Misspelling or Selling

misspellingHow Marketing & Copywriting Skills are VERY different to Educated Writing Skills.

One of the joys of sending out a newsletter regularly is the engaged responses you get back from clients and recipients. We had a number of responses to our last newsletter, people asking about Print Town, people congratulating me on my engagement and commenting about my chubby baby (She’s so cute!). But, there was one scribbled letter we received from a Doctor in the mail that criticized us and our newsletter.

“Dear Ben & Zac, I was reading your recent August Newsletter which you sent to me. If you are going to promote yourselves as “experts” who have marketing skills and writing skills then you need to improve the quality of your work. If you want us to trust you and rely on you to write our material you need to do a lot better!!! This page is pathetic!! Spelling errors, errors in grammar, and confusion between nouns and verbs!!!! You need some English lessons!!!! WAIT TILL I SHOW THIS TO COLLEAGUES!!”

This page was accompanied by a violently torn page from our newsletter correcting the grammar and pointing out grammar corrections and where the word ‘practice’ was instead of ‘practise’ with the word JOKE written across the page.

I’ve got to admit, there was a part of me that was offended when I first received this. I mean, we spend our money, and our time putting together and posting out a newsletter for you guys every month… We share our lives, our experiences and our knowledge to help businesses to get more customers and referrals.

But what is really frustrating is that many “highly educated” university qualified business people think that writing marketing the way they wrote their essays in university will get the phone ringing. They are arrogantly oblivious that the biggest barrier to copy-writing success is university level educated writing.

Sandi Krakowski says “If you write me an email, be sure to talk to me in the way we’d chat over coffee or drinks. Whatever you do, don’t put on your “Stuffy Arrogant Business Professional” tone or I’ll hit delete and send you to my blocked lists of email senders.”

People relate to people. So write like a people actually talk.

If you ask any SUCCESSFUL copywriter, they will tell you to use a conversational tone and to write how your market speaks.

Note that I said how your market ‘speaks’ not how they write… even if you are marketing to highly educated people, even though they write ‘stuffy and proper’ they still don’t speak in proper written English.

When you talk there are pauses… there is EMPHASIS on certain words. AND sometimes a sentence DOES start with “but” or “and”… In conversational copy, commas are quick pauses. Full stops are longer pauses… Conversational copy puts people at ease. It’s easy to read… a 12 year old should be able to read ALL of your marketing and comprehend it.

Will it piss off the grammar Nazis… Definitely. But the other 98% of your readers will actually read and engage with what you write.

So to the Adelaide Doctor… While we do appreciate your feedback, we’ll skip the English lessons… We’ll stick to selling with our poor grammar and you can continue to have enough spare time to proof-read and critique our newsletter.

Referrals, Referrals, Everywhere: So let’s all take a drink.

referrals(My apologies to The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

So it’s the day after the month before – Ben and I have gathered the results of the referral competition.

Now we are starting to de-brief on the competition results – 46 referrals in 6 months (And I will say that we are so pleased with them we are going again with the same competition). At the same time we’ve been putting the finishing touches on our product The Ultimate Referral Machine.

I’ve also had a few quiet weekends over the last month or so – I’m writing this after 6 weeks of being unable to walk because of an undiagnosed cartilage dislocation in my right ankle. It took 2 weeks to find out what was wrong and then another 4 weeks for all the damage I did to both my feet in the first two weeks to settle.

Being unable to walk has lead to many a quiet evening and quiet weekend. Some welcome time for introspection.

It got me to thinking, about this beloved topic of referrals. We are doing an all right job generating referrals – we are already in the top 20% for sure of business for referral generation, comfortably the top 4% It might be higher… Our referral rates will account for 10%+ growth over this financial year on their own.

Implementing ‘One Thing’ And It Will Result in 10% GROWTH

It’s food for thought isn’t it? Most businesses would be happy with 10% growth a year. That leaves plenty of time to introduce new avenues of growth.

