Monthly Archives: March 2017

Improve Fuel Economy – Over 30 Ways to Increase Your MPG and Save Money on Gas

There are two major categories in fuel savings:

  • driving habits
  • vehicle maintenance/upgrades

First, DRIVING HABITS:

  1. Anticipate, use your brakes less, and don’t accelerate quickly. Look far down the road ahead, even if “far” is a city block. Get into turn-lanes smoothly and early: avoid accelerating to get in front of traffic. Anticipate stops or slow-downs ahead and take your foot off the gas: try to coast much more than you brake. Additional coasting distance saves fuel and extends brake-pad life. Remember: he who leaves stoplight quickest pays more at pump.
  2. Use Cruise Control. It saves fuel and speeding tickets. But it’s not just for cruising. The “Resume” button can give you decent acceleration without wasting fuel.
  3. Overdrive and gear selection. If your automatic has Overdrive, use it. If you have a manual transmission, shift early to keep engine rpm’s lower and always use the highest gear for highway cruising.
  4. Slow down. As you increase speed above 60 mph, wind resistance increases rapidly as a percentage of total fuel consumption. Typically, every mile over 60 mph costs you ~1% in fuel economy.
  5. Carefully consider your route and the time of day: traffic flow is a huge factor. For example, say that along your interstate travel route, the space between vehicles averages 3 to 4 car lengths… typical of traffic in many large cities. If it’s stop-and-go, fuel economy will be bad. But if traffic is moving smoothly and fast (at 60 – 80 mph), then fuel economy can be superb: those rushing vehicles create a jet-stream of air that dramatically reduces wind-drag losses. Up to 30% gains are possible. For maximum fuel economy, follow a larger vehicle and use cruise control. Also keep in mind wind direction: if the wind blows strongly from the right and you’re in the right lane, you’ll get NO break in wind resistance from vehicles ahead.
  6. Plan and Combine errands to make fewer trips. Think like your great-grandparents did. Plan meals and grocery shop once a week to once a month: just make a list of other errands during the week, plan your route, and do it all in the same trip. Arrange with other parents to carpool or pick up the kids for you. Such planning may seem like work at first, but it frees up time, helps you relax, and can improve your average fuel economy by 5 to 15%. It can also cut your average weekly miles by 20% or more. Total dollar potential: save 10-35% of monthly fuel costs. How does this help fuel economy? During the first several miles while warming up, the engine and transmission are not operating efficiently. This is why city fuel economy can drop dramatically in cold weather, when it can take 10 miles for the engine and transmission to warm up. Automatic transmissions in particular can be power hogs when fluid is cold, and manual transmissions can feel like you’re shifting in molasses. (Hot/cold temperatures are one of many reasons to use a full-synthetic 100,000-mile transmission fluid). So, combining two or three trips into one reduces the miles you drive, and also gets you better fuel economy.
  7. Use air conditioning wisely: – Keep your windows rolled up at speeds over 40 mph: the air turbulence around the window makes the air-conditioning cheaper than the fuel-economy penalty from additional wind-drag. – Turn off the air and roll down windows at speeds under 40 mph in the summer heat: the additional wind-drag is cheaper than the air-conditioning. Fuel economy impact? ~ 1-5%.
  8. Buy fuel wisely. Ok, this isn’t actually improving your fuel economy, but here are some tips to save fuel money. Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning fill-ups will normally save you money: those are typically the lowest prices of the week. Also, filling up in the morning when the fuel is cooler will get you a few extra cents of fuel. So your best time to fill up is — on average — Wednesday morning. Don’t “top off” your tank: you risk losing fuel to the station’s vapor-recovery system, giving them back some fuel you’re buying.
  9. Use a good fuel additive at fillup. Injectors with excessive deposits have poor spray patterns that can cost you 2 to 15% in fuel economy. Those deposits are caused by poor quality fuel. Since ’95 the EPA has required all gasoline to have deposit-control additives. But about half of all gasoline on the market is lowest additive concentration (LAC) gasoline, which barely meets the regulation and contributes to excessive deposits. What can you do? First, if your vehicle is designed for premium gas, and you’re using it, your injectors may be fine: most premium fuels include higher additive levels that are effective at keeping injectors clean. However, what if you don’t use premium? Use “Top Tier” detergent gas — if you can find it — because this new fuel classification meets the 2004 GM/Honda/Toyota/BMW deposit control standard. If you don’t need premium and Top Tier isn’t available, you probably need an additive. BEWARE: there are many mousey fuel additive products that generate nice sales profits but do little for your vehicle. Find a good one that will actually clean your injectors, keep them clean, and (for diesels) lubricate your fuel pump. Our website suggests fuel additives that we know do the job with quality, for a fair price.
  10. Lose some weight! Clean out your vehicle’s trunk (and maybe the back seat). Tools from that weekend project two months ago is costing you fuel! Every 200 pounds in your trunk costs you roughly 1 mpg.
  11. Don’t drive! Carpool, occasionally ride a bicycle or walk, telecommute for part of your work-week, or take public transportation.
  12. Shift your work-hours to avoid gridlock. Stop-and-go traffic is hard on fuel economy. Arrange traveling to/from work when traffic flow is running smoothly at the speed limit.
  13. Minimize idling — idle smart: Engines only need 10 seconds for warm-up before driving (30 seconds if below zero). Idling your engine more than a minute typically costs more fuel than re-starting it. So avoid drive-through lines at banks and fast-food shops: instead of sitting in line, park and go inside. BUT, when you must idle with an automatic transmission, put the transmission in Neutral or Park while you’re waiting: this will cut fuel usage at idle by 10-40% depending on the vehicle and the transmission temperature. (With manual transmissions, use the brake to keep from rolling back – not the clutch. That saves fuel and extends clutch life.)
  14. Park in the Shade: The hotter the fuel tank gets, the more gas you lose to evaporation.
  15. Smart vacation thinking: If your vehicle is a gas guzzler, consider renting an economical vehicle to drive on vacation. With a discounted week-long rate at better fuel economy, the rental might pay for itself. If you lease your vehicle, using a rental vehicle will also lower your total lease miles.
  16. Keep a log of your mileage and fuel. By monitoring your fuel economy and driving habits, you can see the cost impact of changing your driving style, and you can spot the poor fuel economy that is often a first-alert to maintenance issues. In addition, as you make changes to improve fuel economy, you can measure the exact results (averaged over five or more fill-ups for best accuracy).
  17. Second: vehicle MAINTENANCE & UPGRADES. These areas often get skipped in recommendations on getting better fuel economy. That’s unfortunate because they can have huge impacts. Most fuel economy improvements fall into two general categories:

  • decrease friction in the vehicle’s drivetrain (engine, transmission, differential, wheel bearings, tires);
  • make it easier for air to flow through the engine, anywhere from the air intake to the exhaust tailpipe.

