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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

ATT's "Updates to Internet usage allowances" - my thoughts




 
On April 11th I received an email from ATT, my Internet provider, titled, "Updates to Internet usage allowances." The 130-word email informed me that ATT "will be increasing the U-verse® Internet data allowance for many customers" but it did not give any specifics. Neither did they inform about Internet usage allowances in Gigabytes, nor did they tell who the "many customers" were.

After a grace period, ATT will charge $10 for each 50GB of data over the allowance amount...

... unless customers buy the bundled package, which I do not. Also, I could buy an optional bolt-on to my Internet service.

Personally, I believe that today an Internet connection is as important as water and electricity, so I looked into this right away.

My first thought was, "How many Gigabyte do I use per month?" I consulted my last invoice, it did not show any information about my usage. That's kind of strange. Utility bills always list the number of units consumers use.  

So, I called ATT. They told me that they could not give me this information; a supervisor would call me back. He didn't.

On April 18th, I received another email from ATT titled, "You truly deserve more, GISELA" listing all of ATT's various offers to sell me more stuff I don't want or need.

I don't want to deserve more, I'd like to know details about the service I am already buying. So, I called ATT again.

The representative told me that ATT was working on having "the tool" to provide customers with the information how many Gigabytes they are using. I for one find this strange business practices.  

Just so this is clear: I am not objecting to the new program, I am objecting to how it is being introduced. Typically, companies have "the tool" in place, offer customers the needed information, and then introduce a new program.

A quick check on Wikipedia revealed:

ATT's Revenue                             US$146.8 billion (2015)
ATT's  Operating income              US$27.7 billion (2015)
ATT's  Net income                         US$13.3 billion (2015)
ATT's Total equity                         US$123.64 billion (2015)

Obviously, with a revenue increase of US$146.8 billion (2015), ATT should be able to roll out "the tool" before they introduce a new program. What's the rush?

Reading up on ATT, I found an article by the Washington Post, titled "AT&T hit with record $100 million fine as FCC says it slowed ‘unlimited’ data." The Washington Post article describes that ATT was “throttling” customers' Internet speeds if ATT determined they were using too much data."

... REALLY?

So, is ATT now trying to recover costs with this hasty roll-out of a new program for which they don't have "the tool," or what is this really about?

For those who wonder why 27,000 people showed up to listen to Bernie Sanders in New York – This is why!

Millions of American people want transparency – the "naked truth"!

~*~

Gisela Hausmann is author of the "naked (no-fluff)" book series. Her work has been featured in the hundreds of publications, including the SUCCESS magazine.


She also won the 2016  Sparky Award "Best Subject Line," awarded by SparkPost.

 

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© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann
© Piggy bank and coins frozen in a block of ice by pogonici/via Shutterstock

Opinions expressed are solely my own.- Gisela Hausmann

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Don’t use templates! (No successful person uses templates) – What to do instead...





The other day I was speaking about best email practices. When it was time for questions, a lady asked,

“So, you are saying... (pause)... Don’t ever use  templates?!?”

The way she pronounced the words “Don’t ever” indicated that she was hoping for me to say, “Well, under these or those circumstances you could...”

But, I didn’t.

The truth is – there is no template to success.  

Though the concept of following a template may be tempting, there is NOT one example in history where anybody succeeded in a noteworthy way – by following a template.

Oprah Winfrey redefined “how to reach success” for women of color, and all women. Obviously, she could not follow a template, because there was none. In 1988, TIME magazine wrote: “Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey’s swift rise to host of the most popular talk show on TV. In a field dominated by white males...”

Steve Jobs revolutionized the computer industry, which previously focused solely on the collection and processing of data, with his new concept, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” 

And, there are thousands of other examples. 

*

Successful persons don’t talk about following templates, they talk about why they are special or what is special about what they do. Their main focus is to prove that they (don’t follow a template but) are special. 

So, why are people suggesting that templates lead to success? 

People who sell template products hope that they can sell the same product that made them money already – again and again. People who offer free templates hope that at least ten percent of the people who fail with their free templates will buy their paid personalized services, which may be very good. 

I am not an HR-person but I am a top reviewer. Therefore, I get about two dozens of review requests per week. Though I do not know who publishes templates for review requests, I know exactly when a new one gets published. Usually, within 24 hours I will receive about half a dozen of similar sounding requests. 

The latest template contained the words “... so that I can get some feedback from readers, people just like you!...” 

Indeed, it was kind of funny. Though in years nobody had penned these words, I received eleven requests with this particular phrase within one week.  

With hundreds of websites offering templates for resumes and cover letters online, it is probably similar or worse for HR-people who get hundreds of applications for every job they advertise. 

At this point you might say, “But, history proves that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be successful!” and, right you are! 

However, that concept is not about following a template, it’s about following best practices

A template is defined as anything that determines or serves as a pattern or a model.

