IN THIS ADMITTEDLY AMBITIOUS ISSUE:
- How to Double the US Economy Virtually Overnight
- The Secret to Making A Billion Dollars Without Ever Offering a Single Benefit
- The Astonishing Power of Powerlessness
I remember not too long ago, I found myself on a conference call with a client's marketing team.
Our mission was to brainstorm major themes and leads for a direct mail promotion to promote a print newsletter on personal health.
We began as we often do, talking about what our prospects want and trying to figure out the ways in which our product fulfills those desires.
We talked about how health newsletter subscribers’ really only want two things:
- A cure for what ails them, and …
- Ways to avoid health problems that terrify them.
We talked about how, in order to be successful, our promotion needed to offer intriguing NEW solutions – things our prospects haven't heard of before.
We talked about how our prospects have matured tremendously since the "early days" in the early 1990s …
How they're more knowledgeable, more experienced and more skeptical than ever …
And how our promotion needs to be packed with undeniable proof that these new things really will work for them.
Just when we had pretty much finished the list of things we wanted our promotion to contain and do, a member of my client's marketing team cleared his throat (he does that a lot).
And what he said will boost response on this promotion by at least 50 percent – probably much more.
What's more, I'm convinced that if every direct marketer in America followed his advice, our national GDP would double virtually overnight.
But before I tell you what he said, let's lay a little groundwork …
The Secret to Making A Billion Dollars
Without Ever Offering a Single Benefit
Love him or hate him, you have to admit: Rush Limbaugh is a phenomenon.
Rush doesn’t promise riches, better health, social status, to ease your daily workload or to get you dates.
In fact, he never offers anyone one single benefit or presents a single “Reason Why” listening to him or reading him will improve your life in any way.
And yet, 20 million Americans religiously tune into his daily radio broadcasts. Hundreds of thousands subscribe to his newsletter. And masses rush to bookstores and snap up every book he writes.
In short, Rush has broken every "rule" of effective advertising and direct marketing – and he's become a billionaire (or darned close to it) anyway!
How does he do it?
A year or so ago, Limbaugh himself gave us the answer in an issue of his newsletter …
“The first year of my radio program callers would tell me how thrilled they were that there was finally somebody in the national media who expressed what they believed.
“For decades, conservatives had seen their values laughed at, impugned, run down. My radio program validated thinking that existed all over America …”
Put simply, Rush makes millions because he offers his followers something they value more than money: Validation – and the emotional release it brings with it.
Until they discovered Mr. Limbaugh, his devotees were frustrated with politicians, the media and the direction in which they felt our culture was headed.
But they had no voice. No power to change things. And worst of all, no outlet for the frustration and anger born of their powerlessness.
The Astonishing Power
Nearly all of us feel powerless at some time or another – and that powerlessness causes frustration and even anger to well up inside us. And unless we find an outlet, those negative emotions gnaw away at us.
Psychiatrists have long known that powerlessness – the feeling that we are not in control of things that directly impact our personal lives – is a major cause of both aggressive behavior and depression.
And many medical studies have even linked the frustration, anger and rage that powerlessness causes with weakened immune response and frequent physical illnesses.
That's where Rush comes in. He understands that millions of conservative Americans disagree with and are worried about the direction our government and/or society are taking – and feel powerless to "make things right."
And his magic is in providing a much-needed OUTLET for these pent-up negative feelings.
- By acknowledging his audience’s deepest and most intense emotions, Rush validates them …
- By expressing their feelings in ways that get heads nodding and listeners laughing, he gives his followers desperately needed emotional release …
- … And his followers reward him handsomely by buying just about everything the man produces or plugs!
In short, like any good business person, Limbaugh provides a product that brings value to people's lives and that they're willing to pay for.
And although Rush's product is both invisible and intangible, the emotional release he delivers is worth far more to his followers than the money they pay to get it!
Adding an Emotional Overlay
to Your Sales Message
Pays HUGE Dividends!