These are the same areas that performance-enthusiasts change to get more horsepower. I spoke with a Lexus mechanic who has won awards for his modified 2003 Dodge 2500 pickup with the Cummins turbo-diesel engine. He was surprised that with his many thousands of dollars in horsepower upgrades, he was getting about 23 mpg even with large tires and higher ground-clearance. “Every time I increased the power, the fuel economy improved.” No surprise to me: except for tires and suspension, he increased his truck’s efficiency with every power upgrade.

  • Keep your engine tuned up. If you have a dashboard service-engine light on, you’re likely wasting fuel. Example: bad Oxygen Sensors are a classic problem that can cost you 5-15% in fuel economy. Overall, poor engine tuning and lack of maintenance can decrease fuel economy by 10-20%, or more.
  • Inflate your tires to their optimum: HIGHER pressures than “normal”. Read carefully. You need EVEN road-contact pressure (equal across the tread) to maximize everything: tire life, fuel economy, bad weather traction, and best overall handling and cornering characteristics with increased road safety. Probably over 85% of car tires on the road are under-inflated, and this costs money in fuel and shorter tire life. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires.

    “Experts” generally (wrongly) define the “proper” pressure as the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. That’s what the government says. That’s what most service shops follow. Unfortunately, that’s seldom correct in your and my vehicle tires.

    Fact is that OEM wheel/tire combinations for most passenger cars and light trucks are designed by the TIRE manufacturer for even tread pressure on the ground when inflated to between 35 and 42 psi [pounds per square inch]: that optimum inflation range is much higher than the recommended 28 to 33 psi that are in many owner’s manuals or on door-jamb labels.

    If your tires normally wear the tread off the shoulder before the center of the tread, then your tires ARE under-inflated.

    So how much air pressure should you use? Visit our full online Ultimate Fuel Economy Guide for important details.

    Impact? By our conservative estimates, most vehicles are riding on tires that are 8 psi low, costing about 3% in fuel economy.

  • Watch your tire choice. Replacing your tires/wheels with wider and/or taller ones may look awesome, but keep in mind that your choice could have a 1 to 3% penalty in fuel economy… or even more in extreme cases like “monster truck” tires/wheels.
  • Switch to best-quality synthetic oils and filters throughout your drivetrain: engine oil, transmission fluid, differential gear oil and wheel bearing grease. This advice — to use the best synthetic lubricants — is rarely heard, yet it’s an easy area to save money. You save in routine maintenance costs, long-term maintenance costs, time-in-the-shop, and of course in fuel economy. But unfortunately it’s not a simple area to understand. So here’s a brief primer on synthetic lubricants:

    The number of vehicle owners turning to synthetic engine oil has increased dramatically, because consumers are learning that synthetics are better than petroleum products in every way, BY DESIGN. More vehicle owners are beginning to realize what the OEM’s and quick-lubes don’t want them to know: that full synthetics can cut wear rates in half and outperform traditional oil for up to 35,000 miles between oil changes.

    But consumers don’t realize THREE KEY THINGS:

    First, that the benefits of synthetics extend to every lubrication area in the vehicle. For example, most transmissions fail because their transmission fluid has failed, either because the fluid hasn’t been changed frequently enough, or because the fluid overheated. Synthetic fluid helps hugely to prevent transmission problems, and naturally saves fuel at the same time.

    Real life: My ’94 Taurus SHO got 10% better fuel economy with engine oil and transmission fluid change, my ’02 Sierra 2500HD Duramax truck got 8% better fuel economy with just synthetic engine and differential fluids, an acquaintance picked up over 20% on a 37 foot gas-engine motor-home, and my friend Phillip’s 1999 Olds Silhouette van picked up 20% just by changing to synthetic engine oil — saving him over $600/yr in fuel.

    In other words, for most vehicles, high-performance synthetic lubricants are one of the simplest and best changes that you can make to improve fuel economy — yet it’s rarely mentioned! One reason is because it’s brand dependent. Most people will get 2 to 12% improvements in fuel economy, IF they use one particular brand of lubricants, but less or no improvement with other “synthetics”.

    Second, not all “synthetics” are real PAO synthetics. Today, in fact, most are fakes because the lubrication industry has agreed that it’s OK to deceive you. (Our site explains how to tell a true synthetic from a petroleum “synthetic”.)

    Why do you need real PAO synthetics, anyway? Because in every way they perform better than petroleum products — by design — and because they are uniquely able to save you the maximum amount of money with 25,000 and even 35,000 mile drain intervals, while other “synthetics” are designed for 7,000 to 10,000 mile use, to maximize petroleum-oil-company profits out of YOUR pocket.

    Third, not all real synthetics are the same. As a Mechanical Engineer who has worked for years in automotive, and done extensive research (see About Us on my site), I live in the everyday world of real results and have developed some strong recommendations based on data and verification with personal testing. In fuel economy, for example, ASTM standardized fleet testing results with one company’s synthetic lubes in commercial vehicles shows an average 8.2% improvement in fuel economy vs the common big-name commercial lubricants. (See this data on our site.)

    Few companies will show legally-binding data based on standardized (tightly defined) test parameters like this, because independent testing on their products will not produce favorable data to support their product claims. In comparison, hundreds of ASTM 4-ball Wear Test results in independent laboratories over years have shown that one company’s lubricants are consistently designed to reduce frictional wear and internal fluid-friction losses to a greater extent than even most synthetic lubricants. Friction reduction translates directly to better fuel economy and much longer-lasting vehicles.

    You want data from respected independent testing laboratories? Ahh — so you know marketing claims are worthless! We have overall comparative testing data for many specific oil blends, including Mobil 1: ASTM testing by independent laboratories. While all the oil companies run these tests, generally only one company publishes significant data, while the others rely on vague performance claims and clever marketing slogans. Beware: test results against generic “competitor A, B, C” are legally meaningless. But published/advertised test data against named products is legally binding, with huge lawsuit potential from competitors.

  • Improve airflow AROUND your vehicle:

    – Loaded roof racks or cargo pods can cut 5% or more off your fuel economy. A cargo rack that slides into a trailer hitch allows you to carry extra stuff, still get into your trunk, and use less fuel.

    – Sunroof air-deflectors can be handy, but do cost you a bit of fuel. Removing the air deflector might save 1/4 to 3/4% in fuel economy.

    – Consider adding a truck bed cover, either soft-type or hard-shell, to get a 1 to 2 mpg boost. What about dropping your tailgate to travel, or replacing the stock tailgate with an “air gate” net or louvered tailgate? They’re not as reliable: results depend on vehicle aerodynamics, bed length, and what you do (or don’t) have in the truck bed.

    – Reduce air turbulence under your vehicle: “Off-road” packages with protective underbody “skid plates”, or “ground effects” styling packages can add 1-4% in fuel economy. The downside? The vehicle may be more difficult to service.

    – Adding an air deflector to the roof of your truck/SUV when towing will also add 1 to 3 mpg by reducing trailer wind-drag. But it can also reduce your non-towing fuel economy by about the same amount if it’s still in position on the vehicle when you’re NOT towing.

