While hanging out at the ETR Bootcamp last week I heard a great little “gold nugget” about testing and optimizing your marketing results.
Mary Ellen Tribby, one of the sharpest business women I’ve ever encountered and good friend of our little Strategic Profits crew, was on stage along with the the other expert panelists. Attendees were lining up at the microphone to grab their few minutes of “consulting time” during the Q&A portion of the event.
Personally, I was in the back of the room checking my email on my iphone. So, I didn’t hear the exact question posed. But, the moment I heard Mary Ellen’s answer I perked up. Here’s what she said…
“You want to test the things that scream. Not the things that whisper”
What a great way to articulate the importance of testing the truly impactful things, I thought to myself.
And, it’s totally and completely a savvy point.
Testing and tracking is essential to optimizing your marketing results. In fact, you can’ t improve the results you’re getting without proper testing and tracking. And, that’s really where the beauty of marketing online comes into play.
No matter how poor your results are today, you can always improve what’s happening by optimizing the key areas within your marketing and sales funnel. And, your optimization efforts come from the tests you conduct on the areas within your marketing and sales funnel that can have the biggest impact on the bottom line.
As I explained in our recent Conversion Clinic, when testing to improve conversions, you want to invest your time and attention on the big things. On the things that can have a significant impact on the numbers.
You don’t want to invest your time on minor aspects of your promotion or funnel (i.e. the color of your signature, the font you’re using, words that are bolded or underlined, etc.).
You want to focus on the things that play a massive role in conversions (i.e. the big idea or hook behind your promotion, the headline, the lead, the offer, etc.).
Think of it like this:
If your job was to double, triple, or even quadruple conversions and sales, what would you test? Whatever the answer; go test it.
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It’s been said from the shrewdest of salesmen… “People buy products and services from people they like and trust. And, people like people who are most like them.” This is why establishing the feeling of commonality (rapport) with your prospect is such a critical step in the marketing and sales process.
It’s also why the use of something coined – “the common enemy” – is such a powerful copywriting gambit.
If you’re not familiar with the “common enemy” within copywriting, it’s a tactic to gain rapport with your prospect by bringing-up and highlighting the person or entity they blame for the existence of their problem (the problem you’re focusing on in your sales letter and the one your product or service eliminates).
Talking to medical doctors in your copy about the horrors of getting reimbursement from the dreaded insurance companies is an example of using the “common enemy” tactic. So is talking about the “evil IRS” to folks undergoing the pleasures of a tax audit.
When employed correctly, this can be a very powerful sales technique. Because people tend to band together when facing a common enemy. And, when used in your sales letter, it significantly increases the level of rapport your prospects will feel for you (which is always a plus when selling anything).
But, what do you do if there is no explicit enemy to bring up and side against with your prospect?
You use something called the “Secret Enemy”.
I first learned about the power of the “secret enemy” from Michael Masterson.
To paraphrase; the “secret enemy” is something the prospect doesn’t realize is causing their problem or hasn’t thought of… that you can highlight and bring-up in your sales letter to create that needed rapport and further your sale.
For instance, if you were selling a diet pill for men, you could talk about how the cause of your prospect’s weight struggles is not due to their lack of will-power or self-control… but… is actually because of the hidden and insidious sugars slipped-in under the radar into their “organic” snacks. In this case, the hidden sugars are the “secret enemy”.
If you were selling a gardening book, you could talk about the sneaky little nocturnal bugs that quietly devour the precious plant roots within your prospect’s garden leaving them to stand-by baffled over the lack of flourishing vegetables and their vacant garden. In this case, those darned bugs are the secret enemy.
The point is just this…
If you can identify and side with your prospect against a common or “secret” enemy in your sales letter you significantly increase your feeling of commonality and rapport, and hence, bolster your chances of closing the sale.
Remember, “People buy products and services from people they like and trust. And, people like people who are most like them.” If you feel the same way your prospect does about your prospects’ enemy, you’re viewed in a much more favorable light.
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Prior to about the age of 23 I despised reading. Back then I was more interested in playing a little Sega Genesis or simply goofing off with my buddies.
