He’s among the most successful readers of my work…
Are you familiar with Mark Ford? Or perhaps you’d know him by the pen name, Michael Masterson?
He’s a best-selling author. He’s a partner in one of the most successful direct response businesses in the world, that now does over $1 billion per year in revenue. He helped found AWAI, and is one of the most influential modern teachers of copywriting.
He was also a client, influential early in my copywriting career.
And, he — like you — has gleaned ideas and inspiration from Breakthrough Marketing Secrets.
He’s also the source of one of my most-treasured pieces of fan mail. Simple and direct in just about every email, Mark once wrote to me to say, “I’m very impressed with your thinking. Good thinking, I’ve said countless times, is the essence of good non-fiction writing.”
In copywriting and marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in all the little tricks and tactics.
But time and again…
It’s getting the THINKING right that matters…
Which will get us to what I think could be the most important skill I’ve ever learned — in a moment…
First… With correct thinking, you easily adapt to new tactics. You use them when relevant. You ditch them when not. And you adapt when tactics inevitably rise and fall in effectiveness.
On the other hand, stale or ineffective thinking will always lead to coming up short. You’ll over-rely on tricks and tactics others sell to you. You’ll struggle, suffer, and under-perform. With bad thinking, you will be pulled this way and that by the flavor-of-the-day, never getting traction.
Like Mark, I value THINKING.
And I know that’s not the most popular thing to say in internet marketing circles. Where simplicity rules… “Don’t make me think,” and “Keep it simple, stupid” are mantras… And marketers talk down at prospects as dumb and easily-manipulated.
Yes — some simplicity does have its place:
I once heard Mark speak of a fascinating study he conducted.
He looked at investment publications, often ready by educated professionals such as doctors, lawyers, investors, and entrepreneurs. He analyzed the readability statistics of 12-months’ worth of issues. And compared that to renewal rates.
He found that the more readable the publication was, the more likely it was that readers would renew. In fact, renewal rates suffered — even among college-educated readers — for anything higher than 7th-grade readability!
Simple-to-implement advice often does yield better results. Clients will get better outcomes if you do the job of simplifying. And a simple idea, implemented, will often deliver YOU better results than something more complex that you struggle to put to work.
This especially applies to offers — products and services. That’s according to Richard Koch, who wrote the first really popular book on The 80/20 Principle. His more recent book, Simplify: How the Best Businesses in the World Succeed, is all about creating business success through simplicity.
And yet, all of the above require quality thinking to bring the final result to a state of simplicity…
Albert Einstein is quoted on the internet as saying, “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” And while I sometimes question quotes on the internet, I believe he believed this, even if he didn’t say it directly. After all, his E = mc2 shaped so much of what we know about modern physics. In one simple little equation.
But it’s not just about making things simple.
William of Occam taught what’s now known as Occam’s Razor. Basically, the simplest complete explanation is the best one.
Likewise, the simplest complete solution. The simplest complete methodology. And so on.
It’s very easy to over-complicate. It’s difficult to simplify.
And, channeling Einstein, to make the complicated or complex simple is a form of magic in itself.
This requires thought — organized thought…
Which brings me back to what I consider to be the most important skill I’ve ever learned.
It’s a simple and direct process for organizing your thoughts.
For getting thoughts out of your head (or, perhaps, out of something you are studying), and capturing them in a way that is both as complete as it needs to be, and as simple as it can be.
At which point you can use those thoughts to do all sorts of things:
— Write your next sales letter or marketing piece…
— Write a book…
— Create training…
— Outline and script a webinar…
— Develop a product…
— Package and sell an offer…
— Plan a project…
— Plan marketing or editorial content…
— Write an article…
… And on, and on, and on…
If you have ideas, inspirations, thoughts, hunches, observations, or even just random synapse firings floating around in your head… And they may have value when brought into the world… This one skill is THE most effective skill I can recommend you learn, develop, practice, and use.
The skill is mind-mapping…
Mind-mapping is a way to capture lots of ideas — disorganized or organized — and work them into a manageable structure. It’s the fastest, most-effective way I know to brainstorm and then organize ideas. Which is an absolutely critical skill in business (and especially marketing).
