Category : Branding

Branding Business Lifestyle Content Marketing Personal Branding

4 Life and Death Marketing Lessons: How to Stand Out in a Cut-Throat Market


Let’s face it, competition is tough. Really tough.

With the Internet changing the game and lowering the barrier to entry, you no longer have a couple of competitors – you have hundreds or even thousands.

But here’s a simple story of a guy and some smart positioning to make a BIG sale… and it has nothing to do with fancy software, google “loopholes” or push-button autoblogging software. It’s good old-fashioned positioning and marketing.


My wife and I decided it was time to repave our driveway. Of course, as a smart consumer, you have to get multiple bids – so I put an ad on craigslist and waited.

Within a few hours – I received about 10 or so emails. And of the 10, there was ONE that quickly become the obvious choice. His name is “Jerry”. Let me explain why (and the marketing lessons you can take).

#1. EASY: I am hiring someone to repave my driveway because I don’t want to do it myself. I have zero desire to do any of that stuff. Seriously, I hate all the “handyman” work around the house.

Jerry said he will come out TODAY (on Easter Sunday) and take all the measurements. Ok – easy enough. He came a few hours later and measured every inch of the driveway with a rolling tape. It took him about 20 minutes because it’s a pretty big driveway.

But here was the surprising part – 5 of the other people who emailed me asked ME to go outside and do all the measurements. Then, they will give me a quote without even talking to me or seeing the job.

Huh? There are 2 things that stuck out from those replies. The first is they are not willing to get in their car to meet someone for a $3K or so job. And second, they want me to do their job.

So rule #1 – make it EASY for people to work with you.

If it’s a product, don’t make me download special software to view your videos. Don’t ask me to create 5 usernames. Don’t tell me it’s for a PC only. Make it easy.

#2. FOCUSED: Jerry ONLY does paving. In fact, his business is called Jerry’s Paving. Every other person who replied to my ad said they do “all types of construction, contracting, etc.”.

Just because Jerry only does paving, does it necessarily mean he’s better? No. But it does make you assume if that’s his only business – he must be good at it.

That’s 2 for Jerry and 0 for the other pros.

Marketing lesson #2 – be niched and focused. And dominate that one industry. Sure, Jerry could probably do other “handyman” services – but by being THE paving guy, he is scooping up that slice of the market. And they are not cheap jobs either. Let the other guys sheetrock the walls, Jerry will gladly corner the paving market.

#3. THE GUARANTEE: Jerry was also the ONLY person who said his work is guaranteed. And guaranteed for up to 2 years.

The other bidders – not even a hint of a guarantee.

Jerry = 3. Competition = 0.

Marketing lesson #3 – you should always guarantee your work and offer the purchase back if not satisfied. Don’t ever fight refunds (even if they are wrong) and offer quality follow-up service.

#4. SOCIAL PROOF: Here was the icing on the cake. Jerry even had a link to his Facebook Fanpage. That’s right, a local paving guy has a fanpage on FB with real, live fans.

You can bet it makes me feel better about working with Jerry.

Jerry = 4. Competition = 0.

Marketing lesson #4 – create a social media presence. And get lots of lots of testimonials and case studies online. It’s no longer an option – it’s a necessity.

I am still waiting for all the final bids, but you can be sure that even if Jerry is 10% or higher on the project, I will hire him.

I love sharing stories like these. And even though Jerry doesn’t have a web site with his own domain (yes, he should), he is still miles ahead of his competition.

If he can position himself as the clear winner using only Craigslist and a simple Facebook page – imagine what YOU can do? He found a clear want/need – and he filled it. It’s as simple as that.

It’s not about tricks and gimmicks – it’s about building TRUST with your potential customer. Nothing else matters.

Kudos Jerry – that’s the way you handle your business.

P.S. A story like Jerry, who was not born in the U.S., is the reason why I love this country so much. There is virtually unlimited opportunity for people who hustle and go after their dreams.

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Branding Business Lifestyle Content Marketing

Become a… Bodyguard?


If you follow my advice (and hopefully, you are smart enough to listen to me), you’ll be seen as a trusted advisor in your market.

Someone who truly knows their material, creates value and cares about their subscribers.

But you’ll have another role. A BIG role.



bodyguard3Now I don’t mean you have to arm yourself and learn Krav Maga. Nope, I mean you must simply PROTECT your subscribers.

What does this mean?

Look at what I do, for example.

I RARELY promote other people’s products. They must be really, really good.

But besides being good – I must trust the person selling the product.

In other words, are they going to make the sale and then sell your name to a high-pressure sales floor in Utah? Are they just going to hammer their list with offer after offer? Are they going to make YOU look good for recommending them?

