Create an Easy, Lucrative and Fun business in 3 days. Apply for the Genius Network Annual Event in Scottsdale, AZ, on Dec. 1 – 3.



Episode #7

Episode 007: The one where we play Yellow Pages Roulette

  • Dean’s first thought when the yellow pages arrive on his doorstep
  • Joe shares his “how to think in copy headlines” approach
  • Dean shares “how to think about target markets” approach
  • PLUS: an awesome ready-to-steal idea for anyone in the aquarium biz
Transcript Episode #007 “The one where we play Yellow Pages Roulette”

Transcript Episode #007 “The one where we play Yellow Pages Roulette”


Dean: Hey, everybody, it’s Dean Jackson.  

Joe: And this is Joe Polish. And I’m sitting here, Dean, eating actually like a coconut, chocolate, coconut bliss sort of popsicle stick here while we’re doing this. It’s actually quite healthy. There’s no sugar in it, and I just figured I would say that to everyone.

Dean: It brings joy.

Joe: Yes, it does.

Dean: This is interesting because, today, here we are, we’re starting episode 7 now, of the I Love Marketing podcast. And this is the first time that we haven’t…

Joe: That I can eat on the line.

Dean: That you can eat on the line, that you feel comfortable enough to eat on the line.  But this is the first time we haven’t sort of thought ahead what we’re going to talk about, but I had a really good idea for us today, and I think you’re going to love it.

Joe: Yeah. And just so everyone knows, I actually sent the text to Dean like, “What’s the topic tonight?” And he’s like, “Big surprise.” And I’m like, “Alright, whatever.” So, here we go.

Dean: But you’re going to love it. So here’s what happened.  So today, I’m walking in the house. I walked from the garage to the front door, and through the courtyard, and on the ground, right in front of the door, is this plastic bag. And inside the plastic bag is – and I’m holding it in my hand – my brand new Yellow Pages.

Joe: Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Dean: Happy, happy, joy, joy. And I thought, “What a great idea,” because I think we’ve had a really nice arc here of talking all about using consumer awareness guides, using direct response, and converting leads, and that whole model, and I thought, “What a great way to kind of wrap up that arc.”

I’m going to have you pick some numbers, here, and we’re just going to go to the page that you say, and we’ll pick a business, and we’ll just sort of apply the formula, the background, all the fundamentals that we’ve been talking about. We can brainstorm how we would apply them to whatever random business we end up stumbling on here with our exercise here.  

Joe: How many pages are in there?

Dean: It would be like Yellow Pages roulette. We have 809 pages of Yellow Pages. So, in just a minute, we’re going to need a number between one and… Does it start at page one? Yeah, it starts at page one, so one and 809.

Joe: Okay. Do you want me to pick it?

Dean: And who knows? But it’s kind of interesting to see, because a lot of people are thinking, “Well, how do we apply this?” We’ve been talking about how we applied it to carpet cleaning, how I applied it to real estate, and all of the fundamentals are the same, and you and I’ve used this with countless other types of businesses. So, I thought it’d be really fun to brainstorm, and to maybe make some cool stuff, because it really can be applied to any business.

Joe: Oh, yeah, totally. I mean, direct response marketing, there’s 3 things you need in order to sell something. And I think we’ve talked about this on one of the I Love Marketing podcasts. Gary Halbert used to say this, “3 things you need in order to sell something: you need a product or service, and everyone listening has something – you’ve got to have something in order to have a business, you’ve got to have a product or a service, or some sort of experience that you deliver; second thing you need is you need a sales pitch or a marketing message; and the third thing you need is a delivery system.  

So, what most people focus on in business number one, their product or service, and number 3, how do they deliver a message about that. Do they use, in this case, Yellow Pages, TV, radio, teleseminars, face-to-face selling, direct mail, email, websites, social media? The amount of delivery systems in the world is endless. And until you get number 2 right, which is a sales pitch or a marketing message that is compelling, that works, that speaks to people in a way that causes them to desire and be interested, and want to buy, or get a hold of, and give you money for your whatever, your product or service, you’re not going to be able to really fully leverage all of the many available delivery systems that are out there. And there are many people that will be happy to take your money to deliver a message about your product or service, even if the message they’re delivering is lame, boring or pathetic. They will still take your money.  

And being good at selling advertising has absolutely nothing to do with knowing how to write advertising or create advertising. And knowing how to sell website design has nothing to do with having a website that actually generates leads, or takes someone through a process that sells them into buying your stuff. So, a completely different skill set.  

Me and Dean have spent many, many years learning all 3 of those things: how to take product and service, create a very compelling or powerful sales pitch or marketing message, and how to utilize all the different delivery systems so that you’ve got the right offer, the right list, and you can really exploit the opportunities that are available to every business owner in any industry.

So, that’s my setup that I would say to your little Yellow Page roulette test that you’ve got going here.

Dean: Oh. It’s been fun. I mean it’s been fun even seeing, in the comments, how people are already applying stuff that we’ve been talking about.

Joe: Yeah. So far, this stage of the game in our podcast, the only negative comment that we’ve received is someone is complaining saying, “Why don’t you guys go into a studio or something, because the sound quality…,” and “Please don’t be one of those outfits.” I love when people use words like “one of those outfits that doesn’t respond to your comments.” So, funny comments like that.

Actually, there were 2. One was like Dean was rating the I Love Marketing because he likes it, and we both like it, and the person was like, “The person that actually has the podcast is rating their own podcast?” And what did you say back to that person?

Dean: I said, “Of course, I’m reviewing my own podcast. I love it”.

Joe: Yeah. And I’m using my own name; I’m not hiding in here, like a disguise thing.

Dean: I know. It wasn’t like it was going in and posing as somebody else. I wrote it as me, you know?

Joe: And it’s like, you know, it’s not like we’re charging for it here. This is free. We’re not asking you to buy something. We might recommend, at different times, to buy something or invest in something here. But the purpose of this podcast is not…

Dean: That’s what I replied in the comments to the lady who was really upset about it.  And I said, “Well, I can tell that you’re really upset. So just send an email to either one of our offices, and we’ll make sure that you get 100% refund.”

