Use this Dan Kennedy gem for fundraising over the holidays

This post is a little different.

Today is a shout out to anyone that needs to raise money this holiday season. 

This morning I snatched up my copy of the Ultimate Sales Letter and I ran across this little gem.  

Dan had to write a corporate fundraising letter for the Arthritis Foundation’s annual telethon.  The first thing he did was he grabbed a bunch of other fundraising letters to see what all of them were doing wrong.  

He found it.  

They all talked about THEIR priorities and what they needed the money for.  They never addressed the donor’s needs and priorities.

Like, not at all.  

Before he wrote his letter he visualized himself a business owner being pelted with pleas from charities.  He asked himself, “If I were to give, what would be important to me?”

For example:

What benefit to me or my company justifies the cost?

Who else had picked this drive to contribute to? (How can I validate my judgement?)

How would I get the money to give?  (What budget would it come out of?)

These are real questions that REAL people have.  And once you add in all the noise of the hundreds of options out there, it gets even more complicated.

It doesn’t matter if you’re raising money for a charity to rescue beetles in Qatar or curing cancer.  Take Kennedy’s insight and run with it.

They say don’t bite the hand that feeds you.  But, you don’t want to ignore the hand either.


I’m the best, deal with it

I am the best.

I act like it.  

I charge like it.

I own it.

Sound a little full of myself, eh?  Well, I’m the best at what I do.  You’re the best at what you do.  Let me explain. 

When I did my Scumdog [Wanna-be] Millionaire post , it was about a guy who was looking for an artist.  He found ME.  

On THAT day, for THAT project, for THAT Scumdog, I was the BEST artist for that job.

If you wanted to get a kids animated movie made and you had an unlimited budget.  Wouldn’t it make sense to go to Pixar and commission them to do it?  They’re arguably the best in the world at feature animation.

There’s a problem though.  

You can’t get Pixar.

You can’t get DreamWork either.

Industrial Light and Magic?  Keep looking Bubba…

You may end up hiring a small animation studio in Florida.  And on that day, for your project, they will be best studio for that job.

Life can seem cruddy when our engines aren’t firing on all cylinders.  Our confidence can whittle down like an old set of tires.   

But no matter the people or the products are out there.  You and your products are the BEST.

Own it.

Act like it.

Charge like it.


Fuel for your marketing

I was watching Modern Family the other day.

Jay (Ed O’Neill) scored a stay for him (and the whole family) at a posh hotel.  In his mind everything was perfect because he had an Excelsior level room.  This was the “top floor” and the best experience that the hotel offered.

So he thought…

He tried taking an elevator to the “top floor” and security shut him down.  He learned his Excelsior privileges were second best.  Excelsior+ was the top floor and the best plan available.

He was pissed.

He even went outside to count the floors of the hotel. 

It was funny.  It seemed stupid even.  But guess what?  Most of us do it everyday.  

I had a college professor that bought nothing but leather bound books.  He paid about $100 for each book when he could’ve purchased the paperback for around 20 bucks.

And even if you don’t do it, your audience does.

Why buy a Gucci mini bag for $1600 when you can get a purse at Walmart for less than $20.  

A Ford Explorer will get you to work just as easily as a Range Rover.  You’ll save about 50k too.  So why do people do it?

Status baby!

Status is a great source of pride for most people.  It makes us who we are.

It works in reverse too.  

I know a guy who buys all his clothes at Walmart and would never consider shopping at Macy’s or Saks Fifth Avenue.

The bottom line is KNOW who you are talking to when you write emails and copy.

Seth Godin said, “It’s possible to use the status hierarchy as a sort of fuel”.

That’s right.

Use status as fuel to make what you say bigger, better, and last longer.

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The meat and potatoes of writing emails

Writing emails can be tough.

And if you take my advice and email every day, sometimes it can feel like pushing a baby elephant…


I admit, I have different approaches in creating emails but one method I use is to start with a theme or premise.

And by ‘theme’ I just mean, what your email is about or the meat of your message.  

Here’s the theme of the movie i, Robot:

“A technophobic cop investigates a crime that may have been perpetrated by a robot, which leads to a larger threat to humanity.”

So how does this work for emails?

Let’s say my theme is based on something I heard Darren Hardy say last week.  I don’t remember it verbatim but he said, environment is stronger than willpower.  

I had to think on that one for a second. 

That was powerful!  

It reminded me about a book I read called Influencer and all sorts of memories and ideas that backed up what Hardy said. 

So if Darren Hardy’s quote was the “meat” of email, the next thing to do is add a vegetable, a grain, and maybe even a roll or two to support your theme.

That’s why the concept of writer’s block is more fictitious than Spongebob and Patrick barbecuing underwater.

If you need help cooking up content all you need to do is open a book or an Internet browser.

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Sharpening your ax

One problem I have with the epilogue of the Harry Potter book series is what happens to Hermione Granger.  I think she would have been a fantastic (and probably famous) witch.

I say that because she was a great student. 

Dumbledore was a great student.

Tom Riddle [Voldemort] was a great student.  

When I saw Lebron James when he was young I knew he was going to be really good when I saw how  SERIOUS a STUDENT of the game he was.  

And being 6’8’ and 240 didn’t hurt either…

Keep in mind when I say study I’m not talking about merely reading or watching videos.  Lots of people do that.  Studying is reading/watching, applying, and taking account of your results.

And doing this on purpose.

That’s why copywriters that I respect like Gary Bencivenga said 40% of his day is research.  Ken McCarthy gave a similar ratio, and so did Eugene Schwartz.

Like these greats did, STUDY your craft.

STUDY your customers.

STUDY your marketplace.

It’s like the famous Abraham Lincoln quote.  “If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe.” 

Sharpen your ax.

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