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Learning Direct Response Marketing (Strategies/Book Summaries/Case Studies)

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MTF

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A business doesn't exist without sales.

You can have the best product ever, yet if you don't know how to find prospects and how to persuade them to try your offer, you'll make a big, fat zero.

Ironically, if I were to pick my weakest business skill, it would be marketing and sales.

Despite my weakness, I was lucky to build a successful self-publishing company. The problem is that I relied on big platforms such as Amazon to promote my books for me. As self-publishing became more popular, getting free organic traffic became more difficult. Today, an author without an existing loyal following or excellent marketing skills has low chances of success compared to how it was a mere few years ago.

Which brings me to this process thread. Because of my success (which, let me reiterate it, largely came down to being in the right place at the right time) delegating marketing to an external platform, I've become a lazy and ignorant entrepreneur. As I'm exploring new potential business opportunities now, it's apparent how much I'm lacking in the marketing department. Consequently, I have little confidence in my skills and feel like an impostor.

So I decided to go back to studying what got me interested in business about a decade ago - direct response marketing and all related concepts, including sales and copywriting.

In essence, direct response marketing is a type of marketing in which the goal is to elicit a specific, immediate response from a potential customer. Usually it's a sale but it can also be a newsletter sign-up or any other specific action.

Originally direct response marketing relied on sending physical letters to potential customers and then fulfilling the order via mail. These days, it's mostly about driving paid traffic to a sales page. But it doesn't have to be—you can use it for a wide variety of business models, including services, SaaS, digital products, e-commerce, and so on.

What's important to understand about direct response marketing is that it's the most rational and predictable approach to building a business there is. You rely on numbers. They either work or they don't. You aren't spending years building a brand or pursuing similar vague goals. You build your business through acquiring paying customers.

Some direct response marketing heroes I studied in the past include Gary Halbert (to this day, his collection of newsletters is one of the best things I've ever read), John Carlton (what an entertaining writing style), and Jay Abraham (probably the greatest business consultant ever with brilliant strategies you'll never see anywhere else).

In this process thread I'll post my notes from various resources I'll study to master direct response marketing. I'll cover both dated but still super valuable classics as well as newer stuff. I'll also post some real-world examples of great marketing. Perhaps we can also work together to help improve our offers, copy, or anything else pertaining to direct response marketing.

My hope with this thread is to document my journey of mastering direct response marketing and to help others improve their skills, too.

In the next post, my notes from $100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No by Alex Hormozi.

Table of Contents:

I can't edit this post forever so I created a separate website where I'll post links to new issues for easier navigation.

 
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MTF

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Issue #1: Alex Hormozi's $100M Offers

I stumbled upon Alex Hormozi recently. He was repeatedly recommended by different experienced entrepreneurs, mentioning how legit he is and how valuable his stuff is.

At first I was skeptical but then I decided to watch his free course on his website and then read his book $100M Offers: How To Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No (the course is a companion to the book but in itself it covers a lot of stuff from the book).

Here are my key takeaways from this book:

1. Make people an offer so good they would feel stupid saying no

This is the entire premise of the book (Alex calls these offers Grand Slam Offers). Creating an offer that's impossible to refuse is the key to stand out and succeed.

Compare A to B:

A: Pay an SEO agency $1000 a month to maybe make more from the traffic they'll hopefully drive to your website.

B: Pay an SEO agency NOTHING until they generate traffic for you that converts. You only pay for real customers they help you acquire. So if you say no to their offer, you're essentially saying no to risk-free money.

Assuming the B agency has credentials, you'd feel like a fool if you refused their offer. Learning how to craft such offers is the secret that has changed Alex's life.

2. Sell your product based on value, not on price

The worst business you can be in is one in which you can't differentiate yourself. It's a race to the bottom with no hope of lasting success.

To avoid being commoditized, an offer you present to the marketplace can't be compared to any other product or service available.

It has to combine an attractive promotion, an unmatchable value proposition, a premium price (super important, as a high price signals more value), and an unbeatable guarantee with a money model (payment terms) that allows you to get paid to get new customers. This makes you a category of one in which the prospect decides between your product and nothing (because there's no competition).

3. The right market is a starving crowd

If there's a ton of demand for a solution, you can be mediocre at business, have a terrible offer, and have no ability to persuade people, and you can still make money.

You never try to create demand. Your objective is to channel existing demand. It has to be in a market that is growing at least at the same rate as the marketplace and falls into improved health, increased wealth, or improved relationships.

