Hints on how NOT to create personalized marketing

I am a huge proponent of personalized marketing for bricks and mortar and professional practice business owners and I have outlined many strategies in my High Impact Marketing Manifesto.

Study after study shows that personalized marketing (done right) increases response and results. These days with all the advanced technologies, personalized marketing can go way beyond simply inserting your recipient’s name into your piece.

The more you know about your recipient, the more opportunities you have to craft a hyper-personalized message, but personalization can be a double-edged sword and when used incorrectly, it can have a negative effect.

In this article I want to show you a specific example that appears to be on the right track, but falls way short of its goal.

Some of the best direct mail I’ve seen over the years comes from area auto-dealers, but the example I received above, while it has some merit, is not one of them (click to enlarge).

Apparently this letter went out to service customers (which I am) and at first glance it seems to do a decent job of trying to create a personalized marketing experience by sending a special offer to current customers (this strategy in and of itself is an important reminder).

Specific to the mailer above, let me first identify two positive personalized marketing things they did right.

1)      They are using my name and personalizing the letter to me and not “Dear Customer.” Do not underestimate the power of putting your recipient’s name in print, especially in your headline. It was the infamous, Dale Carnegie who said, “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

2)      They know my year and model of my car, which is a good […]

3 High Impact Marketing Ways to Show Off Your Customers!

High Impact Marketing is all about showing bricks and mortar business owners (and any business which requires face-to-face contact with prospects and customers) how to create bold and unique marketing, which stands out from the masses.

High Impact Marketing also about creating special (and profitable) connections with customers, clients and patients.

One fun and easy way to enhance your relationship with customers AND help prospects understand what you’re all about is to show off your customers with three very specific types of photographs ANY business owner can easily capture.

Trust me, if you follow this advice, these photographs will become valuable marketing assets, you’ll use over and over again.

High Impact Marketing Customer Photo Strategy #1 – Take Photos with Customers
This is so easy to do everybody reading this can start immediately. Essentially you want to set up a system to proactively take photos with happy customers either in your location, at events, etc.

Years ago I purchased a new car and on the day I picked it up, they parked it in front of their dealership and took a Polaroid photo of me standing next to it to put up on their customer wall of fame in the dealership (a High Impact Marketer would do this AND send a copy of the photo along with handwritten card or note as a follow up step).

If you have a physical store, office or location, why not set up a “photo area” where you do your best to capture 100% of your customers during their visit? Make sure you or a key staff member is in the photo too!

You can take these photos inside your location. In front of your location, etc.  For example,

a martial arts studio owner can have an […]

High Impact Marketing Report – May 2014 Preview

The May 2014 High Impact Marketing Report (my print and digital subscription newsletter) is now available to all High Impact Marketing Club Members.

This month’s issue is jam-packed with useful money-making marketing tips and ideas for:

Bricks and mortar business owners
Professional practice owners
And any business owner that has face-to-face contact with prospects and customers

Here’s just a quick sample of what High Impact Marketing Members are getting this month:

On page 2 – this month’s Free Surprise Inside! is perfect for the business owner who uses promotional items in her business (e.g. pens, mugs, etc.). It’s a free gift (worth $78) from fellow High Impact Marketing Member Phil Brakefield and it’s a powerful opportunity to tap into his amazing buying power for promo items.

On page 3, I share an example and a warning about “keeping your marketing real.”   Not following this advice could lead to more harm than good.

On page 4, I share two examples where marketers inadvertently insulted their customers. This is something all business owners need to be aware of and not do.

On page 5, I share a very cool marketing idea I got from a 1986 Gary Halbert letter. I recreated it and am giving all my High Impact Marketing Members my version of the letter, which they can use as a starting point for their very own version of this POWERFUL marketing idea.   ANY BUSINESS OWNER CAN USE THIS IDEA and there’s a 98% probability you have never seen this before!

On page 8, I show you the power of “seeing the world through the eyes of your prospects and customers,” including two useful examples.

On page 9, I share an important Marketer’s Alert about something that could be very important (and profitable) for you.

On page […]

Marketing Minimalism – Do Less Marketing. Better!

I am on a mission to help bricks and mortar business owners around the world create better, more profitable marketing, which is why I wrote the High Impact Marketing Manifesto and created the High Impact Marketing Club.In the Manifesto, I outline four fundamental cornerstones to developing High Impact Marketing for your business.  In this article, I want to focus on Cornerstone #2: Do Less Marketing… better!

At first glance, this may appear to be a contradiction or even blasphemy for a marketer to even utter these words, but it was none other than Albert Einstein who, when describing how to develop a good theory, is said to have asserted, “everything should be kept as simple as possible, but no simpler.”

