Canadian Strengthsgiving

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Ten years ago this very day…

Yours Muscularly pulled a 28,000-pound school bus in Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto (like Toronto’s ‘Times Square’) to raise money and awareness for TFSS, an organization dedicated to feeding hungry students in Toronto schools.

At the time I was running a personal training biz.

Some high-school kids found me online and invited to be a part of a presentation on nutrition they we’re doing for their class.

I accepted.

What I wasn’t prepared for was their statistics on malnourished youth, poverty, and hunger in Toronto schools.  I know how important the right nutrition is for health and brain power.  And didn’t think these kids were getting a fair shake.  So I decided to do something about it.

I found the charity and approached them with this crazy idea.

To my surprise, they loved it.

It was going to be ideal as part of Feeding Hungry Students Week, their big fundraiser and publicity push each year, which was about 11 weeks away.

Now I’d done vehicle pulls during my competitive career as a strongman.  But since retiring from the sport five years prior I’d hadn’t approached anything that resembled that level of training.  I was 170 pounds (compared with my competition weight of 220).  I’d have 11 weeks to train for it (I ended up gaining over 20 pounds during that stretch)…all while planning and organizing the event.

What followed was one of the craziest and most rewarding journeys of my life.

(I’ve been thinking I should write a book about it.)

Why do I bring this up?

Well, first it’s my 10-year Strengthaversary.

So it’s been on my mind.

And second, it was perhaps the most successful marketing campaign (and certainly the most successful from a media coverage standpoint) I’ve ever produced.  There wasn’t a single major media outlet in Toronto that didn’t cover it.  I was on TV, Radio, and in newspapers.  Sometimes all three at once…or at least that’s how it felt.  All wearing gear branded to my business, and all referring to me as ‘the owner of Evolution Fitness in Toronto’.  And that night, we we’re on the 6 o’clock news on EVERY channel.

For the charity, the figure was something like $20,000 raised.  Plus, they’d never had that kind of media attention for their programs.  They were thrilled.

Here’s the point:

It was unique hook (with a sensationalist twist).

Even cold-calling the busiest and most jaded editors and producers…with their phones ringing, their inboxes full and deadlines dropping…when I told them what I was up to they’d stop and say:

“I’m listening…”

I might well share a few marketing lessons from this experience over the next little while.

For starters, how can you model this idea for your business?  Let’s consider the possibility that you can’t pull a bus.  Totally ok.  Could you put on your own charity fundraiser and add to it an element of the extraordinary?  Could you make an offer that no one else in your industry is willing to make?  Could you be the ‘whistle-blower’ who calls out the nefarious practices of big companies in your industry?

(That last strategy landed me my first interview on national television when I promised to expose the big gyms dirty, dirty ways.)

Point is:

Yes, you need people to care…

But first you need their attention.

This is a rule not only of marketing, but of all forms of persuasive communication.

Alright, that’s enough for now.

I’m shipping off soon as it’s Thanksgiving Weekend here North of the border.

In honor of that day ten years ago, random acts of kindness, and all things strength and/or marketing I do hereby dub this day Strengthsgiving.  May yours be full of high-quality proteins…

With a delicious side-helping of creamy, fluffy generosity.

Hungry yet?

🙂

Happy Strengthsgiving,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any footage of the event of I’d share it with you.  I’m working on getting some archival footage from one of the various media outlets.  Stay tuned.

 

Let me show you what my middle finger does

My soon-to-be 7-year-old the other day…

In reference to her cross-country meet – which took place on a very cold, very wet October day here in Toronto – had this to say:

“It was so freezing yesterday…I kept thinking ‘I’ll show this wind my middle finger!’”

I rather like it.

It’s got a certain wisdom and youthful defiance to it.

(Cue the Twisted Sister, “We’re not gonna take it…”)

So I’ve decided I’m going to show more of the things that challenge me a Muscular middle finger.

I invite you to do the same.

It’s simple advice, but it applies almost anywhere.

(Key word: almost.  Use your own discretion on that one.)

Just a little Tuesday inspiration for ya.

And if you have a sales letter that’s not converting…or your emails aren’t getting as many opens and clicks as you’d like…or you’ve got a copywriter who prefers grandstanding on Facebook to turning in projects on time…

Then let’s join forces and show them four middle fingers, way up:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

Happy Defying,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a The Muscle

Disrupting the copywriting guru hype machine

Got this note (unsolicited) from top business coach and client Matt Morse in response to a recent ‘copy critique’ I did for him:

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“I recently attended a 3-day ‘copywriting workshop’ with one of the industry leading copywriters… not long after, I had Conor do one of his signature 30-minute copywriting evaluations for one of our clients and I can tell you with absolute certainty that I received more than 10X the amount of value from Conor’s 30-minute video than I did from 3 full days at the copywriting workshop.”

