Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Direct Response Advertising

The Marketing Secret Of How To Sell A $19 Shirt for $89

Picture this. You’re thumbing through the pages of a slim, elegant, catalog that arrived via mail earlier in the day.

The pages feel crisp to the touch, and you notice how vibrant the illustrations are. Captivating even. You glance over and something catches your eye.

A European-styled, heirloom leather satchel. Its mellow leather beckons to you. Brass fittings glinting in the sun harkening back to a by-gone era. It’s the kind of satchel that would have been casually tossed into the back of your father’s 1932 Auburn V-12 Boattail Speedster; perhaps an unread Hemingway novel inside.

“Hmmm, possibly…” you murmur quietly to yourself.

You thumb slowly to the next page.

Your eyes transfix upon a gently sketched blue shirt, its sleeves half rolled up, the hemline gently blowing in the cool spring air.

You read the description:

A Montana Shirt

He rode to Great Falls in the autumn of 1880, another rich kid from the big city. The locals harrumphed, “Montana ain’t St Louis. Once the shine wears off, he’ll be gone quick as a duck on a Junebug.”

The “shine” wore off.

He stayed.

He tried raising sheep; lost every sheep in the herd. Tried hunting; similar success. He lived a while with the Blood Indians. Taught himself how to paint.

He didn’t wrestle with the existential questions; didn’t know there were any. He painted what was around him. Grizzlies, buffalo, rustlers. life.

In his own words: “I am an illustrator. There are lots better ones, but some worse. Any man that can make a living doing what he likes is lucky, and I am that.”

Men like him don’t travel in herds. You find them one at a time.

A Montana Shirt (No. 3682). “I made it with yarn dyed pure linen, and upon close observation, a very small checked pattern, because it was a feeling I had. Buttons are Trocas shell. Flat felled seams. Two-button adjustable mitered cuffs with top stitching. Shirttail hem with gussets at side.“

Men’s sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL Colors: Open Range Blue Price $89

And that, Dear Reader, is how you sell a shirt that would ordinarily sell for a mere fraction of the price, at top dollar. Sight unseen. Gladly paid.

The strength of your sales copy is everything.

A Clinical Marketing Lesson From a Smoking Doctor and Maya Angelou

Smoking Doctors

Smoking Doctors

Take a look at this great old vintage ad I found on the internet. My how times have changed — and advertising along with it!

But some things haven’t changed in advertising, namely, the same basic human desires need to be fulfilled today just as much as they did 50 or even 150 years ago: better health, improved appearance, praise from others, social advancement…

The great late writer Maya Angelou, who passed away this week, had this great quote to say which applies to your business marketing as much as it does to our lives:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Really effective marketing evokes feeling. It’s not just about getting your name out there, but getting your prospective clients or customers to feel something that then propels them to take action — a desire to look better for their daughter’s wedding, a desire NOT to look like their mother did when she was their age.

Would this cigarette ad have evoked feeling back in the 50s when it ran? Absolutely. Actually it was one of Camel’s most successful ad campaigns. It’s a statement about class, about sophistication. It speaks to that innermost desire we all have to win other people’s approval. It evokes feeling.

The worst way to market your business is to use marketing that doesn’t evoke feeling, that’s simply fact-based. People don’t buy based on facts. We buy based on feelings and then justify with facts (if you don’t believe me then just look at all the luxury cars on the road — cars get us from A to B — if we all bought based on facts we’d likely all be driving inexpensive Hondas). People won’t choose your business necessarily because your qualifications are superior to your colleagues. They’ll certainly use your qualifications as a justification once they’ve made a decision, but they’re far more likely to decide based on the softer stuff — how you come across on your website and whether you seem like a nice person who genuinely cares.

The worst kind of marketing you can use in your business is the kind that makes a person feel nothing. It’s boring. It’s dry. It’s…well, easy to ignore.

On your drive home tonight and over the weekend, start paying attention to the ads you see, and think about what kind of emotion they evoke. But most especially, pay attention to the things that you buy and ask yourself, “What really made me buy it?” You might be surprised at the answer.

How a Painted Moose Can Help Your Marketing (Seriously)

Last week I was consulting with a client in Salt Lake City. I love the mountains, and I especially love mountain towns (I spent a lot of time in Squaw Valley, CA, as a student). I’ve never been to Park City, so after the consult day with my client was wrapped up, I grabbed my rental car and took a sunset drive through the winding canyon toward Kimball Junction and Park City. The area of Park City is deceptively big – big enough to have a Wal-Mart, all the major fast food stores and its own shopping mall. But it’s old town Park City that has all the charm (and hosts the Sundance Film Festival every year). Right before I got to Main Street I saw on my right hand side something that absolutely demanded my attention. It refused to be ignored.

Here’s what it was: a statue of a moose. OK, nothing remarkable about that, especially in these parts.

But here’s what made it stand out – it was painted GOLD and had an assortment of hand-painted dogs on it – some wearing bandanas, some not. Right next to a red fire hydrant. Outside a busy store.

Huh? As a dog lover, an art lover and a marketing nut I had to pull over to take a closer look. The store the moose belonged to had won. In an extremely colorful, frenetically busy mountain town with eye candy everywhere, this moose stuck out like a sore thumb. And now, almost a week later I’m writing about it to you in this blog post.

How a Painted Mooose can Help Your Marketing

How a Painted Mooose can Help Your Marketing

Your marketing has to be just like this moose. Different. Eye-catching. Innovative. It’s about taking something familiar and breathing new life into it.

Let’s say you’re a physician who specializes in aesthetic medicine and you’re doing a promotion for non-invasive body contouring, like Venus Freeze or Cool Sculpting. You don’t have to look very far in your own market to see that your competition is running practically the exact same ads as you are. The ones, most likely that the company who invented the technology provided you with. Sure, those stock ads are better than nothing, but the problem is that people have seen them all before. It’s just a plain looking moose sculpture, and it makes you blend perfectly into your surroundings.

Your marketing has to stand out. Don’t look to your competition to copy their ads. Look outside your profession at completely different industries for examples of great marketing. Great marketing is...great marketing, no matter where you see it. What stopped you in your tracks? Who have you bought from recently? How can you use these ideas to market your business?

What an African Lion & Restoration Hardware Can Teach You About How NOT To Run Your Business

A couple weeks ago I ordered a new desk chair from a Restoration Hardware catalog. Here’s the sales copy that sold me:

1950s French Metal Wire 26" - 32" Stool

Dating to the mid-20th-century, our French metal chair hails from the offices of a Paris museum – a work of modern art in its own right. With a nod to iconic design forms, it has a scooped seat and curved back made from heavy gauge wire grids padded with optional leather-clad cushions, sold separately. Adjustable seat height and lumbar support adapt to each individual. Six ball casters make it as agile as it is comfortable.

Sounds pretty cool right? I thought so – so much so that I even ordered the 1940s French Factory Work Table (writing desk) to go with it. And that’s when the problems started.

Now I happen to love Restoration Hardware – I think the quality of its furniture and sense of design is pretty hard to beat. But its customer experience sure leaves a LOT to be desired.

Here’s what happened next. After placing my order I received a cryptic response email that made me have to pick up the phone and speak to a warm body to make sure my order went through. It apparently had but, unfortunately, both the chair and the leather cushion I had ordered were no longer available (even though their website said they were).

I then got passed around like a hot potato from one rep to the next.

After 45 minutes on the phone I was ready to abandon ship, cancel my order and forget I ever laid eyes on the furniture. I was not a happy camper. However at the last minute my order went through and I was relieved to have survived the ordering ordeal.

That was until the scheduled delivery time for my order. Neither my desk nor my chair showed up. Exasperated I called back. “Sorry but those items should have been delivered. We have a record of them leaving our warehouse.” Well, fat lot of good that does me. Some truck driver somewhere is writing his award winning screen play, likely with his muffin top spilling over his tight blue jeans, plonked on my wire chair.

I was told, “Sorry Ma’am we don’t have any more in stock. They’re on back order and should arrive in about sixty to ninety days.” Sixty to ninety days? Really? I’m guessing someone had to walk back to China or India or wherever the chairs are made for that kind of delay.

I received barely an apology and no offer of free anything – no “Here’s a gift certificate for your troubles,” or “We’ll refund your shipping fee.” None of that.

Now one thing you need to know about Restoration Hardware is how it positions itself in the marketplace.

Here’s the sales copy taken straight from the website: “We operate as a curator of the finest historical design the world has to offer. Our collections of timeless, updated classics and reproductions are presented consistently across our sales channels in sophisticated and unique lifestyle settings that we believe are on par with world-class interior designers.”

It’s no doubt a luxury brand but frankly I’ve had better customer service from a grumpy pre-menopausal counter clerk at the Post Office.

Restoration Hardware has great marketing, and uses powerfully persuasive copywriting coupled with gorgeous imagery. It offers top quality products.

But that’s about where the wheels start coming off. It couldn’t have made it more difficult for me to give them my money. And their customer service stinks.

This business reminds me precisely of the “Situational Awareness” photo from my cousin.

It’s so eager to find the next big opportunity in its business, it has lost sight of the thing that could take the company down: lousy customer experience.

Restoration Hardware isn’t the only business that does this. Most do to varying degrees.

The lesson is this: always looking for bigger, better opportunities to grow your business is great, but never lose sight of what made your business great in the first place.

How Not to Send an Email to Prospective Clients

The story that I’m about to share with you is highly embarrassing because it’s the worst example I’ve ever seen for how NOT to send an email and it comes from my home country, New Zealand. The story has made the rounds through many world media outlets including Yahoo, AP, Reuters, BBC, and many blogs (including this one) who continue to retell this story even though it happened a few years back. Here’s what happened: A New Zealand attorney named Paula Brosnahan, age 33, and her fiance Steve Hausman, 36 were looking at wedding venues. After visiting many different options they finally decided on having a cliff top wedding in the small town of Whangaparaoa (it is a breathtaking spot just north of Auckland.) In doing their research, the couple requested a quote to rent a marquee from a company called The Great Marquee Company. They had viewed the company’s website, seen the photos and had made an appointment to inspect the marquee in Auckland where they lived.

After inspecting the marquee, they decided it wasn’t what they were looking for. So they emailed a polite response to the company saying they would continue their search for the right marquee.

Here’s what it said: "Paula and I went and viewed your marquee setup at Devonport ... unfortunately we did not like it ... thanks for your assistance and we are sorry that it turned out this way."

The response that came back from the company’s office manager Katrina Jorgensen was shocking "Your wedding sounded cheap, nasty and tacky anyway, so we only ever considered you time wasters. Our marquees are for upper class clients which unfortunately you are not. Why don't you stay within your class levels and buy something from Payless Plastics instead."

Ouch.

That single email response from the office manager had no doubt been sent when she was having a bad day. It has now been circulated throughout the world and read by hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions. The next day the owner fired the office manager (who happened to be his wife) and virtually overnight his company was out put of business.

What’s the lesson? Thanks to technology, any and every communication you have with a client or prospective client can quickly go viral. It's not just email. Calls can be recorded, letters can be scanned.

What was supposed to be a "private" email has now been spread worldwide, and has destroyed a business, all because an employee got a little snappy with a customer and put it in an email.

Just imagine if this was your employee and your business.

If you say "My office staff would never do that." Reread the above example, and remember...the office manager was THE OWNERS WIFE!

Take Action: If you don't have office rules of engagement for writing communications to clients, do it now. ANY employee you have has the immediate power to create a problem just like the above one. I advise my clients to keep a folder of sample communications for office staff to follow.

Also, realize that email is solid documentation, if you aren't willing to have it broadcast to the world, don't put it in an email. That [forward] button is too close to the send button to risk putting anything out there that could compromise your business.

Even though there is no standard set for email and it is still considered "informal," make sure you and your staff communicate in a professional manner at all times through email, or otherwise, because you never know who is going to see, read, or hear your message.

How To End Prospecting Once And For All

“Stop selling, start helping” – Zig Ziglar When asked whether you’d prefer to get a root canal or get on the phone and cold call prospects for new business – I suspect you’d be like the majority of folks and choose the root canal. Frankly, I would too. Prospecting for business is hard, grubby work. It’s out dated, and if you are still spending your precious time actively prospecting for business, then it only means one thing – your marketing is simply not doing its job.

Here are 53 easy ways to strengthen your marketing and put an end to painful prospecting once and for all:

1.) Implement a marketing strategy that focuses on positioning instead of prospecting. By that I mean positioning yourself in your marketplace to ensure good, qualified prospects can find out about you and seek your expert assistance to solve their problems. This can best be done by writing white papers, articles, blog articles, or best of all - a book (that can be ghost written for you). 2.) Don’t let any leads go to waste. It was billionaire entrepreneur and ex-super model Kathy Ireland who once told me that “no” doesn’t mean no – it just means not now. Implement a follow- up direct mail campaign, auto responder sequence and get them added to your drip marketing campaign. Your prospects might not remember who you are in a week, let alone in a couple of months’ time when they’re ready to buy! Some of the biggest results I’ve achieved for my private clients have been by way of designing a multi-media follow- up marketing system for their businesses. You might not need new leads – perhaps all you need is a better way of converting the ones you have!

