Tag Archives for " marketing "

October 24, 2018

Copywriters vs Systems People

I’ve been arguing for a few years that there needs to be a better division of labour between systems people and creative people.

This is true in email marketing. It’s true in Facebook, and in Google AdWords. (Sorry, now called ‘Google Ads’. What a pointless and stupid name change. Thanks Google.)

In all of these tools you’re best working with a ‘systems person’ who knows the tool inside out, and a separate ‘content person’ who can supply the systems person with a constant stream of creative. It’s also best if those two people work closely with each other, and understand at a high level what each other is doing.

Otherwise you end up in a situation where systems people are trying to write ads (always a terrible idea), and where copywriters are trying to build campaigns. Which is risky, because the cost of getting it wrong is tremendous.

I’m unusual because I have a foot in both the systems camp and the copywriting camp. But ultimately the best use of my time is writing. There are more people in the world who can implement the systems than there are that can create compelling ads or emails.

Having said that, it’s useful to know enough of the basics so you can test a concept yourself, and avoid being taken for an expensive joy ride by a marketing agency. I know enough about Facebook ads to test my own ideas. But if I wanted to really scale a campaign I’d be better off finding someone to do it for me.

The problem is that if you go to a Facebook expert before you’ve validated your idea, the Facebook expert will always sell you a complete campaign. You’re in an exposed position because you have no data to work from.

If you’ve already run a few ads and proven you can generate some conversions, that gives you a strong basis to approach a Facebook expert and say “look, I’ve got this campaign working. Can you scale it within these parameters?”

You might even be able to pay them fully or partially on results, because you have a baseline to work from.

It’s more work on your part to do it that way, because you can’t just let go of the steering wheel and outsource everything. But do you really want to do that anyway?

October 8, 2018

Your opinion doesn’t matter

When you work with clients you develop a system of red flag sensors.

One of the things that prickles my red flags is people who tell you they ‘don’t know marketing’, but in the very next breath try to inform you which ad copy will work.

“You may not know marketing,” I’ll respond in my head, “but you have ears. Listening skills are more important than marketing knowledge. And unless you personally are going to buy all of the product you sell for the next three months, your opinions actually don’t matter very much…”

Sometimes that missive escapes out of my head and into my mouth, which is the equivalent of wielding a sledgehammer around the office.

Which incidentally is why it’s always best to work with a few clients, rather than one big one. If you accidentally sledgehammer a client by speaking the truth, there’s always a risk they’ll run away crying.

So here’s an idea: rather than learning some fancy marketing tactic, what if you could better improve your marketing results by listening to what people are saying?

Are you:

  • Surveying people after that opt-in?
  • Speaking to people after they opt-in
  • Surveying people after they buy?
  • Gathering real customer feedback about the things they were worried about before ordering?
  • Making assumptions instead of doing this work?

Becoming a better marketer – and a better storyteller – is all about listening.

Of course you can’t package up that advice into a $995 value course, so it isn’t what most people will tell you.

August 3, 2018

Will your writing survive the test of time?

One of my favourite books is The Book of Gossage, by Howard Gossage. Published posthumously in 1986 after his death, the book takes a swipe at the state of advertising in the 1960’s.

I’d like to quote a passage to you:

“… despite everything you have heard about the value of repetition and keeping forever lastingly at it, the are some problems that can be solved with one ad if it’s the right ad. And there are some problems that won’t be solved by any ad or any number of ads; you should simply save your money. Maybe there is some way to go about it that won’t cost you anything.

Well, that’s the sort of advice you get from people who don’t have to sell you something before they can eat.

There’s another thing we are able to do because we’re not dependent on selling a big media recommendation with ads to fit. We can do one ad at a time. Literally, that’s the way we do it. We do one advertisement and then wait to see what happens.

Oh, sometimes we get way ahead and do three. But when we do, we often have to change the third one before it runs. Because if you put out an advertisement that creates activity, or response, or involves the audience, you will find that something happens that changes the character of the succeeding ads. It’s like a conversation. You say something and then the other person says something; and unless you’re a bore, you listen to what they say and respond accordingly.

This, after all, is the only polite way, when you come to think of it. It’s amazing how much fresher and more to the point the ads seem when you approach them in this fashion.

People like to be treated like human beings rather than as consumers, and they react very well to it, particularly when it comes to trotting down to the store, gas station, or saloon and buying some. Every one of our clients has enjoyed noticeable sales increases. This is the answer to the unspoken question we have been asked ever since we did our first interesting ad: “Yeah, but does it sell?

