14 Lessons Learned from One of the World’s Highest-Paid Copywriters (Lessons 6-10)

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This is part two of a three-part series on how to profitably translate advice from old-school marketing guru Dan Kennedy to a new online environment.

Last week we looked at the first 5 steps in Dan Kennedy’s Ultimate Marketing Plan, and how you can translate those old-school ideas into an online marketing strategy.

This week we’ve got five more for you.

6. Get Free Advertising

In the book, Kennedy focuses on methods for getting free advertising through traditional media. However, times have changed. These days, it’s social media that can best butter your bread.

If you’re comfortable navigating online, you have a clear advantage here. Other than the expense of time, the majority of social media tools are entirely free. There have never been more easy to implement and widely available instruments to help you smartly promote your business.

If you’re a regular reader of Copyblogger, you already know this goes hand-in-hand with the content marketing gospel flowing from the pulpit, day in and day out.

If you deliver value on a consistent basis, eventually others will help you with the hard work of promotion. They’ll spread your influence and draw prospects to your business like metal to a magnet.

Whether you do this by being flamboyant, an expert, an observer, or otherwise, it’s never been simpler to reach a worldwide audience without having to have a war chest budget.

7. Become Hot!

Trends are great; fads are not.

The last thing you want is to be here today and gone tomorrow. Getting people engaged so they are not only talking about whom you are but also what you’re doing is a tremendous way to increase business.

Once in your sphere, you can groom your one-time prospects into evergreen customers.

Kennedy cites seven ways to get people talking:

  • Gain prestigious recognition. Get name checked by someone in the know. Perhaps Chris Brogan or Darren Rowse mentions you, thus instantly putting you on the radar of a wider audience. Guest posting is a great shortcut to accomplish the same thing.
  • Offer new products. Offer something new or put a unique spin on something old. Offer something decidedly different or measurably better than your competitors, and people will be talking.
  • Offer new services. Find a unique way to service your clientele, or create an unbeatable guarantee and people will naturally want to share it with their friends.
  • Tie into trends and news events. Always have an open ear for what people are discussing these days. This doesn’t mean you need to jump on a Tiger Woods Infidelity Special!, but you can find ways to make the headlines relevant to your business.
  • Tie your business to seasons and holidays. From Groundhog Day to Christmas, there’s always a jubilee to jump on. Be creative. Why wait for a “Harvest Sale,” when you could promote your business during “Talk Like a Pirate Day?” The possibilities here are endless.
  • Tie your business to movies and entertainment events. We love to talk about the latest movies we’ve seen or television we’ve watched. Even if we pretend not to, most of us glance at the tabloids while paying for our groceries. Make your business a part of the water cooler conversation.
  • Piggyback off the fads of others. Fads are here today and gone tomorrow. Though you wouldn’t want to build your business on a passing whim, it can be great to ride the waves while they’re good.

8. Poor Boy Marketing

It’s easy to fritter mountains of money on poorly placed advertising, but moving your enterprise online has made it far easier to avoid this tragic mistake.

See #6 – Get Free Advertising. Get online and get going. Don’t spend tons of money on Adwords or banner ads when you’re getting started. Instead, spend tons of time making connections and getting your message heard.

9. Maximizing total customer value

The life of a customer over time is, by far, one of the biggest assets your business can have. The cost to gain a new customer is substantially higher than that to keep an old one happy. Yet a common mistake many business owners make is giving too much attention to getting new clients, rather than focusing on their existing loyal customers.

Losing some customers is unavoidable, but there are many things you can do to avoid the fallout.

According to Kennedy, businesses lose customers because:

  • 1% die. Until we figure out how to cyborg ourselves, there’s not much we can do about this one.
  • 3% move. Offline, this is due to geography; online, it’s due to shifting interests. You must do all you can to hold the attention of your audience. Some loss is acceptable over time, but stay remarkable and you will minimize the losses.
  • 5% switch to something else due to a friend’s recommendation. There is no more valuable referral than that from a friend. Yet, if your customer is truly happy with your product or services, the odds of them leaving are slim.
  • 9% switch to a better product or service. The best way to fight this is to make sure your products, services, and offers are simply the best around.
  • 14% leave for general dissatisfaction. Again, it’s a good idea to trim the tribe, as you’re never going to please everyone. However, if a customer leaves, make sure you did everything within reason to keep them.