Before I continue: Inspired by this article, I’ve decided to run a one-day sale on the BTMSinsiders training, Breakthrough Mind Mapping. Normally $47, you get it for $27 — for ONE DAY ONLY.
This is actually training recorded by my coach, Joseph Rodrigues, exclusively for BTMSinsiders. Joseph has built his YouTube channel to over 131,000 subscribers and more than 10 million views, primarily doing mind-map videos about business, entrepreneurship, and personal development topics. He’s the top expert on mind-mapping I know. And his training is excellent.
Simply use this link or coupon code mindmapping20off to save $20 — as long as you get it within the next 24 hours (actually, until 7 PM CST tomorrow, January 17th, 2020).
Why am I writing about mind-mapping today?
Well, earlier today I opened up a new mind map. It was meant to be a few notes about client-getting, for my BTMSinsiders member call next week (announcement coming soon for members).
I had a few things floating in my head, and I wanted to capture them before I lost one.
But then, I went deep.
I got a few things in there, and then a few more.
I started adding structure.
One idea led to a cascade of ideas
And the mind-map grew and grew.
It’s nowhere near complete, but if I were to print it, I’d have PAGES of notes that will go into my upcoming client-getting program (I’ll only be able to scratch the surface on the call next week). And already, I can see so many dimensions of value to the program.
Not only that, I also had a completely random idea I noted — something I’ve never done with any training, ever — that will add a level of accountability to the training that I believe will help everyone get even better results.
This happens almost every time I open a mind map…
I know my mind is creative.
I know I have a TON of valuable ideas.
I know I’ve gone through a ton of books and programs that have synthesized with my experience to create new insights and perspectives.
But as long as it’s a bunch of random thoughts in my head, it’s unrealized value. That is, it’s merely POTENTIAL value, that nobody is benefiting from, yet.
It’s only in getting it out of my head and into the world that you, me, or anybody else gets the benefit of this.
And while I’ve long loved Dean Jackson’s BORE process — Brainstorm, Outline, Record, Edit… You need a HOW to make it really work.
Which is why when I worked with Dean Jackson’s team years ago to create my book, The Copywriter’s Guide to Getting Paid, the first thing I did was create a mind-map of what I wanted the book to contain. (They ended up saying I was one of the best-prepared of all their authors.)
I’ve used mind maps to plan sales campaigns.
I use mind maps to create nearly every BTMSinsiders training.
Heck, I’ve even started teaching my kids mind mapping to deal with big projects at school. (The first time I did it, for their science fair projects, we went from “This is impossible and terrible!” to “I’ve got this!” in about 20 minutes.)
I don’t know when I learned mind mapping, but I’m sure it changed my life…
I do use a ton of different approaches for brainstorming and creation.
Sometimes I use a pen and paper (and I’ve never gotten into mind mapping on paper).
Sometimes I use a good ol’ fashioned outline.
Sometimes I just get on the phone with someone and hash it out.
But again and again, the best thinking I do comes when I use a mind map.
Because I can make a decision about something I want to create, or some big idea I want to capture. I can start thinking in blurbs, sentences, and roughly-expressed ideas. I can go deeper on any of my ideas. I can just get it all out of my head, knowing it might be a mess. I can jump around, come back to things, and create a bunch of notes to deal with later.
And once I’m done brainstorming, I can quickly and easily organize. I can move things around. I can regroup things. I can take items under one heading (or node, in mind map terminology) and put them under another. I can restructure and reorganize everything.
I can also see as much or as little as I need. I can collapse entire sections so they disappear until I need them again. I can expand everything out again, or only the few things I’m focusing on in that moment.
It’s incredibly flexible. And powerful. You can capture all the ideas you need for a book, for an entire training program or service offering, notes from what you’re learning, or everything you need to create your next big marketing campaign.
It’s a way to make your thinking better….
Which has cascading benefits into every area of your life.
Have you ever heard this? The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
Likewise, mind mapping is one of those skills I wish I’d learned in kindergarten, as it would’ve had a positive impact on my entire life. But learning it ANY time is the right time, if you haven’t learned it yet.
And NOW is an even better time to learn, because of your one-day, $20-off savings.
The discount should apply automatically — if not, use mindmapping20off at checkout.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,