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Here’s why I believe this is NOT an exaggeration.

First, I’ve sat in seminar rooms like this one that were all sizzle and no steak….

And ridden these gurus’ high-priced hype-train to nowhere.

Second, about ten years back I hired a copywriter/web conversions expert to critique my website.  Unless I’m mistaken, I paid him all of $275USD.  And it was honestly some of the best marketing training I’ve ever received.

Many of its lessons have stuck with me ever since.

One theory I have is this sort of critique is not mere theory.  This is someone picking apart and breaking down the specifics of your ad or offer (even your layout and other visual aspects, all things I cover as well), showing you how it can be better, and providing a detailed explanation for why.  In that sense, it’s more concrete and relevant – and thus easier to apply and remember.

Word to the wise:

This is not always true of course, but most courses or products that deign to promise you can walk in with the proverbial “blank page” and walk out with…

*A business

*A product you can sell

*A sales letter

*An email campaign

*A sales presentation

*Etc.

…Ignore the fact that there is a process to any of the above that usually involves more than a day, a weekend, a few fill-in-the-blanks templates, and goes beyond the limits of a group format.

You may not know this but I’m somewhat of a guru-whisperer.

I’m even able to interpret their mysterious speak.

What they really mean when they promise such things is “you’ll have even more work to do on Monday and will most likely STILL be confused about what to do”.

Alright, that’s enough fun for one day.

My decidedly un-hyped offer:

If you’d like me to perform one of my signature Instant Copy Upgrade reviews on your sales letter, website, or email campaign, let us begin the journey by booking your “no fuss” Free Brainstorm Call here:

http://www.calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

You’ll be getting very specific, very detailed secrets I’ve used to help clients like Matt as much as double their web conversions.

Two things:

1. I make no guarantees about this.

I know my stuff.  You’ll see.  But much of this has to do with the dynamics of your market and your offer, none of which is within my control.

AND

2. If you don’t currently have a list…or buyers…or leads coming in…you’ll learn a lot, but it probably won’t help you much in the short term.  The best candidate for this is someone who is already doing marketing, getting traffic of some kind, and has at least some sales.

With that I bid you…

Forsake the guru hype-train.

Ride The Musclemobile instead.

See you on board.

Happy Discerning,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a. The Muscle

Drink thee of this profitable smoothie

“The more you read, the more you will know.  The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

I hate to burst your bubble…

But for anyone who thinks losing weight is hard, gaining weight is much harder.

(That’s if you’re trying to add the right kind of weight.)

I don’t care what anybody says, force feeding yourself copious quantities of plain chicken breast and rice seven times a day…sucks.   Back in my strongman days it got to the point where I almost couldn’t stand the sight of food.

I went to all kinds of extremes.

Eating by the clock.

(Instead of when hungry – which I almost never was.)

Calculating calories.  (Not counting; this was before My Fitness Pal and other smart phone apps that make tracking your cals a cinch nowadays…back then I literally used an almanac and a calculator).

Taking digestive enzymes.

Drinking flax seed oil.

I could go on.

As a trainer I’ve also had many clients whose goal was to build muscle.  One point I’d consistently drive home is you have to put in the building blocks.  Your body doesn’t synthesize muscle out of thin air.  Protein and calories are the raw materials it needs.  That’s why you’ve got to have a caloric surplus.

What’s this all have to do with you?

Writing, producing content, copywriting, and finding marketing hooks is the same.  You need an idea surplus.  You’ve got to regularly feed your brain plenty of building blocks from which those are created.

How do you do that?

By reading.  A lot.

I try to make it a point to read at least two hours per day.

If I’m being honest, it usually ends up being closer to one hour.  What do I read?  Primarily, anything having to do with marketing, copywriting, or persuasion.  But I also “supplement” with a variety of subjects from magazine articles (I love The Economist), history books, books on science, biographies, and literature and fiction too.

What this does is give me a vast pool of data, facts, stories and ideas to pull from when in a creative mode.  All these healthy ingredients go into the blender of my subconscious and emerge as a green smoothie of knowledge.  I use this to connect two or more ideas in ways that form “hooks” useful in teaching, influencing, and selling (as I’ve done with the calorie surplus thing here).

