A Copywriting Idea from 1928

I love studying the history of marketing, advertising and copywriting and always keep my marketing radar on for smart marketing ideas I can use and share with you. If you simply maintain a constant mode of searching around you for marketing ideas you can use in your business, there’s a high probability you can leverage the brains and creativity of others.

I am not talking about plagiarism or theft. I am talking sparking inspiration and putting your own twist on what other smart people are doing.

A search through my blog shows example after example of ideas I’ve come across and shared with the hope of inspiring you, and in this article I am going way back to 1928 for a possible copywriting idea you might be able to use.

It comes from Little Blue Book #863 published by the Haldeman-Julius Publishing Company in 1928. E. Haldeman-Julius was the creator of the Little Blue Books, a collection of some 2,000 titles aimed at consumers. All the books had a blue cover and measured 3 1/2 x 5 inches. The titles of the Little Blue Books were wide and varied. You can see a list of them here.

The business Haldeman-Julius built around them is worthy of the marketing student, and you can get a copy of the book, he published, The First Hundred Million, which describes how he built his business.

Back to Little Blue Book #863.

What caught my eye was the use of the noun “bunk,” which is an early 20th century abbreviation of the word “bunkum” which means nonsense.

Given the fact this is not a word you often hear and it’s pithy punch and meaning, I think a bunch of readers can use this word in their […]

How the Blizzard of 2016 Can Improve Your Marketing

Here on the East Coast, we were hit with “The Blizzard of 2016.” Where I live, 27 inches of snow fell on Saturday.

Of course if you live in the U.S. you already know this and you already know the “top of mind” attention this wintry weather is generating.

Interestingly enough, there is a valuable marketing lesson here amongst the snow drifts – one that can help improve your marketing, boost response and increase conversions.

The reason everybody is talking about the weather (you cannot watch five minutes of TV or listen to the radio without hearing of the Blizzard of 2016) is because of the deep emotional reaction is stirs in everybody.

Tens of thousands of people had their travel disrupted
Kids are hoping for (and got) a day off from school
Some adults are dreading the thought of driving to work
In others, it rekindles fond memories of their care-free youth
Everybody dreads the thought of shoveling out
And yet others welcome time spent out doors skiing, sledding and enjoying the beauty of nature

No doubt about you’d be hard pressed to find anybody who doesn’t have some sort of emotional reaction to the snowy weather that was just dumped on the mid-Atlantic states.

Now consider your product or service. Does it stir a deep, gut-level emotional reaction with its intended audience?

If not, chances are you’ve haven’t done the necessary work to seriously uncover the true emotional benefits you offer and how they impact your target market.

Not superficially like how most marketing is done.

How many times have you heard something like “XYZ helps you make more money” or “ABC saves you time.”

That’s rather plain vanilla, don’t you think? It’s not the deep emotional connection you need to make with your audience for maximum […]

Too Smart for Your Own Good?

Over the past few weeks I’ve seen several occurrences of something all business owners need to be aware, especially if they’re doing it. Chances are you’ve seen the same type of behavior and quite possibly have done it yourself.

Done daily, it will severely limit the number of friends you have.

Done once-in-awhile as a business owner, it can have a dramatic effect on your revenues and income.

The behavior I am referring to is the over-analysis and dissection of details that ultimately have no value to you, your business and your customers, yet by focusing on them it gives the person a false sense of accomplishment and meaning.

I am not referring to “paralysis by analysis.” That is a different behavior and one I’ve been known to exhibit from time-to-time (it’s the engineer in me).

What I am highlighting in this article is the short-sighted behavior to focus on “A” when in fact you should be focused on “B.”

It’s the proverbial story of the know-it-all in the audience critiquing a platform speaker’s performance instead of comprehending her message.

So here are a few examples I’ve personally seen in the past few weeks that made me pause and feel sorry for the person doing it.

A gentleman, who I do not know but reminded me of a college marketing professor, was bashing a marketing campaign of a very successful bricks and mortar retailer. The campaign was indeed an outside-the-box campaign, but given this business owner’s track record of success, it was just another test for him. Personally, I thought it was very cool. The “professor”, who was not focused on the big picture of the retailer’s business, simply poo-poo’d the campaign as “unprofessional” and “hurtful to the industry.” I am sure […]

A Good Headline For Your Business

If you’ve read any of my previous articles on this site, you know I am a huge fan of keeping my marketing radar on and scanning all forms of media I encounter daily for ideas I can use in my own business or share with my readers.

