“Should Be” vs. “Is”

Published June 7, 2010 in Misc - 0 Comments

The idea for this post has been percolating for a very long time… so long, in fact, that I should probably credit several sources that I can no longer remember. 🙂

Let’s get right to it.

There’s a huge chasm between “what ought to be” and “what actually is“. And here’s the kicker: not distinguishing between them, and giving each their proper place, is a recipe for disaster. Seriously.

I’m reminded of the guy (let’s call him George) who dresses slovenly and forgets to bathe regularly and still somehow supposes he is a hit with the ladies. If George’s romantic situation is going to improve, he needs to “get real” (in the Dr. Phil sense) and recognize that he is indeed a slob – and then do something about it. He can’t simply keep hoping to meet Ms. Right. Not gonna happen. If she did show up, she wouldn’t stick around.

Here’s a little vulnerable self-disclosure:

I’ve sometimes fallen into a similar trap with my marketing efforts. I find myself thinking that my customers and prospects should be interested in what I want them to buy or read, all the while forgetting that my readers are more interested in their own interests than mine.


And I believe that any marketer who has had periods of struggling will recognize the root of the problem: narcissism.

See, the world doesn’t revolve around me, or you. If we want to reach a specific market, we have to persuade them to let us join their world, at least for a little while. We don’t generally find success by asking our prospects to join our own little self-interested orbit.

Some people wonder whether marketing is “hard”. I’m convinced that the “hardest” part of marketing is setting aside my own biases and yes, even my worldview… and adopting that of the people I’m hoping to reach.

To put it another way: taking off my glasses (which I have worn since the age of seven, thank you very much) and donning those of my newly adopted family.

In time, I may persuade some in my target market to wear my glasses for a time; but for now, their perspective is the only one that matters. Even though I have important things to say… ideas they need to learn (“should”) – I have to let them be (“is”) for now.

There are more implications that I’ll likely explore in future articles.

One Effective Story-Telling Technique

Published November 30, 2009 in Copywriting , Media - 0 Comments

Red moon shines on a burning tree
Someone is taking my life from me
Where is my family, the light of my day
Someone has taken them all away

These words were penned by master songwriter, musician, and record producer Michael Omartian. (The song is “White Horse”, from the mid-70’s album of the same name.)

Great writers will often drop the reader right in the middle of action, or in this case, drama.

Some of the world’s most effective copywriters use the same technique. Here’s a representative example:

They Laughed When I Sat Down At The Piano, But When I Sat Down To Play…

In both cases, the writer goes on to engage the reader into the story. It’s almost like using a time machine to simply drop another person at a specific place at a certain point in time.

We often have a tendency to want to give all the background first, and then get on with the story… but in so doing, the reader often goes on to something else.


Published October 31, 2009 in Media , Misc - 0 Comments

I set up a site in Hostgator. I really like Bluehost — who I have been using for about three years — however, they don’t have a reseller option.

Hostgator does.

8 Freeware Programs I Can’t Live Without

Published September 30, 2009 in Misc - 4 Comments

I recently replaced my main PC, and as I set up my new machine, I started thinking about the software I use on a day-to-day basis.

There are many paid apps I use frequently; here is a list of the first 8 freeware apps I installed:

1. Firefox browser. I really like Google Chrome too.

2. Antivir antivirus. I’ve alternated between AVG and this one. Antivir seems less “bloated”.

3. LastPass password manager. So cool.

4. Delicious bookmark plugin for Firefox. I like this almost as much as Lastpass.

5. McAfee Site Advisor plugin for Firefox. Sort of a first line of defense against the bad guys online

6. Jing. Helpful software that doesn’t try to do anything. I sprung for the Pro version, but the free one works great.

7. Dropbox. Very easy method of syncing, sharing, and backing up files.

8. Faststone Capture. Good screen capture program. Free and paid versions exist.

Why Long Copy Beats The Pants Off Short Copy

Published August 31, 2009 in Misc - 1 Comment

A persistent debate among marketers is the question of whether long copy is sometimes used in place of short copy. While top copywriters generally affirm the favorable results of long copy, it’s helpful to get some perspective to see why this is the case.

The general rule of thumb for the length of copy is this: your sales letter should be just long enough to get the job done. If you think about this carefully, the majority of the objections to long copy evaporate. Just think about what we are asking the sales letter to accomplish for us.

We need to explain as much as we can about the product, and most importantly the benefits of our product, with the goal of every benefit appealing the prospect is made plain. Especially in the case of information products, these explanations can be quite lengthy!

Additionally, we need to cover every likely objection the prospect might have. If we were talking with the prospect in person or over the phone, we could simply ask them if they had questions… or respond to any reasons they gave for not buying the product. In our sales letter, we don’t have that luxury. Therefore, we must give the entire laundry list of all possible objections, and demolish them one by one.

Although we have not explained every reason for the superiority of long copy, we are back to where we started: your copy must be just long enough to do its job, and no longer. Factors that will come into play are the target market, the complexity associated with the product or service, and the cost of that product or service.

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