“Oops, I did it again…” (Britney, God love her…)
I’m on a roll here, grabbing criminally-ignored posts from the blog archives…
… and re-posting them prominently, so you criminally ignore them no longer. With a few minor edits, of course, tailoring the prose to fit today’s quirky needs for advice. (Hey, you don’t fit into your old high school jeans anymore, either, you know.)
Here, we have another dangerously-tasty post from not too long ago… which, I believe, requires no explanation other than to say it’s some serious insight into the writer’s brain.
You do NOT want to venture into this quagmire without a guide. Which is what I’ve written here — a short “guide to the writer’s mind”.
Not exactly a hot Disneyland ride, but if you’re in business it’s some wicked-valuable info.
So, indulge, and enjoy (if you dare):
I’m gonna need your feedback on this.
See, I’ve always been a wave or two out of the mainstream… and that’s actually helped me be a better business dude, because this outsider status forces me to pay extra attention to what’s going on (so I can understand who I’m writing my ads to).
This extra focus means I’ve never taken anything for granted — especially not those weird emotional/rational triggers firing off in a prospect’s head while I’m wooing him on a sale.
And trust me on this: Most folks out there truly have some WEIRD shit going on in their heads, Continue reading
“And you may ask yourself, where does that highway go?” (Talking Heads)
Quickie post today…
… on a very important topic.
You hear me nattering about “Operation MoneySuck” all the time. And some folks are confused about what it means.
So let’s do a refresher.
Here’s the story: Early in my career, I was hired by advertising legend Gary Halbert to help him write ads for clients. The first day I arrived at his offices on Sunset Blvd (in West Hollywood), we were scheduled to slam out copy and plot “next moves” with some current clients.
However, just as my butt hit the chair across from his desk, two (count ’em, two) secretaries AND his red-headed girlfriend (notorious for getting her way) burst in with bad news.
Lots of bad news, in fact. The printer had just broken down, and shit needed to get copied NOW. Some guy was ranting and raving on Line 2, threatening legal action over something. The landlord was on the way up in the elevator, because there was a problem with the lease. The bank was on Line 1, and so on.
These women were shaking with panic and consternation, freaked out by the urgent crisis-level emergencies that…
… to be dealt with…
I sighed, and started to gather my stuff, ready to split until Gary had attended to all of this mayhem.
Instead, he held up his hand… shushed everyone… and gently ushered the secretaries AND his red-headed girlfriend (notorious for getting her way) out the door…Continue reading
“I never drink… wine.” (Bela Lugosi, “Dracula”)
Special treat today. I’ve asked an old friend (and killer copywriter) to guest post on the blog here.
Jim Curley and I go way back (to, gasp, Before The Birth Of The Internets As A Marketing Force)…
… and he’s one of those Web-hip veteran copywriters who brings a healthy dose of old-school wisdom and experience to everything he does. He’s well steeped in all the manly markets (golf, self-defense, hot rod body artwork, family life, vampires, stuff like that). I’ve had him as a wingman at multiple seminars, and I’ve hired him as a writer for my own projects.
That’s how good he is.
I didn’t give Jimbo any directions on what he could write about, either. I trust the guy completely…
… and just told him to dig into one of the subjects he and I enjoy talking and bitching about when we get together.
This is a good lesson Jim’s sharing with you.
Enjoy… Continue reading
“There are eight million stories in the naked city…” (Jules Dassin film noir classic)
Here’s a nice little piece of insight for writers.
And by “writers”, I’m referring to those ink-stained wretches (of whom I share a proud bond) who really care about the craft of writing. For whom the act of stringing words together is — when done right — a sacred thing.
You can make a living as a hack writer (meaning: Someone who can communicate through writing, but who neither loves language nor attempts to create phrases with rhythm or dynamics or craft).
Most of the best-selling novelists these days are complete hacks, in fact. (Talkin’ to you, Dan Brown.)
Metaphor Alert: If you need a comparison to understand what I’m talking about, let’s take the mastering of a musical instrument. What’s the difference between the dude who noodles away at a guitar for decades but never plays for anyone… and the guy who steps on a bar stage to cover a Cream tune… and Eric Clapton?
Answer: The first dude can’t Continue reading
San Francisco, CA
“I left my heart…” (Tony Bennett)
By the time you read this, I’ll be back home in Reno… a better man for having spent a week in San Francisco.
Even though it was all business, I still get invigorated just from hanging out in that city by the bay. It’s one of the few things California did right (though they’re working hard at ruining it). (Bastards.)
And while I was gone, the last blog post went freaking bonkers. Nearly 200 comment posts (most of them well-thought-out and elegantly delivered, too). (With the occasional funny disruptor, of course. It wouldn’t be a good Quiz without a big healthy dose of irreverence.)
So, a big “thanks” once again to Robert Gibson (SWS veteran teacher and all-around good dude) for being ring-leader while I was off.
And congratulations to the winner. Who we’ll announce here in a second.
