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Archive | May, 2021

Are you thinking too small to succeed big?

The U.S. elections are over now, but the impact they had on many people still resonates strongly. Thinking I might like to revisit a U.S. show about the White House called ‘The West Wing’, I found it on Netflix and started binging.

Are you thinking too small to succeed big?

The West Wing was a serial political drama series that ran from 1999 to 2006 and it enjoyed a large, enthusiastic audience.

The funny thing is, the #2 actor on the show, Rob Lowe, doesn’t appear in many of season 4’s episodes. And by season 5 he’s gone. Why did he leave?

It’s rumored that he was disappointed the network wouldn’t raise his salary. It seems the $75,000 per episode they were paying him wasn’t enough to hold his interest.

And if you think that was a lot of money… 15 years ago, Martin Sheen the lead actor was earning $300,000 per episode.

I bring this up for one reason: Are you possibly thinking too small?

I realize it’s good to have realistic goals that are achievable. But if your goal is, for example, another $1,000 per month, what would happen if you make a second goal to be earning $1,000 per week? And then $1,000 per day?

Odds are you are providing as much value to your customers as actors provide to their audience. In fact, if you are teaching new skills then you are providing more value than someone who merely entertains. You’re just not doing it at the same scale… yet.

Please realize that you are indeed worth more than you realize. Think of this as permission to raise your goals considerably, and take the action needed to get there.

Time to Stop “Thinking Outside the Box”…

Why is it when we want to be at our most creative and innovative, we resort to using the most worn-out cliché at our disposal? “We need to think outside the box on this one!”

Time to Stop Thinking Outside the Box...

Ugghhh.

First of all, that ‘box’ is there for a reason. It gives us boundaries and guidelines on what we want to accomplish. For example, if I say I want you to write an article on new ways small businesses can use social media, I’ve just given you a ‘box’.

But if I tell you to get to work and give you no idea what to do, you’re going to be totally and utterly lost.

Second, if we want to be more creative, let’s start by abolishing the “think outside the box” phrase and make a pact, just between you and me. From this point forward, if you or I say or write ‘th*nk o*ts*d* th* b*x’, we owe $5 to our favorite charity payable immediately.

Agreed? Good.

Now then, what can we say when we want to express our desire to think differently, get off the beaten track, search for an innovative approach, break new ground and take an imaginative leap?

Seriously, I’m asking you for your help on this one. Even the phrases I used in the previous sentence sound worn out and tired.

I did have one thought, but if you’re a Star Wars fan then you might not like it. For whatever reason, people seem to either gravitate towards Star Wars or Star Trek. I’m told Star Wars is for dreamers and Star Trek is for science geeks. This might be wrong, but I can see some truth to it.

Here’s what I do know: In the very first Star Trek series during the opening credits, we hear Captain Kirk saying…

“Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before.” What do you think?

Can we boldly go where no one has gone before?

It beats thinking outside some cliché box.

Whoops! That’s $5 I owe… now where did I put that checkbook… 😉

Big Marketing Lessons from Netflix Series

Have you seen, ‘Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker’? It’s a limited series on Netflix, and the first 8 minutes just about hit me over the head with what might be the most important marketing lesson of all.

Big Marketing Lessons from Netflix Series

The scene opens with a small street market in St. Louis, U.S., in 1908. A middle-aged woman stands in her Sunday best next to a barrel, looking shy, a little bit scared and without confidence. But she is determined to see this through.

On the barrel we see a couple dozen small silver tins of, ‘Magical Hair Grower’. It’s clear she wants to sell them but doesn’t have a clue how to start. She’s just standing there awkwardly as people walk past her without a glance.

Finally, she takes a deep breath, pastes a nervous smile on her face, holds the tin up and begins shouting, “Magical Hair Grower, fifty cents a tin, get your Magical Hair Grower right here.”

No one responds.

Taking a different tact, she tries to interact with passersby. “Got dandruff ma’am? Got bald patches? I got your fix, right here ladies.”

Again, there is no response and we, the viewers, fear she might cry.

Offscreen there is a voice: “I’ve heard of that stuff.” We see a woman holding a large basket of laundry, her hair covered in a scarf. “Does it work? Quietly and with emotion, C.J. tells the woman, “It saved my life.”

And then she tells her story. Extreme poverty. Debilitating stress. Terrible work for a pittance of pay. Hair falling out. A once-loving husband turning abusive. She wonders why God even allows her to live.

Then the product appears at her darkest hour. Months later her hair is full and beautiful once more. Now she has her confidence back. She has a new man who loves her. Her life is so much better because of this product. It saved her life.

A crowd has gathered to hear her speak. There is a moment of suspense – will they believe her story? Will they purchase the product? There is one sale. And then a second. And now she has more customers than she has tins to sell.

But while telling you the story of the first 8 minutes of this show, I’ve left something out. Despite her beautiful hair and the new man in her life, C.J. is still working far too hard for too little money. She is a wash woman, which means she spends her days hand scrubbing clothes on a washboard with lye soap. She wants more in life. She wants to sell Magical Hair Grower.

But the Snooty Product Owner doesn’t want C.J. to sell the stuff. Snooty Product Owner wants C.J. to continue doing her wash in exchange for a tin of Magical Hair Grower.

Never mind that C.J. has an incredible testimonial. Never mind that C.J. has already referred 8 paying customers to the Snooty Product Owner. Nope. It’s not said but it is implied that C.J. needs to ‘stay in her place’ because she’s not pretty enough to be a salesperson.

And so C.J. steals those tins to prove she can do it. She is willing to risk everything – even prison – to get herself out of poverty.

There are two lessons here. I don’t need to spell them out for you because you already know what they are. Take a look at your own business and your own life and ask yourself what C.J. would tell you to do.

Triple Your Sales by Writing the Copy First

4 times out of 5, the answer is a resounding YES. Maybe you’ve heard this advice before. Maybe it sounded crazier than clown college to you. But… it works.

Triple Your Sales by Writing the Copy First

It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a lead magnet, a paid product, a video to share with your list or whatever. When you create the sales copy first, you think bigger. You get more creative. You find solutions you didn’t know you had. You’re more excited about your product idea, and the excitement shows in your writing.

You’re shaping a better product than if you had created the product first. You’ll have the best product possible because you sold it first.

But what if you write bullet points or sales points and then realize you can’t fulfill them? Simply remove that portion of the sales letter. You will need to revise and tighten up your letter when the product is done. But 90% of your letter will likely already be finished.

And here’s one of the best benefits of all – you don’t have to write the sales letter after the product is finished. Many marketers find they have just enough enthusiasm to get through the product creation and have none left for the letter. But by writing the sales copy first, you don’t have to worry about that.

I learned this technique a long time ago, and every time I remember to do it, I not only have a better product created with a lot more enthusiasm – I also make a ton more sales.

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