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Ambitious Lifestyle Business Podcast #016

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ALB#016 Newsletters in Your Arsenal

It’s not your customers job to remember to do business with you – it’s your job to remind them.

And there’s no better way to do that than to send them a printed newsletter in the post. In this week’s episode, we’ll show you exactly how to do that, as well as the mistakes and pitfalls to avoid when sending a printed newsletter.

We also walk you through a selection of newsletters that we’ve either sent or received ourselves to give you some ideas about how you could implement a newsletter into your small business.

Newsletters are the best retention tool I know, but they’re also pretty good at cross-selling, up-selling and securing referrals if done correctly – which is without overtly selling!

Podcast Transcription

Below is the transcription of our podcast for you to read through if you prefer:

John: Hey guys and welcome to episode 16 of the Big Idea Podcast, where as always, we will be sharing simple, practical tools and tips to grow your business. My name’s John, I’m here as always with Jason. Morning Jason.

Jason: Good morning John, good morning everyone.

John: I said morning again, it’s afternoon. We’re doing well aren’t we?

Jason: Yeah.

John: Today we are going to be talking about newsletters. Now we’re not talking about spam, no, exactly. We first started sending what we called a newsletter probably back in 2004, ’03? ’03 I reckon. When did you join the business? 2003 wasn’t it?

Jason: 2003, yeah.

John: Probably before that. Probably 2002. So I’d been running the business for two years, and literally it was I’ll build a website, people will find the website, happy days. They came in, they found the website, they hand some money, then they disappeared. At no point did I ask them to come back again and ut wasn’t until, I think 2002, when I thought, “Oh, you know what? This other website that I’d seen has got a newsletter. Give me your email address we’ll send you a newsletter.”

So I literally did that, and whoa, what a difference that made because all of a sudden these people that liked my business, liked my website, suddenly could actually interact with me and I could tell them stuff that was going on, stuff that was new this week. It encouraged them to actually come back. That was transformational.

I remember going to a networking event and there was another guy there who was actually one of my competitors and he said, “Oh, I see you’ve put this email thing on your website.” So I said to him, “Look, it’s really, really good.” “Oh, it wasn’t about that,” he said. “I don’t quite fancy that.”

So in the end we actually switched it off so that you had to give your email address to us in order to actually access the website, and I think that was probably the tipping point for us in terms of really growing that business, wasn’t it?

Jason: Yeah, I mean a little bit of background I suppose. Back then, in those days, you had everything coming through the mailbox. Spam galore coming through there, and your electronic account, your email account wasn’t really busy at all and so we kind of created the spam, I guess, of the time. Is that what you’re saying?

John: Are you taking credit for creating spam?

Jason: No, but we did jump on, yes. We did certainly, absolutely take advantage of the opportunities which email marketing brought about.

John: Yeah, I think back in those days it was, “Ping, you’ve got mail!” “Oh, I’ve got an email. How exciting.” Meanwhile, your letterbox would thud and there’s be 20 bits of just junk there that you just sort out and go in the bin. It’s kind of flipped the other way around now. So we do still send out lots and lots of marketing emails. We don’t send out a newsletter as such, by email, anymore do we? We probably haven’t done that for, oh, six or seven years now.

Jason: The principles are the same, though, wasn’t it? It was kind of, actually no one was using email, so we kind of built a list, you’re building a list of your customers and the people who are interested in what you have to tell them and so that kind of principle remained the same, the same as the people who were spamming your mailbox at your house, as if you’re building a list of people to send out to whether that was from the Yellow Pages or whatever, in those days, then that was the case wasn’t it?

John: Yeah, totally. I mean, the more I think back to what we used to do with … It was a freebie site, so it was a website that listed where you could get free sashes of shampoo and women’s sanitary towels.

Jason: Free nappy.

John: There was lots of incontinence stuff there, was it?

Jason: Lots of incontinence. Yeah, washing powders, bit of washing powder.

John: We’d send that out every week and every week our email subject line would be the worst in the world. It was, “Net Free Stuff Newsletter”.

How engaging is that as a subject line?

Jason: Made people want to open it.

John: Yeah, that’s the thing is we did have that relationship where people actually, they wanted to receive that. I don’t know if we were TENA Lady whether the weekly TENA Lady newsletter would be quite as engaging if that landed in your inbox.

