It can be intimidating when it’s time to launch a new product for your business. Tom Morkes joins the show to explain why a simple and straightforward approach will lead to a high converting marketing campaign.
Tom has helped over 100 companies grow their traffic, leads, and sales using his own launch methodology and in this episode, shares the four steps you must execute before launching your product.
Listen to this episode:
- The biggest mistake Tom sees businesses make during product launches
- How to set realistic expectations for your product launch
- Tom’s thoughts on email marketing and why it is key to a successful product launch
- Why you shouldn’t try to convince your audience they need your product
- Keeping your message straightforward and simple
- A simple process Tom uses to identify his audience’s problems
- How to identify, develop, and utilize strategic partnerships during your launch
- Tom’s “slide-in” approach to developing relationships
- Why effective story-telling is important when developing relationships
- Tom’s Website
- Insurgent Publishing
- Right Message
- Ash Maurya
- John Lee Dumas
- Seth Godin on Everyone Hates Marketers
- 80/20 Principle with Perry Marshall
- Humble Bundle
- Andre Chaperon on Everyone Hates Marketers
Louis: Bonjour, bonjour and welcome to another episode of Everyonehatesmarketers.com, the no fluff, actionable marketing podcast for marketers, marketing consultants, founders and tech people who are just sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I’m your host, Louis Grenier. In today’s episode, you will learn how to grow your reach and profit with a high converting marketing campaign.
My guest today is the founder of Insurgent Publishing. He has helped more than 100 brands and businesses to grow their traffic, their leads, their sales, using his own launch methodology. In the last decade, he worked with companies like Teachable and RightMessage, best-selling authors like Ash Maurya, podcasters like John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire. As you can see, he knows a lot of people and has done some pretty good work. He’s been involved in book launches, product launches, course launches, Kickstarter campaigns. You name it, he’s done it. And before doing this actually, he spent five years in active duty as a Commission Officer in the US army, deployed in Iraq, so he also has quite a life story to tell. Tom Morkes, welcome aboard.
Tom: Hey. Thank you for having me. This is going to be a fun conversation.
Louis: It will be. When we talk about marketing campaigns, I mentioned a few type of products. What type of products are you the most used to working with?
Tom: Probably just by quantity and number of campaigns we’ve done, probably books, and then maybe second to that would be digital, like info products, courses, eCourses, that kind of stuff. I would say broadly speaking my expertise is in the digital product realm, so it would be like eBooks, eCourses, software, productized services and things like that. That’s usually where I kind of help clients, customers, and that’s where I do most of my work.
Louis: I’d say for this episode, what we’re going to touch on would be digital products in particular. I think that fits very well with the audience. A lot of folks listening will sell software or will be interested in launching info products, or anything like this. Let’s talk about companies trying to launch a new let’s say digital product. It could be a massive Kindle book or anything like that. It could be a SAS. What do you see to be the biggest mistakes when it comes to trying to launch such products?
Tom: Well I think the biggest mistake that I’ve seen is that people come at it, especially if they’re… Well I think it’s just with unrealistic expectations across the board. I would say that is the commonality across everything I’ve seen. Whether people are just getting started and hoping to, “Okay, I want to quit my job after this one launch.” Somebody who’s starting a side hustle or something like that. Or the person who’s really established and maybe doing millions in revenue already, but they want this campaign to bring in some significant sizable chunk of their revenue for the year.
That’s maybe just again kind of… It’s a little bit too far-reaching. That’s usually where the conversation begins, like how to temper those expectations a little bit and make them more realistic. So like this is actually what could be achieved based on where you’re starting. There’s all sorts of case studies and examples. I’ve even worked with people, where we started from… and we’ve gotten surprisingly good results.
But those surprisingly good results are just that. They’re surprisingly good. The average stuff we do still works, but it’s like, got to bring it back down to reality. Yes, we’ve done New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today bestseller campaigns and we set a Kickstarter record with John Lee Dumas. But these are outlier cases. And so we can apply the same fundamentals to somebody else, and they may not get the results. For me, when I see that and I’m connecting with people, working with people, the biggest mistake is just expectations. Where are they and are they realistic? Is this something we can hit?
Louis: Usually when you talk to those people and they say, “Okay, let’s make $2 million worth of sales.” When they haven’t made $10,000 on their own, how do you gauge the expectations? How do you say, “Well, based on your situation, this is how much you can get.” What do you look at the most?
Tom: Yeah, that’s a great question. I would look at, what are the assets they actually have? This would be things like… and the assets that matter. Social media doesn’t matter. I’m sorry for anybody who’s out there. Social media doesn’t matter at all. At least Twitter.
Louis: Why is that? Why is that?
Tom: Well you know, the conversion rates on these things are horrendous and everything’s pay to play. So unless you have a massive platform, and you’re willing to spend money on ads, then I have no, I have very little time or attention to spend on social media, like in terms of trying to do an organic campaign through social media, I think it’s a waste of time.
I look at things like email. Do you have an email list or a newsletter or database? Is it warm? So that’s the difference between saying email list or newsletter in a database. Are you consistently already communicating with someone? Do they know who you are? That to me is the critical foundation. I’ve been doing this since I got out of the army in 2013. So I’ve been doing this for over five years. The thing that’s consistently proven itself is email marketing. It still works.
There are things, there are little tricks and hacks, things like that in other marketing channels that can be effective, but I find that most of them, like they’ll have a heyday right at the beginning, and you kind of have to move fast if you want to take advantage of them. But then the results just peter out. And examples of that would be things like, well even paid traffic itself. It’s should be much more expensive if you’re trying to run ads on Facebook. That’s super expensive.
Anyway, I’m going off to a tangent. We can get into it. But I would just say email list. If they have social media, that’s okay, I’ll take a look at it and say, “Okay.” But you can’t… if somebody comes to me and is like, “Oh, I have 50,000 followers on Twitter.” It’s like okay. I don’t know, what is that? Two or three sales? It’s kind of meaningless. Email list and then I would say the other thing that’s harder to gauge and to judge but is really is the critical component I think of all this is who do you know and who are you connected to? Who are the influencers, the experts, the bloggers, podcasters.
Louis: You said the word already. You said the word, influencer sales. That’s it. We are doomed.
Tom: That’s… which word is that?
Louis: The word influencer in a sense that… I’m just being very smart right now and being sarcastic. But yeah. You used the word influencer yourself to describe people who are like, well okay.
Louis: Makes sense.
Tom: Yeah, totally. And listen, I’m not married to that term but there’s truth to it. If there’s a person with a platform, so they have a blog or a podcast or channel, and people follow them and read them and trust their opinion, they’ve already done the hard work of building trust and building an audience. That’s a great thing to tap into. So that’s when I say influencer broadly speaking, that’s what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about girls in bikinis taking pictures on Instagram, although maybe that fits the influencer. Maybe that is still an influencer, but the ones I’m talking about are more like in your space, in your niche.
Who are the people whose recommendations actually matter? That, and then how can we organize this so maybe we can get a referral from those people to their audience about our book or our product or whatever it is. Then if you can do that, you make a good case for it. I’m not even… this gets into affiliate marketing a little bit. It gets into influencer marketing I guess you could say broadly speaking. Really, it’s kind of strategic partnerships and relationships. Then looking at how I can get a referral. Not just a one to one referral, but a one to many referral and leveraging those platforms that already exist.
Louis: So to take a step back, right, I’m sorry to cut you there when you were in the middle of an explanation. But to take a step back, what you’re describing is really marketing 101, relationship 101. First of all, do you have people who give a shit about what you have to say? Do they actually care enough to give their actual email address? Do they actually care enough to read your stuff day in, day out? Do they care enough to keep doing so for the next five years or so? Have they been following you for the last five, 10 years?
