I have to say — I lucked into having one of the most interesting neighbors on the planet.

Andrew is an ex-Hollywood screen writer. He worked on South Park in its first season, including the seminal “Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo” episode. Plus Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. And others.

He was doing pretty well. But that’s an absolute feast-or-famine business. And with a young family at home, he wanted something different.

He’d heard about selling on the internet, and how well some folks were doing (this was the early 2000s).

Then one day, while meditating on the beach, he saw a vision of a giant GONG hovering in the sky!

And THAT was his answer.

He would sell gongs on the internet. (At least until he figured out how this whole internet thing worked… After which he might switch to a more reasonable product.)

Well, fast-forward a few years…

It went from a basement business to a whole warehouse in Nebraska full of gongs…

And when you Google for “gongs” his website — www.gongs-unlimited.com — competes for one of the top two spots with Wikipedia!

Not only that, he’s become a press magnet!

He was featured on the FRONT PAGE of The Wall Street Journal.

He was interviewed on NPR, on All Things Considered.

He’s been featured by multiple local news outlets.

He was syndicated by the Associated Press.

This summer he’s slated to be on Shipping Wars on A&E… Though I can’t give you more details than that!

Gongs he’s sold regularly show up on TV, in shows and commercials.

Here’s David Beckham kicking a soccer ball at one of his gongs:

He’s basically become THE GONG KING!

"I am the Gong King - and I serve my minions by engraving gongs!"

“I am the Gong King – and I serve my minions by engraving their gongs!”

Even more interesting, when we moved in, he actually drove THE MYSTERY MACHINE! Yes, THAT Mystery Machine, from Scooby Doo.

It was an old van painted in one of the best Mystery Machine paint jobs you’ve ever seen, that he got used (and already painted) off eBay back when he lived in Southern California.

(It’s since chased its last caper — “Ruh roh, Shaggy!”)

Oh yeah, and as I write this, he and his family are on their way back from Washington DC…

Where he was asked to come meet with US Senators to discuss the implications of the internet sales tax! How interesting is that?

(He actually owns a suit, we discovered! Which is a surprise for a guy who wears snarky t-shirts nearly every day!)

I hope you’re getting the picture here — this guy is muy interesante!

He’s a character!

And YES, it already shines through on his website. His copy, though not “right” by copy formulas, is gripping, compelling, interesting, and it makes you feel good.

It’s quirky.

It has character.

It also sells a ton of gongs.

(His equally-quirky videos ALSO help.)

So yeah, he’s doing a lot of things right.

But when I told him I launched these daily emails, he signed up for the list, interested in finding anything that might help him grow his biz.

When I asked if he had any questions for me that I could answer for HIM and for YOU, here’s what he asked…

(And there’s a little “inside baseball” about a side project having to do with shaving equipment… That’s a topic for another day and for now I’ll focus on the gong biz.)

My question – our business is not a business that is filled with repeat customers.

Unlike shaving eqpt.

Once you buy a gong, 90 to 95% customers that is it.

We have a special core group that buys accessories occasionally, and another core group that will buy more than one gong, but that is a small group.

But we have an 800 person opted in mailing list. That likes info and ideas.

So how does one find ways to “widen the net” so to speak, where there is not a big regular bunch of customers who buy more than one gong.

We are starting to sell some related items, but I am looking at how to expand business to get people to tell their friends to buy gongs etc. It is not an essential item like bread or razors.

Think on that.


Well Andrew, I have some ideas for you.

And frankly, most of my recommendations have NOTHING to do with selling gongs!

In fact, Andrew, you’re a perfect fit for “Celebrity Expert” status.

Now there’s a guy named Nick Nanton who trademarked the term recently. But it came well before him (he actually stole it — with permission — from Dan Kennedy — and Dan is well-known for adapting concepts that came well before him, with extreme brilliance, I’ll add).

Anyway, what the heck is a Celebrity Expert?

Well, it’s someone who is a “celebrity” to anyone interested in their field of expertise. (Duh!)

Your goal needs to be famous to the people who have any mild interest in gongs…

And the good news is, you’re already doing almost all the right things!

But let me help you refine it a bit, with a couple specific recommendations…

First, YOU and all your interesting stories need to feature more prominently in all your newsletters.

You do a great job of putting together interviews with gong aficionados from around the world…

And telling fascinating stories about gongs…

But you need to feature your business and your employees, too. And especially YOU!

It’s very basic, but people buy from people. They especially buy from people they know, like, and trust. And the more they feel like they know, like, and trust you… The more obligated they’ll feel to find a reason to buy more stuff from you.

And the best way to get from here to there is to…


Use your quirkiness and your humor.