Jason: Yeah, I’m just thinking of ideas for the title now but don’t want to say.

John: Go on, let’s hear them.

Jason: No, let’s not.

John: You sure? Okay. But yeah, what we do now is we actually send a printed newsletter and it took a while for us to get our heads around this because sending an email newsletter is cheap. In fact, it’s so cheap it’s free, isn’t it?

Jason: Principally.

John: Whereas sending a printed newsletter is a bit more expensive. But what we found is that it is so much more impactful to send something printed, something physical in the post that customers, members, prospects, potential customers, can sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit and flick through and actually read. Where you send them an email, Net Free Stuff Newsletter, and they may browse it for 30 seconds, or it’s more likely to be, “Scam. Scam, delete.” Isn’t it?

Jason: Yeah.

John: Whereas if you send them … We don’t do too much now, we are from main business, it’s two pages of A4 per month. But it is one of the best tools I think we’ve ever used for retention, for cross-selling, and for upselling. So, you know, actually moving customers along the old customer journey. And as one of my mentors used to say, “Look, it’s not your customer’s job to remember to do business with you. It is your job to remind them.” Well, that is exactly what a physical newsletter does, is it literally drops on their door mat and it’s a reminder that, “Hey, I’m here, this is what I do.” It’s almost a way of selling to them without selling to them.

A sort of caveat here, if you’re thinking about putting together a newsletter, is you shouldn’t try and sell. Too many people do it. They say, “Right, I’m going to send out a newsletter,” and then we sort of get the first draught of that in and it’s like, “Okay, yeah, that’s a sales letter you’ve written there, or that’s an advert.” We’re not looking for an advert, we’re looking to literally just remind customers that you’re there, remind them what you do, what you stand for, what you believe in. You’re positioning yourself as often the expert within your industry or you are the owner of some knowledge that they need to know.

It’s a good chance, also, to highly or make superstars of some of your best customers. If you can highlight, do case studies, and say, “Well, actually, we’ve got this customer, they did XYZ, and we love them because,” and literally tell your potential customers what a good customer looks like and then they will actually want to emulate that person. They’ll want to be featured, they’ll want to be member of the month or customer of the quarter or something of the year. I can’t think of a word to fit there.

Jason: Yeah.

John: Yeah of the year, that doesn’t work. But it does, if you make superstars of your customers, they will stay longer, they will spend more, they’ll introduce their friends, and you’ll create this culture, I think, within the business that actually if you want a particular type of customer, or you want to repel a particular type of customer, then a written newsletter is a brilliant way of doing that because you can just get on your soapbox a little bit and have a rant about the wrong type of customers. We’ve done that in so many times with the sports betting business.

We’ve said, “Well actually, half of our articles in our newsletter are about the type of people we don’t want in our business.” So if you’re reading that thing and thinking, “Well that’s me.” Off you pop. We don’t want you. But if you’re the opposite, if you are the type of person we want, then you agree with that. You know, you find you’re reading it along and you’re nodding your head going, “Oh yeah, that’s a good idea. I like that.”

Jason: But isn’t that true kind of normal media, to be fair, isn’t it? Like the Daily Mail, your favourite rag, it’s kind of exactly the same thing. It’s a polarising viewpoint that it has and then it gets fans from those customers who love the paper and those that don’t or was talking about it.

John: Yeah. As I said, that is absolutely, I mean the Daily Mail’s job is to polarise. I’m not going to get on my soapbox [crosstalk 00:08:37].

Jason: I opened a can of can worms then.

John: I haven’t had the letter from lawyers yet but I’m sure it will be coming very soon. But, yeah, that is absolutely their job. Their job is not to be the middle of the road, “Oh, I wonder, let’s present both sides of the argument.” Their job is to say, “Well actually our readers have these very strong, incorrect … Very strong beliefs about certain topics. Our job is to either-”

Jason: Reinforce them?

John: “… reinforce them or aggravate them by telling them that someone’s coming to steal their wealth or undermine the value of their home or maybe have different coloured skin to them.” Off my soapbox again.

Jason: That was very good. The point he’s trying to make is every business has the right kind of customers and every business has different kind of customers that probably don’t fit with what you’re trying to sell or to do with them.

