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5 Lessons on Marketing From My Conversation with Dave Harland on ‘The Business of Fun’

Had a chance to have a great conversation with Dave Harland on my podcast, “The Business of Fun” this week.

You should definitely sign up for his newsletter: The Word…after mine, it is my favorite newsletter and I learn something every week.

As I was editing the podcast and getting it ready to share, I reflected on a few key lessons that Dave taught me during our time chatting:

Don’t Make Creativity an Event: Dave’s example of keeping a file of ideas so that when he sits down to write his newsletter, LinkedIn posts, or Tweets, he doesn’t have to be creative on demand…he has a resevoir of ideas that he can draw from.

I’ve been doing that for a number of years as well.

This idea helps you have ideas at the ready.

Will all of them be genius?


But how do you have good ideas?

By having lots of ideas.

Marketing and Advertising Don’t Need to be Boring: We got talking about Dave’s POV as a marketer. We share a similar angle that your biggest challenge is being ignored.

So you want to make sure that your message gets across. That doesn’t happen if you are the thousandth person to say “look at my discount”. You do it by standing out.

How can you do it?

For Dave, it is about humor and not being the boring person on LinkedIn.

For me, I will use humor, sarcasm, and using bad ideas as an enemy.

There are more ways of doing this, but try just one idea to help you stand out from the normal BORING messages that blend into the background on the internet or out in the world.

Your Brand Won’t Be For Everyone: You need to be comfortable with that.

A lot of people will say that any business is good business, but I’ve found that this isn’t close to be true.

If you are going to be successful in your marketing, you are going to want to stand for somethings and be willing to be against other things as well.

Your positioning is about saying, “I’m for this and I’m not for this.”

Drawing the distinction is good for business.

If someone is for everyone, they are really for no one.

2-3% Open Rates on Your Email Campaigns Isn’t Good: Your headline is the most important part of your email.

Dave quotes another Dave: David Oligilvy when he says, “When you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent 80 cents of your dollar.”

Never underestimate the power of writing a good headline.

If you can’t get them to open the email, you can’t get them to take action on your CTA.

Use puns. Use provocation. Be witty. Make promises. Whatever…just realize if you don’t get people to open your email, you are losing them right away.

Keep Your Message Simple: One message. One CTA. One. One. One.

I keep working on doing this with ‘Talking Tickets’ and I’ve definitely gotten better at that with ‘The Business of Value‘. But make the message matter by being clear here.

You see a ton of emails or marketing messages that are trying to do too much.

They may make multiple offers.

They might be focusing on trying to convey a CTA that applies to too many segments of the market.

There could be any number of problems.

To get the best possible outcomes: simplicity sells.

Give the full episode a listen…then share the episode, rate the podcast, and review it on your favorite podcast platform.

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