3.) Be of more service. As Zig Ziglar says, start helping and stop selling. Its truly rare to find someone who cares about you and your success. Become that person for your clients and your competition will be left in the dust!

A Dave Matthews Band Marketing Lesson

Last week I finally went to my first Dave Matthew’s Band (DMB) concert. I’ve been a big fan of this group for the longest time – in fact, the first time I heard them was about 18 years ago when I was traveling through South Africa and their 2 big hits “Satellite” and “Crash” were getting some serious air time over there.

Its pretty shocking that its taken me 18 years to get my rear in gear and hear them live. Especially since I love going to hear live music.

It was worth the wait. The concert was excellent, but of even greater value to me was the big marketing lesson I saw unfold before me.

To date, The Dave Matthews Band is only the second band in U.S. history to have 5 consecutive #1 songs (Metallica holds the lead position). They sell out the world’s biggest arenas on a regular basis and according to one source grossed more revenue between 2002-2009 than any other band in America.

Not too shabby for a group of musicians who started out in a sweat, smoke and grime filled pub in Charlotte, VA.

But from the very beginning, Dave and his guys set about building their band, their brand and their business their own way.

Instead of trying to chase down a recording contract in the hopes of building a fan base – they built a fan base first. Pretty genius. They toured college campuses and gave away copies of their music for free. Word quickly spread and an extremely loyal fan base sprung from grassroots.

Today DMB fans are some of the most passionate, quirky and fiercely loyal fans on the planet. They regularly crash servers flooding to buy pre-release tickets and campout 24, 48, and 72 hours outside venues the band plays at.

I got to see some of this first hand at the concert.

A couple rows in front of me there was a guy wearing a make shift psychedelic headband and a home made t-shirt that proudly said DMB – My 100th Concert!

I saw a LOT of DMB tattoos on arms, legs and backs (including an extremely impressive almost full body tattoo with a picture of each band member and all their album artwork). And the line up outside the concert merchandise store had at least 100 people waiting to drop $200, $300 even $1000 on limited edition band merchandise.

Developing this kind of rabid and fiercely loyal customer base is the holy grail of marketing for ANY company.

DMB fans will devour anything and everything the band puts out.

Their revenue is only limited by their capacity to produce. They have a guaranteed market for a product even before its created.

How many companies can say the same?

So how have Dave and his guys managed to get to this supreme position?

By ardently following a few criticalmarketing rules which can be replicated by anyone.

1.) They refused to hide behind their brand and kept their personalities at the forefront of their marketing and communication with their fans. This is known as Personality Infused Marketing™ - one of the most powerful ways to build both a memorable brand and a base of raving fans in record time (covered in more detail in my Client Stampede Ultimate Marketing Toolkit).

2.) They haven’t reduced their marketing. After enjoying 15 years of sold out arenas and chart topping success, many people in their shoes would be tempted to pull back on their marketing, the number of concerts performed, the number of public appearances given because they’d “made it”. Not DMB. Despite being one of the most successful bands of all time they have never taken the foot off their “marketing gas”. If anything, they’ve actually increased it.

3.) They constantly innovate – they’re experimenting with different “looks”, different sounds, different marketing methods to reach their fans. DMB was one of the first bands to start using social media. They were also one of the first bands to introduce a customer “loyalty program” and today are one of the few bands smart enough to use direct mail to reach their most ardent fans.

Building a customer base of raving fans is the holy grail for your business – and is much easier to achieve that you might think. But it does require you going against the grain and doing those things that your competitors aren’t prepared to do!

Little Hinges Open Big Doors

Once upon a time (in 1960) there were two brothers who desperately wanted to go to college.  Their parents were broke, so the boys figured that the only way they were going to be able to swing it – was by working a couple of jobs. The boys wound up working for a struggling pizza company, which despite its prized location close to a college campus, still couldn’t turn a profit.  The boys offered to buy out the stressed out owner – the deal secured by a $75 down payment and the remaining $500 they scrimped and scrounged as a loan from family and friends.  Eight months later the more studious of the two brothers decided he wanted to spend more time hitting the books and less time flipping pizza dough.

Client Stampede Volkswagon
Client Stampede Volkswagon

Meantime the other brother loved the pizza business and wanted little to do with his studies – so they traded: full ownership of the pizza business to brother Tom in return for his cherry red Volkswagen beetle.  Like most business owners, Tom was working crazy hours – struggling as the previous business owner was, to run the business profitably.  There was a lot of competition on campus for food, and more pizza stores than you could shake a stick at. Times were tough.

Wracking his brain to come up with a marketing message that would draw people in was no easy task.

He certainly didn’t have the best tasting pizza.  It was good, but not exactly what you’d classify as a taste bud symphony.

He couldn’t claim that his sauce recipe was Mama’s own secret – direct from their tiny village in Sicily and fiercely guarded by his family for 5 generations.

After many sleepless nights he finally had it.  Excited beyond words he rushed to work the next day to test it out.

The results were astounding.  Response rates to his ads quadrupled almost immediately.  Media requests started pouring in.  Their phone system blew up and more help had to be hired immediately in all positions.

Here is his marketing message that changed everything and resulted in the world’s largest pizza chain – 10,000 franchised stores in more than 70 countries.  The company of course is Dominos Pizza:

Fresh hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free.

That’s it.  How could a marketing message so simple be such a game changer in an overcrowded market?

For that exact reason.  It’s overcrowded.  As very few businesses have a really great, extremely clear marketing message – the ones that do really stand out.

Why is having the right marketing message so important for your business?

Well, because everything, and I mean everything – hinges off of it:

- Whether someone decides to stay or leave your website in that first 3 seconds - The way the media perceives your business - The way you perceive your business and the value you bring to your customers - The process your prospects go through in their mind to decide whether they want to pull out their checkbooks or not.

Whenever I accept a new private client, one of the first projects I work on is nailing down their marketing message – identifying a gap in their market and then crafting the right wording that will help drive a truck right through it.  Once this exercise is complete it’s not unusual for campaign response rates to double or even triple, for site traffic to spike, or to attract media attention (instead of having to chase it).

Little hinges open big doors.

