Why You Should Start More Fights

Every time I publish something I have strong feelings about, no matter how hard I try to word those feelings with civility, someone is provoked. It often starts a fight.


If no one ever objects to what you write, what you say, or what you do… it’s possible you’re not writing, saying, or doing anything of significance.

Strong ideas challenge people.

All powerful communication offends someone.

I think of this as Fight Club for the Brain.

I don’t want to fight for the sake of striking blows, but as the Great Storyteller writes, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

I’m not suggesting that you be provocative merely for sport.

But I am suggesting that if no one is provoked by what you say, it’s possible that no one is paying attention.



Freelancers, Copywriters & Consultants: Decide Who You WON’T Sell To

You should not sell to everyone who is willing to buy from you. This is especially true for freelancers, copywriters, consultants, and solo professionals.


While this may sound crazy, especially if you are revenue-starved, give it a bit more thought and you’ll see that I’m right.

Two Sides Of The Truth

Using truth in your marketing has two paradoxical sides.


First, you must understand that people on the whole, to paraphrase Jack Nicholson’s character in the film A Few Good Men, “can’t handle the truth”. They don’t want to hear it.

But they need to hear it.

This is why we often are forced to sugarcoat the truth in order to get people to swallow it.

For instance, if you are selling a diet product you may, in your marketing, say to your prospects, “it’s not your fault”. But the truth is, it is their fault. Nobody forced them to slam donuts down their neck every day. So how can we honestly and ethically say that it is not their fault? We might zoom out to the macro level, realizing it’s not their fault they didn’t have proper nutritional education. We let them off the hook a little bit, and then we zoom back in and remind them that now that they understand the truth about why they are overweight, it is now their responsibility. That’s an example of sugarcoating the truth in order to get people to swallow it!

Now, to the paradox I mentioned…

Many people are tired of being sold a pack of lies, especially in certain markets (like the diet industry, the investment industry, or the business opportunity industry).

To people who are sick of lies and hype, nothing will sell better than unvarnished truth.

The trick, of course, is to know when to sugarcoat, and when to just tell the hard truth.

For a good example of telling the truth and selling products like hotcakes at the same time, look no further than Beach Body’s P90X program. This program promises hard work, pain, sweat. And results. Everybody knows by now that those are the required ingredients for a set of six-pack abs. So for Beach Body, the unvarnished truth was the right way to go.

Question for you: Do you sugarcoat, or do you tell your prospects the cold, hard, truth?

Direct Marketing Online Is Personal

Marketing, whether online or offline, is personal.

What I mean is, it should feel personal to those we are marketing to.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I am a proponent of direct response marketing. Please don’t waste your money or your time on so-called “imaging advertising” or “brand building”. Image and brand are valuable, but should be a function of your direct response marketing.

Now, on to this business of marketing being personal.

For marketing to be as effective as possible, you should make sure that you’re writing and speaking to a single person. Never use language like “you people out there” or any language that would imply you’re speaking to a large group.

You want every person who receives your marketing (whether it be a sales letter, an e-mail, or even a radio ad) to feel as though you are speaking directly to them and only them.

The more you can make the marketing material feel direct and personalized, the more effective it will be.

Question for you: How do you make your marketing more personal?

Emotion Marketing

Of all the powerful weapons you have in your marketing arsenal, emotion is the most effective of all. What do I mean?

Your marketing must speak directly to the heart of your prospective customers. You must directly target your message… not to your prospect’s brain, but rather to his or her heart.

We human beings tend to be self-centered. Always thinking about ourselves. And by “thinking”, I mean “emoting”.

It might be more accurate to say we are always “feeling” about ourselves.

If, as a marketer, you know your prospects well enough to understand what they are feeling, and you can speak directly to their emotional selves, your marketing will be vastly more effective.

Question for you: how do you employ emotion in your current marketing?

Why People Buy

Understanding why people buy your product or service is crucial. And here’s the truth… people buy for their own specific reasons – usually not the reasons we think they are buying.

Why People Buy

The truth is, we can never be certain what the real reason is that someone buys our product or service. We might be able to hazard a guess, but because buying is an emotional decision, we will never know for sure.

The best possible research you can do for your business is to find out why your customers are buying whatever it is you are selling. Learn that reason. Know it well and let it guide your business in the future.

Worth reiterating: People buy for emotional reasons, logic only comes into play after the buying decision has already been made. In other words people buy because they want whatever they are buying, they use logic to justify their purchase. This includes everything from lattes to Learjets.

Question: What do you think about the idea of selling to people’s emotions?

The Shopping Cart… Reinvented?

If you need a shopping cart solution for your online business, you have got to see this. Below is a 2-minute video that is just about amazing.
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Click here to watch the full demo or to get your own risk-free account.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this is created by a friend and client of mine. I will make a commission if you sign up for this. Cards on the table.

Question: what shopping cart solution do you use on your website? What are the pros and cons?

This Simple Marketing Formula Avoids Failure

I estimate that maybe as many as 90% of all business people, ad copywriters, speakers, salespeople, and media salespeople just don’t follow the simple formula that could save them from failure.

The old warhorse of marketing formulae: the AIDA formula.

It’s the sequence you must take your prospects through if you want them to buy from you.

The Velvet Rope

Maybe its time you begin excluding customers instead of chasing them. Let me explain.

So often, as business people and entrepreneurs, and especially as freelancers, we seem to be chasing customers. This gives us an air of desperation. If you look at a customer, and all you see is a bag of groceries or a paycheck, guess what? The customer knows. They can smell desperation on you just like a dog can smell your fear. What do you do?

Sit down with a pad and pen and write up a description of your ideal customer. You know, the kind that doesn’t get on your nerves, the kind that pays on time, the kind that doesn’t balk at your fees, the dream customer. Once you’ve written out a good description of what this customer looks like, set that as your target. Pretend that for the next week or so that’s the only kind of customer that you’re willing to accept.

State your criteria publicly.

You don’t have to be obnoxious, you don’t have to state your criteria in the negative (“I don’t want a whining complaining customer”, etc.). You can state your criteria in the positive:

“Looking for customers who is smart, with it, understand the value of what we do, and who is willing to pay a premium price for a job well done.” Change up the specifics to fit whatever your situation is.

But be very clear on the customers that you won’t accept and work to discourage them from doing business with you. This will serve to attract the kind of customers that you want.

My friend, Michael Port, in his book, Book Yourself Solid, calls this the “velvet rope strategy.” We all understand the analogy of the velvet rope. It’s a barrier that implies, “you must meet certain qualifications before you cross this rope”… and the presence of a velvet rope invariably makes us want to cross to the other side.

Is it time for you to put up your own “velvet rope”?