John: Yeah, absolutely. If you’re thinking about how to actually fill a newsletter with content, well start off with trying to fill one page of A4 and you want to have something in there that educates them, something that informs people, and something that entertains. So something a little bit lighthearted that shows that actually, yes we’re a business, but we’ve got a little bit of personality. Even the Daily Mail has cartoons in it.

Jason: Let’s take some of the examples that you’ve brought here kind of the really high brow newsletters, if you like, about topics which are not to everybody’s cup of tea but they do have cartoons with them still.

John: Oh, absolutely. Just for the guys listening on audio, today is going to be a little bit more of a visual podcast. So if you want to head over to our Facebook group, which is bigidea.co.uk/facebook, and you can watch the video of today’s live podcast. You can watch us recording it live, but you’ll also see some of the examples. So we’ve got several, kind of, different newsletters. I’m just looking at where the camera is. That we’re just going to work through and just pull out some of the tips and tricks that I think certain people have done. So as I say, start off with a one pager. So if you want to pass me that one there, Jas.

So, for example, this is a simple newsletter from my child’s school. It is literally, it’s a page of A4, and it’s what have we been doing this week? What have your children been up to? There’s some photos in there. So there’s photos of the staff and there’s photos of the children. They’re actually not very good photos, they’re black and white, they’re tiny, but hey. You can see there’s children in them. And it just says, “Yeah one, I visited Buckland Abbey. Years three and four went to Plimpton Academy and did emotive skills.” We’ve got an app of the week. That might sound familiar to regular listeners, maybe not the last week or two because Jason’s forgetting to do tip of the week. But hey. Tool of the week, sorry.

But also reinforcing we’ve got a mobile phone policy. Something’s happened, we’ve been attracting the wrong kind of behaviour. We want to correct that, so mobile phone policy. Please don’t encourage your seven year olds to bring a mobile phone to school. What is the world coming to?

But [inaudible 00:12:03] that then yes, we’ve got the school book fares in the drama hall and you can buy water bottles at the school office. If you’ve got any issues you can contact me. That’s all that you need to do with a newsletter. So just replicate that but for a business.

So there’s stuff in there that educates, there’s stuff that informs, there’s stuff that entertains, and there’s a little bit of stuff that sells. If you want a water bottle you can get one from the office. Don’t forget, school book fair, come into the hall next week, buy a book. But that is an afterthought.

Now, I’m guessing that that’s pretty well read, that newsletter. I certainly read it every week it comes home because, yeah, you do, you come right home from school, “Oh look there’s a newsletter.” Cup of tea, chocolate biscuit, newsletter. Done.” If that was sent out by email, “Oh, Bendpak weekly newsletter. Oh yeah, nice, scan, delete.” Done in 10 seconds. You know, I actually physically sit down and read that.

So let’s look at some of the others. So we’ve got … Normally we do, for our sports better business, we’ve got a monthly two-pager. So it’s two sides of A4 and all we really do is look back on how did last month go. Isn’t it? So quite often we’re focused on the results of our tips. So it’s not selling overtly but it’s kind of saying, “Well actually, our premium tips last month did very well and our premium tip members are very happy. Meanwhile, our lucky 15 members have done this.”

You just subtly mention, “Oh, by the way we’ve got a lucky 15 service.” So you just mention in an article, “I was speaking to Lucky 15 member, Jason Brockman, and he said blah blah blah.” Reinforces we do different stuff. This is what we do. I spoke to our gold members and our gold members we’ve done case studies. We’ve interviewed them and said … Well, actually, there’s certain behaviours and certain patterns that we wish everyone did. So let’s talk to the people who enhance those behaviours and who actually live according to the way we want them to and follow the process properly, and they’ve got their batting discipline and they follow their bank religiously and they just do everything that we tell them to, so let’s interview them and say well actually, “Why are you making so much money out of our gold service?”

“Oh, well it’s because I’ve got discipline, I’ve got my strict batting bank and I know what my opponent’s per point is, and I do this, and I don’t deviate.” It’s like, all the things we’re telling people to do. If you can actually showcase a member and say, “Well, actually, the reason I’m having success is because I’m doing what these guys are telling me to do,” then you shape, you mould that behaviour with everyone else.

Jason: Sort of a standout as well, really, isn’t it? From other businesses and things as well, really, because the online tipster business is online, the websites that are available, of which there’s a huge number of them, isn’t there? It’s kind of creating things that kind of stand out of what their offerings are and their offerings are usually faceless, are usually fully automatic. An email that goes out once a day, and that’s pretty much as good as it is. If they’re not charging you for the service in the first place or via text or any number of other types of ways of taking money off you. So we have something completely different, a newsletter that’s printed, arriving at people’s door is not something anybody else is doing, is it?

John: We’ve positioned it very, very differently. So we’ve got Joe, who is the face of free racing tips and everyone knows Joe because he does live videos on Facebook, the email’s great, it’s from Joe, and literally when we got the newsletter it’s a letter from Joe and it basically just talks about the month. So the current edition of our newsletter is actually not a two pager. I’m just holding up to the camera now. But see, it’s actually a 32 page magazine.

What this does is actually serves as a fantastic lead gen tool. So this is basically our lead bait for one of our squeeze pages that we’ve been using for the last four weeks. Rob, quick shout-out over the last four weeks, how many leads, roughly, I’m just going to drop this on you completely on the spot, has this magazine brought in?

Rob: 10,000.

John: 10,000 leads. In the last four weeks.

Rob: Yeah.

John: Fantastic. So one 32 page magazine. This has taken quite a lot of writing. There’s some good stuff in here. Basically, what Joe’s done is he’s previewed every single race for the Cheltenham Festival this week. So here’s just an example I’ll show up to the cases. So this is Joe’s preview, so that’s a double pager of one race for the Cheltenham Festival this week and as you can see as I flick through it, it’s really, really well designed. It’s really well written. We’ve put a lot of thought into this, a lot of work into this.

But it almost all positions ourselves as the expert. We stand alone in the online tipping world because I don’t know. Usually I cannot think of a single other person that does this. As I said, the opening two pages of the magazine are just, we call it ‘Joe’s in the know’, but it is basically a letter from Joe, which you relate to Joe then because you get that kind of personal feeling, then, don’t you? I’m just reading through some of what he’s written now and it does kind of jump out that he’s got that personality there and a little bit of authority but also you can really relate to him.

I’ll just read out one paragraph here that kind of leapt out at me. Again, really humanises the business. So quoting Joe now. Also, when it comes to preview evenings, and this is kind of where we’ve been to a few at Exeter Race Course, haven’t we, where Paul Neckels comes out and says, “Oh, this horse has got a chance.” And he finishes seventh.

Jason: He doesn’t.

John: Yeah, exactly, no chance at all. So when it comes to previewing things they’re good fun but don’t listen to everything people have to say. Trainers talk bollocks most of the time and I would say limit yourself to two or three previews maximum. Your head can become scrambled and you can sometimes go against your normal race reading by listening to someone with, air quotes, “info”.

So that paragraph alone just really humanises Joe, doesn’t it? Because there’s not many other businesses that would send out an official bit of marketing with the word bollocks in it.

Joe’s able to do that but also how many people will read that and say, “Yeah, I’ve been to a preview evening. And yeah, Paul Neckels was there, he was giving it large, oh well, you know, if …” I remember my first Cheltenham I saw Paul Neckels there and it was raining, it was tipping out with rain, and I think it was … Longrun I think was the horse … And he said, “Ah, if this rain keeps coming down Longrun has got a hell of a chance today.”

Fourth. He was winning, tired on the hill up. You know, this was his element. It was like everything was aligning. It was Paul Neckels just giving it the bit of chat but, yeah. As I’ve said we used that so it’s normally a two-pager. Once a year we chuck out a 32-page version. Brings in 10,000 leads. It’s also a value bomb for retention so our gold members get this physical 32 page magazine, you know, it’s not a newsletter, it is a magazine in the post. It makes noise when it hits the door mat and they go, “Oh, what’s that? Oh my god, it’s Joe’s magazine!”

They look forward to it. This is the fourth year we’ve done this magazine now. They look forward to it every year. When we go to Cheltenham we often see a few copies lying around of this magazine. People actually take it to the course. In terms of retention, our retention rates go up the months after that magazine because no one is going to cancel their membership just to after they’ve have that fantastic, yeah, bomb of value.

