When we do hot seats within Titans Xcelerator, or when I am on a rare consulting call, much of the time the conversation at some point morphs into “what do you offer that no one else offers?”
It’s a pretty simple question but many marketers, copywriters and entrepreneurs don’t spend enough time going deep on this question. (See the P.S. for a special offer on how to go really deep on this with your copy.)
There is nothing more important in marketing—especially direct response marketing–than the concept of “specialty over commodity.”
This is true whether we market our products and services online or offline and regardless of the media we choose.
Some things just scream specialty…like the supplement I once marketed where the key ingredient could only be found in certain caves in western Africa.
It was limited, unique and special…and once you make the case for the necessity of it (yes you still have to write compelling copy!), you can probably charge a lot more for it too.
Another example, albeit a little less of a commodity (but still similar to other services) is the dentist who works with a group of dentists in a mastermind.
He did a wonderful job, helping them with marketing—yet there was enough competition from similar masterminds, making it difficult for him to keep them in his group for multiple years.
Note: The competition is not really the issue here…it’s always about what you have to offer that’s new and different…and the more you can differentiate into a niche that no one else has, the better off you’ll be.
So this “Guru to Dentists” saw over time that what most of the dentists he served were looking for was marketing to increase the value of the practice; but he also found out that the ultimate goal was to create more value in the practice to sell the practice, get out of the practice and retire. But retire to what? They weren’t sure.
He found his niche of a niche of a niche right under his nose.
I can’t speak for all dentists but his dentists spoke with their actions. That is, a large proportion of his mastermind were not happy living inside the mouths of others all day.
Given what he found out, he re-themed his mastermind to “dentists looking for an exit strategy”…and added to that training, “helping with investing the money they receive from the sale of the practice,” specifically in real estate.
Now that’s a niche of niche of a niche.
And as you can imagine, he’s got enthusiastic members who will pay a lot more for his group than before…and as a bonus, he’s no longer competing with the myriad of “masterminds for dentists.”
He’s looking to retire his dentists (not permanently) and then he has his retired dentists with a windfall of cash as well, investigating under his tutelage, sticking with him for a lot longer.
However, not everything is as easy to differentiate. But the lesson is to listen and watch your buyers, students, and the folks you may coach for the clues.
It may not show up immediately but it will never show up if you are not always looking for it.
And lucky for us, we can use our marketing wizardry to create specialty from almost any commodity once we see it clearly.
I’ve got three more examples for you today.
1. The used car salesman
While it’s true that every car on the lot is technically “different,” used cars (and especially used car lots and salesmen) are closer to commodity than specialty…that is, you would be hard pressed to figure out what makes one stand out above others.
And they are folks we tend to avoid unless we really need a used car…and even then, we are reluctant to engage with a used car salesman solely based on their reputation as less than reputable.
But what would make you choose one used car lot (salesman) over another when you are ready to buy a used car?
Buying a used car is often described as something that could be as distasteful (i.e. sour) as anything, especially if the process tastes like lemons (pun intended).
So how would you stand out in a marketplace like that?
I met a used car salesman at a marketing conference and he asked me for some advice regarding his direct mail (which is the principal method he used to bring new prospects to his lot).
His approach was fairly simple: Every week he would send out a postcard to everyone within a 30 mile radius of the lot, listing the cars he had available, especially “new arrivals.”
I guess this approach is perfect if his postcard is received on the day (or within days or weeks) when you are ready to buy a used car…especially if you are ready to buy the 2012 Chevy Malibu that just showed up on the lot.
With an episodic purchase like a used car…and a suspicious audience who already thinks many used car salesmen are guilty until proven innocent (when it comes to credibility and reliability—which is unfortunate)…I suggested an alternative strategy.
There seemed to be better ways to become “the go-to used car salesman” without simply getting lucky that your postcard will land in someone’s home the day they are thinking about buying.
I said that instead of sending that postcard every week with just new inventory, why not separate himself by offering information and value (to establish credibility in an industry where credibility is not common).
I felt he didn’t have much to lose testing something different since with his current method, it was a crap shoot whether the recipient of the postcard each week would be in the market for a used car just when they received their mail.
Buying a car—used or new—is far from an impulse buy.
I suggested that he could create a series of special reports, “white papers,” articles, blogs which would give advice for “When you are ready to buy your next car.”
With catchier titles such as, “5 tell-tale signs that will signal you when the used car salesman is lying” or “The 7 warning signs that the shiny car sitting in the lot is a lemon before you drive it off.”
I encouraged him that this content could make his prospects part of a community who saw him as a leader in this category and not just a commodity (i.e. “another guy selling used cars”).
Offering up free reports like that…whether on a postcard, sending them to a squeeze page from the postcard or even giving the report away free inside an envelope instead of sending the postcard…would start him on his way to differentiation…and creating specialty over commodity.
Of course the next step would be to have multiple reports lined up after the first one (with the second requiring the recipient to send in their email address if they didn’t send it while receiving the first one).