  • Improve airflow into the engine. This can happen in several stages of increasing complexity, but the first place is the air filter, where air enters your engine. If your filter is dirty, that reduces fuel economy — up to 10% in the worst cases. However, there’s a conflicting problem. Conventional filters should NOT be replaced before the OEM’s recommended interval or they will increase your engine wear rate: they rely on the “dust cake” buildup to achieve effective filtration, which unfortunately causes a pressure drop that reduces fuel economy.

    Easy Improvement: Replace your air filter with nanofiber filters born from military/aerospace technology. (Just released in 2005 with worldwide patents, and reasonably priced.) You get pressure drop nearly as low as an oiled gauze filter while filtering out 100% of wear particles down to 3 microns (for real). Clean with an annual tap/shake/vacuum. No warranty problems.

    Intermediate: The next thing to look at is the air-filter box design. Many OEM’s have a restrictive flow-path going into the air-box (to reduce engine air-intake noise, or to reduce water intake if you drive through a foot or two of water), including lots of internal stiffener ribs. Sure, the improved strength from ribs may enable you to stand or kneel on the air-box, but they often cause pressure-drop and turbulence.

    There are two improvement routes: an aftermarket air-induction system, or DIY modifications.

    The best route is to look at replacing the entire air-intake box and filter with an aftermarket “air induction” or “air intake” kit.

    Caution: oiled gauze filters won’t keep out many wear particles, so they produce high engine wear-rates. Plus, excess “tack oil” can cause reduced fuel economy and trouble with warranty coverage at many dealers. Choose wisely — go for the OEM certified nanofiber solution if one is available for your vehicle, because nanofiber air filters are the best technical and economical compromise between no filter at all and a restrictive stock filter. The minimum intake choice should include a two-stage dual-density oiled-foam filter: far better than oiled-gauze. If you can’t get at least that in an aftermarket air induction system, then we recommend skipping it: upgrade to a nanofiber air filter, and consider modifying the stock air-box as we outline on our website.

    Advanced: see our site for these details.

    Our easy, intermediate-level and advanced airflow improvement suggestions can realistically net you from 2% up to a maximum 8% improvement in fuel economy.

  • Improve airflow out of the engine: Install an aftermarket exhaust system. These have larger diameter pipes and larger, less restrictive mufflers. My point isn’t to get louder, but to reduce “backpressure” losses which cut down on horsepower, torque and fuel-economy. Since increased noise is typical, and some systems are intentionally designed to be loud, you may want to shop for the exhaust sounds you do or don’t want.
  • Upgrade to a more fuel-efficient vehicle. Careful. Companies and sales people want to make money on your vehicle switch, so watch out for your best interests. First, price matters. You have to save a lot of fuel to pay for a big difference in vehicle price. Paying hybrid premiums to get more fuel economy probably won’t begin to pay you back before you sell the vehicle. Second, real-world driving shows many hybrids don’t live up to their mpg hype. (See our surprising comparison in the online detailed version of this, between hybrids and turbo-diesel vehicles.)
  • Finally, be cautious in your search for improved fuel economy: don’t waste money on fake fuel-economy improvements. Many products are total fakes or hugely exaggerated. Most companies tiptoe around those realities, but I don’t. So here’s the truth:

    – Most “oil additive” or engine “metal treatment” products are or will be embroiled in lawsuits in a number of states. If an oil additive claims a fuel economy improvement over 1%, forget it. Lubrication Engineers explain that oil is a highly engineered chemical package, and that if you want better performance you must buy better oil. Base your choice on published, standardized ASTM test results. That’s the best and cheapest way to get better lubrication performance.

    – Fuel treatments/additives and catalysts? 2-15% gains are available, with the biggest improvements for vehicles with a long diet of cheap LAC (Lowest Additive Concentration) fuel. Question the cost vs value. The answer is Yes to some good ones, No to some poor ones, and “why bother” to a lot of them. Question who to trust, and research what you buy.

    – A mechanical or electronic aftermarket product? Fundamentally, if it isn’t actually improving airflow through the engine/exhaust, it’s probably NOT going to boost fuel economy. Our site has specific “improvement” examples that WON’T save fuel.

  • Easily Get Restaurant Reviews From Customers

    These days, people don’t buy anything without reading reviews first. Amazon.com is the world’s favorite shopping mall. Visitors look for an item that is both heavily reviewed and has a mostly positive rating. There is suspicion of items that have no reviews, as that means to most folks that the business is probably new and the item they’re looking at is of questionable quality. Positive customer reviews weigh in big time within the consumer psyche and the convenience at which reviews can be posted means that every interaction with a customer is a potential opportunity to make or break many future sales. These ideas began with the retail industry, and they’ve spread like wildfire to restaurants.

    So, should you ask for reviews or not? Let’s review the pros and cons:

    PROS

    Incentivizing is a great motivator for everything in the world. If you want reviews from your customers, offer them something of value. Asking for reviews isn’t bad as long as you’re not flat-out paying for them. Put something fun together: drop review submitters’ names into a monthly raffle for a free lunch, pick a top reviewer and send them to an exotic themed vacation (think Olive Garden sending families to Italy), have your top chef prepare dinner for a certain special patron. There are tons of ideas that involve a thematic approach to incentivized rewards versus just handing out cash. Get your patrons involved and excited and reap the benefits of a truly passionate reviewer!

    If you choose to nudge patrons in the right direction, make it easy for them. Offering them a comment card is one way to go, and you can put that review up on your website, but how can you get the word out on UrbanSpoon or Yelp, two of the most popular restaurant review sites? You’ve got to tell customers where to submit their feedback. “Search for us on UrbanSpoon!” is a quick, easy and non-pushy way to let people know you’re active on that site. Make sure to develop a way to track your review-submitting patrons so that you can reward them. You’ll generally receive an email notification when a review is submitted to either one of those sites.

    Posting restaurant reviews can be fun! Think about the power of mobile Smartphone applications: a patron can take a picture of your menu (or their meal plate) on their phone and post it online instantly, even while they’re still eating their Southwest Quesadilla Special. They can then immediately “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” your business based on their experience. This is incredibly helpful to other customers. PRO TIP: Consider taking clear pictures of your menu and your location and uploading them to review sites before someone else does. Doing so helps potential new customers decide if they want to eat at your establishment by taking the guesswork out of what you’ve got to offer. The more information that’s readily available about your business, the better.

    CONS

    The first question you need to ask yourself honestly is this: “Is my restaurant ready to be reviewed?” Many restaurant owners get antsy and jump the gun, so to speak, in taking steps to force reviews. They may have had a slow grand opening and think that getting “good press” on sites like UrbanSpoon and Yelp is the only way to stay operative. These sites are dynamite for influencing potential customers, but hard selling reviews is not the way to go. If your restaurant isn’t 100% where you want it to be at, incentivizing reviews could also mean reminding people that they can post negative reviews, too. As many small business owners have learned, one negative review that’s boosted to the front page of Google can spell doom for their business. Just like a positive review can encourage new folks to try an unfamiliar restaurant, a negative review can drive just as many away. Lesson: don’t force reviews if you’re not ready for them.