So, something else we’ve done, Jas, I think you’ve got it there.

Jason: I do.

John: Is we’ve put together an eight page newsletter as an annual product. So this was not monthly, we put this out once a year when we were attending a conference.

Jason: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

John: So this magazine was literally aimed at affiliate managers of book makers, wasn’t it?

Jason: Exactly right, yeah.

John: So you were there. You went for meetings with what? Eight people?

Jason: Yeah. Ten, eleven maybe.

John: So that was literally the circulation list of this magazine was about ten people.

Jason: Was about that.

John: So we spent probably a week, week and a half, putting this together. We got it professionally printed up. We got, I think, 50 of them printed. Again, we positioned ourselves as head and shoulders above everyone else because we’d been to this conference before armed with what?

A sheet of 84 with some stats written on it.

Jason: Yeah, that’s it. [crosstalk 00:21:37]

John: Here’s a number of customers we brought you last year, here’s our traffic levels. So we kind of took those stats and just put them in a nice, pretty magazine. We put on there was affect we had on [chow ten um]. In the previous year we’ve been nominated for an award, so we got a screen shot of the stage where [inaudible 00:22:01] stood in front of the stage with our logo on the back. We gave screen shots of some of the marketing campaigns we’ve done.

Jason: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John: There’s lots of photos of us in there. So I think if you … Yeah, second page we got ‘meet the team’ and there’s two photos of me, there’s one of Jason, there’s one of Joe, there’s one of Stuart, our techy. As you go through I think there’s further photos of us. We got Barry Garetting there. He doesn’t work for us he works for the bookies. Not this year though he’s going to him [chow ten um].

We’ve even got a photo of the Queen. The Queen is with Phillip, Prince Phillip, at Royal Mascot for one of the campaigns we did and then again on the … I think on the last page there’s a photo of us where we’d sponsored a race at Exeter so there’s a photo of the two of us and Joe with the winning jockey who I no idea who that is. He was at Exeter so it was probably some nobody.

Actually, no, was that him or was that the a … That was the stable hound.

Jason: Groomer. Yeah, that was the guy that brushes the horses.

John: Yeah. That was it. So it was just, again … It’s positioning us as the experts. There we are sponsoring a race at a racecourse, which, all right, a few other tipsters have done, but not many of those have taken the photo that was done there and actually used it in their marketing to sell business to business. So this was literally, you know … Normally we do a business to, B to C, magazine. This was a B to B magazine that we did once a year. Print run of 50. But actually we handed it to ten people.

Jason: The first of which took what we had to offer, the top package.

John: Yeah.

Jason: It was rather good and yeah there’s [inaudible 00:23:51] themselves. I guess we kind of be able to give them well actually here is all of our, in principal, here’s who we are, here’s what we do, this is how we do it, this is some of the successes we’ve had, and we want to do that with you guys on a more, kind of, permanent basis. It was something completely different they could take back to the people who signed off on the deals and things like that, as well.

John: Oh, most definitely.

Jason: Yeah. It’s just something that no one else is doing.

John: I was just looking at sort of page three where we’ve got … So it says in 2013, being on this was sent out 2014, we send approximately 17,000 new customers to 15 book makers and then we just got a bar chart of, well, here’s who we sent those 17,000 to. So if you’re Sky Bet you’re very happy because you can see there’s a nice big chart there but if you’re LadBrokes or you’re Betfred, you’re not so happy. I think it was Betfred that took the top package this year because they could see, well actually, we could nab some of these customers from Sky. You know, they’re all competing against each other. So we were actually able to say … Almost play them off against each other but just using, again as a value bomb, that we were able to go in previously we’d gone to the conference and said, “Can we have a few hundred quids worth of competition prizes? Can we have some tickets to Cheltenham? Can we have champions league tickets? Can we have some competition prizes?”

That was it. We went in that year and I remember writing on my board: “Could we get away with asking for 15,000 pounds in tenancy agreements?” And I think that first year we took 25? Or 30?

Jason: 25.

John: 25. So the following year we kind of said, “Well, that was good.” Because that worked. Literally, we sold within like the first half a day. Didn’t we?

Jason: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

John: Completely sold out. 25 grand. It was like Jesus, that’s amazing. So I think the next year we pushed the boat out a little bit further and said, “Well, let’s go for 35.” And then I think the year after we went for 45 and its now a 50,000 pound a year tool that we use. In fact, last year we didn’t use the magazine.

Jason: No.

John: Because we just had it positioned from the years before, three years they’d have that magazine, that we were then able to just say to the people who’d bought it, “Do you want to renew?” “Yeah, of course I do.” You know, if they hadn’t renewed, we’d have gone for another magazine, we’d have gone to the conference armed with magazines, again, positioned ourselves as head and shoulders above everybody else.

Jason: But to be fair, guys, for the first that we did it we kind of were looking … We weren’t positioned anywhere. We were in the normal affiliates kind of like thing and, you know, it was free for everybody to go and ask for tickets and things like that so we decided to take ourselves to a different level altogether and say once we kind of positioned ourselves and then delivered on promises that we kind of made in that newsletter then they were easily able to kind of get renewals and things like that for those deals. But yeah, it was good.

John: It’s a real thing in hindsight to think that literally eight pages of paper with some ink on them can bring in 50 grand but that is what it is because without that magazine we’d have never secured that. If we’d gone in and said, “Well, here’s our stats … Oh yeah, well we sent 17,000 people last year to different bookies … Um, let me have a look hang on a minute. Some where here. I’ve got how many we’ve sent to … Oh, so Sky Bet we sent lots to.” “How many did we get?” “Oh, you got like 50.” “Oh. Oh, that’s a bit crap, isn’t it?”

Whereas actually seeing it in a physical, professional form jumped out at them.

So, a few other magazines I’ve got here. You know, I’m well into my investing and everything like that so I’ve got plenty of different investment style magazines but again, what these tend to do more than anything is they educate. So I think I’ve got an eight-pager here and I think I’ve got a 16-pager. In fact, this one in particular, is so useful that I’ve literally, I don’t know if you can pick that up, but I’ve gone through it with a highlighter pen. Oh, look there’s my best mate Warren Buffet.

But you know, it’s that useful. This is a company that has sent me a magazine to remind me that they exist and what they do. They are an investment club and they sell investment products. But they’ve sent me this stuff which has got like you know how to position yourself in the stock market, how to invest like Warren Buffet, what difference the environment is going to make to the global stock market, the effects of Brexit.

And I’ve sat there with a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit and highlighter pen and I’ve literally taken out all bits of value that there is. I’m getting so much value out of this. I mean, this is the December 2016 version so it’s only a few months old but I can guarantee you I’ve still probably go the December 2015 edition in a drawer all highlighter-penned. There may be post-it notes sticking out of it of action points that I need to take because I get value.

You know, this is … These magazines is 95% teaching people to be better investors and it’s 5% mentioning this is what we do, by the way. And it just positions themselves, you know, this is the elite investor club but when we phone me up and say, “Hi, it’s Matt here from the elite investor club.” I can go, okay, I’ll take that call and I’ll have a chat with you because I know that you know what you’re talking about. You’re not some fly by night company whose just employed a sales team. You know, we can actually have an intelligent conversation about investments, about currency, about global markets, and then yes I will probably end up buying something of what you do at some point in the year because you send me this every month.

And it doesn’t cost a huge amount. I mean, our two-pager I think to send out, printed, posted, in envelopes, is what? One pound 50? You know, it’s absolutely nothing. You know, even the big 32-pager, to get that written, printed, stapled together, put in envelop and sent out, that’s only probably three pound 50. You know, which as the value bomb to retain a client whose paying us 40 quid a month, so you know, these clients are worth say 500 quid a year to spend three pound 50 once a year. Send them a magazine. I’m more than happy to do that.

Jason: You get a monthly newsletter as well, isn’t he, from these guys?

John: Yep, yep. Shout-out to Tom and Mark from Ideal Results. So actually, I need to give Mark a little bit of a hand slap I think because I don’t think he’s actually done one of these for a while.