Now, back to the question: is advertising worth saving? Yes, if we can learn to look at advertising not as a means for filling up so much space and time but as a technique for solving problems. And this will not be possible until we destroy the commission system and start predicting our work on what is to be earned rather than what is to be spent.”

The reason this passage caught my attention yesterday morning was because it accurately describes the way I currently create Facebook ads: one at a time. I’ll be writing about that in this month’s Story Selling Insider letter.

Oh, and the commissions system where agencies position their creative services as ‘free’ (when you commit to £20K media spend, with 6 or 7 repetitions) is alive and well. It created a conflict of interest between clients and agencies in the 1960’s, and it still does so today.

I share all this to make a particular point. The very best writing you put out actually increases in relevance over time. The advancement of technology has accelerated the issues Gossage wrote about 50 years ago, because he discussed fundamental principles not passing fads.

Time is always the acid test. If you find your writing goes quickly out of date, you need to examine the things you’re writing about.

What can you write that will be more relevant in 50 years than it is today?

July 19, 2018

The cement-pouring approach to lead generation

Measuring your daily or weekly opt-ins as a key performance number can actually be misleading.

For example, I see a lot of people promoting automated webinars on Facebook. Usually some five step system to take my meagre consulting business to “the next level”.

(Great – just what I want to attend… another fake live webinar with an evergreen expiring one-time offer, from some schmuck who wants to pretend we’re playing a computer game).

It’s quite possible to push people’s hot buttons on Facebook and entice someone to opt-in. But do they actually attend the thing they opted in for? Do they watch the video they opted in for? Do they download the thing you offered? Can you pour cement around the relationship?

Personally I like to offer incentives that have to be consumed by email. My primary opt-in is a seven day storytelling course, which is delivered by email. If I can get someone to read my emails for seven days, it’s more likely they’ll carry on reading, buy my books and so on. Effectively it pours cement around the relationship early on.

I’d suggest measuring your opt-in numbers as a micro conversion, because that’s all it really is. The real conversion figure is how many people consume the thing you offered.

July 3, 2018

Are you showing up in enough places?

I received the following email yesterday from subscriber John:

Your name popped up in 4 different places today, so I think it’s a message from God. I just saw your post on Planet Perry, earlier I came across an old email of yours, and I also happened to see your first book on my Kindle today.

But the best one is this: I had a dream that you weren’t real, but rather an invention by a clever corporation. I kept thinking that couldn’t possibly be true because I had talked with you on the phone and seen you on our video calls. The clever corporation showed me that they had several stand-in stunt doubles of you.

So, Rob, real or not, I need some help with my email sequence. Can I send you what I created and get your advice on it?

Secondly, what does your monthly group cost? That might be helpful now. I finally have freed up 3 to 4 weekly hours of marketing time, and I want to use it wisely.

The possibility of several stand-in stunt doubles terrifies me. Imagine the grumpiness!

Jokes aside though, a good marketing nurture system should open the possibility of appropriately appearing to someone four times in one day. This does not mean emailing them four times.

It could mean:

Email, print newsletter, Kindle book, Facebook post

or

Email, podcast, Youtube video, text message

Four touchpoints is a lot in a single day, but probably not to someone who is close to buying.

If showing up four times a day across different media isn’t possible at the moment, you’re probably making it too easy for people to ignore you.

July 2, 2018

The real secret to Facebook advertising

General consensus is that giving away ‘special reports’ or ‘lead magnets’ isn’t as effective as it used to be. Especially on Facebook, where ambivalence to everything except dog photos is basically high.

The advice now is to give away more…

But is it sensible to give away your best secrets?

Last week a subscriber sent me a link to a YouTube course by Ryan Masters. It’s a complete online course about building a successful YouTube channel – and very detailed.

The thing is, I happen to know that Ryan manages Perry Marshall’s YouTube ads. So my perceived value of the course is automatically high. Without that insight I probably wouldn’t have looked at it twice. Or I may have added it to my electronic bookshelf to rot indefinitely.

You can see the course here.

Notice only a soft call to action – “Want more help? Contact Ryan.” But what really struck me was the amount of detail being given away.

My own experience with giving away entire courses is that it’s easy to get people started on a free course, but exceptionally difficult to get them to finish.

It’s fine to experiment with giving valuable stuff away, as long as the perceived value is high. The real challenge is consumption – getting people to read, watch or use the thing you’re giving away.

Lead generation is still a big part of the marketing puzzle, and I think the real question now is this…

Rather than giving more away, how can you raise the perceived value of what you’re giving away?

The secret to Facebook adverting isn’t to learn more ad hacks. It’s to develop a giveaway with a high enough perceived value that people share it, even though it’s an ad.

June 26, 2018

Have you heard of a ‘stick campaign’?

Are you ever bamboozled by marketing jargon? I am, still.

“Have you heard of ‘stick marketing’,” a client asked recently.

“No,” I admitted. I paused for a moment, imagining myself chasing down old email subscribers with sticks.

It turns out that a ‘stick campaign’, in newfound marketing jargon, basically means getting people to stick to arrangements. To attend the webinar they registered for. Or to attend the event they booked onto.

I dislike it as an analogy, because all I can think of is threatening customers with sticks. Perhaps I’m a thug.

Terminology like this mostly serves to make marketing seem more complicated (and therefore more technical) than it really is.

All you really need to know:

  1. You find potential customers, and gain permission to communicate with them
  2. You convert a potential customer to a paying customer
  3. You entice that customer to ‘stick’ around: to buy again, to upsell, to downsell, to make referrals

That’s all. No fancy terminology needed.

June 6, 2018

Do entire days vanish in a plume of marketing smoke?

We’re told regularly to take time out, to work on our marketing rather than inour business.

The trouble is, working on your marketing eats up an unbelievable amount of time.

Just yesterday I was working on a new opt-in funnel. People opt-in on Facebook for a free chapter of my book. When they download the chapter they also get an invite to an automated webinar.

Surely that wouldn’t take long to set up, right?

(Ha ha. Ha ha. ha. ha.)

Things are always more complicated than they seem.

The lead magnet opt-in uses a Facebook lead ad, which gathers the contact’s mobile number. The free chapter is sent to the contact by SMS, if the contact consents on the lead form. The SMS consent is stored in a custom Infusionsoft field. Different things then happen in Infusionsoft depending on whether I have someone’s mobile number. Various webinar follow-up actions happen, depending on whether the contact attends and how long they stay.

“Crap,” I suddenly thought about halfway through the setup, “I need to actually write some ads…”

Before you know it an entire day has slipped past, and that with me knowing exactly what I wanted to do and how to do it.

Imagine how long it would take if you didn’t know what you were doing?

When you’re working on your marketing, I think you HAVE to divide structure and message. Hire someone who understands the ins and outs of your marketing systems, and spend a day with them while they map everything out. Even better – get them to build it out for you.

Then fill in the form here to discuss you content with me. We’ll map out exactly what your message should be at each stage.

Don’t try to learn and do everything by yourself, because you’ll fail.

May 23, 2018

Is marketing worth saving?

I was listening to a podcast last weekend about health supplements.

“There’s a lot of buzz about so-called ‘super foods’,” the presenter began. You can tell that often it’s just hype. You know, it just sounds like marketing.”

Sounds like marketing.

I literally stopped in my tracks. If the world at large uses ‘marketing’ as a synonym for ‘bullshit’, we have pretty serious problems.

It caused me to ask: why am I determined to be involved in an industry widely associated with deception?

The answer I keep coming back to is it doesn’t have to be that way. Marketing can be real, authentic and open.

It just so happens that most marketing is not authentic. Most marketing is out to ‘get’ you using persuasion at any cost. And as buyers, we know this.

I think we can do better. Your customers want to know the real you. Are you letting the real you be seen?

December 1, 2017

Do we ‘know’ everything about marketing?

In many fields we thought we ‘knew’, it is becoming increasingly apparent how little we know.

Take physics for example. When you get down to quantum level, really weird and wacky things start to happen.

Did you know that when a tadpole turns into a frog, the tadpole’s tail is reabsorbed into the body? We can’t fully explain how this happens.

At the other end of the size spectrum, did you know that the known universe is expanding at a rate that means it may never stop expanding?

We didn’t know about all this until recently, because of course we already knew everything.

So, how about marketing? Many marketing experts will tell you that everything there is to know about marketing was ‘discovered’ 90+ years, by Claude Hopkins, Albert Lasker, or some combination of the two. I question whether this is actually true.

Marketing isn’t as deep a field as physics, but the ground certainly isn’t static. Marketing is made more complicated by tool complexity and scale. When it’s possible to sell to anyone in the world with an internet connection and a credit card, you have a more complex communications problem to deal with.

Yes, you need to know about features, benefits, bullets and social proof. But you also need to know how to communicate what you stand for. You need to know about databases. You need to know about automation.

Perhaps most fundamentally of all, you need to know how best to communicate your value, experience, transformation or outcome.

Do we know everything there is to know about all this? I hope not. Or else I’m off to become a physicist instead.

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