All together, those five reasons only add up to 32%. A staggering 68% of customer loss is due to indifference.

Appreciate your customers, give them value at every opportunity, and allow the relationship to grow over time.

10. Fueling Word-of-Mouth

Online, we call this going viral. The best referrals come from other happy customers. Your job as a business owner is to fuel that praise.

Kennedy suggests using the “EAR” formula:

  • E- Earn your referrals. Do what you do so well that others can’t resist talking about you. Publish content that makes others eager to share.
  • A- Ask. It might make you uncomfortable, but you shouldn’t be shy about asking for referrals if you are doing a job that warrants praise. Give your customers the tools they need, clearly communicate your desires, and watch your business grow.
  • R- Recognize and Reward. Acknowledge your customers when they give you the gift of a referral and never fail to reward them for their efforts. Reciprocity goes a long way, both online and off.

That’s it for this week. The final four elements of Kennedy’s Ultimate Marketing Plan applied online will be in next week’s final installment of the series.

About the Author: Sean Platt writes direct response copy, as well as helping authors write, publish and promote their book. Follow him on Twitter.

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Reader Comments (27)

  1. says

    Valuable information. But even a mention by a problogger like Daren or Chris won’t help for long unless you provide a continuing flow of great content.

  2. says

    @Ray: You’re absolutely right. Your job is to create great content. Every mention from big to small can add up to the eventual BLOW UP, but if you’re not consistent with your quality, all the mentions in the world will never amount to much.

    @Melissa: Absolutely. People are important and they want to know that you know it too.


    I’ll be back tonight, or during the weekend to check in with comments. I’m swallowed in commitments today, but look forward to reading your thoughts as soon as I am able.

    Have an awesome day!

  3. says

    Thanks for posting this information. Big fan of Dan Kennedy’s here, constantly read in his book “Ultimate Sales Letter”.
    Look forward to reading more of your information.

  4. says

    Ray makes a good point. Bringing in the traffic is only half the battle. Keeping the traffic is the key to success and you can only do that by writing consistently good content.

  5. Archan Mehta says


    I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you.

    I also think it is important to be open and responsive to customer feedback. Apart from that, there are other kinds of inputs as well, such as the external environment of your business.

    You have to be sensitive because things are always in a flux. Legislation, technology, politics, social trends, consumer behavior, demographics, etc.

    Maybe keep your ear close to the ground and listen with empathy. And keep on tweaking your product/service until you get it right. Try to please your client/customer.

    It seems these days customers have become more discerning and want to be wowed. Hence, the demand for more tailor-made and custom-designed products and services. “Old wine in new bottle” is no longer good enough. Of course, this maybe true only for the upmarket segments, but I have noticed this shift in perspective.

  6. says

    Thanks for the post!

    You’re absolutely right about social media sites, the opportunities and potential of free social websites.

    I am sure that today is much easier to reach someone hear what you have to say. All depends on what kind of impression we leave and what value we are giving to people with whom we come in contact.

    People will start talking in social media sites and then comes a moment when everything is going viral.

  7. says

    Great ideas.

    I second the holiday idea. My blog gets quite a few hits from people searching for “Married To a Scorpio Support Day” because I tied a post to it. Not sure they find what they’re looking for, but hopefully they get a laugh nonetheless.

  8. says

    Oh my god, who else just fell down at the simple directive to ASK for something from your readers? I mean, my site is wholly entertainment meaning I’m not selling anymore than my self. But to ASK for readers to bring over more readers? Simple, genius, I’m doing it immediately. Thanks!

  9. says

    Great tips. I’ve been offered to do a cross promotion with another blog. I’m trying to figure out how to relate the offer to my blog topic.

    I’m also working on posting on odd days such as your Pirate Day suggestion.

  10. says

    Hi Sean, Great advice here. I hadn’t thought about tying my posts into holidays, news stories or other events. I also agree 100% on providing value to old customers just as much as your new ones. I have been that “old” customer before and when you stop receiving the value you stop paying attention or lose interest.