What I’ve discovered:

I have two main types of readers.

The first type is interested in getting better at doing email, copywriting, etc. so they can do it themselves.  If that’s you, I just handed you what has been a BIG ingredient in my success (and the success of many others) on a vibranium-plated platter.

The second type is grinning, rubbing their hands together…

…And simply biding their time until they get me to do all this shebang for them.

If you’re the second type, and doing that volume of reading sounds both prohibitive and unappealing – never fear.

I attack such tasks with fanatical zeal so you don’t have to.

Get your vitamin boost and request your Free Brainstorm Call here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

And if not…

Happy Reading,

Conor Kelly

Are you making this GRAVE marketing mistake?

Once upon a time…

I was tasked to write a JV email for a client.

If you don’t know, JV stands for “joint venture”.  It’s a sort mutual email admiration society where two complementary but non-competitive businesses essentially pimp each other out to their respective lists.  Back to regularly scheduled programming…

The JV partner was a women’s fitness expert.

As I looked at her promo page, I discovered something interesting.  She was a former fitness competitor who’d suffered a stroke while still in her thirties.  This opened her eyes to how years of extreme diets and hard core working out was destroying her health.

So she went back to school to become a holistic nutritionist.

Now, she uses this knowledge (and her experience) to help women regain control of their bodies…the healthy way.   She teaches them a balanced, fun, and wellbeing-enhancing way to lose weight while leaving behind the crash diets and other foolishness.

Now if you were a woman who’d struggled with her weight and ridden the highs and lows that go along with yo-yo dieting, wouldn’t that get your attention?  Wouldn’t you want to read more?

That’s a heck of a story.

Yet if I hadn’t scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page, I would’ve missed it.

It was practically a footnote.

The grave marketing mistake I alluded to in my subject?  Not leading with stories in your marketing.  This could be stories of clients you’ve helped, stories about the business, stories about your industry, or a story about you.

Stories create DESIRE for your product or service.

That’s because they provide vision and context.

As such, they’re valuable marketing assets.

Throughout the 8 years or so that I ran my personal training business, my own story of transformation (and ditching my fat suit) was at the heart of any marketing we did.  It was front and center on my website and I’d lead with it in all my public speeches.  My “before and after” pics graced our brochures and postcards.  And I’d often meet people as much as five or even ten years later who’d tell me, “I never forgot your story.”

If you have a good one too (or even a plain one you can soup up) you’d have to be either a fool or not batting on a full wicket to not to use it at every opportunity.  It’s in our DNA to be persuaded by stories.  Stories form the core of how we’ve communicated as a species since scratching on the walls of prehistoric caves.

Entire fortunes have been built off the back of one good story.

And if you’ve really been paying attention, you may have noticed I started all this pontificating with…yep, a story.

Have I made my point yet? 🙂

One of the first questions I ask any new client is:

Why did you start the business? 

The reason is I’m looking for the client’s “origin story”.  I want to know how it is they became the superhero they are today that wears a cape and beats the crap out of bad guys to help their clients…so I can spin it to their profit.   And this type of story naturally invites curiosity.

What’s your origin story?

And could you be leveraging it more?

Good one to chew on.

If you’d rather I chew on it for you…and translate such mastication into done-for-you emails and sales pages that entice and sell your best prospects on doing business with you…then you can look forward to a truly exciting conclusion to today’s tale by going here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

Happy Story-Time,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a The Muscle @ Marketing Muscle

 

“The most engaging marketing email I ever received.”

A client just forwarded me this reply from one of his subscribers (in response to our latest broadcast email):

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“Hands down, this is the most clever and engaging marketing email that I have ever received. With the concise provision of useful free advice and the great humorous theme, it bespeaks a business that is competent and ready to help.”

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I’ve been trying to tell you…

This stuff ain’t just fake news.

If you do emails the way I teach you’ll get responses like this too.  And before you go “but this wouldn’t work in MY industry”, I’ve done something similar in about 12 different industries now.  This particular client does computer repair.

Now let’s say for the sake of argument he got zero sales from this email.

Even if that were the case, a very small percentage of people ever reply to broadcasts.  That means if this gentleman felt that way, you can bet others liked it too.  There’s enormous marketing capital in that.  It’s a deposit into the “bank balance” of the relationship.

Always remember:

Marketing is a process, not an event.