I’m now starting to wonder what is necessary in order to move into the top 1% of what is possible in referral generation. (I’d guess we leave most of our competition for dead.)

I know there are some referral systems we are not using and I am thinking about how we implement them and make them work for us – For example with clients across the continent, how do we make a referral event work?

So here’s the thing, there is an absolute dearth of information out there about referral generation and more importantly ready to implement systems so that you can generate a steady stream of referrals.

The Ultimate Referral Machine is the best aggregation of information I have seen on the subject of referrals that culminates in a ready to go system.

It has been successfully used by us, by some of our newsletter clients to create similar results.


The Dark Tower Is Calling. Do You Hear It?

dark towerI was re-reading an old issue of Dan Kennedy’s NO BS info-marketing letter. And he talked about his over-arching goals of that guided him through his business.

Anyway I think I have a similar set of goals that I got really clear in about 2011. Before that they were a little more amorphous. I believe I have a plan in place to get me to those goals over the next few years.

Kennedy was reflecting how those goals became a beacon for him. An acid test for pursing each venture.

For some reason I was immediately transported back to The Dark Tower by Stephen King.

The books probably the second best piece of epic fiction ever written. The Gap Cycle by Stephen Donaldson is far and away the best (memo to HBO, make that next – Game Of Thrones looks like  Twilight in comparison).

The Dark Tower is about Roland of Galead’s unrelenting quest to reach the reach the Dark Tower set in a  ‘Post-Apocalytic Western.’ And it is as much about the sacrifices Roland makes in order to achieve this massive over-arching goal as it is about his successes (and failures).

The power of pursuing the Dark Tower is that it makes everything a simple decision – am I getting closer or further away?

Is this decision in my long term best interests?

This is the power of the right goal. The wrong goal however can leave you in a world of hurt.

The journey is important in so much as it turns you into the person you need to be to reach your goals. But if the end result is genuinely what you are after, then following those tangents can get you to your goal a different way. Perhaps an easier way.

I first heard the call of The Dark Tower in about grade 6 (so I was 11. I guess?). But I didn’t start Roland’s pursuit in earnest until my 20s. And it wasn’t until nearly a decade later that I figured out what my Dark Tower was.

Considering I spent until my late 20’s in lateral drift, trying to find answers and all the while accumulating skills finally hearing the call of Dark Tower has helped no end.

It wasn’t long after that I realised a whole new sense of direction.

The question I have for you, is do you know where you want to end up or are you more concerned with how you are going to get there?

The Wolf of Wall St, when your opinion is wrong and the power of reflection.

hitlerLook, I know this will ruffle some feathers, but there is an important lesson in here and one worth putting up with some discomfort to understand.

During a history class in high school, they were studying World War II his history teacher asked my friend for his opinion on Hitler. His response was “he’s a very good orator, an extremely effective politician and he has done more to shape the 20th century than most other leaders.”

To be fair – you could say all of those things about Hitler, he used all of those things to achieve ends considered evil. My friend was told his opinion was “wrong.” The teacher was looking for some sort of moral judgment against Hitler. In touchy cases separating facts from emotion are is very hard.

I will add that Hitler was so DUMB that he tried to invade Russia in the winter just like Napoleon did 100 and some years before. (Doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result)

I personally find the taking of life for any reason morally wrong (extending all the way to animals – if you can’t kill it, you shouldn’t eat it). But all are entitled to their opinions no matter how wrong I think they are.

That is a long way to go but we are headed to where this gets interesting. I was reading an article about marketing and Mien Kamph and before we go getting all upset again, this guy has sold $50 million in mail order/ direct response marketing and probably done it in mostly chunks between $40 and $297. So his ideas are worth listening to.

So he’d done a whole lot of analysis of Mien Kamph as a sales letter for Nazism. And it’s actually very effective one at that (proving this copywriting stuff is merely a tool – it’s up to you to do ‘good’ with it). It puts forward a philosophy. It reasons out why that philosophy is the best way to make the world a better place. And it articulates how to bring that philosophy into reality.