    Thanks – Heidi

  11. says

    @IronicMom, it’s always a source of amusement for me to see how people come into a site. Although mine don’t tend to be as colorful as, say, Naomi Dunford’s.

  12. Sonia Simone says

    @Ray, that’s very true. I was fortunate enough to get a link from Seth Godin very early on my first blog. It was a wonderful shot in the arm (and helped me feel like I was on the right track with this whole blogging thing), but the important thing was to capitalize on that jolt of traffic by offering a lot of really high quality material to keep people reading and keep them engaged. I’m also very glad that I had an email newsletter already in place with a solid autoresponder, so I was able to capture those readers and continue a relationship with them.

    I would have reached the same point with or without that link — the link just helped speed me along.

  13. says

    Dan: I’ve recently finished “Ultimate Sales Letter” as well. Great stuff. I hope you enjoyed the followup.

    AV: Ray’s dead on. Without a way to capture what’s coming, it will only fall through the holes in your net.

    Archan: I totally agree. My family had a flower shop for 30 years. After a lean beginning it grew extremely successful. My parents listened to their customers, stayed ahead of the trends and did things better than anyone else in the city. But the market changed and they didn’t listen. The store died a slow, hooked to a respirator sort of death as a result. You have to pay attention or that’s it, game over, you’re irrelevant.

    Branko: Yes, it has never been easier to reach so many. Our tools are terrific.

    Ironic Mom: Ha, it’s always funny to look at the analytics and see how people are finding you. I’m actually embarrassed by a few I’ve seen on my sites.

    Samantha: Word of mouth is older than the oldest profession.

    Maren: Me too. :)

    Beki: Do it now! It works. :)

    Adrienne: I’m writing a pirate post in my head right now.

    Heidi: No one wants to feel unimportant. The most valuable thing we have to give is our time. We want to know it’s being respected rather than taken for granted.

    Sonia: Ha! I can only imagine.

    Sonia and Ray: You know, when I first started out I got some nice attention from some terrific people rather immediately. But in hindsight I did a pretty lousy job of capturing or doing anything with it. I was putting out good stuff, but it wasn’t the type of stuff that was going to move me forward in the way I most needed to go. I really wish I’d known that then. So, it’s not just keeping up with the quality content, it’s pointing your sails to catch as much as you can of the incoming wind. It would have made all the difference in the world had I truly understood the definition of content marketing way back then.

  14. says

    As a business owner, one of my most challenging time management tasks is finding the ideal balance between gaining new customers and maintaining existing customers. In the end, however, I have found that when I continuously impress my existing customers they begin to solicit new customers for me all on their own!

  15. says

    Love your points; great advice.

    Free advertising is so easy to get these days, it’s amazing. All you have to do is, for example, guest post on a site like CopyBlogger, and suddenly you’ll have tons of traffic coming in (not that getting a guest post published here is easy).

    Before, you had to either pay money or have a lot of connections, and then you have to do with big corporations…

    Getting hot is a really amazing tool, and it’s unbelievable what you can accomplish if you become a trend; just by adding value.

    A lot of people foolishly spend tons of money on advertising like drunken sailors when they don’t have any content. Although I promote myself through things like commenting, being on Twitter, etc. I’m completely revamping my blog, and especially if your blog has no content, spending money to advertise is foolish.

    I recall hearing Neil Patel once saying in a bonus interview with Darren Rowse (which you can get by signing up to http://problogger.com/) that a guy once offered him something like $400,000 to market his business idea, but Neil wouldn’t accept because he didn’t think the idea was good. Obviously most people don’t have that much money to spend on advertising, but it can be translated to much lower amounts of money.

    Kennedy’s split of why people lose customers is very insightful, but what exactly do you mean by “indifference?”

    Going viral is such a powerful thing it’s scary: http://mashable.com/2009/12/30/addthis-2009/

    Can’t wait for the top five!

  16. says

    Thanks for the very descriptive article, and I will in return bookmark it. I am always on the lookout for the best tools that are available on the market.

  17. says

    I thought it was going to be several boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I can post a link to that page on my blog. I am certain my visitors can find that incredibly practical.

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