Want to know the #1 mistake I saw being made by nearly all marketers in 2019?

They wrote copy that looks like it came from a marketing department, not a human.

All this talk you hear about being genuine, human, personal, and conversational is just another way to say this…

Do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what looks like an ad.

That means:
– Use vertical video instead of landscape.
– Have “cell phone” style videos + images instead of only professional studio.
– Share what your customers, employees, and partners say– instead of just what YOU have to say about your stuff.
– Eliminate the call to action– they’ll still find you if they’re interested.
– Educate and entertain BEFORE you sell.
– Have short copy and messages, not long-winded sales letters.


The big brands are starting to realize that a good chunk of their media spend is being pocketed by the many middlemen along the way and what’s remaining (like nonprofit donations) is being wasted.

Even MRC standards and bringing it in-house won’t alone solve the problem– they’re missing clear process and strategy (goals, content, and targeting). And we’d put that on the client, not the agency.

What I’ve learned going through 20 of the most popular course-selling courses

I think I’m going to throw up.

The number of people selling courses on how to sell a course is mind-boggling.

And I’ve forced myself to go through about 20 of the most popular ones to see what they’re doing.

Here’s what I’ve learned, if you’re curious:

+ 95% of this is hype designed to make you salivate– like dangling a steak in front of a stray dog that hasn’t eaten a full meal in weeks.

+ The endless Lambos, exotic travel vids, and “freedom” is a total lie– yes, there is a lot of money to be made, but you still have to work and invest, like any other real business.

+ The people selling the courses don’t have experience in producing actual results other than claims of how much money they’ve made in getting people to buy their course on how to sell a course.

+ I could offer a course on how to make $1,000,000….. Interested? The price is $1,000,000, of course, lol.

+ I’ve sat through the 90 minute “live” webinars, waiting patiently though the “struggle”, “lifestyle breakthrough to riches”, mindset motivation (I’m an ordinary guy who did it, so you can, too)… to eventually get to real value. But alas– it never comes.

+ There is a shred of truth to the “$375 million a day of online revenue being made per day– claim your slice” argument. But this is just another flavor of the “make money online” bizopp. Same clown, different circus– sucker born every minute.

+ The reason you only hear from the sole figurehead and nobody else is because their students aren’t winning. I’ve Googled to find their reviews and it’s not pretty.

+ But if I get you excited enough, you’ll not do the due diligence– since you’re panting about what you’d do with that extra $57,383 a month. You need to buy TODAY to get the 3 bonuses and 50% off the price. Would you buy heart surgery from the self-proclaimed surgeon offering it at 50% off, today only?

+ Yes, imposter syndrome is real– that the pros feel they aren’t really experts. But for the 99% of people who feel they don’t know enough to be competently able to dispense advice– you’re right! You could watch as many “motivational” videos to pump yourself up as a newly minted surgeon– but that extra confidence won’t stop you from killing your patients.

+ Would you trust someone who says they can teach you how to start a heart surgery business in just 6 modules you watch over the weekend– so you can start operating tomorrow? $2,000 is a great price if you can make $500,000 or even $700,000 a month, while actually healing patients.

+ And when you look over the course outline, what you find is 90% of the content is more “mindset” and teaching you how to sell the very same way you were just sold– instead of actually teaching you the practice. This is called a PONZI scheme. And many of these folks will go to jail– you watch.

Thus, they’re just repackaging our Facebook ads course + PLF + perfect webinar for their particular niche– 5,000 people all selling the same thing– hope.

So why not skip past all that expensive, heart-breaking fluff to get to the actual meat– to go to the source?

You don’t have to drop $2,500 to attend yet another seminar (unless you enjoy feeling perpetually “motivated”), since the information is already online and almost all of it free.

I want to see YOU actually win, so I provide most of our methods free– in the same way you can go to the library to read medical textbooks and journals.

The surgeons aren’t gasping at HEART SURGERY SECRETS taught only at midnight in a medical school.

I want to teach you the fundamentals from my 23 years and 70,000 hours of digital marketing experience– and I was running million dollar a day teams before these children were even born.

The folks who actually are making money online– we all know one another and we have actual teams, processes, customers, overhead, and stuff you’d find in any type of real business– online or not.

Does any of this resonate with you?

Hotwire.com: The blunder of not valuing your most important customers

This morning, after booking the next set of hotels for the upcoming week, I got an offer from Hotwire for $10 off my next booking.



I revel in working the system to my advantage, so I tried to claim it. They told my Fancy Hands assistant it was for new customers only.


How often do you see offers for new customers when you’re already a customer, especially when you’re logged in?


