Church of the Invisible Hand
5 Simple Tweaks to Crank up the Quality of Your Advertising
A lot of entrepreneurs fancy themselves as effective copywriters.
For some, that may be true. But for many, it's just not the case. So, a lot of them come to me for critiques on their copy. Especially if it's not getting the response they expected. Often, a tiny tweak or two can double, even triple the effectiveness of a promotion.
I've been offering this as a service for a few years now, and I see the same issues pop up over and over.
In this post, I'm gonna cover the 5 most common mistakes I see my clients make in their advertising. I'll tell you what they are, and how to fix them so you can avoid wasting your money on faulty advertising.
Narcissistic Marketing Disorder
You're reading this because you want to improve your ad responses.
You're not reading it because you want to hear about how smart I am or how successful my business is. You're here because of what's important to you; your problem, your desire. So it would be foolish of me to spend all time talking about myself.
Yet, that's exactly what most business owners do in their advertising.
"Our service or product was rated best in class by Industry Magazine."
"My great grandpappy built this business back in 1928."
"We offer nothing but the highest quality widgets found this side of the Mississippi River."
Blah, blah, blah... Nobody cares.
Your customer is reading your ad to hear about themselves. How will their problem be solved? How will their situation be improved? How will their lives be transformed? That's what they really care about. That's why they're reading. You better give them some answers.
Instead of talking about your awesome features, explain how those features will benefit them. Prove to them that you understand their needs. Prove to them that you can meet those needs. That's what your ad needs to do.
Most people are self-centered and don't care one bit about you. Your ads need to understand that, play to it, and not make the same mistake.
Make your advertising about the buyer, not the seller.
Not Tracking Your Acronyms
There's only one thing worse than throwing noodles at the wall and hoping something sticks. It's having something stick, and not tracking what it was.
Again, this is an all-too-common flaw in most people's advertising. If this is how you advertise, you might as well be throwing your money away. You never want to throw good money after bad money. But if you're not tracking some key factors, you'll never know what's working and what's not.
Here are a few acronyms you need to be tracking.
CPL - Cost Per Lead
How much do you pay to get someone to raise their hand and show interest in what you're selling?
If you spend $10 on windshield fliers and get 5 people to call back, your cost per lead was $2. If you spend that same $10 on facebook ads and get 20 people to respond, your cost per lead was $0.50.
If you're not tracking your cost per lead, you'll never know whether Facebook ads will work better for you than windshield fliers.
CPA - Cost Per Acquisition
How much do you have to spend to turn someone into a customer?
Does your ad in Business Week cost the same as your ad in Entrepreneur Magazine? And if so, which one is pulling in more customers?
If you spend $7,000 on the ad and it brings in 7 sales, that means you're spending $1,000 dollars to acquire one customer. Is that something you can do and still remain profitable?
CLV - Customer Lifetime Value
How much will the average customer spend with you over their lifetime?
Will they only make the one purchase, or will they come back and buy from you often? Do you have an up-sell in place or a continuity program you can offer? How much profit is each customer worth to you?
Without knowing this you won't be able to answer the question posed above. What is an acceptable Customer Acquisition Cost?
If your cost to acquire a new customer is $1,000, but they'll spend $14,000 with you, then you'll be in business for a long time. But, if the average customer only spends $999 with, then a $1,000 CPA will send you to the poor house.
If you're not tracking these metrics in your advertising, you're throwing away money.
Hard to Read
Your prospect is just begging for an excuse to stop reading your ad.
Don't give them one.
Your job is to make sure that your ad reads like a greased slide, with no rough spots along the way. That means avoid using ten dollar words. Anytime they have to stop and think about the meaning of a word, you've lost them. If your writing seems too pompous or like you're talking down to them, you've lost them. They'll stop reading.
Another common culprit is complex sentences. Keep your sentences short and limited to one idea. If they can't remember the beginning of the sentence by the time they've reached the end, you've lost them.
The final thing to look out for is giant blocks of text. If they're greeted with a wall of text upon opening your ad, they'll feel intimidated and give up before they start. Break your message into bite sized chunks, easy for consumption.
Not Split Testing
Sometimes you have a brilliant idea for an ad... and it flops.
Don't feel too bad about it. It happens to the best of us. That's why we split test.
Split testing is when you run two ads to two segments of your list, each with just a minor difference from the other. It might be the same ad, but with a variant in the headline. It might be the same ad, but with a different price point. You run both versions of the ad, to the same amount of targeted people, and you see which one converts the best.
There are a lot of ways to gauge the results. The two ads could have a different 1-800 number to call, and the number with more calls is the winning ad. You could track open rates if you're testing a subject line on an email ad. You can even set up two sales pages and track the better one by its URL.
When you find the winner, it becomes your control. Any tweaks you make in the future will be ran against it. When you find one that performs better, it becomes your new control. Over time, your advertising costs less and less, while pulling more and more sales.
But only if you're split testing.
No Call To Action
I saved the best for last, and this is the biggest offender; ending your promotion with no Call To Action.
I see this all the time. An otherwise perfect ad, with no explanation of what to do next. I get to the end of the sales piece, and... nothing.
You told me all about the great deal you're running. You sold me on buying the new product. You even told me that the deal ends on Monday. But you didn't tell me what I need to do next, in order to take advantage of your offer.
You might be telling yourself, "but people are smart enough to figure it themselves." You'd be wrong.
