Former U.S. Navy nuclear sub commander enjoys record-high engagement

Got this the other day from former U.S. Naval Officer and leadership author Jon S. Rennie:

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“I gave Conor a tough assignment to help kickstart both my business and personal email campaigns. I was stuck and I needed professional help. He hit a home run with both assignments. He took the time and learned as much as he could about my businesses. His focused messaging with punchy copy was exactly what I needed to bring my engagement levels to record highs. I would strongly recommend Conor!”

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Thank you, Sir.

Jon’s an interesting client.

Having both commanded a nuclear sub, and led multiple manufacturing businesses since leaving The Navy, this delightful cocktail of military and corporate experience lets him distill leadership lessons in a unique and powerful way for any business owner, manager, or exec.  And one thing I can say with conviction is that Jon preaches what he practices.

He lives it.

Also, his book I Have The Watch: Becoming A Leader Worth Following is excellent.  I recommend you get on his email list here. (I don’t currently have any projects with Jon, so there’s no real benefit to me in saying this other than perhaps some good will.  I just think his emails are worth following.  Also, he sends one per week so no need to worry about being bombarded).

Jon sought my help to reengage a lukewarm list.

First, a caveat:

If your list hasn’t heard from you in more than a year or two, or ever, be forewarned that if you attempt to reanimate it, out of the dark of night zombie subscribers will emerge, long dead, lurching at you, and feening for their pound of your living flesh.  Not saying it can’t be done.  Just prepare yourself you may need to navigate a graveyard of high spam complaints and angry replies to get there.

Luckily Jon’s case wasn’t anywhere near that serious.

He’s got a great relationship with his subscribers.

We just needed to:

  1. Reintroduce some consistency – a big key to keeping folks engaged with how fast all forms of marketing and content are flying at us these days and how quickly yours can be forgotten.
  2. Shorten his emails a bit and make them punchier, as Jon says.
  3. Use more variety and contrast (story one day, Q&A the next, list of ‘what not to do’ the one after that, etc.)
  4. Tweak subject lines a bit to get attention – topic for another dispatch.
  5. Do something which is the very first thing I do whenever I take over a new list. If you do this correctly, you almost can’t help but engender a bunch of interest, reaction, replies, and appreciation right off the bat.

I’ve done this in many markets now.

It’s almost always the shot between the eyes your readers need to wake them up…in a good way, and a way they’ll thank you for.  And I’ve never seen this discussed anywhere, in any of the multitude of email marketing trainings I possess in my muscular library.

What is this venerable re-engagement “trick”?

Alas, I save such things for clients only.

But there is a silver lining.

I have a spot open for 1 new client next month.  If we jump on a call next week, and we discover we have a fit to work together, not only will I tell you this trick, but I’ll implement it for you.

Heck of a thing, ain’t it?

Take a look at my calendar and book your Free Brainstorm Call here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

It’s one small step for you, but it could be one giant leap toward keeping the zombies at bay.

Happy Engaging,

Conor Kelly

Use this ancient martial arts secret for writing persuasive copy

True story:

Fourteen years ago I was a bouncer at the largest night club in Toronto.

Because of the sheer numbers of people we dealt with, the club had a reputation for hiring giant men to do security.  Which makes perfect sense; if most of your bouncers look like ‘The Mountain’ from Game of Thrones, you’ve got yourself a compelling deterrent against would-be troublemakers.

Interestingly, our head of security was a relatively small Korean guy called Jung Ho.

At 5’8” and I’d guess 165 pounds, Jung was not very physically imposing…

But he could single-handedly clear out a room of roided-up college football players.

He generally didn’t get involved, but if he did, you understood pretty quickly why he was in charge.

You see, Jung had his own dojo.  He was a master of a martial art called Hapkido.  Hapkido is based on foot work, leverage, pressure points, and uses its opponent’s strength against him.  In this way, Jung overcame his size disadvantage.  In fact, the more you struggled, the more Jung was in control.

He was adept at steering natural forces.