It wasn’t until I was bit by the business and marketing bug that reading became one of my most treasured joys.
Today, I love books. I love buying them. Flipping through them. Reading them. Highlighting them. And, putting them to work in my life.
Having invested in an average of about 2 books a week for the past 14 years, I can honestly say… the acquisition of actionable knowledge via reading has… no-doubt… altered the course of my life.
There are about 15 or so books that I credit for having the greatest impact on my thinking and actions.
Today, I want to share 10 of those books with you. In a future blog post I’ll share the rest.
For now, scan the list below to see what books, if any, you haven’t read. Then, go get ’em. More important – go get ’em, read ’em, then put what you learn into action.
Psychology Of Winning by Denis Waitley
This book was one of the first “self-help” books I was really exposed to. I was given the 6 CD version of this book by my, then, employer. It radically changed my thinking about success and failure. More than anything, it taught me how winners think, and that with some practice, I could train my mind to think the same way. I credit a lot of my mindset today to this book.
Goals by Brian Tracy
This quite possibly could be my favorite personal development book of all time. Because I’m a huge believer in goal setting, I fell in love with the depths this book goes into as it explains and lays-out the goal setting process. At the end of almost every year, I go through this book to refresh my memory of the goal setting process and help me prepare for another coming year.
Triggers by Joe Sugarman
As someone who spent almost 12 years in fitness-related sales, I really enjoyed the way Sugarman breaks down 30 different sales principles in this book, and shows how they’re used effectively in business every day. This is one of those books you’ll refer back to periodically. And, every time you do… you’ll be reminded of a gem.
Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan S. Kennedy
When I first started learning about direct response marketing and long-form copy, this book was a goldmine. It really gave me a great foundational understanding of the format and structure of a good sales letter. Even to this day, I still reach for my original copy of this book and flip through it for random ideas and reminders.
The Robert Collier Letter Book by Robert Collier
When I started to get serious about writing great sales letters I decided to grab a copy of this classic. And, boy am I glad I did. It contains some incredible examples of quality salesmanship in print. It was this book that really opened my eyes to many of the principles we still use today when writing sales letters and crafting email promotions. I guess that’s why this book is recommended by almost every legend of marketing and advertising.
How To Write A Good Advertisement by Victor Schwab
What makes this book such a gem is how Schwab breaks down, in detail, the process every marketer needs to follow to get the attention of the marketplace. He actually reviews 100 great headlines and explains why they’re so effective. This was the book that really showed me the mandatory elements of a response-generating marketing or advertising piece.
Testing Advertising Methods by John Caples
In combination with the previous two books I mentioned, I feel this book really took my understanding of effective copy to a whole new level. This is one of those books that you’ll want to keep close when you’re writing any kind of copy. Caples’ does a superb job of handing readers actionable lists you’ll refer to over and over. I still do.
The 26-Hour Day by Vince Panella
A couple of years prior to going full-time online, I got hooked on the idea of time management and productivity. I started reading everything I could get my hands on about the topic. More importantly, I started putting into action the things I was learning. And, very quickly I realized… the better I controlled my actions and time, the more I got done. I was so impacted by this book, I requested an interview with the author. And I got it. It provides some great advice about managing your time. (Honorable mention here: Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. The main concept of this book also changed my view of tasks and prioritization. It’s definitely worth a quick read.)
Influence by Robert Cialdini
This book is the mother of all persuasion books. Almost everything you need to know about persuasion and the way the human mind can be “controlled” you’ll find within this book. Not a day goes by that something I learned from this book isn’t used in our marketing efforts. I think almost every top marketer would agree.
Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
From a pure marketing perspective, there’s probably no other book that’s had more of an impact on me than Breakthrough Advertising. The way Schwartz breaks down and explains the process of creating winning marketing and advertising is just outstanding. This book shares what no other book does – the appropriate communication style and approach for each stage of marketplace maturity. This little book is truly been worth it’s weight in gold for me!
That’s all for now. In a future post I’ll share the rest of my list of books that I credit for having the greatest impact on my thinking and actions.
What about YOU?
What books have had the greatest impact on you, your thinking, your actions, your business, your marketing?