For much in life, this is not bad advice.

For example, for the past two years I’ve been working out with nothing more than a cannonball with a handle (a.k.a. the kettlebell).  My trainer is Pat Flynn, who during these two years has become an internationally recognized expert on fitness minimalism and kettlebells, taught me the importance of doing the least amount of training to get the most benefits.  I am now a firm believer I can maintain a decent level of fitness and conditioning with nothing more than a single, heavy kettlebell and a place to walk, sprint or crawl.

Compare this approach to all the fancy gadgets and gyms I could be spending my time with or in (as a side note Pat’s Chronicles of Strength blog is quite the interesting read and is recommended if you’re looking for a different approach to getting fit).

While I didn’t realize it initially, I’ve taken the same stance with marketing. I’m a strong believer in doing fewer things in […]

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

It’s a classic line from the original Godfather movie (first released in 1972), uttered by the character Peter Clemenza to fellow thug Rocco who just executed a co-worker in a parked car.  Clemenza was instructing Rocco to get out of the car, leave the murder weapon behind and grab the tasty Italian dessert he brought along.

It was a recent quiet weekend night and when I saw the Godfather was on cable, I had to watch it, since it had been decades since first seeing it.

Clemenza’s order caught my attention for two reasons.

Growing up in an Italian family, I know just how serious they take food and the eating experience.  Italians allow little to stand in the way between them and a meal, so Clemenza’s request is not an unrealistic one and is expected.

The second reason this caught my attention (I literally rewound and played it several times) was the simple picture it paints for the business owner.

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

Clemenza’s statement is all about priorities.  In the thugs’ world, the cannoli were more important to them then getting rid of the murder weapon.  There was no doubt or hesitation.

We, as marketing-oriented business owners, should be so clear and decisive.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a director, directing us or a team of writers giving us the perfect line to say next.

We have to do it all on our own.

In my recently released High Impact Marketing Manifesto (which you can get here), I outlined three critical priorities I believe ALL bricks and mortar business owners should follow everyday they’re in business (even though the Manifesto was written for traditional bricks and mortar business owners, it’s applicable to any type of business owner).

The three priorities […]

High Impact Marketing Funnels Workshop

If you own or are responsible for the marketing of a bricks and mortar business or any other type of business which has a physical location, employees, overhead and a very real need for a systematic way to convert visitors into prospect and prospects into customers (or clients, patients, students, etc.) – I have an important invitation for you.

On May 12, 2014, I’m hosting an intense, no-fluff one-day, “small-group” workshop where I will show you every tactic and high-level strategy to help you build marketing and lead-generation funnels to create a sustainable and profitable flow of leads and customers for your business.

Unlike some of the other marketing funnel training you may have come across, this workshop is designed to ONLY help the bricks and mortar business owner (who has very different requirements than the Internet marketer selling ebooks or info-products).

Creating and sustaining High Impact Marketing funnels for the restaurant owner who has to fill her restaurant every night or the chiropractor who needs a steady new flow of patients is a specialized craft I’ve focused on since 1998 and is dramatically different than the hype-filled, often ridiculous examples you see in the online community.

Bricks and mortar business owners ARE DIFFERENT, which is why I am hosting a laser-focused, one-day High Impact Marketing Funnels workshop just for them.  Click this image to learn more:

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    High Impact Marketing Manifesto Available on Amazon and Kindle

High Impact Marketing Manifesto Available on Amazon and Kindle

This month, I released the High Impact Marketing Manifesto to help business owners around the world create more profitable, authentic and integrity-based marketing.  The Manifesto is a collection of unconventional, yet time-tested and proven strategies for “real world business owners.”  I define these types of business owners as bricks and mortar business owners, professional practice owners and any business owner who serves a local market and requires face-to-face contact.

The High Impact Marketing Manifesto is a short, quick read, but don’t let its small size fool you.  It’s the result of the last 20 years of being in the marketing game – every day.   The High Impact Marketing Manifesto is a proven prescription for real-world business owners who are looking to rise above their competition, attract more prospects and leverage existing customers, all while delivering authentic and immense value.

High Impact Marketing solves the pain and frustration of poor results and marketing that doesn’t work and it’s built on four cornerstone principles:

Built on these cornerstones are 27 unconventional, yet proven and profitable High Impact Marketing building blocks and “profit triggers.” Without a doubt, the High Impact Marketing Manifesto should be mandatory reading for any business owner who wants to stand out from the masses.

