Category Archives for "Blog"

October 18, 2019

Determine strategy before writing ads

I am forever losing my wallet. Not seriously losing it, like leaving it on a train, but losing it around the house. We’ll regularly be attempting to go out as a family while I frantically scramble around.

“You’ve got the bank app,” Linzi would say, exasperated. “Why don’t you just pay on your phone…

‘Pay on your phone?? What witchery is this?’ I replied in my head.

Anyway this week I did pay for something on my phone. Somewhat tentatively, in a Pret A Manger sandwich store. I didn’t have my wallet, so there was no other option.

I held my phone to the card reader, which beeped and went green…

Mind… blown.

You don’t even have to open the app. What an ingenious way to spend money even easier and faster!

“Okay Grandpa…” was Linzi’s sarcastic reply when I enthused about it later.

When you’re constructing a customer follow-up system, your first consideration is the nature of the communications problem you’re trying to solve.

For the phone banking app, the main problem was simply getting me to setup and use the thing. Once used, the product sells itself. It’s simpler and faster than finding my wallet. If you were constructing a remarketing system, you might say things like ‘dare to go shopping… without your purse?

Other products require more education, which changes the nature of the ads you might run. The common thread is that the product must be excellent, or else no amount of advertising can help.

The real question is: what steps in your sales process convert cold prospects into raving fans?

Answer that first. Then build the maze around your answers. There is no ‘one size fits all’ remarketing strategy.

March 22, 2019

The pressing need for truth

MP Brexit

I am occasionally asked by American readers what I think about Brexit. Without wanting to push too many political opinions at you, I came across the following video​ yesterday on Facebook.

MP Brexit

Whether he’s right or wrong is besides the pointWhat matters is he spoke his version of the truth.

There’s a great need for truth in marketing, just as there is in politics. We’re all sick of being lied to.

I’m presuming you’re here because you market your services in some way. So for today I just want to ask… are you calling things as you really see them?

By calling things as you see them you alienate a part of your list. So the tendency is to say safer things that don’t stand out so much.

But it doesn’t help you in the long term.

February 7, 2019

Marketing for the Unmarketables

I do a number of things that don’t fit into black and white boxes.

I was asked by a medical professional fairly recently whether I smoked. Without thinking, I told her I smoked 1.5 cigars per year – on average – but sometimes none at all. And maybe a cigarette or two if I ever get stinkingly drunk and stay out all night. I decided not to mention the spliff in Amsterdam.

“But… do you smoke?” she repeated, staring at me.

“No, not really,” I replied.

“I’ll just put no,” she said drily.

I’ve tried to push myself into many moulds in recent years, and I don’t fit in any of them.

I’m a pay per click expert, but not a pay per click person.

I’m a CRM expert, meaning I know more about it than your average punter. But I’m not really a systems person, and when you strip it back CRM is all about systems and not so much about technology, gadgets or automation.

I’m a writer, definitely, but not really a copywriter. Not in the sense most people think of. I don’t even like reading copywriting books very much.

When all else fails I tell people I ‘work in marketing’. Which is true at a very high level, but false in the way most people think of it. I don’t even like marketing very much, or at least the way most marketing is carried out.

I realise all of these things when I go to conferences, and see real out-and-out experts talking about PPC, CRM or copywriting, or whatever. People who hyper-specialise in a particular area, like the system we live in trains you to do. I sometimes feel envious of these people… only to realise they’re normally envious of me.

As soon as you take a multi-disciplinary approach to something, you’re in the grey zone. You’re no longer a smoker, nor a non-smoker. Easy conversations about what you do dry up. But meaningful conversations about work start to appear, if you can spot them.

I’ve noticed in hindsight that the clients I do the best work for also live in the grey zone. They’re not usually out-and-out anythings. If they were, they’d be going to Upwork for help, not coming to me.

I probably need to trademark that, and make it my next domain name (haha). Grey Zone Marketing: Marketing for the Unmarketables.

February 4, 2019

A key ingredient for good stories

Linzi and Hugo were away for a few days last week. Leaving me all alone at home on my lonesome.

(Can you hear that tiny, tiny violin?)

What do you think I got up to?

Was I looking at the front door, pining for them to return? I’ll give you a second to mull over the possibilities…

On Wednesday I went to… the theatre.

Imagine that – the theatre! Can’t remember the last time I went to the theatre. Certainly pre-baby. I saw a play called The Department of Distractions, which I enjoyed.

On Thursday I went to… the spa.

The spa! I kid you not. I sat in a steam room all afternoon contemplating my own existence.

Other than that I’ve been riding the tram around, drinking posh espresso.

Basically I’ve been living the sweet life for a few days.

Linzi and Hugo are back now, and I’m glad. Daddy Day Care is open again. But I’ve come to the assessment that to be a good storyteller, you also have to carve out some time for you. Regardless of how busy you are, and how many commitments you have.

It’s a bigger deal than it sounds. Otherwise, what will you ever write about?

February 1, 2019

Anything But Facebook

Every business has a bottleneck of some sort, and in mine the bottleneck is lead generation.

I’m currently one platform down. As you might remember, I’m at war with Facebook. Or more specifically, Facebook is at war with me, having disabled my account.

All of which has prompted me to look again at some of the other ad platforms. I’ve currently got four lead generation offers to test, and I’m going to test them on Google Display, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube. I’m also testing Amazon ads. I’m going to test different offers as both front end offers, and remarketing offers.

Anything is game. Any ad platform and ad format. Except Facebook.

(Screw you Facebook).​

I’ll carry on doing this until I find a handful of things that work. I’m calling this project ‘Anything But Facebook’.