Jason: Sorry, Mark [crosstalk 00:30:47]

John: So, he used to send out a monthly two-pager and it was literally just a value bomb. It was what I call ‘info-taining’. So quite often he would tell a story and Mark is a fantastic copy writer and that’s basically what he did is he wrote fantastic piece of copy which just engaged you just, all right, I’m going to spend five minutes, ten minutes, cup of coffee, chocolate biscuit, sit down, read what Mark has got to say this month. Most of the time didn’t sell anything.

It was literally just positioning himself as I’m a marketing expert; I know marketing, I know businesses. If you want to grow your business, I’m Mark Creaser this is where you find me. But then what he did- [crosstalk 00:31:33].

But that is brilliant because it’s exactly the same design as the normal value newsletter but it’s actually a sales letter. Now, you don’t necessarily know it’s sales letter until you get a little bit further and you’re like oh, hang on a minute, there’s quite a lot of testimonials in here. Oh, hang on, there’s quite a lot of positioning, there’s a lot of banter. Oh, hang on, what’s going on? But actually he does because the opening line is: “Warning this months letter contains powerful sales copy, genuine clientele testimonials, and a time sensitive offer”.

So, he has actually warned you up front that I am going to sell you something this month but what he gives you in eight pages of value, information, info-tainment, loads of testimonials, loads of social proof. We’ve talked before about the power of social proof. And then finally by the time you get to about page six we start introducing the offer and then there’s a bit more value and then finally there’s back to another offer and then here’s the steps I want you to take.

And I think if you look at the last page, the last page is basically more social proof. Eight page sales letter. I think that worked really, really well for him in terms of bringing on the new clients, and again, bringing on the right type of client because again he talks about who’s this for, who’s this not for. It’s positioning. It’s all positioning.

But again, you know, you look forward to receiving that. I used to look forward to receiving Mark’s newsletters.

Jason: But I think he’s too busy writing for the other one over there. Our last examples of [crosstalk 00:33:19] engage.

John: Yeah, which is the Entrepreneurs Network which Mark is co-founder of and this is now a 32-pager. Very, very nice. Nice and heavy. There’s the doormat drop again.

Jason: Drop test.

John: It’s very well designed. [inaudible 00:33:38] by design has put that together. Really, really … it’s nice isn’t it? It just it feels nice, even smells nice. But again its once of those things whereby I would say this is 95% value and entertaining.

Jason: There’s loads of value you, isn’t it? And loads of things to learn.

John: I’m actually struggling to find … Is that selling? Possibly not. There’s very little selling going on here because this is going to members who are paying so what is the one thing that engage … Or they want to achieve with engage? It’s to get people to keep paying.

Jason: Engagement? Ah, keep paying.

John: And they’re going to keep paying as long as they get value out of this. As long as they look forward to this going on their doormat every month they’re going to keep paying.

It would say, you know, how do you know if your newsletter is working? Well, the only way to do that is to miss a month because I think we did that once, didn’t we? The printers messed us around and we couldn’t get a January issue out because they were closed over Christmas and we couldn’t wrote the thing because obviously horse raising is a little bit time sensitive. You can’t write previews for horse raises that are going to happen two months in advance. You’ve gotta kind of do it two weeks in advance.

So we missed a January issue. We said, “Well, what we’ll do is we’ll January’s late, like deliberately late and we’ll combine January’s and February’s”. And sure enough, mid-January our Facebook feed going mad with, “Uh, I haven’t had the Horse’s Mouth this month, what’s going on guys?” We thought, “Oh, brilliant.” Because we had … Nobody was saying to us, “I really love the magazine. Oh, it’s great. Oh, I look forward to it every month.” But the minute we stopped sending it, it’s like, “Where’s my magazine? I look forward to that. I really like to read that. I look forward to getting it every month.” They’re like, “Ah, okay.”

Jason: I missed a Creaser.

John: It is because it would be interesting to know actually how long it’s been since Mark has sent one because it’s only the last couple of months I thought, “Oh, where’s Mark’s letters?” You know, because you don’t necessarily think, you know, because it’s a two-pager you don’t necessarily think … You don’t get that thud and, “Oh! the magazine is due because it’s the first of the month”. It’s just, “Oh! a letter from Mark, oh yeah, these are always interesting, I’ll give it a read”. And that is all you want to achieve is: “Oh, it’s Mark Creaser”, “Oh, it’s Free Racing Tips”, “Oh, it’s Elite Investor’s Club”, “Oh, it’s Simon Kidd”, “Oh, it’s Engage. I’m going to read that because that’s interesting. It’s informative.”