    Positive reviews from non-incentivized customers will almost always feel more “real.” So although it may take longer to get a review, it may be worth your wait.

    Have you ever read a restaurant review and just known that it was the owner writing it, or one of the company’s employees? How did that make you feel? Most consumers who feel like they’ve experienced a fake review will immediately go elsewhere, with a permanent sense of distrust in that business.

    Some review databases (like Yelp) frown on incentivized/paid reviews. They’ll go as far to delete over-zealous, fake sounding reviews in order to keep their site “honest.” In this case, it may not be worth the investment to reward a reviewer.

    If your restaurant is outstanding on both service and menu fronts, you may not have to encourage review submittal at all. A new patron should be so floored after having left your establishment that they want to share their experience with the world. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the server was “on it,” the food was excellent, the wait was nonexistent, and the atmosphere was just fun? I bet you wanted to tell people about it. This same theory applies to restaurant reviews: provide an entirely excellent experience at every point of contact and expect to be rewarded for your hard work.

    The answer is up to you. If you can solicit reviews in a fun, creative way, that plan might work out well for your business. Beware of over-incentivizing; remember you want honest reviews, not a bunch of fluff. No doubt, reviews are a superb way to generate new business. You might even say they’ve become essential in today’s world of infinite information. Keep in mind that consistently great service will be rewarded with words of praise, so keep your bar set high, your plates clean, drinks full, food hot, and staff friendly. You’ll eventually get to the point where you don’t need to solicit reviews anymore, they’ll just come naturally.

    Turmoil of World Economy – A Blessing In Disguise?

    In the recent months I have literally received hundreds of emails which have requested that I speak or write about the current state of our economy. I was particularly asked what my opinion is about acquiring precious metals and living independently of the grid. Regarding the latter, I have personally taken steps to be energy-independent by installing solar panels. We also have our own water source and grow our own foods; and for the winter months we use a small greenhouse to provide some essential foods. Being a vegan/vegetarian, this makes it easy to be nearly self-sufficient with regard to food.

    If at all possible, I recommend that people move away from areas of high or dense population to more rural areas where they have access to arable land and clean, natural water. If that’s not possible, try to find a small piece of land where you can grow your own food. Many people now convert their lawn into a vibrant vegetable garden.

    Many years ago, I had predicted the emergence of what I call the ‘spiritual economy,’ which is to evolve from the ashes of our current, purely materialistic economy. I perceive the massive decline of our economy and the imminent collapse of the hollow values that uphold it (largely debt-based) as an inevitable step to birth the new, love-based, life-promoting economy where everyone will benefit from the generated waves of prosperity, not just a select few.

    We are collectively transitioning out of an unsustainable state of existence where we rely on things like fiat paper money that is being printed faster than we can think; medications that are designed to make us sicker by the minute, so that we will spend more money on trying to regain our health; foods that are nutritionally worthless and make us crave and overeat them even more; water that is poisoned by the super-toxin fluoride, hormones, plastic particles and radiation from dumped nuclear waste material. We irradiate our food with microwaves and our brains with radio waves emitted from cell phones and other high tech devices. We stop talking to each other because it is more fun to send text messages, day and night, and to be entertained by video games and an endless number of TV programs.

    We let ourselves be hired for pay and then pay part of what we have earned to a hired organization called the ‘government’ that somehow has assumed the role of dictating how we can and cannot live our lives. This government is allowed to use our money to run a Ponzi scheme that accrues a tremendous amount of debt that can never be repaid. To keep the scam going, the masses are forced by law to pay into it (taxation) without getting much in return, except a progressive destruction of the economy, the bankrupting of the housing market, an ever-expanding sickness industry that promises cures but kills more people each year than those who die from all other causes of death combined, and endless wars that have nothing to do with protecting us against an invading enemy, except to provide or secure access to foreign oil, gas, water and other natural resources that make the most wealthy even wealthier.

    Our planet and her inhabitants are at the brink of extinction. What politicians and economists refer to as healthy economic growth is now fiction. Huge amounts of fiat money are being moved from one hand to another, from one organization or company to another, from one country to another, but all this just means that someone gets wealthier while another becomes poorer. A truly health economy benefits everyone, not just a selected few.

    Today’s so-called ‘economic growth’ is now largely based on fixing problems. For example, the sickness industry is undergoing a massive growth that funnels vast amounts of money into the hands of a few corporate giants while impoverishing those who happen to fall ill. Health insurance premiums go up as more people get sick. Drug companies make sure to produce medicines that don’t cure anyone, but just suppress symptoms of disease for a little while; their continued prosperity depend on a steadily increasing number of repeat customers. Insurance companies thrive in times of calamities. More people sign up for flood and wind insurance after they see others’ homes being destroyed by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

    Food shortages are increasing and food prices are rising. The rest of the foods that don’t go up in price are heavily subsidized by the taxpayer’s money. Massive bailouts of failing banks that make money off others in distress are further eroding the value of the currency and, therefore, the economy. Clever Wall Street investors spend a lot of money to make a lot more money, all out of thin air. But someone is going to lose whatever they win. Taking the entire economy into consideration, there is no real benefit in shifting wealth from one entity to another.

    Creating poverty, which sows the seeds of crime, is a very lucrative business that serves ‘economic growth’. We spend billions of dollars each year on incarcerating people and keeping them there. It costs $40,000 – $60,000per year just to house and feed one prison inmate. In the US, we have over 2,000,000 prisoners. That’s a staggering $80,000,000,000 being ‘invested’ in the economy. In addition, the US has spent $1.2 trillion on wars since 2001, money that could have easily eradicated the most severe poverty on the entire planet.

    Economic growth that is measured by how much money is being spent on creating or maintaining social-economic problems is economic regression, not economic progress. And there is a natural limit to such economic regression. The gap between the rich and poor widens by the minute and it a just a matter of time before the masses will revolt to assure their own survival and that of their families. The more we waste our energy and resources on controlling or fixing problems, the more likely we will have to face even more of them. As the old saying goes, like attracts like. We can forget about reaching the end of the current recession so that everything can go back to ‘normal’. What’s considered normal is not good enough anymore. Humankind deserves to move on.

    The imminent collapse of the world economy is but a necessary, albeit painful, step toward restoring a sense of value and humaneness in our world affairs. We are not here to compete with one another, but to work together through service and sharing our gifts and resources. An economy that is based on competition is destined to destroy itself. Enriching ourselves at the cost of others is a recipe for disaster. Greed interferes with the delicate balance that exists between the energies of giving and receiving, or supply and demand.

    To make it through the transition from the current state of economy to the next, we need to cycle back to the more stable and reliable currency backup system that has been in place for hundreds of years. This proven system was abandoned many years ago in order to funnel massive wealth into the hands of a few, while impoverishing the rest of us through massive debt creation. People who are in debt are obviously indebted to those who so generously offer them a loan. You relinquish control over your life when you accumulate debt. Now that the masses are spending more money than they own, almost the entire country is enslaved and controlled by those few who issue the debt (loans against interest) and own it.