I’ll document ‘Anything But Facebook’ as I go, and publish my findings in the March edition of the Magnetic Expert print newsletter.

If lead generation is your bottleneck, then at some point you have to roll up your sleeves and take responsibility for it.

January 31, 2019

What does real expertise look like?

“Who do you work with?” is one of the questions we all must answer with as much clarity as we can muster.

I’ve struggled with this over the years. I now tell people I work with ‘coaches, consultants and experts’. Which has led me recently to ask… what actually makes someone an expert?

(Because often the people claiming to be experts actually aren’t…)

The experts I’m after usually don’t have the best or slickest marketing. A true expert won’t have much time for marketing at all. They’re mostly out of sight, doing their thing. They’re hard to find on Google. They often don’t fully appreciate how valuable that thing is. They don’t collect as many testimonials as they should. They have at least three books in their head, but worry nobody will be interested. They have fascinating stories. They provide an outstanding service and experience, but you wouldn’t know it from first impressions.

The type of expert I seek out has lived a life, and brings multi-disciplinary insights. They see connections between things that aren’t obvious. They have a contrarian take on things. They think deeply about things, at least from time to time. They ask questions about why things work they way they do. They disappear unapologetically down intellectual and vocational rabbit holes. They have eclectic reading habits.

You could describe that as an ‘avatar exercise’ if you like, or at least the beginnings of one. Perhaps really it better describes the type of person I want to become.

Either way, it’s good to be more specific about the type of person you’re trying to find.

January 23, 2019

What aren’t you writing about

Linzi attended a ‘speed awareness’ course on Monday. Which is something the police can offer you when they catch you speeding, if you’re a first or infrequent offender.

For a number of weeks I’ve been referring to it as ‘detention’, and calling her Linzi ‘Schumacher’ Drummond.

Despite my jokes, she came away with some interesting insights. For example did you know:

  • For the police to put up a fixed speed camera, there have to be at least three casualties or major incidents in that spot. They don’t just put up cameras in the most lucrative locations.
  • If a spot has had one or two major incidents and a camera has been demanded by residents, the police will sometimes send a mobile camera in a van. But again, this is always in response to an incident.
  • The variable speed limits on newer ‘smart’ motorways are determined by pressure sensors under the carriageway, which feeds data into a mathematical model. (I always assumed traffic was monitored by cameras overhead, but it isn’t.) If the model works correctly you won’t actually see a congestion incident.
  • If you’re doing 31mph instead of 30mph, you’ll still be travelling at 8mph at the point you would have stopped.

Why relay all this?

There are always interesting insights about what you do that you aren’t talking about. Common misconceptions people have that you haven’t addressed.

What things do you know that a potential customer likely won’t have thought about?

That could be your next email.

December 14, 2018

Make your book a reality… in 15 weeks or less

If you sell based on trust and expertise, publishing a book can boost your credibility and facilitate high value sales.

Which of course is where things fall apart…

If you’re like most of my clients, you can talk for hours about your topic. You’re passionate about helping people. But writing isn’t quite your thing. You know you have a book inside you – perhaps even multiple books. “But when will I find the time!” you think to yourself.

(Never! Is the answer…)

In 2019, an Amazon book will become the ultimate lead magnet for coaches, consultants and experts. The ultimate business card too. You can play around with automated webinars. You can spend thousands of dollars on Facebook ads. But nothing leaves the same impression as a physical book.

Whether you’re publishing for lead generation, profit or legacy, I want to help get that book out of your head.

Read more at If you’d like to save some money I’m looking for some early bird clients to work through this with in the New Year.

December 12, 2018

What did you add to your body of work this year?

My office is generally a hive of production: of emails, newsletters, books, Facebook ads, Google Ads, and whatever else.

From time to time it’s important to stop and take stock.

I’m currently compiling all of my daily emails into an annual. It’s been a rewarding process so far to sift through everything I’ve sent this year. When you look back, clearer trends start to emerge. It’s easy to forget what you’ve sent. Often there are emails that can be re-purposed into other formats.

I’ll be publishing all of this year’s emails in a single volume on Monday 24th December. It’ll be free in PDF format, and possibly on Amazon as a paperback. After that there won’t be any emails until Monday 7th January. In the meantime I’ll be working on an update to my copywriting book Simple Story Selling.

These emails, my print newsletter, and my books make up my body of work. Taking stock of your body of work from time to time is a valuable activity.

A useful question to ask at the end of the year is: what have you added to your body of work this year?

If the answer is “not much”, then a useful follow-up question is: what do you want to add to your body of work next year?

And then: what is the business case? Is there an obvious payoff right under your nose?

December 11, 2018

How to get better ideas and beat writer’s block

I’m a big believer in setting a public schedule for your marketing. It doesn’t have to be a frequent schedule, but it does need to be public.

Everyone on this list hopefully knows you’ll get an email from me at 9AM UK time during the week.

Subscribers of my print newsletter know they’ll get a print newsletter from me once a month.

A weird thing happens when you set a public schedule: you start automatically looking for ideas to write about. It’s like your subconscious brain chugs into gear, and throws up ideas when you are least able to write them down. In my case in the middle of the night, out on a run, or in the shower.

If you don’t set the schedule – or if you don’t commit to it by telling people about it – you don’t get anywhere near the same level of ideas.

If you’re like me, you’re probably planning what you want to do next year. In my opinion, one of the best things you can do is set a public schedule for your marketing.

Most people won’t do this, because it’s not a trick, hack or shortcut. It’s actually the opposite of a trick. If you need to stay in touch with people for a long period of time it’s a great way to stand out.

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