Direct-Marketing Strategies: Generous, Successful Tampa Businessman Wants To Share The Wealth, And… He Wants To Share It With Every Entrepreneur Online!
Here’s a transcript of a pretty cool interview I recently did, over at ShoestringVenture.com
Generous, Successful Tampa Businessman Wants To Share The Wealth, And… He Wants To Share It With Every Entrepreneur Online!
A short authors bio :
Craig Garber is a Lead Generation specialist and the author of “How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers.” Since April, 2006, Craig has also published The Seductive Selling Newsletter, an offline monthly newsletter currently read in 15 countries, world-wide. Garber started his career in business as a CPA, and began his career in marketing as a copywriter, in March of 2000.
Today, he is one of the highest-paid direct-marketing consultants in the country, having worked with over 300 clients in more than 87 different industries. Craig helps entrepreneurs automate and improve their lead generation and sales processes, so they too, can start earning, “Maximum Money.”
Originally from The Bronx, today Garber lives in a much more peaceful setting. Craig and his wife, and their three children, live in a relaxing lake-house just outside of Tampa, Florida. When he’s not working, you’ll find him traveling, working out, taking photos, on his deck reading and smoking a cigar, listening to music, or bass fishing on his lake.
A book synopsis / Key Ideas:
If you are passionate about marketing, selling, or making money, then this is the most important book you will ever read. Inside: Why most marketing fails… How to write sales letters that sell… and the little-known secret to attracting endless amounts of highly-qualified leads who are ready to buy, NOW.
Why did you write this book?
Interesting story. I was going to write a book offering a few general direct-marketing strategies people can use, when they are starting out.
But I went over to Portugal to visit one of my mentors. Now you have to appreciate this guy is extremely successful and he’s made well in excess of over $300 Million dollars during his career.
You also have to appreciate that I’m pretty hard on myself and probably don’t give myself enough credit for some of the things I’ve accomplished.
Like many “Type A” personalities, I tend to look at the things I can still improve, rather than the things I’ve done well.
Anyway, so I’m over in Portugal and my friend turns around to me, and he says, in a VERY serious tone of voice, with his lovely French accent (he’s originally from Paris)… “Craig, tell me… how did you manage to make so much money with such a small list?”
So when a guy with his level of success wants to know something from you… it’s a pretty good indication that maybe other people are also going to want to get their hands on this same information.
And thus… “How To Make Maximum Money With Minimum Customers,” was born.
why readers should buy your book and what they will get out of it after reading it.
This book is light on theory and heavy on actionable steps that take your online or offline business to new heights. This isn’t for people looking for the next shiny object, it’s for real entrepreneurs looking for more business, or looking to maximize revenue with your current customer base.
Do you have a blog, what is the link, what do you talk about in your blog?
I have quite an active blog at www.kingofcopy.com. The content on my blog is typically laid out like this:
- Copywriting and lead generation and direct-marketing strategies 40 – 45%
- Success, achievement, personal productivity and other mindset issues 30%
- Personal stories or opinions, pop culture types of issues 20%
- Pure promotional e-mails 5 – 10%
Some people might be surprised to find out that I’m not discussing my core business topic more, so let me explain why. In reality, although people will usually come to you looking for this one thing — but if you want them to stick around over the long haul, you’re going to have to keep them entertained. Even the theme on a television show changes from time to time — and that’s because people get bored with the same stuff, all the time.
And if you give your readers a chance to know you beyond the one thing they came for, you can develop a relationship with them that extends beyond this one thing, as well.
Do you do speaking events? What are some common ones you do on a regular basis? What do you talk about?
Yes, I do speak from time to time at marketing events, trade meetings, or at events where a significant portion of the attendees are entrepreneurs or business owners.
I typically share strategies that rapidly improve your lead generation, marketing, and sales results. Or basic copywriting strategies that dramatically increase the performance of your sales letters and your marketing. I also put on my own events from time to time.
Do you do your own marketing or PR? What is a good marketing / PR strategy for a budding author?
Yes, I do all my own marketing, because this is what I do for a living. I’ve not had much success with PR, though.
Depending on your subject, there are a number of different things you can do. Of course, conventional online marketing like PPC and banner ads work. But you can also do very well with joint ventures and offline strategies like direct mail.
Do you tweet, facebook fan page, or use any other social media to get the word out? (Please provide links)
Although I have a presence on facebook, MOST of my best customers aren’t spending too much time on facebook.
In fact, I recently split up my facebook pages into one page for personal use, and another “business page” for professional use and communication.
I found myself not really enjoying facebook with my actual friends, because all my business communication was being posted in the same place, so it made more sense for everyone involved, to simply separate these two communication channels.
What free online or offline tools do you use?
Here are a few of online resources I use – most of them are free or very inexpensive:
- Organizing and developing ideas: workflowy.com
- Fleshing out business ideas or project viability: leancanvas.com
- Taking surveys: SurveyMonkey.com
- To catch up on reading later, on your iPhone or iPad: Instapaper.com
- email formatting: formatit.com
Offline tools include:
- Adobe InDesign:
I’ve been publishing Seductive Selling, my offline newsletter, since April 2006. I started publishing it with Adobe InDesign sometime in 2007, and it has been one of the best moves I’ve made.
Adobe products aren’t the most user-friendly, but they are very functional and helpful.
I also use InDesign to create my offline space and display advertising in magazines and newspapers, as well as some of my direct mail.
I use Microsoft Office to lay out most of the copywriting for my sales letters, but Office is limited in what it can do. Once you add even the simplest kind of designs or graphics, layouts become very difficult to manage.
This is a great interface developed by the US Post Office, offering basic mailers a simple and swift process to send out your direct mail.