You have to spell it out for people.
Click here for more information. Come on down to (Store's Location). Pick up your phone and call now.
You have to make it explicit.
If you don't, they'll tell themselves "that seems nice," and they'll go about their day. At the end of every promotion, make sure you tell them what to do next.
1. Make sure your ad is focused on the needs and wants of the reader, not on bragging about how great you are.
2. Track what you're spending and what you're getting back in return.
3. Make sure your message is easy to read.
4. Split test, and split test some more.
5. Make sure you end every promotion with a Call To Action.
Alright, there you have it. Make sure you're not making any of these mistakes in your advertising. If you are, correct them right now. You can thank me later.
Did you find this valuable? Would you like me to go over any of your current promotions to see where you could improve them? Schedule some time with me so we can get the most out of your marketing efforts.
Are You Burning Bridges with Your Customers?
When I was a kid, I was a huge leftist.
We grew up poor. We believed Republicans hated the poor, so we hated Republicans. We watched Mr. Burns on the Simpsons and thought every business owner was an evil, greedy capitalist, just like him.
My mom always told us not to judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. But when it came to the upper class, we had an utter lack of empathy.
As a teenager, I hated my bosses. I stole from them, envied them, and I felt exploited by them. I never empathized with them. I judged them. But I never walked a mile in their shoes.
I look around today and I see that I wasn't alone.
People are clashing in the streets over misinterpretations. People seek to write laws stifling the expression of those they disagree with. People see each other as comic book super villains on both sides of the aisle. Both sides unwilling to listen to the other.
If I was still a teenager, I'd probably be one of these idiot kids out there in a black mask, fighting the boogie man of Fascism.
In my early twenties, my brother and I started a record label, and I started learning how to market. It never turned us into millionaires, but it did open my eyes to a lot of issues I'd previously only seen from one side.
I started learning about all the taxes and regulations business owners had to navigate. I started meeting other business owners who were decent people. I started walking a mile in the shoes of people I grew up hating. And I finally started to understand what my mom meant when she would tell us that as children.
Flash forward to the current year. Finding empathy in today's political climate is like finding water in the desert. The media is biased. Politicians rarely blame both sides when conflict leads to tragedy. And groups of well intending people are pitted against each other in a race to see who can pass the most laws the fastest.
The lack of empathy is killing this country. And if you're not careful, a lack of empathy can spell doom for your business as well.
When most businesses run a promotion, it's to get rid of excess inventory. A commercial comes out and says something to the effect of "we bought too much, so we're having a sale." This kind of promotion is all about the needs of the business owner and ignores the needs of the customers. Total lack of empathy.
Another thing I see too often is an ad that talks all about the features of a product and does nothing to relate how those features will benefit the buyer. This type of advertising screams out "I understand what I want to sell, but I have no understanding of your needs." Again, a total lack of empathy.
The last example I'm going to give is what I call "sloppy copy." It's when a copywriter just follows a template to create their sales copy, without doing any real research on the target market.
Call to action? Check.
Deep market research so we can empathize with and speak directly to our buyers? Ain't nobody got time for that.
This lack of empathy will kill the performance of your ads. Yet this is exactly the kind of laziness business owners accept from their copywriters, all the time. Maybe it's because we've become so lazy in our thinking and empathy skills in so many other areas of life.
I mean, we don't try to understand the motives of those we're at war with. We don't try to understand the feelings of those we protest against. Most of us don't even try putting ourselves in the shoes of our significant others. So why on earth would we take the time to empathize with our customers?
Well, when your ads flop and your customers ignore your latest promotion, you'll understand why.
Great sales copy isn't about fill-in-the-blank templates. It's not about magic words that trick people into buying. Great copy is about understanding your buyer. It's about having empathy.
If you're ready to do the hard work and get the results that come along with it, then stop wasting your money on these sub par copywriters. Let me write your next promotion, and see how much a little empathy can do for you. Better sales copy is one click away.
People Don't Want Freedom (So Don't Give It to Them)
As Americans, we place a lot of emphasis on how much we value our freedom.
But is that really the case?
I contend that people like the illusion of freedom much more than they like actual freedom. They prefer the illusion of choice way more than the reality of having to choose.
Look at the electoral process.
Most people don't want to choose between 35 different candidates? That's a lot of work. Instead, they let the two main parties narrow down their choice to one candidate from either side. Then, they let their favorite mainstream opinion maker tell them which is the right one for them.
They don't want to choose. They just want the illusion of choice.
This is the case in marketing as well.
A lot of people think you gotta give your customer a wide variety of options to choose from. After all, if you fail to provide that one option that's right for them, you might miss out on a customer.
But you'd be wrong.
In mid-2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper proved something that I've been preaching for years. Mainly, people don't want more choices. They claim that they do, but they don't.
So here's the story.
The two head shrinks set up shop in an upscale supermarket to hawk some Jam on passersby. The experiment ran for two days with only one variable being tested. They would sample jams to anyone interested and offer a $1 off coupon if the taster decided to make a purchase.
Here's the catch. On one day, they had 24 flavors of gourmet jam to choose from. On the other day, they had only six.
More people stopped and sampled the jam when the larger display was out. As far as getting interest, more choice was the obvious winner. But not so when it came to sales.
In fact, even though fewer people stopped to sample when there were only six jars to choose from, ten times as many people bought.