Just because they didn’t buy today doesn’t mean we should assume they won’t buy later.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say if they haven’t unsubscribed it is your duty as a marketer to follow up, follow up, follow up until they “buy or die”.

You don’t know what’s going on in their life right now.

They could buy in six months.

Two years even.

Funny enough, the same client did a run of similarly “clever and engaging” ads in local movie theaters a while back.  The ads no longer run but new customers still mention them today as their reason for coming in.  All of the above is why it’s risky to spurn this kind of feedback and also a sure fire way to discount your future bank balance.

Bottom line:

Be anything you want to be.

Just be memorable.

Anyway, such are my ravings for today.

If you’d like done-for-you emails that entertain, engage, and sell your product or service, catch a dope cyber wave and surf here to get your no-fuss Free Brainstorm Call:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

I’m booking projects for mid-September now.

As a first step, find out if yours is a fit.

Happy Engaging,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a. The Muscle @ Marketing Muscle

The little-known email secret of the richest man in history

It’s estimated that, at one point, John D. Rockefeller’s fortune exceeded $300 Billion.

Move over, baby Gates.

In fact, that’s enough to buy Bill Gates AND Warren Buffet several times over.

At 53, Rockefeller controlled most of the world’s oil.  But his health was failing.  He developed alopecia and shed all his hair.  Eyebrows.  Everything.

He could barely eat.

In a matter of months he’d lost 50 pounds from an already thin frame, and cut a gaunt, ghostly figure.  His doctors made it clear that if he didn’t retire now, he wouldn’t be around much longer.

See, John D. was a ball of anxiety.  He was slowly crumbling under the burden of his enormous wealth.  He once said, “I never put my head on the pillow at night without reminding myself I could lose it all tomorrow.”

Imagine the stress that caused.

So here are the instructions his doctor gave him:

1. Never worry about anything. Ever.
2. Always stop eating when you’re still a bit hungry.
3. Spend more time outside engaging in light activity.

Well, John D. took this advice to heart.

The senior Mr. Rockefeller was a different chap.

He never worried again.  Even when his life’s work, Standard Oil, was being picked apart by politicians for anti-trust reasons, Rockefeller stayed out of the office.

In his latter years he became the colorful, soundbite-worthy old codger he’s remembered as…the guy who, when asked by his driver why his son tips so much better than he does, replied, “he’s got a rich father.”

Alright, and secret #4 in this longevity protocol?

He started giving all his money away.

Medicine, science, education…so much of the progress we enjoy today can be traced back to Rockefeller’s generosity.  The result?  From one foot in the grave at 53, he lived to be 98.  That’s 45 years on borrowed time.  Not too shabby, wouldn’t you say?

Here’s what I’d like you take away from this:

(1) #’s 1-3 is pretty damn good advice.  If more doctors doled that out these days instead of anti-depressants, we’d be a much healthier society.

AND

(2) GIVE.  John D. Rockefeller spent the first half of his life trying to get, but wasn’t truly happy until he dedicated himself to giving.

This has everything to do with your marketing, btw.

And anything else you want out of life.

Tony Robbins famously said, “the reason you’re suffering is you’re focused on yourself.”  Giving shifts your focus away from you.  It allows you to be immersed in what you’re doing, in contribution, without the fears, doubts and anxieties that creep in when you’re overly self-conscious.  And most people are so busy trying to GET the result they want, they never fully GIVE themselves to the process involved.

Not coincidentally, the first principle of my email marketing system is lead with a giving hand.  If you’ll just keep what’s good for your best prospect at the top of your list you’ll never go too far from the mark.  That doesn’t mean you give away your secrets for free; what’s best for them is to hire you and solve their problem.  Get 100% clear on that.  Then, it’s about doing everything you can ethically do, using every tool in your arsenal to bring them into the fold….including engaging them with emails that combine content with promotion.

Bottom line:

Ask not what your customers can do for you, ask what you can do for your customers.

Damn.

A lot of value right there.

Hope you caught it.

I just told you WHAT to do.

For more on HOW to do it, go here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

Live Long and Prosper,

Conor Kelly

P.S. One of my favorite books on this idea is The Go-Giver.  It’s a brief parable (you can read it in a single sitting), but it will re-frame how you do business.  I used to have it as mandatory reading for all my employees.

And to sweeten the deal, if you book your Free Brainstorm Call before tomorrow (Friday) at 11:53AM EST (serious inquiries only), I’ll send you a free copy of the book.  Here’s that exalted link again:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome