Weird St. Patrick’s Day

This is weird.

With St. Patrick’s Day essentially canceled this year, here for your viewing pleasure are a few MORE strange St. Paddy’s Day facts:

*The original colour worn by Patrick and to mark St. Patrick’s Day…was blue.  It became green the more the party went global – ostensibly due to the Emerald Isle’s greenness, shamrocks, leprechauns, every Irish national sporting uniform ever, and the green in the Irish flag.

*Patrick’s real name was Maewyn.

Very Lord of The Rings.

*Herpetologists – i.e. folks who study reptiles agree that there probably never were snakes in Ireland for Patrick to drive out.  Too cold.  So the snakes of legend are thought to be metaphorical.  At least they weren’t the ironic kind – those smug bastards.

*Once upon a time, in the ol’ U.S. of A. the Irish were considered a migrant crisis.

Good one to remember.

As they poured in to the states on the Eastern seaboard, they were discriminated against harshly.  Now they’re a force in American culture and politics.

#Truth

*The world’s shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place in Hot Springs, Arkansas and is just 98-feet (or 49 leprechauns) long.

Crucially, this allows for more pub time.

*In the town of O’Neill, Nebraska (named for its Irish founder) residents wear green not only on St. Patrick’s, but on the 17th of every month.  That’s dedication.

*On the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, St. Paddy’s Day is a national holiday.  Montserrat boasts a rich Irish and African heritage.

Like me.

(The Muscle began in The Ivory Coast.)

*Finally, here’s a clip of one of my fave Conor Kelly productions.  It’s a workout routine I shot while vacationing in Ireland, with just about the most scenic backdrops of any workout video I ever done seen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jWfldJTGik

It’s timely, as it can be done at home.

Well that’s all for the weird and the wonderful of the day.

If you’d like done-for-you emails like this one that both delight and SELL your subscribers, follow the rainbow to find your no-stress Free Brainstorm Call here:

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

And what a pot o’ gold she is.

Mark my words:

With everything that’s going on…and everything that’s coming…email is about to become that much more important as a marketing channel.  Don’t wait.  Start now, or your competition will figure this out first.

I’m currently booking projects for next month and I expect my calendar to fill up.

I leave you with this Irish blessing:

May love and laughter light your days

And warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends be yours

Wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world

With joy that long endures

May all life’s passing seasons

Bring the best to you and yours

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,

Conor Kelly

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

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.

 

Why I drink breastfeeding tea

This week:

In honour of Valentine’s Day and women everywhere…

A story so estrogen-filled it should come with an image of Trump’s head at the center of red ‘no’ sign.

(Fun fact: a woman’s body does pump out more estrogen when she’s nursing because it boosts the immunity of both mother and baby during this crucial first stage of nurture.  But I digress.)

When I was in Bulgaria last summer I wanted to stock up on herbal teas.

Bulgaria boasts a broad menu of healthful herbs sourced from the mountains.

The resulting teas are both delicious and great for you.

On this particular day I was in an apteka (which is a pharmacy, but most of them carry supplements, herbs and teas as well).  One tea in particular listed herbs I thought I would like, but I was unfamiliar with the Bulgarian term karmachki.

I was going to ask but there was lady playing fifty million questions with the pharmacist, so I eventually lost patience, paid for my tea, and left.  A bit later I picked up the box only to discover there was an English translation on the other side which read…

BREASTFEEDING TEA.

Ahhhh…

Karmachki are breastfeeding women.

That makes sense.

Oh well, it still has good ingredients I reasoned, and put it in my suitcase.

I hadn’t touched it since then for the mostly irrational fear that it would turn me into a eunuch.

(Although if it promotes prolactin release, as is my guess, that’s bad for testosterone.  Hiking prolactin is one of the mechanisms by which some anti-anxiety drugs whack your t-levels.  Another aside.)

That’s until last Saturday.

With no other tea in the house, and badly wanting a tea…I cracked.

With quite a flavorful outcome I might add.

Besides that, it did make me feel motherly which was nice.

And I skipped right past the whole sore nipples thing.

Good day all around.

Those “lost in translation” moments will happen any time you try to learn something new.  Accept it.

Give yourself permission to be a beginner.

In any case, things will either go well…

OR you’ll get a good story out of it.

🙂

Happy Translating,

Conor Kelly

 

1,448 Million metric tons of my peeps blessings upon you

I’ve been pondering my roots…

Did you know that The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa producer?  This relatively unknown West-African nation gifted the human race with 1.448 million metric tons of its yummy goodness in 2013 – 31.6% of the world’s total.

What does this have to do with my roots?

41 years ago (yesterday), Lil’ Baby Conz breathed his first breath of the warm equatorial air in Abidjan, The Ivory Coast’s second capital.

Two civil wars later, she boasts a fast growing economy, a stable democracy…

She’s the jewel of West Africa.

Her rich, tastelicious resources are one reason.

Let’s be that way, too.

Let’s find one thing we’re good at – a gift, something we contribute to the world – seed it, grow it to the max, then harvest its fruits and share them as broadly as possible.  That’s where I’m at these days.  Hope you’ll accept my challenge and join me there.

So this is 41, huh?

Not quite what I expected.

Then again, that’s the journey.

I figure about five more years and I’ll have this “life” thing figured out.

🙂

To Your Gift,

Conor Kelly

 

Could this be the most overlooked success skill?

I’ve been ruminating on the Arnold Schwarzenegger clip I shared earlier this week.

(I link to it below.)

All the books, audios, and courses I’ve ingested have more or less turned my brain into a search bar for self-help content.  Re: Arnie’s comment on it being ok to fail, the software of my memory turned up this little ditty…

I recall someone saying that the most remarkable thing about Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, was his ability to laugh at failure.

Whenever one of their initiatives flopped, and many did, he’d get a wry smile on his face, shake his head and go “wow that really didn’t work.”

Then, he’d simply say “what next?”

If I was to rewind to when I started Evolution Fitness and catalog for you all the things we tried, it would fill a few journals (and indeed it does – I kept all my notes from that period).  Looking back, most of them didn’t work.  A few did.

It’s why we even had a business at all.

During my brief stint in stand-up comedy, I wrote pages full of set ups and punchlines.  I quickly realized about 10% of it was funny.  The catch is the only way to know which 10% to keep is to stand in front of people and let 90% of your stuff bomb.  Do that ten times and you wind up with five minutes of material that will do reasonably well with most audiences.

Call it accelerated failing.

The interesting thing is, in either case it never occurred to me those failures could be reasons to stop.  I just figured that was the process.  Sounds like Fred Smith had the same idea.

In fact, I’ll go you one further…

The more I fail, the smarter I get.

Besides, if that’s your approach, and every attempt results in either a win or a lesson…

Do we ever truly fail?

Here’s that video again:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNpEFf0I60M

Happy Failing,

Conor Kelly

P.S. Go here:

=>How I Get My Clients 3x-10x Their Email Marketing Results.