There's a couple reasons why.
First, people fall victim to "analysis paralysis"." If a choice requires too much work, we'd rather make no choice at all. That's why you can walk in the door, see a pile of laundry, a stack of dirty dishes, a pile of unopened mail, and say "fuck it, I'm watching Netflix."
The second factor is something known as buyers remorse. The more options we have, the more likely we are to question our decision after we make it.
"Did I really get the right one?"
"Should I take it back and exchange it for the other one?"
It's something we've all gone through, and it's something we'll do our best to avoid in the future. We want to feel confident in our decision, and having too many options makes that impossible.
That's why sales pages limit you to three options: lowest tier, medium tier, and highest tier. Then, they tell you the tier that most people like you end up choosing. So really, there is no choice. There's the illusion of choice. And then there's the one they tell you to choose.
What's true about elections is true for sales pages.
People don't want to choose. They want to feel like they have the freedom of choice. But they don't want the responsibility of choosing.
If your business offers ten different services for people to choose from, you're losing sales. If you offer more than four plans to choose from, you're losing sales. If you have more than three ways to pay, you're missing out on payments. It's just that simple.
People don't want too much freedom. Stop giving it to them.
3 Simple Steps to Lasso up More Lifers
What I'm about to tell you will explain why I'm the most requested cake decorator at my bakery.
It'll also help you understand why smart business owners are happy to pay me hundreds of dollars and hour to work with me.
This is my super-secret formula for creating loyal customers and clients. Are you ready?
So a lady walks into my bakery.
Her daughter’s wedding is in a few months, and she's shopping around for the best cake she can find. It's her daughter’s big day, and she'll settle for nothing but the best. She's already been to three other bakeries, and she's starting to worry that she'll have to go outside of town to find the cake she needs.
She explains to me that nobody seemed to want to work with her. She then pulls out a picture she printed off the internet and shows it to me. Wow! It's a doozie. But I tell her I've got her covered.
What she wants is a Western themed wedding cake. Lassos for borders, cactus's (cacti?), a mountain range silhouetted around the sides of the cake, capped with a beautiful sunset. I instantly see why others hesitated.
So, we start talking.
I tell her how I would do the lassos. I explain how I'll accomplish the sunset and mountain range. I even make some suggestions on how we could make the cake better than the one in the picture. I let her know that I got this, that she can rest at ease, and that the cake is gonna look as beautiful as her daughter will in her wedding dress.
Her transformation was visible. She came in stressed out, angry, and on the brink of tears. She left with a giant smile on her face, fighting back tears of joy.
When the special day arrived, her and the father showed up to get the cake. They were grateful, and she was blown away. Her husband was impressed, paid for the cake, and left me a big fat tip. All in a day’s work.
Ever since then, I'm the only decorator they'll trust with a cake. Birthdays, anniversaries, whatever the occasion, I'm guaranteed their business. They ask for me by name. And I have over a hundred loyal customers who do the same.
This is why it's been hard for me to take that final step and leave my cake decorating skills behind me.
But here's the point. This same method is how I land multi-thousand dollar marketing clients. The same approach I take with my bakery customers also works with skeptical business owners. And in case you didn't fully catch it, I'll lay it out for you.
Be helpful. Be happy to work with them and get to know their needs.
Be sincere. Let them know that you have their best interest at heart, and you will meet their needs.
Be confident. If you are confident you can help, they will be confident you can help.
There's no manipulation techniques. There's no 17 ways to close the sale. There's no long, drawn out sales funnel process. There's just those three steps. When it comes to face-to-face selling, that's all I ever need.
At the end of Step 3, people are happy to hand over their money.
It's not sexy. It's not ninja. But it works.
It's honest and it's real. And that's what people want.
Give them that, and price no longer becomes an issue.
5 Steps to a Killer Business Card
Did you ever see the movie American Psycho?
There's one scene in there that really stuck with me. It wasn't one of the kill scenes. It was the one where the main character and his friends were all standing around, comparing business cards. I never understood that scene.
In fact, it always kinda creeped me out.
They all seemed to make such a big deal out of their business cards. The eggshell laminate. The .5 millimeter embossed font. The slight off-white of the card stock. The slight off-black of the ink. These tiny little details seemed to make a world of difference to them. But their cards all looked the same to me.
That scene still haunts me to this day.
Look, the truth is, none of those things matter to the person your handing the card off to. Yes, when you hand me your card, I want to get the feeling that you're a professional. But all those tiny details they were obsessing over don't add up to much when a potential contact receives your business card.
I mean, I get it. You want your card to stand out. You want it to make an impression. But things like that don't matter.
So what does matter?
Well, I'm glad you asked. Because I'm about to lay out the 5 things you must get right on your business card to avoid having it tossed into the recycling bin.
• 1. Don't print out cards from your computer.
The flimsy card stock. The perpetrated edges. The ink fading away. These things all scream out "unprofessional." If you want to avoid positioning yourself as the guy who amateurish results, avoid handing out an amateurish business card.
• 2. Don't get the "free" option from your card supplier.
Most printers offer a free option, with an ad for their service printed on the back of your card. While this is a step up from home printed business cards, it still proves that you don't take yourself serious. If you can't invest $20 in some professional business cards, why should I trust investing my business in you?
• 3. Use heavier card stock.