That’s how I view copywriting.

Your prospects already have certain ways of thinking about their problems.

And specific words they’d use to describe them.

It’s the research you do that lets you hone in on and spotlight those key ideas, phrases, and emotions.  As email marketing grand poobah Ben Settle says about the market intel  you dig up: “Realize it’s energy coming at you.”  The trick then, is to reflect back this energy in a way that causes them to perk up, listen, and understand their own problem (and hopefully your solution) so clearly they’re compelled to do something about it.

When they do, the sales dynamic is entirely different.

You’re in the driver’s seat, baby.

They’re putty in your hands, like drunk sophomores are to Jung Ho.

You can have great punches, kicks, or throws (i.e. great at what you do), but as long as you’re the aggressor (out there “pitching”, bleh), you’re working too hard, and you’re not seeing enough new greenbacks marching through the door each month.

If you’d like my help with becoming the black belt that skillfully parries market demand into new prospects or customers, you may enter The Muscle’s dojo by requesting your Free Brainstorm Call here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

Spot open for only 1 new client only this month – so if you’re interested, make haste.

Until then…

Happy Redirecting,

Conor Kelly

Kobe Bryant’s most underrated success secret

Still processing this news.

My main reaction is shock.

Kobe was one of those larger-than-life entities that seemed to be almost omni-present.  At least to me.  It’s surreal to think that he won’t be around anymore.  Then there’s sadness.  We’re the same age.  I have a daughter.  That his is gone – so young – is heartbreaking.  I feel for his family, and the families of the other victims that have been devastated by this tragedy.

Honestly, I don’t know where to file this one.

It’s like the circuitry in my brain is missing the connections to make sense of something like this.

At the same time it’s so fascinating to hear all the stories about him.

Many reflect his kindness, his sense of humor, his curiosity, his intelligence.  Most exalt his work ethic.  And this is just my observation, but few reflect what I think was perhaps his most important quality that we all can learn from: his confidence.

In some of the stories this was even a knock on him when he first came in the league, because he kept saying what he was going to do, and people around him didn’t like that.

Our culture praises humility.

Until you do what you say you’re going to do, you’re cocky.

Once you’ve done it…well, now you’re confident.

But here’s the thing:

From everything I’ve heard, he just had this enduring faith in the process.  Without it, those 4:30am workouts of legend wouldn’t have been possible.  Trusting the process is the root of confidence.  It’s in the process that we develop skill and mastery.

It would do us all well to remember that.

(This is a “note to self” for me as much as I offer it to you.)

Harv Ecker once said:

If a hundred-foot oak tree had the mind of a human, it would only grow to be ten feet tall!

Small thinking is a disease.

Kobe was one of the lucky ones born without it.  That, together with his intuitive understanding that time and encouraging the natural process of GROWTH to work its magic can win championships (and do many other great things) led him to have an unshakeable belief in what’s possible.

What an example to follow.

R.I.P.

Remember, great athletes don’t have a lock on this.

There’s no reason you can’t use this “secret” too.

I’ll leave you with what Kobe said to a young female sports reporter when she interviewed him at the outset of his career.  No one knew him yet.  And she wasn’t well known either and struggling for respect in an industry dominated by men.

He said to her:

“We’re gonna be ok.  And they have no idea what’s coming.”

To Your Greatness,

Conor Kelly

Legend of the chronic email under-communicator

“With a prospect standing before him, would you confine [a salesman] to any certain number of words?  That would be an unthinkable handicap.  So it is in advertising.  The only readers we get are people who our subject interests.  No one reads ads for amusement, long or short.  Give them enough to take action.”  — Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising

Let me tell you a quick story about a client I fired last year.

This was not the reason for the firing.

(There were other factors in the decision.)

Anyway, here’s the gist of it:

He was the type who, in the name of not spending a lot of time writing emails (and in his case I think some of it was signaling he’s a big shot who has better things to do), would rarely offer more than short, sometimes one-word responses.