A smart thing everybody reading this can do is to be on the lookout for good headlines you can repurpose for your own specific marketing needs. You can find them all around you (in your direct mail, in magazines, on billboards, etc.), and I’ve shared some good headlines in these three previous articles:

A Copywriting Headline to Help Overcome Procrastination

Good Headlines – Collect Them When You See Them

The Attention-Grabbing Power of the Provocative Headline

This past weekend I found another effective headline worthy of sharing with you and one I want to encourage you to re-work for your own marketing. It comes from the current issue of Consumer Reports (click to enlarge).

The headline pulls no punches and 95% of your target audience will be able to relate to it.
I cannot think of any business owner that cannot use that headline and to prove my point, I’m holding a copywriting headline contest. To enter, all you need to do is re-work this headline and post your version in the comments below.

I see two ways to use this headline.

#1 -You can customize the headline to your business, e.g.
IT’S 3 A.M.

#2 – you can keep it the same and insert your own subhead, like CR is doing above.
Download my free book on the 10 reasons why every entrepreneur needs […]

5 Ways to Create Handcrafted Marketing

At this time of year, right in the middle of gift-giving season, it’s common to see to a variety of handcrafted gifts available, including:

Handcrafted tools
Handcrafted jewelry
Handcrafted furniture
Handcrafted candies
Handcrafted beers and spirits
Handcrafted clothing

Giving handcrafted gifts convey the message you invested the time and energy into giving something special with personalized intention and thought.

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, books or attended any of my webinars, you know I am a huge fan of creating handcrafted marketing that conveys the same feeling to your targeted recipients.

The more “me to you” your marketing appears and feels like, the better your chances for connecting and getting the intended response.

So with this thought of handcrafted marketing in mind, I want to remind you of five ways you can create your own handcrafted marketing promotions and campaigns.

1 – Do less marketing, better.

There’s a reason that artisan’s and craftsmen can only produce a limited amount of their product versus the Chinese factory which can pump out tens of thousands of a similar item. The former is focused on quality, while the latter is focused on quantity.

You see the same thing in marketing, when you smart, direct-response marketing versus see big, dumb branding campaigns.

For most small business owners, the opportunity to go small and doing smaller, more personalized marketing campaigns is a much better investment than trying to do too much at one time.

Read this past article for more on this topic.

2 – “Write and talk to a friend.”

The more focused and specific your marketing messages are to a targeted recipient, the better your chances are for getting the results you are looking for.

The small business owner has a unique opportunity to write and talk to their various audiences in […]

An Interview with Cigar “Geek” David Garofalo

Recently, I learned about an extraordinary bricks and mortar business owner – David Garofalo – whose marketing impressed me so much, I reached out to him to see if he would allow me to interview him for my Profit Automation Letter subscribers.

Fortunately he said yes and the result is one of the most amazing and potentially powerful-to-you interviews I have ever conducted! What I thought would be a simple 60 minute conversation, turned into an almost three hour mini-seminar with example after example of outstanding marketing you MUST SEE!

Dave is the owner of Two Guys Smoke Shop, a chain of three premium cigar stores located in New Hampshire, which is the highest volume, independently-owned bricks and mortar cigar retailer in the world!

Now before anybody turns their nose up at the thought of cigars and a guy that sells them, when I say this interview with Dave is amazing, trust me you never seen anything like this.

Over the course of the past 18 years, I’ve worked closely with hundreds of business owners and have interacted with thousands of them. I can count on ONE HAND the number of times I have seen such amazingly special marketing done by a local bricks and mortar business owner.

I first learned about Dave Garofalo, when I read an article about his amazing annual anniversary parties he hosts for his best customers.   He recently celebrated his 30th year in business (in a highly-regulated, highly taxed niche), but what caught my eye was his 25th anniversary party where he gave away a Rolls Royce that was filled with 250 custom-minted silver bars.

You might expect a big Fortune 500 company to do something like this, but a local bricks and mortar retailer? […]

November Profit Automation Letter Available Now

The November 2015 Profit Automation Letter will be hitting subscribers mailboxes in the next week and this month’s jam-packed issue shows bricks and mortar and face-to-face business owners how to create marketing assets that produce profitable results over and over again.

Here’s what’s in the November 2015 Profit Automation Letter:

A big takeaway from a recent Dan Kennedy Titanium mastermind meeting on “being the wizard.”
The Nana Strategies – why treating consumers like a beloved grandmother will put more money in your bank account and six extraordinary ways to do this.
How one business negated over 85 years of good-will with a stupid marketing strategy and how not to make the same mistake.
How to add excitement and energy to otherwise mundane copywriting.
A Profit Automation Podcast interview with a former Disney executive, where you will discover how Disney over-managed one minute of every hour, every day and added over $5 million dollars to their bottom line by doing so.
A Profit Automation TV episode showing how one retailer leverages the Nana Strategies and creates happier customers and higher profits.