Then do you know people who gives a shit about you in a wider context? Do you have relationships with people who know people, who have a similar network to you? That goes back to again, even if we forget about technology, you go back 50 years ago, the same thing would apply. I mean, it’s who you know, it’s how well they know you, it’s how much they trust you. As you mentioned as well credibility and all of that. I don’t want people hearing this and feeling that this is a quick growth hack, that this is going to work today and won’t work tomorrow. Absolutely I think you will agree that this is just the basis of what good marketing looks like.
Tom: Yeah, so yes. That’s the thing. It starts with the audience. Or not even audience. Audience is kind of a bad word because it makes you sound like a performer. I don’t know how better to describe that, broadly speaking. But we say subscribers or something like that. I don’t like the word followers necessarily either. I’m still trying to work out how to describe this stuff.
Let’s say your subscribers, the people who do follow you or whoever this person is that I’m describing is somebody who’s influential. The critical piece to kind of zoom in here is just I guess the nature of the market as it is right now. Online and the opportunities that are right in front of you. So obviously I’ve only been in this game a little over five years. Obviously I know you’ve spoken to… you had Seth Godin on the podcast. Somebody who’s been doing this for 10, 20 years and has seen these things change.
I can catch up on my history and see that 20 years ago, you did have to pass through some major gatekeepers to get to tap into these marketing channels that would expose you to an audience. Of course those are huge channels. TV or radio or something like that. Now, everything’s fractured. In this fractal space that we’re in, there’s no one major channel that’s going to change anything. There’s no one thing that’s going to do it. It’s actually a bunch of little, small things.
That’s really, if there’s anything that’s changed about the landscape and how you should approach it, it’s fractal. There’s little things, little niches that you need to go into. So instead of one major channel, instead of getting on Oprah, it’s like, get on the 10 biggest or best podcasts in your niche or industry. Get featured on the top 10 blogs or something like that in your niche or industry. That will drive growth for you, now and in the future, if you do it right. I still get traffic, leads and sales from blogs, guest blogs that I wrote five years ago. From podcasts that I’d been on a year or two ago.
This thing does compound over time. It’s like, you have to look at it that way and say, “The nature of the space we’re in, it’s fractal. There’s lots of different platforms to tap into.” You just want to say, “Well then that comes to the product market fit and some of these basics, but let’s just assume you know the space you’re in. You know the product. You have an offer. It’s converting and whatnot. Then it’s a matter of where are your hidden networks of readers, or your hidden network of customers? Where do they exist already online? If you can get a referral from an influential person into that space, into that network, now they’re going to start talking about it. That’s where you get these viral campaigns. That’s how you engineer a viral campaign. Which also is a buzzword, I know. I hate myself for even using that… I think I’ve used every buzzword you possibly can in this conversation.
Louis: You’ve done it. It’s all right. You’ve ticked all the boxes.
Tom: I’ve done it. I just want to get through that already as quickly as possible so we can have the real conversation.
Louis: Before we talk about a step by step method to actually launch your digital product the way you would do it with clients, let me come back to the initial question. You mentioned one mistake is the wrong expectations. To counter that, you need to look at whether you have a strong email list of people who give a shit about you. You need to look at your own relationship. I suppose that you’re also looking at the sales they made in the past. What is the rough percentage from subscriber to sale that they had in the past. You can probably guesstimate a bit, “Okay, you can expect X amount for this campaign.” what other mistake do you see companies making outside of this when it comes to engineering marketing campaigns like this?
Tom: Right so let’s say all that’s lined up correctly, then it’s like, it’s a matter of I’d say… it’s tough, because there’s always a lot of variables, so I’m hesitant to say there’s this one thing, but this is one thing I see more often than others. I don’t know if this is true universally but it’s the story. It’s how we’re talking about what we’re doing and how we’re telling that story.
There are stories that can help you sell or that can convince people to buy. There are… the way we present something. That ties into who you’re speaking to and where they’re at in their journey or whatever. However you want to put it. Are we speaking to them the right way, in their language, in words they understand, in the common tongue so to speak.
The way I’ve described this was like, and what I’ve seen recently, it’s like, I’m not interested in trying to convince somebody that they need something. That’s not the game I’m in. That’s not the game I’m playing. There’s a lot of people who want to play that game. That’s good. My preference, at least now as I’ve kind of gone through this, we’ve done lots and lots of campaigns. Anytime I take on a new campaign, I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m only speaking to people who have already convinced themselves that they need something. I’m just telling the story the right way. That’s it. So they resonate with it. It’s like, the way I described it recently on a YouTube video that I did was, “Do your customers get the joke?” If they get the joke then they’re in.
The joke in this case, it’s like, do they know what you’re talking about? Is it something that’s relevant for them? I know that’s kind of a theoretical construct right now as we’re talking about it. But we can zoom in on examples. I would just say, but that’s the thing. It’s like, if you know what your customers actually care about and you’re speaking directly to them, then you’re gold. But a lot of people come at these campaigns, they kind of go, they do broad brushstrokes. They don’t really niche down or narrow down effectively or at all. There’s a lot of things that tie into that. It’s like, are you segmenting properly? Are you zooming in? Are you personalizing as much as you can? These kinds of things.
Obviously, there’s a lot of nuance to think about when you’re running a campaign, but I would just think that’s the big thing. It’s like, if you can say how many customers you’re trying to get for this campaign. What are you trying to achieve here? Who are those people? Do they have that problem already? Do they recognize they have the problem? How do we make sure that we’re speaking to them? Those people only. Not the ones who don’t know what you’re talking about. Not everybody. Not try to convince anyone that they have a problem or a challenge. But actually speaking to the people who already know it. That’s a different thing. That’s something I’ve come to learn over time.
Once you understand that, that will seep into your copy, it’ll seep into your sales pages, your email sequences, the marketing copy and just the marketing materials and assets that you create for your campaign. Once you do it and you see it click, I’ll tell you what. That’s the thing. It’s a game changer. Once you’ve actually experienced that and see it click, then you see the results from it. Then you’ll never do a campaign any other way again. You’ll never try to speak to everybody, you’ll never try to do anything like that. You’ll never go broad. You’ll be like, “Okay, narrow’s the way to go. Focused, personalized and speaking to the people that get the joke already.”
Louis: I think that’s a great lesson in marketing itself as well. It’s incredibly different to change people’s minds, right? It’s incredibly difficult to convince them of something that they don’t agree with in the first place. You can spend millions or hundreds of millions to do that. It takes decades for culture to change. What you said makes all the sense in the world. A lot of smart marketers say the exact same thing. Yet it’s difficult, emotionally speaking, of marketers to let go of the idea that they’re going to change the world and they’re going to touch the seven, eight billion people on Earth with their beautiful product.
Instead, what you’re saying is really, to go very niche about the people who gives a shit about what you have to say, because they’ve already are in an emotional state that makes them going to say yes to the message you’re going to send them. They already agree with your idea. What they want is just a solution to this. They already agree that they have the problem. They’ll just want a nudge to go and just buy and solve it. You don’t try to convince people who have never thought of it.
Tom: Uphill battle. I think you do that with content overtime. You can… strategic pieces of content can help somebody who’s not fully aware of the problem. Obviously therefore not looking for a solution yet. You can create… that’s where content comes in as a good play, like blogging, podcasting, where you can create these pieces of content that talk to the person that maybe is not aware of the problem.