Now, you gotta ask yourself: If Rush can make a gazillion samolians selling nothing BUT emotional release …
How much more money could you make including an element of emotional release in your next promotion?
…Which brings me back to my friend's response-doubling suggestion …
My friend observed that every one of the most successful promotions ever created for the newsletter industry was emotional, edgy, even angry.
More specifically, he pointed out that each of these promotions was written in the voice of the editor – and that in each case, the editor was riled up about … well, something on the reader's behalf.
And you know what? He was 100% correctomundo!
Every single grand-slam home-run promotion I've ever written – whether for investment newsletters, health newsletters, books on personal finance and even nutritional supplements has that one thing in common:
Each one acknowledged, validated and put my prospect's sense of powerlessness – and the negative emotions he had about his powerlessness – into words.
And by doing that, each of these blockbuster controls:
- Provided an emotional outlet for my prospects that made them eager enough for more that they bought my product and …
- Positioned my ersatz author NOT as a salesman, but as the prospect's friend, advocate and champion – and in the process completely neutralized my prospects "anti-salesman" defenses.
And you know what? This simple technique can work wonders for YOU – no matter what you're selling!
- Put your sales copy into the voice of an advocate who acknowledges and validates your prospect's sense of powerlessness, his frustrations and his anger …
- … Who provides an OUTLET for those pent-up frustrations by expressing them in ways that get the prospect's head nodding and even get him chuckling …
- … And then does something even "The Great Rushbo" can't do – demonstrate how the advocate's product will permanently relieve the prospect of these negative feelings …
… And you've probably got a HUGE winner on your hands!
Four Steps to Breakthrough Bliss
Creating a sales message that harnesses this powerful technique is as easy as 1-2-3-4:
Identify the enemy – and make it personal! No matter what you sell, there's somebody out there in the same, a similar, or a competing field who's doing your prospect wrong.
In alternative health, it's probably dimwitted and greedy mainstream doctors and surgeons and drug company fat cats.
In the investment field, it could be greedy brokers, idiotic self-appointed experts and "talking heads" on TV investment shows – once, I even lampooned Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. My prospects loved it!
In the personal finance field, it could be money-hungry bankers … heartless tax collectors … and everyone else who assumes that your money is really their money.
What enemy is making YOUR prospects feel powerless, insulted, frustrated and angry?
Whoever it is, personalize the enemy. It's not half as much fun lampooning hospitals, drug companies, banks and the IRS as it is skinning the greedy jerks who run them!
- Identify the things "the enemy" does that frustrate or anger your prospect, insult his intelligence or render him powerless.
Is he arrogant and self-important – an authority figure just begging to be brought down a couple of pegs? Is he a sneak thief who nickels and dimes your prospect half to death?
List as many offenses as you possibly can.
- Pinpoint how YOU feel about these kinds of people – and how you would feel if someone did these things to you.
Then express those feelings more articulately and with greater emotional power than your prospect possibly could.
- Position your figurehead and his/her product as being the solution to the negative things the enemy does AND the balm that soothes the negative emotions your prospects has about them!
Say everything your prospect would just LOVE to tell the enemy. If you feel it's appropriate, call him names if you like.
Last year, in a promotion on the Vioxx scandal, I had a sidebar with the headline …
Murder-For-Hire Ring BUSTED!
Beneath that headline, I had pictures of the CEOs of Merck and Pfizer – and the story (taken from internal company e-mails printed in The Wall Street Journal) about how they knew all along that COX-2 inhibitors Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex would kill people, but promoted them anyway, just to make a fast buck.
Now, I am NOT suggesting that you accuse your competitor of murder – or say anything else that might get you sued for libel.
But to paraphrase Barry Goldwater, "Extremism in the pursuit of your prospect's well-being is no vice."
Hope this helps!
Yours for Bigger Winners, More Often,
Publisher & Editor
THE TOTAL PACKAGE
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