    Precious metals should have remained the backbone of all currencies and economies. Once this backbone was broken, the monetary system became subject to the massive manipulation and chaos that we are now faced with. President John F. Kennedy attempted to steer the US back to self-autonomy by abandoning the Federal Reserve and taking over the printing and circulation of gold-backed currency. His assassination quickly put a stop to it. Today, the trillions-and-growing national debt makes it impossible to salvage the economy. Bailouts of banks and large corporations merely postpone the inevitable economic bankruptcy and make it more traumatic, if dire, for everyone involved.

    For the new economy to emerge, the old economy must be dismantled and decentralized. Every person must be able to create her or his own small economy for a balanced exchange of real goods, services and values to take place in our communities and worldwide. The old barter system, where something of true value was exchanged for something else that had value, must be reinstated in order to achieve decentralization and put an end to the power of those who control the money.

    In truth, no one has power over us unless we allow it. We need to know that we do have choices, however difficult a situation may seem. Insurmountable difficulties have a great purpose; they force us to change course. For example, more and college graduates who are unable to get work in the cities are moving to rural areas where they either find work at existing food farms or lease a small piece of land where they can grow their own food. Many of them are now making a very good living of selling fresh foods to the local communities and they actually feel very good about what they do. Growing and sharing food is a time-tested recipe for happiness and peace of mind.

    Paper money has no more value than the paper it is printed on, and it is subject to devaluation when more of it is printed or circulated. Thus, selling debt is a quick way to destroy the value of economies. Zimbabwe is very good example of a dysfunctional economy, and we are following in her footsteps. The greediness that fuels Ponzi schemes, such as the privately run Federal Reserve banking conglomerate, is endless. But without our participation in their gambling house, they cannot last long.

    Instead of fighting the current system and blaming others for the now self-destructive economy, we can all step out of it and dismantle the very foundation of the debt-based economy. One simple piece of advice can go a long way, and it goes like this: don’t spend money you don’t have. If you have extra money, don’t spend it all, but create a nest egg that consists of gold and/or silver. By doing so, you literally own something of lasting value that is inflation proof.

    It is not important how much worth precious metals have in comparison with the US dollar, for instance. The same silver coin that bought you a gallon of gas 40 years ago will still buy you a gallon of gas today or 10 years from now, if we still have gas by then. Precious metals cannot be devalued. If you decide to own gold or silver, I recommend keeping it rather than buying more fiat money as its ‘value’ increases. The more people who follow this advice, the faster and more smoothly the inevitable collapse of the debt-based economy can occur.

    The collapse of the current economy is a prerequisite for the love-based, spiritual economy to emerge, just like the blossoms of an apple tree must die to give way to producing the life-giving fruits. The principles that have run our economies so far are outdated. Corruption is rampant. As the old proverb goes, we need a new seed in order to yield a new crop.

    At a time when money determines everything that has some value, we can no longer expect to evolve in a meaningful way. Catastrophes like those we have witnessed or experienced in recent months, weeks and days serve as reminders that our material possessions and jobs can vanish at a moment’s notice. We are also learning that by destroying our natural environment, we are also destroying our livelihoods. When love becomes the measure of value, not money, economic hardship will vanish and the environment will be treasured and respected.

    Making money, alone, does not create lasting happiness and love, but love and happiness can certainly bring about lasting abundance in life. We have now reached the extreme of the pendulum of superficiality and the pendulum must swing back to fathom the depth of our spiritual essence.Although acquiring precious metals helps to bring about this transition, this should only be a means to achieve an end.

    Top 5 Best Selling Albums in Britain in 2010

    2010 was a great year for music in Britain with some amazing album releases. Album reviews were flying off the shelves for breakthrough brands, but it was the old guard that ruled the roost at the top of the album charts. The top 5 best selling albums in Britain is filled with established acts and while there aren’t any that I can pick out as favourites of mine, you can’t always ignore the numbers. When there is that many people buying an album there’s got to be something about it that has grabbed the attention of the masses.

    5. Plan B, The Defamation of Strickland Banks

    The only breakthrough album release of 2010 fell to London wide boy, Plan B, or Benjamin Balance-Drew as he’s know to his mum. The release of The Defamation of Strickland Banks, his second studio album, in April 2010, led to an instant number 1 in the UK album charts. It sold over sixty eight thousand copies in its first week and went on to sell a whopping eight hundred and twenty six thousand copies throughout the course of the year. Album reviews were fairly positive overall with ratings ranging from six out of ten to four out of five, but his move away from his rapping routes prompted one album review from the Telegraph to describe it as being “populist” although the overall tone of the review was generally favourable

    4. Rihanna, Loud

    The ups and downs of Rihanna’s personal life has been well documented by the media, but when it comes to her albums it always seems to be on the up and up. It including high grossing hits Only Girl in the World, What’s my Name and S&M. Released in November 2010 the album the album went in at number 2, selling in the region of 91,000 copies, but later climbed to the number 1 spot. Though it was released late in the year, it still managed to sell 839,000 copies in total. Rihanna’s Loud received average to favourable album reviews from the mainstream press.

    3. Lady GaGa, The Fame / The Fame Monster

    When Lady GaGa first appeared on the music scene it was as though she appeared out of nowhere and was suddenly everywhere. Now it feels like she’s always been there. The illusion of her meteoric rise to musical prominence has been fuelled by the trash media and paparazzi that she seems to target so much in her music. The love hate relationship continues in The Fame / The Fame Monster and while it was originally released in November 2009 as an EP as a re-release of The Fame, it still went on to be the third best selling album of 2010 in the Britain.

    2. Michael Buble, Crazy Love

    Who’d of thought it. Michael Buble had the second highest grossing album of 2010, epitomising the fact that you can never underestimate the buying power of easy listening loving ladies everywhere. The smooth singing Canadian has turned into a power house of selling album selling prowess and in 2010 he really hit the mark with Crazy Love. Michael Buble’s fourth studio album, Crazy Love is another crooner loving record and went straight in at number 1 in October 2009, but maintained sales all the way through 2010 to guarantee it a place in the top 5 best selling albums in Britain in 2010. Selling more than 1, 227,000 copies, but to be fair, it doesn’t really matter how many albums he sells, he’s never going to get into the Rat Pack.

    1. Take That, Progress

    Back during the 90s Take That were the bees knees with the girls at my school. They wore Take That emblems around there necks and probably cried like crazy people at the news that they were breaking up. It is these same girls, now women, that have secured Take That’s resurgence to musical hegemony of a certain persuasion, making their album, Progress, the biggest selling album of 2010 in Britain. Released on 15th November 2010 and returning Robbie Williams to the Take That fold after his long dark days alone in the California sun, it inevitable charted straight in at number 1. Despite the release being so late in the day in 2010, it still managed to sell in excess of 1.8 million records. Album reviews were very positive, giving it an average of around 8 out of 10 in both popular and industry media, but more than anything, it gave Robbie something more than just aliens to believe in.