Just helping the person become aware that maybe that is the problem. And that kind of works, but when I’m talking marketing campaigns, we usually have a time based element to it. There’s a start and a finish. We’re trying to generate traffic leads and sales for it. In that context, yeah. I don’t think it’s worth your time. Then you have to come back to it and say, “Okay to get to the heart of this, what’s the 80/20 principle here?” It’s like, “I’m running a campaign. It’s going to be over a limited time.” Maybe it’s a one week campaign or a three week campaign or one month campaign or something like that. We only have so much time. What is the messaging for the person who we know is going to buy? Who is that?
Then we can backward plan out of that and think about, “Okay, what are the ways that we can kind of approach this?” Talk to that person specifically from different vantages and angles and say, “Yep, we’re speaking to you. This is the problem. You know you have it. You’re in that boat. This is why.” That’s where I’m saying it seeps into the copy, the language you use in your emails, how you speak about it, because then you don’t have to talk in these broad generalities. You can zoom in on the actual, critical problem that somebody has.
I think when you start talking like that, what also happens too is, copy and sales, when you start creating content around say sales pages, email sequences. When I say copy, that’s what I kind of mean broadly speaking. What’s really cool about it I found is when you do this and you kind of know who you’re speaking to, what happens is that copy becomes easier to write. You don’t need to hire a big agency to do it, if you understand what the problem is. Then you realize, yeah, your stuff can be super clear. It doesn’t have to be clever, and it can be super effective.
That’s what we’ve done. All the campaigns I’m running now are just that. They’re so straightforward and simple. A lot of cases, one of the businesses I’m running it’s like, “We just send people straight to a sales page and then we convert at a… ” I don’t know where it’s at now, but on some of our campaigns, we’re converting, sending traffic directly to a sales page, it’s converting over 10 percent.
That’s unusual. That’s rare. I’ve worked on a lot of campaigns and that is rare. That’s not for every campaign we’ve run, but consistently we’re between five and 10 percent. How does that happen? It only happens if I’m sharing. If I’m speaking to the right person the right way and sending them. I’m not adding any of this fluff in between. It’s just like, here’s the offer.
If you understand that, then these things they can scale very quickly too. Anyway, I could go off on a tangent there but I’ll pause.
Louis: It’s all good man. All right so now let’s dive into how to do it. I think we’ve explained enough of the problem. We’ve explained enough how to do it wrong. Let’s explain how to do it right, step by step. Let’s say I hire you. I want to launch a new, digital product. I have an audience that is the size… a decent size. I’ve made enough revenue in the past to prove that I have a business that is a decent one. How do you go about it from step one? What is the very first step that you take to take it to the finish line?
Tom: Do we know the market? The target customer here in this scenario?
Louis: Let’s pick one that you’re comfortable with, that you’ve done, that you’ve dealt in the past maybe. Let’s pick a scenario that you’re comfortable with.
Tom: Okay, we’ll say, so yeah. I just have to say, broadly speaking it starts with the target market. Who you’re speaking to. So you want me to give you an example? A real life example?
Louis: If you can share, yeah.
Tom: Sure. So we recently put together a… should I share this? I’m going to share this. It’s good. If we’ve got competitors, it’s all good. I don’t really see it that way. It’s like this. I have this company I cofounded called Infostack. We do these discount deals for digital products. Ebooks, eCourses, software. Sometimes we’ll do discounts on physical products or services. Kind of like Humble Bundle for anybody whose familiar with that. That’s in the video game space, or AppSumo a little bit. Kind of like that but not just exclusively for software.
Bottom line is, what we do is we curate these collections of digital products and we offer them at a discounted rate for a period of time. One of the campaigns we ran was in the keto space. Keto’s a diet. It’s a diet, people are… it’s a very popular diet right now. The thing is, I’m not going to convince anybody who’s not thinking about diet, that they should start a diet. That’s not the campaign I ran. The campaign I also didn’t run was somebody who’s focusing on losing weight or getting fit or anything like that, broadly speaking. That wasn’t actually the campaign I was running.
The campaign I ran was, people who are interested in the keto diet, here’s what you need. Now I don’t have to talk about all these other tertiary things. It’s like, here it is. You already know about the keto diet. All these assumptions now leave. I don’t have to think about it. I don’t have to make any assumptions. I know they’re interested in the keto. If they’re interested in the keto, they’re going to only be interested in the keto maybe for a variety of reasons but I can zoom in on those and that can be part of our copy and our sales process. I know some people use… are on the keto diet to lose weight, obviously. Maybe a percentage are in it to get in shape or build muscle or something like that. I think a lot of times it’s health, general health, lose weight, those kind of things. Ultimately, if somebody knows what keto is, then I don’t need to explain what keto is to them. It’s like, “Here’s what you need if you’re interested in implementing a keto diet in your life. Here you go.”
So every single campaign I do is like that now. It’s like, what is the actual, specific thing that somebody already knows about, cares about and wants, and here you go. Here’s an offer that just is insanely good. You can’t say no to it if you’re interested. It’s that good. That’s why I have no problem doing this.
That actually makes me feel… I know one of the questions you had asked in the lead up to getting me to come on this interview and I liked the approach and I liked the angle and everything like that. It’s enjoyable. I think it’s fun. It’s fresh. Everybody does hate marketers, I get it. One of the things you had asked me was, it was… shoot, what was it? It was one of your questions, but it made me think, why do we spend so much time trying to convince people of things that they may not need, when if we just know who we’re speaking to, we know they have a problem, we can just put it right in front of them. They can make heads or tails of it.
Oh, it was the sleazy piece of it. The sleazy or the shady piece. It’s like, I don’t… or aggressive, or even the aggressive piece. You had three built into that question. It was like, “So my thought on that is, it’s like this.” When you have a really good offer and a really good deal for somebody who gets the joke, you know they have that pain, you can solve that problem and you can do it at a better price, a better value, a better job than anyone else.
To me, that itself removes anything that can be sleazy or shady or even aggressive because then when I put it in front of someone, I know this is you. I know you’re having this challenge. Here you go. Then if it’s for you or not. It’s easy. It’s an easy decision. I don’t have to get into this game where I’m trying to use my wizarding tactics to convince you of something you don’t need. That’s the game I don’t want to play and I don’t think it’s worth anybody playing over the longterm.
Louis: I really like this point of view. It just connect with everyone else. The smart marketers out there who would say the same thing. In your example, we are selling keto products. Your first step is actually you think back of who the fuck is going to care about this, right?
Louis: You have this mentality for everything. In the buildup of this episode just before we started to record, you asked me the same question, but for the listeners. Who are they? You wondered whether they were in house marketers, you wonder what was their level of expertise. Naturally speaking that’s what you care about. So it seems like it’s step number one.
Let’s say you’re not interested in keto. Maybe you are but let’s assume that you’re not. You don’t really care about it. How do you go from, “I need to talk to people interested in keto.” To, “I actually know the problems they have related to it. I actually know the questions they have, the objections they might have. I actually know what they care about.” How do you go about this?
Tom: Honestly, takes me maybe an hour. I go on Amazon and I look at the top 10 books in that space.
Louis: All right. So let’s say you go to Amazon, look at keto, keyword top 10 book. Then what do you look into that?
Tom: This is just, yeah. I read the titles, I look at how they’re positioned. So the title, subtitles. You’ll find patterns. 10, 20 books you’ll find patterns. I look at the descriptions and I look at the reviews. I look for patterns. What are things that stand out? In this case, that’s the thing. I’ll just start reading and I’ll just start looking. After I read two or three or four or five examples of something, I’ll usually start to pull out a pattern. I don’t even go in with any kind of hypothesis or anything. I’m just literally just reading and I have my eyes open to spot patterns.
Think I’m a pretty good pattern… I’m a pattern recognition machine, a little bit. For me that’s not difficult. I would just say that’s the way to go into it, just open mind. Start reading the top ten things in the space. I don’t know. If somebody can’t spot a pattern I guess, I don’t know how to teach that, necessarily. I would just look for… I guess here’s a way to think about it. What are the words that are being used? How is it being framed or positioned?