Joe: Yeah. So, but now, having said that is that the comments have been predominately not only great, but awesome. And we really, really appreciate it. That lets us know that people are taking what we’re saying and they’re getting value out of it. As you guys make money, guys and girls, and whatever, if there’s a couple of chimpanzees that are listening to this and they’re utilizing it in some sort of barter trade of nuts in the jungle, we want to hear everything. So please let us know, and that’s what we’re here for, just to help you, because we love marketing. So, how do you want to do this, Dean?

Dean: Okay. So here’s what we’ll do.

Joe: Pick a page? What do you want to do?

Dean: Yeah. So, we need a number between one and 809, and then we’ll just pick an industry here, maybe. Let’s just talk about how to apply everything that we’ve talked about so far to that business, how we would apply it to that business.

Joe: I wonder what number – there’s got to be a page number where there’s an industry that marketing doesn’t work for, because people are always like…

Dean: I wonder. Let’s see if we can find it.

Joe: “It doesn’t work in my industry, you know. My clients are different. We’re high- end. We’re low-end. All they care about is…” I mean we’ve always heard all those arguments. And it’s like, “Well, really?” All human beings have money, they have needs, they have things they want.

Dean: All of these businesses, Joe, are paying money to be in this 809-page book.

Joe: Yes. And there’s still people who will swear that advertising in the Yellow Pages doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work. And these are the same people that will say any delivery system that they’ve ever tried, that didn’t work for them, doesn’t work for all of humanity because it didn’t work for them.  

We can be really weird and do something. We can get kind of strange, and pick the number of the beast, and pick page 666, and see if there’s just no advertising there, or if that’s really…

Dean: Maybe Satan is not into no advertising. Let’s go to page 666.

Joe: I mean, go there.

Dean: Let’s go to page 666, and see who is actually on page 666.

Joe: Please, I don’t want any crazy person on the Internet trying to read into that, and implying like, “Oh, the I Love Marketing Podcast is promoting satanic advertising rituals,” because that would be like really stupid. So, okay.

Dean: So, in this particular book, if Satan were in business, he would be a residential roofing contractor.

Joe: Oh, you’re kidding okay.

Dean: A residential roofing contractor, so I think we’ve found it. I think we’ve found the one that marketing will not work. I’ve never heard of anybody using marketing…

Joe: Yeah, yeah. Advertising doesn’t work for roofers. It doesn’t matter if it’s online or offline, or whatever. When the roof caves in, or you get a leak in the top, or a shingle blows off the roof into your swimming pool, what do you do? Satan isn’t going to get up there and fix it for you, so you’ve got to find someone.  

Okay. So, you have an advantage that I don’t, Dean, which is you’re looking at the ads. Are they half-page, full-page?

Dean: I’m not going to look at them. I’m not going to look at them.

Joe: Oh. You’re just going to pick a category?

Dean: I’m just going to pick the category. I’m not saying that we necessarily talk about Yellow Pages ads. But I just wanted it to use it as a guide to, roulette-wise, pick an industry, and let’s talk about applying all the stuff that we’ve been talking about so far to the roofing industry, just to see, so people can hear how we would think about this, how we would approach this puzzle.

Joe: I like it.

Dean: And apply that formula to it.  

Joe: Okay. As you listen to this, just think about your own situation. And I’ll tell you something. When I say, “You,” I mean everyone listening.  

One of the best ways to get really good at marketing, and one of the sneaky reasons me and Dean are actually doing the I Love Marketing podcasts, it’s one thing that we really, truly like being helpful to people. I consider both of us pretty generous. We’re very busy,  so the best way to help many, many people is to do it in a way to where lots of people would listen to a podcast versus one-on-one, because there’s lots of people that pay us pretty good chunks of money to do one-on-one consulting, or any of the things that we actually do do for money.  

One of the reasons that we teach this stuff, and are doing this is because that’s one of the ways to continuously hone your skills. If you want to get good at something and really understand something, you teach it to other people.  

So, don’t just listen to this, and then not apply it. I mean you can, if you find it entertaining, and that’s great if you do. We hope this is entertaining; but more than being entertaining, we hope that it actually gives you specific strategies and insights to go make money.  

And if you go and teach it to other people, it will really help you kind of work through the obstacles that someone may have in any situation, when you’re just trying to learn and get something down. Because a lot of what we teach and we know to be true, is contrarian to things that are taught in many colleges, in many books, in many traditional sort of advertising methodologies, and the whole concept of advertising and marketing. Most people simply don’t even know what good advertising and marketing is.  

So, yeah, that’s all I have to say about that. You want to go first, or you ready to launch into what I would do if I was a roofer?

Dean: Well, let’s go from the beginning. How would you start that process of thinking about this from a roofing perspective?

Joe: Well, okay. So just like going back to my carpet cleaning example, when I first hired a copywriter to write my very first consumer awareness guide for me, because I was turned onto this whole concept of a sales letter and sales copy is the way to actually replicate yourself in selling, I understood that the words, what I said to people, was very important.  

When I came up with the offer of a free room of carpet cleaning and a carpet audit, I knew that if I wanted to get someone to do business with me on a criteria other than price, I needed to come up with that criteria. I needed to come up with that offer, because I realized that it’s the whole concept of if you do not have a system for selling what it is you’re selling, you’re at the mercy of the consumer system for buying, because every consumer does have a system for buying, and it’s called “what it costs.”  

And so, if I wanted people to hire me for something other than price, I needed to come up with a reason other than price as to why they should do business with me, like you can run an ad in the Yellow Pages for a roofing company, or a website that says, “We fix roofs. We repair roofs. We replace roofs. We are the cheapest in town. Call us. We will beat any advertised price.”  