You can purchase the High Impact Marketing Manifesto here on my site as part of a special package (including a laminated High Impact Marketing tip sheet) or if you prefer you can order the paperback version or Kindle version on Amazon.com, by clicking here.

After reading a preview version, High Impact Marketing extraordinaire, Jeff Giagnocavo of Gardner’s Mattress & More has this to say about the Manifesto, “Just as any God-fearing Christian puts massive importance on the ten commandments so should any business owner […]

Marketing hurdles – the good and bad

When marketing your business, it’s often a smart strategy to place “marketing hurdles” in your campaigns to slow people down in order to do something which measures their interest level in what you have to offer.

A classic example is a web-based squeeze page where you ask somebody for their contact info before presenting the reward.

Another example would be asking a tradeshow attendee to fill out a short survey in order to get a gift you’re giving away.

These are both examples of what I would define as “good marketing hurdles.”

How big of a marketing hurdle you put in front of somebody depends on the context of the situation or campaign, but the bottom line is that good marketing hurdles give a prospect or customer what they want, with minimal effort and provide you with important feedback.

At the other end of the marketing hurdles spectrum are bad marketing hurdles which result in serious problems for your business.  Bad marketing hurdles present unnecessary challenges to your prospects and customers, which will ultimately degrade results and profitability.

Probably the most common bad marketing hurdle is the cancellation/refund/guarantee process some business owners have in place.

So a quick personal story to illustrate what I mean…

The other day I purchased a piece of technology from a “big name” Internet marketer.  I did my due-diligence, checked everything out and made the $300 purchase.

Since I’m very familiar with this technology, as soon as I bought I went to work implementing it and after about 30 minutes I realized it had severe limitations and was not quite up to the level the marketer positioned it at in his front-end marketing.

When it was clear the product would not work for me, I made the decision to […]

WWJCD – What Would John Caples Do?

Recently, I was in need of some copywriting inspiration and whenever that happens one of the places I turn to is my library of classic marketing and business books.  For years, I’ve collected first edition and classic marketing and business books and some of my most coveted books were written by the legendary John Caples.

I’m sure most of you know John was the brains and copywriting behind the famous ad for the U.S. School of Music first used in 1925. The picture above is an original 1925 ad hanging in my office.

If you have never read a John Caples book and you consider yourself a student of marketing and copywriting, you’re missing out.  Time and time again, I’ve gotten powerful and profitable ideas from reading Caples, so much so many times I ask myself – what would John Caples do?

On this particular day, I pulled a first edition copy of Making Ads Pay, published in 1957.  When I bought this book, it was not readily available, but recently the publisher re-released it and you can buy it on Amazon.com for all of $10.20.

The table of contents alone is worthy of your study:

Seven Steps to Successful Advertising
How I Wrote My First Advertisement
How to Write Story Copy
They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano
They Grinned When the Waiter Spoke to Me in French
Some Principles Learned in Mail Order Advertising
An Ad That Failed and One That Didn’t
Which Appeals Succeed?……. Which Fail?
How to Think Up Ideas
How to Write Headlines
Ten Ways to Write the First Paragraph
How to Write Advertising Copy
Ten Ways to Make Ads Believable
Six Ways to Prove It’s a Bargain
Nine Ways to Make It Easy to Buy
Six Ways to Make People Buy Now
A Check List for Making […]

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    High impact marketing no-no: a personalized postcard example

High impact marketing no-no: a personalized postcard example

In my last article, I showed an attempt of high impact marketing that goes wrong by trying to personalize in a way I consider deceitful and simply wrong (you can read it here). While high impact marketing is all about personalized marketing, it’s about doing it in an authentic, integrity-based, friend-to-friend way.

The example I am about to show you is a better (not by much) attempt at personalized marketing, but it still falls way short of creating a truly personalized marketing experience. It has several major mistakes. Can you find them?

As a matter of fact, I’m going to turn this postcard autopsy into a contest where I will award a book gift to two random winners. I will also post a second part of this article next week, where I do a quick makeover based on the suggestions received.

So here’s the postcard I received in the mail from a local, franchise-based hair salon (you can click on the images to see a bigger version). Let’s take a look at the “back side” first (not sure if there is a technical front side and back side to a postcard, but I call the side with the mailing address the “back side”).

O.K., so my eyes fall naturally to seeing my own name in print (first to ensure it’s indeed for me and second on the left hand side with the “Hello Mike” text).

Do not scoff at this simplistic form of personalization. Even today, seeing your own name in print is a powerful eye-magnet and should be used as a minimum in all high impact marketing campaigns. Simple “mail merge” personalization like this can be done by any business owner, in-house or with a printer-partner.

After this minimal […]

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