Hitler wrote that book in jail – where he and the space to think and write. Interestingly Jordan Belfort would have probably remained footnote in Wall St history, if not for sharing a cell with Tommy Chong (Cheech and Chong) who told him “he gotta write this down.” Belfort actually learned to write in prison. He wrote the book after his serving his time.

Hitler afforded the time to think, actually wrote Mien Kumph in prison.

He actually says in the pre-face if he was never incarcerated he would never have had the time and space to think before he could ever put pen to paper.

There is real value in sitting down and figuring out ‘where next’ The most valuable time you could spend is getting clear of the day-to-day distractions. Turn off go outside and just think for a few days. It might be the most valuable time this year.

Go on get outta here.

3 All Too Overlooked Opportunities To Make Some Easy Money.

off-to-sellI’ve been racking my brain through my lunch break trying to figure out what to write (this needs to be done today – it’s a big week next week) and what came to me was “What can I do if I need to go and sell some stuff fast?”

Then I thought about what I would do at Newsletter Marketing Systems if I needed some quick sales. This is the big advantage of doing marketing the way we do it is that it can be very easy to do this.

The first thing I can think of is (this doesn’t equate to quality of opportunity either):

Add more traffic to the top of the sales funnel.

All you are doing is turning the existing wheel faster. There are several underused traffic sources that we can add very quickly the next time we want to increase client flow.

There is direct mail, unaddressed direct mail, increasing the amount of the media we are already using, including Facebook, Google and broadcast fax. And to be perfectly frank we haven’t even looked at things like display network and re-targeting.

Make an offer to our existing customers and leads.

Look it wouldn’t be too hard to get our existing customers to buy something else from us. Last month we were able to do just that and make 3:1 ROI in under 30 days. To do this we needed direct mail, we needed email and Ben and I had to do some copywriting and some design.

All in all it was still pretty quick. We’ve done faster before, when we had to.

That is the power of an existing customer database. They can be tapped for the additional sales surges.

Get Some Old Customers Back

This is especially the case from Ben’s old printing days. There are customers that have slipped through the cracks ordering a set of business cards once and never coming back and there currently isn’t a customer re-activation campaign to drop those inactive customers into. That is life.  It’s probably a good opportunity to get it sorted out if I am honest.

There is another project to add to the pile. But all the same if you can’t take advantage of these opportunities then I can tell you your business needs some work done it if you want it to be the vehicle you use in order to reach your financial goals.

The Longer You Keep Em

keeping-clientsI’ve gone through my past lot of articles for this ezine and realised just how long it has been since I wrote about keeping customers.

It’s the SECOND most important thing in business. But you need to know it before you start tackling the most important thing in business.

The most important thing in business is being able to get a customer. But what’s the point of getting them if you don’t know what you are going to do with them once you’ve got them?

I’ve talked to quite a few start-up businesses of late – about newsletters. And I always tell them the same thing – first thing first get you need a system for getting customers that is largely independent of you. Once you have that you then need to focus on keeping them.

It took me about 8 weeks of concerted effort to pull together the original customer acquisition system for Newsletter Marketing Systems, 3 years ago. It is still generating leads and customers for us – and some of those customers are still with us that started with us at day 0. That is a system.

Then all of our effort went into keeping those customers – by being essential to their business.

Building Print Town’s initial funnel might have been even quicker. It might have been about 4 weeks of effort – but I had the benefit of a lot of gestation time where I was working on other things.

Thankfully we already have a good retention system in place.

Here’s why this is important, it means I have a whole new lot of customers we can plug in and keep for longer.

The longer we keep our customers loyal to us:

  • The more chances to get these customers to repeat purchase from us for a fraction of the cost of the first purchase.
  • A readymade market for other products and services we choose to introduce in the coming weeks, months, years. (For us that list is getting longer not shorter.)
  • You have more opportunities to show your customers how to use your products and services in more ways – increasing the frequency they purchase and also the amount they purchase
  • The more chances they have to refer new clients to us.