He would be building a “sub list” (i.e. a list within his list) that read his weekly postcard/mailings.
These folks have just told us they are not the same as everyone else who simply lives within a 30 mile radius.
And they are now his “VIP’s” despite not buying…yet.
I further suggested that he email something new to that list every week to keep costs down…a “tip of the week” pertaining to buying used cars…or the advantages of used over new…or traps and opportunities in car buying in general.
And snail mail the other folks not stimulated yet to get more of them on the sub list.
He could also send a postcard to everyone once in a while to advertise the subject of his post (i.e. useful content) or direct them to his website if he has one.
And yes, he could still list his new inventory each week on the postcard, the email and/or his website.
Obviously there are all sorts of topics that would be of interest in the weeks, months (and maybe years) ahead when the reader is NOT ready to buy a car on a given day.
The long game becomes turning our used car salesman into a trusted adviser (“expert”) first– and a salesman second.
And maybe this long game will encourage more people over a longer period of time to drive their current jalopy to our expert’s lot first when the moment of truth comes for them to actually be in the market for a used car. And refer their friends too—which is something more you can do with the content (i.e. “pass this article to a friend”).
He’s saying to all: “I’m here when you’re ready and when you need me…and I won’t let you forget about me.”
2. The personal injury attorney
I won’t ever call these types of lawyers ambulance chasers…especially if they don’t chase ambulances but rather seek out long term prospects for their law practices.
I didn’t know before this encounter (once again at a marketing conference) that in the state of Indiana (and I assume elsewhere in the U.S.), when someone has a car accident and makes an insurance or medical claim, a list of those people is released to the public 30 days after the accident/claim on request.
Whether this is still the case isn’t important…but what is important is that there is a marketing lesson here.
An attorney came up to me after I spoke at this conference for advice.
He was lamenting that after this list became public, every personal injury attorney mailed it (through direct mail) and all with a similar approach:
“Been in an accident? Call 1-800-Lawsuits-R-Us and we can help!”
(And of course a picture of a big, smiling lawyer ready to help you…some more attractive than others but nothing to differentiate them besides the attorney’s dental work).
I sat down with this lawyer who wanted my help–and we studied 10 different promotions (i.e. competitive mailings), all direct mail and all in 9” X 12” envelopes, with some version of what I just described, all going out at the same time to the same list.
So here’s what we did instead when we mailed the list:
We sent out a special report on “The 6 things you need to do immediately after you’ve had a car accident”…gave it away for free…and then offered another report on “The 9 critical questions to ask your insurance agent after an accident”…and for that one, the recipient needed to go online to a squeeze page to download the report (and of course they needed to share their email address).
Because the lawyer was at a marketing conference (like the used car salesman), he was open to me grilling him on his expertise which made him realize that he was “a legal expert in personal injury” and not just “a personal injury attorney looking for his next client.”
We began the process of differentiating him from everyone else who was simply mailing that same list for a quick buck.
It’s true that my guy might not get a new client from this accident he mailed on (although he might)…but that was not the goal.
His goal: Get a long term client based on value creation.
And to build his list with people who read his content initially (and then on an ongoing basis) when he developed a weekly “legal tip of the week” for his new list/family.
He was building a client base for today and for the future.
3. The jeweler at the horse auction
One last example: Dan Kennedy often tells the story of the “pop up jeweler” who pops up at horse auctions.
In this case it’s not the jewelry that has to differentiate but rather the location:
He’s alone with a captive audience.
Why would the jeweler want to be alone (i.e. the only jeweler) at a horse auction?
Because those events are mostly men, spending lots of money on a horse, and for those who buy one, why not also buy a little something for their wife to “ease the pain of having to greet their new pet?”
The wives could also happily greet a diamond tennis bracelet as well, no?
Sounds a little chauvinist…but there is also some chivalry embedded in there as well.
And it’s not worthwhile arguing about it because all three players are champions.
The jeweler, the new horse owner and the wife are all in the winner’s circle.
Isn’t it great when everyone is happy?
Longer term strategies like these assume a starting point that is not about quick fixes and just getting lucky to “make a sale.”
Of course you can’t use strategies like this if you are working out of desperation and/or need cash immediately– and I hope that is not the case for you.
But regardless, you should seize the opportunity to always innovate to differentiate…and always think specialty over commodity.
These examples may not be directly applicable to what you do…but there are variations that can absolutely be applied to any commoditized product or service.
Dare to dream about becoming the only place in your community where folks come to buy used cars (or anything else) because they trust you over all others.
Or dare to dream about becoming a trusted legal advisor (or advisor of any kind) to clients you love because they respect you for your knowledge rather than working with you because you promise to get them more money in a lawsuit.
Or dare to dream about being the only one selling a desirable (even commoditized) product in a location where everyone is a potential prospect.
These dreams can become reality.