You know if you want to make a big impact … Look, the return on the investment from this is not immediate; it’s longterm. You know, but if you want to make yourself a big impact I think position yourself as the expert in the industry. There is no better way to do that than with a printed newsletter dropped through people’s door. Agree?

Jason: I agree. That’s very good.

John: Hey!

Jason: And it’s a lot less hassle than getting off to conferences and speaking and doing all that sort of stuff, which are other ways of building your authority. Useful ways, no doubt [crosstalk 00:36:42].

John: I’m sure we’ll cover that, you know, in future ones but I think in terms of just doing something regularly, habitually, getting your name out there and position yourself higher than your competitors I think there’s no better way.

Jason: Cool.

John: So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Jason is probably got a tool of the week this week.

Jason: Well, I have actually because I’ve used this tool a lot over the last week with things going wrong in the business world. I was making enhancements to websites and [crosstalk 00:37:12]

John: You missed the air quotes there. You’re making “enhancements”. You’re making our business go faster, weren’t you?

Jason: I was making it go, yeah, going faster. That was it. That was the whole point. I saw it’s run on WordPress and, you know, it’s really common. There’s hundreds of thousands of sites out there all running on WordPress and I use a tool called ManageWP.com. It’s the site but it’s a tool, which basically has all of your WordPress sites, we’ve got a few, but obviously if you’ve got one or two because you’ve got a personal blog and you’ve got your work blog then this is good for you.

It actually takes those and does all the managing of it for you so you can log into your one dashboard and you can update all your plug-ins, all your themes, the WordPress site itself. It does back-ups, it does restores, which is what I was using last week. And then it also does things like you can add plug-ins from there and you can log straight into your dashboards from that one dashboard as well sort of thing. So it’s a really good tool, really handy. It’s cheap as chips to run. I think there’s a free element to it but, yeah, it’s cheap as chips to run things like the back-ups and restores and things. It’s pennies; it’s not expensive at all and so.

Manage WP is one that I’ve been using this last week and I’m quite happy to give it a little hug because it’s been good for me.

John: Bit of a life saver this week, is it?

Jason: Well, it’s helped. It’s helped, yeah. That’s all I’m going to say, really.

John: That and the alcohol I would imagine.

Jason: I might just leave that site alone now until after Cheltenham then try again.

John: It’s probably a good idea, yeah. Last time even I tried and fix things it’s like maybe there getting worse.

Jason: Well, all things being equal things should have worked out well but unfortunately using different people for doing different things it didn’t work out that well because they kind of conflict a little bit sometimes. And yeah, that’s what kind of happened there. But there we go! So, yeah. ManageWP.com is my tip of the week!

John: Tip of the week. Tip of the week. Very good. Cool. And we’ll be back next week as always with another episode of the Big Idea Podcast. As always, shout-outs for everything from today’s show. We’ll be up on the wobsite … On the wobsite? On the wobsite.

Jason: Well, it did have a wobble last week, so yeah, you’re absolutely right. It could be the wobble site. The website is the bigidea.co.uk/podcast. Thank you. That’s where we’re going to go. And on there we’ll also put in the link for you to download your own copy of the Horse’s Mouth so you can have a look at our March Cheltenham edition. Yeah.

Really quickly because I’m going to get up on the site on Wednesday you might catch Gold Cup Day. So, not to bad at all. You might not miss too much of the content in there.

John: Yeah, and if you pick it up in about a week or so you can see just how successful, or otherwise, Joe’s tips were. And if so, how much money we’ve got left for the rest of the month.

Jason: So, thank you ever so much for listening to this podcast. We’re going to head back to our Facebook group now where we’ve been recording this live. You can find us there at bigidea.co.uk/facebook. So we record these podcasts live in the group there and we’ll do a Q and A now with the people who’ve been listening and watching us live on a Monday lunch time.

John: Yep. So, if you’re in the Facebook group stick around. We’re going to do the Q and A right now, and if you’re not, get in there!

Okay. See you later guys. See you next week. Buh-bye.

You’re not going to say goodbye this week?

Jason: Goodbye.

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