And if I think my coaching program is not the right fit for you – I won’t sell it to you. Plain and simple, while I’m building my business I am still protecting you.



I’m the first to admit I’ve lost probably $4 million dollars over the past few years by following my “bodyguard” rule.

You see, I didn’t play the game. I refused to do “reciprocation” mailing unless I knew the product they wanted me to recommend. And because of that, I didn’t get “support” from people who had big lists.

But, I can argue that by distancing myself from the nonsense and looking out for my subscribers and clients – it has actually served my business better. Want proof?

I know for a fact many of the “gurus” are now struggling big-time. Laying off staff and hawking their products from stages they would never have spoken at a few years ago.

And I believe it’s DIRECTLY related to protecting their list.

They blew the trust. They became too hypey when it wasn’t necessary. They sold terrible products because the market was “hot”. They promoted a product that was terrible only because of a good commission or because they “owed” a favor.

Owed a favor????

underthetableCan you imagine going to your dermatologist, she sees something wrong and recommends you to a terrible specialist (she KNOWS the specialist is terrible – but she’s friends with this specialist and has received referrals from him)?

Seriously – and that’s how entire “businesses” were built in the information marketing world (I put business in “quotes” because they are not real businesses at all).

Now imagine going to a dermatologist marketing conference and every dermatologist on stage says you MUST “play the game” of referring to other specialists – and it doesn’t matter if they are good or not. It’s not about helping your patient, it’s about making you more money. Period. And the only way to do it is throw your customers under the bus.

You’d never trust the profession again, would you?

But yet, that’s how not only “Internet marketers” do things, they teach other people to do the same thing. You see this way of thinking in other markets now – fitness, coaching, personal development, sports, etc.

It’s a shell game. And if you follow that advice, you are building your business on a shaky foundation that will come crashing down. It’s only a matter of time, trust me on that one.

Want to do it the right way? Then simply PROTECT your subscribers. Become their bodyguard. Trust is everything and there’s no better way to build trust then by showing people you’ve got their back. My Titanium members know I’ll do anything to help and protect them (I’m sure a few will chime in below to show it’s not an act).

Become their bodyguard and you’ll be rewarded with a real, growing business. Loyal subscribers and customers. Terrific word-of-mouth. Less reliance on tricks and “loopholes”. Sold-out events. With your competitors left scratching their heads.

I know it might seem like it’s you against the world. And maybe you’ve lost confidence, but you CAN do it. There are thousands of people doing it the right way – just have faith in yourself and know that myself and your fellow RL family have got your back.


Rock on,


P.S. If this resonates with you, please like, share and tweet below!


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Branding Business Lifestyle Content Marketing Personal Branding

Here’s Why You Are Kicking Butt.. Or Failing Miserably


Since launching my first web site back in 1999 I’ve met A LOT of people. Thousands and thousands of people from all walks of life through my membership sites, my newsletters, webinars and live events.

I remember some that started at zero online and have generated tens of millions of dollars in sales (one of the biggest success stories is Mike Geary).

But for every success story like Mike Geary or Zach Even-esh or Brain Grasso or Amy Ahlers – there are thousands of others who haven’t reached their potential. And some have flat-out falled on their faces.


Why are some of my students so successful while others who go through the EXACT same programs are not?

I have come to this conclusion.

I have no idea.

It’s just one of those things that can’t be explained…. or can it be…

Maybe they didn’t want to put in the effort necessary?

rockstairsMaybe they had low self-esteem and lacked confidence?

Maybe they ignored my advice because they “know better”?

Maybe they thought you had to write a 25 page business plan first?

Maybe they took 3 months to write one blog post?

Maybe they waited until their product was perfect?

Maybe they were hoping for a big, fat button to push and make them millions?

Maybe they were on every “guru” list and kept getting distracted?

Maybe they hate selling and think it’s beneath them?

Maybe they spend too much time on the warrior forum?

Maybe they tried to re-invent the wheel instead of sticking to what works?

Maybe they only focus on getting new customers and ignored their current ones?

Maybe they are terrified to “take a stance” and say something that matters?

Maybe they are so focused on “extracting” money from people instead of delivering value?


Or maybe, just maybe, it’s a combination of some (or all) of the above?

If your business is not where you want it to be. Or if you’ve seen other people leapfrog right over you, then please re-read this post as many times as necessary until it sinks in.

Your coach has spoken.



Rock on,


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Product Branding: Coming Up with a Great Name

If you want to have success online. Whether it’s a 5-figure, part time business. Or a full-fledged 7 and 8-figure empire, everything STARTS with your actual product and “hook”.