People tend to associate heavy with weight. Heavy means sturdy and weight means influential or important. A heavier card stock gives the subtle impression that the giver of the carries more weight.
• 4. Don't focus on who you are who you are, focus on what you deliver.
This goes back to effective copywriting practices. People don't care about you. They care about what you can do for them. Instead of Title, Name, and Contact info, make the focus of the card about the results you can deliver. Grab attention with that, and recipient will actually care about the other information on your card.
• 5. Call them to action.
If you don't give someone a next action to take, chances are, they won't take any action at all. Your card will get stuffed in their pocket, or worse, tossed in the trash can. So, give them an action to take.
Send them to a landing page on your website, where they can sign up for a free gift via an email opt-in form. This gives them a reason to hold on to your card. It also changes the dynamic of the relationship, putting the ball of follow-up back into your court.
People say that the business card is dead.
I disagree. The fact is, most business cards are just lifeless. But, by following these 5 rules, yours can breathe new life into your networking.
Now, go get 'em, killer.
Why You Should Never Build Your Business on Rented Land
Imagine finding that perfect spot to build your business.
The location is perfect. The traffic outside matches your target market. The feng shui inside the building is harmonious. All this, and it's within walking distance of where you live.
The building is vacant and looking for a renter. The price is cheap. You'd be a fool to pass it by. So you call up the property manager, head over to their office, and sign the lease.
You set up shop, and just like you thought, everything works out splendidly. You have a steady flow of customers. Business is doing great. Profits are through the roof.
After the first year, the property manager raises the rent. But that's ok. The spot is perfect and you can handle the costs, as sales continue to climb.
You hold events. You run ads to drive traffic. Your little shop is now one of the hottest spots in town. Everything is going your way. And then it happens...
You show up to open one day, and there's a notice on the door.
It's from the property manager, and they want you to call them, right away. The tone of the notice doesn't sound good.
After a few minutes on the phone, you get the bad news. After all your hard work, you're being evicted from the building. You transformed it into a high value property, and now you're being asked to leave.
And it's not because you did anything wrong. It's because you did everything right.
You soon learn that a big box competitor has taken interest in your location. They saw how much business you were doing there, and they wanted in on that action. So, unbeknownst to you, they bought the property out from underneath you.
They plan to open their own business in your same spot, catering to the same customers, and you have to go. All your hard work, down the drain. And all because you built your business on someone else's property.
This is what it's like when you build a giant fan base on facebook. Then they go and change the algorithm, causing your post reach to plummet.
This is what it's like when you use google ads to drive all your traffic, and then your adwords account gets shut down.
This is what happens when you build your business on rented land.
That's why I insist on building an email list. Your email list is the only traffic source that you actually own. It's the only asset that can't be taken away, censored, or hidden by an algorithm change.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't be using tools like facebook pages and google ads. But if you're not also building up your own email list, you're leaving the future of your business in someone else's hands. That's not smart.
I don't want to see something like this happen to you. But I get that building your own email list might seem like a daunting task. So, to help you out, I've put together a free mini-course on how I build up my email lists.
It covers all the basics, as well as some more advanced techniques. So, no matter where you're at, you'll get some priceless tips on how to grow your email list, today.
Click Here to sign up for your free course
How School Almost Killed Your Chances at Success
When I was in 1st grade, I peed my pants at school.
I kept asking the teacher if I could go to the bathroom, and she kept saying "no." I begged, I pleaded, I even started crying. She just repeated "no," followed by "you can hold it."
I couldn't hold it.
Right there, in the middle of class, I peed my pants. The other kids were laughing. The teacher was yelling at me. It was one of the most embarrassing moments in my entire life.
I stood there, frozen, in a moment that seemed to last forever. Then I locked my eye's on the door, and I ran out of the room.
The teacher followed out into the hallway, and then escorted me down to the principal's office. They put me in a clean pair of pants from the lost-and-found, and called my mom to come pick me up. There was no way I was setting foot back into that classroom. Not that day, at least.
That moment stands out to me. It made me question what was really going on there. And it led to a long pattern of observation about the underlying lessons of the schooling system.
The lesson being taught there was "you must get permission from authority, even to use your own body." But the broader lesson was "you can't do anything in life without permission from authority."
And that's a lesson that follows most people throughout their entire lives.
Wanna add on to your own house? Better ask the authorities.
Wanna keep more of your own paycheck? Better clear that with the authorities.
Wanna start your own business? Better go get permission from the authorities.
12 years of obedience conditioning, training you to ask for permission. And that training permeates every aspect of our thinking. It stifles creativity and coats ingenuity with a layer of self-doubt. It kills the brightest ideas before they even get a chance to shine.
It even tells a person they can't achieve as much in life if they don't finish the training program. Didn't get your graduation papers? No one will hire you? Didn't get your permission slip? You couldn't possibly do this job. And it works so well, most people deny themselves permission to even try.
The world gave Henry Ford permission to bring them a faster horse. He built them a car. And that's how you have to be in the world. Permission-getters sit in cubicles and wear jeans on Casual Fridays.
Entrepreneurs don't ask for permission. We go out and change the world. We don't wait for people to tell us it's ok to do so. We get up, and we do it.
When I got home that evening, my dad sat me down. "Mijo," he said, "you don't need to get permission."
That one sentence changed my life.
A Simple Marketing Trick Discovered in the Animal Kingdom
Do you watch the Walking Dead?
It's one of my guilty pleasures.
I've been reading the comic since issue one. And as much as I talk down on mindless television, I still veg out on Sunday nights to the exploits of Rick and the gang.
So, last night, my roommate and I were glued to the tube. Rick and Michonne are sneaking through hordes of zombies, and I'm at the edge of my seat. When suddenly, out of nowhere, my roommate's dog jumps up on the couch and plants herself right in-between me and the tv.
You see, she’d decided she wanted to be petted. Apparently, we weren't paying enough attention to her. So, she got right in front of what I was paying attention to, and made herself the center of my world.
See, she knew that to get what she wanted from me, she first had to get my attention. So to get that, her best bet was to figure out where my attention already was, and jump out in front of it. Needless to say, she got what she wanted.
But here's what got me. This was a brilliant lesson in marketing.
She could have sat in the corner of the room, whimpering or panting, trying to take my attention away from the tv. But instead of fighting to get my attention, she went to where my attention already was.
All lot of times, people ask "how can i grab the attention of my customers?" But a better question to ask is "what are my customers already paying attention to?" and then put yourself there for them to see.
It's such a simple concept; even a black lab can grasp it. But it works. She got what she wanted. And if you can answer this question about your potential customers, you can get what you want too.
How to Fear-Monger for Fun and Profit
I once heard a prominent fear-monger in the "truth" community make this analogy.
While defending his sensationalized way of reporting, he said he was not fear-mongering. He claimed that "if your house is on fire, and I'm warning you to get out, that's not fear-mongering." And it raised some interesting questions for me.
I don't like to fear-monger. And I feel bad about the times in the past when I did.
Maybe it's that I don't like wasting energy on things I can't control. Especially when there are things I can control, that could use that energy.
Maybe it's that I don't like to take on anything with a defeatist attitude. I feel like a lot of the "truther" doom and gloom sets people up for failure. You don't send your team into a game, convinced that the other team has already won. And that's what a lot of these "truth" mouthpieces are doing.
Can I stop putting the word "truth" in quotes now? You get my point.
Anyways, in my content, I have always been careful not to be guilty of fear-mongering. And now I'm starting to rethink my previous condemnation.
So, there are two different ways to sell an idea.
You see this in every movement. You see this in every bit of direct response copywriting. You have to agitate the situation, and then promise a solution.
I've heard Ben Settle say that you gotta get into your customers pain point, and you gotta rub salt in that wound.
Ray Edwards says you need to know your customer's pain point. You have to explain it to them, better than they can explain it to themselves. And then you have to show them how bad it can get if they don't fix the issue.
Now, this is one part of copywriting that I've always found distasteful. I do it, but I always feel kinda dirty about it. Until today.
So, here's the deal.
I'm re-writing my sales page, over at Podcast Blastoff. And so I'm going over a bunch of articles and interviews about sales pages. And I heard someone explain it in a way that I never thought about it. The part that I always thought of as fear-mongering, that is.
He said this, and I'm paraphrasing;
People tend to suffer in silence.
They don't want to talk about their problems. Either because they don't want to burden others, they're embarrassed, or a bunch of other reasons.
And here's what a lot of us do. We know we have a problem. We know we need to fix it. But we don't talk to anybody about it, and we have no idea on how to fix it.
So we ignore it. It sits in the corner, all blurry and confusing looking. And we pretend it's not there.
So, now you're selling something that will solve that problem.
Maybe it's a societal problem, and you're selling a new way of thinking to solve it.
Maybe it's a lack of information, and you're selling a course to teach people.
Maybe it's a lack of buttons problem... Well, I'm not sure if that's a thing.
Anyways, someone has a problem, and they're ignoring it. And you have a solution, but it does them no good if you can't get them to buy. To help them, you have to put them in a mindset to take action.
So, how do you do that?
Well, you reverse engineer.
You know what their problem is. And you know the reason they haven't taken action yet is because it's still out of focus for them. There's a monster in the corner of the room, and they either can't see it clearly, or are choosing not to look.
So you have to make it clear for them. You gotta point out the fangs. You gotta describe the glowing red eyes. You have to bring the threat into focus. You gotta make so they can no longer pretend it isn't there.
If you can do that, they'll be ready to solve their problem. And they'll assume that you know the solution. They might even beg for you to sell it to them. And you should.
Just as long as what you're selling will really solve the problem. And that's where the trouble comes into play.
The technique works.
I use it, and I see results. But I also see other people use it to sell false promises.
I see televangelists use it to sell tickets to Heaven. I see politicians use it to sell greater restrictions on freedom. I see opportunity marketers use it to sell git-rich-kwick schemes. And I see professors use it to sell failed social systems to impressionable college kids.
It works. No doubt about it. But I think I dislike it for how often it's been abused.
But just because people can abuse it, does that mean you shouldn't use it in your marketing?
Obviously, I use it. And up until today, I did so with a heavy conscience. But now I'm re-thinking my position.
What say you?
Why You Should Never Sell Ice to an Eskimo
I once knew a guy named Mike, and he was one hell of a salesman.
He was the kind of guy that could sell ice to Eskimo. He could sell anything to anyone, and he took pride in that.
In fact, he could sell people on doing all kinds of things that weren't in their best interests.
He broke a lot of hearts, and burnt a lot of bridges. He even conned me into doing a few things I later wished I hadn't. And, although I no longer keep in touch with him, I'd bet he's still doing the same thing, to this day.
But it's probably not as easy for Mike as it once was.
You see, after a while, people will start to catch on. They'll realize they've been taken for a ride, and they won't be happy about it. You can only sell so much ice in a frozen tundra before the Eskimos run you out of town.
And that's what happened to Mike.
Mike broke the number one rule of copywriting. He sold ice to Eskimos. And you never wanna sell ice to Eskimos.
And why do you never wanna sell ice to an Eskimo?
Well, it's simple.
1 ) You'll have crazy refund rates. Sooner or later, that Eskimo is gonna realize you pulled one over on him. He's gonna figure out that your product wasn't right for him. And he's gonna want his money back.
2 ) You damage your reputation. He's gonna tell his friends that you tricked him into buying something he didn't really want. That's going to make them all the more skeptical when they deal with you in the future. And if that Eskimo has access to the internet...
3 ) You're hurting trust in the market. A sale is supposed to benefit all parties involved. It's supposed to be a win-win situation. But when a salesman taints the view of selling, the entire marketplace suffers.
4 ) You are depriving people who actually need your ice. There are people in the desert that would gladly buy from you, but they can't. You're all the way up in Alaska, ignoring the real people you should be serving.
5 ) You work twice as hard. Yes, it might help inflate your own ego. But you're working twice as hard, for results that will be short lived. The most important part of of marketing is putting the right message in front of the right audience.
Sales is not about profit at any cost.
Sales is not about manipulating people out of their hard earned money. Sales is about connecting people with a solution that is right for them, in a way that also benefits you.
If Mike is still out there, trying to make a quick buck at other people's expense, it won't last. The days of tricking people into buying your snake oil are numbered. And the clock is ticking.
When you're writing your advertisements, don't try to sell to everybody. Don't try and convince the wrong person to buy. Only worry about the person that actually needs what you are selling.
This is the foundation of great copy.
It's not sexy. It's not ninja. It's not on fleek. But it is what works.
Never sell ice to an Eskimo.
Instead, take your ice to the desert, and sell it there.
5 Step Formula for a Great about Me Page
Maybe it was beginners luck. But maybe it wasn’t.
A bunch of my facebook friends kept telling me to post on Steemit, but I resisted. Truth be told, I'm still a little skeptical. But I finally bit the bullet and started an account.
I kept seeing these posts called "introduceyourself", and figured that was the best place to start. One friend made close to $12,000 on his introductory post, but that seemed to be the exception to the rule. Almost everybody else was coming up empty on their introduction pieces.
Not expecting much, I wrote my introduction. I posted it, watched it do nothing, and went to bed. A lackluster end to an otherwise awesome day.
The next morning, I went to check my post. I was hoping for at least a little bit of action. After all, I get paid to write, so I was hoping to see at least ten or fifteen bucks in my account. Otherwise, my ego might’ve been a little hurt.
What happened next was surprising.
I clicked on my post, scrolled down to the bottom, and saw a number that shocked me. $279. Not bad for my first post, and way more than I was expecting. The warm welcome was amazing. And the payout wasn't too bad, either.
But I did have an unfair advantage.
As you know, I'm a copywriter. People hire me to write sales pages, blog posts, and About Me pages. And I get hired, not because I'm a master in the usage of proper English, but rather, because I have a unique skill for turning words into money.
There are a few secret rules to writing an effective About Me page. And those rules seemed to work well with my introduceyourself post. And because I want to see you succeed, I'm gonna share these secret rules with you. Yes, you need to have a nice photo of yourself, and a brief description of who you are. But that is just the beginning.
I now present to you, my 5 Secret Rules for Writing a Kick Ass Introduction.
• Rule # 1 - Be yourself.
People want to meet the real you, not some corporate public relations version of you. So type like you talk, and speak in the first person. Use contractions when possible, and avoid the $10 words.
After you've typed it out, go back and read it out loud. If it doesn't sound natural to you, it won't sound natural to your reader. And with a first impression, you want to be authentic.
• Rule # 2 - Put their needs first.
Sure, say hi, and thank them for their time. Let them know your name, and maybe one interesting thing about you. But don't make the first date all about you. Let them know that you care about them before you ask them to care about you.
This is simple to do. Before you start telling them your life story, let them know what they will get out of sticking around. Let them know what's in it for them.
Don't just talk about what you do, talk about why they should care. In marketing, we call this “listing benefits instead of features”. Don't tell them about the four walls and a roof, tell them about the home they will build for their family.
Start out by letting them know what needs of theirs you will meet, and how you plan on meeting them. This will keep them reading long enough to care about who you are and what you do.
• Rule # 3 - Tell some stories.
Now that you've earned their attention, here is where you tell them a little bit more about yourself. But don't just start listing off all your many accomplishments. That's boring.
Remember, the reader is just looking for a reason to close your tab. They don't want to waste their time, and if they're bored, they're wasting their time. Your goal is to get them to the end of the article, and stories will help you do that.
People love stories. It's the oldest way we know how to learn, and it's the easiest way to pull somebody into your post. So instead of explaining who you are, tell some interesting stories about how you became the person that you are today.
Just make sure they are true stories, and not works of fiction.
• Rule # 4 - Invite them to learn more.
Meeting somebody at the bar and having a great conversation is great, but not if it that’s where it stops. You've just made a connection. Don't leave without asking for a phone number. Or at the very least, ask to give them yours.
Same thing goes for your introductory post. If they like what they've read, you don't want to leave them hanging. You want to give them access to more.
This can be a link to your website, or links to your most used social media profiles. If you can get them to join your mailing list, even better. The point is, give them a way to get to know you on a more personal level. If you've followed the rules up until this point, they're going to want it.
• Rule # 5 - Call them to action.
Up until now, you've been a giver. It's ok to ask for something in return. And this is the place to do it.
When you finish up any piece of content, you should include a final call to action. Most people won't act unless you ask them to. So, even if you think the next step is obvious, spell it out for them.
Ask them to follow you. Ask them to leave their thoughts below. Ask them to up vote the post. I don't care what it is. Just ask them to do something.
If you get me excited, I want a payoff. A call to action is that payoff. It lets me feel like I repaid you for what you just gave me, and it gives me a sense of closer.
Don't rob me of that. Let me know what to do next. Give me your call to action.
And there you have it.
These are the rules I use for every single About Me page that I write. They're simple. They're effective. And it seems as if they translated well over to Steemit.
So, before you hit "publish" on your About Me page, or introductory post, run it through these rules. You can thank me later.
I'm not saying that if you use these rules, you'll get a big payout, like I did. But I am saying that you'll get a lot more time on page than you would if you ignore them. And in case you have doubts to my claim of pulling in $279 on one post, I'll post the link below.
If you found this post helpful, share it with someone you know who needs it.
How a Magnet Can Help Your Message
So, I always hear about the importance of attracting the right kind of clients and customers. Attraction marketing, I think they call it. Make sure your brand and message is attracting the right type of people.
All sound advice, I'm sure. But there is another side.
Something I have infrequently heard referred to as "Repulsion Marketing."
It's part of something called The Magnet Effect, and it works like this.
Every magnet has two sides. A positive force and a negative force. One side attracts. The other pushes away. But one can only exist with the other. It's inescapable.
So here's what that means to you. It means that if you're only focused on who you want to attract, you're not doing your job. A magnet that doesn't repulse, can't attract. It's a universal law, and it applies to everything you do.
Once you get this basic principle, everything gets a whole lot easier.
Look at the greatest pop stars. Their fan base is never lukewarm, and there detractors are never indifferent. For the most successful entertainers, you either love them or hate them. There's rarely an in-between.
Same thing with talk show pundits and politicians. The more radically they push away one demographic, the more feverish their own fan-base becomes. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. So don't try to please everyone.
Understand the Magnet Effect. Accept that there must be balance in the universe. And use it to your advantage.
You can't have success without also having haters. So take an active role in controlling who your haters are. That will give you more ability to attract the people you actually want to serve.
How to Build Better Relationships by Pushing People Away
I always hear that you should never talk politics with clients or potential customers. It's kinda like an unwritten rule of business. Never risk offending someone who gives you money, right? Wrong!
This is something I totally disagree with. And it drives my business partners insane. But give me a few more lines and I bet you'll feel the same way I do.
So, here's the deal. I've been doing radio and podcasting for about 8 years now. And I've always made it a point to be divisive in my content. I known my target listener, and I deliberately do all kindsa things to repel anyone else.
I may lose listeners from time to time. But I have the most loyal community. I have listeners and supporters that go the extra mile. And I thank them all for it.
I am real with my audience, I let them know about my shortcomings as readily as my proudest moments. And I tell them things that I know will hurt some of their feelings. And that's ok.
Recently, I started new business, with two other partners. They were stupid enough to put me in charge of marketing.
I handle marketing the same way I handle my podcast. And this is something we go heads over, all the time.
I make a course, and leave subtle hints to my political believes, and they freak out. I send out an email that will trigger some feelz, they say "No way, Jose". I use words like "feelz", they tell me it's "unprofessional".
Well, jokes on them. I do it anyway. And let me tell you why.
Because, I only care about you. And I don't mean that in a "just got caught cheating, boyfriend" kinda way. I mean it in an "I don't care about people who don't get me" kinda way.
See, here's the thing. Running a business is kinda like running a podcast. You gotta pick who you wanna serve, and give them everything you got. And most of all, give them the real you.
Your podcast might not be for everybody. Mine isn't. That's for sure. And your podcast, product or service will not be for everybody. But that's ok. Because it is right for some people.
And every ounce of energy you waste being fake for people who don't love you, is an ounce you can't give to people that do.
Now, does this mean you should just shove your political opinions in all your costumers faces? No. And I try not to make a habit of it. But does it mean that I hide that part of me away, where nobody can ever see? Not at all.
Truth is, I am a free market anarchist. I love the freedom of the marketplace. Now, you don't have to agree with me. But I won't hide it from you, just to get your money.
And if knowing this does stop you from doing business with me, I don't want your money. Well, I mean I do. But I want money from people I love serving. Not just from people who hate me but are willing to pay for my results.
This is the way I have always been. And I rarely hate my work. I may not always get as many jobs as other people, but I always love the clients that I work with. And I'm always willing to give them my all.
So, here's the deal. If you are starting a podcast, no matter what the subject, don't be afraid to be you. If you are starting a business, don't be afraid to be you.