When picking markets, focus on these four things:
  • The degree of the pain is proportional to the price you'll be able to charge.
  • Your audience needs to have money needed to buy your services at the prices you require to make it worth your time.
  • You need an easy way to find people who belong to your market. If targeting them is difficult, it'll be difficult to get your offer in front of them.
  • The market needs to be growing. It doesn't have to grow super fast and be sexy but it can't be a declining market (like newspapers).
The order of importance between markets, offers, and persuasion skills:

Starving Crowd (market) > Offer Strength > Persuasion Skills

In other words, a starving crowd beats everything else. If you're in a "normal" market, your offer strength will help you win. Lastly, if you offer strength isn't great, you'll have to rely on your persuasion skills (worst case scenario to be avoided).

4. Pick one niche and focus on it

Half-heartedly trying one offer in one market and failing doesn't mean that you're in a bad market. Don't hop from niche to niche. Keep creating offers for your chosen niche until you find something that works. Alex suggests committing yourself to creating a hundred offers (one will work and make you rich).

5. Riches are in the niches

You can literally charge 100x more for the exact same product as long as you target a very specific niche and present the product as tailored to them.

Compare a generic product on time management which you can sell for $19 and a highly targeted time management product for outbound B2B power tools and gardening sales reps which you can sell for $1997 because of how specific it is.

6. Charge so much it hurts

The consequences of lowering your price instead of raising it (along with offered value) are beautifully described in the book:

When you decrease your price, you . . . . . .

Decrease your clients’ emotional investment since it didn’t cost them much . . .

Decrease your clients’ perceived value of your service since it can’t be that good if it’s so cheap, or priced the same as everyone else . . .

Decrease your clients results because they do not value your service and are not invested . . .

Attract the worst clients who are never satisfied until your service is free . . .

Destroy any margin you have left to be able to actually provide an exceptional experience, hire the best people, invest in your people, pamper your clients, invest in growth, invest in more locations or more scale, and everything else that you had hoped in the goal of helping more people solve whatever problem it is that you solve.

In essence, your world sucks. And to make matters worse, your service probably sucks because you are squeezing blood from the proverbial stone. There’s just not enough money left over to make something exceptional. As a result, you fall in line with the armies of average businesses that race to the bottom. I’ve lived that life. It’s terrible. If you love your customers and your employees, please stop short-changing them when there is a better way.

7. The only way to be unreasonably successful is to have a big discrepancy between what something costs you and what you charge for it

You should charge far more for your product and services than it costs to fulfill it. Think up to a hundred times more, not just two or three times more. And it should still always be a steal for your client (because of the value you offer).

8. Perception is reality

The Grand Slam Offer becomes valuable only once the prospect perceives the increase in likelihood of achievement, perceives the decrease in time delay, and perceives the decrease in effort and sacrifice.

People pay for certainty (increased likelihood of achievement). How much would you pay to be a plastic surgeon’s 10,000th patient versus their first? You'd pay a lot more.

The faster you can deliver promised benefits, the more valuable your offer is (decrease in time delay).

The less effort and sacrifice is needed, the more appealing your offer is (decrease in effort and sacrifice).

9. Create flow first

With your offer, channel demand first. This means starting with an irresistible, done for you offer that may be hard to fulfill but that's easy to sell.

Compare selling an ebook with marketing advice for owners of massage studios vs physically visiting them and helping them implement all the advice. Alex likes to start by creating cashflow first (by overdelivering) and then fixing your operations and making your business more efficient:

I have always lived by the mantra, “Create flow. Monetize flow. Then add friction.” This means I generate demand first. Then, with my offer, I get them to say yes. Once I have people saying yes, then, and only then, will I add friction in my marketing, or decide to offer less for the same price.

Practicality drives this practice. If you can’t get demand flowing in, then you have no idea whether what you have is good. I’d rather do more for every customer and have cash flow coming in, then optimize my business but have zero cash flow coming in after (and zero idea about what I need to adjust to better serve my customers).

10. Scarcity drives demand

Particularly if you sell high ticket products, have less spots available than you think you can sell. You can offer honest scarcity by simply defining a number of clients you can take on in a given time period and advertising that.

11. Deadlines drive decisions

Have deadlines and run seasonal promotions with a start and a finish. This helps people take action.

12. Stack bonuses

A single offer is less valuable than the same offer broken into its component parts and stacked as bonuses.

The value of the bonuses should eclipse the value of the core offer.

Create checklists, tools, swipe files, scripts, templates. Record every workshop, every webinar, every event, every interview and use them as additional bonuses. Offer exclusive discounts for other non-competing products (ideally get a deal for your customers that they wouldn't be able to get themselves).

13. Offer strong guarantees

An offer can convert 2-4x better by simply changing the quality of the guarantee.

You can offer unconditional guarantees, conditional guarantees, anti-guarantees (all sales are final because of a creative reason why), and implied guarantees (performance-based offers).

An example of a strong guarantee:

“I’m not asking you to decide yes or no today...I'm asking you to make a fully informed decision, that is all. The only way you can make a fully informed decision is on the inside, not the outside. So you get on the inside and see if everything we say on this webinar is true and valuable to you. Then, if it is, that’s when you decide to keep it. If it’s not for you, no hard feelings. You will then, after signing up at URL be able to make a fully informed decision that this isn’t for you. But you can’t make this decision right now for the same reason you don't buy a house without first looking at the inside of it. And know this...whether it’s 29 min or 29 days from now...if you ain’t happy, I ain’t happy. For any reason whatsoever, if you want your money back you can get it because I only want to keep your money if you’re happy. All you have to do is go to support@xyz.com and tell use “gimme my money” and you got it, and in short order - our response times to any support request average 61min over a 24/7 time period. You can only make such a guarantee when you're confident that what you have is the real deal and I'm fairly confident that when you sign up at URL you’re getting exactly what you need to BENEFIT.”

14. MAGIC headline formula for naming your offer

1. Make a magnetic reason
2. Announce the avatar.
3. Give them a goal.
4. Indicate a time interval.
5. Complete with a container word

You won't always use all these components. Typically you'll use between three to five.

Examples:
  • Free Six-Week Lean-By-Halloween Challenge
  • Back Sore No More! 90 Day Rapid Healing Intensive (81% off!)
  • 5 Clients in 5 Days Blueprint
--

This is just a short summary. I highly, highly recommend studying his stuff as he offers many cool examples.
 
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Black_Dragon43

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Not directly related to DM but, may I recommend something for you @MTF? The hardest thing about building an info business, whether you’re selling books, courses, info products, coaching, consulting… basically selling ADVICE - is getting in front of the right people.

It’s not the magical sales copy that convinces everyone to buy (although that is important), and it’s not the offer that does it. Those elements are both relevant… but not the real deal maker.

The real deal maker is CREDIBILITY and you’ve got 0 unless you have a brand or a list of your own, AND hungry traffic.

The easiest and most effective way to get both of those in one shot are through JVs. Building relationships with centers of influence, who hold the keys to large audiences. That’s how million dollar launches are done.

There are a lot of ways to provide value to such JVs… from very direct ones “be an affiliate and make up to $10,000 by the end of the funnel” (which requires a heavy backend), to more indirect ones (I’ll help you write and publish book for free, or here’s my book as a gift and then wait for them to invite you on their podcast, etc.). But this is the key - this is the step the newbies don’t get right and will never get right because they have no clue how to communicate at high levels, network with smart people and do deals.

With the right JVs, any product can sell, even with bad copy. Ofc having a solid product is usually a necessity to access JVs in the first place, but if you could do it without, it would still sell like crazy.
 
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MTF

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Issue #2: How Doodly Creates an Impossible to Refuse Offer

Russell Brunson is one of the modern legends of direct response marketing. He created products like ClickFunnels and Doodly. And Doodly is the example I want to cover today as I find it brilliant.

Doodly is whiteboard animation software. When you go on their page, you'll notice that their pricing is monthly or annual. Currently the monthly price for a standard plan is $39 and $69 for an enterprise plan (with more assets to use). Yearly it's $20/month or $40/month.

I found Doodly through a Google search (searching for Videoscribe alternatives, their ad was #1) and landed on a landing page that offers a one-time price of just $67 (it's called a special Facebook offer). There's also a pop-up that gives you additional 10% off if you sign up for their list. So you can get it for a one-time payment of $60 instead of paying up to a few hundred dollars annually. This in itself is IMO an offer that's super hard to refuse as it's clearly extremely valuable.

I assume they calculated their churn rate and realized it's better to sell lifetime access to software for a low price and then make money on the back end than sell software for a monthly/annual fee.

I signed up for the list to get the discount and started receiving emails from Russell. I'm impressed how convincing he is in his emails.

You get a reminder that you have 48 hours to use the discount (urgency). Each email restates the unconditional 30-day guarantee and reminds that the official price is monthly/annually instead of a one-time price. When my coupon was (supposedly) expiring in 36 hours, I got another email in which I received a $297 bonus (additional 500 assets which are normally sold separately in their Doodly marketplace). I'm going to wait one more day to see what else he's going to do to persuade me to buy it.

In the meantime, I also checked their website and found three upsells:

Doodly Elite Masterclass - a video course with advanced training on how to use the software. Super valuable and extremely relevant for the buyer (particularly those who want to make money with it, i.e. whiteboard animation service providers). It costs $97 so MORE than the software. But that's the entire idea behind upsells - you make more on them than on the main offer. And the cost of delivery is close to zero since it's a digital product.

Doodly Rainbow - an add-on that lets you add color to your animations. Costs $67. Another no-brainer upsell with huge value for power users who want any edge they can get to stand out. Yet again, zero cost to it (when you buy it, a new button will appear in your copy of software).

The Definitive Guide to Copywriting - sold for $47, an ebook on copywriting that's IMO way less relevant but still useful to many members of the target audience. Again, no delivery costs.

Then there's, I assume, Doodly marketplace available only for Doodly customers where they sell more assets.

The system is designed to be a money printer with various irresistible offers. You sell a product that can make people money, offering a very strong main offer that's super attractive compared to the regular price. Then you sell relevant upsells with low/zero delivery cost and offer even more through your own ever-growing marketplace (people will want more and more elements; they new assets are fairly easy to create). This lets you slowly raise prices as you offer more and more value.

Well thought-out marketing strategy like this is more beautiful to me than art LOL.
 
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MTF

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The real deal maker is CREDIBILITY and you’ve got 0 unless you have a brand or a list of your own, AND hungry traffic.

Agreed. This is why next on my reading list are Russell Brunson's books, starting with Expert Secrets.

I'll also review Jay Abraham's stuff who loves JVs.
 

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Agreed. This is why next on my reading list are Russell Brunson's books, starting with Expert Secrets.

I'll also review Jay Abraham's stuff who loves JVs.
The best book on this topic though it’s quite rare and hard to get is imo Rainmaker, by Russ Alan Prince. It’s the only empirical study I know that addresses this matter with hard cold numbers.

The book is actually about how financial consultants build million dollar practices… and centers around 1200 of them. The answer is through referrals by building strategic partnerships with relevant centers of influence: in their case, accountants and attorneys who work with the wealthy. The book then details, empirically, HOW they build these partnerships, getting accountants and attorneys to refer them to droves of wealthy clients… and ofc the principles can be applied to any other advice business.

I like Brunson’s books - Expert Secrets is more a positioning & storyselling book, Traffic Secrets is much more about this topic though!
 
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Mathuin

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Andy Black

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Good for you getting back into marketing @MTF. I think this will really help your other endeavours.

I’m following as I love direct response and your write ups are always amazing. Hmm… maybe you could consider selling summaries of books?

Now then… your title. Could you come up with something better than “How To Learn Direct Response Marketing - Progress Thread”?
 

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I’m following as I love direct response and your write ups are always amazing. Hmm… maybe you could consider selling summaries of books?

Book summaries are a commodity :)

Now then… your title. Could you come up with something better than “How To Learn Direct Response Marketing - Progress Thread”?

Why? I think it's simple and explains what the thread is about. Unless I'm missing an error in it. If you think I should rename it, I'll come up with a different title.
 
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Book summaries are a commodity :)
Lol.

Don't forget you're saving people time. "Fast beats free".

Why? I think it's simple and explains what the thread is about. Unless I'm missing an error in it. If you think I should rename it, I'll come up with a different title.


On my phone I don't see all of the title "How To Learn Direct Response Marketing"
This would fit better: "Learning Direct Response Marketing".

Something like this could get more eyeballs though "Make More Sales With Direct Response Marketing".
 

Mathuin

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This would fit better: "Learning Direct Response Marketing".

Something like this could get more eyeballs though "Make More Sales With Direct Response Marketing".
I was thinking the same thing. "How to" and "Process Thread" don't fit well together imo.
 

Speed112

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Over here, over there.
maybe you could consider selling summaries of books?

This is a very sound point. There are three stages in the pursuit and communication of knowledge:

Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis.

Great copy lies in the Synthesis stage, where you can take existing knowledge and more efficiently communicate it to people. Time is the most valuable resource, so the endeavor is valuable as well.

And MTF does appear to be quite adept at it.

Something like this could get more eyeballs though "Make More Sales With Direct Response Marketing".

I think the title is fine as it is. I clicked on it immediately as it came up, and it seems to have gained traction.