First, though, let’s clarify what the answer is.
The question was: What’s the 4th big observation about money that changed my life so dramatically… that an avalanche of good stuff followed (including the phat opportunities to work with Gary Halbert)?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
“You’re either on the bus, or off the bus…” (Ken Kesey)
Quick lesson here I thought you’d enjoy.
The phrase “there are two kinds of people” is used by comics, politicians, and just-plain-folks trying to set up a point with an easily-understood little story.
It’s an over-simplification, most of the time, of course. Life is too nuanced and complex to fit into just two tidy categories.
However, sometimes you can make a damn good argument behind the two-groups thing.
In selling, this is what we’ve called “the dichotomy of futures”…
… meaning, you can make two distinctly clear divisions:
1.) The “in” group, which is your target market…Continue reading
“Please allow me to introduce myself…” (Stones, Sympathy For The Devil)
This is one of those lessons that arrived accidentally…
… and I had to stop and ruminate about it for a while before it made sense.
I’m lucky I learned it early, too.
It’s provided me with a home base of sanity when the chaos has reached shuddering crescendos and it was hard to think straight (let alone make snap decisions when crisis loomed).
You may find it obvious.
That’s fine. Just don’t go thinking it’s obvious to the rest of the mean ol’ world out there… cuz it ain’t.
Here’s the story: One of my first jobs working for Gary Halbert was to fly to Detroit… and interview a guy who’d just lost 750 pounds.
Yeah, you read that right.Continue reading
“You’ve got to be digging it while it’s happening, cuz it just might be a one-shot deal.” (Frank Zappa)
Today, I want to say “Thanks” to all the wonderful people in my life.
And I hope you’re having a great holiday.
Sure, the airports are clogged with sneezing, coughing mobs enraged by delays and the prospect of being locked in a house with relatives they can’t stand for a week.
And yes, the politics of this country continue to crawl ever deeper down the rabbit hole leading to Bat-Shit Crazy Land.
And everywhere you look, greed and fear and suspicion lurk.
And yet… the world spins on, and if you can just let your mind settle for a few moments, the raw gorgeous beauty of everything can still take your breath away.
There’s a clever Chinese toast that carries both a curse and a blessing: “May you live in interesting times.”
As all wordsmiths know, that word “interesting” embraces both the good and the bad, the yin and the yang, of life.
Danger, excitement, and adventure. The kind of events that will either kill you or make you stronger.Continue reading
“Shake the hand, that shook the hand, of PT Barnum and Charlie Chan” (The Grateful Dead, “US Blues”)
You know what the first thing many entrepreneurs and small biz owners do on January 1st (right after gagging down Excedrin with a warm dollop of “Hair o’ the dog”)?
You know why?
It’s because… for all the “promise” a new year holds…
… for most folks in business, the months ahead are just shadows in a dark fog.
When times are good, maybe — maybe — you can stumble over some tasty opportunities as you wander.
When times are bad… you know, like our current recession-shackled economy… that fog of uncertainty gets thick enough to choke you.
Would you like to know what the UNCOMMON entrepreneurs and small biz owners do when looking ahead to 2010?
They smile. They yawn at the recession. And they feel damn good about their nice, clear, unobstructed view of the coming months.
No fog. No murderous pitfalls hidden in the shadows.
They are uncommon, because they are PREPARED.
They have an action plan… and they know how to implement it.
You wanna commit business suicide? Stumble into the coming year without a clue how you’re going to grow or get better results.
You wanna join the Feast, where the Smart Few are enjoying floods of traffic, maxed-out conversions, and the kind of almost-ridiculously-abundant free time (like a vacation every month) that “most” biz owners can only dream about?
Then get hip to the amazing magic of putting together a simple action plan.
And make sure it’s a plan you can easily (and even joyously) implement right away.
I’d like to help you, if you think getting some honest, hard-core, proven mentoring can get you off your duff… and into your seat at the Feast.
Here’s what’s up: There has always been a stark contrast between those who plan, and those who don’t even know how to plan.
For nearly 30 years now, as a high-paid consultant, I’ve been helping entrepreneurs and biz owners figure out the critical first steps to take to get moving in a new, profitable, easier (and more fun) direction.
Having even a simple plan (with just a few steps to take) will change your life forever.
But only if you are confident (and know the easy tricks) of putting this simple plan into action.
I know how to do this. And I hang out with masters of simple-but-insanely-lucrative planning.
… I’m holding a live workshop-seminar in San Diego the last weekend of January…
… where you can come and get direct help putting your own killer action plan together.
Plus learn the tricks to implementation. The key to making your plan a reality.
We’re gonna fill you up with proven, easy step-by-step actions to take immediately… to:
Best part: The powerful simplicity of this kind of planning…
… means that veteran business owners will immediately benefit, as well as raw rookies.
Most people absolutely suck at planning.
