I firmly believe that some understanding of marketing is vital to succeed online.
The Internet offers us a great ability to quickly test ideas and get products or ideas out into the public for a low cost. So what I call the “barrier to entry” for starting up a business is very low, especially relative to a traditional brick and mortar business.
The problem with a low “barrier to entry” and low start up costs is now you have people who have no idea about business or marketing starting up businesses online and wanting to make money from their websites.
I am not suggesting that you need to go to business school. But I am suggesting that at least learning and understanding a bit more about marketing can go a long way to helping your online endeavors.
There are always good and bad with all things and marketing is no different.
If you think that marketing is fake countdown timers, false scarcity and threatening price hikes, then I am here to tell you that you need to change your perspective.
Recently I stumbled across a great free resource. It’s called the “I Love Marketing” Podcast hosted by marketing lovers Dean Jackson and Joe Polish. This has to be some of the best, honest, down-to-earth and practical marketing advice I have ever heard. I highly recommend you check it out.
Both Dean and Joe come from jobs where proper direct response marketing really transformed their businesses. This led to them becoming leaders in their respective industries through helping others in those industries learn to grow their business.
I want to share with you some great insights that came from one of their recent podcasts.
You may not know what direct response advertising is. Basically when we look at advertising we have two broad types.
Here is an example of what I believe to be wasted advertising.
In one of my local glossy magazines I have seen an ad for a photography studio. It has a nice photo image and the company’s name lettered across the image.
And that’s it.
It looks nice but seriously I have to wonder what it is doing for business. There isn’t even a web address or phone number.
If you honestly think that people will be that captivated by your ad that they will go online and look you up, then I am sorry to say you would be sadly mistaken.
Yet I see this type of “pretty looking” advertising all the time. It is absolute garbage but you know why advertisers get away with it? Because there is no accountability. There is no way to measure response from the ad because there are no contact details or way to track results. So the people who designed the ad can probably spin some garbage that the ad is building “brand awareness”, which is a near impossible metric to measure.
A much better ad would focus on what the consumer wants and draw them in with a catchy headline. Start by listing the types of photos or occasions your photography studio specializes in. Offer a 10% discount for readers of the magazine that is valid to the end of the month and then a big call to action along the lines of “for the best in photography service phone…”.
None of that would be new to anyone that knows basic copywriting.
Dean Jackson used to work in the real estate industry and to get clients he would spend time cold calling from the phone book.
Dean knew if he made a certain number of calls, due to probability, he would get a certain number of prospects.
There was one problem. If Dean didn’t make any calls, he didn’t get any prospects. He likened this to a hamster wheel, the wheel moves when the hamster is on it, but as soon as it gets off the wheel, it stops.
By great fortune Dean discovered direct marketing and concocted an ingenious idea.
He would mail out postcards with a tear-off reply paid section requesting a “Free 6 Steps to Home Ownership Guide” that people could send in for. If someone sent in for the free guide Dean would know they were interested in potentially buying a house and therefore they were a qualified lead.
Even though creating the free guide in the first place required some time and effort it was something that could be used again and again. Dean could now leverage this resource.
Once again a mail out like this depends on probability but there are two big differences:
Joe Polish recounts a similar story regarding his carpet cleaning business and how direct response advertising turned it around.
Both Dean and Joe, being smart marketers now and heavily influenced by Michael Gerber’s “The E Myth“, became very famous in their industries teaching others how to replicate this process. Once they both figured out a marketing strategy that worked they just came up with a way they could teach it to their industry peers.
Everything was systematized and all laid out so it could be replicated. Like a mini-franchise marketing game plan where Dean and Joe could sell companies all the templates and ideas and methods needed to be implemented. Like a marketing strategy in a box product.
Both Dean and Joe did their direct response advertising offline but the same principles are still used online today.
We offer prospect something of value in exchange for their email address and the opportunity to build relationships with them through email.
What’s the best way to do email marketing? You can start by reading this – Email Marketing Case Study: How I Generated $40,000 In Sales Without Annoying My Subscribers.
With something like digital products they can be sold over and over again with no production or shipping costs. This allows you to massively leverage your time.
If you want to learn more about direct response marketing I strongly recommend you give Dean and Joe’s podcast a listen – I Love Marketing Podcast