Still one of the most relevant books on marketing and advertising, almost 50 years after it was first published!

Still one of the most relevant books on marketing and advertising, almost 50 years after it was first published!

Hey Rainmaker, sometimes I’m reminded how true it is that “there’s nothing new under the sun.”  And how by recognizing that, you can put yourself miles ahead of your competition.

I was listening to the Perpetual Traffic podcast, from Digital Marketer.

And I was doing what I often do with good marketing podcasts.  I went back to the very first episode, and started listening to every single episode, at 2X speed.

I like to do this because even though you can usually pick up just about anywhere and get the gist of what they have to teach…  Going back to the beginning usually reveals a treasure trove of the strategic thinking and specific systems and approaches that make that marketer unique.

You often find as much actionable content and mindset-shifting strategies in the first 10 episodes of any podcast as you will in the next 90.

And because I’m doing things to make understanding and even buying traffic a bigger part of some of my business endeavors going forward…

I wanted to really go deep with this podcast.

What I found though is that they built nearly their entire thinking around a marketing “Breakthrough” I know very well — and have written about many times!

Now, I should note that the tactical application of the eternal principles are forever changing.

For example, how you apply a deep principle can look very different between direct mail and, say, buying Facebook ads.

If you don’t get the principle, they can seem a world apart.  Learning all the tactics of Facebook advertising feels like it has almost no overlap with mail order.

And yet, when you see the underlying principle, you recognize that the process of getting on a customer’s radar, making them aware of your solution to their problem, and making an offer to close the deal is the same every single place you do it.

The only difference is in the tiny adaptations between this media or that to accomplish the very same process and ultimate goal.

What I discovered — what I heard — was that the folks on the Perpetual Traffic podcast were using one of the most famous “Breakthroughs” in direct marketing.  And although they didn’t specifically cite their source (that I recall), where they got it was clear as day…

The breakthrough they teach — for Facebook advertising — came straight out of Eugene Schwartz’s mail order classic, Breakthrough Advertising

You might notice that the name of my site — Breakthrough Marketing Secrets — is a definite and intentional hat tip.

Even though this book is very expensive, it’s highly recommended.

If for nothing else, you should read it to get a firm grasp on Schwartz’s market awareness model.

Now, I’m going to connect a few dots here, so stick with me.

An even older book, The Robert Collier Letter Book, tells us that to do advertising successfully, we have to enter the conversation already going on in our prospect’s head.

What Schwartz did was take that dictum and turn it into an actionable system.

Schwartz realized that the conversation going on in our prospects heads could be very different, based on how aware they were of a number of factors…

How aware are they of your product?  Of your company?

Of the problem your product solves — or that a solution even exists?

These and a number of different questions start to create a picture of the state of awareness of your prospect.

And depending how aware or unaware they are, you must treat them differently.

Of course, if you sell a simple commodity product like toilet paper, the market awareness is very high today.  You might cite an advantage of your product — soft, double-ply, etc. — but then you really just need to make a compelling offer.

At the other end of the spectrum is, as an example, an information product that’s solving a problem the customer isn’t really aware that they have.  Let’s say you’re selling information on an out-of-market investment that offers long-term stable growth.  A typical stock market investor may have just accepted that investing is risky, and may not recognize that as a problem in need of the solution you’re proposing.  This requires a much longer journey to the sale.

Ultra-aware markets are typically much smaller, but highly-profitable.

Barely-aware and unaware markets are typically much, much bigger, but much harder to make work.

Most often, the superstar copywriters and marketers who make the big bucks do so because they’ve figured out how to sell effectively to low-awareness markets.

(Another great book on the subject that draws from Schwartz’s work and is far more affordable, recent, and offers very tactical application of this model is Great Leads by Michael Masterson and John Forde.  If you’re not going to buy Schwartz, buy Great Leads!)

Now here’s how I saw this same principle being applied to Facebook advertising, and online advertising in general…

It’s become fairly common wisdom that Google search advertising is a lot like the yellow pages.  People go to Google looking for a solution, and if your product is that solution, it’s relatively easy to make it work there.

By the time someone is getting to a Google search for a product like yours, they are in the highly-aware zone.

Display advertising on most sites is a lot like space advertising in magazines and newspapers.  You’re typically speaking to a much less aware audience, that needs to be flagged down based on some underlying problem or desire, and brought through the process of their awareness being raised before you try to sell.

And social media — including Facebook — is very much the same, but with a twist.  While an ad on a site like USA Today interrupts people from other reading…  An ad on a social network interrupts people from conversations they’re having right now.  Which is more like trying to make sales in a coffee shop, versus in the media they’re reading while drinking their coffee.

Here, their awareness of the problem, solution, and your product are typically low AND they’re really not into the idea of having a marketing conversation with you.  They’re too caught up in posting selfies and commenting on others’.  (I think that’s the first time in almost 400 posts I’ve used the word selfie — wow!)

And so you have to very slowly start to raise awareness with something like a valuable piece of content that doesn’t sell…  And that makes a great conversation piece for sharing with others.

Then you use remarketing (via Facebook and other platforms) as a way to keep getting back on their radar, and continuing to raise awareness.  You might even use paid advertising to drive to multiple non-selling pieces of content specifically to help raise awareness and bring them further into the selling cycle.

This is total long-game strategy, but it’s powerful.

What you’re doing is initially meeting them at the “social” conversation going on in their head, and sparking the fire of awareness…  Then feeding the fire and fanning the flames with even more to raise that awareness higher and higher…

And eventually, because YOU are the one who is bringing them through those stages of awareness, YOU are the only person they’re turning to when they have a burning hot desire to solve their problem and finally buy something.

Yesterday, it was mail order marketing.  And doing it in one shot with a really good direct mail package or space ad.

Today, you have multiple media at your disposal, with the most sophisticated allowing you to do this in a way that “follows” the prospect around and builds awareness through many touches.

But it all goes back to a Breakthrough first hinted at in The Robert Collier Letter Book, written about the direct mail business before and during The Great Depression.  Then it was in Breakthrough Advertising, about mail order in the mid 20th Century.

And today, it all still applies, with all the latest whiz-bang media the high-tech world has thrown at us.

Get that, and it’s a total breakthrough!

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets

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