Had Hotwire used exclusion lists, they could have personalized the space to show me a loyalty incentive, instead.  Maybe offer me 10% off my next stay, if I can get to 200 stays for the year.



You can see via the ghostery plug-in that they’re using 9 web bugs– tools that could be used for personalization, but are not.



And you can clearly see that I’m logged into the site, while still getting their offer.


With Facebook, you have the ability to exclude audiences— to not ask folks to sign up for your email newsletter, if you already have their email. To not offer a discount on product A to people who have already bought product A.


When you give incentives to new customers without rewarding your loyal customers, you’re sending the loyal customers the wrong message. And you’re telling them that your marketing efforts are not efficient.


So my assistant called to ask about this:



They had another chance at making it right, but missed it.


Bryan Eisenberg is an authority on Big Data, talking about how Amazon, Google, and other giants personalize to delight customers, create amazing experiences, and  increase profits.


He recounts here how one hotel chain struggled with the same issue– not valuing their most important customers.


What are you doing to make your most loyal customers feel special?
Hotwire can’t stop with the hits.
Here is one hotel I bought (the Radisson in Chandler) for $57.54 on Priceline.
I had the option to extend it another 4 nights.


But I bought it on Hotwire for $65.46, since I wanted to take advantage of their  low price guarantee.

It’s only $7 different, which is $28 total over 4 days.



But when presented with both bookings, they claimed their price guarantee applies only to published rates, not other opaque rates, even for the same hotels for the same date.

This is a unique situation. I travel so much that I often know which hotel it is. I’ll book the first night just to see which one it is, then extend it when it’s the one I want.

Bottom line– you should shop around, since Priceline, Travelocity, and Hotel Tonight can often do better.

To be fair, Hotwire is usually the easiest and the best option– they show the ratings and review details. But shop around if they don’t have inventory in the city you’re looking for.

Attack of the potty mouths on Facebook– how to immunize yourself

If you’ve run a boosted post (just don’t do it) or a newsfeed ad, you’ll get this.

No, it’s not Tourette’s. It’s people who don’t understand that pages can pay to show up in the newsfeed. You can snipe a single person’s newsfeed, even without their friends or your fan noticing.

They will say, “Get off my Facebook”, mark the post as spam, or even request a take-down.

Ads in the newsfeed, especially mobile, are only going to increase.

Fortunately, Facebook offers a few levels of protection.
The profanity filter catches most bad words.

But you can add in your own for good measure.

So while Bill O’Connor posted his verbal diarrhea 21 times today, we were automatically protected by Facebook. Didn’t even show up once.

But that’s no excuse to blanket the feed with untargeted, self-promotional ads.
Just know that you’ll get “some” negative feedback.

On a large page, it’s not uncommon to have 100 negative actions on a post.  But compared to getting 110,000 likes, this is less than 0.1%– less than 1 in 1,000.

So you have to consider the percentage– keep it under half a percent.

CMO’s will often freak out if they have even one or two negative comments/actions.

What’s your experience or opinion here, my friend?

The hidden career of the online marketer

Lyft and Uber disrupted the taxi business by allowing anyone with an iPhone to be a cab driver whenever they had a little extra time.


Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry by making spare bedrooms for rent.


FancyHands, odesk, taskrabbit and other personal assistant services let you be a secretary, caterer, or errand runner in your spare time.


Could this work in more complex scenarios such as online marketing?


You bet. Apps handle the complexity of scheduling, billing, and operations. They do the marketing for you, so you don’t have to build a website or run ads. The worker needs only deliver the core service, whatever that is.


Strip away the ugly, tedious parts of running a business and you create a breed of entrepreneurs on both sides: those who create software that enables workers to do this, plus workers who use the software to engage in their specialty.


This won’t work in highly regulated industries, which is why there’s no airbnb for restaurants, the military, or heath care. But online marketing is far from regulated. So far, in fact, that there aren’t even widely accepted degree programs.


Yes– anyone can be an online marketer. Try practicing as a cosmetic surgeon with no license and watch how quickly you get sued.
I believe that tools to empower ordinary, non-technical people to perform online marketing are imminent. You have the Marketos and HubSpots at the enterprise end. Then Infusionsoft doing the all-in-one package for small businesses. It’s a matter of time before we have access to the student over summer break or the stay at home dad.


And when this does happen, watch out!
  •  Mass usage of these tools creates a certification and rating system– points and level like eBay. Then we have trusted practitioners in a measurable ecosystem.
  •  Bogus social-only metrics cede to business outcomes– leads and revenue matter more than fans and followers.
  •  Schools struggle to incorporate this into their curriculum– this is already the case. But it’s even harder to get practitioners as traditional educators. Expect vendors to increasingly take over this role.


Readers, are you ready?