When you look back over your career, you’ll see it doesn’t run in a straight line. It’s usually a lot of scrabbling around for answers, then huge leaps ahead as you find someone who can give them to you.
One of mine was running a lot of direct mail tests for Reed Business Information, a huge B2B publisher in the UK.
This email is quite long, but it’s rich in les
My job was to pull together their sales letters and prospect data and have them turned into personalized mailing packs. The best bit was that I got to do this on all their fiddly little test campaigns. Instead of the huge, boring factory run of their control mailings.
Every 2 weeks Reed gave us new mailing packs to put together.I’d get them set up in our laster printing room. Then I’d pore over whatever it was they were trying out.
I’d make sure I read every test, swiped a fair few, and knew from the little codes at the bottom of each pack, which one won.
These were not sexy titles.
Farmers weekly, and Caterer & Hotelkeeper were the two I remember best.
But they were a few hundred pounds subscription each year. Each customer was worth winning, and worth keeping, and they put a LOT of effort into keeping them.
A typical campaign would start with a very cheap trial for 3 issues. Then we’d move heaven and earth to get them onto an ongoing subscription.
We’d have a half dozen letters go out before we gave up, and a similar number every m the subscription was up for renewal.
Remember that each pack cost £2-4 to print, personalise, and post. The packs were complex. They had reply envelopes, flyers for “bump” offers and several pages of letters.
We tested premiums, discounts, and all sorts of creative and copy changes.
A couple of things stood out for me:
1) The effort and expense that they’d go to to get a customer, often not making any profit in the first year.
2) If a test won on one title, they’d try it out across the other ones, and 9 times out of ten it won.
They were working on principles, not tactics. They understood that it didn’t matter if you’re a farmer, a bar owner or an estate agent. You’re persuaded by the same things.
Fast forward a few years and I worked for an Email Service Provider in London. I ran their consulting division, designing campaign plans for big clients.
We won the business to run Reed’s email marketing and you know what we did?
Exactly the same as we’d done with the mailing programme, except faster and cheaper.
And because it was cheaper, we could afford to run even more offers before we “gave up” on a prospect.
“Until they buy, or until they die” was a phrase I heard more than once.
The principles hadn’t changed. The offers were almost exactly the same, and the messaging was the same. The only big difference was that they now had a website for the job ads as well as the magazine.
So, what can we all learn from this?
Here’s what I took from my experience. These are principles I try to apply to every campaign. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $7 ebook or a $20,000, done-for-you full funnel project.
Follow up relentlessly. Don’t stop util you’re told to.
Know your numbers. It’s too easy to get swayed by an emotional anecdote about one customer. One who “hated” your product when a silent majority is eating it up.
Test every step of the funnel.
The biggest lifts we saw were simple headline changes at the top of the funnel, but also price tests at the bottom.
I teach all this in a set-by-step series of courses. But before you can do any of them, you need a free offer and a landing page to build an email list.
That’s why I urge you to start with my SuperHero Landings course. You’ll learn a 3 point method for building high converting landing pages to grow your list.
As an existing member of my list I want you to see the success I’ve had and to get started without the trial and error that I went through. So, I’m giving you a one-time offer to get the landing page course for just $9 if you buy today.
PS The course includes my method for building lists from affiliate offers so even if you don’t have an offer of your own, you can still start building a list, and with it, a sustainable online business.