We look at the value of all four of these things in our existing customer opportunity audit in your business.

Why? Because they make the value of all the money you invest in customer acquisition yield a much bigger return.

“It’s Not Whether You Win Or Lose But It’s How You Play The Game” –

“Winning Isn’t Everything But Losing Is Nothing” – Part 2

winning-losing-2In the first part of this article I talked about how winning and losing needs to be constructed in the context of playing a bigger game to reach your goals. Then having the ability to not take losing (Or winning) personally – which is a major barrier to reaching your goals and success.

And more importantly being able to understand that it’s not the number of times you win necessarily but how big you win when you do – and being emotionally okay with it. Mostly people are not okay with losing at all.

The second thing you need to be aware of is that you don’t want to go broke trying to win.

In both my and other people’s opinion, the inability to understand how to make compound interest or geometric growth work for you rather than against you is the single biggest obstacle to sustained success.

Is a 2% return any good?

One of our clients is getting about a 2% referral rate every month on his newsletter. In a past business life I was getting a 2% return on my direct mail, (that return meant I was making 2 grand in profit for every $100 spent.) I got depressed with 2% and stopped doing direct mail. Can you spell

‘B.I.G. M.I.S.T.A.K.E?’

Do you know what sustaining that response rate means? It means quite simply that our client’s business will grow 27% from new customers in the next 12 months.

Would that make you happy? 27% bigger this time next year.

All from a ‘piddly’ 2% response rate being able to compound for 12 months. 2 years on and you’ve grown 61%.

Unfortunately most people will get discouraged at 2% and just stop.

You can use compound interest in your favor or not. The choice is yours. But I can guarantee you that playing the long game is how most people succeed. I am yet to encounter a genuine overnight success. They all begin with long periods spent in obscurity, before the bloom into something massive.

As far as I can see everything unfettered in nature grows geometrically. The only place there is linear growth is in the world of jobs and employees.




“It’s Not Whether You Win Or Lose But It’s How You Play The Game”

“Winning Isn’t Everything But Losing Is Nothing”  – Part 1

winning-losingI probably heard the first quote from my mother when I first played under 8’s basketball. I heard the second quote from Mutant League Football on my Sega Megadrive when I was 12.

The first thing it is worth noting about any competition is that there are automatically winners and losers. In all but the most unlikely of circumstances you will end up with one label or the other. For those of you unhappy with labels there is only one option – life on the sidelines. In all likelihood working for the man, in either that depressingly massive bureaucracy – the government or a Dilbert Cube.

Unfortunately most of us feel that losing is nothing. It can be especially when you don’t learn anything or it’s not part a of deliberate strategy to win overall.

The hardest trophy to win in all professional sports is the Stanley Cup in the NHL. You play for best of 7 series, after completing a gruelling 82 game season just to make the finals. The commentators are fond of saying you have to win 16 games of hockey to win Lord Stanley’s Cup.

What never gets mentioned is that you can lose another 12 and still win – a 57% win rate. Wow! Those odds are hardly better than a coin flip. In this case a 7% edge over ‘chance’ and you become a grand champion – bathed in glory – your name etched on the cup along with every other person to have ever won it!

That’s what I mean about a deliberate strategy. One where the losses are factored in and accounted for as part of your plan for success. Not everything we’ve done here at Newsletter Marketing has been successful. Personally we can both share our share of hard luck stories. However when we’ve risked, we have risked small but the rewards have been comparatively massive.

We stack risk: reward in our favour!

So we can have lots of small losses and still come out ahead.

  1. Which means we don’t need that many winners to win.
  2. We keep using our winners until they no longer work – maximising our win.

We’ve been using a handful of control ads to do our lead generation in rotation for over 2 years now. They work like clockwork – month in month out they profitably  bring in new customers. It took a few goes to get it right but I couldn’t even begin to calculate the value of those winners to Newsletter Marketing.