If you’re not yet a Profit Automation Letter subscriber, take a test drive before November 13, 2015 and receive the November issue as a special bonus, an additional issue and valuable bonus gifts for only $19.95!  This offer is only for new subscribers and ends on November 13, 2015.

Click here to take the Profit Automation Letter test drive.

I’m thoroughly enjoying your new Profit Automation Newsletter! Lack of follow-up is THE biggest “hole in the bucket” any business owner has. Not knowing how to effectively follow-up and eventually close those sales in a HUGE profit killer. Any bricks and mortar business owner will definitely make more money by implementing your easy to learn systems. […]

A Tasty Direct Mail Example from Handy Mailing

Direct mail can be (and often should be) fun if you want your recipients to notice and engage with it. I’ve been preaching the benefits of high impact direct mail (as a matter of fact, for a limited time, you can get a copy of my High Impact Direct Mail training for 50% off here).

Some of the best direct mail pros, who create and send out high impact direct mail, are my friends over at Handy Mailing who recently got my attention with a tasty looking direct mail example worthy of your swipe files.  You can click on each of these images to see larger versions.

I am calling it the sandwich bag mailer and being a kid of the 70’s, it instantly made an emotional connection with me, reminding me of the lunches my mother used to pack for me for school in my trusty Gunsmoke lunch box.

Inside the standard plastic sandwich bag was a die-cut insert that looked just like a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, along with a fun, creative message that my company and Handy Mailing go together like peanut-butter and jelly. For many folks, this metaphor paints an instant picture of connection and can probably be used by many reading this. NICE!

Then there was an old-school style napkin letter insert that was personalized to me and made a special offer for me to try out their services, including a guarantee. EXCELLENT!

Could I nit-pick and suggest they should have made the offer time-sensitive and somehow use the unused white-space of the napkin letter (maybe a photo of the Handy Mailing team eating holding up real PB&J sandwiches)?

Sure, but overall they did a great job and this is a fun, unique example of […]

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    Direct Mail Example: Does Your Marketing Cross the Goal Line?

Direct Mail Example: Does Your Marketing Cross the Goal Line?

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy getting my mail and looking through all the direct mail examples I receive, because each mailer is like a mini-marketing lesson… if you know what to look for. 

Recently, I received a direct mail example that is an excellent teaching moment because I am going to show you how to create direct mail (and marketing campaigns in general) that cross the goal line, instead of being stopped just short.  It’s a fact most business marketing will get somebody to a certain point in the marketing or sales process, and then not create the final and necessary steps to score (get the prospect to take action).

Since it’s football season, I thought a football metaphor made sense and in football jargon, it’s similar to getting to the five yard line and then not being able to get a touchdown.  All the work to get them to a certain point has been done, but not the necessary final effort to make the touchdown.

This particular direct mail example exemplifies this short-coming.  Let’s walk through both the letter and the envelope it came in. The blue notes are my notes to you to illustrate the good and bad points

When I first glanced at the envelope, it looked personal, except for the postage indicia which gave it away as something other than “me to you” mail.  The envelope contained real handwriting, taking it to the five yard line, but then the company used a postage meter and did not include a return address, which prevented the score.  I would prefer to have seen a real stamp used and some sort of return address information.  While many marketers like using “blind” envelopes with […]

3 Easy Ways to Engage Readers

In this quick and easy to read article, I want to share a simple, yet powerful strategy to engage readers of your books, newsletters and other printed marketing materials.

I call it the Go Get, Go See, Go Hear Engagement Trifecta.

In today’s business environment, marketers, authors and newsletter publishers face a mountainous challenge to get people to read, engage with and act upon their offline (e.g. printed) content.

25 years ago, there were only three media competing for our attention – print, TV and radio.

Now, we have a tidal wave of online opportunities to leverage (and compete with) and if you are still doing things the way you’ve always done, I’m sure you’ve seen diminishing results.

Offering just a single path to absorb your content is a mistake and depending on your specific market’s demographics, leveraging different media is critical to connect with your readers.

A simple way to do this is to use the Go Get, Go See, Go Hear trifecta to sprinkle in opportunities for your readers to actively engage with your content in ways such as:

Getting helpful content, tip sheets, exercises, templates, etc.
Seeing online videos, tutorials and webinars
Hearing interviews, podcasts and online radio shows

For years, smart marketers have been using this Go Get, Go See, Go Hear strategy to add value to their printed publications, and if you’re not doing the same thing, you’re missing out.

With my brand new Profit Automation Letter monthly newsletter, this strategy is a foundational part of the subscriber benefits and one I built the entire newsletter around.

There’s only so much value and engagement you can get with just the printed newsletter, so I decided to add even more value and learning opportunities by including additional, subscriber-only downloadable bonus content, a […]

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