Friday, 11:12 PM
I find it amusing when copywriters brag about their alleged successes on their websites.
One copywriter was bragging about a 46% response rate he allegedly got from a lead gen piece he wrote for a client.
Oh yeah… a measly 46%?
Ha! That ain't nothin'.
I got a 100% response on a lead gen piece I wrote a few years ago.
Yup, you read that right… 100%!
When it was all said and done, guess how much cashola I eventually made from that 100% response.
Go ahead, take a wild guess.
Thursday, 12:31 AM
FROM: Deep in the jungle in an undisclosed location in South America
I only brought two books with me to read during my travels over the next few weeks.
One of them is Direct Marketing Quantified by Gary Hennerburg.
Best $195 I ever spent.
Well, except for that time at The Del Rey Bar & Hotel in Costa Rica… but I don't talk about those days any more.
Anyhoo, this Hennerberg guy makes most of us look like pikers. He knows direct marketing like nobody's business.
If I would have known this stuff when I was first starting… well, I probably wouldn't be writing this now. I'd OWN my own island paradise… and I'd be lying on the beach all day drinking Coronas and lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills.
If you want to make serious money in direct response, knowing and using the stuff in Hennerberg's book is crucial.
As I've been reading this book, I've been reminded of a whole bunch of stupid mistakes I made as a rookie. One in particular probably cost me that private island paradise I SHOULD own right now.
Back in the mid 90's I wrote a supplement ad that was kicking total booty in the muscle-head market. I was getting an ROI of 3 to 5 times ad costs in every magazine I ran it in.
I was such a wet behind the ears rookie back then I thought getting 3 to 5 times ROI on ad cost was a GOOD thing. Little did I know how much future money I was cheating myself out of. (More about THAT in a minute.)
Since I was so successful with this ad in the muscle-head market, I decided to try my hand in a bigger market. I wrote 1/4 page and 1/2 page newspaper ads positioning this supplement as an anti-aging/fat loss product.
I bought remnant space in about six newspapers and ran a test. When it was all said and done, two of the newspapers went a little negative (they didn't sell enough to make back 100% of my my ad costs) and four broke even.
Compared to the 3 to 5 times ROI I was getting on every insertion in all the bodybuilding mags, I thought my anti-aging newspaper ads sucked. After all… I didn't make any money.
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
Now (too late, unfortunately) I know I had a tiger by the tail. I had created…
A money machine that could have
made me a multi-millionaire!
And I was too stupid to realize it.
What was my mistake?
Not understanding the front end is NOT where you make your money. The BIG money in this business is in…
The back end!
I had created newspaper ads that could have been rolled out to hundreds of newspapers…
…with a combined circulation of TENS of MILLIONS…
…that could have brought in hundreds of thousands… or MILLIONS of customers…
At ZERO cost!
Then I could have sold them an endless string of health/anti-aging products ad infinitum… month after month… making myself filthy stinkin' honkin' rich in the process.
Damn! Just thinking it about it makes me want to go lick one of those South American frogs.
Oh well… at least I've learned my lesson. And from what I've observed, that makes me a very rare dude amongst most marketers.
Seriously. Almost NOBODY understands how to properly work their back end. Even many of the big players are letting a small fortune slip through their fingers month after month.
But the WORST offenders are the "kitchen table" entrepreneurs. Most of 'em have no clue about the back end. All they ever do is chase after more and more new customers… letting them come in through their revolving front door… and watching them go out almost as quickly as they came in.
That's why the October and November issues of The Doberman Dan Letter are all about how to make a lot of money by properly working your back end.
AND… how to keep your customers for as long as possible with my uber-effective "stick" secrets.
If you have any kind of continuity or auto-ship programs, you'll probably DOUBLE your retention with these little gems. They helped me take a floundering supplement auto-ship program from a pathetic 1 month (or less) average stick rate… to 3.5 to 4 months.
And that made a HUGE difference in my bottom line.
You see, doubling stick rates doesn't just double your net…
It causes EXPONENTIAL
increases in profits!
Don't make the same rookie mistake as me.
Get rid of your "revolving door" business and figure out how to work your back end properly and KEEP those new customers.
You'll be a lot happier (and richer) for it.
Tuesday, 4:33 PM
Today I'm introducing a new little segment I'm calling "Stupid Ad – Smart Ad".
