Why Most Screencasts And Online Presentations Are Tedious (And How To Fix It)


Switch on your TV.

It doesn’t matter what program is going on, you’ll notice something quite interesting. After about seven seconds something changes.  It may be the scene, it may be the camera angle, it maybe a whole new shot. But almost like clockwork you’ll find there’s a change every seven seconds or so.

Then look at just about any tutorial or presentation on YouTube and start counting the seconds. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…17,25,32 seconds—and you’re still watching a single frame while the presenter’s voice keeps droning on.

This is the point where your brain starts to fall asleep.

You’re trying desperately to pay attention, but there’s zero movement on the screen (if you don’t count the moving mouse cursor that is). And this lack of movement drives us to distraction.

So how do you replicate the movement you see on TV?

Software does the trick.  If you create a slide show, you’re going to be using some software such as Screenflow or Camtasia to record the screen animation. Software allows you to zoom in and zoom out to create a feeling of movement. So as you’re talking  about a specific topic, you can create zoom in and then zoom out to show the entire screen.

There’s just one problem with zooming in and out

A simple presentation can take you hours—even the whole day,  because every darned zoom action has to be manually done at least every 10-12 seconds (if not every seven seconds).  And this is where Camtasia comes to the rescue.

Camtasia’s Smart-Focus feature follows the mouse

So as your mouse goes to a specific part of the page, Camtasia’s Smart-Focus feature zooms in. And then as you pull back, it zooms to reveal the entire page. Of course I’ve been using Camtasia since Version 3 and the early versions were just plain hard work to achieve any kind of movement. (The last few versions have solved this “hard work” problem with Smart-Focus).

The other way to solve the problem is to have loads of slides

I often have several hundred slides in a presentation. And if you run a presentation skillfully, you’ll find that your audience hasn’t noticed that you’ve had a few hundred slides. But again, this becomes tedious work to front load all your presentations with loads of slides.

So is this a pitch for Camtasia?

You bet it is. I’ve used a fair bit of OnScreen software, and  they all do a splendid job of recording, but none of them even come close to creating movement as effortlessly as Camtasia does.

Movement is critical—that’s for sure.  How you do it is up to you. I’d recommend Camtasia, because it makes it easy for me.  And easy for the audience as well. And that’s all that really matters, doesn’t it?

Watch the video below and see for yourself how the movement keeps your attention. And how critical it is to zoom in and zoom out, just to reveal something—or just to create movement every seven seconds or so. ;)

How Camtasia Smart Focus feature helps to create movement without too much work on your part.

How To Write Better Headlines With One Thought

Most of us never know why our headlines aren’t working like they should. And we listen to all those fruitcakes who tell us how to write ‘better’ headlines. Hey, you don’t need to listen to anyone. You just need to focus on one thing. If you tell me one thing in your headline, I’ll listen. If you tell me three, then I have to juggle three thoughts. And that’s where the headline goes downhill. In trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.

Watch the video below, because it explains the one-thought concept, so that you can implement that one-thought right away.

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Choosing Winning Marketing Strategies

You may think that marketing is all about getting your message in front of clients. Or you may think marketing is about relationships. Yeah, yeah, it’s all that but there’s a starting point. And that’s to choose a winning marketing strategy in the first place. And no one demonstrates this technique better than Will Smith. Watch this short video, and see how Will Smith has kinda tipped the scales in his favour right from the start.

You need to work out a marketing strategy that’s a winner long before you get started. Needless to say (but hey, I’m saying it anyway) it will give you the Will Smith advantage. Find out what’s that advantage in this video :)

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Why Objections Play A Big Role In Sales Conversion

We hate it when customers object. We’d prefer if they simply bought our products and services. Yet objections are a critical indicator of sales and marketing. Without objections you’d never know if the customer is interested or not. And without objections you’d never know how to improve your products and services (you improve them, don’t you?). And here are two videos on why objections are so very critical to improve your conversion rate.

Why Objections Are Crucial For Conversion

Why Anticipating Objections Is Pretty Darned Important

So what has been your reaction to objections? Do you like them? Hate them? How do you deal with a pretty in-your-face objection from a client?

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How Graphics Increase Conversions On Salespages

I’ve got news for you. Most people never read your sales page as completely as you’d like them to do so. And the reason they don’t read it, is because there’s too much too read, right?


