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There are a million books are marketing out there.  Some of them are great, some aren’t.  Here are my top 11 picks for marketing books that every small business owner should read.

What you’ll notice here is that although some of these books get into the tactical a bit, the reason every business owner should read these books is to inspire their mind with IDEAS.

The more you can explore creative ideas for how to get your product in front of your target audience, the more you’ll find success.

So, here you go.  The top 11 marketing books for small business:

Contagious

This book isn't actually intended to be a "marketing book". It's focused on why certain things catch on and why others don't. But understanding that is key to the psychology of marketing. Tons of great ideas in this book.

The Ultimate Marketing Plan

This book is a classic. Dan Kennedy is an absolute legend in the marketing world. If you haven't yet established the basic foundation of your marketing which consists of defining your market, clarifying your message, and using the right media to get in front of your market, this is where to start.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Al Ries and Jack Trout are the only authors that are listed twice in my top 11 list. These guys get it and they break it down into small, easily understandable "laws". This book should be required reading for all small business owners.

Triggers

Joe Sugarman is one of the most influential marketers of recent decades. In his book "Triggers", he shares 30 secrets to influencing and persuading your audience. He's used those successfully in massive ad campaigns, including the BluBlocker Sunglasses campaigns that have sold over 20 million pairs.

Guerrilla Marketing

This book is chock-full of fun and interesting ways to market your products or services on a shoe-string budget. In fact, many of the ideas in this book don't cost anything at all, but they get the job done. Every business owner should read this book once per year to keap from getting sucked into dumping money into ineffective advertising platforms.

Outrageous Advertising That's Outrageously Successful

Bill Glazer partnered with Dan Kenney (listed above) for many years and has established himself as an advertising icon. A big part of marketing (especially now) is just getting attention. Bill's ideas are outrageous, but effective.

Launch

Jeff Walker's Product Launch Formula has become the gold standard for launching new products or services online. He's got it down to a science and he teaches the details in this book. Even if you don't think your business works on a "launch model", it's worth reading this book. You may discover creative ways to use launches in your business afterall.

Tested Advertising Methods

This book is full of a bunch of extremely successful ads from a bygone era. Yes, it's outdated. You're probably not looking at sending mail order ads or advertising in your local newspaper. But, read this book to be inspired by the clever copywriting, learn how to write good hooks, and better understand the psychology behind good messaging.

Invisible Selling Machine

Ryan Deiss understands follow up marketing better than just about anyone. This book will introduce you to the world of automated follow up in a clear and concise way. Much of the language used today by most internet marketers when discussing how their automated funnels work is derived from this book.

Building A StoryBrand

Messaging and Positioning can get really complex. Donald Miller cuts through all that to provide a simple and easy-to-follow framework for creating a powerful story to build your brand. This book has been game-changing for those who have followed his framework and implemented it.

Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind

Positioning is one of the most important concepts to understand. Al Ries and Jack Trout nail it in this book. No where else will you find such simple and powerful instructions for how to dominate in the battle for your customers' minds.

Top 11 Marketing Books For Small Business

  1. Contagious, by Jonah Berger
  2. The Ultimate Marketing Plan, by Dan Kennedy
  3. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Al Ries and Jack Trout
  4. Triggers, by Joe Sugarman
  5. Guerrilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson
  6. Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful, by Bill Glazer
  7. Launch, by Jeff Walker
  8. Tested Advertising Methods, by John Caples
  9. Invisible Selling Machine, by Ryan Deiss
  10. Building A StoryBrand, by Donald Miller
  11. Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind, by Al Ries and Jack Trout 

I’d love to hear what books you think are the best marketing books out there.  Comment below and let me know what you think about my list and add to it.  

Infusionsoft Checkout Pages

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This post is a follow up to my previous post about the 5 Features Infusionsoft Added That You May Have Missed.

Keap has recently launched a new feature in Infusionsoft: Checkout Pages.  Infusion Checkout Pages are a new “order form” option built on the landing page builder technology you’ve seen in the Campaign Builder.  It’s a great start to providing a simple, easy-to-use, drag-and-drop, mobile responsive checkout experience for your customers.

But, the new Infusion Checkout Pages feature has some limitations.  Please take a moment and comment below to share your desires for features to be added to Checkout Pages in the future.  Keap has dedicated a new product manager over Checkout Pages and the Landing Page Builder.  This is good news because it tells us they recognize the importance of these products and they’re dedicating development resources to them.  So, share your ideas below and I’ll make sure they get to the product team.

Here’s a video showing some of the features and limitations of Infusionsoft’s new Checkout Pages:

Alternatives To Checkout Pages:

If the limitations listed below prevent you from using Checkout Pages, here are some great alternatives:

  • Primarily we recommend Spiffy It’s used with Infusionsoft’s native Order Forms and creates a great experience for users and allows for advanced features like One-Click Upsells.
  • Other options for adding one-click upsells to your Infusionsoft Order Forms are PlusThis and Fix Your Funnel.

What’s Great About Checkout Pages:

  • Super easy to create a nice checkout experience
  • Drag-and-drop interface (same as Landing Page Builder)
  • Mobile responsive
  • Checkout experience reduces friction in the checkout process

What’s Lacking In Checkout Pages:

  • Affiliate tracking
  • Lead source tracking
  • Promo codes
  • Promotions in general
  • Ability to customize the payment page
  • Support for subscription products
  • Tax calculations
  • Ability to pay with PayPal

What features would you like to see in the Landing Page Builder and Checkout Pages?  Comment below.

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I wrote a follow-up post to this topic and added some clarification about Infusionsoft Checkout Pages Features and Limitations here.

The folks over at Keap have been hard at work adding features we’ve been asking for for a LONG time.  Here are just a few that they’ve added to your account in the last couple months.  It’s been so smooth you may not have even noticed.

  • Email Sync With Gmail and Outlook

    Now, with just a couple quick clicks, all your communications with your prospects and customers will be synced to their contact records in Infusionsoft.  It’s a beautiful thing.

  • Subscriptions In Interactive View

    When viewing contacts in Interactive View, you can now see subscriptions the customer may have and you can add a new subscription on the fly.

  • Configurable Purchase Goals

    When adding a Purchase Goal to a campaign, now you can just double-click to configure which payment types will achieve the goal.  Any custom payment type you add will also be available as an option to trigger your purchase goals.

  • Quick Access To Queued Contacts

    When you have a campaign in Reporting mode, you will now see an orange icon when you hover over a sequence.  By clicking that orange icon, you’ll be taken straight to a list of queued contacts in that sequence.

  • Checkout Pages – Easy To Design & Mobile Responsive

    There’s no longer any need to signup for a separate service just for easy-to-build, drag-and-drop, mobile responsive order forms.  Infusionsoft now has Checkout Pages.  Using the same drag-and-drop technology as the new landing page builder, Checkout pages make it drop-dead simple to create an beautiful, mobile responsive ordering experience for your customers.

Stay tuned for more.  I know the product team at Keap is working hard to bring ease-of-use and more features to Infusionsoft each month.

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Spam Bots have been a major problem for email marketers on many different platforms lately, including Infusionsoft, MailChimp, Ontraport, and others.

Spam Bots are computers running automated scripts that submit junk information into your lead capture forms on your website.

The problem is, often-times the email addresses are real email addresses.  So, contacts end up in your automated funnels where you’re sending them follow ups they never asked for.  Real people get those emails, they unsubscribe, or mark your emails as spam, or just ignore them.  Those things hurt your deliverability.

So it’s essential these bots get stopped.

We tried a lot of different things.  This method is currently working great for us.  A video and detailed written instructions are below:

Here are the steps to stopping the Spam Bots from submitting your Infusionsoft forms:

  • Add A Checkbox To Your Webform

    Log into the Campaign Builder where your web form was created.  Add a checkbox to the form.  Call the checkbox whatever you want.  I call mine “Spam Trap”.  Make the checkbox a “required” field.

  • Publish Your Campaign

    Publish your campaign again and the go back to “Edit” mode.

  • Get Your New Form Code

    Double-click on the form and navigate to the “Code” tab.

    Select the “HTML Code Unstyled” radio button.

    Click the button to copy the code.

  • Paste The Code Into Your Site and Wrap In JavaScript

    Paste the copied web form code into your site.

    Then use JavaScript document.write statements to write the webform code to the page when it loads.  Use the <noscript> tag to show the bots something other than the form code.  Be sure and remove all line breaks (returns) from the code.

    Change your checkbox field from type=”checkbox” to type=”hidden”.

