Discover the Secret Mind Control Method That Hypnotically Persuades Prospects to Buy… Guaranteed!

Ever see headlines like that one?

I’m betting you have.

Last week I asked for your feedback on the term “tutorial marketing,” because I began to think that it may be just a bit too bland.

I think the consensus ended up being that you feel the same way.

The concept behind tutorial marketing is pretty powerful. By taking a strategic educational approach, you are actually selling more effectively, all while allowing the prospect to feel like they were not actually persuaded at all.

The fact that such content can also be effective link bait makes the methodology even more attractive.

Headlines like the one on this post are essentially talking about the same thing, just dressed up in forbidden clothing. It’s a different approach for a different audience, and that particular pitch actually works well with certain demographics.

I didn’t think that approach would work with you guys (but who knows for sure—let me know). I took a softer approach because bloggers are generally resistant, even hostile, to hype, and because I’m not a big fan of it either.

So, I now have a better idea of where I need to end up on this topic (which, as usual, is somewhere in between). And thanks to blogging, all I had to do was watch and ask.

Two points we need to always keep in mind:

1. You must always write for the audience you have, so be careful who you emulate.

2. You don’t have to spew huge amounts of hype, but you must always be interesting.

Tutorial marketing.

Sheesh, what was I thinking? :)

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Reader Comments (22)

  1. says

    Don’t be so hard on yourself dude, I would rather read about something called ‘tutorial marketing’ than read one of those BS lines like your ironic title above. At least I would expect it not to totally stupid.

    Personally I hate those hard sell web pages that go on and on and on with the promises and the caps and the “but wait there’s more!” and the absolute refusal to give any concrete information out until they get your credit card number.

    I just don’t believe ’em; if they had anything to say, then they should be able to put it out there for the innovators, like Seth Godin does, and then re-sell the same info to the slower masses as they try to catch up.

  2. says

    I”m not really being hard on myself at all… seriously.

    I never wed myself to a simple phrase if it’s not quite right. Tutorial marketing was one of those things that could be a home run OR a dud. You never know till you throw it out there.

    But at least I knew that the hard sell was wrong. That’s got to count for something. :)

  3. says

    Hi Brian,

    Surveys are rarely accurate. People say what they want you to hear, not what they would actually spend money to purchase.

    There are only two ways to know the actual answer to your question:

    1) Test it with a purchase link. The dollars are all that count… opinions are like…

    2) Do a statistical analysis of profitable and unprofitable headlines. That is just another way of counting with dollars instead of opinions.

    -James D. Brausch

  4. says

    I have published 4 online tutorials (although I referred to them as workshops) in my site since 2003. Through it, I’ve been able to build a niche database, launch a book, training program, speaking engagements, and get consulting projects.

    So yes, tutorial marketing really works!

  5. says

    >>Surveys are rarely accurate. People say what they want you to hear, not what they would actually spend money to purchase.

    James, I know. That wasn’t the point of this little exercise.

  6. says

    How about “Naked Tutorial Marketing” :)
    Or maybe:

    Make incredible profits on the Internet – pedalling HYPE! It works for us, it’ll work for you, and it can ever work for your grandma.

    My grandma earns over US$100,000 per hour and now has a studly boyfriend 50 years her junior!. And she’s no rocketscientist I promise you.

    We want YOU to succeed and will make it IMPOSSIBLE TO fail — for only $5,000 a month. One good minute on the Internet will easily recoup your investment!!!!

    Order before midnight tonight and get F.REE SEX! (optional Ginsu knives available instead)

  7. says

    Strange. My comment above was incomplete. What I meant to say was, what data do you have that proves surveys are inaccurate? Is it a survey? This must come as a surprise to Gallup and Zogby.
    (My apologies for being off topic, but I would like to see data that supports that.)

  8. says


    Oddly enough, this survey (the comments in this thread) add to that data. I don’t want to spoil Brian’s method of coming up with that headline, but the fact is that it would beat “Tutorial Marketing” as a headline when actually used on a sales page… by a couple of zeros. That is backed up by very solid data.

    I don’t think the data behind that could be shared in a comment thread like this. You are welcome to prove it to yourself though.

    Ask any profitability question in a survey anywhere… then do the actual profitability study. There is a significant negative correlation between the results of most surveys and actual profitability.

    There is some science behind asking a question in particular ways and getting a positive correlation with actual results, but it always involves a bit of trickery in the survey to overcome the respondents natural desire to follow the herd. Gallop is well aware of that.

    -James D. Brausch

  9. says

    >>but the fact is that it would beat “Tutorial Marketing” as a headline when actually used on a sales page… by a couple of zeros.

    Absolutely no doubt about that! :)

    Blog comments are very instructive though, but not because your readers are going to tell you exactly what to do (not should that be a goal).

    But what people say is extremely useful in other ways, when also combined with web stats analysis and other metrics of content popularity as opposed to sales conversions.

    As a relationship medium, blogging is about content first, then sales. And as James knows, there are several crafty ways to use comments to create content that overcomes objections and leads to sales, all without seeming like a sales pitch at all.

    Right James? :)

  10. says

    David Frey uses the term “education based marketing”.

    I think it’s important to understand that the copy people read today has changed from the copy people read 20 years ago.

    The number of advertising messages we’re exposed to has risen exponentially.

    And direct mail companies are leaning more and more towards the “magalog” and “report” openings to their copy (basically disguising a sales letter as a report or free magazine).

    Online I’ve written copy that increased response by over 100% simply by changing from a sales letter to a sales letter that starts out as a free report.

    A professional copywriter needs to take special note of the increasing dislike of the general population for being “sold”.

    We’re now beginning to sell more and more to the “X-generation” as the “baby boomers” retire or die out.

    And the X-generation are a cynical, sales resistant lot.

    So “education-based marketing” or “tutorial marketing” rules.

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