A reader asks:
First, you fucking rock. Thank you for doing what you do. I mean it.
I am a big fan of yours and someone who has purchased and studied your 10-Minute Workday course (by neural-imprinting every module about a year ago).
More importantly, I’ve put it to use. Over the past year I’ve accumulated a rabid list and fanbase of 5,000 people who love learning, reading and writing the old school way–using analog tools (pen, paper, writing drafts by hand).
I am about to launch my physical monthly newsletter and I’ve been struggling with the title for over a month.
Halbert advises using your name in the title (see his GHL attached).
You recommend focusing on a niche as it’s difficult to sell vague philosophy.
I’ll be teaching writing, copywriting (influential writing), reading/learning strategies, and marketing.
I can see the pros and cons vs. both.
Specificity (Using a Niche) vs. Freedom (Using Your Name)
No pressure to answer, but this could be a good one to address in a daily email, and it would help me greatly.
Couple things he got backwards:
First being niche vs general. There are times to niche down and go narrow, and there are times to loosen up and go wide. All depends on the situation, the business, the goals, and probably at least 100 other variables.
Second, this might sound like evil direct marketing “sacrilege” but:
I do believe in selling philosophy.
True, not “vague” philosophy.
But I even taught selling the philosophy first in Email Players last year.
Specifically, as a weapon in a series of trainings I invented that I call:
“Sixth Generation Marketing Warfare”
I taught the philosophy side of this in the July 2021 issue.
So I am not going to give away the whole punchline here free.
But, the basics are:
1. There was a time when it was very hard — maybe even impossible — to sell philosophy up front with direct marketing and not go broke. For example, I doubt even the late, great Marty Edelston paying Gene Schwartz his last $3500 could have gotten away with sending a bunch of direct mail about his philosophies up front, instead of the offer & benefits, and going for the jugular.
Gary Halbert also warned of the dangers of selling philosophy in a seminar.
And, back then (during the time of 3rd Gen Marketing warfare) he was right.
2. But with the internet, and especially the advent of community building… plus a gigantic glut of info marketers now bombarding your leads with direct marketing, all more or less citing the exact same benefits (ain’t nothing new under the sun) that you are plugging… I argue and have been practicing this myself for years, that a business’s philosophy is what many people now “buy” first, and then the benefits. They buy into your philosophy, they’ll buy your offers, no matter how weak your copy or ineptly marketed your offers or even how obviously and blatantly corrupt a business is in a lot of cases.
So I want to make that abundantly clear.
I am pro selling the philosophy.
But, he is right, it can’t be vague philosophy.
As for his question about titles:
I use multiple methods for naming my book, software, and other titles.
And I “codified” all those methods in my upcoming book Markauteur — about how to grow a feening horde of customers inside a visual & design marketing ‘universe’ they love to buy from and hate to leave. Believe it or not, I consider the words in a title to be as much a part of the “visual” design as the images & graphics, and vice versa. Something old school advertising masters like, for example, Leo Burnett did as well.
All right so there you are.
My flagship product is called Email Players.
It’s a monthly newsletter, and you can learn more about it here: