The rarest thing in business and marketing

When I started marketing to the wedding niche I thought it was going to easy.  I didn’t need any cutting-edge ideas because my niche was spelled out for me. 

Um, people getting married…  Bam!  

I just had to find highly-interested and motivated prospects that I could email market to.

I subscribed to several marketer’s lists to learn how.  

I picked up tips here and there but I didn’t have any major epiphanies, other than.…  

How were these peeps boasting such big sales with email?  I could barely get anyone to call or email me back.

I stumbled on Eban Pagan’s work and he told me the term that changed my life.  He said he practiced direct response marketing.  Finally, I learned the term that I needed to research and study.

I was obsessed with figuring out how to send an email or mail a flyer to get people to buy.

I finally got the hang out it.  The good news is technology may change but direct response fundamentals don’t.  What Robert Collier and Claude Hopkins wrote about nearly 100 years ago are still applicable today.  

This morning I read a blog post from the great Ken McCarthy and he said something similar.  McCarthy was the marketer who created Internet marketing as we know it and his System Seminar from 20 years ago is world famous.    

He said his primary message is the same today as it was 20 years ago: “This is direct response advertising. Nothing more. Nothing less.”  

He added something else that you need to arm yourself with.  

“Original ideas”!   He called original ideas “the rarest of all things in business and marketing.”

So you can learn the the principles.  You can learn the fundamentals but if you don’t strive for good original ideas you may still struggle.  

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Old salads and a 100 degree identity

It was my wife’s birthday on Tuesday and we celebrated by going to Red Lobster.  I’m allergic to shellfish so we don’t go for seafood often.  

We all woofed it down.  Wifey ate everything but her salad.

The next day I was hungry and found myself eye-balling her leftover salad.  Like the saint I am I just decided to eat it.  Why ask for permission?   I know…I’m a real gem, right?

The salad was in good shape but the croutons were kinda soggy from hanging out with lettuce. The moisture rubbed off on them.

So is there a lesson to be learned from an old salad?  

Of course there is! 

It’s a planet-based lesson in the law of association.  My croutons got ‘soft’ from being in the wrong environment and the same thing happens to us.

Jim Rohn used to say you become the average of the five people you hang around with most.  Who you are around, the books you read, the videos you watch—all that stuff matters.  

As ‘The Vid’ slows down and more in-person events take place.  If you feel comfortable… Get out of your house and meet some people. 

Like-minded people.  “Hungry” people.

Ed Mylett puts it this way.  If you are a “seventy-five degree identity, and you associate with people who are “one-hundred forty degree identity” you can’t help but to heat up.”  

When you hang around great people, greatness can’t help but to rub off a little.  

So go to a conference. 

Get in a mastermind.  

Zoom is ok but in-person is better.

Unless you have a fever…then keep your ass at home.

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Don’t hype, fascinate

When I think of ‘hype’, for some reason Flavor Flav comes to mind.

Not the newer more slightly grown up ‘Flavor of Love’ Flavor Flav (if you’ve seen the old VH1 show).  I’m talking about the super obnoxious young Flav.  Like back when he rolled with the group Public Enemy.

When he never shut up like a neurotic chihuahua near a creaky screen door.  

So when you write email subject lines (or any headline), hype can hurt you.  Why?  Cause too many people don’t believe the hype.

Take email subject lines these…

How to make wrinkles miraculously disappear overnight!


You won’t believe what my client did after his first session.

You will get people to click, that’s not the issue.  The issue is they’ll click once.  Maybe twice.  A few times if you’re lucky.  And before you know it, they… Can’t truss it.  

That’s why you should fascinate instead.  

The word “fascinate” comes from the Latin fascinare which means, “to bewitch or hold captive so others are powerless to resist.  

I’m not saying go all full-blown Harry Potter Imperius Curse on them.  

To fascinate you want to be less Flavor Flav and more Scarlett Johansson.  Make your copy tease a bit and be a little tantalizing.

Like this old classic headline:  “Do you make these mistakes in English?”

Doesn’t that just invite you in?  Don’t you just wanna read more?

Or this email subject line from Ben Settle:  “Marketers escaping the U.S. like it’s the Titanic”

If you’re a marketer (or need to hire one), you’re probably going to want to read more.

It’s interesting.  It makes you curious.

Better to consistently do THAT instead of…

DANGER! Why marketers  are escaping the U.S. like it’s the Titanic

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Connecting to your audience like Wi-Fi

Seth Godin said something years ago that I thought was provoking.  He said would they [your audience] miss you if you were gone? 

I’ve done some good art and facilitated some transformations.  Like the Chicago Bulls, I’ve had a pretty good run.    I didn’t think anyone other than maybe my inner circle would miss me if I was gone though.

I mean, by god, I wasn’t the Salvador Dali of comics or the Dan Kennedy of email copywriting.  I’m just some dude from Arizona.  

Last year when politics got bat shit crazy and a murderous virus came to seemingly kill us all, I decided to use my social platforms to bring humor and fun to my followers.  

I posted every day and ignored everything but the replies to my content.  

Once the election was over and things settled down a notch I stopped posting.  And then it happened…

One of my old clients reached out  asked me if anything was wrong because i wasn’t posting anymore.  I was touched beyond words.  

Seth was right.  I was making a difference, even if it was just to a few people.  

It reminded me of something former American Idol judge Randy Jackson said.  He was at a Journey concert and all of the 70,000 people were singing along.  

“It’s the true connection to the human spirt.  This is what it’s all about.  People loved it so much that they learned every word and every melody.”

Everyone communicates.  Not everyone connects though.

Jackson said when he was on American Idol people would come up to him and talk like they knew him.  He said this was because American Idol was on two days a week.  Most shows are on once a week.

So why e-mail every day?  For this.  The connection.

When you stay in your list’s “face” every day, giving them content they want to see, you connect with them.  You become someone they’ll miss if you are gone.

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Flip your freebie

Most of us love free stuff!

When you give your course or service away as a promotion that’s really nice.  I’ve done it before too, but it’s not always buzz-worthy.

It’s like free samples at Costco.  You know they’re there but you rarely talk about how awesome they are.  “Ooow look…chicken”.  

“Look there….chicken on a cracker.”

“OMG crackers!”

To add some Blockbuster or what Disney might call “show” to your promos, sometimes you just gotta flip your freebie.

Bill Veeck is a minor league baseball team owner and author of the book Fun Is Good said…

“To give one can of beer to a thousand people is not nearly as much fun as to give 1,000 cans of beer to one guy. You give a thousand people a can of beer and each of them will drink it…You give 1,000 cans to one guy, and there is always the outside possibility that 50,000 people will talk about it.” 

Think about that.  

Instead of saying you’re going to give “a scholarship” to one person to take your one course for free.  How about you give one person your next three courses for free?  Or free courses for life?  

Instead of a free strategy session how about a promotion where one person can win 12 months of free coaching?

Like baseball, marketing can be a fickle game.  You can do promos the way ‘everybody’ does it or you can give Veeck’s way a try.  A helluva lot more people will talk about it if you do it his way.

Try it.

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