"How to" and "Process Thread" don't fit well together imo.

This is true, though.
 
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MTF

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@Andy Black, @Mathuin, @Speed112 how about "Grow Your Business With Direct Response Marketing - Strategies, Book Summaries, and Case Studies"?

I think of it as a progress thread since I'll be sharing my own process but I agree it may be better to omit this part and just focus on the benefit. The first part alone ("Grow Your Business With Direct Response Marketing") is a little lackluster, though, so I think that the "Strategies, Book Summaries, and Case Studies" adds some relevant details. Can be also "Summaries" on its own without "Book" if it's clear enough.
 

Mathuin

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@Andy Black, @Mathuin, @Speed112 how about "Grow Your Business With Direct Response Marketing - Strategies, Book Summaries, and Case Studies"?

I think of it as a progress thread since I'll be sharing my own process but I agree it may be better to omit this part and just focus on the benefit. The first part alone ("Grow Your Business With Direct Response Marketing") is a little lackluster, though, so I think that the "Strategies, Book Summaries, and Case Studies" adds some relevant details. Can be also "Summaries" on its own without "Book" if it's clear enough.
Sounds good imo
 

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The following just fit on a desktop.

BTW... I don't think working on the title is being too anal. Direct response is all about getting (the right) people to respond.

2022-01-17_13-34-38.png
 
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The following just fit on a desktop.

Didn't fit on mine (ends on "Studi...") but it's alright :)

BTW... I don't think working on the title is being too anal. Direct response is all about getting (the right) people to respond.

I don't think it's being too anal. One of the key lessons of direct response marketing is the power of the headline. I should have spent more time thinking about mine but I was too excited to post my notes haha.

Edit:

Also added TOC to my first post. Assuming I can always edit it, I'll keep updating it for easier navigation.
 

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Didn't fit on mine (ends on "Studi...") but it's alright :)



I don't think it's being too anal. One of the key lessons of direct response marketing is the power of the headline. I should have spent more time thinking about mine but I was too excited to post my notes haha.

Edit:

Also added TOC to my first post. Assuming I can always edit it, I'll keep updating it for easier navigation.
You could so easily make an email newsletter out of this. You don't need to be an expert, just documenting your learning. I had a small paid email newsletter on Substack where people could follow along as I tried and learned things in my business (like a progress thread).

After a few weeks you won't be able to edit the first post.

I shortened the title for you. Feel free to suggest/try something different. I put it into the Execution threads area for now. I think learning and executing can go hand-in-hand. I have a lot of "Figuring Out XYZ" execution threads.
 

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Over here, over there.
@Andy Black, @Mathuin, @Speed112 how about "Grow Your Business With Direct Response Marketing - Strategies, Book Summaries, and Case Studies"?

I think of it as a progress thread since I'll be sharing my own process but I agree it may be better to omit this part and just focus on the benefit. The first part alone ("Grow Your Business With Direct Response Marketing") is a little lackluster, though, so I think that the "Strategies, Book Summaries, and Case Studies" adds some relevant details. Can be also "Summaries" on its own without "Book" if it's clear enough.

How about just Growing With...?

One great thing about direct response is that it shifts your mindset for the better. You learn how to listen, how to empathize, how to connect with other people's pain. You start seeing opportunities everywhere.

Copywriting is like a catalyst that instills growth.

Not just in your business, but in you as a person.

All of my interpersonal relationships, whether they are friends, business, or romantic, benefit immensely from my direct response experience. They're all great, even though I'm really bad at maintaining a consistent investment in them sometimes.

Because all relationships are built on trust and communication. Direct Response is just a very optimized mechanism for communicating and building trust.

That is, if what you learn isn't just what you need to do when. But also Why you need to do it.

That Why, which is what gives direct response its effectiveness, is what makes you a genuine, helpful person that people love to interact with.

I grow as a person with every written word. How about you?

Edit: 1642433426104.png

I like that format. Looks great to me. And I love learning ;)
 
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You could so easily make an email newsletter out of this. You don't need to be an expert, just documenting your learning. I had a small paid email newsletter on Substack where people could follow along as I tried and learned things in my business (like a progress thread).

Thanks for the idea. Maybe one day. For now I just want to focus on learning and sharing it here where everyone can easily interact.

After a few weeks you won't be able to edit the first post.

Damn, then I'll have to figure out how to keep this organized so that it's easy to browse.

I shortened the title for you. Feel free to suggest/try something different. I put it into the Execution threads area for now. I think learning and executing can go hand-in-hand. I have a lot of "Figuring Out XYZ" execution threads.

Thank you, that's fine as it is now.

One great thing about direct response is that it shifts your mindset for the better. You learn how to listen, how to empathize, how to connect with other people's pain. You start seeing opportunities everywhere.

What a great observation. I agree with that and hope that along with my business skills it'll also improve my personal skills. Better communication skills definitely won't hurt.
 

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Since I won't be able to edit the first post forever, I added a link to table of contents on a separate website in the first post: Learning Direct Response Marketing (Strategies/Book Summaries/Case Studies)

There's just a table of contents there for easier navigation in the future.

I'm about to post a new issue (quite long so need a bit of time to finish editing it).
 
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arivera

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No encajaba en el mío (termina en "Studi...") pero está bien :)



No creo que sea demasiado anal. Una de las lecciones clave del marketing de respuesta directa es el poder del titular. Debería haber pasado más tiempo pensando en el mío, pero estaba demasiado emocionado para publicar mis notas, jaja.

Editar:

También agregué TOC a mi primera publicación. Suponiendo que siempre pueda editarlo, seguiré actualizándolo para facilitar la navegación.
Creo que el titular dio en el clavo.
Pero como dicen los genios del Direct Response Marketing, analiza las respuestas, si el mercado respondió es porque el titular es correcto, el resto son especulaciones.
 

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Issue #3: Russell Brunson’s Expert Secrets Part 1: Becoming an Expert

Russell Brunson is one of the most respected direct response marketers these days. He’s behind ClickFunnels and Doodly.

He published a trilogy of books: Dotcom Secrets, Expert Secrets, and Traffic Secrets. According to this video, Russell wished he published Expert Secrets first (before Dotcom Secrets) so I decided to start studying his stuff with Expert Secrets.

What does being an expert have to do with direct response marketing? Everything. If you can’t sell yourself and build trust, you’ll have a very hard time selling anything. So learning how to position yourself (or someone else) as an expert is a key part of being a successful marketer.

Due to the length of the book, my notes will come in a few installments. Today I’m covering the introduction to the book and the first secret (on how to become an expert). It's the first 20% of the book. The notes come with quotes from the book as well as my comments and observations.

1. The expert’s journey

As you become an expert, you’ll find yourself moving away from selling a product or service to creating offers and finally to leading a movement. The book is about how to go through this process.

2. Entrepreneur’s role

Ryan Moran once told me, “An entrepreneur is someone who takes personal responsibility for a problem that wasn’t their own.”

Thinking of yourself this way helps develop the right mindset where you focus on value you can provide instead of money you hope to make. Ironically, you’ll make more money when you obsess about solving problems.

3. Product vs movement

The product is just a tool. The movement is what actually changes people.

I find this a very strategic thought. Yes, you can sell, for example, a book. But a book is just a tool that, for most people, won’t produce results in itself. But transform that book into a movement and now we’re talking. David Goggins is a great example of this. His videos and book are tools. But it’s the “stay hard” movement that transforms lives. People are way more motivated to change their lives when they see a movement/community they can join.

4. Three elements of a mass movement

All mass movements:
  • have a charismatic leader (expert/guide/Attractive Character),
  • offer their audience a new opportunity,
  • create a future-based cause that unites the tribe of people they attracted.
The expert offers someone a new opportunity and then guides them to a result with a future-based cause.

5. We’re all in a relationship business

One of my early mentors, Dan Kennedy, taught me that “we are all in a relationship business, not a product business.” He explained to me that people may come into your value ladder because of a product, but they stay because of their relationship with you, the Attractive Character.

Jay Abraham once said, “People are silently begging to be led,” and I believe that’s very true. We are in the business of attracting our dream customers and then leading them to the results that we can get for them.

6. Five phases to become an expert

You have to go through five phases to become an expert: dreamer, reporter, framework creator, servant, and, finally, expert/guide.

7. Develop passion (phase 1 of becoming an expert)

Recently I read a post on Instagram from my friend Tom Bilyeu entitled “How to Develop Passion,” but it could easily have been titled “How to Become an Expert.” In this post he listed five things to develop your passion or expertise.

1. Go experiment with a ton of stuff.

2. Identify things that spark your interest.

3. Engage deeply with those things.

4. As you engage, if it goes from interest to true fascination, go down the path of gaining mastery.

5. Fascination + Mastery = Passion

I relate to that a lot. I’ve been exposing myself to new passions and industries recently to see what sparks my interest the most. I find that with some things my fire quickly fizzles out but with some my engagement doesn't go away so quickly. By focusing on those things that spark the most interest, you can make it easier to become an expert. After all, you’ll need to study this stuff for a long time and if in the beginning you’re already bored, you probably won’t last long.

8. We dismiss our unique abilities

Another problem that a lot of people suffer from is that our own unique abilities are things that come second nature to us, so they don’t seem that amazing, and we dismiss them. My guess is that your superpower won’t seem like that big of a deal to you. It will be something that comes naturally: something so simple that it couldn’t possibly be that important. If you’re an amazing cook, it’s not that big of a deal for you. But to someone who can’t cook, it’s a huge deal.

Maybe you’re good at playing piano, fixing motorcycles, building chicken coops, dancing, or something else. Look at what comes easily to you and what you love to geek out on, and chances are that’s where your superpower is hiding, just waiting to be developed and shared with the world.

Interesting thought that is probably most useful to share with your friends and family to ask them what your superpower is.

I asked my girlfriend and she said that according to her, my superpowers are:
  • analytical thinking (curiously, many people tell me this, particularly my coaches),
  • good with numbers (I like numbers but I'm not good at math),
  • learning languages,
  • thirst for knowledge,
  • sensitive to other people's needs,
  • responsibility.
I was surprised to hear some of these as these definitely don't feel like superpowers yet my girlfriend said she doesn't know any people who have these abilities developed to such an extent.

9. Become a reporter (phase 2 of becoming an expert)

Your teachability index is how teachable you are at any given time. As a kid your index is high, but after you think you know something, if you’re like most people your index drops to zero and you stop learning. This is the worst possible thing that can happen to an expert.

The next phase in your expert evolution is to start learning everything about your topic from multiple points of view. We need to keep your teachability index high so you are open to new ideas that you will need to create your own frameworks. The best way to do this is for your Attractive Character to take on the identity of the reporter and interview everyone you can get access to who is a few chapters ahead of where you are right now.

Three ways to find people who will help you in your pursuit to become a reporter are going to live events, starting your own show or podcast, and launching a summit funnel.

10. Become a framework creator (phase 3 of becoming an expert)

A framework is a pattern of how to achieve a certain result. A product or service is a part of the framework but not the framework in itself.

Russell provides a clear example:

If I were a dentist, the result people would want from me is straight, white teeth. Sure, my service may be part of that, but what is my framework for getting and keeping a beautiful smile? If I were a dentist, I would build out a framework which may include daily brushing, certain types of toothpastes, whitening strips, tongue scrapers for good breath, supplements to strengthen enamel, checkups twice a year, etc. Do you see how by switching from a product (teeth cleaning) to a framework, I position myself differently than every other dentist, I am giving people a replicable process for success, and I could then potentially sell a lot of other products that would help serve my clients at a higher level?

Damn, imagine how much more you'd trust your dentist if you had such a rich relationship. Most dentists don't care about their patients once they leave their clinic.

11. How to create a framework

The first step is to create your framework hypothesis:

Your job now as the expert is to become a framework creator. You do this by taking the information you’ve learned from tons of different sources and other people’s frameworks, looking at it, and organizing it into your own personal hypothesis for the perfect framework. During this step you are doing what Bruce Lee meant when he said, “Research your own experience, absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is essentially your own.”

The second step is to test it on yourself to make sure it works.

The third step is to give it a name. Example:

HOOK, STORY, OFFER:

My Three-Step System for Grabbing Your Dream Customer’s Attention and Getting Them to Pay You What You’re Worth!

12. Become a servant (phase 4 of becoming an expert)

Work for free serving your future dream clients. This lets you fine-tune your framework and prove that what you’re teaching works.

Russell emphasizes that the goal with any kind of business is not to lead with, “How can I sell my product?” Instead, you want to ask, “How can I serve people?”

13. Become an expert (phase 5 of becoming an expert)

Start helping people immediately after going through the first four phases. Your results are your certification. You don’t have to be the world’s greatest expert. All you need is to be one chapter ahead of the people you’re helping.

14. Tips to make your platform a success

Publish daily for at least a year. During the process, you’ll find your voice and the audience will have time to find you. You must be always publishing if you want to become and stay relevant.

Document the journey. It’s better to talk about the process than give actual advice. As Russell says, people who are willing to discuss their journeys instead of trying to front themselves as the “next big thing” are going to win.

Test your material like a stand-up comic. This way you’ll refine your message, find your voice, and attract your dream customers.

