A Marketing Challenge

Starting this month, I’ve given myself a marketing challenge.  The goal is to write and market a book on the subject of self-hypnosis as a self-directed, self-managed tool for self-education (learning about yourself from the inside out, so to speak.)

I chose hypnosis as the subject of the book for several reasons:

  1. I studied the subject with the late Charles Tebbetts at his hypnotherapy school in Edmonds, Washington.
  2. At one time I was a registered hypnotherapist in the state of Washington.  I never practiced because, at the time, I had other professional priorities.
  3. I have used self-hypnosis techniques to manage my Vietnam-era PTSD and stress.
  4. I have also used self-hypnosis as a tool to learn new skills through imagery and imagination.

The book is titled “Self-Hypnosis, A Personal Journey.”  Each chapter will discuss a different technique and, perhaps, a little life philosophy.  Along the way I will also share why I chose self-hypnosis as my form of therapy.

Are the techniques and ideas in the book for everyone?  No, of course not.  Something I share, however, no matter how insignificant it may appear, may just change someone’s life.

Over the next few weeks, I will share some of the ideas in the book through these columns as a way of promoting the book and testing various ways of putting ideas across.  As the book nears completion, I will share my marketing plan and start selling the book.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Play In Your Own Sandbox!

There can be two hotels side-by-side with exactly the same amenities.  The assumption is they are after the same market.  Not so.  Each of the properties will have guests who prefer one over the other and for strictly personal reasons.  Neither property is competing with the other.

I bring this up because a former client of mine insisted on tracking the rates and sales data of a hotel down the street from his.  He wanted to be sure his rates were just $20 above theirs so he can compete.  Lots of time and resources waisted.  He was walking over dollars to get to pennies and then wondering why he was having cash flow challenges.  Besides, how that other hotel did business and priced their product was none of his business.

The most successful people I’ve known over my life have “played in their own sandbox.”  They were aware of their competition, but focused their attention on what they needed to do and in what order to build and sustain their business.  They developed loyalty programs, better customer service and highly focused, effective marketing plans.  They even created special sales events for their “A-List” customers.

They avoided the “my way or the highway” business model because they understood that, without the good will and support of their loyal customers they would not have become multi-millionaires.

There is no secret, here.  Just know your customer and sell them what they want in a way that is comfortable and appealing.  Make it easy to buy the most important product a company can sell – TRUST.  Trust evolves into loyalty and, in some cases, a lifetime commitment.

When trust is broken, customers go elsewhere taking their money with them.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Connect With the Market

I have been told by several professional copywriters that it isn’t necessary to be a really good writer to be an effective direct marketing copywriter.  That’s because the first rule of effective copywriting is Connect With the Market.

In other words, talk like they talk, and think like they think.

Every profession has its own definitions of the same word..  A pan for a cook is something where food is cooked, but a pan for a TV or movie producer is a horizontal or vertical movement of a camera.  A pot for a broadcaster is a means of controlling audio, but pot can also be something someone smokes.

Get it?  The actual definition of a word depends on its context.

Using a word in the wrong context can be offensive, especially when the goal is to sell product and, depending on the market, it doesn’t take much to close a door to opportunity.

The best copywriters know their audience, who they are, how they think, how much they will pay for a product, and how often they will come back.  Each advertising campaign is tailored to their interests, temperament, economic status and so on.

Effective copy motivates the reader/listener/viewer to take action that results in a sale.  Make a phone call, go to a website, attend a seminar and, most important of all, make a purchase.

The keystone is trust.  People like to buy, but they don’t like to be sold the product.  They do want to trust that the product will do what they expect – add value to their lives by solving a problem or meeting a specific need.

Effective copywriting makes a promise.  Its up to the product to follow through and build trust that the promise will be met day after day, year after year. 

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

One Equals 90,000. Really.

One of the tricks I was taught as a radio DJ (a short-lived career) was to imagine I was talking to one person, a good friend, one who thinks I’m funny and will laugh at my horrible jokes.  My imaginary friend would also listen intently to the commercials I read and would rush out to buy – even at three in the morning, even though the store is closed.

Entertainers who are able to maintain life-long careers use the same trick.  They create a character that is easy to relate to, even as it evolves over the course of their career.  The character, and the audience they attract have interests that are similar enough to sustain a long-term relationship because there is a high level of trust.

Highly successful copywriters use the same trick as well.  They research the product, what it does, its benefits, etc., in detail.  Then they create a profile of the ideal customer, who they are, their economic status, life goals, etc., in equal detail.

Here is where the fun starts.  Each individual represents three hundred other people, including friends, family and colleagues.  Those three hundred people equal three hundred more for a total of ninety thousand potential buyers.  That is a huge potential group of potential buyers  that represent a kind of word of mouth network.

Connecting with that massive network begins with one person who, when they like the product, will contact everyone they know to promote the value of the product.  Even though social media can make this process even more dynamic, the principle is the same.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC,

Want A Sample? Pay Me!

One of the best ways to prove the value of your copywriting skills is to produce your own products and sell them.  They can be workshops, seminars, writing classes, books, newsletters, or subscription blog posts or any combination.  You can even focus on one or two that best suit your personality.

What’s the point?  Sales!  The best credential is proof that your copy produces results.

If a potential client wants samples of your work, sell them a book or get them to subscribe to a paid newsletter.

I got this idea from my wife.  At one time she was in the gift industry and would have vendors request samples of the products she represented.  Buying the samples and sending them out was expensive, especially when the result was “thank you no.”

She finally decided to charge for the samples.  She would still get the “thank you no”, but she had a little extra cash for her effort AND made it clear that she took the value of her products seriously.

This may seem counter intuitive, but writing and preparing samples takes time, energy and effort.  That effort is worth something to a freelancer.

Will some potential clients balk?  Yes, no doubt.

However, selling them something that other people have also purchased, established a solid credential difficult to ignore.  Even if the number is relatively small (just a hundred copies or so), you have provided proof of the value of your writing.  (Of course, if you can show proof of a few thousand sales, even better.)

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC

Missed Opportunity for Cash Flow

Hotels are a quirky business.  During the spring and summer, they can make tons of money because people are travelling, going to graduations, having weddings and even coming back to the old home town for the Fourth of July.

From mid-November to mid-March, most years, not much happens.  The doors are kept open in case a guest happens to wander in and needs something.  (I’m exaggerating, of course, but not by much.)

One of the suggestions I made to the owner of a local, independent hotel, was a daily blog post and weekly newsletter that would promote the hotel, the events in the community and become an additional source of revenue that could compensate for the loss of revenue during the slow months. 

It didn’t seem to matter where I put the additional revenue reference in the presentation.  It always got missed.  I think it had to do with the perceived cost of managing the project and the various databases that confused the owners.

From a revenue point of view, however, I estimated that an annual subscription base of about three-thousand individuals and businesses might bring in an additional (and consistent) $450,000 to $720,000 a year, depending on the price of the subscription.

This extra cash flow would make it easier to manage the hotel throughout the year and could connect the hotel to the community in a way that was positive and rewarding for everyone involved.

Copyright © 2019, Moody Publishing Co., LLC