Are they all speaking to, in this case, are they all speaking to somebody… think about who they’re speaking to. If it’s about losing weight, who are they speaking to? Somebody who wants to lose weight. You could say, well that’s somebody who’s overweight? Maybe. Somebody who considers themselves fat or obese? Maybe. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s people who are like… but it doesn’t matter. The point is, they want to lose weight. That is the thing they want. I can see that. I can see the pattern there.
If it’s health, if it’s reducing or decreasing or healing auto-immune issues. These are some of the patterns I spotted I think when we were doing the keto stuff. We did it a while ago, but it worked really well. I’m just kind of open reading and just paying attention. Just looking at how… the reviews are killer. You learn so much just reading reviews or something on Amazon. A bunch of reviews for different types of products to know, “Yeah, this is what people liked and this is what people hated.” It’s like, “Okay, let’s try to do all these things that people liked about this thing that were consistent.” Like the patterns of good stuff that we spotted. I also look at the pattern of bad things. Let’s try to avoid the bad things and do the good things.
From there that’s where I would also develop copy and the whole sales sequence and everything, from that. I don’t know that space at all, but was absolutely can crush a campaign like that, from scratch, just by looking at patterns.
Then tie that into the partnership piece. I’m looking at, what are they doing? If I’m going to partner up with somebody in a specific space, it’s like, how are they already talking about this? What’s their angle? What’s their approach?
Louis: Before we go into that, let’s go back a bit more and you tell it and then we’ll talk about partnership. This is super interesting. I know not everyone may be as gifted as you for pattern recognition, but I think there’s plenty of stuff that you said that could be taught.
The first thing being, people who bought a book on keto and left a review have one, already spent money on this thing, so you know that they’re not just chancers talking about it and never buying. So they have money. Two, they left a fucking review. They care enough to post about it on Amazon. I don’t want to come up with shitty percentage, but maybe one percent of people ever leave fucking reviews on Amazon anyway. You know that you have the crème de la crème of people who are voicey, who care about it, who bought it. You know that those people are kind of the ideal type of customer.
Then, you read their stuff and you said a few things. You are looking at what they wanted from the product. You’re looking at the way they position it, you’re looking at what they like, what they disliked. I’m interested in particularly about the way they position it for example. What type of phrase or sentences do you see that makes, that triggers in you this, “Ah, this is gold.” What type of stuff do you like to read that makes you tick and just say, “Fuck, we need to add that to our copy.”
Tom: That’s such a tough… I actually had to pull up… should I pull up Amazon?
Louis: Go on.
Tom: And do that while we talk.
Louis: Pull up Amazon on the keto stuff and let’s see what comes up.
Tom: Let’s do it, let’s do it. Because I’m thinking to myself, if I answer that generically, I don’t know if there’s any value to people who are listening. As we talked about at the beginning of this, kind of tying back to knowing who you’re talking to, you were like, “We have a range of people here, but what we want to do for sure is, be actionable.” Let’s get it. I’m sorry I didn’t have this open to begin with. I should have had this ready. That’s when you know we’re doing things for real.
All right, so I’m going to actually search keto in Amazon and see what pops up. I’ll tell you, I’ll just, as I go through a couple, I’ll give you my live…
Louis: Let’s do it.
Tom: My live feedback interpretation as I’m looking through this and what captures my attention and what is something I can use and something I can’t use.
I just search keto in Amazon, just to start, broad. Now if I want to zoom in on stuff, so that’s where it’s like, what are you selling? In our case, it’s information, to a degree. Then there might also be products. Then I would zoom in on books and things like that. Anything for information, I look at books. For products, then I would probably zoom in on those specific products. As I was trying to get into keto, supplement space. There’s tons of stuff that pops up here. Let’s just stick with what I know, on the book side of things.
I look at this and I say, “Okay, the best sellers, that’s a good one.” And these are sponsored, but they’re also showing best seller. It says, okay, The One Pot Ketogenic Cookbook: 100 Plus Easy Weeknight Meals for your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Sheet Pan and More. Immediately what comes to mind is cookbook. So ketogenic cookbook. People like actionable stuff. The second thing next to that is another cookbook one, The Easy Five Ingredient Ketogenic Cookbook: Low Carb, High Fat Recipes for Busy People on the Keto Diet.
So there’s a couple things I could pull out. One is cookbook is a great idea. People like something actionable. The second thing is, let’s see. Easy, weeknight meals. The other is, recipes for busy people. What are we seeing? I want to make it simple. It’s got to be easy to implement. That is actually a critical thing. Already, that’s just on two that I’ve looked at. If I dive into this one, I open it up.
So those are the things that pop up. I’m going to open up one of those bestsellers. I’m going to look at the category it’s in. This is bestseller and allergies, okay. That’s actually… I don’t know. Maybe that’s a little strange to me. Then that actually clues me in. Allergies, okay, maybe there’s something there. I don’t know yet, I’m not judging anything right now. Let’s just… so what’s interesting is actually there is a… there’s a category for ketogenic cookbooks. This one’s number four. And then there’s allergies. I’m going to open up both those spaces, so I can see the list of the top 10, top 100 in that niche. Bestsellers in ketogenic cookbooks. I can see A Practical Approach to Health, Easy Steps, Ketogenic Diet for Beginners.
But what I would do is, if I open up a couple of these, and these are cookbooks. We’ll see where we can go with that. Let’s just say, search special diets. This’ll all make sense in a second. Okay, Keto Diet: Your 30 Day Plan to Lose Weight. I’m just looking actually now, bestsellers and special diet cooking. So we have… these are the things where you’re going to find these trends. I’m like, “Okay, number three was this Keto Diet: Your 30 Day Plan to Lose Weight.” If I look at that one it’s like, lose weight, balance hormones, boost brain health and reverse disease.
Now with those in my mind as I read through everything else, do I see anybody else talk about losing weight? Do I see anybody else talking about hormones? That’s actually something I don’t know if I noticed before. Boost brain health, brain health was another one that was kind of common. That’s common in gluten free type diets and things like that is brain health.
Again, that’s what I’m trying to pick up on. On top of that, I’ll go in and I’ll read through the description. In this one, this is where it’s like, Get to Know Keto The Simple, Easy and Friendly Way. Starting a ketogenic diet can be overwhelming, so much to learn, blah, blah, blah. I don’t really care about that kind of stuff. This is an all in one resource for starting and sticking to the ketogenic diet. That’s another thing I notice. If I see sticking to a diet. Okay, so we want to make sure that however we position it, it’s easy and simple, it’s obviously effective for losing weight, and brain health and maybe some of these other things. It’s also… I guess if I’m positioning a product, I want to make sure that you’re also going to be confident that you’re going to stick to it.
These are the patterns. If I’m positioning a product around it, these are the things I want to hit on. This is where I just start to write down. Just write down notes. I’ll just highlight things. Then maybe if there’s a specific phrase or word choice that I really like, I’ll write that down and see if, okay, how can we riff on that. I never like to just… obviously it just gets into weird… I would never just copy and paste somebody’s phrasing into what I’m doing, but I would look at it and say, “Okay, how would I rephrase that in my own way to say something very similar, but in its own strong or profound way?” Not being overly clever or anything like that. Just being super clear.
I’m going to pause there. That was us going through real time on this. I would literally just… that was just on the title and the description. I haven’t even gotten to reviews. If I did get to reviews, just real briefly I would just say, I would look at the… obviously I’d look at the five star ones, but I always want to look at three stars and one star reviews. That’s another thing people want to avoid a lot. You definitely get trolls. You have to look for it. If somebody has critical feedback on something and it’s useful, like if the feedback was like… this is where you’ve got to have some gut and instinct and you can build this over time I think.
You have to know how to read a review and know what to take from it. I guess that’s another thing, I’ve just been in the space for so long I know how to extract the relevant information from the review. If somebody says something positive and then is critical, I know that person is for real. If they’re just critical, I take it with a grain of salt. Maybe they still highlight something that’s important, but otherwise haters are haters. You’re always going to get them. I don’t care about that. What I try to look is for those balanced interviews, but still spotlight, or balanced reviews but that still spotlight or highlight something that is actually a missing piece. And I say, “Okay, how do we solve that piece? How so we avoid getting that review on our product?”
Louis: That’s a great fucking answer to one question. Thanks for going through this with me. Perfect answer to what I had in mind. Let’s jump back to, and keep the energy going here, because we have a very good flow. Now that we know what people care about, we’ve read balanced reviews, we’ve read the way people position it in the book section, in other section, on Amazon, the way people talk about it. We have words that we can reuse in our copy and all of that. Then you started to talk about partnerships. What do you mean there? What do you mean by partnerships?
Tom: This would be… this is like, I think it’s more of a maybe advanced… it doesn’t matter if it’s advanced or not. I think everybody needs it. So bottom line is, whatever you’re doing at any space, niche or industry, you should be looking at who are the 10 or 20 or 30 strategic partnerships you could have in that space. I think this is true for those who are established just as much. If you somehow built everything you built from scratch. Just growing it organically, good on you. That’s amazing. Keep doing that. Now might be the time.
How could you leverage other established platforms in your space? How could you build a cartel in your space and run things that way? You’ll see this in every niche and industry. That’s exactly what ends up happening, whether you love it or hate it. The person who doesn’t win is a person who’s tried to go it alone forever. The person who does win over the long term I think is the person who is established, has a reason for being but then also is seeing how they can help other people and we’ll say other businesses, other people in their space. That’s what I mean by the cartel. It’s like, if there’s five or 10 people that you can connect with and you guys can all support each other, it means that… this ties into what I’ve done in the affiliate space too. Why I’m such a big proponent of affiliate programs.
I’ve spun up and managed and run affiliate programs. Hundreds of affiliates. Sometimes hundreds of affiliates in a single campaign. I’ve managed thousands of affiliate partners. I was actually, for a time being, I was the… I don’t want to say number one, but I was in the top 1 percent of users for Contactually which is a CRM, just because of how many emails I was sending to affiliates. To partners. It was all one to one, to recruit affiliates. Know that that’s kind of the vantage point I’m coming at for something like this. When I looked at affiliates, the affiliates I looked at were the people who had platforms. No just, “Oh, I want to share something on… ” You know what I mean? I’m not just going to share, make money as an affiliate, but people who have platforms, who could then be an affiliate.
So it always starts with the content. It starts with the market we’re speaking of, and then looking for strategic people in the space that could be supportive of what we’re doing, and we could support them. How do we all win? How do we all win? Can we collaborate? Can we all win? How do we all win?
If I put together a list of the top 20, top 30 people that I’d like to connect in that space where I think that we could all win if I was teamed up with them and vice versa if we worked together. Not necessarily collaboratively all together, but at least on a one to one basis. That’s critical because when I look at that, I’m like, this is who you can… coming back to the affiliate point I was getting at there is, by establishing these kind of relationships, not only is like, will it expose you then to new audience that may never have heard of you?
In the best possible light, because there’s nothing better than getting a referral from somebody, how did you connect with me? You connected with Andre, otherwise I don’t think you would have ever emailed me probably. Maybe. But it was like that referral, even just one to one, was strong and now we’re doing this call. Those things are really powerful. Who knows what we’re going to go on to go together or not. It doesn’t matter. Maybe I’ll intro you to other people who are great. So it’s just like, it’s this productive system of… it’s like a life giving system, almost. There’s a couple ways you can approach this stuff. Like really aggressively, crush the competition or I come at things more collaboratively. I’m kind of a publisher by trade with my publishing company. Everything I do is collaboratively. It really, really is. So I’m always looking for the win-win across the board where everybody wins if I can make it happen. By everybody, I don’t meet everybody in the world. I mean my partners and their audiences and they my business. If all three of us win, great. That’s awesome. That’s beautiful.
So with that piece, the other… the secondary piece of this is that it also boxes out other people from getting access to that same thing that I just discussed. This is why people that are established should do this as well, and people who are just beginning should look at developing and establishing these relationships soon. If you… this is what makes a killer affiliate program too, just kind of as an aside, is if you can build rapport with your affiliates and get them connected to you, and incentivize them. Like if you have a really killer affiliate program and you’re just good… you just have a solid program. Not just on the commissions front but how you communicate, how you work with that. Once somebody starts promoting and sharing your products or services, guess what. They’re going to… that means that they will probably continue to do so if it’s profitable or useful for them, they’ve gotten positive reinforcement. The second thing is they’re going to be less likely to promote and share somebody else’s that might be similar.
It’s kind of a box out strategy too a little bit is how I look at it. I’m like, “Listen. If I’m going to a space that’s even if you’re not ready for it right now.” Even if you don’t know how you’d engage, what that collaboration would look like, it’s like just look at it from a relationship standpoint. Be like, “This person’s in my space. I’d like to connect with them.” Don’t go with an agenda. That’s the best part. Go with no agenda. It’s the best way to do it and see how you could support them and do what you can to give first. I’m telling you, that’s where you start to see these things compound. Year two, year three, year four. I’m five, six years into this to the point where I could probably never write another blog post, do another podcast, do anything. I could just become a hermit just working on my mountain farm full-time and I would probably still get a good influx of traffic and leads, subscribers and sales into what I’m doing already with stuff that’s existing because I built the foundation over the last few years and it compounds.
Now, it doesn’t compound in perpetuity. I think it would train off. If I just totally stopped doing anything, this stuff would trail off. But that’s what’s beautiful about this is it has… there is a half-life to it. But these things done the right way, kind of setting the foundation, can help you into the future. Now and in the future. That’s the thing. Look at the future. It’s like, play the two or three or five year game. You don’t have to play the 50 or 100 year game like I think the Japanese are known to. That’s remarkable but not all of us are necessarily cut out for that. But at least play like maybe the three to five year game and say, “Even if nothing comes of this right now, can I build this relationship so that maybe in two or three years it ends up bearing fruit.”
Louis: Let’s say we’re in the keto space again. How do you go about identifying those 20, 10 partnerships? What do you look at?
Tom: I start… this is again, hopefully very practical for you guys. The first thing to start is just do a Google… Amazon is a great place. So depending on what I was doing, I look for the people who have written books on a subject. Great place to start. That person probably has a platform. Probably, not always.
Louis: What do you mean by platform? Is an email list or something tangible that we discussed at the start, right?
Tom: Yeah, yeah. Again, that’s why I say platform kind of broadly speaking because I think that would say… typically it would mean a website, but maybe there’s people who don’t have website but somehow have an email list or newsletter. But it would typically mean a website, it would typically mean maybe, ideally they do have an email list. That’s the best, because then they get it. Anybody I work with who has an email list gets it. They will be successful in life if they’re already doing that. I believe it. If they keep doing it, they’re doing good work. They have an email list, they’ll be successful in life. That’s my major life hack.
Then the second thing is I’ll look at social media platforms and things like that. Again, I don’t put too much gravitas or I don’t add too much weight or say there’s… I don’t overweight the value of say a Twitter following. But if it’s there and they’re sharing content, that’s the thing. If they’re sharing, if they’re teaching and sharing stuff for free and it’s high value. That’s what I mean. Then I’m like, “If they’re doing it, even if I… ” The thing is, what starts from this, by the way. You’ll notice, I’m not talking anything about the size of their reach, their audience, their email list. I don’t know any of those things and I don’t care. I don’t care about that because I cannot… there’s a lot of people who come at it that way. I think that’s a losers game, too. If you take what I’m teaching you right now and then you approach it that way, like, “Well I’m going to get with the people who have at least 1,000 people on their list or 10,000.” That’s how I’m going to approach this, you’ve lost before you started. You… I don’t know. We can get into that. That’s just such a losers game.
Instead, focus on the quality of what that person’s doing. See if you resonate with what they’re doing. If this is the space you’re in, you should know it well enough. You should know the types of people you’d want to be allied with and the people you’d like to support. The kind of people you probably share on your social media channel for no compensation. You just share freely because it’s good. It’s so… I don’t know.
Part of it is also so painfully common sense, but then the other part is, I understand it. It’s like, coming into it, especially if you’re new, you’re trying to grow something, start it. You think, “Oh I don’t have any clout. I need to have this brand and then I need to be established and then I can reach out to people.” It’s like, no, you don’t really need any of that stuff, man. I started from scratch. I was in the army when I started. I started a podcast on the side. I went to a couple events. I just connected with people. I started blogging and writing about other people and showcasing it. Man, one thing led to another man. One thing led to another. I did it freely. I had no intention.
That’s why I know the system works and why we continue to make it work, now and into the future. It’s like, I got to come at this with no sneaky undertone. It’s got to be like, “I would like to partner with this person.” Or, “This is the person I’d like to be friends with if I could.” Or, “I’d love to have a relationship with this person.” Whether it’s a business context. That’s the context we’re talking about. In a business context, this would by the kind of person I’d to align myself with. What can I do to just pay it forward? Does that answer the question? I know we touched on a few different things there.
Louis: It does. It does, so yeah. You don’t look at the size, you look at whether you’re going to… actually you connect with them from an emotional point of view as well. From a psychographic not just demographic. If I had only look at the number of followers that people have on this podcast before putting them on the spot and inviting them as a guest, I would have missed on so many relationships, so many contacts, so many people.
For example, André. André Chaperon who is a master copywriter that we have in common that we know in common. From an outside perspective, if I’m big enough, you would just miss out on him, because he doesn’t have Twitter. He doesn’t give a shit about it. You wouldn’t really know the size of his email list. He doesn’t say it. From an outside perspective, you’ll miss on it. But actually he has an influence that is just massive, because he puts quite a few shit out there and people respect him a lot. He knows a lot of people. If I had ignore him just by looking at the numbers, yeah, I would have missed on a friendship with him, friendships with plenty of other people, connections and all of that. I think what you’re saying makes absolutely, total sense.
At this stage we have two things, right? At this stage we have an understanding of what the landscape look like and the product we want to sell. Like in keto space, positioning, values. What people give a shit about. What they don’t like, what they like. We also have a list of… I don’t want to talk necessarily about a list, but at least we have 10 to 20 folks we want to get in touch with, that you connect with, that you admire, that you feel are right for you. Then you talk about partnering up with them, offering them quid pro quo, offering them some things, and they give you something in return.
Give me an example of what it means, exactly. Like for the keto stuff, how do you make sure that you come at it from an angle of, “Well I actually need your help for something?” But also, “I want to make sure I can help you in return.”
Tom: I would just break it up into two different things. I would start with, “What can I just give first?” That’s the thing. I don’t believe in cold email. I don’t think it works. I was reading an article. I think maybe it was… maybe it was Quora. Like a Quora answers. Somebody is like, “My cold email isn’t working. I’ve sent 1,000 emails. I haven’t gotten any responses.” The response back was from somebody, I forget who, it was something like, “You need to send probably at least 10,000 emails to get one response.”
That’s not the game we’re playing here. I think that’s important to point out. I know we keep coming back to saying, “What’s the game you’re playing?” But I think that’s actually really important. Because you get to decide the game you’re playing. There’s a lot of ways to carve this stuff up. What I’m saying, there’s going to be somebody else on the planet who believes the exact opposite and that’s okay because that’s the game they’re playing.
The game I’m playing is more relationship driven. I’m looking at the long term. My hope then, because of that and then that allows me, is that this thing will flourish in the future, regardless if something pans out right now. It also means that I’ve put in the time and effort early and often, as much as I can. So I try to warm up a relationship if I can. I try to pay it forward if I can. So if I’m in one of those spaces now sometimes there’s a direct email approach works, but even in that case. And cold, what is cold email? It means the person doesn’t really know you. My preference is that I don’t really… my preference is that I don’t email somebody who doesn’t know who I am. I’d prefer they kind of know me.
How do I do that? Well you follow them on social media. Maybe you engage with them on social media if that’s where they’re posting stuff. They have a newsletter, maybe you reply to their newsletter. Little things like that. If you get a… that’s kind of where I start. That’s what I do in any space I’m in. Then I try to see if somebody will reply back or respond to me. The recognition, they recognize that I exist, that I’m there. Then, then, that’s when I would now put something out there, whether it’s… again, ideally if I really care… you have to be really careful because you can’t go from that to zero to 60. It’s like, “Okay, if they reply to Twitter, to a Tweet I sent, now I’m going to solicit them with some kind of offer.” Again, you lose before you start.
But it’s more knowing that. If you know the person you… that’s why I say, 20 or 30. You only need a few. You only need maybe 10 strategic partners, I think. That’s why I was saying or kind of alluding to when I was saying all the stuff I’d done I could kind of walk away and just work on my forum full-time if I wanted, because of the strategic partnerships I kind of have in place. The people who’ve kind of put me in a box for their audiences, for instance. It’s aligned very well.
Coming back to you, it’s like doing this, it’s like, you want to say, you should know what they’re about and you should know the types of content they’re sharing, you should know what they’re trying to sell. You should try to support them in that. Maybe share. If they have a new product come out, share it. Write a review on something they’ve done. Maybe post on YouTube or post it on wherever. Write a blog post about it. Do something to pay it forward. I think that will be… if you were doing this for real, long-term, that’s the thing to do. Do that before you ever solicit anyone for anything.
If you’re trying to expedite that, I would say you can go direct to a… you can directly solicit somebody. You got to have a really compelling case for it, and that has to be personal. I’ve not seen that work if it’s not a personal email. Me to the other person and that email basically or that message showcases that one, I’ve been paying attention to them. I know what they’re about. I’m explaining to them why I think whatever I’m doing will be a good fit.
But not just like, “Hey Tom, I know you’re a… ” I get these emails all the time. Sometimes I star them and just save them. I’m like, I wonder if I should do a video about this or highlight… I don’t want to be negative on people but sometimes you feel somebody just sent the worst emails. It’s just mind blowing. And you know they’re sending them to thousands of people because they’re like, “Oh hey Tom, love the blog. I wanted to know if you do any kind of collaborations? Hit reply to this email or let me know.” It’s like, “Dude, that was so stupid. You should have not even said I had a great blog because I know you didn’t look at it.”
But if you’re going to do something like that, take the time. Read a couple blog posts. Listen to a couple podcasts and then reference those. Say, “Hey, because I know you interviewed this and this person and you wrote about it on this blog over here, but I know you don’t have a product for it, I thought something like my product would be a good fit.” Because like in the keto space, it’s like, “You have a cookbook, but I wasn’t sure if you had a meal tracker.” Or something like that. I don’t know. I’m just riffing on something like that.
The way I define this, I’m looking for, I call it the slide in technique. If I’m looking at somebody, I want to look at the people where it’s like, what I’m doing would be able to slide in and support say their offer or their product ladder. So the things they’re already selling, it’s like… what I don’t want to do is reach out to somebody who has basically similar offer or very, very similar and say, “Hey, would you like… ” If it comes off as being competitive, obviously that makes no sense. So I’d look at places where it’s like, “Okay, so what I’m doing, it’s competitive, conceptually it’ll be competitive with maybe these 10 people, so I’m not going to reach out to them, at least not at first. Not with soliciting, but I would look at these people over here.
If I had something like, let’s say I have a keto cookbook actually. I wouldn’t reach out to people who are already publishing keto cookbooks. But I would look at people who are in the keto space, who don’t have a cookbook. Or I’d look at people who are in the keto space talking about some other aspects of it and then maybe that will be my approach. Does that make sense? So it’s kind of a slide in technique.
Louis: Yeah. So let’s say you have cookbook. You reach out to people who have a podcast in the keto space, a massive email list. They might sell a course or something like that. I think if I had to take myself, right, and you’re much more experienced than I am, but I would actually already say, “Hey I have this cookbook. I’m actually planning on mentioning you in this book because I love this episode.” Or whatever, and you don’t ask anything in return and say, “Hey, I’ve been following you for a while, I love what you do. I’m actually planning on mentioning you in this book.” And that’s it. Just let you know. Then you wait for a response. I mean, that’s a normal relationship. Obviously that’s a bit condensed. Is that the way you like to see it?
Tom: Yeah, I like that. That’s why I like things like podcasts. If I can invite somebody onto a podcast, that’s a give. People can turn it down and bigger names for sure probably would if you’re not totally established and whatnot. But that’s the other thing. Be aware of who you’re reaching out to and how? You’re probably not going to get maybe the biggest name in your space right away to partner up with. Don’t be unrealistic about it. Look for the other people who are hustling just like you but have already… who are doing things right, that resonate with you. What can you do to pay it forward.
That’s why I like a podcast. I’m not saying everybody should start a podcast but I think podcasts are great for that. Asking somebody to join you on your podcast is a great way to do it. Asking people to maybe answer a question. Say, “I’m going to write an article on this topic and I’d love your answer to this topic so I could feature you.” That’s the next step, also the first pieces I’m just mentioning you.
The next step of that… ideally, I would like to get a reaction to one of those things where I’m just putting something out there. If I said, “Hey, this is an amazing blog post, thank you so much.” If nobody replies to me on that, I don’t know. Think about it, it’s like that person doesn’t have the time of day… maybe I got to do a couple more things but just to see if there’s a reply. I’m not asking anything. But if they don’t reply, if they don’t respond. That’s maybe an indicator.
I’m not saying nothing can happen, but what I’m getting at is when you do this, some people will not, but some people will. Those people that reply, great. They paid attention, they saw what you did. Then the next step I would say is like, yeah, how do I bring them to the fold to engage with them in a way that’s still useful for them. In an interview question, getting them on a podcast, asking their feedback on something. Short, sweet, simple, easy, not a ton. Not, “Hey can I pick your brain for half an hour on a call?” But like, hey. Those are the ways to do it.
If you wanted some accelerators things like that, if there’s somebody you really want to partner with I think, there’s a case to be made where if you buy their products and services, it’s really maybe a smart way to get in, too. If you hire someone as a consultant or something like that, or coach. It could be in… not saying that’s what you have to do for every single person, but these are things. Think about it. If you’re doing that and you’re paying and you bought their products, you’re paying for what they’re doing, guess what? They’re going to listen to you more than they’re going to listen to the random person who just emailed them that they don’t really know.
Louis: You need… you just, you need to keep it for what you expect to get. That’s kind of one of the principles of just basic human interaction, like in the normal life you can just ask. I mean, if you’re normal you’re going to ask straight away for the sale. You would just ask questions where they are and get interested and just build relationships.
For now, we have the story. We know who we are talking to. We know what they like, what they don’t like, what they want, the positioning. We know the type of… we have built relationships. We’ve talked partnership partners that we can leverage on. Then, what we do? Because we haven’t launched yet. Do you put all those things together and just say, “Hey, in two months time I have this thing coming up, what is the next step? Are we missing something?”
Tom: No, I think that’s it, broadly speaking. I mean there might be some nuance in there but… and maybe some small things that I’m forgetting to lay out here. But broadly speaking, I would say yeah. Now once I know the person, I’ve connected with them, that’s actually kind of a critical piece too. I would… my preference, my recommendation is try to get on a call with somebody before you ever really do try to solicit some kind of promotional partnership.
That’s not always the case. It’s a little slower, too. But it’s really powerful, man. Once I’ve been on a call with somebody, every time I email that person again or message them, it feels normal. It feels good. Whereas even if I’ve had a positive response to the email, if I’ve never actually gotten on a call with the person, it’s a little tough. It’s like, how do you gauge that relationship? There’s no shared experience that we have yet. Granted if you go through a campaign, you do have that shared experience, but I will say that there’s very few things that would be to call, a Zoom call, a Skype call or obviously meeting in person but we’re trying to do things a little bit… I’m assuming you’re not or that’s not possible or more difficult. But it’s like, try to get in a call. It’s worthwhile.
The second thing is just like yeah, when it comes to this, it’s like, this is kind of in the subtext of what we’re talking about, but it was, know what the person you’re trying to connect with, the relationship you’re trying to build, the person that would be great for you if they shared your product or service and would be good for them, you know what makes them tick.
Know what makes them tick because what doesn’t make most people tick, and this is what I see people do all the time and then they just get ignored, is coming up to them and saying, “Hey, would you share this thing? I’ll give you a commission.” It’s like, nobody needs a commission on anything ever. We can talk commissions once somebody’s in and they got it. Then we can talk commission, you know what I mean? But it’s like, that’s not the topic that you broach right to start. It’s 99 percent of the time, or 90 percent of the time, that is not what most people care about.
It’s like, is it a good fit, is it a win for their… because think about it. We’re talking to people who are quote unquote influencers. People with platforms. People who are speaking to… have readers, subscribers. So the only reason they do that is because they care about what they’re doing. They care about those readers, they care about those subscribers, they want to treat them right. What they don’t want is a 30 percent commission on some product from somebody they don’t know. That’s not an incentive. So it’s got to be a good fit. You ask where you have to start and you have to understand what makes them tick. So that’s why when you pay attention, that’s what I’m saying. Start with just 10 people in your space. Keep it short and keep it small. Spend more time with those 10 but look at what they are offering.
Pay attention. Look at that, because if you don’t, if you’re not paying attention to that, you shouldn’t reach out. If you don’t know what the kind of thing that they offer are, don’t reach out, unless it’s like, you’ve done your homework but you haven’t quite seen what they’ve shared. Then you can put that in the messaging and say, “Hey, I don’t know if this fits for what you do. I’ve never seen you do something like this. I thought it could be a good fit because X, Y, Z.” You need to know what makes them tick. If you’ve seen them promote. If you’re trying to do an affiliate related offer but you’ve seen them promote as an affiliate other things, perfect. Then you can mention, it’s like, “I know you shared these other things.” That’s a good indicator. Now you can kind of approach it that way.
So you want to know what makes them tick. That usually is gut instinct and just paying attention to what they’re doing, ideally trying to communicate with them and have a conversation. If you can get on a call, you can know what makes them tick very easily. Anytime I do a podcast, the way I’ll wrap it up is like, “Awesome, what are you working on? What’s your focus right now? Cool. What’s going to help you? How can I support you?” Those couple of questions at the end of a podcast, I’ll know exactly what makes this person tick and I can go from there. That’s why I think nothing really beats a call if you can help it.