Why would someone buy your products or use your services?
I show entrepreneurs how to use emotional direct-response marketing and copywriting, to do the following:
- Increase the amount of leads you’re getting…
- Stop wasting your time with tire-kickers and looky-loos, who are just shopping around for the lowest prices in town or online, and start dealing only with qualified prospects who can afford to buy…
- Increase the value of your clients…
- Increase response rates to all kinds of marketing, and…
- Convert prospects into paying customers and clients, much faster.
What are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make?
In my experience of working directly with over 300 clients in more than 87 different industries, and in consulting with many more in group settings, there are three typical mistakes:
- First, contrary to conventional wisdom, most businesses don’t fail because they run out of money. That’s like saying most cars don’t get to their destination because they run out of gas.
The truth is, most businesses fail because of an inability to attract new customers and clients. In fact, even if you STINK at everything else exceptgetting new leads, you’ll still be able to make money. Put enough leads into your sales funnel and SOMEONE is going to buy! ‘Nuff said.
- Second biggest mistake is charging too little.
Most people compete by price, and when you compete by price, the customers and clients you’re attracting are loyal to your pricing, not to you. So the second someone undercuts you by 5%… your competitive edge is gone.
Truly successful businesses, typically charge MORE than their competition, not less. Low pricing is RARELY a competitive edge. Which brings me right to mistake #3, and that is:
- Not understanding how to position yourself.
Unless you can create some kind of marketplace positioning… some kind of Unique Selling Proposition which justifies “why you exist,” then you’re going to have a hard time differentiating yourself from everyone else. And therefore, your performance is going to be similar to everyone else’s, and that means “mediocrity,” at best.
If you focus ONLY on these three things, you can’t help but become a marketplace leader. Do this, and your business will support you in a lifestyle you never imagined was possible.
I know this because I used to be one of the entrepreneurs who consistently made every one of these mistakes. Learning direct-marketing and copywriting literally changed my life, and my family’s life, as well.
What’s the best business idea you’ve either implemented yourself, or… the best idea you’ve ever seen implemented in another business?
By far, for both myself and for clients of mine, implementing some kind of a “continuity” business model, has the most impact.
This is a model where you get your customers or clients on some kind of monthly program where they receive something of value monthly, and are also billed monthly for it.
In it’s most simplistic form, examples of this are the old Columbia House record of the month club, or the newspaper subscription model, or now you have things like cigar of the month, or wine of the month clubs.
This is a great business model because a portion of your revenue then becomes reliable, predictable, and stable — month in, and month out.
Your customer loyalty is also HUGE and the relationships you have with your buyers, is much stronger than the relationship your competition has.
And, there is virtually no business that can’t implement some form of continuity,.
How many people are currently working for you, including employees (freelancers or independent contractors for specific projects)?
We have one full-time employee besides myself, and two or more independent contractors working for us at any given time.
What is the best advice you never got?
I grew up in a fairly dysfunctional and extremely underachieving household, so confidence and open-mindedness was a scarce commodity.
The advice I wish I had, was to believe in myself. If I believed in myself earlier, I’d have been much more successful, a LOT earlier. The value of having proper role models in your life, whether personal or business, is immense. They will pay for themselves, many times over.
Don’t get me wrong – I have a wonderful life and I am extremely grateful for what I have and for almost everything I’ve experienced. But having confidence in yourself gives you tremendous shortcuts, especially in the beginning.
So my advice to anyone in any similar position is to simply ignore your past and believe in yourself, today. Your past only impacts the present, to the extent you let it. In reality, YOU get to decide how you feel and what you do, on any given day — not your past.
What is the one thing that you did right?
Actually, there are a few things I’ve done right:
I have a tremendous work ethic, and I take a lot of personal pride in what I do. I also have a LOT of common sense and a good feel for who to listen to and who to ignore.
I’ve also always held to the philosophy that my first goal is to provide value to my customers and clients. I know, with 100% certainty, that when you do this, you’re always going to get paid well.
A lot of people in this industry (marketing and business consulting), tend to focus on what they can “get” before thinking about what you can “give.”
I like my way better. It allows me to look at myself in the mirror and smile, it allows me to speak to my children with confidence, and most important — when I go to sleep at night, it’s a restful sleep. I’m not ever worrying about business and I’m never looking over my shoulder.
I’m far from perfect, but when you’re open and transparent with things, your stress levels sure are a lot lower, and your staying power and your longevity is never in question.
Were you always good at writing?
NO! Absolutely not. In fact, in school, I was more of a math and science geek than anything. What I was always good at, was communicating.
Writing is simply another form of media you use to communicate. And it’s as easy to learn to write well — especially if you start with copywriting — as it is to become a good foul shooter in basketball — all you need to do, is practice.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I drove a cab in the Bronx, from the midnight to 6am shift, in between the time I got out of college, and before I started working as an accountant. I had just left home and needed some way of making money during that six week period.
I don’t know what was worse — driving all night long, or driving all night long in some of the seedier sections of the Bronx. This was during the mid 1980’s when New York City was still fairly crime-ridden.
What do you like to do in your personal time?
I’ve been with my wife almost 20 years, and I’m lucky to still be happily married. Two of our three children are grown and out of the house, so it seems we have more time together and I enjoy this. I also like working out and keeping healthy, music, photography, traveling, reading and bass-fishing. I also have several other hobbies I’d like to make more time for, like drawing and playing guitar – but you only have 24 hours in a day, right?
Thanks for your time and I hope you’ve gotten something out of this interview!
i have a few more things to say before the end of the day – but in case i don’t get a chance to share them, have a fantastic easy-going weekend
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
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