After I wrote “The difference between no longer and not yet,” a member of our online family (Lori H.) gave me an idea for an additional blog post as a follow up.
She suggested that saying “yes” or “no” to new ideas with more of a plan in mind—that is, with a clear objective of what that idea could mean to you longer term–by making some educated guesses about the future–rather than simply moving towards every shiny object recklessly–is a good idea.
I found that to be a refreshing twist…albeit antithetical to an entrepreneur’s mindset.
Devising a “plan” once you have a new idea–no matter what kind of a quick start entrepreneur or business person you are—and a plan that doesn’t hold you back creatively—is something worth considering.
You just need to resist the temptation to dismiss “planning as an inconvenience” and instead embrace it as a cozy companion to all of your wonderful ideas.
And if you’re like me, you will need outside help from someone else (or something else) to enable you to think a bit more before you leap.
When we are done listening to the voice inside our head, it’s hard to think past the present when a new toy (i.e. idea) is presented to us.
This notion of stopping in our tracks when the idea appears…assess it in the spirit of where it can go (e.g. best case/worst case scenario)…and then, and only then, act on it, is not easy. And always with an eye on the future.
While I don’t have one overarching idea on how to navigate this, let me give you some examples where this works in the world of marketing…I’ll “show” rather than “tell”…and maybe something will be applicable in your world of shiny objects.
In “Building a family” I go into the most effective ways to create your list (i.e. your online family)…slowly…and with intention and purpose.
Of course there are many ways to build your online (or offline) family without much intention or purpose—which may be fine—but my take is that if you want a “family” that will be worth having for the long haul (maybe even worth digging deeper into it through Ancestry.com? ☺), one with depth and meaning to you and your family members, the speed at which you build it is not a virtue.
Read “Building a family” for more about that.
I believe you should bake into “building a list/family,” at the outset, a (meaningful) end in mind.
And by “end” I’m not talking about “the list building project” but rather looking toward the end of your life (at least your marketing life, which should coincide with your overall longevity).
After all, aren’t we all marketing something all the time?
It’s the difference between adding names to your family indiscriminately from Facebook and Instagram rather than adding one good name at a time.
That sounds so majestic when put this way.
And when you do it forever, the number of names will still increase…maybe not exponentially but consistently…and they will all be royalty.
A list without segmentation is like a day without sunshine…and it is also “names without purpose.”
There’s no fun in that and it’s a lot less profitable to boot.
And that’s less profitable, not just in terms of money.
Whether you segment your list with quizzes and funnels to have your family members self-select into buckets (thanks Ryan Levesque!)…or simply segment your family manually (not everything needs a computer), using the principles of Recency, Frequency and Monetary Value (RFM)…or anything in-between… segmentation is the obligatory starting point…which always begins with the end in mind.
You build a list with an expectation to communicate with them fully and forever, with intention and on a personal basis…with no room for one-size-fits-all messaging.
Bonus: Online segmentation costs you a lot less today (and getting cheaper by the minute) than offline segmentation back in the olden days of direct mail where we had to pay extra postage and printing for separate “zip code strings.”
Practicing the most sophisticated segmentation is state-of-the art…and it gets more state-of-the-art every day…thanks to continued technological advances. And it’s cheaper to do than ever.
Buying the best technology at the lowest price is not just about saving money…that it’s now a bargain is simply the cherry on top of the segmentation sundae.
Segmentation is always about attaching useful data to people (e.g. how they buy from you, how they react to you, how they engage with you) in order to spread what you have to offer to them most efficiently.
By adding exquisite precision–to only speak to those who want to hear your message at the frequency you are broadcasting (thanks Gary Halbert!)–enables them to respond with the fervor your message deserves.
But you need to do the prep work—beginning with the end in mind—with the end being one with your list, truly making it an online (or offline) family.
Starting small with scale in mind
The aforementioned Lori H. also shared: “I see great examples [everywhere] of entrepreneurs using their first offer (usually a 1:1 model) to gather tons of intel to create scalable offers in the future.
Talk about starting at the beginning.