(If this gets popular… I'll have a never-ending supply of stupid ads to choose from.)
I got both these ads out of a recent issue of Muscular Development, one of the largest magazines in the bodybuilding niche.
When I say "largest", I mean it. This magazine has about 400 pages in every issue. And I think about 75% of them are advertising.
It is REALLY tough to stand out in this magazine and get your ad noticed. Practically impossible… unless you have the advertising budget to run two to six-page spreads like the big boys.
I've successfully competed in this magazine for years with a minuscule ad budget (compared to the big boys)… but I'm going to keep that secret to myself for a while.
Ain't I a stinker?
Anyhoo… the stupid ad is what they used to call a "double truck"… a two-page spread.
As far as "stupid" goes, this ranks up there as one of the stupidest I've ever seen in this niche… or almost any niche for that matter.
Here's a thumbnail of Stupid Ad page 1.
(You can see the full size by clicking on it.)
And here's a thumbnail of Stupid Ad page 2:
The reason it doesn't win the "Stupidest Ad of All Time" award is because they DO have some kind of response device. They've done their best to hide it at the bottom and make it really hard to read… but at least it's there.
They wasted two full pages with absolutely ZERO information about their product… with nothing but a pathetically weak, almost hidden call to action. (If you can call a teensy-tiny website address buried at the bottom of the page a "call to action"!)
Now this is a big company that's been around a couple decades and is doing OK… in spite of themselves.
The smartest thing they could do right now is hire me.
If I could spend a few days with their marketing department…
I could almost IMMEDIATELY add several million
to their bottom line… without even breaking a sweat!
They're screwing up BIG time with almost EVERYTHING they're doing.
But there is ONE thing they're doing right.
And this one thing allows them to continuously screw up… and still do OK.
And it's something YOU could do to make a boatload of fungolas, too.
But I'll share that in just a minute.
For now, let's move on to our "Smart Ad".
It's also a double truck but with a much smarter and efficient use of those two pages.
Smart ad page 1:
Smart ad page 2:
I happen to know the owner of this company. He's a student of the classic direct response masters.
He has studied Caples, Robert Collier, Kennedy, Lasker, Ogilvy, Halbert, Karbo and a bunch of the old time mail order guys.
He invested his time learning the timeless principles of selling and direct response marketing… and ignored all the goofball flunkies selling Internet Marketing "bright shiny object" products… who are completely clueless about the timeless principles of direct response selling.
This guy is doing a LOT of things right.
The copy helps sets him apart from all the hundreds of other advertisers in the magazine… and that is NOT an easy task!
Actually, I'm kinda surprised the magazine even allowed him to run this. Read the copy on the second page and you'll see what I mean.
This guy has B-A-L-L-S!
And for that, I have R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
He's making a very common mistake that is probably costing him a lot of money… but compared to most of the other advertisers in the magazine, this guy gets a Doberman Dan "gold star".
Wanna know how the stupid advertiser can continue to make money with crappy ads?
He Owns The Media!
Universal, the company that makes the Animal Pak… the product featured in the almost hidden teensy-tiny print at the bottom of the stupid ad… owns Muscular Development.
They can advertise for free!
Now here's an advanced math question for you:
If your ad costs are ZERO… how many sales do you need to break even or make money on your ad?
And if other people pay you to put ads in your magazine, how much out-of-pocket have you invested to create the magazine and distribute it to the world?
Nothing… nada… zero… ZIP!
Not a bad deal, huh?
It's good to be the king of your own media. It puts you in the "tollbooth position"… and everybody who wants to pass through your tollbooth has to pay you.
AND… you also get to promote your own products.
How can you own your own media?
Here are a few ideas for you:
That's just a few ideas.
In my most humble (but accurate) opinion, just because you own the media doesn't mean you should slack off and run crappy ads.
Back when it was still owned by Bill and Shawn Phillips, EAS not only owned their own media… but they had completely "kick boo-tay" ads, too.
They were a great example of how to maximize profitability by owning your own media, providing highly valuable cutting-edge content… AND running killer direct response ads for their own products written by some of the best copywriters in the world.
Last I checked it worked out pretty well for those guys.
Hey, I gotta run.
I hope you enjoyed this. If so, it would be kinda fun to make this "Stupid Ad – Smart Ad" a regular series.
Let me know in the comments box if you think that's a good idea.