Gary Vee gets up on stage in front of billionaires and drops the f-bomb. He speaks what he feels, he gives great business advice, and he curses like a sailor.
Ray Edwards is another brilliant business mind. I've listened to him on (literally) a thousand different podcasts. And I've never heard him swear. Not once. But I've heard him call out socialists for the hypocrites that they are, on many occasions.
Pat Flynn is right up there with both of these other two guys. I love his podcast, and listen to it all the time. I've never heard him swear, and I have no idea about his political beliefs.
Which approach is correct? All of them. As long as they're being real.
Yes, I may offend you from time to time. And if it happens too often, you'll stop reading, or listening. And I'm ok with that.
I have customers that I want to serve, that I love to serve. And if you're not one of them, move aside so I can get to them.
The point is this. Love the ones you serve, serve the ones you love. And give them all you have. This is a life rule. It applies to podcasting. It applies to business. And it drives my business partners insane.
Yes, it defies conventional wisdom. But, in this case, conventional wisdom is wrong.
I'm gonna keep living by it. Because it works for me. And you can know that if I ever work with you, it's because I love doing so, and you will get my 100%. And that's the way it should be.
If you're about to start your business or podcast, make sure that you keep it real. People don't follow those who they can't connect with. And people can't connect with you if they never even get to know you.
How to Offer Less and Charge More
A few years back, my mom passed away.
When she was alive, she leaned on me, pretty heavily. I paid her bills, I ran her around, I listened to her constant complaining. It was enough to drive me insane. But I'd trade everything I have for just one more afternoon with her, to tell her that I love her, one last time.
I miss her now, and I often remember things about her that I didn't appreciate nearly enough when she was alive. You don't know what you've got til it's gone.
You see, economics is a lot more emotions driven than we'd like to think.
Supply and demand is not just a statement of logic. It's a statement about emotions. It's a statement about what drives us. It's a statement about our values. And we tend to only recognize something's true value when it's scarce.
So, how can you make this work for you? How can you get people to recognize the value of what you have to offer? The answer is simple. Make it scarce.
Let's take a look at the three most common forms a scarcity, and how you can use them in your marketing.
Urgency is time based scarcity. It is the idea that something will only be available for a limited time. You might still be able to find this item later, but not here and not at this price. If you don't act before this deadline, you will miss out.
When something has a sense of urgency attached, we know that we have to act now, or forever hold our peace.
Rarity is quantity based scarcity. The idea that only so many exist, and thus, they are more valuable than their counterparts.
Rarity is what floods Central Park with Pokemon Go players in the middle of the night. Rarity is what makes a wheat penny more valuable than an equally weighted piece of copper.
There are millions of Pokemon out there, and billions of pennies. But when you find a rare one, you place more value on it. Because rare is scarce, and scarce is valuable.
Exclusivity is scarcity based upon status. The item or service itself may not be scarce, but the client who has access to it is.
Think of a Rolex watch or a Ralph Lauren shirt. These items are not scarce in the real world. But because of the status applied to them, they can be sold at way over their cost to produce.
Another example is a therapist who only books appointments with celebrities. They are probably no better than any other therapist. But they exclude most people from their services. This allows them to charge more to those they do accept.
When you create scarcity with exclusive access, you drive up value in the minds of those you exclude, and those you accept.
So there you have it.
Three simple ways to add scarcity to whatever it is that you provide. Three simple ways to increase the value of whatever it is that you provide.
Next time you run a sale, consciously apply urgency. Next time you have a limited supply, use the rarity to your advantage. Use scarcity to your advantage.
One last note.
Companies often give free products to people with high status. This is a way to increase the Exclusivity factor of their own products. And it often works. But is can be used in reverse.
In 2011, Abercrombie and Fitch offered to pay "The Situation" to STOP wearing their clothes. Mike Sorrentino, of MTV's Jersey Shore, was actually offered money to not be seen in their clothes.
Exclusivity is just as much about who you choose not to serve, as it is about who you do serve.
Will Robots Take Your Job?
So, Jane (a totally made up social justice warrior) was out protesting her job today.
She was demanding that her employer pay her $15 dollars an hour to bag burgers and give customers bad attitude.
Her employer only operates at a 3.5% profit margin, but Jane has a right to a living wage.
She spent all day waving her sign and shouting out sound bites she learned from her gender-studies professor.
Tomorrow, she'll go into work, and realize that she protested herself out of a job. She'll walk into her place of employment, and be greeted by a shiny new kiosk. Sucks to be Jane.
Now, while it's easy to laugh at Jane, she isn't the only one facing this problem. Yes, low information, entitled brats will be the first to have a robot replace them. But, is that where it will stop?
Now, before you start calling me Peter Joseph, hear me out.
I am a devout capitalist. I would be miserable in a Venus Project utopia. But, I am a realist, and my head is not in the sand when it comes to automation.
In the coming years, more and more labor jobs will be replaced by robots.
Is this the end of society as we know it? I doubt it.
But, will it bring a lot of change? Almost certainly.
As the horse and buggy disappeared, the cab industry was born. And sometimes, automation actually increases labor in a field.
So, what about you? What will happen to your job in the very near future? What are your chances of being replaced by a robot, like poor little SJW Jane?
Well, today I came across this interesting article. It talks about some of the least likely jobs to be replaced with robots. Is yours on the list?
Hint, if you're on my mailing list, you're already in a better position than most. (see number 1)