A cheeky way to create content on the fly

Watch this.

If you’re ever pressed for time or short on ideas, here’s an easy way to drum up great content lickety-split.

What is it?

You simply quote an expert in your niche or industry and add your comments.

On that note, here’s something CBC Radio Host Terry O’Reilly wrote in Marketing Lessons from Under the Influence which I think sums up the power of email marketing quite nicely:

“A well-timed nudge is a sophisticated aspect of marketing that is usually the exclusive domain of big advertisers.  But small to medium marketers can also take advantage of nudges if you recalibrate your thinking to look for opportunities.  There are endless reasons people don’t buy an item, even though they are teetering on the edge of making a purchase.  Often, I’ve said if the dealership had just called me one more time, I would have bought that car.  Or if a store had thrown in the speaker wire for free, I would have bought that stereo.  Or if the salesperson had spent five more minutes with me, I would have bought two shirts instead of one.”

OR [my words now]…

What if the restaurant, spa, yoga studio, chiropractor, or real estate agent had followed up with me in a format I find both useful and enjoyable – that I had chosen to receive – and enticed me to do business with them more often, when the time is right for me?  If I liked the place would it make me a more active, loyal, and engaged customer?

You betcha.

There’s simply no better way to do this than with the “drip marketing” of monthly, weekly, or daily emails.

Did you catch what I just did there?


Cheeky indeed.

Here’s the best part…

Not only are you providing valuable insight, but your reader’s brain unconsciously registers the idea as coming from you.  In that sense, as long as you give credit you can legally and ethically borrow this great mind’s credibility while riding shotgun on his/her illustrious coattails.

Good tip.

Use it.

If you’d like done-for-you emails that nudge your prospects and customers to do a lot more business with you, get your stress-free brainstorm call to find out if you’re a fit:


Happy Quoting,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a. The Muscle @Marketing Muscle

Drug dealing for fun and profit

True story:

My subject line today was the original title of Tim Ferris’ famous book, The Four Hour Work Week.

Not surprisingly, the publisher said “no way”.

So Tim took it to the court of public opinion.

He used Google Adwords to split test book titles, and thus landed on the phrase that would ultimately brand the book’s cover.

And, sho ‘nuff, the book was a runaway best-seller.

Similarly, here’s a little-known way to probe and uncover your customers’ most fervent appetites.

Watch your open rates.

I don’t mean obsess over them, like some folks do.

I’m well aware there are those who would cast doubt on the accuracy of open rates (Android phones have HTML turned off by default, they say).

And your open rates will vary with the tides.  If you add a lot of new subscribers, or start emailing more frequently, they’ll most likely go down.

I don’t care about all that.

I do think they’re useful as a relative measurement.

Other things being equal, when a subject line gets a higher-than-usual number of opens, there’s something to it.  It may even be the smoke that hints at a wildfire of hot, flaming desire in your market.  Not only can you reuse or recycle it, but it can help inform other marketing decisions as well.

Allow me to demonstrate.

I had a client in the women’s fitness niche who told me her highest ever open rate was for Do You Want to Look like a Fitness Model?

So I said, “Run it again”.

And guess what?

Same result.

Sky-high opens.

In theory, what could she do with said knowledge?

Just off the top of my head (and this all should be tested)…

*Add “Look like a fitness model” as a slogan to her business cards

*Use that same question on flyers, postcards, and in other print advertising

*Test variations of the same in her Facebook or Google ads

*Say these words when talking to prospects on the phone or when meeting people face to face at a luncheon

*Take it a step further and create an 8-week program called Look Like A Fitness Model and sell it to her subscriber list

*And more

The point is open rates can be valuable intel.

When you know the words that make your market’s eyes light up and their mouths water, your messaging becomes tighter and more impactful.  You’ve got the right “drug” to get ‘em hooked on you.

This all can sound a little complicated if you’re new to it.

Would you like me to handle this “marketing stuff” for you?

Book your stress-free brainstorm call to see if you’re a fit:


Discover your fun and profit (although perhaps not your 4-hour work week)….

