Timothy Ferriss, an American writer, educational activist, and entrepreneur wrote a semi-autobiographical self-help book in 2007 that was well received by friends and family. Ferriss’ working title, ‘Drug Dealing for Fun and Profit’, wasn’t as well received. He decided to proceed with the name anyway, liking it because it polarized opinion. However, once he had secured distribution, Wal-Mart vetoed the title’s use so Ferriss was back to the drawing board. He found it relatively easy to whittle the list down to 12 but found it tough to select a final name: everyone had an opinion on the best, including his agent and distributor but none agreed. Surely he would be best going with his gut feel and upsetting either his distributor or agent?
Instead, Ferriss decided to look for some data. He took 6 prospective titles that everyone could live with: including ‘Broadband and White Sand’, ‘Millionaire Chameleon’ and ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ and developed an Google Adwords campaign for each. He bid on keywords related to the book’s content including ‘401k’ and ‘language learning’: when those keywords formed part of someone’s search on Google the prospective title popped up as a headline and the advertisement text would be the subtitle. Ferriss was interested to see which of the sponsored links would be clicked on most, knowing that he needed his title to compete with over 200,000 books published in the US each year. At the end of the week, for less than $200 he knew that “The 4-Hour Workweek” had the best click-through rate by far and he went with that title.
His experimentation didn’t stop there, he decided to test various covers by printing them on high quality paper and placing them on existing similar sized books in the new non-fiction rack at Borders, Palo Alto. He sat with a coffee and observed, learning which cover really was most appealing.
My colleague in Roselle, IL Peter Fazio has been using this approach recently with real success, it’s a reminder to me that every part of a business (including the virtual) can be prototyped.
Align whatever it is that you sell, regardless of its price or its prospective buyers, regardless of media used, with the timeless, most fundamental motivations for parting with money. Fight the temptation and tendency to slip into selling based on your product or your service or your credibility — sell based on what actually motivates people to buy.
Fight the temptation and tendency to believe your prospect or client is overly sophisticated or intellectual or analytical and requires a more factual, logical, ‘high brow’ or professional sales approach. There is no such prospect or client.
Fight the temptation and tendency to insist your business is different. It isn’t. None are. Evaluate every word spoken or written, to be sure you are talking in the language of what people really want, what really motivates people to buy. Do no ad for men’s suit, luxury car, blue pill, red haired dog, private banking, investment in Macao, $10.00 child’s toy or 10-million dollar software system without talking in terms of what really motivates people to buy.
…..work hardest, longest, most diligently, studiously, aggressively, continuously at sharpening your skills at organizing words in a way that motivates people to part with their money. If you must be a nincompoop about some things, don’t let this be one of them. If you are to be a world class expert in any thing, let this be it.
Supposedly, I am a distant relative of philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, generally credited with the now hopelessly antiquated “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” Here is my new version, never antiquated, never to be antiquated:
Assemble the right words that truly motivate people, and deliver them by some effective means, and the world will open its corporate vaults and private piggy banks to you.
In short, what we work on most together, through every means: newsletters, recordings, telephone seminars, personal coaching, meetings, boot camps….the No B.S. Marketing Letter, Gold+, Look Over My Shoulder, a newsletter marketing to the affluent, etc., etc., is what you should work on most yourself, invest in most yourself. Be cautious of distraction. Be cautious of feeling bored with digging up the same ground again and again.
Beware siren songs of some easier way. Stick to the only skill certain to produce success, in any century, at any time, in any place, in any environment, in any economy, with any clientele.