October 2016 Featured Article
Seek Out What Works and Use It
If you are new to Direct Response Marketing, it can be overwhelming trying to come up with a marketing strategy.
There are so many options out there, it's hard to choose. And of course, there's always a new, shiny method the marketing gurus are trying to sell you. It can be enough to make your head spin.
The fact is, marketing doesn't have to be complicated. And choosing a strategy can be as simple as seeing what works, and applying it to your business.
That's why today I'm diving into the best way to generate marketing ideas for your business. And what you stand to gain from paying attention to history.
You'll discover the legends of marketing, and why it pays to listen to your elders…
Why spending time in a bookstore can be the spark you need to take action…
And the best place to look for ideas that no one else in your industry is using…
Tried and True Methods
Direct Response Marketing (also known as DRM) has been around for quite a long time. In fact, it started way back in the late 1800s.
It might be hard to believe, but the strategies and techniques developed at that time have been the biggest contributions to companies' worldwide success to this day. Big names like P. T. Barnum used Direct Response strategies to boost their success.
Why? Because they work. And not only do they work well, but you can track them, test them, and make sure you aren't wasting your advertising and marketing budget.
If you have never heard of, or read books by, any of the great marketers of our time, you owe it to yourself to check out at least a few. I've written articles on a few of them, namely Eugene Schwartz, Joe Sugarman, and Robert Collier (in this newsletter!)… but any of the legends can provide valuable fundamental knowledge about the industry, and invaluable tactics you can use in your business today.
For example, David Ogilvy is a fascinating man who started a Direct Response Marketing agency in London, and then Manhattan, where traditional advertising agencies were king. David took a different approach to the traditional advertising methods that were popular then. His business soared despite the competition, and he became one of the biggest names in the business.
He's well known for being an “industry wizard”, and is the reason you or someone you know buys Dove soap. He is also responsible for Mercedes Benz selling four times the cars it had previously sold in one year's time.
You can read one of his many books to uncover his techniques, or you could turn to one of his living protégés like Drayton Bird, for amazing stories and tools of the trade.
Aside from researching successful pioneers in the industry, you can watch modern-day Direct Response companies in action. Agora Publishing and Boardroom, both DRM companies dedicated to selling newsletter subscriptions, are constantly testing new sales letters and strategies. There marketing copy is some of the very best in any industry and worth paying attention to.
If you enjoy watching television, you'll discover many DRM secrets from watching classic infomercials. Joe Sugarman was a pioneer in that industry, selling Blue Blocker sunglasses. (Perhaps you own a pair?)
Infomercials follow a very similar structure to Direct Response, all the way down to split testing different approaches. If you watch the same infomercial over the course of a few months, you will start to see different variations. Perhaps one is shorter, or has a different offer at the end.
They are testing to see which gets better results. And whichever one performs better is the one you'll see in the long run!
Spending Time with Publications
It's a sad reality that bookstores are a dying breed, because they are a fantastic resource for marketing ideas, and insight into successful industries.
If you step into a Barnes & Nobles, for example, there are countless sections filled with books relating to whatever industry you want to know more about, self-help, marketing, cooking, etc… You really could get lost if you let yourself.
However, a great place to get marketing ideas is not the business section, or even the self-help section. It's the magazine rack.
You see, there are magazines published in every possible field. Fishing, golfing, knitting, you name it. And within those magazines are countless Direct Response advertisements trying to get the readership to buy those companies' products.
You can find out a lot about what works, what doesn't, and what strategies are trending.
Let's say you are a golf coach and are planning on creating an info product with virtual lessons. A great place to check out ads would be magazines catering to golfers.
There you would see what articles they are reading, what is important to them, and, most importantly, how they are being marketed to. What are common themes among the advertisements? How are those companies trying to gain attention?
A unique quality of ads in publications is that everyone who is advertising reads the magazine. So if there is a known successful ad, many others will start to emulate it. And you, the savvy researcher, can look at these trends.
If you have access to a library, you can find multiple issues of the same magazine and check to see if there are any ads that have run for more than one issue. If you see one, it means it's working. And it's something you should take note of.
Once you've exhausted magazines in your field and have a strong understanding of what is working, it's time to take the leap to the next level. And that requires going above and beyond your competition.
The Smartest Way to Find Ideas
It should come as no surprise that it's important to keep up with your competition when running an ExpertPreneur® business.
You want to be keenly aware of what they are selling, how it's doing, and what their customers think. And you want to take note of the marketing strategies they implement and how they are being perceived.
However, even with all of that, your competition is not the best place to get new marketing ideas for your business.
Why? Because if you copy an idea your competition uses, it may become stagnant quickly and not work as effectively as it once did when it was a novel approach. You share a target demographic with your competitors, so you'll automatically be dealing with a higher level of “sophistication” in your audience by adopting a used strategy.
On top of that, it will be hard to find out the exact details of how their strategies are working. As your direct competition, they're not going to give away their secrets. After all, they don't want you “stealing” ideas.
They also may tell you a campaign is going well even if it isn't. Why would they want you to believe they aren't doing well? Or worse, have their sponsors/affiliates/JV partners catch wind of poor marketing results? That can dry up their partnering opportunities very quickly.
So, when looking for marketing strategies that work, your best bet is to look outside of your market.
Basically, any industry that isn't yours and uses Direct Response Marketing strategies is fair game. Follow their trends and examples. See if they use an advertisement more than once, because if they do, that likely means it's working, especially if you see it run for awhile.
When you see an effective piece of marketing you can “swipe and deploy” it. Which means to “swipe” ideas from a marketing piece and use them in your own business.
I should note this does not mean stealing someone's marketing directly. That is plagiarism, and violation of copyright, and you will be found out easily with programs such as copyscape and others.
Anyway, you could scope out pay-per-click advertisements – Google Adwords, Facebook ads, etc… Do you see the same ones over and over again? If you do, there's a good chance they're working.
You could also get on other marketers' email lists. Check out their product pages, new launches, recorded webinars. See what direct mail they send – think of how you could use it in your business.
The possibilities are endless. The point is, when interacting with businesses that aren't direct competition, you can get ideas that your competition isn't using. And when you implement it, you'll stand out as revolutionary in your market.
Getting you a lot more attention for your efforts.
Something Old, Something New
As clichéd as it may sound, there's a lot to discover from your elders. People who have been in the game for a long time, or created the game in the first place.
While the temptation to jump on every new, exciting marketing idea is enticing, as an “expert” business owner with a limited budget, you really are better off using what is proven to work. You'll spend less money, get better results, and feel a lot less stress.
So, choose one Direct Response legend this week and read a book by him. Go to Amazon and search for any of the names I mentioned in this article, and you'll see a list. If none of them jump out at you, there'll be another legend who does.
You'll get great insight into the DRM and copywriting world. And with that knowledge, you'll not only be able to create better marketing campaigns for your business, but also become more discerning when hiring outside sources to help you with your marketing copy.
Do yourself a favor, and give your marketing the best possible chance of success.