You can have a great traffic strategy. Or even a handful of super-affiliates lined up and ready to promote, but if your “hook” isn’t strong, well – your sales will be weak.



In my Titanium group – my members are hyper-entrepreneurs. They are always creating and innovating. So when they ask me if I like a new product name – sometimes the name needs work and sometimes it’s perfect “as is”.

When I do coaching for people outside of Titanium (people who I’m not in daily communication with), I might get a fitness pro who comes up with a generic product name like the “Ultimate Weight Loss Plan” or “Super Weight Loss Program”. Or worse, they get a “keyword heavy” name like “”.

To me, those names are blah. But we always drill deeper and when I ask the question, “what RESULTS does your product DELIVER?”… that’s when the magic happens. And the brainstorming of product names/hooks becomes fun and we nail it.

Here’s an example of one of my Titanium members who nailed it.

Alicia Streger. She is an incredible fitness professional who helps women get fit and feel better.

And check out this name… The Little Black Dress Project.



Think about that name for a minute. It’s a winner on so many different levels.

1. The End Result: women want to fit into that “little black dress”. And even if her program is like many other fitness/nutrition systems, the hook separates her from the pack.

2. Visual: you can visualize the black dress – and that’s a powerful naming technique.

3. Movement: by adding the word “project”, it feels more like a movement rather than just an ebook or program.

4. Initial-Friendly: Alicia can use the initials LBD to describe her product and community

Your name matters. Your “hook” matters. It’s not everything and there are certainly other factors, but when you start off with a strong name/hook, building a big, profitable business becomes so much easier.

Hopefully, Alicia’s name will inspire you and give you some ideas.

Now get out there, be original, and change some lives.



Rock on,


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Branding Content Marketing Personal Branding

Growing Your Email List… Offline?


Yesterday, our town of New Canaan, CT held it’s annual Halloween parade.

All of the kids get dressed up in their customs and walk down our main street. It’s just one of those days that makes me realize how blessed I am to live in this community.

Then something caught my eye.

A woman with a clipboard approaching virtually every mom that walked by (I’m a marketer so naturally all of my focus went directly to see what she was doing – while promptly ignoring my four kids).

It looked like a typical “survey” until I realized she was actually promoting her email newsletter and asking for people to signup on the spot.

It was a newsletter for kid’s activities in the area – but something about the approach felt wrong.

Of course, I was watching this for a few minutes – and I didn’t see even one mom give their email address. They all said things like “no thanks” and “my inbox is so crowded already”.

And when she approached our group, we all politely declined as well.

My eyes fixated on the sheet attached to her clipboard. And out of the hundreds and hundreds of parent’s at the parade, she might have had about 5 names on the paper.


This was her ideal market. It seems everyone in town has 3-4 kids. Affluent. And 100% family focused.

Yet, no one wanted her FREE email newsletter featuring fun family activities.



While I applaud this woman from getting away from her computer and hitting the pavement, here’s how she could have made it better…

1. Better Reason to Signup: She just said “we have a great email newsletter”, but that’s no longer a good enough reason for people to subscribe. She could have offered some type of gift right there… water bottles, pens, pads. Something.Anything.

In fact, there are over 100 gifts that cost less than $1 she could have given away here at 4Imprint with the newsletter logo. If she knows her lifetime value per customer, it’s easy to figure out how much you could spend on each subscriber.

The one to the below starts at $.56 cents.. and as a dad, I can tell you how much my kids love little pouches to store everything you can imagine (from loose change to my car keys!!)



2. Get Attention and Buzz: The woman didn’t have any special shirt or graphics to know she was with a company. She was dressed like any other mom in the crowd – with the exception of a clipboard. Even a fun custom could have gotten some attention. Maybe even as some type of flight attendant or tour guide (it took me a few minutes to find the inexpensive costume below).

On a related note, Joe’s Pizza did it right. They are a local pizza joint and they had someone dressed as a giant slice of pizza with “Joe’s Pizza” and their phone number on the back. And there were kid’s were taking pictures with him in the street. That got attention.



3. Print Copy: I would have printed up something from the newsletter. Maybe a sample issue that was typeset to look like a high-quality newsletter. And simply given them out with a large CTA (call-t0-action) featured prominently on the newsletter.

This would have been an instant TRUST-BUILDER – since we don’t know her or her newsletter. And if we don’t know her, chances are low we will just give out our email address to someone on the street.



Again, I think she deserved a lot of credit for getting outside her comfort zone and thinking differently about list building.

But with a few changes – she could have built lots of buzz and generated hundreds more qualified email subscribers.


Rock on,


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When Being Different.. is BAD (The Checklist)


Being different is usually good.