The uncomfortable truth is that unless you have the right marketing message – any marketing you’re doing is going to yield a small fraction of the results that it would otherwise do.

Take a look at this photo I took at the bottom of my yard.   Does your marketing message make your business the red poppy in your industry, or are you really just another green leaf?

Client Stampede Garden
Client Stampede Garden

How My Ocean Voyage Adventure Can Make You A Better Marketer

A few years ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to sail across the Atlantic Ocean with my Uncle, Cousin and a friend on a brand new 45 ft catamaran boat. I was beyond excited. The only way I managed to wrangle a position crewing was that I had volunteered to cook for them (I knew nothing about sailing!) This was a boyhood dream for my Uncle who I had always looked up to while growing up – he was a hugely successful entrepreneur who had built one of South Africa’s most successful car dealerships from scratch (with no college education and barely a penny to his name). My Uncle had this boat built especially for him and now, along with my cousin (his son) and his best friend, the 4 of us were going to get to “test its chops” on a 33 day blue water adventure that started in Capetown, South Africa and would end in St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

There are lots and lots of stories I could tell you about this voyage: the scores of flying fish I’d find on the deck every morning, having dolphins swim alongside my cabin and call to me to come play, the great whale that we had a near miss with, or the very eerie island we had to make an emergency stop at filled with inbred people that had clubbed hands and feet.

But the story I really want to tell you today is the one about the green flash.

It was a ritual on our boat that every day at about 6 p.m. we’d all gather on the deck for “Sundowners” (cocktails with snacks I’d rustled up in the kitchen). The four of us would sit quietly on the deck, skin burned from sun and salt spray – happy and content to watch the sun go down.

Now, I had never heard about this before, but apparently there’s an incredible thing that happens the split second that the sun sinks below the horizon: a “green flash” is emitted from the sun’s rays and in the reflection of the water for a milli-second.

My crew mates talked incessantly about the incredible beauty of this green flash – and every night that we gathered for our sundowners they saw it – and I never did.

For 27 sunsets (excluding the ones we missed due to storms) I kept my eyes laser focused on that orange orb, refusing to blink just in case I missed it.

“Did you see it? Did you see it this time?” they’d turn and say expectantly to me.

“Um, no.”

With every night I felt like a bigger and bigger idiot. How was it possible they could see something that I did not?

Well to be honest I’m not sure they did. If you Google “Green Flash Ocean” you’ll see that people seem to be equally divided between whether it’s myth or fact. And this reminds me very much of the way most people preach about marketing.

Conventional wisdom teaches that what really counts is having a strong brand presence and that this is the road to success – the entire advertising agency industry is built upon this one primary assumption. And for good reason.

Brand advertising is just like the green flash. Everyone tells you that it’s the holy grail to getting more customers. But after investing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on building your brand you’ve still got no idea if its really working or not. Could that bump in traffic be caused from it? Maybe. But maybe its because your biggest competitor happened to also drop the ball and people are voicing their dissatisfaction with their feet. Or because the economy’s picking up. Or, or, or…

The bottom line is this. Building a strong brand IS important for your business. But it should be the by-product of your advertising – not the goal of it. If you’re hoping to catapult your business to fame using just brand advertising, you’re in for a very long wait my friend. Having a cool looking logo and a clever tagline isn’t what’s going to create a client stampede in your business.

But the kind of advertising that can is emotionally charged marketing, otherwise known as direct response marketing. Its designed to make your prospects take immediate and decisive action – to light a fire under their rears and get them to call you, to work themselves into such a lather that they have to speak to you right this very second. Direct response marketing is measurable to the penny (which as a direct response advertising copywriter means I put myself on the line every time I create a campaign). And it helps create a strong brand for your business as a wonderful side benefit.

Think of it as getting double the marketing bang for your buck.

Does the green flash really exist? I have no idea.

Are your brand ads working? I have no idea (and you don’t know either). As this is your money we’re investing – don’t you think it makes more sense to use a proven way of marketing that can create a client stampede in your business, is measurable to the penny and happens to build your brand at the same time?

What To Do When Customers Go “Missing In Action”

If you had to guess, what would you think the top four reasons are for customers not returning to a business? (Hint: price isn’t one of them). Are you ready to be astounded? Here’s the countdown:

Reason Four: Bad service. Either you didn’t take care of them, they had a bad customer experience with one of your staff, or you dropped the ball in some major way.

Reason Three: Your product was bad. Your marketing might have been excellent but their experience with your product just didn’t measure up and they were left with a bad taste in their mouths (sadly this is all too common).

Reason Two: They left you for someone else. Either you didn’t market your services regularly enough to them so that when they were ready to buy, there you were, or you were out of touch with what their needs are. Someone else saw the gap and swooped in.

And, (drum roll please) – the number one reason why your customers go missing in action is #1 They FORGOT About YOU! That’s right, the #1 reason people don’t return to your business is because they forgot who you are and what you do. This is a pure and simple marketing problem that can be fixed with a prescription of regular marketing.

Are you shocked that price doesn’t even feature in the top four reasons? Most of us automatically think that if customers don’t return, it must have been because we were too expensive, when actually it’s just because we weren’t regular enough with our marketing by reminding them we’re here.

This is an easy fix! Here’s how:

First, decide at what point in your business you would consider a customer “lost.” For example a hairdresser would consider a customer lost if they didn’t hear from them in 2 months; a restaurant, likely 6 weeks. Figure this out and then set up a lost customer sequence to trigger as soon as a customer doesn’t return when you expect them to.

The most effective “win back” marketing campaign is going to be a highly personalized direct mail campaign. It’s been many years since I ordered my last jar of Proactiv acne cream but to this day I still receive lost customer marketing from Rodan & Fields.

A very distant second is to try and win your customers back via email campaign. It’s a distant second because email is so easy to ignore, but any marketing is better than none!

Now here’s the real secret to winning them back: unless you specifically invite your lost customers to return to you, most won’t because they’re too embarrassed! You need to warmly invite them back. Remember that a customer who’s already done business with you is at least 5 times more likely to buy from you than a cold prospect.

So take a little breather from chasing those new leads and show a little love to your existing clients. Woo the lost sheep back by making them feel special. If they don’t respond to the first campaign, schedule another next month with a different offer!

Rinse, lather, repeat!