    Your code should look like this:

<script type=”text/javascript”>
document.write(‘<form accept-charset=”UTF-8″ ‘);
document.write(‘ action=”https://appname.infusionsoft.com/app/form/process/bsdfa5asd2544dasd2164b450e8d8cc0a79asd4″ class=”infusion-form” id=”inf_form_bsdfa5asd2544dasd2164b450e8d8cc0a79asd4″ method=”POST”><p><input name=”inf_form_xid” type=”hidden” value=”bsdfa5asd2544dasd2164b450e8d8cc0a79asd4″ /><input name=”inf_form_name” type=”hidden” value=”Lead Capture Form” /><input name=”infusionsoft_version” type=”hidden” value=”1.70.0.101490″ /><input name=”inf_option_SpamTrap” type=”hidden” value=”4992″ /><div class=”infusion-field”><label for=”inf_field_FirstName”>First Name *</label><input class=”infusion-field-input” id=”inf_field_FirstName” name=”inf_field_FirstName” placeholder=”First Name *” type=”text” /></div><div class=”infusion-field”><label for=”inf_field_Email”>Email *</label><input class=”infusion-field-input” id=”inf_field_Email” name=”inf_field_Email” placeholder=”Email *” type=”text” /></div><div class=”infusion-submit”><button type=”submit”>Submit</button></div></form>’);
</script><noscript><h3>You must have JavaScript enabled to use this form</h3></noscript>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”https://chunk.infusionsoft.app/app/webTracking/getTrackingCode”></script>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”https://chunk.infusionsoft.com/app/timezone/timezoneInputJs?xid=asdfsfeqfwqefqe”></script>

That should do it!

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We recently attended PartnerCon, Keap’s annual conference for certified partners, where the leaders at Keap share what’s new, what’s coming, and what’s going on in the world of small business CRM & marketing automation.

I have to say, I’m very optimistic about what’s going on over there.  After a few years of some starts and stops in the product development area, I think Keap now has a very clear roadmap ahead.  Whether you’re using Keap or Infusionsoft, the future looks bright.  Here’s a video recap that Matt and I did.

Learn More About SuccessCon Here

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On the 1st of July 2018 a new law went into effect in the state of California (Senate Bill 313) that could affect any business selling subscriptions to customers who live in California.

The law was designed to protect California consumers from auto-bill situations they weren’t aware of.

Without going into too much of the legal jargon, here’s what the law demands:

  • If you offer a free trial, you must provide a “clear and conspicuous explanation” of how much they’ll be charged after the trial and how they can cancel.  This must happen during the trial sign up.
  • If a consumer accepts an auto-bill agreement online, you must offer a way for that consumer to cancel online
  • After a consumer accepts an auto-bill agreement, you must provide acknowledgment of the terms, the cancellation policy, and how to cancel in a way that can be “retained by the consumer”.  I interpret that to mean email or direct mail (maybe SMS).
  • If you offer a discount for a limited time ($1 trial or similar), you must get the consumers consent to charge their card at the full rate AFTER they’ve signed up for the promotional period.  This is like a double-optin for the auto-charge.

What if my business is outside of California?

Great question.  The law states it applies to “any business that makes an automatic renewal or continuous service offer to a consumer in this state”.

So, that’s basically anyone who sells anything online.  ????

We’ll be updating our stuff very soon.

I suggest you do the same.

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Over the last 4 years we’ve built or worked on over 100 membership sites.  In doing so we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work.

As a membership site owner, your primary responsibility is to your members – to provide proper value in exchange for their membership payment.

But, beyond that, there are 3 additional things you should be focused on: increasing retention, building a community, and scaling your customer service.

All three of these things, when done properly, create additional value for your members, which in turn create more loyalty and makes your membership more valuable to your company.

If your membership isn’t profitable, you won’t be able to serve your members well.  This checklist provides 19 strategies you can utilize to increase retention of members, build a strong community, and scale your customer service.

No optin necessary.  Enjoy!

If you’re interested in talking with us about how we can help you build or improve your membership site, just request a free consultation by clicking the button below:

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So, you’re planning an online product launch and you’re looking for a launch manager.

Whether you’ve done launches before or you haven’t, this is a stressful time and finding the right person is key!

Your launch manager is going to help ensure there are no major problems during your launch.  Whether your launch is going to generate $20,000 or $20,000,000, a “small problem” in the launch could cost you a “big portion” of your profits.

So, you want to make sure things run smoothly.  Hiring the wrong person or an inexperienced person could cost you dearly.