So you got in the Wall Street Journal…

What was the inside story behind that? What would your most devoted fans want to know about that?

How did that make you feel? Little old Andrew who somehow got the awesome gig of writing for South Park for a while… Who now ships hundreds of gongs per year from Lincoln, NE… (Including sending Chinese gongs BACK to buyers in China!) Is now being featured in the Wall Street Journal!

What was your reaction to that?

What happened AFTER the story ran?

And what about when you got picked up on NPR?

What about that interesting quip about a Wall Street Journal buyer versus an NPR buyer…

You love ‘em both, of course (and perhaps the NPR buyer a little better) — but they sure do buy different gongs!

And how about that trip to Washington? I’m sure you have SOMETHING to say about that!

Get up close and personal!

Of course, you need to think about the “Public Andrew” versus the “Private Andrew.”

You may choose to keep certain things private…

But the more you show of YOU — warts and all — the more interested and connected your followers will become.

And your goal with this writing is to find and serve your 1000 True Fans.

These are the people who LOVE you and what you do.

Who open every email.

Who read every story.

And who engage.

Even if they’re not buying a gong right away.

If you make a habit of sending these folks advice on gongs, they’ll appreciate it. But they won’t talk about it.

If you become a SOMEBODY in their life — even if it’s primarily in their inbox — they will talk about you.

They’ll recruit others into the fold.

They’ll share your stories from friends they’d never share a gong article with.

This won’t create immediate revenue events… But it will create a devoted following!

And a business builds and builds on a devoted following.

There is nothing more valuable than having that core group of fans and followers who will follow you anywhere.

Who always want more…

And now for some more “technical” advice…

1. When you tell these stories, don’t forget to bring it back around to gongs at some point. You can mention a cool new gong you just got in, that they should check out on the website. A sale you’re having on a different gong. Some call to action to get readers thinking about the gongs. You don’t want to make the call to action the core story of any of your newsletters, but a newsletter shouldn’t go out without one.

2. Get more regular. And I don’t mean eat more fiber. It appears that you’ve put out 6(+2) issues of your “Reverberations” newsletter. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the first official issue went out when Bush was still in office, judging by a remark you made. You should be emailing at least monthly — with interesting stories that are worth reading, even if the reader doesn’t want to buy a gong right now. Even better if you email weekly. There’s no such thing as TOO OFTEN (remember, you’re reading a DAILY newsletter), there’s only TOO BORING.

2.1. If you’re concerned about your current subscribers freaking out about your change in email frequency, make your next email about the change, and how you’re just looking to bring more light and humor into their life. And that they’re free to unsubscribe. You can even use Aweber to include an unsubscribe link right there in the text. You might lose a few by going from sporadic to monthly or weekly emails. But it won’t be many, and they’re not your 1,000 True Fans. Also do what I do, and include a note at the bottom of each email (Aweber custom templates work well for this) that makes a point of how you’re happy to have them unsubscribe if they’re no longer interested. That’s certainly better than spam complaints!

3. Feature the signup for your email newsletter in a more prominent place on your website. Right now, visitors have to click a button that says “Email Newsletter” and then fill out the form on the page. Can you find a way to put the email newsletter signup on more pages — and at least the front page? I’d bet your front page has at the very least, 10X the visitors of your email newsletter page… And possibly as much as 100X.

4. Offer something more than the newsletter for opting in. “The Mallet Head’s Guide to Buying Your First Gong.” A cool video involving gongs. Both. More stuff. Perhaps a “First Order” coupon for 10% off or Free Shipping on orders for $100 or more. Something to incentivize serious customers to sign up.

5. Find a way to incentivize “Refer a friend” behavior. Maybe if I refer a friend, you give me a $10 gift certificate good on my next purchase. Of course this would require a system, but this type of referral reward can be very effective.

Wow! That’s a lot of good advice, if I do say so myself… And I do!

I hope as you read this, you don’t think, “Well, he’s in the gong business, but my business is different.”

Instead think, “How can I apply some of these recommendations to my business?”

That’s the route the most successful marketers and business builders take to create big breakthroughs in their own business (and the whole point of my upcoming book!).

I dug in a little deeper on Andrew’s business because, well, he’s my neighbor and I really like the guy.

But if you have a question that I could answer in an upcoming issue, send an email to [email protected].

And before I go, I totally need to plug Andrew’s business…

You can go to his website right now at www.gongs-unlimited.com and order a desk gong, an engraved gong for your sales team, or just about anything gong-related. And I absolutely, totally recommend it!

And whether you’re interested in gongs or not, you should check out how much personality he’s put behind his biz.

Every page, every line of copy, everything reverberates with it. (Sorry, had to go there!)

It’s a business worth studying!

Check it out now!


Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets