persons blog.
A conversation begins.
Interesting things are shared.
Friends are made.

Enough babbling, here’s some of the trip in pictures:

A selfie of me on the train (I didn’t know St. Louis had a decent train)?  I’m jealous.
fincon2

This was my roommate Romeo, who was more responsible than me and made proper room plans ahead of time!
fincon14

Pretty quick you meet people you sort of know already through their blogs and make friends:
fincon5

Billy and Steve…..I’m taking a wild guess they’re probably talking about blogs:
fincon3

Pat Flynn was such a cool guy.  I’d read his stuff before, and it was great hearing him talk and getting to know him better.
fincon10

The St. Louis Arch.  I saw it 20 years ago with my family.  The building on the left was the Hyatt where everyone stayed, and the arch was LITERALLY right out the window, a very cool view!
fincon9

Naturally I took a handstand picture under the Arch:
fincon6

On Friday night there was a party at the Hilton in this super-awesome rooftop club/restaurant thing they had.  It had complete panorama views of the city, the Arch, and overlooked one of the final games for the Cardinals.

It was so cool to hear/see the roar of the crowds from above!
fincon7

This next picture won’t mean much to anyone else, but I’m including it here so I remember this:
Derek Halpern waived his speaking at the conference and instead told them “I’ll speak if you spend all the money on an open-bar closing party.”  After that party was done, a group of 30+ people were trying to get cabs to a different place, and logistically it wasn’t working out very well.

Out of the clear blue, a big-ass party bus pulls up, opens the door, and a woman holding a giant can of Budweiser gets out and goes, “Need a ride??”

We all pile in and get a ride to the bar we were trying to go to.

I ASSUMED the woman worked for Budweiser and this was some promotional stunt.  Turns out it was a church bus and the driver was just trying to make extra money!  It was just one of those funny moments where you think, “That couldn’t have worked out ANY better!”
fincon12
heart 2 heart ministries

Then Patt Flynn showed us that he can dance really well….
fincon13

And then some of us had a fancy-chmancy Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse dinner (get the filet):
fincon11

And that was FinCon!
Sincerely,
Neville Medhora


P.S.  
While I learned a lot from going to the sessions, the main benefits of these conferences comes from making new friends and hearing stories you otherwise wouldn’t just sitting behind a computer.

Now I wish there was some more time for me to hang out in Austin, but this weekend (Oct. 24th – 27th, 2013) I’ll be going to vegas for a small copywriting conference.

It’s going to be between 50 and 80 people, and some of the copywriting legends like John Carlton and Joe Sugarman will be there.  THIS is a huge opportunity to hear some of the really big-time guys speak….but more importantly……hang out with them for the whole weekend on a personal level.

I also happen to be taking one person WITH me to the conference for free.  If you wanna be that person, register here: (Monday is the last day to enter, I’m picking the winner Tuesday morning)!
http://www.kopywritingkourse.com/vegas/

4 ways to sell something online realllly fast

I’ve sold a crap-ton of things online over the years.  Physical stuff, digital stuff, services, software…..so I know a bit about this.

But a lot of people still have trouble trying to sell even ONE thing online.

But don’t fret, your Uncle Neville is here to help you out!

So awkwardly come sit on my lap, and I’ll quickly explain the 4 different ways I’ve personally used to sell stuff online (depending on your situation):

I’ll make each of these quick-n-basic.

Even if you’re NOT planning on selling something online right now, I suggest you read this email and save it for future reference (or forward to someone who can use it):

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING: an ebook, Excel file, video, piece of software…..
(Setup time: 5 minutes including sign up).
The best and fastest way to sell a single file type of product is GumRoad.  It’s retardedly simple (is that politically correct to say anymore)??

When I would sell my class notes in college, I sincerely wish I had something like GumRoad, because it totally automates the whole paying/delivering process.

You see….the DELIVERY process is always hardest.  I could easily accept PayPal payments, but then I’d have to manually send people their purchase through email.  GumRoad does all of this without you lifting a finger.

All you do is upload the file you want to sell to GumRoad, set the price….and you’re literally done.  Wanna see it in action??

I did a project called the ProblemSolvingChecklist which was a veerrryy short PDF document meant to sit on your computer desktop.

All I needed to do was collect $10 from people and send them a PDF file.  GumRoad was PERFECT for this.  You can see it here:

(this image is just linked to GumRoad directly where people can buy)

Even if I wanted to sell it through email because I have low website skills, all I have to do is include this short link, and it’ll take you directly to the sales page:

https://gumroad.com/l/VVTf

I sold hundreds of these through GumRoad in this manner.

GumRoad Pro’s: Insanely fast and easy to use. Amazing for selling/delivering individual things.
GumRoad Cons: They don’t accept PayPal.

 
IF YOU’RE SELLING……a small amount of something or consulting services:
(Setup time: 5 minutes)

I’d suggest PayPal for selling ANYTHING in small amount.  You can put little buy buttons anywhere on a website or email, and pretty much EVERYONE already uses PayPal.  Usually when buying a digital product I PREFER to pay with PayPal since it’s super-easy to request a refund if needed, and I don’t have to enter my credit card info (not concerned about safety, it’s more a laziness thing) :-P

Like if I made pet hamster costumes as a hobby and wanted to sell them myself, I’d just stick up a PayPal button, like this:

Just go to PayPal –> Merchant Tools –> Make Button

….and you can set the price and style of your button to get paid!

(btw…I knoowww I knowwww I spelled “Hamster” wrong).

So STILL TO THIS DAY I have some old digital products that are sold through PayPal, and not integrated into a fancy delivery system.  I get the persons order, and manually send them access through email.  Don’t be afraid to be ghetto!!

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING……a bunch of physical stuff:
(Setup time: 1 hour)

If you want a legitimate eCommerce STORE on the internet that sells a lot of items, has a built in shopping cart, inventory tracking etc….then I would suggest using one of these three:
-Shopify.com
-BigCommerce.com
-Volusion.com

NOW…..I know you’re gonna want to compare them all, but you’re too lazy.  FORTUNATELY your old Uncle Neville has you covered, and has extensively used all three of those platforms (I’ve used a ton other too, but these are the best services I’ve seen).

Shopify by far is the easiest and most intuitive to use (and the fastest).  It’s also got a huge app store so you can tack on functionality as needed.

BigCommerce and Volusion were both very good….but much more clunky to use and modify.  They were just “harder” to use that Shopify in general.

*One thing I loved about BigCommerce was it’s digital delivery.  You can deliver digital goods and it was VERY VERY seemless.  With Shopify I’ve had to find some work-around apps that don’t integrate quite as well as what BigCommerce has.

But if you’re just selling normal stuff, I’d highly recommend Shopify
(I personally picked Shopify for my NevBlog Store).

 

 

IF YOU’RE SELLING…..a book.  
(Setup time: 5 minutes)

Amazon.com is THE place to get a book…..so why not put your book on there??

It’s SO FREAKIN EASY TO SELF-PUBLISH A BOOK nowadays.  Especially through the Kindle platform.

And just a side note, every time I’ve released a book, the Kindle version greatly outsells the physical version.  Usually on a 3-to-1 ratio.  Other author friends have told me the same findings.

So the Kindle version is usually cheaper, but you sell SO many more books.  And it’s all digital, so there’s no worry about shipping.

You can take any story, blog series, or article you’ve made, and turn it into a Kindle book.  Just save it as a PDF file and upload it to http://kdp.amazon.com.  BAM….you’re a self-published author!  See my recent book on amazon:

http://amzn.com/0989895300

In addition to Kindle, I also used CreateSpace to make this book physically available, but so far the Kindle version has FAR outsold the physical version.  I personally prefer the physical version, but the people have spoken!