No punctuation, of course.

Perhaps you’ve encountered such a creature?

Ultimately he was shooting himself in the foot because no one could understand what he wanted.  And besides that it usually required multiple follow up emails to get that clarity, when it easily could have been spelled out with that first touch.

Indeed, some of his worst sins of under-communication included:

*Not making clear which project he was talking about

*Responding only partially to emails with multiple questions within them

*Never saying “please” or “thank you”

*Completely not responding to emails, even when you’re unable to move forward without his direction

I remember working with some other contractors and partners of his and them going, “What’s with the cryptic emails”?

Thus, the rub:

Confused people don’t take action.

I’ve often heard this imperative from clients, “It’s good but can we make it shorter?”  The problem with catering to short attention spans is you risk some of your point getting lost in translation.   To the right prospect, your copy can’t be too long, only too boring.

As long as you’re speaking to their self-interest, and sprinkling a bit of drama and contrasting ideas throughout, and entertainment, you want as many words as necessary to make the sale.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be said for simple and concise language; especially in their inbox where ignoring you is a simple as hitting the delete button.  But don’t let the call to brevity cut off your sales message at the knees.

If you’d like my help with striking the right balance in your sales letters or emails, good news:

I have a spot open for a new client next month.

Ride the information superhighway over here to peep my calendar and schedule a time to talk:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

We can even keep it short.

Just not too short.

Happy Communicating-In-Full,

Conor Kelly

Polite Canadian protests politely

A while back, one Canuck subscriber wriggled free of the bonds of decorum long enough to question my muscular ways:

“I noticed you go for a lot of US content, popular references, etc. but I’m in Thornhill [an area just North of Toronto].  Wouldn’t it make more sense to segment US vs. Canada so it feels more personal to me?”

Well spotted my warmth-deficient friend.

Here’s what that’s all ‘a-boot’.

Most of my clients and subscribers (about 70%) are US based.

Setting aside that to segment peeps by their IP address would be so highly impractical that it would scarcely be worth the time and aggravation…and the fact that the only folks still left on the planet that don’t understand what a broadcast email is are sequestered in remote tribes in Madagascar…

‘Tis a worthy intention to keep the feel personal.

To that end:

Always write to your main buyer.

Look, most businesses have a variety of buyers, it’s true.  But there usually is one main type of buyer.  And it’s a common mistake to try appeal to your various market segments by using general language.  Yes, you want it to resonate…with your most rabid customers.

They’re the target.

It’s one reason why I do a “customer prototype” with every new client and drill down on how old they are, their level of education, their gender, etc.  If most of the buyers are women, I’ll write in a way women would relate to – even if men buy too.  Or if I know my audience is older, I’ll avoid colloquialisms or popular references that might leave them scratching their heads and slow the momentum of our sales message.

And what if some buyers that don’t fall into this esteemed category?

If they’re otherwise qualified and interested in your offers I can assure you they’re not getting much acid reflux over it.

But thereby your main crowd…

Your lowest hanging fruit…

Your base

…Is engaged.

There’s a lot more to this, but for now, thus is my muscular answer.

Take it for what it is.

Great news for those of you who have been asking:

I have an opening for a new client next month.  If you’re interested in my help with a website critique, some web copy, or an email campaign, no need to cross the border.  Simply visit this convenient link instead to see my calendar and schedule a time to talk:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

However, you can’t afford to drag your heels on this as I expect that spot to fill up quickly.

Until next time…

Happy Personalizing,

Conor Kelly

Never show a prospect your naked rear end

There’s a small Catholic Church in Murtosa in Northern Portugal.

What’s interesting about it is it’s the only Catholic Church where it’s acceptable to drop your trousers so everyone can see your naked rear end.  The reason?  The local saint, St. Gonacalo has a reputation for curing hemorrhoids.  All you have to do is show up at the church, show his statue where it hurts, say a prayer and according to the locals, the pain disappears.

Now I’m not saying it doesn’t work.