Most people get stuck in the winning and losing is personal trap. I win means I am a winner. I lose means I am a loser. It means they have never see the big picture – success just doesn’t even mean winning more than losing. For many people it means when they win, they win so big that it cancels out all the losses and then keeps paying them.

It’s not whether you win or lose but how big you win and being able to stay in the game long enough to actually win. When you see the bigger picture the losses are just part of the bigger game.

“Why On Earth Should I Buy From YOU?”

why-should-i-do-business-with-youFor most of us that is the hardest question we can answer. It happens to be one of the foundation questions for making a sale.

Interestingly a bunch of people have just written about this in their marketing newsletters. Considering the UNPRECEDENTED levels of commoditisation (and rising) that are out there in more and more industries, every business needs a crystal clear Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

The USP was originally coined by Rosser Reeves in ‘Reality In Advertising.’ I have my copy. I hope you’ve got yours. For some reason unlike ‘Ogilvy On Advertising,’ ‘Scientific Advertising’ and ‘Tested Advertising Methods,’ ‘Reality in Advertising’ hasn’t stayed in print.

It is on its way to becoming the next ‘Breakthrough Advertising’ (which sold for $900 used on eBay until it was reprinted). At the moment ‘Reality in Advertising’ will only set you back a couple hundred bucks.


Developing a USP that actually works for a single product should allow you to sell much more than a couple hundred dollars worth of your product. In fact one of the criteria of a successful USP is that it can sell millions.

The advice in that book is absolutely priceless.

Now a lot of people have actually taken the term USP and pirated it into something else. A USP is not a slogan or a tag line but it can be.

The most famous USPs like that are probably :-

‘Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes. Guaranteed.’

‘Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.’

What is A USP? Dammit!?!

The USP is really much more than a slogan – at its essence is actually a boiling down of your sales message to a handful of pithy points that differentiate you from your competition and answer the most critical question: “why should I buy from you right now and not your competitor next week?”

The day you can answer that question your life changes. If you are never able to answer that question your business is doomed to be middle of the road at best.

The reason so few businesses have a USP is that nobody in the business took the time with the right tools to sit down and create a breakthrough USP.

The Secret Behind Footy, Cricket And Netball’s success And How You Can Use It To Find Your Best Customers.

afl-feeder-systemThere is a marketing success secret lurking just within our vision – in any professional sporting competition, from cricket to netball to rugby to NRL to AFL.

They all use a feeder system.

There are layers of competition below them aren’t there?

In the AFL you have the SANFL, VFL, WAFL, the NEFL. On top of that you have the junior competitions, not just the local footy clubs’ Seniors, Reserves, U18, U16, U14, U12, U10s all the way down to Oz-kick. There is also the elite under age competition – where future talent is identified and sent to.

Now there are some 800 odd listed AFL players (808 available for selection in supercoach).  My guess would be that the VFL, SANFL WAFL and NEFL probably has 4 times more players between them.

afl Then you go down to the level of the seniors at local footy clubs and there are at least 4 times as many again.

Then how many kids play at their age level?

It forms a feeder pyramid. Everyone aspiring to get to the next level. With the best players rising to the top.

Your customers do work the same as well. The fewest best should be at the top, giving you the most money, then there is the next tier, good but not quite as good as your best. Then there are some middle guys who might move up a level one day but are otherwise solid citizens. Then there is the rest who should aren’t customers yet, but might become customers one day.

Commonly called ascension – this can be engineered into almost any business. We are currently building into ours.

Most of your revenues can and probably do come from your fewest and best customers (this is 80-20 principle.) Many businesses try and operate outside of this and ignore it. You need to find ways for your best customers to spend more with you. They can and they will.

graphThe amount your customers spend with you should look like this – few spending a lot, many spending some. A whole lot spending not much. That is a business operating in accordance with nature.