Are You Using Emotionally Charged Marketing to Get More Clients? A Case Study About Chinese Women and Their Body Hair Issues

The other day I was reading through one of the business magazines I subscribe to. It was an early Sunday morning and, with a cup of coffee in hand, I was just casually thumbing through the pages. At the bottom of the page my eye caught a little article about Chinese women and their “body hair issues.” Intrigued, I read on. Turns out Chinese women don’t have body hair issues; at least they didn’t until the company behind Veet hair removal cream decided to launch their product in China in 2005. Unfortunately for the company, sales were sluggish. The product was considered too pricey and the product size too big. The biggest problem though? Most Chinese women have very little body hair and those who do didn’t worry about it.

So the company changed its marketing strategy. It started rolling out ads equating hair-free skin with beauty, health, confidence and “shining glory.” In the process the company has made every Chinese woman more conscious of every stray follicle.

By “educating” its customers and encouraging “fuzz phobia,” Veet is now the fastest growing brand in China for its parent company Reckitt Benckiser. Hair remover sales in Asia are rising 20% annually, almost double the rate of women’s razor blades.

This marketing strategy of getting women to focus on their perceived flaws is not a new one. Actually it’s about as old as the hills, but here’s the reason it’s so effective (not just on women – but on everyone).

We all base our buying decisions on how an ad, promotion or product makes us feel. Not on what it will do for us.

As human beings we are all hard wired to want the same things. We can’t help it – it’s in our DNA. We want things like better health, more money, great popularity, improved appearance, praise from others, more comfort, more leisure time, a happy life. If your marketing can whip people into a lather by appealing to one of these deep desires – you’ve got gold.

It makes no logical sense for Chinese women (who are possibly the least follicly challenged among us), to become the fastest growing users of hair removal cream. Chinese women are not buying based on whether this makes logical sense. They’re buying because of their desire for an improved appearance and happy life. They want to feel beautiful by buying the product.

This isn’t just a woman thing either.

Men buy the same way. Think about your neighbor down the street who goes out and buys himself a new Chevy Silverado truck, fully loaded. He tells himself that it’s because the truck has extremely good towing capacity and a long truck bed and it will be a safe ride for the family. But his real decision to buy is an emotional one – he loves the way this big new truck makes him feel. Tough. Strong. Powerful. He likes getting the approval of his friends and neighbors who nod admiringly as he drives past. He loves the excitement on his kids’ faces as they climb into the cab and ogle at all the shiny new buttons and heated leather seats.

The take-away for your business is this: To really create powerful marketing, you need to supercharge your sales copy with emotion – not logic. At the end of the day, as human beings, we all want the same things: To feel good about ourselves and to be happy.

So if people aren’t getting excited about buying your product or service, it’s likely not because of anything other than that you’re marketing to them the wrong way. Emotionally charged marketing is the fastest way to “manifest” desire. That’s the real trigger that gets people to buy.

As Mark Twain said, “There’s two reasons a man buys anything. The reason he’ll give you… and the real reason.”

The 5 Biggest Copywriting Mistakes (And How To Fix ‘Em’)

“I have always believed that writing advertisements is the second most profitable form of writing. The first, of course, is ransom notes.”-Philip Dusenberry

There are a lot of definitions about what copywriting is and isn’t. Salesmanship in print. Writing to sell. Salesmanship multiplied. Or my personal favorite, persuasion writing.

Advertising would well and truly be extinct if each of us could talk to our prospects face-to-face. But as we can’t, our advertisements have to do the job and get the word out for us.

That’s why good copywriting is the oxygen of your business. Get it right, and the sky‘s the limit. But get it wrong, and your business is banished to the ranks of the mediocre, the forgotten, and the ignored.

Here are the 5 biggest copywriting mistakes, and how to fix them:

1. “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” Howard Gossage

One of the worst things you can do is write copy that’s boring to read. If an honest reading of your website or new client brochure makes your eyeballs dry up, or triggers an urgent need to go to the bathroom – then just image how your poor prospect must feel. Remember, you can only interest a person into buying your product, you can’t bore them.

2. Build the relationship first, ask for the sale second. As a direct response copywriter, I see many examples of bad marketing that rush the entire sales process. In this new economy, all buying power has returned to the consumer. And they know it. You can’t just expect to trundle out a cart full of your wares and have people flocking to buy them. That may have been how it worked in the boom days of the early 2000s, but certainly not today. Today, marketing is all about building relationships first. Your copy has to carefully do the same, not rush straight to the close.

3. Don’t ever try and make your copy apply to everyone. You have to niche your message along with your market. One of the biggest mistakes I see is using ad copy that is worded so generically, it doesn’t apply to anyone in particular at all. This is very bad. At first blush you might think the more people you can fit into your marketing message, the better. Wrong. Quite the opposite. The more you tightly target your marketing message to resonate with a niche, the higher the response rate. This goes back to the first point. People will only read what interests them. If you’re a retired dentist with $2 million in investable assets, 3 grandchildren and a condo in Florida, you’re far more likely to read ad copy that specifically “talks to you.”

4. Make your advertising valuable. Few people understand this extremely important point, which is why most advertising falls on deaf ears. Nothing screams out “I want to sell you sell you something” more than an advertisement that looks and sounds like an advert. That’s why writing copy that sounds like an editorial piece, using white papers, or creating a helpful animated video will typically attract a much higher level of viewership.

5. Incorporate unquestionable copy into your proof. Most copy is seriously devoid of all proof but full of empty, hollow sounding promises like “we’re the leading experts” or “your trusted provider”, etc. We’re so used to reading these claims they wash over us like tiny ocean ripples swirling around our ankles. Unnoticed. One of the strongest elements of proof is, of course, proof in your product itself. A bold guarantee to back up your promises. Legions of testimonials to say what you can’t say yourself. A product demonstration even. Proof is usually the most often overlooked aspect of any copy. If you can find a way to add it in a compelling way, it can transform even the most meager of ads into the mighty.

3 Power Productivity Tips To Achieve More In Less Time

“My life is one long obstacle course with me being the chief obstacle.”- Jack Parr

Practically every entrepreneur I know and work with gets presented with a lot of opportunity. Their bank account is not yet where they want it to be due to lack of opportunity.

It’s due to lack of time.

In business there are good strategies poorly executed, poor strategies well executed, but rarely is there a new revolutionary strategy. The same goes with managing your time. These strategies may well be familiar to you already. It’s just your execution of them that probably needs a little work.

Tip #1 Stop Answering Your Phone When It Rings.

How can you focus on the really important things in your business when every day you get bombarded with a tidal wave of distractions? Answering your phone anytime it rings is one of the biggest killers of productivity. It’s a sure fire way to derail the plans you had for the day as you now spend it fighting fires or helping others with tasks they’re likely more than capable of handling on their own.