Be unique in a polarizing way but not too crazy. Think Bulletproof Coffee (polarizing and unique but not crazy) vs “eating” the sun (crazy).

Master persuasion.
“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”

Care a lot. Choose your ideal clients correctly so that you’ll have people you’d be willing to serve for free because that’s how much you care about them. But don’t serve them for free because then they won’t pay attention (people don’t value free stuff) and because you need to be efficient with your time (to help more people).

15. Your moral obligation

Jay Abraham said, “If you truly believe that what you have is useful and valuable to your clients, then you have a moral obligation to try to serve them in every way possible.”
 

Andy Black

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Carrd is cool. Why not Substack or Revue?

Interesting notes about Russell’s Expert Secrets book. The “ask your friends” exercise is a good one. Prepare to be humbled.
 
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MTF

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Carrd is cool. Why not Substack or Revue?

I'm not building a list. Just wanted a place where I can easily edit the page and update the table of contents.

I'd rather build a business using the lessons from direct response marketing than try to build a business documenting how I learned direct response marketing. Feels dishonest.
 

Andy Black

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I'm not building a list. Just wanted a place where I can easily edit the page and update the table of contents.

I'd rather build a business using the lessons from direct response marketing than try to build a business documenting how I learned direct response marketing. Feels dishonest.
You’re documenting you becoming an expert? Same as Russell advises. You can make the issues free to read on Substack without signing up, and people can signup to get them as emails. You’re not forcing anyone to subscribe.

I’m curious why it makes you feel dishonest.
 

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You’re documenting you becoming an expert? Same as Russell advises. You can make the issues free to read on Substack without signing up, and people can signup to get them as emails. You’re not forcing anyone to subscribe.

I’m curious why it makes you feel dishonest.

Because of the topic. It's associated with gurus, scammers, and on forums, with people who want to take advantage of the community. So it makes me uncomfortable as I don't want to be portrayed as such.
 
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Speed112

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Because of the topic. It's associated with gurus, scammers, and on forums, with people who want to take advantage of the community. So it makes me uncomfortable as I don't want to be portrayed as such.

We need more people like this to bring direct response back into the light.

Actually I've been struggling with this a bit recently, as I worked for many years in the financial or health niches where things can get pretty sketchy and I always had to make sure I wasn't crossing any lines. Lost a few clients because of it. Those people don't give a F*ck about pushing too far.

So then you end up in a less initiated niche and you encounter a whole bunch of people whose only experience with direct response is hyper-aggressive salesmen, email spam, questionable claims, unfulfilled guarantees, horrible customer service, and whatever else.

You immediately lose a ton of trust, simply by association.

So I'm looking to re-brand and move away from the "true" labels by focusing more on the results and transformation.

The way I get the results is my own personal take on marketing and influence, which is ethical and sound. Yes, I employ all the direct-response principles, but avoid the opaque black hat techniques that paint "salesmen" of all types in a bad light. IT IS essentially, my own. So why associate with the bad actors? All it does is cripple my ability to serve and help others.

I do wonder how much this has held me back over the years.

Because look... most people, even if they're the CEO of some 8 figure company, probably have no idea what direct response implies. They might barely know marketing or sales and to them, "advertising" can be a swearword. And that's because they only remember the BAD salesmen.

People have a negativity bias.

And the truly good salesmen. The experts. They are not perceived as salesmen by the person they're selling to. They're a fellow businessman, a friend, a consultant, a trusted confidant. Definitely not a direct-response copywriter. They have their framework. They have their platform. They have their brand. People go to them!

But they're still salesmen, and they still employ direct response, and they do it without being sleazy or scammy... Yet people think it's something else.

So, actually @MTF since you seem to be struggling with this as well. How do you reconcile your moral obligation with the aversion to actually executing direct response in this context?

Isn't "doing your best to serve" equivalent to "doing your best to sell"?

As long as you stand by your principles and cause no harm, shouldn't you do everything you can to get people on board of your hype train?
 

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Because of the topic. It's associated with gurus, scammers, and on forums, with people who want to take advantage of the community. So it makes me uncomfortable as I don't want to be portrayed as such.
Haha, I was just talking with @Speed112 today about this… and I told him that my politically incorrect approach is call me a guru and a bad person, but just give me the money first!! :rofl::rofl:

I think people are leaving a lot of money on the table by allowing themselves to be manipulated by guilt/fear, and nowadays people are very afraid of selling. I have no problem selling, when I have something to sell, it’s, as I call it, “balls to the wall”, give me the dough, I just don’t care what you think about me :rofl:
 

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