    How to Create Advertising That Sells: Review of the Legendary Advertising Showpiece

    How to Create Advertising that Sells Review

    David Ogilvy is known across the world as “The Father of Advertising.” This How to Create Advertising That Sells Review looks at one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, works on the rules of advertising. It’s based solely on market research and will deliver on the promise.

    Ogilvy was an advertising exec sensation who was sought after within his industry. He compiled more than 40 years of advertising research into one amazing piece. It only contains 1900 words. It ran during the 1960’s and 1970’s in newspapers for his company. Ogilvy wrote Confessions of an Advertising Man, quite probably the most prominent and celebrated books authored on Advertising. He started his lengthy vocation employed by Gallup. Knowing what Gallup does, that’s likely to be most perfect point for an advertising man to start a stunning profession.

    So We Begin… Part One

    In this Ogilvy quintessential masterpiece “How to Create Advertising that Sells” Review, we’ll cover the initial 7 maxims. Now, covering seven rules out of 38 can appear to be insignificant at first glance. However, one would at their wit’s end to stuff this quantity of information concerning the ad biz into a more condensed study.

    Maxim One: Position

    Ogilvy considers Dove soap as the ideal illustration. They have a few choices for the campaign. Would selling clean hands be their best option? OR, would selling soft skin be a better option? The decision ad execs made that day was the first-rate answer for Unilever as proprietor of the Dove brand. When getting ready to sell a product or service, begin here.

    Maxim Two: The Promise

    With making a very large promise, Ogilvy said the ad can’t be wrong. Make the “obligation” exclusive. Make it a real contender. Lastly, the product or service had MUST ACCOMPLISH the promise given. If it can’t, start over.

    Maxim Three: Image

    When considering branding a person or business, create the “most sharply defined personality” for the brand. When every ad campaign goes in several different directions and lacks a concise focus, that business is likely to fail. A big picture is what is missing. Advertising should be based on a campaign, not a single ad. Lacking a consistent theme from one ad to the next is a kiss of death. With social media, coming across as a slightly bi-polar is easily possible. Successful social media campaign ideas have to pull together this idea as a foundation. Make the brand image consistent every place, every time.

    Maxim Four: ONE LARGE Idea

    Ogilvy said it’s normally a very basic concept. It just takes one idea, though. It required because it “gives the customer a jolt” and makes them pay attention to the ad. It’s no secret that a business must stand apart from the competition in order to get noticed. Agreed? But, in order for a customer to take action, it’s a completely different thing. Developing over-the-top, complicated ideas are amazingly easier than coming up with ONE Straightforward, uncomplicated LARGE idea, according to Ogilvy. It requires pure genius. They will withstand the test of time.

    Maxim Five: Superior

    Its common sense, but it’s often overlooked. Consumers consider an unattractive product with an “inferior image.” The world in which we live is extremely visual. The way things appear always alters perception, without exception. It’s always been this way. Garbage in… Garbage out.

    Maxim Six: Don’t Be Boring

    Be very charming. Attempt to engage the viewer and get him or her involved. “Make him hungry.” Next, get him to participate. It isn’t difficult to be interesting, but pushing for involvement is slightly harder.

    Maxim Seven: Innovate

    Be the starter of trends. Don’t blindly follow crazes and trends. Ogilvy discovered that ad campaigns that followed trends were RARELY successful. He recommended engaging in some market testing with real consumers. It IS a bit precarious to head off into an uncharted direction. Market testing allows ad developers to exercise caution and gain a level of security.

    Maxim Eight: Glory Hogs

    I bet this was extremely controversial for the time. In fact, it’s probably still controversial because of society. It’s expected that we give a list of our accomplishments and qualifications. Any awards are expected in this list. Ogilvy felt creative awards for ads deludes creativity in people and steers them away from goals. What is the goal? In successful campaigns, the goal is the quest of sales. Ponder upon on what persuades the consumer and not what gains awards.

    Review in Summary

    So, this was the first quarter of David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising that Sells Review. Pretty amazing? Considering how old it is, it is still so relevant and very timely. The value of this document is priceless. Hundreds of thousands had to be spent on worthless, unsuccessful ads in order to gather data and determine what creates success. So, figure out what will be sold and remember to sell the sizzle. Make a large promise, and then deliver. Create a laser-focused brand and place it at the front of each ad. Create ONE LARGE idea. Continue the thread through every campaign. Favorable visuals correspond with more successful campaigns. Boring is bad. Take out some insurance and start a trend. Think profit not recognition.

    Part two of How to Create Advertising that Sells Review promises more value along with breathtaking, profit-generating maxims by the advertising legend.

    Do Your Store Displays Sell?

    Your store displays are key to attracting customers and selling your products. When you are creating displays, you should have a clear plan and purpose for each display.

    Effective retail displays should:

     

    • communicate a wide variety of information to consumers
    • play an integral part of a coordinated sales strategy
    • tell a visual story
    • speak for you even when you are busy with other customers

     

    Displays are an invitation to a customer to look a little closer at what you have to offer. It is a non-threatening way of enticing your customer to explore your product. With current technology, displays can be very powerful multimedia experiences, or with a little thought and design, simple, inexpensive presentations of merchandise can be dramatic statements.

    By putting more thought and planning into your merchandising and display, you can have an impact on your bottom line. It might be a difference of one sale each day. Even if that sale is only $5.00, you have increased your monthly sales by $150.00. Imagine if each of your store displays could do that!

    Consider all the potential display areas in your store. Take into account the store windows, the ends of aisles, the back wall, columns or pillars, point-of-sale displays, front tables, etc. These are all opportunities that can be maximized to become effective sales areas.

    To present your merchandise in the most effective manner possible, your displays and merchandising need to do the following:

    1. Attract Attention

    When you are placing merchandise, you are not simply making it available to customers. There are many products out there competing for your customers’ dollar. How will you stand out from the rest? You may have the exact product they are looking for, but it may never be seen. How can that be, when it is right there in front of them?

    Have you ever misplaced something, and looked high and low for it, and finally found it – sitting right in front of you all along? It is similar with consumers. People are bombarded daily with media messages all selling something. Stores are full of merchandise competing for attention. This becomes information overload, so the brain sorts out which information is relevant and which is not. People notice their favorite stores and develop particular patterns of shopping based on preferences and needs. These preferences become ingrained habits.

    Strong displays help break through these habits and routines to attract attention. Suddenly, the brain is saying – “Wait a minute! This is new! It doesn’t fit in to my sorting system. It looks exciting and might be relevant to my needs.”

    This is the goal of your display, to attract the customer’s eye and get him or her to stop for a moment for a closer look.

    2. Communicate a message

    The most obvious message you need to communicate is that you have products available for sale. If this was the only job you had to do, you could leave the products in boxes or on tables and let the customers fend for themselves. However, most consumers don’t want to work this hard. You need to at least let them know what type of merchandise you have available and what it will cost them. It is also helpful to say what this merchandise will do for them, whether it is a new product, if it will suit their needs and taste, how it works, etc.