And if you insist on trying to do it yourself, without expert help…
… you’re headed down a rabbit hole that can trap you, confuse you, and murder your business while you’re fighting self-created emergencies.
The top marketers (including any competition now cleaning your clock) ALL know how to map out a simple action plan… and put it in motion.
Even the best plan in the universe is worthless, if it never gets implemented.
This, by the way, is the problem with most seminars: You get a mountain of ideas dumped on you, with no hint of how to execute any of them.
The advanced stuff (which you shouldn’t be touching yet) gets all jumbled up with soon-to-be-obsolete stuff, which buries the easy stuff…
… and you’re left with zero “real” plans.
Just a lot of notes and wishes and dreams again.
Well, screw that.
We’re even calling this unique event “The Action Seminar“.
And it is populated with the best teachers and planning wizards I know. Including…
Mike Koenigs, the uber-talented genius behind “Traffic Geyser”… who specializes in getting the most stubbornly-resistant people to quickly (actually immediately) use his simple-yet-awesomely-effective video secrets to carpet bomb the Web with a killer sales message. (The cheapest camera you can find will do the trick, too.)
James “Schrakmo” Schramko… the brilliant Aussie who came out of nowhere last year (knowing squat about the Web), to dominate search engine rankings and generally crush all competitors in any market he chose to conquer.
He understands what it’s like to be a rookie looking for a clue… and he has made a huge name for himself helping entrepreneurs zoom to dominance with minimal skills and very little investment.
The simple plans that are easy to master, and simple to implement, is the way to get rich and happy as fast as possible.
Oh, and check this out: Teran Dale (my personal favorite PPC advisor) has the inside track on Google. He’s managed as much as $1 million dollars a day in pay-per-click advertising in huge, super-competitive niches.
The kicker: The competition in these niches are paying $7 – $12 dollars per click… while Teran’s clients are only paying $0.21 cents.
If you suspect that everything you believe about PPC is dead wrong… you’re right.
Teran will be working directly with select folks at this seminar, while we watch and learn. And he’s gonna be sharing ALL the good stuff… brought down to doable, simple and easy steps. (You’re invited to join the pool of attendees we’ll choose Teran’s subjects from.)
This is just a small taste of the Feast you’re about to share in.
We’ve also got the globally-respected Les Brown (to get your head straight about planning for success)… Melanie Benson Strick (to help you finally get off your butt and start being massively productive) (with more time off)…
… my hilarious (but deadly serious about profits) colleagues Travis Miller and Jimmy Vee will show you how to become a social media MONSTER (even if you can’t yet spell “blog”)…
… and I’ll be joined by copywriting legends Harlan Kilstein (still the only guy around who can show you how to hypnotize readers into following you anywhere) and Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero (of “She Factor” fame — and remember, the ladies still control 90% of the money out there, guys).
Plus: The entire faculty of the Simple Writing System mentoring program will be there, for you to corner and suck every shred of sales-boosting secret out of their super-talented brains.
Let’s drop names: Kevin Rogers (my head writer for The Stable O’ Copywriters)… “Million Dollar” Mike Morgan (a top freelancer with tremendous chops)… Tony Flores (head writer for The Arbitrage Conspiracy)… Scott Haines (a killer writer and old pal of mine and Gary Halbert’s)… Jimbo Curley (the star writer who replaces me at OHP Golf)… Tina Lorenz (easily the hottest copywriter in the “launch” game right now)… and two “under the radar” (for now) writers I’ve personally hired to write for me: Robert Gibson and Mark Landstrom.
Special guest stars include “A List” copywriter David Deutsch (who recently had 6 million-dollar controls for Boardroom, Inc)… Gary Halbert’s sons Bond and Kevin (who I’ve been working closely with while they restructure Gary’s legacy)… and some Mystery Guests who should blow your mind.
There’s just one catch:
This event is coming up soon… and there are VERY limited spots open.
To get the details, just check out this info-site:
There’s quite a bit more to the fun and seriously-lucrative stuff you’ll encounter at this rare, totally unique event.
And… I am personally making sure that you get at least 12 action-steps, customized to your situation, that are simple enough for you to implement as soon as you get home (or back to your room).
If you can handle more, you’ll get more.
But the main thing is this: This ain’t a “talk at you” event.
It’s interactive… and it’s all about helping you put together a freakin’ PLAN to go out and put into action NOW.
So you can get back to your office and start demolishing your evil competitors and dominating your market.
While earning more, and having more time off, and generally being happier and staring down the economy and every obstacle in your life…
… and winning.
Oh, this is gonna be good.
For the few who get their act together and score a spot, that is.
For the rest… well, good luck out there in the fog.
Seriously — go check out the info-site now. (You’re gonna faint when you see how CHEAP it is, too):
P.S. Just in case it wasn’t made crystal clear: No prior experience or skills or hidden “insider” advantages are necessary to make ANY of this stuff work like crazy for you.
Just hurry, okay? It’s coming up fast, and won’t be repeated.