Please, turn your phone off. Get your calls answered by your assistant. Train your clients to make appointments to talk to you so that you can ensure you’re always well prepared for their call (and not answering questions off the cuff). I have a client VIP list – anyone who calls my office on that list gets a call back usually the same day or a priority appointment set. Anyone not on that list gets a call back from my assistant to help them, or, if they qualify, an appointment to speak with me is set which may be in 2 or even 3 weeks time. Return your calls in a clump or schedule set times like I do. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done and how much more prepared and productive you’ll be to the people you do speak to.

Tip #2 Leverage Your “In-Between” Time

Stuck in traffic? CD’s and podcasts are arguably the greatest educational invention since the yellow highlighter. They let you easily and cheaply turn your car into a classroom or a seminar, listening to one of America’s experts discussing your subject of choice. Just about every notable self-improvement or marketing and business expert, author or speaker has a variety of material available in audio form. Information on practically every topic is now readily available for download – from fitness and learning a foreign language, to improving your memory and how to grow your business. You name it and likely an audio version is available for you to listen to during otherwise “wasted” time – when you’re stuck in airports, sitting in doctor waiting rooms, or taking road trips.

Tip #3 Delegate Or Outsource Everything That Isn’t The Highest And Best Use Of Your Time.

You know the things in your business that you’re best at. It’s likely the very thing you get paid the most by your clients to do.

In my case it’s designing growth strategies for clients, creating advertising campaigns and working with my team to create end to end marketing systems. Any task that doesn’t fall into this list I do my best to delegate, or even better outsource. My administrative tasks get done by my assistant. I have two people who do all my proof reading of my campaigns, books and articles (like this one). Through a lot of trial and error I have the most phenomenal graphic and web designers on my team.

I happen to love both graphic and web design but it’s not what I’m best at. Sure I could spend the hundreds and thousands of hours to learn how to do what they do – but why bother? I’ve found three of the most talented graphic and web designers on the planet. They take my strategy and copywriting and produce visual designs that are even better than I could have imagined.

It’s the same with my private clients. Most of them hire me to help with the marketing and growth of their business not because they couldn’t learn how to do it themselves (sure they could with the right materials and time commitment). It’s because they have better things to spend their time on – things they love to do and are outstanding at doing – like spending one on one time with clients, conducting seminars, speaking, motivating staff, securing funding, bringing on new strategic partners, etc.;

The bottom line is this: Protect your time for the precious commodity it is. Leverage your time by spending as much as you can doing only those things that you’re truly the best at doing. Let the rest go. Delegate it or outsource it to the best people you can find.

Piggybacking On Other Businesses: How To Make Co-Marketing Work For You

Client-Stampede-piggyback1
Client-Stampede-piggyback1

Here’s a great marketing strategy and a step-by-step guide on how to leverage OPC (Other People’s Customers) in your business. First of all, why co-market? Co-marketing is just a fancy schmancy term for working together with another business and doing some joint marketing.

There are many easy ways you can do this.

The first way is to structure a co-marketing arrangement in what I call the “double double relationship”. You create a marketing campaign that the other business sends out to their mailing list. And they do the same.

This is really just leveraging each other’s mailing list. For example, imagine you’re a financial advisor and you have a great buddy who’s an estate planning attorney. It’s very, very likely that some of his clients could use your services, and that some of your clients could do with an estate planning overhaul. Everyone wins.

Another way is the endorsed mailing – which is where you create a marketing campaign that the company you’re co-marketing with sends out, under their name (not yours). They basically say what a swell company you are and give them some reasons why they might want to do business with you. This kind of co-marketing arrangement is particularly powerful. You’re unknown to these people, yet suddenly your credibility leaps skyward because you’re getting an endorsement from someone they know and like.

One quick word of caution about the endorsed mailing – whatever you do, never ever endorse a company to your own list that you don’t know to be honest and great at what they do -- 1000%. If you have even a shred of doubt about their ability to take care of your customers – don’t do it. It will damage your own credibility and trust relationship with your clients, and will negatively impact your business and reputation.

The third way to do co-marketing is simply to approach a company and ask if you can “rent their list”. Why would you want to do such a thing? Well, if they have your ideal clients as their customers already – leveraging the list they’ve already spent tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on is like leap frogging to the top of the class. Of course, you could invest the thousands of dollars and many years to develop your own list, OR you could push the easy button, shave years off your learning curve and simply “buy” new ideal clients.

Why Emotional Based Marketing Works

In my private consulting & copywriting practice, I come across a lot of people who sometimes confuse sales with marketing. They’re not the only ones. You see so-called experts get it wrong all the time: Marketing/Sales Workshop: "Sizzling Marketing Ideas to Close More Sales."

What these people are confusing is this:

Marketing is the art of getting warm, interested, live bodies sitting across the desk from you (or on the phone, or visiting your website), that you have never met before.

Sales is getting those same breathing individuals to buy from you!

I have been doing a lot of marketing research on the financial services industry recently.

So far, without exception, every one of those "marketing self help" books provides some great tips on how to better close a sale. The only glaring problem is they provide very little guidance on how to get people in front of you to close in the first place!

Why is this? For the simple reason that the industry leaders have no clue about how to market, so they focus all their energies on sales training help.

Let’s face it. Selling is a heck of a lot easier than marketing.

I'm willing to bet in your business, if I could plunk an interested warm body in front of you, that you’d do a pretty good job of getting them to try your services.

You and I both know you can sell. That’s not your problem.

Your problem is getting the people to sell to!

I’m going to let you in on a little marketing secret. The reason why most people find marketing hard, is because they use logic and “intellectual” reasons to get people to respond to them.

Instead of emotions and empathy.

Remember the people you’re marketing to have no idea who you are. They don’t know how you can help them and how immensely valuable your service is to them.

All they see is someone coming at them with another thing to sell.

But here’s the thing. If you don’t use emotion to get them interested, then they’ll never find out how invaluable you are, because you’ll never get the chance to enter into their lives.

Nobody buys anything based on logic. They make 100% of their decisions based on emotions, and then rationalize their decision afterwards!

That’s because at the end of the day, all that we humans are, is a giant sack of emotions. We’re an emotional species. We can’t separate our emotions from our thought processes. We all have very strong feelings about the decisions we make.

So why does just about every business do the exact opposite?

Because of all that marketing mis-information out there.

So how do you transform your marketing from appealing to their intellect, to their emotions?