Share it below. Leave a comment.
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As a serious student of the marketing and advertising game I’ve certainly come across my share of big lessons and “Aha!” moments.
But, there’s one lesson that stands out far above all the others in how it’s impacted my ability to create marketing that pulls like crazy. I can easily say this one lesson alone has been worth hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to me personally.
I’m going to pass it on to you today.
Then let’s get to it…
The lesson comes from the late Eugene Schwartz.
If you’re not familiar with Mr. Schwartz… he is a legend in the world of advertising and copywriting and is often referred to as the “Greatest Copywriter Who Ever Lived!”
In his book Breakthrough Advertising (that regularly sold on ebay a couple of years ago for over $900.00) Mr. Schwartz outlines a concept I’ve never seen or heard anyone else talk about.
He calls it, “The 5 Sophistication Levels of Your Market”.
He explains that you must… MUST… market your product or service differently depending on what “stage of sophistication” your market is currently in.
(I recommend you read that sentence again before moving on)
The different “levels of sophistication” are determined by how many competitors there are in the marketplace, what claims they’ve made about their products or services, and how long prospects have been hearing about their products and claims.
For example, let’s take the weight loss supplement market.
Years ago, when the weight loss market was in its infancy, you could market a supplement by simply promising “Take This Pill And You’ll Lose Weight”.
But as the market matured, and saw that promise over and over, it quickly became an inadequate claim in your marketing if you were selling weight loss supplements.
In essence, the market progressed to a new “level of sophistication”.
So the marketing of those supplements had to evolve to the next level.
This required marketers to take those original claims and promises and enlarge them.
For instance, “Take This Pill And You’ll Lose Weight In 7 Days Or Less”.
But, just like before, as more and more marketers were enlarging their claims, the market became more sophisticated, moving on to the next level of sophistication.
Again, it was no longer adequate to simply make bigger, bolder promises.
Now that the marketplace was in the third level of sophistication, marketers had to make sure their marketing evolved as well, if they wanted to continue to generate sales.
At this… the third stage of sophistication… marketers had to now include what’s called a “UNIQUE MECHANISM” to their claims and promises in order to keep their marketing producing.
For instance, “Take This Pill… That Blocks The Absorption Of Fat In Your Intestines… And You’ll Lose Weight In 7 Days Or Less!”
Eventually, though, as the market accepted these new mechanism, it evolved to the next level, like all markets do, and the marketing lost it’s potency forcing marketers to shift once again.
According to Schwartz, in the final stage of sophistication, marketing must shift from bigger, bolder claims and a focus on the “unique mechanism” to being more prospect-centric.
Meaning: now, in the final stage of sophistication, marketing must focus and identify with prospects experiences if it’s going to resonate and be effective.
And this is HUGE!!!
You see… it’s not just a matter of throwing together some marketing that focuses on the benefits or claims of your product or service.
It’s FIRST about understanding the sophistication of your market and then making sure your marketing addresses the specific demands of that level.
If your marketing is at still at Level 1 or 2 and your market is at Level 3 or 4, your marketing is going to flop. Period.
Hopefully, you can see why this such a MASSIVE PIECE OF ADVICE and LESSON.
Masters and the legends of marketing like Eugene Schwartz are the guys who pioneered the most effective, most powerful, and most profitable marketing tactics and strategies of history!
If you haven’t studied… and re-studied… the classic marketing books and experts… you’re really, really missing out on experiencing a true breakthrough with your marketing.
But, if you’re not a reader or just don’t want to invest the money or time studying and analyzing the works of these masters… you’re in luck.
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In fact, regardless of what you’ve read or haven’t read, I highly recommend you get this training from Rich.
Well… it’s been just a few minutes since the Live Email Persuasion Formula Training finished up.
The entire training was designed to show marketers how to get more of their emails opened, more of their emails read, more of their links clicked-on, and more of their list to buy.
If you were one of the online marketers to participate in this Training, once again we want to hear from you.
Let us know what your biggest takeaway was from the Live Training and what you thought about the quality of information, guidance and advice shared with you.
Go ahead… leave your insights and comment below.