Bonus places to sell:
You can now start hosting specific things on specific services.  These services offer you a marketplace to sell in, and also handle the payment stuff for you (kinda like eBay does all the work for you).  Here’s a quick list:

-Selling an educational course?  Upload it to something like Udemy or Skillshare.
-Selling designs for 3D printing?  Upload your designs on Shapeways.
-Selling unique crafts? Post your stuff on Etsy.
-Selling your computer skills?  Post yourself on eLance.

The downside of these services is you lose some degree of control of how you sell your stuff, because you gotta play within their rules.  Obviously they also take a cut of your sales.  But these are great tools to use if you don’t have the skill or desire to take everything in your own hands.
So there you have it my young child (you can get off my lap now)…those are a couple ways to start selling stuff online quickly.

Don’t over think stuff too much though.  You can almost always just use a simple PayPal button to accept payments for damn-near everything.

Sincerely,
Old Uncle Neville

P.S. If you tell me what you’re trying to sell in the comments, I’ll respond and give you some advice on where to start!  Or just lemme know how YOU’VE sold something online quickly, I love hearing those stories and techniques.

P.P.S.  I made this entire blog post from my pool!  I hosted an “8am-early-morning-creative-writing-session-from-the-middle-of-the-pool” party.  It’s awesome to sit and write around OTHER people who are writing also.  Fun mixed with productivity!  Image credit to Corina.  There were 5 of us working out of the pool for 2 hours:

Ashdin’s Birthday!

A brother is a cool thing to have.  Especially when you get to pick on him when he’s little, then compliment him when he’s older ;-)

Mine is turning 26 today, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHDIN!

Here’s a few things I’ve learned from my little brother: 

1.)
I started playing the guitar in 8th grade, he started playing in 5th grade….

I took private lessons, and got my instructor to teach me songs instead of music theory (which as an 8th grader is totally lame).

Well whaddya know….APPPAARRAANNNTLY learning the foundations of music early on help you learn to play much better.

Within the next few years my musical ability was playing 10 songs on the guitar….whereas my brother could now freely play ANY style of music quickly because he had the foundations down.

This inspired me to start taking lessons and learn actual music theory and basics when I was 26.  After 10+ years of “knowing how” to play the guitar…..I finally learned chords and scales.

Till this day he remains an order of magnitude better than me at guitar, and picks up other instruments with remarkable speed.

Me & Ashdin practicing on some big-ass rented amplifiers to play at a friends wedding:

2.)
I’m always impressed by his questioning of morals.

He went vegetarian for a while in college, on the basis that if we could farm food, why eat animals.

This isn’t necessarily the view of our meat-eating family, but he stuck to his guns and rolled with it until his mind changed.

During this time my mom would cook different food for him (usually healthier food), and slowly this impact started spreading to the rest of us.

I remember him talking to a family friend about his decision, and she was giving back counter-arguments about eating animals.  He asked her this one question:

“How would you feel if we ate Trudy?” (their family dog).

She got super upset at the question and repulsed by the idea.  While I don’t think that ever changed her mind, hearing her reaction made me laugh….and I’ll never forget how much that single question rocked her mentality.

3.)
He could possibly be God.

At 25 years old on this trip to India he looked SHOCKINGLY LIKE Zarathustra!!  (he’s like the Zoroastrian version of Jesus).

ashdin-zarathustra

I remember us having a hilarious conversation about our religion with some older family, and Ashdin said (paraphrased from memory):

“So 5,000 years ago this guy goes into the desert, says he saw God, and now we worship him.  But if I went into the desert, and came back saying I saw God, people would think I’m crazy.”

BAHAHAHA!!  It’s true.

If you look at that picture above, Ashdin could’ve easily dressed in some robes, occasionally said some wise shit, and been the guy we worship 5,000 years later.

Anyhow, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASHDIN!!

Wish my brother a happy birthday in the comments, and I’ll select 5 people to send a NevBox!

August 2013 – Day 6

Oye ve…..today was exhausting and very productive!

The trick is to make a schedule that pushes you to get stuff done before you’re comfortable with the final result.  Otherwise nothing gets done.

Here is a scratched off to-do list (and partial calories tracked for the day):

photo (2)