Well, you may get people based on that. But you’re really setting yourself up for all people are expecting is the cheapest possible price, and they can use that against you. And so there, you’re no longer controlling your business. You’re being controlled by any other competitor that’s going to have a cheaper price than you, and the consumer’s willingness to take your offer, which says, “We will beat any advertised price,” or “We are the cheapest.” And if you say that in your ads, or on your website, or on your business cards, or on your van, or on a billboard, or wherever you happen to convey that message, wherever it’s being delivered, that’s the offer you’re saying. That’s what you’re saying to the world: “I’m the cheapest.” It’s kind of like wearing a shirt that says, “Beat me up.”  That’s what you’re saying.  

So going back to what would I do, I would think of what are all the things about roofing that I offer? What do I sell?  Do I sell replacing roofs? Or do I sell brand new roofs? Am I marketing to builders that are building roofs? Am I business-to-business, or am I consumer-to-consumer? Who is my target market?  

And, Dean, you do a fabulous job explaining a target market. So first, I would identify who is my target market, what am I selling.  

And before I go on and talk about how to construct and think through creating education- based marketing, like I did with my original consumer guide, can you define what a target market is again, although you’ve done it in the past?

Dean: Yeah. Absolutely, so my thinking, the way I immediately think through this, and this was residential roofing contractors. So, I’m assuming that they’re business-to- consumer existing homes, not roofing contractors who work with builders on big jobs kind of thing. I’m talking about going straight to consumers, because I think that will be a more interesting exercise here.  

But my first thought is always who are the people who are going to get their roof replaced?  Who are the people who are in the market for a new roof? I don’t really have any much knowledge about roofs, but would you say that it would be fair to say that a roof lasts about 15 to 20 years. Is that about right?

Joe: Yeah. Probably, I mean, depending on how well it’s built, anywhere from, I’d say, about 15, 20, 25, 30 years. I know some people that have probably gone 40 years, maybe 50 without replacing it.  

Dean: Yeah, and the same thing here in Florida with tile roofs. It’s, they last a little longer. In Canada, these shingle roofs. And I know that…

Joe: Well, of course, they don’t have tornadoes in their houses. I think the average life span of a house in Florida is – isn’t it like 3 years or something before it gets blown away?

Dean: I look at this, and my first thought was if you look at a map of your territory, if you look at your area. Let’s say that in Georgetown, where I live in the summer, it’s about 50,000 people. So you look at a map of where the territory is, and I know that there are some homes that are just approaching that 20-year mark. And you can see that some of the roofs are getting ready to need replacing.  

So, you look at a neighborhood. That’s my first thought, if I were looking at it. I would look at Georgetown South, which is all homes that have been built in the last 20 years, and they’re all shingle roofs. No tile roofs or anything like that, all just residential shingle roofs.  And so, as a whole, that area – maybe there are 4,000 homes in all of Georgetown South, and probably the oldest 2,000 of those houses are homes that are now getting to the point where the earliest of them are going to start needing new roofs. And over the next 5 to 7 years, they’re all going to need a new roof.

So, I look at that as like the high probability zone. And I would target my direct mail marketing directly to those areas. And I would look at establishing a base in that neighborhood, because I know that if all of these homes are built in the same year, and they’re all going to need a roof, somebody’s going to be proactive. Some people are going to be right on it, and then there’s always going to be people who are laggers, who wait until the very last moment that they possibly can to get that roof redone.  

But over the next 7 years, they’re all going to have to have it done. So, I would look at this, and say, ‘What would it take to completely dominate that whole neighborhood?’  

We were talking about Jay Abraham’s first advice of knowing the lifetime value of a client, of a customer, and I apply that same thing to knowing the total yield of a target area.  

So, let’s say that I target an area of 1,000 homes. And we’ll just use 1,000 as a round number. And we know that over the next 10 years, all of them are going to need to replace their roof. So there’s going to be 1,000 new roof jobs in this particular neighborhood over the next 10 years. That means that if we just evenly distribute them, that there’s a 100 of these homes each year, over the next 10 years.  

What would you say would be the average price for a roof job? These homes would be anywhere from 2,000 to 4,500 square feet. Would you say maybe $15,000?

Joe: Did you say $15,000?

Dean: $15,000, yeah.

Joe: Yeah. I honest to God, I don’t even know. But I would imagine somewhere between $10,000 to $20,000, if it’s 4,500 square feet. I could imagine getting a complete replacement, easily $10,000 or $20,000, if not $30,000, depending on…

Dean: So I would look at that, and say that there are 100 each year for the next 10 years that are going to need a $15,000 roofing job, which means that there are $1.5-million available in business in that area over one year. So, there’s $15-million in business that’s going to be done in that 1,000 homes over the next 10 years. Does that make sense?

Joe: Yeah, totally.

Dean: So I look at that, and I see, okay that is a pretty good, that’s a pretty exciting number to know that there’s $1.5 million available this year in that neighborhood, and it puts in perspective a little bit about how much you can afford to spend to attract some of that business. If we’ve established who the target market is, people who need their roof replaced, and we’ve chosen an area where people are in a high probability, over the next 10 years, going to be getting their roofs done. And we now have established the value of what that would be worth, if were to completely dominate that market. Because up until now, none of these homes have had their roof replaced, unless there’s been some kind of an emergency. But highly unlikely that the majority of them have been replaced yet.

So, we’ve got an opportunity, once you get that first job, to turn that into other jobs, because now you’re going to be sort of the incumbent roofing repair company in the neighborhood. You’re going to be the first in their mind, because they’re going to see your signs and stuff there.  

So, selecting that target market, that’s the first step in any approach that I would take to this. And something like roofing, where there’s a very, very short lifespan of thinking about. It’s not something that maybe in your entire roofing business career, you may, if you’re in business for 40 years, have the same customer twice. It’s not like a carpet cleaner, where they’re going to get their carpets cleaned twice a year for the next 40 years.

Joe: Yes. Hence the reason why it’s good to know the time period and the sweet spots, which could be a several year, or even a decade period. And another reason why looking at doing endorsement relationships can be another revenue center for someone that is in the infrequent purchase sort of business.

Dean: And most people, their level of thought about their roof, is virtually zero, until it becomes time to get a roof. Nobody ever thinks about their roof.