By following these four critical rules for emotional based marketing:

  1. Getting to know your prospect’s mind, inside and out. Get in touch with what they’re thinking and feeling (which is not your product or service, I guarantee!).
  2. Talk about them in your marketing, not yourself and your company (this one is tricky because it really goes against the grain of conventional "marketing wisdom").
  3. You must first talk to them about their lives, desire, fears and wants. There will be time later to talk about what you offer. First, you have to get in the gate by making them curious and interested. The only way to do that is by taking the time to build curiosity, empathy and compassion.
  4. Not making the mistake of telling people what you think they need, instead of what they truly WANT!

Still not convinced about the power of emotional based marketing? Next time you go to make a decent sized purchase start being aware of your own thought processes.

Observe how it’s an emotional driver that makes you want to buy, but then notice how your logic kicks in afterwards, to justify the buying decision!

5 Easy Marketing Strategies To Beat The Slow Season

Every business has peaks and troughs of demand, but what few entrepreneurs realize is that the troughs are entirely optional. If your business lurches from feast to famine, or every year business drops off around the holidays, take heed of these 5 easy marketing strategies to swing into action.

  1. Run a big referral campaign for a set period of time to encourage clients to bring in new friends. I did this for a private gynecologist client during the summer months when business typically slowed to almost a drizzle because most of his clients were moms busy taking care of kids on summer break. We made the campaign fun and threw in some really good incentives to come in and refer a friend, with the end result being his normal slow period became one of his busiest.
  2. Go back to all your unconverted prospects and offer them a special incentive to become a client. Entice them with an irresistible offer by way of a direct-mail campaign (very few businesses bother to do this yet it’s a big source of low hanging fruit).
  3. Create an email campaign to all your existing clients with a special offer on an existing service, or introducing a new service for them to try out (aka an upsell).
  4. If your business is seasonal, then don’t be afraid to create early bird specials with amazing offers to stimulate demand, bring in cash and get your customers excited for the upcoming season.
  5. Hold a client appreciation event, focus group, or educational workshop to re-engage your clients, add value and provide an opportunity to educate them about some of the different ways you can help them.

3 Secrets For Creating A Highly Successful Business

Feeling a bit overwhelmed with marketing your business? Not sure which shiny new objects you should be using (if any)? Don’t worry.  You’re not alone.

Let me clear the fog in one fell swoop.

Here are 3 marketing secrets that I use regularly in my copywriting and consulting business with my private clients:

Secret #1:

Don’t chase marketing shiny objects.   That is, until you’ve got your marketing message crystal clear and can answer the question: “Why should clients do business with my company versus anyone and everyone else out there?”

Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, banner retargeting, banner tagging, geo-targetting, PPC, SEO, direct mail, display ads, promotional videos with SEO etc., are nothing more than tools to help you build your business.

Their only job is to carry your message to the right audience.

Like carrier pigeons.

They’re not magic marketing bullets that will instantly help you explode your business…. Unless of course you’ve got a very unique marketing message to make your business stand out.

Without these two marketing essentials, your business looks just the same as your competitors.  Whenever I work with my private clients, creating their unique marketing message is the very first place I start.  Without this critical first step, it doesn’t matter whether you’re using internet marketing, direct response marketing, social media or any other tool out there, your marketing will be hard, frustrating and very slow to work.

Secret #2

Overhaul your website.  Seriously overhaul it. Without a doubt, having a great website is critical to creating a successful business.  Actually it’s the absolute cornerstone for any successful marketing campaign period.  If a prospect hasn’t heard of you, the first thing they’re going to do is Google your name and check out your website.

If your website looks lame and doesn’t properly provide the answers to questions in your prospect’s mind… in 3 seconds or less, BAM – they’re gone.  Never to return.

But what makes a great website?  It’s NOT about having flash animation or fancy graphics to win prospects over.

It’s about creating a website that looks clean and modern, but most of all contains compelling sales copy to work double time for you.

Gone are the days when a website was nothing more than an online brochure.  In today’s new economy you need your website to work as your own sales team and persuade them to take action.  Buy from you.  Pick up the phone.  Give you their email address. But all this has to happen at the speed of light.  Your copy and the look and feel of your website has to persuade your prospects in 3 seconds or less or you’re toast.

Secret #3

Ensure that every client and prospect interaction with your company is extraordinary.

This is where the Rule of 32 comes into play.

Here’s how it works: every person knows at least 32 other people that they could refer your business to.

How would 32 new clients transform your business?  Sure, not everyone is going to tell 32 people, but what if all your clients told just one other person about how incredible you are to work with?  That’s the fastest way to double your business!

How To Talk to Women (And Why Your Marketing Has To)

Recently, I spoke to a group of business owners about how men and women make buying decisions very differently. I told this kind-of-funny story about the couple shopping for a BMW 540i: After months of research, this particular couple finally found their dream car. Striding into the dealership they knew within a few short hours they’d be leaving with 3,000 pounds of fine German steel.

The husband jumped behind the wheel, the salesman rode shotgun. They talked torque and performance engineering. So far, so good. The test drive was going fantastically. But then the wife, sitting in the back, noticed something that really bothered her. It seemed so trivial, but the more she thought about it the more it bugged her. So, wincing inwardly at the scorning that was likely going to come from the front seat, she asked the sales person, “So, what’s up with the cup holders?”

The salesperson shot her a pitiful stare. “They’re right there.”

“Yes,” she replied, “but they’re so tiny. And those claws look flimsy. There’s no way they’d actually hold a coffee mug.”

Deathly silence from the front seat. Her husband did his best to keep a straight face.

“Well, that’s because Europeans don’t eat or drink in their cars,” the salesman retorted curtly.

“Yes, but I do,” the wife insisted. “And so do my kids.”

Another irritated look from the salesman, “Well, you could just hold your drinks between your legs.”

Game over.

The salesman went home that day with only moths in his wallet. And the husband and wife team went home without their new car, although theirs was only a temporary set back.

After doing some research online, they found the pathetic cup holders were a common complaint of many BMW owners. The answer was to buy an attachment to fix the problem. Happy to have a solution to their problem, the husband and wife team went back to a different dealership and this time, came home with their new Beamer.

You’re not alone if you’re reading this thinking that it sounds pretty stupid that a $50,000 deal could be blown because of some flimsy cup holders. But the car salesman made the very common (and very costly) mistake of assuming that the woman didn’t have any say in the buying decision. According to the most recent statistics, not only do most women influence 80% of all car purchases, they also buy the majority of cars (including trucks).