    Some messages you can communicate through displays:

    • Product selection
    • Product information
    • Product demonstration
    • Price
    • Lifestyle
    • Season
    • New merchandise

    3. Use displays to encourage action 

     

    • Get the shopper to stop or enter store
    • Encourage shoppers to move through the store and browse
    • Encourage them to try out or touch the merchandise
    • Create desire for impulse purchases
    • Suggest complimentary merchandise
    • Create a sense of urgency (Why should the shopper buy now?)

    4. Use displays to leave a lasting impression. 

     

    • Encourage the customer to return
    • Update displays regularly
    • Customers expect to see change, newness, excitement

     

    Displays are key components of your sales toolbox. They will be most effective when planned to complement other selling strategies such as advertising, store identity and design, and customer service/personal selling.

    Review your product displays. They should be boosting sales or they are not doing their job.

    How to Publish Your Book: Getting Those All-Important Reviews and Testimonials

    Great reviews and testimonials help sell your book; therefore any actions you take to promote your book should include such reviews and testimonials. They can be gold. They help persuade book lovers that your book deserves a place on their shelves. They also help convince bookstore chains, individual bookstores, and libraries to stock your book.

    Where do you start? The answer is as early as possible. Most reviewers want an actual copy of the book. An e-book won’t work, although that perception is changing. If reviewers can get an advance copy prior to publication, so much the better. Some reviewers will accept galleys but they expect to receive copies of the finished book later. For example, the School Library Journal will accept galleys. These must be received at least two months prior to the publication date. This gives the Journal time to review your book and print the review in their newsletter, either close to or shortly after publication date. You should be aware, however, that some reviewers do not accept self-published books.

    There are several ways to let potential reviewers know about your upcoming book. The obvious one is a press release. As well, social media is playing an increasingly large role. If you have a blog, you can discuss your work and its availability. Better still, you can contact those bloggers with an interest in your book’s topic. They may be willing to write a review and post it on their blog. You could also have a fan page on Facebook. You would encourage your followers to write their own reviews to post on your fan page, and on their own pages.

    You are also going to request reviews from newspapers and magazines, especially magazines that have a particular interest in your topic area. The odds of your getting a review in a national newspaper or magazine are pretty small. Getting a review from a local newspaper or magazine, as I’ve done, is more likely. Find out the name of the person to whom your request should go. If you have friends with contacts in the media, especially radio, TV and newspapers, ask them to help you.

    Testimonials come from people who have read your book and found it to be of value. It could be a business book with advice on accounting, something technical, such as how to use digital cameras, or simply a piece of fiction that gave special insight to an issue or situation. Sometimes a delighted reader will send you a spontaneous response. More likely you’ll have to contact those with your book and ask for a testimonial. That happened with one of my business books. I first called them, then followed up with e-mail. Out of about 20 requests, five actually responded. This brings me to my final point.

    People, though usually well meaning, can be notoriously slow in delivering a review or testimonial, even when they have agreed to do so. You have to be persistent. It may take several calls, multiple e-mails before you get a result. Or you may not hear at all. The problem is that the testimonial is never urgent to those you approach, only to you. And don’t offer an incentive to complete that testimonial. It can bring up issues of integrity. So be persistent. If one source won’t cooperate, keep going to others until you get what you need. Great reviews and testimonials add credibility to your sales efforts. You need them. They help sell books.

    How And Where To Get Your Novel Reviewed

    Sold your novel? Congratulations! Now it’s time to start promoting it.

    One of the best ways to do this is by getting it reviewed in as many places as possible.
    If you’ve sold to a print house, you probably have six to fifteen months to get ready for a big push to coincide with the book launch. Even though the publisher will promote the book, you have to do your part to boost sales.

    Success doesn’t just happen. You need to get the word out about your book so people are eager to buy it as soon as it’s available. It takes time and effort to research and line up reviewers, and starting early will produce the best results.

    Your publisher will send advanced reading copies to major reviewers, such as “Publishers Weekly”, “NY Times Book Review” and “Library Journal”, but also ask you for a list of possible review places they can contact. These include newspapers of towns and cities where you are known, fraternal or corporate magazines and any radio or television contact that concern books and authors. Requests for reviews from a publisher carry more weight with major reviewers than one from an author, so don’t be shy about passing on local contacts unless you know the reviewer personally or have an influential contact to the source.

    On the other hand, if you have a personal connection, such as being a member of a group or an employee of a company producing the magazine, contacting them directly will get the review more easily.

    Where to find reviewers

    Your main source for promoting through reviews is the Internet.
    Few print publishers take the time to research reviewers on the web, yet there are hundreds of them that review print and electronic books. Some specialize in a particular genre, others accept a broader range of stories. Some are theme oriented, others appeal to members of particular groups or occupations.

    Also think beyond traditional reviewers. Magazines and ezines or websites for people in the same line of work as your protagonist may publish a review of special interest to their readers.

    How to ask for the review

    When working on the Web, the first step is to write a blurb about your novel to include in your query letter or with a submission. This blurb is similar to the copy you read on a book jacket. Its purpose is to convince the reviewer to read and review your book. The blurb must make the story sound interesting and exciting so the reviewer wants to read it.

    Reviewers don’t review everything sent to them, so it’s up to you to make your novel sound worth their time. Write and polish your blurb so it hooks the reviewer.

    The second step is if you are working from a list, visit the site to make sure it is valid. The Web can change in the blink of a mouse’s eye. While there, also check their guidelines for querying or submitting a book for review and follow those guidelines. Use the submission form if there is one. Include whatever is requested with the query, such as publisher’s name, price of book, publication date, contact information, etc. and submit the book in the specified manner and format. In most cases, your submission will be ignored if you don’t follow the guidelines.

    And last but not least, be patient. Reviewers receive hundreds of requests. They take time to read books carefully and write thoughtful reviews. Most reviewers don’t reply if they don’t plan to review a book. If they accept yours, it may take several months to receive the review. This emphasizes the need to plan your reviews project early so reviews will come out close to launch date.

    Once you have written your blurb and query, keep records of where, when and to whom you send queries or submissions. Also track the responses you receive. If you are not getting at least 20-25% positive responses, take a good hard look at your letter and blurb. Ask a few trusted friends to read them and give honest opinions. Rewrite to improve them! These are selling tools designed to sell reviewers on the idea of accepting your book to review. If the query and blurb aren’t doing the job, redo them until they get the results you need.

    A good plan for sending out requests is to begin querying three to four months before launch date of the book. Send out two or three a week, depending on the size of the list of reviewers you compile. This not only makes the job easier, it helps assure a steady supply of new reviews.

    Add a review page to your website and add reviews as they come in. I also recommend taking time to send a brief “thank-you” note to each reviewer for the review. You’ll be writing another novel and this courtesy will help you be remembered.

    Other sources

    Writers know other writers. Chances are you know one who would be happy to do a review of your novel. Independent reviews can be posted on your site or submitted to sites that accept them. Quite a few do. Make a list of them as you research sites on the web.

    One of my diligent writer friends compiled a list of more than 200 sites and magazines (print and electronic) that review books. She averaged better than a 30% response rate to her query letters using it. In the true spirit of writers helping writers, she has given me permission to share the list with you. Use the link in my signature box below to request a free copy.