Joe: I haven’t thought about roofs until like a few minutes ago, when you actually picked that satanic page of roofers. What’s funny is that I actually, in a lot of ways, deal a little bit with people that are in that business, and I still don’t want to think about roofing because obviously one of the big industries that we pretty much own – my organization, in terms of the training of direct response marketing – is the professional cleaning and restoration. And a lot of restorers deal with water damage because of rains and leaking roofs, and that requires our cleaners and restorers to actually have relationships with roofers.

So, in a little bit of a way, it’s very much like you said. These marketing strategies work for any industry. Every once in awhile, we do come across that sort of thing, especially in a fire situation where a roof is damaged, it needs to be replaced, they have to work with roofing contractors and things along those lines.

Dean: So now, you’re going there. If I were just to pick this area of 1,000 homes, I know who my target market is, I know what the situation is. All these homes were built by the same 2 or 3 builders. They’re subdivision type of homes, and that I know that somebody is going to get $1.5-million worth of roofing business out of this group of 1,000 homes this year, or next year, or going forward here. This is when it’s all going to begin.  

So, if I look at that, and even knowing that this is the target market, I might hire somebody or spend some time myself going around and looking for visual cues that these people are on the fast track here, that they’re going to need a roof sooner than other people, because sometimes the way people, the way their house is oriented, it’s in the direct sunlight more than others, or the pitch of the roof that the snow is on it corrodes away all the shingle that are on there.

And you can tell the ones that are getting on their last legs, and I might try a sequential mailing to those people – specifically – first, to try and pick the highest probability group within that high probability group, knowing that those 1,000 are right in the go zone. And then, of those 1,000, who are going to be the leading 100, because there would be some signs of that. And just start to get on people’s radar. Then the step would be exactly what you are talking about, thinking through what are the questions that these people have, what are the things that they need to know as they’re going into perhaps having to make this decision in the next year or 2, and what are the things that they don’t even know that they don’t know, that would be helpful to share with them in a guide.

Joe: Right. And the way that I would look at this, as a business owner, whatever industry that you’re in, and let’s take roofing, these are all the things that you end up talking to people about every day anyway, or at least every other day, and it’s what you’ve built your expertise around.  

So, for instance, you already have people that will call you up and they will ask you questions. “What does this cost?” will be a big question. But what are they really getting at? What cost the replacement? What is their concern? What are their frustrations? What are their misconceptions? How much do they know about your industry? What do they hate about trying to make this purchase? Where are they ignorant? Where are they misguided?  

You already know those things about whatever your area of business is, to a degree, either on an amateur level (if you’re brand new in business) or at a bona fide world class expert level.

Now, what you need to do in order to utilize good marketing, is you need to turn your knowledge into a marketing campaign which will include educating people, in the case of a roofer, just like my carpet cleaning consumer awareness guide. You can use that exact same template for almost any business. Like for roofers, a Consumer’s Guide To Replacing a Roof, a Consumer’s Guide To Hiring A Roofing Contractor. “Read this guide and you’ll discover the 6 costly misconceptions about hiring a roofer,” or “about roofing repairs.” Or it could be 5. It could be 4. It could be 12. X number of questions, 7 questions, 5 questions, 4 questions, whatever you can come up with that you should ask a roofing contractor before inviting them to give you a quote.

How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off By A Roofing Contractor,” or “How To Avoid Making A Very Expensive, Costly Decision When Replacing Or Repairing Your Roof,” or “The Difference Between Safe Roofs And Unsafe Roofs: How Choosing The Right Roofing Contractor Has A Lot To Do With Fire Safety.”  

Again, I’m just picking things that I would think, as a consumer.

So, again, what are their common misconceptions, questions to ask, how to avoid getting ripped off, the difference between value and price, how to hire a roofing contractor, those sorts of things.  

Now, they may seem very simple to you, whatever industry you’re in, because you talk about it, you live, eat and breathe this stuff all day long. But like you said, Dean, if a roofing contractor wakes up every day, they’re probably sick of their own ad. They’re probably sick of their business card. They’re probably sick of telling the same story over and over again.  So, therefore, they might fall in love with a logo or something.  

And the truth is if someone never thinks about this except when they need to think about it, they don’t know anything about roofing.

Dean: And I imagine that the people, as you’re thinking there, it almost sounds counterintuitive, in a way, but I was thinking that the people who are in those homes may have some sort of a low-level awareness that this is coming down the pipe here; that, at some point, I’m going to need a new roof. It might be sort of in the back, back corner of their mind. It’s not on the top of their to-do list yet, because it’s not an urgency. But they may be aware of it.

Joe: It’s like the little catfish that’s at the bottom of the lake, that you need to throw some bait down that makes that bad boy jump up to the surface, and start looking really ugly, and rearing its ugly head. And all of a sudden, that catfish becomes the loch ness monster, and then they need to pay attention because they’re sitting on the top of the lake, in a boat.

Dean: It’s exactly like that.

Joe: What sort of an insane analogy was that, right? This is what happens when you eat coconut bliss popsicles sort of thing.

Dean: Coconut mushroom Popsicles.

Joe: Yeah, whatever. But, it’s true. Your job, as a marketer, is to elicit the interest that is on a low level, like a computer program that’s operating in the background and you want to put it on the desktop. And you do that by running an ad with a headline, “If you haven’t thought about the roof over your head lately, look what could happen if you don’t.  Dear Homeowner, do you realize that 100 homes surrounding you, out of those 100 homes, we’ve replaced roofs for 17 of them in the last 3 years? And since your home was built at the exact same time as these people’s, we’ve made available to you a free Consumer’s Awareness Guide On How To Choose A Roofing Contractor. By reading this guide, you’ll know when is the time you really need to really think about replacing your roof, and what will happen if you neglect this, and when it comes time to make that choice, who you should use, how to avoid them, because this will be one of the most costly expenses that you will ever have in homeownership, if you make the wrong decision.  However, if you make the right decision, choosing the right roofing contractor can involve saving you electricity, increasing the beauty and safety of your home, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and all of the benefits.”