Welcome to the New Economy my friend. There are two sexes in the human race and only one of them does most of the shopping.

Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases

91% of new homes 66% computers 92% vacations 80% healthcare decisions 89% bank accounts 93% food 90% insurance, investments and retirement accounts

(Percentages of women that participate in decisions affecting their household’s retirement and investment accounts.)

Women also are the biggest online consumers. 22% of women shop online at least once a day.

Source: Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather

But, here’s the rub.

Most marketing is aimed squarely at the male consumer, even though it’s women who make most of the buying decisions. Even for products considered traditionally for men like deodorant, men’s clothing, and yes, even your 6.6L V8 turbo-diesel Duramax truck.

As a marketer, here’s what’s most important for you to realize: women make buying decisions very differently from men. Women prefer practical benefits to features. They don’t care how many settings a freezer has – they want to know if it’s big enough to store frozen pizza. Men on the other hand, tend to love features.

Women are story driven. They want to feel a connection, empathy, with the company they are buying from. Telling the story of a business or a product becomes a very powerful sales tool. Men on the other hand, are more influenced by facts and figures. Give me the info and I’ll make the decision. Women want to know who you are first and foremost before deciding whether they’ll buy from you. Stories are also very powerful when selling to men, but typically to demonstrate outcome.

For women, it’s much more about the relationship. Does what you’re offering work for the kids? The rest of the family?

These are just a couple of critical differences you need to take into account when you’re creating your marketing. More and more big companies are realizing who holds the purse strings and are scrambling to change their marketing, and their businesses, to accommodate it. Lexus offers free massages while your car is being serviced, and a local rescue repair team in case of breakdown. Ryland Homes completely changed their floor model so the back yard could be viewed from the kitchen and all living spaces.

Final Takeaway

Marketing to women is not about excluding men. It’s about gaining a deeper understanding of your target market and, specifically, how to make your marketing message strike a chord and spur action from a prospect, whether they’re XX or XY chromosome.

Avoid marketing strategy that relies on clichés or stereotypes. A direct mail piece in a pink envelope won’t win you new female customers. Ad campaigns that speak exclusively to men will alienate women, and vice versa. Aim instead for gender-neutral design and packaging like Apple’s. Steer clear of insults, don’t oversimplify consumer preferences, and avoid generalizations about your customers.

Increasing your market share involves designing marketing pieces that appeal to both sexes. Set out to create a marketing campaign that speaks to both men and women.

In God We Trust. All Others We Sue.

This week I’m gonna critique an ad I found in an old magazine while doing some “on the spot shredding” (aka getting into the recycling bin and causing havoc in my Mom’s office). Wowsers! Take a look at this ad! Is this guy a bulldog or what! First of all, good on him for taking a stand on something instead of being all wishy washy and trying to please everyone. Will he turn people off? Yup. But will he likely attract the people he’s targeting with his powerful headline

“In God We Trust. All Others We Sue.”

He sure will.

His headline is far better than the usual tripe put out by injury attorneys: “Injured? Call us…”

Zzzzzzz…

B-o-r-i-n-g.

But here’s how this snappy dresser could have made his ad a LOT better.

First, he should have picked one specific area of law to focus on. Instead, he has just about every area you can think of written in tiny font around the edges.

Next, he needs to make it easy for people to call him (and not so scary). There’s the name of the firm (blacked out to keep me out of hot water with him), but no number to call. And does he charge for an initial consult? What’s the offer, dude?

Then, how about throwing in a few killer client testimonials and giving some proof? That’d surely help his response rate.

And finally, this ad, even though it’s better than most, is still an image ad and not a direct response one. So there’s no way for him to measure his response rate from it other than to guess.

Well, gotta scoot. I see two squirrels chasing each other around a tree and I need to go supervise.

Woof!

The Rocking Boat Pizza Marketing Strategy

One of the most critical commonalities of successful people boils down to one simple thing. Innovation. My favorite example of innovation is Tom Monahan of Domino’s Pizza. I have a lot of stories about Tom - you may have already heard some of them, as he's become a bit of a legend in the marketing world and has done an amazing job inspiring the same outlook and tenacity in his franchisees. But here's my favorite Domino's story:

There was a guy who bought a Domino’s franchise and decided to open his pizza place at a resort area near a lake. Unfortunately there were a few problems.

Now, the first problem was with his market area. He had chosen a hot vacation spot that was jumping in the summer, but virtually dead in the winter. So for 6 months of the year, it was crammed full of people, but come winter, the place virtually became a ghost town.

The second problem was discovered shortly after he opened. You remember Domino's guarantee? (Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less?). Well, unfortunately, there was no way that he could deliver the pizza in thirty minutes or less consistently because it was a big lake and the houses were stretched all the way around. Trying to do it in a car was impossible.

Marketing Strategy #1: He needed to navigate the shortest route between the two points. Thinking hard about his dilemma, the guy decided he'd just have to deliver the pizza by boat because every house was right on the lake and had a little dock. And so he became the first Domino’s franchisee to deliver pizza by boat.

The next problem he discovered was that boats don’t exactly stay stable like a vehicle does. And so the pizza was getting there in 30 minutes but it was all squished to one side of the box and stuck to the lid. Kind of disgusting, as well as being the exact opposite of what they advertise.

So do you know what he did?

Marketing Strategy #2: He went straight back to the Domino's HQ and asked for a little help. The Domino’s engineers got together and invented a device solely for his use, no other reason. They invented a device that holds the pizza in the boat, keeps it hot and stable regardless of what the boat does underneath it. (I guess it must somehow involve a gyroscope).

But this guy wasn't out of the woods yet. The next problem he had was that at night, unlike the lighted road and lighted address, the docks and the lake were very dark.

Marketing Strategy #3: Now his delivery guys were getting lost out there in the lake with the now upright, unsquished, hot pizza. So the Domino's franchisee decided to put lights and dock numbers on everybody’s dock at his own expense.  Now when people ordered their pizza they could just give their dock number and the guy in the boat could get there.

That sure is a lot of innovation to make a pizza business work. But here’s the up shot. That franchisee, in a six-month period of time, out grossed two-thirds of what Domino’s franchisees do all year long. On an annualized basis, he out grossed all 2,999 other Domino’s franchisees last year - delivering pizza by boat, on his lake.

His ability and willingness to innovate and think out-of-the-box in his marketing strategy demonstrates a very important characteristic of all highly successful entrepreneurs. Just like that great quote says, “Within every adversity lies the seeds of equal or greater opportunity!” (Napolean Hill).