3 Cheers to the Design agency who fired Lord Sugar

A delightful story from Design Week about the agency hired to help with the Apprentice reality TV show and how they ended up quitting.

Does anyone remember Richard Seymour on the Product Design show “Better by Design”?

The agency had EXACTLY the same reaction – the show took top talent out of the business and it became evident it wasn’t financially worthwhile.

Much as I like the idea of bringing creative industries in front of the public, with shows like Mad Men (fantasies in advertising) and the Apprentice, it’s all about the un-reality of TV not about the realities of our working businesses.

P.S. the only exception is Dragons Den.

Marketing a tree care surgery business

I am looking to launch a tree care (trimming, removal) business and was looking for ideas on creative

English: Tree Surgery, Omagh All the smaller b...

Tree Surgery, Omagh All the smaller bits get mulched. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

advertising etc that can be done cheap.

You’ve come to the right place!  You don’t say which town you are in but here are our best suggestions:
  1. Join a BNI group.  Business Networking International meetings are weekly and members refer new business to each other.
  2. Get a business card and fridge magnet printed (use something like vistaprint.com)  Hand these out to people you meet, clients. Give them 2 each and ask them to pass one to a friend.
  3. Approach the local schools and ask them if they’d like to do a fund raiser.  They promote your services to parents and you give back 10% of all  revenues to the school for their own use.  You will have to give them a poster or flier with all the details designed on it (the person who designs your business cards can do this at the same time).
  4. Use Yellow pages to find all the property rental agencies in the town.  Make an appointment to visit each one and ask to talk to the Property Managers.  Tell them about your service and ask how you can get onto their approved suppliers list.  These people regularly use services like yours for managed rental houses and apartments.
How do these sound?  I picked them because you can do them all yourself as the business owner without specialist marketing skill –  you just need to be able to explain your service and your prices.
If we can help you with other marketing things e.g. writing a website, running a newsletter, creating a customer database, online advertising, blogging, using social media – please ask.
Writing and reading long emails

Long copy email as a sales tool – example

Writing long emails

Writing and reading long emails

Writing and reading long emails [Image credit ContactMonkey.com]

There are people who do not favour writing long messages, yet there are others who buck the trend to compress and shorten messages. Because they have a beautiful writing style they “get away” with long messages.

I often read these.

David Baker runs ReCourses – a service advising owners how to run their marketing agency as a better business.
Read this example.
Hi Rebecca,
I came across this interesting statement recently:

“Incorporating interactive can move your firm upstream strategically, especially if you understand that interactive work is really database marketing reborn. Providing [prospects] with interactive opportunities is tantamount to allowing them to emerge incognito from the protected castle to sample the promises before they lower the drawbridge again. In this [case] the consumer has initiated and then defined the sales context. And as a potential buyer he is far more likely to buy because he has reestablished control, first by learning more in an environment where he controls the shape and pacing of the information, and then by giving [you the] permission to sell to him.”

The concepts are important, of course, but what’s most interesting is that it was written in April, 2000, nearly fourteen years ago. I wrote it in an article for Persuading, trying to help agencies like yours understand how digital work should fit within the marketing mix.

There was some real enthusiasm in writing that, largely from the promise that the internet would provide a new era in marketing. It didn’t fulfill that promise, really, as privacy concerns, inept agencies, and lousy UI dominated the lack of innovation.
Enter marketing automation technology (MAT), though, and the internet is finally delivering on its promises. This is especially true in the marketing of professional services, where decisions are more considered and where authenticity and truth can be established via thought leadership content.
While the wait has been lengthy, the pace of recent developments has far exceeded what we have come to expect. MAT is a milestone that will honestly change every single thing about selling your services:
You can establish a funnel to define the most likely path to hiring you.
You can develop the tools to bump leads to the next stage in the funnel.
Prospects will be fully aware of your abilities, your remuneration, and what you won’t do. In the process of discovering that, prospects will self-select themselves out of the running so that you avoid the biggest danger in business development: dating prospects that are not marriagable.
Best of all, it changes the equation from pushing to pulling.
The amazing thing is that—no matter how good you are at selling—if you are in front of a prospect that has already taken the safety chain off the door and invited you in, you can sell. Yes, you can sell. What you hate about selling is trying to convince a prospect that they need you. No more. MAT has changed that for you.
There is so much to learn about this and I hope you will join us in Chicago on March 6 for a packed day of learning MAT, both for yourself as an agency and in your work as an agency for clients.
David C. Baker
ReCourses®, Inc.

Why is this long email effective?

Deconstructing this email the method David uses is this:

  • Open with a statement (the quote)
  • then challenge my understanding by explaining it’s over 14 years old!
  • explain its relevance today
  • Bullet point list of benefits [not features] of the technology
  • Give reassurance of the ‘amazing’ outcomes available to users
  • End with an invitation to buy from him

So that’s a series of subjects that you can use for your next email (whether to a cold introduction or a luke-warm prospect).

A note on subject lines for cold email

I am subscribed to get emails from Nick Johnson from Incite.  His copywriting is exemplary and I regularly find myself wanting to take the actions he requests.

Look at this picture taken from my in box of recent messages I’ve received from Incite.

Cold email subject lines

Cold email subject lines

Did you notice that few of the subject lines actually say what’s in the message.   So if I want to know what it’s about I HAVE to open the email.

some of the message subjects aren’t written with capital letters – makes it look like Nick wrote it quickly and forgot – but it’s more a feature of personal email not mass email and so I think this is clever, if used occasionally.

They clearly experiment with subject lines – one of them is a ‘Newsletter’ and is titled as such, but the content of many of them could be classified as news.

I have highlighted two parts because they show best practice.

The Red box surrounds subject lines in which they’ve included my name.  It feels like it was written just for me – but I know it’s just a personalisation insert from their database – but nonetheless it’s effective.

The Orange box encloses a subject “a quick heads up” which they used twice.  The first one follows the pattern of not saying what’s in the body of the email.  The second is sent with the same subject but as a forwarded (FW) message from Nick’s colleague, Kate.  It is the same message inside, but it makes me think I’ve overlooked the earlier message and so I feel more inclined to open this one.

Very clever people – I recommend you subscribe to their newsletter – Insight and Debate on Marketing Innovation.