    Whether this is your first or fifth published novel, you can’t have too many reviews. Start building your plan to get them today.

    David Ogilvy’s ‘How to Create Advertising That Sells’ Review Part 4

    How to Create Advertising that Sells Review Part 4

    Best for Last...

    Here’s final article covering David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising That Sells Review Part 4. We’ll take a look at Rules 28 through 38. Ogilvy said, “It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising has a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” Pay close attention to these next 11 rules. The simplicity is profound. The pay-off is enormous!

    Maxim 28: Keep it Simple Stupid

    Don’t make consumers figure out the meaning. Keep it simple enough to immediately understand. Simple keeps them moving toward the goal..

    Maxim 29: Length

    Ogilvy’s research goes against much of today’s ad “proof.” He said effective headlines use 10 or more words. He said 8 to 10 is ideal. The view will remember longer and clearer with this length. He showed that longer headlines sell MORE than shorter headlines!

    Maxim 30: Local Ads

    Ogilvy also said to use LOCAL headlines when possible. Ads are more successful with the mention of a city.

    Maxim 31: Focused Targeting

    If a product or service is normally used by a specific group, then state that group in the headline. If it’s a product purchased by fishermen, then it pays to mention them in the headline.

    Maxim 32: “The More You Tell… “

    Ogilvy said, “The More You Tell, The More You Sell.” Decades of research and millions of dollars-worth of successful ads prove it. Readership drops very little in copy that is 50 and 500 words. There’s no difference. He said, “People read long copy,” contrary to what industry leaders today state. Creating advertising that sells isn’t restricted to brevity!

    Maxim 33: Pictures Tell A Story

    Ogilvy said this one is harder than it looks but gives a big payoff. Our world is visual. When viewers see the “magic” of story-appeal, they ask, “What’s going on here?” The story element raises curiosity. It causes the viewer to stop and ask. Whenever possible, use photos to tell a story.

    Maxim 34: Visual Contrast

    Demonstrating a ‘before and after‘ with the service or product is a bonus. It grabs the attention & holds it longer than average, according to Ogilvy. Miley Cyrus is a ‘before and after.’ It’s not even about liking her because many don’t. Miley Cyrus grabs both + and – attention. American’s viewing this picture automatically knows what a transformation this “product” has made. She captures the attention of viewers, as ridiculous as her methods.

    Maxim 35: Photographs

    Chose pics over drawings. Why? Photos attract more readers than drawings. They “generate more appetite appeal.” Pics are more believable. Consumers remember pics far better than a drawing. Lastly, they “pull” coupons more often & sell more products.

    Maxim 36: Captions

    Twice the number of viewers read captions beneath photographs than those reading copy. Ogilvy said to think of captions as mini-advertisements. Every caption should include the product brand name and a promise.

    Maxim 37: Clean & Simple

    If styles don’t effectively & clearly convey something with the viewer, then advertisers might as well pack their bag & leave. Editorial layouts translate better than “addy layouts.” Editorial layouts offer higher readership. Trends returning to that which works is happening… the editorial-style.

    Maxim 38: Rinse and Repeat

    Ogilvy said sometimes it takes advertising exposure to grow a winning campaign. Quitting too soon is costly. He said that readership actually goes up with 5 repetitions of ads. TV advertisements are shown over & over for this reason. Exposure creates a “sticking” in the mind. So, greatness doesn’t necessarily happen automatically. Normally, it happens with time.

    Review in Summary

    That completes part 4 of David Ogilvy’s How to Create Advertising that Sells Review. As promised, Ogilvy delivered some of the most impactful maxims for advertisers to live by. Remember: Keep headlines simple. Longer headlines sell! Go local. Call the targeted audience by name. “The more you tell, the more you sell.” Use photos which tell a story. Before & after pics sell better than average. Use photos rather than art or drawings. Captions are mini-ads so don’t overlook them. Use editorial styling. Repetition pays off.

    Advanced Web Copywriting Secret #1 – The Riveting Review

    What do you do when what you’re trying to sell from your website isn’t selling? You’ve written what you think is great sales copy, you’re all excited…but when you post it online and start getting visitors…NOTHING. They ain’t buyin’ it!

    This article will shed some light on a high-powered web content secret that will have you selling like crazy…just like the most successful online marketers.

    So how do you go from no sales to plenty of sales with just a bunch of words?

    ANSWER: Write a Review…

    If you’ve been in e-commerce for any length of time, you probably know that when most people want to buy something, they will go to a search engine and type in “NAME OF PRODUCT + review” to find out if the product is worth buying or not.

    And it makes sense, doesn’t it? An online sales letter or product description is just a self-serving pitch. But a third person review has a lot more credibility and honesty.

    That’s been my experience: I’ve bought a ton of stuff online after reading a decent review. I’d head to the seller’s sales or landing page and think, “Ugh. This is awful!” And yet, despite of a crappy sales page, I would buy the product just based on the third-party review.

    However, there is a right way and a wrong way to create a selling review. Get it right, and you’ll make a mint. Get it wrong, and you’ll be laughed off the Internet (and not make a penny).

    Although there are so many different ways to put together a review, I’ve found the following structure to be incredibly persuasive.

    The Structure of a Selling Review:

    1. What was the problem that caused you to search?

    Give a brief story of what caused you (or someone else) to look for a solution. What pain were you in?

    2. How did you come across the product?

    This could be through a search engine, a blog post, a recommendation on a forum, even thumbing through a magazine at the dentist’s office.

    3. What are the problems that are typical for this TYPE of product?

    Why haven’t other solutions turn out not to be solutions? What do people usually complain about in this category of products?

    4. Now introduce the product. What is its name? What are the main promises of the product? What are some of its features and benefits? How would you describe it?

    You might want to create a list of these before you start writing and then reference it as you write your review.

    5. What is the downside to this product?

    Nothing is perfect. And a review that sounds to good to be true, doesn’t sell crap. You’ll be gaining trust and credibility if you tell the readers about some minor imperfections or what it can’t do.

    6. How are you going to wrap up the review?

    Here you will state the main promises and how the product will help you reach them (or has helped you reach them). This is where you also make your recommendation and include a link to the sales page.

    Should you create a review for your own product? I wouldn’t. Besides being unethical (like homemade testimonials), it has a good chance of sounding stilted or contrived. It would be far better to get some friends (or a professional copywriter) to try out your product. Hand them the above questions and let them come up with something that is honest and interesting (and you could always tweak it a bit to make it flow better).

    How you use the review depends on your situation. It could be placed on a blog. It can have its own web page. It can be placed on a website that is specifically designed for product reviews.

    BONUS TIP: You can get some practice with writing reviews AND make some money at the same time. How? By creating reviews for products that you have liked and becoming an affiliate for that product.

    If you don’t have any reviews of your products, you will face an uphill battle of trying to make decent money. On the other hand, get a good review up and online and you’ll have a steady stream of customers for years to come!