That can be a real soft sale sort of pitch to just sort of set the stage. And you can give them an offer to go to your website, be put on your list, call and get a consumer awareness guide, call and listen to a free recorded message, listen to testimonials from others.

Dean: I was thinking even softer. What if you could offer a report on how to extend the roof of your life – the life of your roof – by 18 to 24 months? Extend what?

Joe: No. I was just trying to make fun of you. It gave me…

Dean: You were trying to make fun of me, weren’t you? But what if…

Joe: It’s very hurtful. You were talking about being softer, and gentler, and kinder.

Dean: I know, but here’s the thing, let’s do the math. If the very first approach that you had was to approach and attract the people who it’s on their minds right now, and you can mail a postcard or something, some lead generator that was offering a report on how to extend the life of your roof by 18 to 24 months or whatever, by up to 3 years, whatever you could reasonably do if you were a roofer. I might know nothing about it, but there might be something that you could do that would at least spot any emergencies similar to what your carpet audit was.  

But here’s what I was thinking. You’re going to get the people who it’s already on their mind, and they would reply to something like that. And if you were able to go over and do that roofing audit, and maybe for a few hundred dollars, or $1,000, you could look for the trouble spots, you can shore up where the trouble spots are right now, and essentially buy them another year or 2 years before they actually have to replace their roof.

When you look at the context of knowing that this is going to be a $15,000 to $20,000 job, that for the cost of a $2 newsletter every month, or every other month for 2 years, you could have an incredible goodwill built up, that there’s no chance that they’re going to choose anybody but you.  

Joe: And see, that’s the key. What you just said is the key right there. That’s where it goes back to you are in the arithmetic business. Most people are unwilling to do what truly is a miniscule, completely inexpensive way of building rapport. So, it goes back to what we talked about in earlier podcasts and a marketing term that a lot of marketers throw around. People need to know, like and trust you. And for just a few dollars, you can get them to know, like, and trust you, if you are a roofer or whatever, before comes the time when they have to make a big investment.

I went to the dentist yesterday, and I got my teeth cleaned. I have been basically religiously getting my teeth cleaned every 6 months, or even more frequently at times, for pretty much over 20 years now. It’s just something I do. And I have a tooth in the back of my mouth, on the upper right hand-side, that is cracked. So, at a point in time, I was having the conversation with my dentist yesterday, “Well, how much time do I have?”

And he was like, “Well, I can kind of put sort of a cap thing on it, but you’re really, probably going to need to get a crown.”

I’m like, “Well,” and I’m sitting there trying to put it off, because I really don’t want to do that.

Dean: Nobody wants that, yeah.

Joe: So, I’m having this conversation of, “What would you do if this was your mouth?” sort of thing. And he gave me some different options and stuff. And so I’m going to buy myself a little bit of time. But he can put some glop on top of my tooth, whatever it is. I don’t know anything about teeth. You’d think I would, because I have 3 of the top dental marketers in the country that are part of my high-level mastermind group. But, I really don’t know anything about teeth.  

And basically, I’m kind of in that same situation. If it was a roof on the top of my house, and I was in that same sort of situation, I’d want someone that could walk me through that process, so that when the pain has to be done, where you actually have to pay the money to do it, you at least know how to make an informed decision. And you certainly are more likely to do it with someone that you have goodwill with, that has reached out to you before your roof caved in, then when that happened.  

So that’s your exact point. And that’s what marketing allows you to do. Some people think marketing is just selling something. Man, marketing is about removing fear. Sometimes, it’s instilling fear in people, so that they can actually make a decision to do something that’s going to be beneficial to them.  

And as long as you’re using your marketing with ethics, and you truly are creating value for people, you’re not just selling stuff to people, you’re making the psychological decisions, walking through life, and getting through life better and easier.  

I mean marketers that are ethical help humanity. Marketers take stress away from people.  Marketers give people confidence. Marketers give people options. You’re not just paying money because you’re going to get a roofing job, if you’re a roofer. You’re paying money because you’re actually helping people to think, and understand, and figure out stuff that they don’t know shit about. And when you do, that’s a pretty awesome thing. So, yeah.

Dean: So I think that’s exciting. If you look at this mindset, and that’s something that I do with everything that I look at, I figure out the math. We talked about how the arithmetic is the most important part. And I would be looking at this and thinking. I take the long-term view on this. Like if I’m in the roofing business and I intend on being in the roofing business for the next 10 to 20 years, then there’s nothing wrong with taking that long-term view. And I know that over the next 10 years, those 1,000 homes, all of them are going to need a new roof. And that’s going to mean that there’s $15-million in business available out of those 1,000 homes.  

Now, there may be 6,000 homes in Georgetown that are in that same age group, not just in that one subdivision, but have that same sort of horizon of timeline, and looking at investing my time and my money in securing as much of that business as I can. That’s the view that I would take.

Joe: Let me make a point about something that you said that I think is so critical, because people listening to this particular episode of this podcast, they can just hear it and say, “Yeah, I kind of understand it.” Or they can literally, at the end of this, or tomorrow, whenever, they can sit down with a yellow pad and they can determine what is an ideal target market that has people that have your money.

I’ve told carpet cleaners all the time, and I kind of got this analogy from an interview story that I heard about John Lennon and Paul McCartney. I can’t remember if it was Paul or John, or which one of them. I should probably do a Google search and figure this out.  

But anyway, one of them or said, I think it was Paul, actually I think it was Paul that was saying, “I remember an interviewer saying that the Beatles are not capitalistic,” and he’s like, “That’s not true. I remember sitting down with Paul and saying, ‘Hey, let’s write ourselves a swimming pool.’”  

And what they meant by that is, “Let’s write a song, of course, and we’ll make royalties, and we’ll buy ourselves a swimming pool with it.”

And I say to carpet cleaners, “You can drive down neighborhoods, and people that have carpeting in their home, they have your money. You just need to make a withdrawal out of their bank account. You need to have the right withdrawal slip that would get them to willingly give you money to come in, and make their home look beautiful, smell beautiful, be clean, be healthy.”

And that’s what marketing is, it’s getting that message. Back in the day when there was no Internet, the withdrawal slip could have been a postcard, it could have been a sales letter, could have been a door-to-door salesperson, could have been a telemarketing call, could’ve been a TV or a radio ad. Now, it could be an electronic withdrawal, Yellow Pages.

But the point is it’s literally giving people a reason to sign their name and say, “Yup, go ahead. Here’s my money. Give me what you got.”  

And in the case of a roofer, I can guarantee you, Dean, and you know this, that there are probably roofing companies all over the world that are spending huge sums of money on advertising that is woefully ineffective; that if they just went to a particular neighborhood that they knew, within the next 5 years, that 30% or 40% of the homes would need either complete replacement or repair, and they could probably get more return on their investment if they did a really great focused, targeted, marketing campaign to 100 homes in a particular area, than if they tried to blanket the entire city, and people didn’t really think about do they need replacement, if they’re going to run a Valpak, or Money Mailer type ad, but they really haven’t even targeted neighborhoods, that sort of stuff.

Dean: Yeah. They just go by zip code, exactly.

Joe: Or they’ll buy a list, and they’ll look at how much the home is worth. And it’s like this isn’t rocket science. What you just described is when does someone need the service? Who’s the ideal prospect. What are their fears? What are their frustrations?  How can you bond with them in a very soft way, because the lifetime value of a client, you can mail something every month that costs $2.  

If you go into a neighborhood and they’re all built by the same builder, and say that they have grey shingles, or I don’t know, whatever a roof is made out of, bamboo, whatever – not that anyone has a roof out of bamboo, maybe they do, I don’t know – but let’s say that it’s like a gray shingle. You could actually find a piece of that grey shingle, if you do repairs, and you can cut it up into little pieces, and you can attach it on the top of a letter that says, “Dear Homeowner, as you can see I’ve attached a little piece of grey shingle to the top of this letter. Why have I done this? One, this is the exact same piece of shingle that you have on top of your house, and I thought it would be a good eye-catcher and way to get your attention. And 2, I want to talk with you about what is on your roof, and what’s going to happen to this grey shingle in the next 3 years,” and then you go on.  

Well, that’s compelling. People don’t get things like that.

Dean: Absolutely, yeah, yeah.

Joe: But that’s easy to do. But people could do a really targeted campaign like that.  It would probably cost them a few hundred dollars. And how many jobs do you need to get in order to justify it? And if you did that every single month, for like 2 or 3 years, and say the average job is worth $15,000 to you, in the next 2 or 3 years you’ve got $45,000 worth of business. Well, how much would it take for you to do that for like 100 homes? It would take like nothing, compared to what the true revenue would be as a result of that. And that’s the way to start looking at doing target marketing in whatever industry that you’re in.  

Dean: Let’s pick some more. Let’s do the lightning round here. Let’s pick 2 or 3 more, and we’ll talk about just brainstorming how we would apply that to there. So, we went with 666. We’ll pick another number.

Joe: How about we pick my actual age at the time we’re doing this podcast, which is 43 years old. My maturity level certainly is not 43. It’s more like 18. I certainly hope I don’t look 43, because I work out a lot and I try to eat very healthy foods, except for the occasional Popsicle.

Dean: Should we go to 43 or 13, which one?  

Joe: 43.

Dean: Okay, 43.

Joe: And then we’ll go to whatever. I don’t care. Hey. You pick, you pick.

Dean: Page 43 is, it is aquariums.

Joe: Aquariums?

Dean: Aquariums. The first ad, Nolan’s Aquarium Superstore. Aquariums, like fish and those kind of things.

Joe: Okay. Well, if I was in the Yellow Pages, I would immediately do: “Warning.  Don’t even think about calling an aquarium store until you call this 24-hour, free recorded message and learn, blah, blah, blah.” That’s one thing. Or “5 Mistakes People Make When Setting Up An Aquarium.”  

Dean: Let’s go through. So, immediately your thought is what are all the product attributes? I’m starting to sense that’s your first instinct. Immediately, you started, with both the roofing and with this one, you started with thinking about headlines, and sort of thinking through what comes to your mind right away about the content.

Joe: Yeah. I think in terms of copy, because I really do think about the marketing message, like reasons why advertising. I think of all the reasons why someone should look at something, and I think of headlines, because most ads in the Yellow Pages are blown-up versions of business cards, their name, rank and serial number, who they are, what they do, and their phone number or their website. And that doesn’t really explain anything.  

And someone will occasionally put their – not occasionally, most of the time – logo, or they will put their name in big, bold letters. But if someone doesn’t have a relationship with you, and you’re not a gigantic company like Coca-Cola, and there’s already brand recognition, which most small business owners don’t have the ad budget to ever do anything like that, that’s kind of like having the name like ‘Janet’ and thinking that, if you’re going to run an ad, that you should just put ‘Janet’ in really big, huge letters, and that should take up like 25% of the ad.  

The other thing which, of course, is counterintuitive in a lot of ways, is you should fill up your ad space with tons of compelling reasons why and sales copy, and things like that.  And most advertising people will say, “Oh, you don’t want to have your ad too cluttered.  You want to have it look clean.”

But you always have to remember this, when you’re paying for advertising space, is nobody reads the white space or the open space.  

Dean: That’s the one thing that we know for sure.

Joe: Yeah. This is not guessing. This is not our opinion.

Dean: One thing we know for sure is nobody reads the white space.

Joe: Yeah, yeah. Nobody reads the white space. You can’t bore people into buying.  That’s something that David Ogilvy always said. So, you’ve got to have something compelling. And compelling, again, is kind of like when someone drives by an auto accident on the side of the road, and everyone slows down and sticks their neck out and looks at it. That’s just a great way to describe compelling. I heard Dan Kennedy say that 15 years ago, and it’s still a great analogy of compelling. It just slows you down, and it gets your attention. You cannot not pay attention to it, and so you want your advertising to be compelling, so I think in compelling words.

But when it comes to an aquarium, there’s different reasons. Someone either wants a new aquarium, or they have an existing aquarium. It’s kind of like if you have a retail store, like what’s the first thing that they typically say when you go into like a clothing store or something? What does the person there to help usually say, if they come up to you and say anything?

Dean: Can I help you?

Joe: Exactly. “Can I help you?”  

Dean: No thanks, I’m just looking.

Joe: Yeah, exactly. That’s what you say back. “No thanks. I’m just looking,” unless you really want help.  

Now, what if you went into a store, and they were like, “Is this the first time you’re shopping at Dean’s Clothing Store?” Or, “Are you a first time visitor?”

Dean: There’s actually stores that do that. Have you heard me talk about Jennifer Leathers and Jennifer Convertibles?

Joe: I have not.

Dean: Okay. Well, it’s exactly that. I was telling Eben Pagen about this, and this was years ago. We were in San Francisco, and I was telling him about this idea of that, how silly that exchange is, and that there’s a company that they train all of their salespeople to, when people walk in the store, to never say, “Can I help you?” The question they ask is, “Is this the first time you’ve been to Jennifer Leathers?” or “Have you been to Jennifer Leathers before?”

And they say, “No,” and I’m going from memory now, but it’s been 10 years since I’ve been in there. But something like this, they say, “Great, well, let me tell you how it works. All the sofas that you see on the floor here are available in any of the leathers. We’ve got a big wall on the back that shows all of the leathers that they’re available for. They’re in stock, and available for immediate delivery, and they’re guaranteed for 10 years, or whatever” I don’t know what the guarantee was. “So, take a look, and just know those things. And if you have any questions, my name’s Jennifer, and I’ll be right over here.”

That exchange right there gets the most important things that they want people to know, the most important questions that people are asking. They might be thinking to themselves, “I like this sofa, but I don’t like this leather.” So, they overcome that objection by saying, “All of the sofas are available in all of the leathers.” So, that sets the stage right there.  Now, you’re not just looking at the black leather sofas or the brown leather sofas, you’re looking at the style that you like the best; that they’re all available in stock, and available for immediate delivery, means that you don’t have to worry about if you want to change the leather on this, that it’s going to take a long time for your sofa to be ready. And they’re guaranteed. If you’re thinking, “Well, this looks like a pretty thin leather, what if something happens to this?” you know that it’s guaranteed for 10 years.  

So, that kind of thinking, that’s the thought process behind why they say something like that.

Do you have Jennifer Leathers in Phoenix, or Jennifer Convertibles?

Joe: Yeah. Actually, now you’re going to actually force me to go to see.

Dean: We don’t have one in Winter Haven here, but Eben and I walked into San Francisco, and that’s exactly what they did. So, maybe you could go in with your flip video.  It would be fun.

Joe: My little spy camera, and see. That’s super cool. And I’m amazed that so many retail stores, like I have a friend that owns some fitness superstores here in Arizona, and he’s one of the largest distributors in the world for True Treadmills, and they have some very expensive in-home gym equipment that looks kind of identical to some of the same treadmills that you would see in say like Sears or in Costco, or something. And they will look the same, but there are some that are $2,000 or $3,000 more. There’s like home treadmills that are $5,000 or $6,000, and there’s different sorts of equipment that’s more expensive. And there’s a reason why.  

And I said, “You know, I would get mannequins, and I would put a t-shirt on them. And I would print on the t-shirt, ‘Press this button to find out why this is the best treadmill in the world,’ and I would prop that mannequin right next to the treadmill. And people would walk by, and instead of having a salesperson have to describe the treadmill, or whatever, you literally push a button and either you hear this audio message or you literally mount a little DVD player into the chest of the mannequin, or you simply just set up a display that’s like either a free recorded message pushbutton thing, or whatever.”  

And I’ve seen a little bit of that done, but hardly any. People have so many opportunities to use education-based marketing or to deliver things in non-threatening ways.

Dean: Well, you had this idea. You just said mounting a video inside the mannequin or whatever, let’s apply that to the fish aquarium business.  

The thought that I had immediately, when I looked at the aquarium business, because your first thought was going to the copy attributes or the things that people need to know about this, because you’re thinking about how to educate them – and this is interesting, because we never really talked about this before – my first thought is to find the market. I don’t think about how to educate them about it yet. I think about where’s the market? And that guides my approach to how I would educate people about it.

So, my first thought about aquariums was kids, and that my first thought then was where do I find the kids? And I thought about pediatrician offices, or doctor offices, dental offices, places where kids get their hair cut, all those things. And I might set up a fish tank, an aquarium in those offices, in those waiting rooms, and completely man it and stock it with fish. And you know how you can get those frames now, that will show little digital movies, those picture frames? They’re not very much money at all. But I would probably mount one to the fish tank or mount one near the fish tank, with a take-one box with a consumer awareness guide.

The first thought, I just checked, I had the domain name idea of, and have a consumer guide to everything, A Parent’s Guide To What Their Kids Need To Know About Getting A Fish Tank.  

I would refer to it as a fish tank, because even though I know that people are going to think and want to get protective about the language, because aquarium sounds much more high- minded than a fish tank, but that’s what people really call it.  

That’s the thing. They’d say, “Mom, can I get a fish tank?” So, that domain name,, is available. That’s a pretty good little thing. I can already see the picture of the kids on the cover, and the opportunity.

Joe: Well, here’s the thing. I don’t even know if you knew this. One of my very first jobs was working in a tropical fish store, and I took care of 150 aquariums…

Dean: I did not know that.

Joe: …where I had to clean. The guy paid me minimum wage, and the guy who owned the place was a complete jerk. I think it was called Fish Warehouse was the name. I was like 16 years old or something. I delivered papers, but this was like my first real legal job.  

Anyway, I remember I actually accidentally broke one of the aquariums when I was sweeping the floor, and the guy actually made me pay retail, that owned the store for it, out of my paycheck. The guy was such an idiot.  

Dean: Oh, please.

Joe: Yeah. But it was funny.  So, I used to know the names of every tropical fish. At the time, I used to read all of the magazines. I can’t remember hardly any of it. And the systems for cleaning have completely changed.

But like your example that you just gave. If anyone’s in that business, or any business where there are an audience of people that would buy what it is you do, and you actually are in a sort of cosmetic or display sort of business, you go to every pediatrician.  

You know what would be really funny is if you went to psychiatrist or therapist offices, where people go to therapy, and you literally say, “Hey, we’d like to come in. You have a waiting room here,” doctor’s office, chiropractor, whatever, “and we’re going to set up an aquarium for you. We’re going to keep it clean. You don’t have to do anything. And let’s make an agreement that for like a year we’ll keep it here, and all I ask is that we put a little plastic thing on the side where people can do a take-one, and a little sign that says, “Get an aquarium just like this for your home or office, and it just sat there, and it will look beautiful.”

And if it was in a therapist’s office, you could even be tricky and say, “Save yourself some money on therapy, because if you actually have a fish aquarium, we’ve found, statistically, that it reduces anxiety and stress levels by 20%, which is probably much better than this guy you’re seeing here.” I’m kidding, of course.  

But, the point is that’s a great idea. So whatever business someone is in, Dean’s idea is fantastic. Think about who could you give your stuff to for free, that would…

Dean: How can you get it in front of them?

Joe: Yeah. They have a captive audience of people that would look at your stuff. And by giving it to them, it creates value for them, and you get free promotional things out of it.  

I wish we could have piranhas in Arizona, but there’s laws. You literally have to be a zoo, because Arizona’s like a perfect breeding ground for piranhas. So, I literally wish I had a piranha marketing aquarium at my office, but we can’t legally have piranhas.

Dean: My buddy John Reese, when he lived in Orlando here, had a big fish tank, like a huge fish tank that, when the guy would come to clean it, he would climb into it, and actually put on the snorkel, and go in, get right into the fish tank to clean it. It was that big.  It was awesome.

Joe: That is hysterical. Well, the thing with aquariums, too, to kind of wrap up that niche, I’ll give everyone a headline, which they can use for something else. This is sort of like a Gary Halbert headline.  

Say you’re going to be in the Yellow Pages for aquariums: “Free Recorded Message Reveals How To Choose An Aquarium If This Is Your First Purchase, Or How To Maintain An Existing One. Call this 24-hour, free recorded message.”  

And then, there’s a free recorded message. You call the message, “Press extension 101 for new aquariums. Press extension 102 for existing aquariums,” and a 24-hour, free recorded message tells you everything you need to know.  

But the headline is “Free Recorded Message Reveals….”  

One of the things I taught carpet cleaners is “Free Recorded Message Reveals How To Have Your Carpets Cleaned Properly, At The Lowest Possible Price.” And the keyword there is “properly,” because to have your carpets cleaned properly, at the lowest possible price, is a completely different statement than “Free Recorded Message Reveals How To Have Your Carpets Cleaned At The Lowest Possible Price.”  

So, when you say, “Properly…”

Dean: Indicating that there’s an improper way to do it.

Joe: Exactly. That’s just some things to think about.  

Dean: We’ve got to go.

Joe: How do we wrap this up, because we’re going to have to continue?

Dean: We’ve got to cut it right here.

Joe: I mean, can I read something that was just emailed to me yesterday, and then there was another email? It wasn’t emailed to me, it was emailed to Gina, who’s my director of online services.  

Dean: Let me ask you this before you do that. Did you have fun doing this?

Joe: Yes.  

Dean: Do you think we could do more of this?

Joe: Yeah. I think you should pay me to do this, actually. Yeah. I think we should.  

First off, I think everyone that’s listened to this should comment. Do you like what you heard? Do you see how it applies to whatever industry you’re in? Because if it’s valuable to our listeners, we are here to serve.  

There was a carpet cleaning client that was a member of Piranha Marketing a while back. I think he sold his company, because I haven’t seen this guy for a while. But his company was Carpet Cop, and I think there’s several companies throughout the US that have that name, Carpet Cop, but he had a logo that was, “To Protect, and Clean,” and he had sirens on top of his cleaning vans and everything, which I loved. Any service business could get a siren.

Dean: Any kind of theater that you can add.

Joe: Yeah. And I mean like a flashing light. I don’t mean he was going in front of homes, turning on the siren, because that would be annoying as hell.  

But I love the slogan where he’s like, “To Protect, and Serve,” he put it “To Protect and Clean.” “To Clean and Protect,” that’s how he says it, “To Clean and Protect.” And we are here to protect and serve all of our listeners, protecting you from wasting money on useless, inane advertising that doesn’t work, and being an advertising victim, from idiots that are trying to convince you to do things that are just really not going to benefit you.  

And we’re here to serve by educating you on how to actually do effective advertising and marketing. And we’ll continue to do this as long as our listeners get value out of what it is we’re doing, and we have fun doing it, because it’s all about ELF (Easy, Lucrative and Fun).  

Dean: Let’s do this. Let’s stop right now. Don’t say anything else. The next episode, let’s do another episode just like this, and we’ll pick a few more pages here, because I’m discovering how you go about it. I’m kind of starting to see how your mind works, a little bit, and I think you’re starting to see how my mind works a little bit. And I think it’d be valuable to do a few more of these. I really had fun doing this one.  

Joe: It went fast.

Dean: I can’t believe it’s already over an hour.

Joe: Well, good, can I read this thing now, or do I have time?

Dean: No. Let’s just start off the next one with that.

Joe: Okay. Well, here’s the context for everyone, for the next one. I got this letter yesterday, but when we do the next one I will read it, because it is a great example of when someone takes what we’ve been teaching on the I Love Marketing podcast, and utilizes it.  

Dean: Perfect.

Joe: I’m getting ready to fly to Necker Island to hang out with Richard Branson and a crew of people we’re bringing down there for the next week, tomorrow. So, until the next I Love Marketing Podcast, go do something useful for the world.

Dean: Have fun.

Hidden content

Subscribe To I Love Marketing :