Best practices are defined as professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective. 

The latter is proven to lead to major success. 

Of course, that’s true for writing emails as well.
 

~*~

Gisela Hausmann is an email evangelist and author of "NAKED WORDS 2.0 The Effective 157-Word Email."  Her work was featured in the SUCCESS magazine.

She also won the 2016  Sparky Award "Best Subject Line," awarded by SparkPost.

 


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© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann
© Pic: personalization, individual customer care (service), customer relationship management (CRM) and leader recruit concepts by Jirsak/via Shutterstock


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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The “author elevator pitch” or why authors should never use the term “my book”

[Gisela Hausmann is an Amazon eCommerce expert, an Amazon Top Reviewer, and a multi-award-winning author.]


“... I’ll be releasing my new novel in May and I am hoping you’ll review my book,” the author said.

No, I did not know the author, I have no idea what type of books this author writes... fiction, nonfiction, religious or hard core erotica... I am just as clueless as you are, who is reading this blog.

So, guess what I said?

“Sorry, I am busy.” (Which happens to be true.)

Still, every author knows that reviews are an essential to selling books (or products). That’s why Amazon pioneered the online customer book review long before they even sold products; and, all other eCommerce sites followed suit. The data proves beyond the shadow of a doubt: Reviews sell stuff!

However, just asking anybody (including me) for a review won’t help. The key to success is to ask people, who will enjoy reading “your book.”

How do you find out?

You ask!

That includes that you never ever refer to your book as “my book.” The words “my book” are as unspecific as “my child.”

“What child?
Your only child?
Your oldest child?
Your baby?
Your boy or your girl?”

Contrary to the people who believe in the greatness of the elevator pitch, I have always believed in the power of email. Presenting or rattling off an elevator pitch forces the other person to say something – right then! Still, even if that answer is “yes,” it does really not mean success. I’d be willing to bet that at least 50% of successfully pitched elevator pitches have not led to the desired outcome.

A much better approach than saying “I am hoping you will review my book” would have been to say, “I’ll be releasing my new (fill in genre) novel in May. Can I email you some information?”

This question is polite, non-threatening, and can build a foundation for interest by defining the genre. Also, the majority of people will volunteer their email address. (Don’t believe that? – People give out their email address all the time. Almost every clerk, at every store, asks for it. Rarely ever do I observe people saying, “Heck, no!” )

An effective email has about 150 words. That gives an author ample opportunity to pitch their book and explain what is special about it. Additionally, the author can include links and thereby offer more valuable information. Any recipient can make an educated decision whether they are interested in reading and reviewing “this specific book.” And, that’s how authors get great reviews for their books.

~~***~~


Gisela Hausmann is the author of

NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews

and

NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Product Reviews on Amazon.com: 7 Insider tips to boost Sales

Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine. She is also a frequent guest on her local TV-station WYFF4-TV.

© 2015 by Gisela Hausmann -  RYX6ZF8QT9YW

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Amazon top reviewer reveals: Product reviews on Amazon may be more important than a great SEO ranking. Getting them is also cheaper.




When one listens to some influencers, it appears as if a great SEO ranking is the answer to all prayers, but is it?

Not all American business owners even use all free marketing opportunities to boost their products. One of the best ways to do so is to ask for product reviews on Amazon. In contrast to  the steady  costs for a great SEO ranking, reviews are gifts that keep on giving, month after month, year after year (at no extra charge).

Amazon pioneered customer reviews twenty-one years ago and there is a reason for it: Customer reviews sell products!

Since 8 in 10 customers consult other consumer' opinions when they buy, offering this service works so well that Amazon doesn't even mind the hassle of tracking down fake reviewers and suing them in court.

In reality, vendors can promote their products as much as they want; once customers check out a product, on Amazon’s website or in other stores, reviews help customers with their buying decisions. Specifically millennials read consumer reviews while shopping. 

If a product does not have a lot of reviews, inevitably, potential buyers’ eyes wander to other products. Amazon goes through great efforts to present other products which buyers appreciated, bought, and reviewed. Meandering potential buyers may end up buying a competitor’s product or a completely different product.

Also, all of us know that while customers do not review every product they buy, most angered or annoyed customers will vent online about a purchase they did not appreciate. Therefore, seeking reviews proactively is a great way to counterbalance potential negative reviews, which might be posted in the future. 

Here are some truths about product reviews:

  • Consumers are more likely to buy products with more reviews.
  • Bestsellers have more reviews and vice versa products with a lot of reviews are perceived as products that have sold well at some point.
  • Reviews follow the law of attraction. Once consumers see that a product has received many reviews, they are more likely to add their own opinions.
and, lastly

  • International product launches benefit from reviews on Amazon’s main website Amazon.com. Every review posted there will also show up on product pages at Amazon's other countries' web stores, where the product is being sold. For instance, if a French vendor, who sells his products in France, the United States, Canada, and Spain, seeks reviews on Amazon.com these reviews will show up on the products' pages in all four countries' stores, whereas reviews posted on Amazon.fr, the vendor's home country's site, won't be visible anywhere else.

Of course, the main reason why vendors are seeking great SEO rankings is, so their products show up on Google and/or other search engines. But, whatever their efforts, once a potential customer, who shops regularly on Amazon, will look up a product on Google, Amazon's website will show up anyway because their website is one of the best ranked sites. 

Let’s look at an example. 

For instance, if an American, who shops regularly at Amazon, looks up chainsaws from the Swedish manufacturer Husqvarna and googles the generic term “husqvarna chainsaw” they get to see the following results. 

In 1st position is Google’s ad, in 2nd position Husqvarna’s ad, #3 and #4 are Husqvarana’s webpages, #5 Lowe’s website of a popular Husqvarna chainsaw, and #6 is Amazon’s web page of a different chainsaw. Most attractively, Amazon’s link preview informs the potential buyer about the existence of 308 reviews. 


Curious potential buyers, who want to find out what other consumers thought about this product, are being led straight to the place where they can buy with 1-Click. 

But, search engine optimization can be tricky. 

If I google this specific chainsaw (opposite to the generic word), two different ads will pop up in 1st and 2nd position and the 1st “real” search result is again Amazon’s webpage with its little stars, inviting potential buyers to read the reviews.


Maybe potential buyers will buy at Amazon or maybe they’ll buy somewhere else,  but 
  • will they pass on the opportunity to read some of the reviews?
  • will they buy if there were only a dozen reviews?
  • and, what if they check out a product that has only a dozen reviews but at the same time Amazon also offers them a different product that has hundreds of reviews?  
Even if a company optimizes their own website’s search engine ranking to perfection, Amazon’s website will be right there at the top. Amazon’s website is about as optimized for search engines as any website can be.

Avon Products, Inc. is the fifth-largest beauty company and second-largest direct-selling enterprise in the world, with 6.4 million representatives, who sell Avon products. Most women know somebody who sells these beauty products. Avon also sells beauty products on Amazon.

When searching for an Avon product, the first search result is a sponsored posting, which, since it is paid for, is listed in the top position. The next two search results are Avon web pages, and already the third search result is Amazon’s page of this particular product.



Notice that the same product enjoys an average rating of 4.4 stars on Avon’s site, but only a 4-star rating on Amazon’s site. If you were a woman trying to find out more about this particular product, where would you look?

It is for this reason that any vendor and even independent contractors, whose products are (also) being sold on Amazon, should aim for getting many great reviews on Amazon. Potential customers are going to get to see them anyway; so, why not make it easy for them to find best answers?

Summing it up, getting product reviews on Amazon helps eCommerce vendors and all vendors tremendously. Reviews are gifts that keep on giving. 


~***~

Gisela Hausmann is an Amazon eCommerce expert. She is also the author of

NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Product Reviews on Amazon.com: 7 Insider tips to boost Sales” and

NAKED TRUTHS About Getting Book Reviews.”
Her work has been featured in the SUCCESS magazine.

She is also a frequent guest on her local TV-station WYFF4-TV.

© 2015 by Gisela Hausmann


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Warum chinesische Hersteller versuchen Rezensionen auf Amazon zu bekommen



Wenn man manchen Influenzern zuhört, erscheint es, als ob ein gutes SEO ranking die beste Lösung für alle Fragen zum Thema 'eCommerce' ist, aber ist das wirklich wahr? 

Viele amerikanische Hersteller nützen nicht einmal alle kostenlosen Vermarktungsmöglichkeiten um ihre Produktverkӓufe zu steigern; und, europӓische Unternehmen noch viel seltener. Im Gegensatz dazu sind chinesische Unternehmen extrem aktiv. Sie verfolgen ihre begrenzten Möglichkeiten stetig und so gut sie können. 

Chinesische Unternehmen haben es vermutlich schwer ihre online Geschӓfte für Suchmaschinen in den Vereinigten Staaten zu optimisieren.Ausserdem sind Kauftransaktionen wahrscheinlich auch schwierig. Daher verkaufen chinesische Hersteller ihre Produkte über Amazon, der eine der weltweit best optimierten Webseiten hat. 

Da Amazon aber auch der größte Internet Händler in den Vereinigten Staaten ist, mit einem Jahresüberschuss von 596 Mio. US$ (2015), gibt es Hindernisse zu überwinden. 

Käufer müssen spezifische Produkte zwischen den über 200 Millionen Produkten, die Amazon verkauft, finden. Es ist auch kein Geheimnis, dass Amazon mehr als ein Produkt auf jeder Produkt-Seite zeigt. 

Sobald ein potenzieller Kunde sich ein Produkt ansieht werden ihm gleichzeitig auch die Konkurrenzprodukte des jeweiligen Produktes gezeigt. Kӓufer machen ihre Kaufentscheidungen basierend auf welchen Eindruck sie vom Produkt gewinnen. Daher sind exzellente Rezensionen extrem wichtig.

Um potentielle Kӓufer positiv zu beeinflussen machen chinesische Anbieter alles was Sie tun können um gute Rezensionen zu bekommen. Diese Anbieter senden hunderte, wenn nicht tausende von Anfragen pro Tag an Amazon Top Rezensenten. Da ich eine U.S. Amazon Top Rezensentin bin erhalte ich auch viele dieser Anfragen. Als Amazon Reviewer #3,672 (aus 38+ Millionen) bekomme ich zwischen einer und drei Anfragen pro Tag; Amazon Hall of Fame Rezensenten erhalten Sie bis zu 20 Anfragen pro Tag.
 
(mein E-mail Folder der die E-mails mit der Bitte ein Produkt 

von einer chinesischen Firma zu renzensieren, enthӓlt)

Und, wӓhrend viele Firmen tausende Dollar pro Jahr für das SEO Ranking Ihrer Webseite bezahlen, verzichten andere Unternehmen  auf dieses Service und verkaufen trotzdem gut weil ihre Produkte hunderte von Rezensionen auf Amazon haben.

Zum Unterschied vom Ansuchen um Rezensionen, was hauptsachlich Zeit kostet, kann  Suchmaschinen-Optimierung eine diffizile (und teure) Sache sein. Sehen wir uns ein Bespiel an. 

Wenn sich zum Beispiel eine Person, die regelmäßig bei Amazon einkauft, für Kettensägen vom schwedischen Hersteller Husqvarna interessiert und nach dem generischen Suchbegriff "Husqvarna Kettensäge" googled, bekommt dieser potenzielle  Kӓufer die folgenden Suchergebnisse zu sehen:

  • An 1. Stelle ist Google's Advertisement zu sehen, 
  • in 2. Position ist Husqvarna's Ad, 
  • in 3. und 4. Position sind Husqvarana's Webseite, 
  • Nr. 5 ist Lowe's Website von einer beliebten Husqvarna Kettensäge, und 
  • Nr. 6 ist Amazon's Webseite von einer anderen Husqvarna Kettensäge. Die Anzahl der Rezensionen und die deutlich sichtbaren Sternchen laden zum Herumstöbern ein. 



Interessierte Kӓufer, die herausfinden wollen was andere Konsumenten über dieses Produkt denken, werden sofort auf die Webseite geführt, wo man auch mit 1-Klick kaufen kann. 

Aber, wie ich schon sagte, Suchmaschinen-Optimierung kann schwierig sein. 

Wenn ich (im Gegensatz zu dem generischen Wort) die spezifische Kettensäge google taucht Husqvarna's Webseite nicht an erster Stelle auf sondern zwei verschiedene Husqvarna Advertisements und das 1. "echte" Suchergebnis ist gleich Amazon's Webseite, die Interessenten einlädt wenigstens einige der 308 Rezensionen mit den netten goldenen Sternchen zu lesen.


Potentielle Käufer kaufen vielleicht bei Amazon oder vielleicht kaufen sie woanders, aber

  • werden sie auf die Gelegenheit einige dieser Rezensionen zu lesen verzichten?
  • werden sie das Produkt auch kaufen wenn es nur ein Dutzend Rezensionen hat?
  • und was werden sie machen, wenn sie sich ein Produkt, das nur ein Dutzend Bewertungen hat, ansehen aber gleichzeitig  auch ein Konkurrenz-Produkt mit hunderten von Rezensionen sehen? 


Diese Situation ist übrigens die gleiche wenn ein ein potenzieller Kunde in einem Geschӓft herumschaut; heutezutage kann sich ja jeder Konsument Rezensionen am Handy ansehen und braucht nicht mehr am Desktop Computer suchen.

Aus diesem Grund sollte jeder Vertreiber oder unabhängige Auftragnehmer,der für eine Firma arbeitet deren Produkte (auch) auf Amazon verkauft werden, bestrebt sein viele Rezensionen auf Amazon zu erringen.

Potenzielle Kunden sehen diese Rezensionen sowieso - daher sollte man es für Sie einfach machen gute Rezensionen zu finden.

Und - natürlich ist das auch der Grund warum chinesische Anbieter danach streben so viele Rezensionen wie möglich auf Amazon zu erhalten.

~~*~~ 


Gisela Hausmann ist eine Amazon Top Reviewerin und eine Amazon eCommerce Expertin.
Sie ist auch die Autorin des Buches


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© 2016 by Gisela Hausmann

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