Finding your avatar and writing to that one person (who is representative of a larger universe) is a rule of thumb that all the top copywriters follow.
Why shouldn’t it be a rule of thumb for everyone else?
Claude Hopkins expressed this idea best:
“We cannot go after thousands of men until we learn how to win one.”
Remember, lists are people too—and we need to go where the desire is rather than trying to create it.
Nod to Gene Schwartz on that…who also said:
“The greatest mistake marketers [and copywriters] make is trying to create demand. What is the task of the marketer and copywriter? It’s not to create mass desire but to channel and direct it.”
That man had a way with words, didn’t he? ☺
See the P.S. for more about his legacy and how to embrace it further.
And all of this starts in your own head…once you get the junk out of the way.
From David Ogilvy:
“If you can’t advertise yourself, what hope do you have of advertising anything else?”
Don’t play in (cold) traffic without a crossing guard
“Live quarter to quarter rather than walking to the horizon” (from Dan Sullivan, the top coach for entrepreneurs in the world).
A granular example of this for online marketers: Create your offers to cold traffic with the second (third, fourth etc.) offers in mind.
Isn’t your entire life a series of messages to cold traffic…and then warm traffic…and then a traffic jam of close family and friends?
Dan teaches quarter to quarter thinking as a fundamental principle in his Strategic Coach program to help entrepreneurs avoid “The Gap”…which is the gap between where you stand right now and the “some-day/one-day” of getting to the horizon.
I guess those of you who have tried to walk to the horizon (i.e. the unknown future) know that you can never get there no matter how fast you run or what vehicle you might deploy.
But when you look at your life as a series of “quarters” (i.e. 100 years equals 400 quarters) you’ve got your life chunked down into digestible pieces whereby you can celebrate after each quarter’s achievements (by looking back)…and then move ahead to the next quarter.
Sometimes I think Dan Sullivan is to entrepreneurs as Gene Schwartz is to copywriters and marketers…their way with words is one thing…but their ability to then practice what they preach at the highest level is what sets them apart.
Life by quarters sounds like “beginning with the next 90 days in mind”…but it’s also about beginning with the end in mind.
When you look at the accumulated quarters of your life as the end game, then some-day, one-day becomes now.
It’s a melding of the present with your future.
I know that might seem confusing…I’m confused typing it on my keyboard right now.
But I maintain that the alternative (jumping from one idea to the next, with no celebrations and no reflection), always looking to the horizon for “more,” is not conducive to a peaceful life.
And peace—with freedom—is the ultimate goal of beginning with the end in mind.
At least that’s how I see it…until convinced otherwise. ☺
P.S. Another take on beginning with the end in mind (with the “end” being your more productive future) applies to everyone who has bought and owns Breakthrough Advertising.
Buying the book is a fantastic beginning…but what you do with it once you own it is what matters.
I’ve expressed this about this classic tome before: It is a miracle of a book, written by master writer and Renaissance man, Gene Schwartz—the ultimate text for copywriters, marketers and even social psychologists—but without some guidance and coaching, you will not get everything possible out of it.
It’s applicable to everything we do in marketing but it is very dense and not easily digestible.
You not only need to read it slowly but you need to read it completely…and maybe with some help.
I’ve thought for years that it should even come with an owner’s manual…and since I am the exclusive publisher, who or what am I waiting for to create that manual?
Gene is with me everyday but unfortunately he is no longer here to create it…it’s up to me.
That’s why I created the Breakthrough Advertising Quick Start Bootcamp, a two week sprint through this bible of marketing and copywriting, with group calls, exercises, office hours and “ask me anything” segments.
Consider it the “live owner’s manual” to accompany this legendary book.
We completed our first Bootcamp earlier this month with 100% satisfaction…so we are planning on doing another one sometime in late June/early July.
To guarantee a seat (limited to 40 attendees) put your name on the waiting list by clicking here.
It’s the best way to turn an expense (i.e. the price of the book) into a world-changing, mind-bending opportunity.
I can’t recommend anything better to you for your marketing success…well, today anyway ☺