They don’t read it because they’re doing what all humans do all of the time.
We scan the horizon.
 When we walk into a room, we scan.
 When we walk out of the subway, we scan.
 Even when we’re in an ice-cream parlour and we know the exact flavour we want—we still scan.

So why would you expect a reader not to scan when they’re on your sales page? 

Of course what the reader sees on your sales page is a waterfall of text

And one of the ways for you to get the reader to slow down is to use sub-heads.

Because sub-heads are often in a different colour and different size and font, the reader is able to jump from sub-head to sub-head. But sub-heads are not always effective, because sub-heads are often sequential. This means the writer (that’s you) can’t just throw a sub-head just about any where, but have to place it in a logical progression of text.

 And readers do slow down at sub-heads.

They read a bit of the sub-head, the text, and then it’s scanning time again.

However, that scanning is dangerous for you as a seller
. You may have something really important to say. And you say it. But you’ve stated that important fact somewhere in the middle of your text. And the reader/prospect who’s mostly scanning sub-heads jumped right over your important information and zoomed right past those crucial facts and figures.

And this scanning behaviour is very dangerous for sales, because it creates an incomplete picture in the reader’s brain.

An incomplete picture in turn leads to a prospect putting off a purchase.

 And while losing one sale is bad enough, you’re probably losing a lot more than just one. It’s common for a customer to buy one product/service and come back to buy a larger quantity or variety or products/services. So (gulp) you’re losing a lot of sales because of this nasty human habit of scanning.

So the way around is to harness another one of our nasty habits.
The habit of detecting change. 
So if you’re scanning the horizon and a blue tweeting bird pops in, you notice it right away. That blue tweeting bird is the equivalent of a graphic. A graphic puts instant brakes on the reader. The reader stops to examine the graphic. Suddenly you’ve slowed down the scanning, and they’re actually reading.

So yeah, let’s chuck a whole lot of graphics on the sales page, right?

Ha, ha, you know the answer already, don’t you?
 Put in stock graphics like ‘globes’ or ‘two people in a suit shaking hands’ or some clip-art kind of graphic, and the reader will just sail right past your graphic. But put in a graphic that explains the concept, or a graphic that give information of your product and services, and you’ve got a winner.

 But where do you find examples of such graphics on sales pages?

It depends what kind of sales pages you’re looking at, of course.

Some sales pages are as many as 15-20 pages long, but don’t seem so long because of the graphics (see an example at:   http://www.psychotactics.com/brainaudit). Some pages are short, but built in layers so that you get locked into a section ( http://www.apple.com/ilife/iphoto/#faces ).

And you’ll find you’re scanning—even with the pictures. But notice how the pictures are slowing you down.

You can’t help it. You want to scan.
But the graphics are giving you critical information. And at the same time causing you to want to buy (yes, well-presented information has that kind of effect).  And best of all, graphics don’t always need to be sequential.

They can be placed any where on the page, as long as they are interesting and have some sort of description in the form of a caption.

Don’t take my word for it.
Test it for yourself.
 Use a page with well-designed graphics vs. one without well-designed graphics.
 And you’ll see the results for yourself. 

And yes, crappy graphics don’t count!
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How Your Competition Can Bring More Revenue Than Customers

Giving Away Secrets to Competition
So you’re all focused on customers. Customers bring in the bread, the butter. And yes, sometimes the jam. But if you focused on competition for an itty-bitty while, you’d find that you could have a lot more jam.

Doesn’t make sense?

Well here’s how it works. Let’s say you’re selling a product or a service. Let’s take a product to begin with. Let’s say you’ve worked out how to make a great lemonade. And now you’ve pretty much sold the lemonade to all the supermarkets. And to all the stores. And you’ve got 95% of your market saturated with your sweet, sticky lemonade.

What are you going to do next?

Of course if you’re silly you’ll try and get the remaining 5% of the market. But if you’re smart, you’ll stop focusing on getting more customers, and instead focus on getting more of the competition interested in what you’re doing.

Why would you do that? Why give away your secrets?

Yeah right! So it’s a big secret. It’s not, actually. Anyone can easily create a lemonade that that’s just as sweet and sticky as yours. What they struggle to do is to replicate your method of distribution, marketing and management.

You can only sell your lemonade for $2.

But you can sell your secrets for $2000. Or $20,000. Or $200,000. And at this point, let’s do the math. How much lemonade would you have to sell to get $200,000? Quite a lot, eh? Now when you sell your secrets you can sell them to tens, even hundreds, or thousands of people (depending on the terms and the price of the secret).

But won’t the competition put you out of business once they know the secret?
If the competition really wanted to ferret out your secrets, couldn’t they do that just as easily? All you really have to do is track someone closely; see what they do; and then replicate it.

But often there’s more beyond the obvious
And your competition knows it. They know that for every product you’ve ever sold, you’ve got a dozen underlying systems in place. And that’s what they’ll pay to learn. And you’re the one who can teach them.

Of course they may try to wrestle you out of your own market
There’s always that crazy risk, but technically you’re so far ahead, that they’ll never ever catch up. Yes, you think they will, but they won’t. Unless you get lazy and sloppy. And believe your own press.

How do I know this to be true?
Because we’ve given away all our secrets at Psychotactics. If you want to learn how to write blog posts like this, I can tell you (there’s even a course on Article Writing where we give away every last secret). There’s a course on copywriting. There’s a course on speaking and selling from the podium (our conversion rate is 50% or more, and we never make a pitch or do anything sleazy). There’s a course on information products. And there’s an answer to any question that you may want to ask us.

And this is how we quickly built Psychotactics to the point where we can go on three-month vacations every year. (See photos on Facebook too) We don’t treat a secret as something hallowed. A secret is for sharing. You can give, and give and give and give, and there’s still more that the competition wants to know. Because even as they’re playing catch-up, you’re moving ahead.

So why would they bother playing catch-up, if you’re going to win?

Even the competition knows that there’s loads of space for everyone in the market. For one, your competition may not even be in your own town, city or country. But even if they are, there’s still enough business to go around.

And competitors know this…
Which is why they’re willing to pay us the dollars to give away our secrets. And which is why we’re more than happy to do so. On every course I’ve ever had, at least a good chunk of them will be competitors. And not only will they do similar stuff, but we actually tell them to ‘not reinvent the wheel’, and to use a lot of our material as the basis for getting their business going.

Yet most of us want to take our secrets to the grave

Ah well. What can I say? I’ve already said it enough. Competition will generate more revenue than customers, no matter if you’re in a service based business or in products. Or training, for that matter. And better still, competitors will keep coming back to learn the upgraded skills. Yes, they become customers in a way, but not for your products, but for your information.

It’s win-win, of course. They win. You win. And you get to take the three-month vacation. :)

P.S. And um, in case you’re wondering: Yes, we do show you how to build your business, so that you too can take the three-month vacation. But to get started, you may want to try to learn how customers. Have a look at Why Customers Buy (and Why They Back Away): The Brain Audit

Why Plan A can severely reduce your momentum

Getting Things Done

Most people think momentum has only one step.
That step is to move forward. And keep moving forward, no matter what the obstacles.
These people have Plan A in mind, and by golly, Plan A is going to get done no matter what!

But what if Plan A itself is a momentum-killer?
So most days I have this plan. It’s a plan that lets me wake up at 4am, and be working by 4:03am. (Yes, without coffee). But on many a day this plan goes wrong. Then I lose momentum. Then the whole day turns to custard.

But not if I have Plan B.
And it’s not just having Plan B that matters. It’s how you design Plan B—that’s what matters! Plan B needs to be considerably less challenging and far more interesting than Plan A. Less challenging “and” far more interesting? Yes indeed: It has to have both those factors in play for Plan B to work.

Let me give you an example:
If Plan A is to write a sales letter that’s 20 pages long, then Plan B is simply a plan to draw some cartoons or do some podcasts. If Plan A is a plan to write five articles for 5000bc.com, then Plan B is to write a blog post or two instead.

Notice something: Plan B isn’t a replacement for Plan A. It’s not something that requires me to do something just as challenging as Plan A. Instead Plan B is quite different. Plan B just takes the pressure off my back and still gets things done.

Everyone talks about having a Plan A and a Plan B.
Everyone designs a Plan A, but fails to design a Plan B.

And that’s why they lose momentum.
(Um, see video below)