But it strikes me as being eeeeerily similar to the kind of blind faith many businesses display in their marketing.  Often, their copy is based on uninformed guesses made while drunk on personal projections and everything the owner wants to say vs. what their market needs to hear.

Again, it’s not that it never turns out ok.

Just keep in mind that getting inside your market’s head to a point where it’s downright creepy is much more profitable than playing the marketing version of pin the tail on the donkey, which is what you’d be doing in the first scenario.

If you want my help with your marketing plan for world domination in 2020 (you do have a plan, don’t you?)…or in profitably profiling your prospect…make the neither long nor perilous journey via the link below to be notified when a client spot opens up:

Instantly add yourself to The Muscle’s waiting list.

Best part?

You get to keep your clothes on.

(Although I mostly do consultations over the phone, so really…clothing optional.)

Happy 2020,

Conor Kelly

P.S. I’m so sorry.

I’ve neglected you.  Truth be told, my schedule is almost always full, so I haven’t kept up the muscular writings as well as I should.

No excuses.

And, no more…

I have some new additions to my vaunted “weapons of mass persuasion” planned for 2020 that – if put to acceptable use – will indeed help you grow your sales and profits.  I’m eager to share these with you.  Stay tuned.

I’ll also be letting you in on some things that have been inspiring me lately.

What can I say…

I’m just a really inspirational guy. 😉

2020 – here we come.

Andale!

 

 

Good copy pumps up The Muscle’s already insanely jacked baby finger

Meet Manfred Hoeberl.

In the mid-nineties, Manfred was one of the top strongmen on the circuit, and a contender for the title of World’s Strongest Man.  He was Austrian (form the same town as Arnie in fact), six foot five, and 325 pounds of solid muscle – not an ounce of fat.

At the time he was said to possess the largest muscular arms in the world at twenty six inches in circumference!

Dayum.

For my dineros, Manfred’s best feature was his interviews.

About half of them sounded like they were taken verbatim from an SNL Hans and Franz sketch.  On one notable occasion, in ’93, Ol’ Manny was having a hard time recovering from a vehicle pull, and the show’s coverage took a statement from an onsite doctor, who described his condition as a symptom of *sheer size*.

Hehe.

Then, cameras panned to a hunched over and out of breath Manfred who commented (remember, same Arnie accent)…“I’m suffering from …the buildup of lactic acid…in my huuuge mah-scles.”

Don’t think Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey could have scripted it any better.

And they had some zingers…

“I’ve got more mah-scle in my baby finga then you have in your whole bah-dy.”

“Better not open your belt, you might cause a flaaabalanche.”

Anyway, the point of such ramblings?

One of their best (and most apt) slogans is hear me now, believe me late-ah.

In it is contained the essence of what I call *coachability*.  Unless you’re coachable, you’re not a candidate for transformation – business, or otherwise.

Being coachable is suspending disbelief, doubt, or judgement long enough to implement what your coach or consultant recommends, and find out for yourself if it’s on point.  Listen now, believe when you’ve done it…and experienced the RESULTS.

Anytime I find myself resisting coaching/mentoring/professional advice, I ask (1) how much do I trust the source of the information, and (2) am I being coachable?  If the person is good to listen to on the subject in question (i.e. has a proven track record), I think ‘what have I got to lose’ and give it a whirl.  This built in truth meter has allowed me to make leaps that would never have occurred otherwise.

A great mentor once told me, “Success is easy. Find someone who’s already successful at what you want to do, and learn from them.”

The Muscle likes.

Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Chew on that one a bit more as you steady yourself to pounce on those 2020 big goals.

And if you’d like my help with any copywriting of email campaigns or sales pages (or critiquing thereof), lather yourself in baby oil and pump your way to my muscular waiting list to be notified as soon as a spot opens up:

Instantly join The Muscle’s waiting list by clicking here.

I’ll give you fair warning:

I might not have the accent, but I am prone to obsessive flexing.

Happy Hearing and Delayed Believing,

Conor Kelly