But then yeah, once you get beyond that, it’s like coordinating the campaign or the promotion. This is what we’re doing, this is why it’d be a good fit, are you in or out basically. Making it super simple. I always try to make it super simple. I try to respect people’s inboxes. I assume that everybody’s almost as lazy and busy as I am and then that’s how I write, craft all my messages. And then sure enough, I’ve gotten tons of replies from people. Some people will tell me, “You’re the only person I will ever do an affiliate promotion for.” Or, “Anytime you want to share something, Tom, let me know. I’ll work with you on any campaign you’re doing.” Because I built that trust and I built that rapport and I paid it forward and then when we did a campaign it was successful.
That’s the other thing. I think a lot of people will look at this and go, “Oh, okay. I’m going to do that.” And they put something out there. It’s an untested offer. You can do that. You can do untested offers this way through partnerships, but it’s scary. Know what you’re getting into. My preference would be you don’t do any kind of joint venture of affiliate offer, anything like that until you’ve proven the model. Last thing you want is to go through all that hard work and then nothing pans out. It’s like, where’s it at there?
I want to make money for my partners. I want to… with the keto thing, I made our partners so much money, it’s stupid. We wrote some really, really big checks. That’s awesome. I love that. I love writing big checks to partners and affiliates and things like that. It makes me happy. The metric I care about is how much money we’re paying our partners and affiliates. That’s the number I care about. Everything else will follow suit.
Now again, that’s my model, that’s the business I’m in. But I think some of those things hopefully you can apply to what you’re doing no matter what space you’re in.
Louis: Wow, so yeah. You shared a shit ton of value right there in the last I don’t know, hour at this stage. Thanks so much for going through this step by step with me. I know people will really enjoy this, especially your live Amazon demonstration. I have plenty of other questions, but I’m mindful of your time as well. I think we could do a second visit in the next few months to follow up on the revenue sharing, commission, affiliates and how to sort of… the technicality of it. I think you’ve touched on the most important things that folks listening to this right now need to remember. Thanks so much for spending that much time on it.
I have three questions to ask you before I let you go. The first one being, what do you think marketers should learn today that will help them in the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years?
Tom: How to tell a good story that ties into the partnership. It’s still story telling. I’m not even just talking about telling a story that sells on a sales page or anything. Just learn what makes a good story. Understand story telling. Understand how to tell a story that captivates people. That’s how I get responses from people, from affiliates and partners too. Because I know how to tell a story that resonates with what they care about. I know what makes them tick. I can write a story and I can explain that. There’s an art and a science to effective email conversation that way and messaging in this era that we’re in where people… it’s really hard to get somebody on a phone call, so you need to be effective in your communication. So learn how to tell an effective story in a small amount of space.
Louis: Maybe on the back of that then, what are the top three resources you recommend to listeners? It could be anything from book, podcast, conference. Anything.
Tom: I’d say… I’m going to twist this. I’m going to say you should shut off more things. I think you should turn off more things. I think you should cut out more things. If you’re listening to this podcast, don’t cut that out. Obviously there’s value here. Take the one or two or three people that you trust. Maybe there’s more. Five, 10, I don’t know. Whatever’s good for you. You can find that balance personally. But cut out everything else.
I’ve been off news for the last at least six months. Maybe close to a year. I remember when I cut off the news, it was like Donald Trump was going to be found for collusion and something else like that. I was like, “I’m going to turn this off.” Like, “I don’t know if this helps my life.” Every now and then I’ll get an update from somebody. Somebody recently told me, it’s like, “Oh yeah, you didn’t hear about The Mueller Report?” It’s like, “No man. I don’t listen to the news.”
But sure enough, here’s the thing. I didn’t pay attention to any of it. Everything’s still the same. It’s still the exact same. So what I’m saying is, cut the news off. Cut the media off. Turn off Netflix, turn off the garbage that you’re putting into your system. What you put in, your inputs will dictate your outputs. So cut out all the garbage.
Focus on just the few people you trust that are teaching something good and useful. That’s it. So I’m not going to add more stuff to you. I’m serious. Whatever you’re at. Whatever you already… you already know what those are that you gravitate toward and that you’re listening to. I’m just saying, cut out all the other inputs, man. It just decays and it eats at you. A lot of times it is to persuade you or get you to do things. To spend money, to do things that you don’t want to do. Cut out those garbage inputs and just focus on the two or three or four people that you like and trust and they’re providing you with quality content. Like this podcast, obviously.
Louis: Yeah, that’s a great answer and I concur with you. I used to listen to news like two or three years ago. I honestly don’t follow it anymore. I don’t listen. It’s surprising when people ask, “What podcast do you listen to? What books do you read?” I actually don’t listen to marketing podcasts anymore. The only books that I read are non-fiction and fiction stuff as well. It’s just closing off as you say in most of the gates. Making sure that you just select the input that you get. It just changes your life. You just need to fight the formal for a while and then you feel fine. You realize…
Tom: Yes, that is… you’re not missing out on anything. And you know what? Everybody else is being hypnotized and revved up. You’re like, it’s not worth it guys. It’s not worth it. Cut it out, shut it off. I’m telling you. Then, the reason you know, I’m the same way. I don’t really listen to marketing podcasts much. I listen to yours with Seth Godin just to get an idea and a feel for it. Those are the kind of things I’ll do just to know what’s going on a bit. There’s definitely people I listen to in this space.
But it’s also one of those things where I’m like, I kind of get it now. I get the joke on the marketing side. That’s what I’m saying. I apply this even to my own life. It’s like, I get the jokes. I don’t need to keep listening to see, maybe I’ll pick up something that’s really game changing. It’s like, no, I know exactly what to do. Now I just need to do it better.
Every now and then when I run across something that’s new and it’s a challenge, I ask the smartest people I know. So I’m a part of some communities and masterminds and things like that. That’s where I start. I’m like, hey, recently it was like, how do I do this one technical kind of thing for thousands and thousands of customers? I asked and I got a great answer and now I know what to do. It’s like, that’s all I care about. Everything else I cut off. I don’t need to know about the latest hack or whatever. Which is not to say, if you’re in that position and you’re still getting started, I listened to everything when I was just getting started.
You do have to just feel what’s out there. I get it if you’re beginning or you like that stuff, do it. But anything that doesn’t bear fruit. Pay attention to what bears fruit and what does not. If you’re just consuming just to consume and it’s not bearing fruit, then you need to make a decision in your life. You’re either somebody who likes to read and learn, quote unquote and not do. That’s okay if you can be truthful with yourself. But if you’re realizing, “Oh, I’m listening to everything but I’m not doing anything.” You need to shut off everything and just do one thing. That’s it. Just start with that one thing and go from there.
Louis: Great way to end this interview, man. You’ve been fantastic. I think people will really enjoy this. Where can people connect with you, learn more from you?
Tom: Go to TomMorkes.com. T-0-M-M-O-R-K-E-S.com. You’ll see a bunch of my stuff right there. That’s the best place to connect and sign up for the newsletter there. Hit reply to an email that I send you and we’ll take it from there.
Louis: Tom again, thanks so much for being fantastic.
Tom: Yeah, it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve got to do it again sometime.
Louis: Oh we will take care man.
I’m a no-fluff marketer living in Dublin, Ireland (but yeah, I’m French).
I believe you can treat people the way you’d like to be treated and still generate results without using sleazy, aggressive, hack-y marketing. This is why I’ve started Everyone Hates Marketers – a no-fluff, actionable marketing podcast – as a side project in April 2017.
I’m also the Content Lead at Hotjar – a powerful way to analyse people’s behaviour on your website or app and understand how you can improve their experience.