We sat down with famed business strategist and “guru to the gurus”, Rich Schefren, founder of the automated webinar (2007), for insight into where the direct response marketing industry is headed. He gave us some great personal accounts of what makes a marketing strategy good, what doesn’t, and how he got to where is today. You can leverage his extensive knowledge to take your business to the next level.
The first step is building the foundation, and he made that abundantly clear based on his own business ventures as well as his clients’. The basis of your product, business, and your direct response marketing campaign need to be sound. Here’s some background on Rich, how he got started, what he’s up to today, and what he’s learned along the way that’s made him so successful.
Pioneering the “Free Guide to Get Started” Phenomenon
We’ve all seen it, and you might even use it yourself. The “download this free book to get started” method. No strings attached, no obligations, just free content that provides valuable insight into whatever it is you sell. We now live in an age where you can create one of the lead generation landing pages with a single click. Did you know Rich pioneered that (for the most part, anyway)?
In the early 2000s, “free” things were rarely ever free, and if they were then they didn’t provide any value. It was more of a teaser to get you to buy the product. What it had right, in regard to direct response marketing, was the sense of urgency involved. “Act now and get your first 5 newsletters for free!” That method is still used today.
Rich wanted to entice his target audience to want his product, his business coaching services, by giving them something they could really use. He wrote and released his Internet Business Manifesto on his blog anticipating around a dozen new customers would come from it. Instead, he got thousands which reshaped his entire life.
Are you applying the “free stuff” direct response advertising model to your own business?
One question that has stuck with Rich from a Q&A he saw was from an online coach who asked something along the lines of, “I’m afraid to put material from my coaching program into my front-end products because I don’t want to cannibalize my program. What do I do?”
The answer is 100% put your best ideas out there for potential customers to see, give people the meat of your product or service. This is what direct response marketing is: eliciting an immediate response from customers. What’s the best way to get an instantly positive response? By giving them something they can use, something of value. Do that and those people will buy your product looking for more insight, more depth, and more guidance because now you’ve proven your expertise and confidence.
This Q&A was one of two defining moments that led to the release of The Internet Business Manifesto.
Are you using the right type of motivation in your CTA?
And not just your call to action, throughout your entire digital marketing plan. Ask yourself this question. What brought you here? What motivates you to get up in the morning and continue your business? Why do you believe in your product? Or do you believe in it, at all?
Take it from Rich: you need sell something because you believe in it, not believe in something because you sell it. If you sell a product because you absolutely believe in the product and the benefit it has for customers, then that’s a great foundation for your direct response marketing efforts.
When customers reach the end of your spiel, your clear call-to-action should excite them. They should feel like they’re headed towards success with your product.
If you only believe in your products because you sell it, then customers are going to see right through it. They will see you’re in it only to make money. They’ll see that there’s no real value in the product. And with that, you won’t make a dime.
What if you do believe in your product but nobody’s buying it?
If you believe in the product and no one is buying it, then it’s time to look at your marketing techniques. Customers clearly aren’t feeling the same way about your product as you are, they haven’t come to the same conclusion.
Why do you believe in your product? What events brought you to this conclusion? Whether that’s speaking to people, going places, trying products and wanting to improve them—whatever it might be, there has been an event or series of events that lead you here.
Your inbound customers aren’t on the same path as you and your current form of marketing tactics aren’t cutting it. What do you do? Abbreviate that experience and lead your prospects through it so they can come to the same conclusion as you.
This tactic applies to all types of marketing channels. Whether you’re running a social media direct response ad campaign, direct mail strategy, email marketing, referral program––whatever it is, this direct response marketing strategy works. You’ll quickly connect to a specific audience, provide them a clear CTA (i.e., a way to take immediate action), and your small business will see a massive return on investment. Just look at what The Internet Business Manifesto did for Rich. Conversion rates through the roof. Or infomercials, albeit they have much more air time and consumer attention than a simple Facebook ad.
This was the second defining moment that led to the release of The Internet Business Manifesto.
The Internet Business Manifesto—A Prime Direct Response Marketing Example
Rich’s report is one of the most perfect examples of direct response marketing. Ironically, it’s no longer a free downloadable PDF. Instead, it’s an e-book you can find on retailers like Amazon. But that doesn’t mean giveaways and digital advertising in the form of free content isn’t a marketing strategy that works (at the very least for brand awareness). We keep bringing up this report because this was the game-changer for Rich.
The two previously mentioned foundation strategies for direct response marketers are what he combined in order to release this report, also leading to its incredible success. And his, of course. Believing in the product and putting some of his best ideas into a free PDF for anyone to read brought him thousands of new clients. Those clients connected with The Internet Business Manifesto and could apply its content to their own lives. They would make more money if they saw business the same was as Rich, and that led to unparalleled success.
This report is the foundation of his success. But looking closer, the reasons why he released it are the real foundation. Like the book is the brick and the reasons are the mortar. You need both: a quality product and contagious, truthful motivation.
Don’t expect the same results for your business right off the bat. Sometimes, all you might get are a few extra phone numbers. But follow up with that contact information, keep your response rate high, and soon you’ll see higher conversion rates.
Top Habits of a Successful Businessperson
There are certainly habits and characteristics all successful businesspeople display. Some of the traits can be seen by what not to do instead of what to do.
The most common mistake is creating a business around the ideal you.
Most entrepreneurs are looking beyond right now and far into the future of their business. They see themselves as successful people who act and speak a certain way. But rarely does that reflect who they are right now.
You cannot form a successful business around a mythical version of yourself. It’s not believable because it isn’t real, and because of that you won’t get followers.
Why is this the case? Because personal change is really difficult. How many times have you told yourself that you’ll stop smoking, or you’ll hit the gym at 6am, or you’ll eat healthier? How many times did you actually do it? Now apply that to your business. It’s unrealistic and setting yourself up for failure.
Here’s an example: Rich is a perfectionist. He knows this, especially when it comes to building presentations and products. No matter the length of time given, he would spend every single second of it nitpicking and perfecting the product. Knowing this, his marketing strategy has to be one in which every product he creates and sells is one created live.
How does this make sense in terms of the “mythical you” syndrome? Because the product will be sold first and adjusted later. There’s no time to nitpick and try to craft this incredible, flawless product because it would never be created. Instead, he promotes a product created live, analyzes customer reaction, and adjusts it later to meet the needs of the customer.
Personal motivation needs to be in its proper place.
Before, motivation was aimed at the CTA and your marketing efforts. Here, we mean your personal motivation—the thing that drives you to wake up in the morning and go. What is it?
Successful businesspeople know what motivates them and apply it properly.
Another example from Rich: he is not motivated by money. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense for him to attend weekly financial meetings about how they can reach a certain figure by the end of the month. He doesn’t care about it enough to make an impact and putting himself in that position will only degrade his interest in the company. Instead, he created a team of people who are motivated by money and who will do all they can to meet those financial goals.
Interested in gaining more insight by the famed Rich Schefren?
Here, we conclude Part 1 of our insight into the future of direct response marketing by covering the foundations of a successful business by giving you marketing tips that guarantee measurable results.
Part 2 of our interview with Rich is on its way to your eyes and ears, and with it you’ll gain catalogs of new and existing customers in demographics that might surprise you. In the meantime, you can digest what’s been uncovered so far and start applying it to your business. Direct response marketing and the nature of e-commerce is dynamic. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest industry news and insight, which we’re more than willing to provide.
And, of course, an online business doesn’t mean much of anything if you can’t process payments. Contact us about getting a merchant account that can handle your increased sales once you apply Rich’s advice.