This is the final installment of a three-part series on how to translate advice from marketing guru Dan Kennedy to a new online environment.
One of the smartest things any online marketer can do is to study the “old school” guys who wrote direct mail, magazine ads, and other artifacts of advertising history.
Why? Because it took a tremendous understanding of the psychology of persuasion to make those tactics work.
When you pair shiny new communication technology with tried-and-true methods to persuade and sell, you hugely increase your odds of success.
So let’s continue exploring what old-school guru Dan Kennedy can teach us about 21st-century marketing. This week we’ll cover lessons 11 through 14 from Kennedy’s book The Ultimate Marketing Plan.
I can’t promise these tips will make cash start spewing out of your laptop. But they do represent a lot of sound business thinking.
(Incidentally, the links to the book are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you buy it, I’ll be able to buy a pack of gum! Put any of this advice into action and you should get quite a lot more out of the deal.)
11. Create a short-term sales surge
One of the factors that plagues most small businesses, especially when they’re starting out, is a shortage of cash.
Creating quick “sales surges” is one of Kennedy’s specialties, and he has a lot of suggestions for how to do that. (For more ideas, I can strongly recommend picking up his book.)
Essentially, though, all the variations come down to one basic strategy:
- Make a great offer.
- Limit it in time, number of copies you’ll sell, or both.
- Make sure you come up with a good story or reason for the promotion.
Kennedy, as you can imagine, gives some rather old-school ideas like red tag sales or “My accountant thinks I’m crazy!”
He also likes to pluck interesting themes out of current events. For example, at a recent conference he invited loyal customers to bring old copies of his products in a “Cash for Clunkers” promotion.
Kennedy’s creativity is mostly involved in coming up with a reason for his promotions. But if selling information is part of what you do, you can also create a brand-new product for your “cash surge.” It doesn’t have to be extensive (it’s annoying how often we’re short on both cash and time). In fact, you can offer something that you develop over the weekend.
These “surges” can help any business, small or large, get through the lean times and amplify earnings during the best. And not only do short-term surges bring in cash, they also build your list of customers, strengthening your business for the long haul.
12. Take Advantage of New Marketing Technologies
As you might imagine, readers of Copyblogger are well ahead of the curve here. If any of these are missing from your current communication mix, you can very profitably add them to make your business stronger.
Audio, Video and Webinars: Record a meeting, training or presentation and post it to the web where you can repeatedly benefit.
Autoresponders: With a great autoresponder series, you can write copy which is delivered in a sequence, regardless of when a prospect signs up. This will enable you to automate your marketing and free up time to refine other aspects of your business. And they’re great for creating rapport and trust with your customers.
The next hot communication technology. Kennedy is a notorious technophobe; he doesn’t personally use email or the web at all.
But like many smart businesspeople, he’s willing to make money with new technology even though he personally dislikes it. In fact, Sonia seemed to have experienced a warm reception when she recently spoke at one of his conferences.
As long as a marketing tactic is ethical, be willing to consider it even if you aren’t personally a fan. If you hate Facebook but that’s where your customers are, you may want to suck it up.
13. Avoid employee sabotage
For those who use VAs or other employees (whether they’re on a contract or a regular payroll), there are some special areas to watch out for.
Employees are a reflection of both you and your business. Whether they are ringing up sales or answering email, they are ambassadors for your policies, and for how you feel about your customers.
In my first business, there were times when I would leave my shop on an errand only to come back to a rather unpleasant surprise.
“You said WHAT?”
Delegating is a great thing (and usually necessary if you want your business to grow). But you must be the captain of your own marketing ship, as well as the navigator and the crew.
Even the most valuable employees are still just that — employees. And no one will ever care as much about your business as you do.
This is one reason the Partnering Profits model makes so much sense in the online world. Small businesses are easier and easier to create. It makes perfect sense to partner with people to run them with you, sharing the workload and the profit.
14. Hiring and firing experts
Learn from the best, but take everything with a grain of salt.
I’ve bought and absorbed numerous info products over the last year. Some were good, some were great, and a few were barely better than lousy.
Nevertheless, even the worst has taught me something.
You won’t learn it all in a day or a download, nor should you expect to. Someone asked an awesome question in Sonia’s Remarkable Marketing Blueprint forum the other day. They wondered, “What’s the point in having memberships in different sites, like Lateral Action, Third Tribe Marketing, and the Blueprint?”
I’m a member of all three, so I’m happy to share my thoughts on that.
There isn’t a single download that holds all the answers. Like life, we pick up a bit here and a bit there, all of it blending to make us who we are. We experience things differently at different times. True success is a slow and steady climb, rung by rung.
When you involve yourself with quality people who are putting out quality information, you get a better ladder. You still have to do the climbing yourself..
There is no guru or authority who can give you all the answers.
Not Dan Kennedy, not Brian Clark, not Sean Platt.
That said, you want to make sure you’re taking advice from someone who’s walked the walk.
In Cameron Crowe’s much-quoted movie “Say Anything“, there’s a scene where the hero, Lloyd Dobler, is standing at the gas station listening to a handful of lonely men handing out relationship advice. To which Lloyd says:
If you guys know so much about women, how come you’re here at, like, the Gas ‘n’ Sip on a Saturday night, completely alone drinking beers with no women anywhere?
I would strongly recommend Dan Kennedy’s Ultimate Marketing Plan as a powerful resource that should be in any copywriter’s toolbox. He’s “walked the walk” and advised thousands of traditional businesses. And with a little creativity, his advice works just as well in the new online environment.
Obviously, the book contains more information than I could squeeze into a few thousand words. But I hope the “Cliff’s Notes” version has been useful!