And you don’t even have to ride in on a polka dot unicorn to a marketing conference (or horse auction) to figure it out.
P.S. Stefan Georgi has become a good friend of mine over the past couple of years—first as a guest speaker at Titans Mastermind and then through a “love grip” from the Titans members to convince him to join the group.
And he’s not my fiend just because he’s a swell guy who joined Titans.
He’s also one of the most dynamic and successful copywriters in the world today.
As a speaker and now a member of Titans Mastermind, he’s constantly sharing his secrets and techniques—freely–but in a safe room.
But he’s finally decided to share his genius with select industry leaders– by putting together a landmark course—and he’s including you, my online family, as those industry leaders.
Most of you know, and in case you don’t, I won’t accept affiliate commissions for things I promote…and most of what I promote is my own products, all educational and practical, whether it’s Gene Schwartz’s classic books or the swipe files from Jim Rutz and Bill Jayme.
When Stefan came out with his new RMBC Method for Writing Winning Sales Letters, I wanted to sell it because it is so good.
We strategized what we could do so he could get the full price for the course (and I believe he under priced it) and I could create a win-win-win for him, you and me.
I’ll tell you about what we came up with in a minute.
First a little about the RMBC method:
- R is for Research…where Stefan gives you the insider’s view of an A List copywriter’s method to go deep on any subject
- M is for Mechanism…and Stefan has so many and he shares all of them and how to come up with others on your own
- B is for Brief…how you combine the research and mechanism to lay out your copy, sales letter–anything you are writing for anything.
- C is for Copy…when you are finally ready to write, it’s all laid out for you.
With Stefan’s system, you’re going to be given a foolproof copywriting system that will allow you to pump out attention-grabbing, conversion-popping sales copy at an unfathomably fast rate.
That last part is key for those of you who are always late with your copy. 🙂
Why is Stefan’s course valuable enough for me to endorse it?
He first created this system to help him write an unheard of 12 sales letters per month for a client back in 2014….and those letters grossed the client over $100MM thatyear.
And he’s used this copywriting system to launch dozens of 7, 8, and 9 figure sales funnels…generating over $700MM in sales for himself and his clients.
Stefan is an awesome dude, super nice and super smart (you’d never know he’s a mad scientist behind the scenes!)—and a wonderful teacher as well as a badass practitioner.
He did it…and now he’s teaching it (to a wider audience who needs it). He’s a man after my own heart.
He wants to share all that has gotten him here today (watch the short video on the sales page)…and I am pleased to give you an opportunity to buy it at his exclusive launch price.
That is, I know he will realize that he is charging too little for it and he will absolutely raise the price—in fact I will encourage him to do that very soon—which is another reason I am offering it to you today.
And here’s the deal that Stefan and I came up with—so I spend the equivalent of my affiliate commission on you:
If you buy it at full price here, let me know that you bought it by sending me an email…and I will give you a $500 credit against a full year of Titans Xcelerator , my virtual mastermind, which is the best place for marketers, copywriters and entrepreneurs to share their collective wisdom.
And even wisdom from Stefan…I plan on bringing him on a call in the near future.
That collective wisdom is among the Titans themselves, on calls and in the private Facebook Group…plus from me (live) once a month (and once a week during “COVID 2020”)…plus additional content including a live interview with a special guest every month, a selection from the Titans Vault (i.e. a previous presentation from Titans Mastermind) and a “swipe of the month” from my extensive archives.
All of the content every month is recorded and then put on a USB that is mailed out to you (yes, physical product!)…as well as the digital recordings.
On the weekly calls recently, we’ve had Perry Marshall, Ben Settle, Doberman Dan, Kevin Rogers, Kim Krause Schwalm, Chad Collins (and you can get the recordings of these calls if you join under this special offer).
Next up: Webinar wizard Joel Erway on June 4th …and none other than Jay Abraham on June 11th.
You should join now with this special offer—this is a deal that will not be available again.
And if you are already a member of Titans Xcelerator, I will give you $500 off on your annual renewal if you purchase Setfan’s course—I posted this offer in our private Facebook Group for Xcelerators.
Below is a picture of all you get with the course…I couldn’t sell it anywhere near as well as Stefan…but he does a more complete job on the sales page.
When you click on this page, you’ll see all of the modules, swipes, ability to connect with Stefan etc….plus that video from Stefan letting you know what you can expect.
I know you’ll like him (and want to learn from him) as much as I do.
And you’ll read what other copywriters and marketers are saying about him and the RMBC Method…from other A- Listers to beginners (who are beginners no more with the course). 🙂
P.P.S. And don’t forget to email me after you order–so I can send you the special link for your $500 discount to a full year of Titans Xcelerator—we’ll get you up and running immediately with a full welcome package plus you can immediately enter the private Facebook Group to introduce yourself to all of the other Xcelerators.
If you want to take a look at everything Titans Xcelerator has to offer go to:
But don’t order there…I need to give you the special link for the $500 discount…just email me.