Happy Drug Dealing,

Conor Kelly
“The Muscle” @ Marketing Muscle

16 Things everybody should know about email marketing

I was recently interviewed for a podcast.

The interviewer was the lovely Corine La Font of Between The Lines.

(Who was also a tad sweet on The Muscle I might add).

The topic was “How To Build An Audience Using Simple Emails”, and once the little red light flashed “recording”, the value bombs began to drop.

Peep the highlights:

*Why the old marketing adage “the money’s in the list” is only half true (6:33)

*Is email dead? (7:54)

*Email is more personal than social media (12:40)

*The #1 reason to build a responsive email list (13:30)

*How to have more loyal subscribers and customers (15:15)

*Why “unsubscribes” are GOOD (16:24)

*The truth about the best frequency for emails and why you should never worry about “bothering” people (20:55)

*A simple way to segment your subscribers (22:43)

*What metrics actually matter to your success (25:55)

*A sneaky way to use subject lines to identify new marketing and product avenues (27:08)

*How we made a health clinic an additional 14K in the first month (30:16)

*How I use email to grow my business (31:21)

*The power of “soft” offers in every email (32:24)

*Why Marvel movies do better at the box office than DC Comics movies, and how you can use their secret sauce to grow your business (34:00)

*How in 15 minutes and with 6 simple questions you can discover a new way to make a lot more profit in your business (36:07)

*Keys to success (38:16)

Enjoy them a la carte or watch the full interview here:



Happy emailing,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  Want me to take care of all of this “marketing stuff” for you?  Get your stress-free brainstorm call to find out all that is possible for your biz by booking here:


Use this Marvel Superhero secret sauce to Thanos your competition

“Hear me and rejoice.  You have had the privilege of being saved by The Great Titan.  You may think this is suffering.  No.  It is salvation.  Smile, for even in death you have become children of Thanos.” – Ebony Maw in Avengers: Infinity War

A few months ago, I took my daughter to see Aquaman.

I love superhero movies.

But lately I’ve felt a clear preference for ones produced by Marvel (e.g. The Avengers, Thor, Ironman, Black Panther) vs. the other of the big two comic book legacies: DC Comics.

Aquaman is a DC Comics character.

The movie was OK, but I kept thinking, “why is this just not as good as a Marvel movie?”

Fast-forward a few days.  We hit the play button on Avengers: Infinity War which had recently come on Netflix.  I knew the second I heard the first few lines of script what the difference is…


Marvel has superior writing.

(Quoted above are those opening sentences, which in the scene are pronounced magnanimously by the sorcerer Ebony Maw, as he steps over bodies in the wake of Thanos’ attack.)

It’s not even that DC’s writing is bad.  It’s not.  But Marvel’s writers have that slight edge that, when repeated throughout the film delivers a better experience.  The jokes are just that little bit funnier.   The story lines, just that little bit more imaginative.  The dialogue, just that little bit cleverer.

These are big, blockbuster movies.

And even though, in my opinion, anyone who enters the theater is under an implied contract to suspend disbelief, the challenge for the writers (especially over several movies) is to keep one-upping themselves without it getting too…well, wacky.

One way Marvel’s writers get around this is by poking fun at the genre, as seen in this brief exchange:

Dr. Strange: “If Thanos gets his hands on all six Infinity Stones he’ll be able to wipe out life on a scale hitherto undreamt of.”

Tony Stark: “Did you seriously just say ‘hitherto undreamt of’?”

It lets the tension out of the big scenes and keeps the audience on side with the characters.

Let’s go to the scorecard.

Here’s Marvel vs. DC by the numbers (domestically):

*Average gross revenue per release: $247M to $224M in favor of Marvel (keep in mind Marvel has produced almost double the number of movies DC has.  Thus, higher output AND higher average.)

*Percentage of releases grossing over $200M: %58 to %48, again in favor of Marvel

*Opening weekends: Marvel, 6 of the top 15 (and 3 of the top 6), DC, 5 of the top 15 (highest at #5)

*Critically, Marvel movies tend to have many more favourable reviews than DC movies (with the exception of the three Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan, those are truly special)

All this is despite DC having, arguably, more iconic characters – Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.

Internationally, Marvel is more popular as well.

What does this all mean for you?

Words matter.

If you had even slightly higher-converting words throughout your business (in your email newsletters, in your print ads, on your social media, in selling situations, in the scripts you give your employees – you do give them scripts, don’t you?) not only would you be more popular in your niche, but you’d steal market share faster than a bandit in a Bugatti.

That’s where I come in.

If you’d like to find out how email helps you convert more leads and sell more to your existing customers, go here to request your stress-free brainstorm call:


Wipe out your competition on a scale hitherto undreamt of.

Then, rest and watch the sun rise on a grateful universe.

Happy Thanos’ing,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  If you have an interest in writing and story-telling, I urge you to study what Marvel’s writers do.  I’d start with Thor: Ragnarok, followed by Avengers: Infinity War.

3 ways to get your emails opened faster than a vegetarian pizza at Al Gore’s house

She’s a doozie of a post today.

I’m going to share with you three subject lines that got high open rates and the psychology behind why they worked.

Here’s why you should care:

One client, a fitness boot camp, saw their average open rate go from 14% to 25% when I took over.  On a 3K subscriber list, that’s 300+ additional peeps reading your offers – without any new marketing.

No time to waste then…

  1. Is Your Health Preventing You From Losing Fat?

I’ve used this one twice now and both times it was money.  Whenever you can put contrasting ideas together it provokes a lot of curiosity.  And curiosity is one of the marketer’s most jealously guarded tools.

(If you look carefully, you’ll notice ALL of my examples today have an element of curiosity to them.)

Back to contrast for a second.  Jay Abraham likes to say, “Paradoxes excite interest.”

In this case I certainly mean ‘lack of health’.  But at a glance the phrase still does its job.

How could health prevent you from losing fat?

Read on…

  1. Try this unusual health tip

Again, curiosity: what’s so unusual about it?  Also, anytime you can say ‘try this’ or hint at a tip of some kind, by implication there’s actionable content inside.

It’s therefore perceived to be valuable.

Once you have a proven winner, rip off or recycle that sucker with gluttonous zeal, as I did this one.

“Try this unusual healing method” is a variation which also pulled an above average open rate for the client.

  1. PRIVATE PHOTO: How to feel beautiful, right now

This one is admittedly tactical.

And stealthy.

People are voyeurs.  And we naturally yearn to be on the inside.  That’s one reason tabloids sell so well even though they’re light on substance.

Anything with the words *private* or *personal* will generally outperform most openers.

So will adding *do not share* or *for your eyes only*.

I wouldn’t use these types of subject lines very often.  And make sure whatever the hook is, it’s paid off early in the body of the email.  Don’t leave ‘em hanging, wondering where that dang private pic is.  That’ll erode trust.  Other things being equal, sprinkling in a tactic here and there spices things up and keeps the interest high.

Alright, a lot of meat here.

Go back and read this one a second time to let it sink in.

There’s a lesson to be found between the lines.

Did you catch it?

What am I doing here?  I’m sharing valuable content, to be sure.  But while doing so, am I demonstrating my expertise?  Yes siree Bob.  And by using client examples I’m invoking proof of my wordsmithing prowess.  Unconsciously, you’ve accepted (a) that I have clients I do this for (which makes me credible) and (b) that they’ve gotten results, notably the instant, profit-boosting hit of more eyeballs on their emails.

I know, very “meta”.

The lesson inside the lesson.

Model what I’ve done here, Grasshopper.

Happy Enticing,

Conor “Sensei” Kelly

a.k.a  The Muscle @ Marketing Muscle

P.S.  I’m looking for one more case study to add to the collection.  If you’d like me to do all this marketing stuff for you, reply with “Case Study” in the comments, and I’ll get you the details. 🙂

How long should your emails be?

Let’s do a little Q&A action today.

Ok, first question…

QUESTION: Hey Conor, what’s the ideal length for an email?

CONOR: Short answer…as long as it needs to be.  Personally, I aim to keep them around 300 words or less – most days.  Look, folks are busy.  And a lot of them are reading your emails on their phone.  By keeping things short and tantalizingly sweet, you train them to open your emails because they’re not expecting some big commitment.

That said I’m not against using 500-600 words if the message is good and it serves to do so.

I just wouldn’t do it very often.

I also want to make a distinction between articles vs. emails.  I find many business owners are confused about this.  Articles are content.  The idea of email is to ask your customer to engage with you in some way, whether it’s to reply, book an appointment, or click through to a longer piece of content that serves your marketing strategy.

Alright, next question…

QUESTION: Conor, any tips on using cold emails for B2B prospects?

CONOR:  A few years ago I booked close to sixty talks at various companies by cold messaging HR people on LinkedIN.  I was offering a free talk on health (which I’d then use to promote my services).  HR people have a mandate to do a certain number of those, which I knew.  And ‘free’… well, the price was right.

That’s the simplest way I know to do it: straight benefit.

Still, you have to play the numbers.

Most people won’t respond.

I recently rebooted this practice for my business – and again, it worked.  My revised 2.0 strategy for attracting cold prospects is twofold: (1) be utterly transparent, and (2) if you can, be funny.

Both of those things defy expectations.  And you want to stand out.  A smile is a good reaction!  Many people are too formal, especially when talking to high-level business execs, like they somehow lost their sense of humor when they became successful.

Your potential customers are human.  Don’t be afraid to be human with them.

Final question…

QUESTION: I don’t have an email list, any tips for getting started?

CONOR: When I started, I told everyone I knew I’m doing a free newsletter with fitness tips and did they want to be on the list.

Start with people you know.

Then, I collected emails at each of my talks, usually 20-30 at a time.  That, together with leads coming through my website helped me build my list to 2,500 in less than three years.

NOTE: If you’re a local business that sees customers every day, the fastest way is to get them to join your list.  We provide you the exact scripts you give your employees to get people to say ‘yes’.  Plus, we handle the tech involved in setting up your Aweber account and entering the data.  See the P.S.

Well, that does it for today.

Stay tuned for next time when I break down the power of subject lines and pull back the curtains to reveal what works to get your emails opened!

It’ll be a fun time in the Olde Towne, indeed.

Happy Prospecting,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a  The Muscle @Marketing Muscle

P.S.  I have great news for those who have been asking.  I recently freed up time in my schedule to take on one more local business.  If you’d be interested, book your stress-free brainstorm call here:


Fat Squirrel proves Zig Ziglar was right

I just got back from my daily walk.

As I was walking, a squirrel accosted me.  What I mean is it skittered over – while I was in full stride – planted itself in front of me, sat up on its hind legs, and stared me down.

I’ve never seen a squirrel behave so brazenly.

So I stopped.

I said hi.

(It seemed like the thing to do.)

My furry friend then cautiously crept forward, even touching my shoe.

I knew he was looking for food.

I said “sorry bud, don’t have any,” and went on about my merry way.

What struck me about this close encounter of the rodent kind is that he was the fattest squirrel I’d ever seen.  And why not?  He’s clearly not afraid to ask for his meal.

It reminded me of Zig Ziglar’s famous quote:

“Timid salespeople have skinny children.”

The point is to ASK for what you want.

The email marketing equivalent is having a clear and highly visible call-to-action for your reader to follow.

When someone reads your emails, do they know what you want them to DO?

If there’s even the slightest bit of confusion about this, you won’t get many sales/leads/appointments.

Squirrel-food for thought…

For more on how you can have done-for-you emails that deliver you new customers each week on auto-pilot, book your stress-free brainstorm call and get your fat-squirrel-nut-lovin’ here:


(There’s a call-to-action in action.)

Happy Asking,

Conor Kelly
“The Muscle” @ Marketing Muscle