“Qu’est-ce que c’est?” (Talking Heads,”Psycho Killer”, ca. 1979)
Quick lesson today, which should help you understand one of the fundamental truths of kick-ass marketing.
That truth: There is almost always a way to fix or solve a marketing problem.
Actually, that truth is also functional in every-day life…
… but that’s a much longer lesson.
Here’s the quickie version, for marketers: I was just delivering this story in one of the Simple Writing System classrooms, and thought I’d share with you here, too.
As any decent marketer knows, the Prime Directive of a sales process is to discover your best possible prospect… and “reach” him with your sales message.
Seems simple enough. Sometimes, it is. If you’re selling hamburgers near a starving crowd, you’re set. Just open your doors and tell folks to line up.
For a while (back in the Good Old Days of Internet marketing), all you had to do was:
Step One: Be the first into a hot niche…Continue reading
“Here come Johnny Yen again…” (Iggy Pop, “Lust For Life”)
Oh, my God!
They killed the sales letter again!
Will this horror never stop?
Actually, you can relax. Just like Kenny in South Park, the traditional sales letter is on some kind of perverse “Permanent Hit List”…
… where every marketer trying to claim he just invented a new fad stands astride the image of a quaking letter…
… and slays it.
Huzzah! Death to you, vile long-copy sales letter! Take that… and that…
… and that.
This latest round is clever as hell, too. The new trend is putting your sales letter in a video, and reading along with it.
The irony: The dude selling you the “Magic Box” product that kills the sales letter forever…
… uses a sales letter to do the killing.
Hey — don’t get me wrong. I love video. Been using it in marketing since… well, since it was actual videotape on reels. (Yeah, shocking, I know. We were so backward in the last century.)
In fact, the “Magic Box” product I’m talking about is, I’m guessing, an excellent solution for many marketers who can’t figure out how to make a video sales letter work.
And all’s fair in love, war and advertising. So all the dudes out there telling you the sales letter is dead, and you can sell without selling, and the Web has changed everything…Continue reading
“Don’t let me be misunderstood.” (The Animals, #15 on Billboard, 1965)
Quick post tonight… cuz Conan’s second-to-last Tonight Show is on in a few.
(I’ve never been a die-hard fan of the dude, but these final shows should be history-making.) (I stopped watching late night talk back when Letterman abandoned his DaDa-esque 12:30 show for a boring earlier slot on CBS…)
As a lifelong wordsmith (that’s “writer” to you), I long ago learned to respect language.
It seemed a no-brainer to me. Language is our primary communication tool… and English just happens to be the most flexible and use-able one ever created. Unlike every other language out there, it inhales foreign words without problem, gives group-hugs to slang, and offers an amazing cornucopia of choices when you want to get your point across…Continue reading
“He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.” (William James, the Godfather of modern psychology)
Okay, let me get this straight…
You are seriously going to ignore one of the most amazing opportunities of your life…
… well, I can’t even begin to fathom what your “because” reason might be.
I’m sure it makes some sort of sense to you… but it’s probably an illusion.
I understand the weird, twisted way humans look at opportunity… because I nearly allowed the Big One to get away from me.
Like most folks, I sorta resented opportunities. They never appeared at convenient times, it was seldom clear what was involved, and there was always some change required if I wanted to pursue it.
I had learned — as most people do — that if I just looked the other way, that pesky opportunity would vanish…Continue reading
“Truckin’, like the Do-Dah man…” (Dead, again)
Nice little cat-fight going on in the comments section of the last post.
Which, of course, is fine. I’ve still never deleted a comment in the 5 years I’ve been in the saddle of this blog.
(Side note: Has anyone figured out if there are “Web years”, which would be like “dog years” where each canine lap around the calendar is equal to 7 human laps? I gotta tell ya, it seems like I’ve been tending this beast for half my life…)
So, anyway, here’s the post for today…
… addressing the most pressing issues being discussed:
Post Element #1: I’m still on the road. Quick stop home to repack (hope I’ve got clean socks stashed somewhere), and then back on a plane…
… this time to San Diego to meet with Tony Robbins, and Mike Koenigs of Traffic Geyser.
Last weekend, I was a featured guest at Joe Polish’s “$25K Mastermind” quarterly meeting (so-called because members pony up $25K to belong) (and every single member I’ve met says it’s worth it many times over).
And, since we were in semi-warm weather… and there was still 3 feet of snow back home…
… I decided to stay in AZ for a few days, meet up with my biz partner Stan… and golf.
For my birthday.
So you tweakers who were so busy questioning my motives for our upcoming January event…
… were doing so on my birthday.
Have you no shame?
Is there no safe haven of time left on this chaotic planet for a man to take a break from social media… to go futilely chase little white balls around the desert?
This is not right, people.
Let’s all take a deep breath, okay?
Post Element #2: I’ll be back at this blog next week.
I’ve got a back-up of posts to lay on y’all, too. Good stuff about the FTC (I’ve got the goods on the new recommendations, I believe)… Google’s latest round of going medieval on people… some hard-core insight to social media (R.I.P. Twitter?)…
… and, of course, updates and revelations about the upcoming event in January.
But why wait?
Let’s clear up a few of the more hurtful misconceptions here and now:
First… this is not a pitchfest. The days are not broken up into blocks of time for a presentation and rush to the sales table.
Get straight on this: I wasn’t just “there” during the glory days of Halbert’s best seminars…
… I was co-producing the little monsters.
I wrote the letters that brought people in. I conspired with Gary to amaze, astound and befuddle attendees… all part of our increasing awareness of how excellent teaching actually happened. (Hint: Very few people know to teach, really. I’ve been at this for 22 years. If you’re confused about who’s doing the teaching in this biz and who’s ladling out the bullshit… you’re just not paying attention.)
I co-produced a few dozen events with Halbert, hosted a few of my own even before I’d met him…
… and, over the last 7 years or so, have created my own model. Which is part workshop, part consultation, and ALL learning.
That’s what this upcoming “Action Seminar” is all about. Most of the writer/teachers from the Simple Writing System faculty will be there…
… plus some very important experts who will share the good stuff.
I’ll explain more later… cuz, like I said, I’m still technically on the road. (And I’ll be royally pissed off if I miss my plane because I’m posting on this blog…)
Just know this: Stan and I (and our favorite colleagues) will be focusing on helping people get their act together…
… enough to make 2010 their best year ever, business-wise.
We’re going to share everything we know, and uncork what our colleagues know… about setting up sales funnels that grab lots of traffic, and efficiently move prospects through the process of creating loyal customers.
We’re good at this. We just had OUR best year ever… in the teeth of the continuing recession, amidst all the whining and hand-wringing and predictions of certain Doom.
It will NOT be an event like you’ve seen before.
Here, you can get all your questions answered… see real entrepreneur’s ads critiqued and deconstructed (and reassembled as bad-ass marketing that works)… shuck and jive to your heart’s content with biz owners who’ve already solved the problems that keep you frozen…
… and so on. There will be Hot Seats, serious brainstorming on topics close to a capitalist’s little heart, tutorials on moolah-generating stuff you don’t even know exists yet (especially in pay-per-click)…
… and no bullshit at any point.
We’re hard-as-nails marketers, deep on the cutting edge of what’s working (where it’s also obvious what’s not working, which is just as important).
And, just to remind the tweakers: This blog is (and always has been) mostly solid content.
Good advice, excellent tactics, and all the unfair advantages that come from hanging out with a grizzled veteran who loves to spill the beans.
Yes, here and there I will let you know about an opportunity we’re presenting to folks who care about opportunity. Like this upcoming event.
If you can’t get past that, then you’ve got some issues to address that are all yours. Please leave me out of it.
The Web is infested with people who bitch just for the sake of bitching… and who feel they have a “right” to thrash reputations because they’re enraged at their own failure.
It’s the nature of the world. I expected no less when I raised my head above the fray and started teaching and blogging and handling “guru” chores.
For those of you who aren’t sure what to think about this kind of opportunity…
… which is an honest chance to come hang out with me, my staff, a gang of the best writers on the planet, and a bevy of experts who do NOT make their living speaking from stages…
… I invite you to investigate further. (And pay more attention to the folks who actually have experience with me, than to the tweakers who feel cheated by life.)
We will not be holding another event like this in the future. My workshops and seminars are all TOTALLY unique, because they’re tailored to the needs of attendees.
When I get back next week, I’ll be happy to answer any question you care to put to us about this Action Seminar.
Just ask, in the comments section below.
Yes, it’s dirt cheap. We’re not gouging, and we will over-deliver like mo-fo’s.
That’s what we do.
If you haven’t figured out — after 5 freaking years of this blog — that I am the most transparent and most willing-to-help guru on the scene…
… well, it’s just weird. You might need your “critical thinking” nodules examined.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go catch a plane…
P.S. Seriously, gimme your most pressing questions, here in the comments section.
I know you’ve got ’em. Let’s clear it all up now, while there’s time to make a rational decision to come to the event (and get your travel expenses in before the end of the year, for tax purposes).
P.P.S. One update: For a variety of reasons, I’m rejuggling the faculty of this event. So some of the folks in that very cool video on the site won’t be there, after all, and some new ones have been included:
I’ll have the fresh line-up of heavy hitters ready next week.
And, just for the record, the rejuggling is solely because of travel conflicts, and the continuing adjustments Stan and I are making to the structure of this event. We’re all still great buddies.
Because these events are so unique, we’re not trapped in any pre-made paradigm. So, as we brainstorm and get brilliant input from others, we’re able to morph, easily and without grief.
This is all about delivering the goods to attendees.
Spots are very limited. It’s cheap as heck. You’re gonna love it.
“So what?” (Miles Davis)
Okay, I know I’m a few hours late delivering the answer to the very excellent Quiz #8.
I had writer’s block. Just couldn’t think of what to write…
Kidding! I’m joshing with you.
I apologize for the delay. Simple matter of being abducted by friends and whisked off to an enjoyable Friday adventure. I earned it, and knew you’d forgive me for being a tad late with the solution to the Quiz. (You know it takes me several hours to concoct these posts, right?)
Let’s get down to it, then.
First: I want to thank, and congratulate, everyone who posted for the Quiz. The threads on this blog are always energizing mini-riots of good critical thinking…
… along with a smattering of cleverness, sheer brilliance, pontificating idiocy, and (always) one or two utterly outraged comments from folks who wandered into the fray by accident.
I love it all.
As many have noted… the comment threads at this blog rival the actual posts for being fascinating reading.
There’s some smokin’-hot wisdom out there, for anyone paying attention.
Second: Here is the answer to the Quiz question…
“Writer’s block is…Continue reading
“He’s not the messiah. He’s a very naughty boy…” (Terry Jones, Monty Python’s “Life Of Brian”)
Quick post here… but it’s important.
I’m relaying something here that I just shared in the Simple Writing System mentoring program. (The entire program is sizzling with action, by the way. Mucho fun… and this is yet another “taste” of the kind of stuff we’re getting into.)
It’s about using and abusing “intuition” when there’s money on the line.
I had a little saying I’d rely on, back when I was a freelancer: “It’s a mess to guess.”
I used that saying as a reminder not to go off half-cocked when trying to persuade prospects to part with money.
In the SWS training, I mention that most people’s intuition is just dead wrong. It was amended, during discussion, to “untrained intuition is almost always dead wrong.”
There’s a difference, you see, between good intuition and bad intuition.Continue reading
“It’s the end of the world as we know, and I feel fine…” (REM)
Nice big glob of seemingly-nasty news hit the grid this week.
The FTC (brrr, even the name causes Halloween-style chills, doesn’t it) fired a shot across the bow of the good ship Capitalism with their “final guidelines governing endorsements and testimonials”.
In case you’ve been in a coma or something, here’s the Fed-sponsored link:
What immediately followed was a lot of hair-on-fire screaming and rending of clothes by both online and offline business owners who use testimonials or endorsements in their marketing.
It was kinda fun to watch, actually.
A lot of entrepreneurs, I’ve noticed over the decades, are skittish enough already about the whole “provide a product to customers in exchange for money” model of doing business.
They’re like “Are you sure we can do this? Actually accept moolah just for giving people this thing of value we created?”
It’s understandable to be a little paranoid. Business is part of the grown-up world, all full of consequences and responsibilities and risks…Continue reading
“It’s too hard. You’ll never figure it out.” (What the first copywriter I ever met told me about writing ads.)
I’m going to tell you about two promises here.
The stories behind them may help you chart out the rest of your life… as they did mine.
The above quote (“It’s too hard. You’ll never figure it out.”) are the exact words that a professional copywriter said to me when I innocently asked for advice.
They are burned into my cerebral cortex, because it was one of the first times I had ever nurtured a small ember of actual hope about my future in business…
… and she crushed it like a bug.
All I’d wanted from her was a smidgen of advice. Maybe point me in the right direction. Or offer a small word of encouragement.
I was lost at the time. Trapped in the drudgery of a dead-end J.O.B. that sucked big-time.
And I was genuinely clueless about the process of writing anything for business. I’d never met a real copywriter before, and was very interested in finding out more.
I didn’t even know what the word “mentor” meant at the time… but I suppose I would have squirmed with joy if she had said, instead, something like “Let me help you learn how to do this.”
Still, she did me a HUGE favor by being such a miserable, hateful bitch.
As I stood at her desk, burning with shame for having asked for something and been so brutally refused…
… I promised myself that I would prove her wrong.
And I used that promise as motivation whenever I needed some extra oomph in the next year or so, as I figured out — on my own, without help from anyone — how to write killer sales messages.
So I owe her one. She did me a proper by igniting my until-then-dormant ability to Do It Myself. Literally with a vengeance.
I launched my solo career as a freelance writer entirely on my own. I took the Do It Yourself ethic and ran with it…Continue reading
“It’s alive!” (Baron Von Frankenstein, kickstarting the Monster)
We’ve just fired up the Simple Writing System blog (www.simplewritingsystem.com/blog)…
… which means a stunning (and unprecedented) pile of free tools, tactics, advice and insight can be yours…
… just for the grabbing.
This is an all-out assault on reason and logic. We’re just GIVING AWAY stuff that — not too long ago — would have cost you a pretty penny just to get a quick glimpse of.
We’ve created a beast here, and it’s name is FREE.
Here’s just a small taste of what’s piling up over there (that you’re missing out on if you haven’t signed in):
What? You didn’t see that presentation?
It’s marketing theater at its finest… Continue reading