Notice I said “usually”, because it only makes sense to be different if it’s better (or, at least, positioned as a benefit).

Here’s an example of when different is not a good idea.

Yesterday I did a coaching call with a really nice fitness professional. He has a successful fitness bootcamp program and wants to create a digital product to supplement his “offline” income.

During our session – naturally one of the first questions I asked was, “how will your product be different from the thousands of other fitness products online”.

And he said, “The big trend now is shorter workouts… 20-30 minute sessions, so MY idea is to do longer workouts that are 90 minutes”.

I was a little confused and asked why would someone want to workout for 90 minutes when they can get the same results in 1/3 of the time?

He said, well, I want my workouts to be different.


Of course, I quickly corrected this and said “saving time is a huge benefit and it would be a big mistake to have the negative idea of a longer workout be your sole hook – so let’s dig deeper and find something else to separate you from the competition”.

We did dig deeper and came up with a killer hook (I can’t reveal it due to confidentiality – but it’s a strong one).



I’m not using the example to make fun of him – he’s a great guy and I give him credit for putting on his entrepreneurial cap and giving it a try. At least he is taking action and trying to come up with something to make his product different. Plus, he came to me for help.. so he’s obviously one smart cookie!

But the lesson is if you are going to be different – make sure it’s a POSITIVE benefit (or, at least, have the perception of a positive benefit). An example if charging more for your product and positioning it as a premium choice. Usually a higher price is seen as a negative, but it can, in fact, be positioned as a positive with the right copy.

Here are some ideas to position your product differently.. but in a good way…

  • Faster (if they offer 12 week programs, you can create a 4 week express program)
  • Laser-focused (if they offer general Facebook traffic program, you can create Facebook newsfeed training)
  • Less content (if they offer 50 hours of training videos, you can summarize it in just 2 hours)
  • Less expensive
  • Digital delivery (if they offer DVDs, you can offer it as digital download)
  • Physical delivery (if they offer digital downloads, you can offer as DVDs)
  • Free trial
  • $1 trial
  • Free shipping
  • Premium pricing (you can position yourself as the premium player in your category)
  • More options (if they offer one option, you can offer 3 different level of products)
  • Less options (if they offer too many confusing options, you can offer just one simple solution)
  • Payment plans (for big ticket, you can break down a $2k product to 10 payments of $199

As you can see, we’re just scratching the surface here.

Now get out there and be different.. but make it count.



Rock on,


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Effective Marketers Sell to Customers on Both the Product and the Brand

Effective Marketers Sell to Customers on Both the Product and the Brand

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How to Promote Your Local Business Online: 40 Experts Share Their Tips

How to Promote Your Local Business Online 40 Experts Share Their Tips

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Should a Startup Ever Splurge on Logo Design?

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How to Create a Social Media Profile that STANDS OUT!


Social media is all the rage these days and rightfully so. But as more and more people flock to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ it becomes harder to stand out. You work hard to create great content that will hopefully be shared and grow your brand’s online presence. Don’t let that hard work go to waste by having a weak bio with your profile.

The vast majority of profiles are boring. This is mistake number one. When people are looking at your profile for the very first time they are sizing you up and trying to decide if you are worth their attention. Being boring will never get anyone excited about following you.

Another all to common mistake is when people just list everything in the world about themselves with no real detail or benefit. An example would look something like this: Jane Doe: woman, entrepreneur, travel lover, cat lover, mom, Steelers fan.

At first it appears that Jane is telling us a lot about herself. But in reality we know little about her. Even worse, there’s nothing here that tells her target audience that they’ve found someone who can help them. Someone who is worth his or her attention.

A more effective profile bio for Jane would be: Jane Doe: I help CEO’s plan dream vacations with their family so that they can enjoy much needed time off.

This bio speaks directly to her target audience and gives them a benefit. Now if someone were looking at her profile they would be able to make a much better assessment of her. If they weren’t interested in what she does they would follow. If they were, then they would certainly know they’ve found someone who can help them. Jane’s audience quality would increase dramatically allowing her to make better connections through social media.

Another major mistake people often make with their profile is their avatar. Unless you’re Starbucks don’t use your logo as your profile picture. People want to do business and connect with people, not a logo. Use a picture of you that is recent. Yes, I know you looked better 10 years ago, but we want to see what you look like for real.

You have a few second to make a good first impression. Make sure your profile accurately describes who you are and what you do. Let people know the benefit of following you. You’ll get more interaction through social media and a better quality of following.

John Morgan is the Chuck Norris of branding. Some of the largest brands in the world have called on John for his proven strategies. He is the author of Brand Against The Machine due out this fall. You can follow his blog at

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