Here are 5 questions I would ask candidates you’re considering for the job:

  1. Will you be available and how do we get a hold of you during our launch if something goes wrong?This is a great question to ask because you have no idea when a problem might arise.  Something could go wrong in the middle of the night or on a weekend.  If your launch manager is not available, you’re up a creek without a paddle.
  2. What’s your testing process so we can avoid problems before launch?I would expect a good launch manager to be able to deliver to you a set of checklists and processes that they follow to ensure things go smoothly.  If they can’t produce this, I’d be worried.  Testing every possible scenario multiple times, on multiple different browsers and devices is key.
  3. Do you have a system for implementation that’s documented?Again, if they don’t have a solid system for implementing, and they just throw stuff together (like most people do), they’re going to leave you exposed to some risk.  Also, if you, or someone on your team, or someone else needs to make changes, you need their system documented in detail so you know what you’re doing.
  4. Do you have server expertise (or someone at your disposal who you can reach)?If you’re expecting a high volume launch, one of the most common problems is strain on web servers.  If your web server doesn’t have the capacity to handle the traffic, your launch could get stopped dead in the water. You need a launch manager that can ensure your servers are ready for the traffic and knows how to handle the situation if the server crashes or gets bogged down.
  5. Ask for references.If they can’t give you references that rave about them, run for the hills.  I would only hire a launch manager that has run at least a few launches and the clients are raving fans.  I would ask the references about each of the items discussed in questions 1-4.

That should do it.  If you find a launch manager that can breeze through these questions, you’re probably off to a good start.  That doesn’t mean you won’t have hiccups during your launch.  But it does mean you’ve got someone who can handle those hiccups with you.

Good luck on your next launch!

P.S. Box Out Marketing does not offer launch management services.  We often build launches, but don’t make ourselves available 24 hours a day during launches.  It’s a lifestyle choice for us.  But there are plenty of great launch managers out there.

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There’s a lot of misinformation out there about tracking lead sources with Infusionsoft.

During this webinar I go through, in detail, why you absolutely need to be doing this if you are spending any money on advertising, marketing, JV’s, or affiliates.

The information available to you in advertising platforms (Google Adwords, Facebook, etc.) is not sufficient.

In this webinar I’ll show you exactly why the data isn’t sufficient and how you can track UTM variables into Infusionsoft in order to track lifetime ROI of an advertisement or marketing activity.

I developed this technique while managing $200k in monthly ad spend at Infusionsoft as Infusionsoft’s Director of Marketing.  It works, and was one of the key reasons we were able to grow Infusionsoft so rapidly in the early days.

Enjoy!  No optin required.

If you’re interested in utilizing our free ROI Tracker tool for tracking lead sources, you can access it here.

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“Oh no! Not a musical!”

Those were my thoughts as the movie started.

My wife dragged the kids and I to the theater on New Years Day, intent on seeing The Greatest Showman.

In the first few seconds, when I realized it was a musical (I hadn’t seen any trailers), I was not too excited.

Despite my initial reaction, I was quickly sucked into the creative artistry of the movie and started to enjoy it.

Then about halfway through, I realized what the movie was REALLY about.

It’s about you and me. It’s the story of an entrepreneur.

It’s the story of a dreamer, chasing a dream, at almost all costs.

In so many situations I saw may self in PT Barnum. I saw so many of our clients. I saw you.

My heart sank with him as he struggled in his entrepreneurial dream. I rejoiced with his big wins.

I winced as he nearly sacrificed EVERYTHING for his dream, and I realized that I’ve walked too closely to that same line at times.

At the beginning of this year I’d encourage you to do the work necessary to separate your self worth from the worth of your business. Too often, as entrepreneurs, we blur the lines between those two and it doesn’t lead to the best outcomes.

I’d also encourage you to do the work necessary to get your business to a point where you can separate yourself more easily from the day-to-day work.

One of the best ways to do that is to attend SuccessCon. Now that Infusionsoft is no longer holding ICON, we’d decided to carry the torch with our SuccessCon event. It’ll be a true Infusionsoft user conference with impactful speakers, powerful workshops, and you’ll leave with the knowledge and clarity you need to leverage Infusionsoft for growth in 2018.

Click here for details and to register.

Don’t let 2018 pass you by without making the progress that you need, that your business needs, that your loved ones need. Attend SuccessCon and make it happen!

See you there!

P.S. If you register now, you’ll receive a free 30-day pass to our Infusionsoft Success Lab – the best Infusionsoft training on the planet.

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