Monday, June 6, 2016

The Strange Marketing Power of Chocolate

the strange marketing power of chocolate
Do you love chocolate?

I thought so.

Well, here’s one more reason to love chocolate: It can build your business.

Below is a transcript of a conversation I had with copywriter Tom Trush, from Phoenix, AZ.

Read it to discover the strange secret of how chocolate can boost your profits ... 

Kevin Donlin: "Tom, you had a story and it was kind of prompted from something you read in my Marketing Multipliers program where I often talk about creating new experience for your business using food, specifically, chocolate."

Tom Trush: "I was talking to a client who was definitely frustrated. He had a big deal lined up, so big that he had flown to Denver to meet with the prospect. 

"He thought the meeting went great and he followed up by email and it sounded like it was just a matter of getting the deal signed. But the prospect would not respond. He sent multiple emails over and over."

Kevin: "So, the trail went cold. Lots of emails, but nothing from the prospect?"

Tom: "Right. I know that you are a huge fan of direct mail, and I am, too. So I told him to change the medium from email -- because it’s just so easy to ignore -- and use regular mail.

"I suggested to he should put together a package and take the same information you’re sending by email, but change your format and send it by mail.

"Even better, send it FedEx or UPS. That would show some urgency and show you’re dedicated to this project.

"And I remembered what you suggested, Kevin, about how including a food gift like chocolate is an easy way to turn a direct mail piece into a sensory experience."

Kevin: "So what happened?"

Tom: "He popped some chocolates into the package and sent it off UPS ... and he said within two days he was on a call with the prospect to close the deal."

"Changing the format and delivering it via UPS really helped. But I think the chocolate was a big deal, too. It’s such a little thing, but how can you ignore chocolate? It adds an experience, you eat it and you remember it."

Kevin: "Right on all counts. Whether you send an express letter by UPS or FedEx, it can’t possibly go into a spam folder. It has to be opened. Keep that in mind when you compare the “cost” of email, which is free but increasingly ineffective, vs. the “cost” of an overnight letter.

"Second idea: Chocolate. When you’re eating chocolate, it’s impossible to be unhappy. So when you’re grinning and you’re reading a letter, your brain is making a connection between the two. It’s a powerful sensory experience.

"Compare that to reading an email on a laptop, iPad, or -- worst of all -- a mobile phone. That’s just text on a screen, visible for 3-5 seconds and then, poof! Deleted or achieved. Not nearly in the same league as a tangible letter plus a chocolate gift. And not nearly the same results."

Bottom line: Anyone can execute this idea. Find your best sales message, print it, add a nice gift of chocolate, and send it all FedEx or UPS.

But first, let me drop some science on you. There’s a chemical compound in chocolate, called phenethylamine (PEA).

PEA mimics the chemistry of your brain when you’re in love. Maybe that’s why chocolate is said to be an aphrodisiac. In any case, the chemicals in chocolate make people HAPPY ... and if you can make people HAPPY in business, you can do WELL in business.

Now, if you don’t see the value in investing $20 for all this, especially when it could make you back many hundreds or thousands of dollars ... well, you don’t have a business. You have a hobby. And you should stop pretending otherwise.

Delivering a sales message via overnight letter, with chocolate, is an example of what I call Marketing Multipliers -- small steps that deliver big profits.

And if you own a real business in the U.S., you can get a box of 11 Marketing Multipliers delivered to your door at no cost. Learn more at

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Referral Rewards: The Simple Way to Grow Your Service Business

Here's an outstanding way to encourage more referrals to your business, especially if you sell a service.

Take a look at this issue of the newsletter published by The Prouty Project:

They're doing two smart things to encourage referrals, both of which you can emulate ...

1) Publicly Recognizing Referrals

Too often, we forget to thank the people who send us referrals. Which is a mistake. 

William James, the father of American psychology, wrote: "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated."

When you give people appreciation for their referrals, they will give you more referrals. Because you get more of any behavior that you reward.

And when you reward that behavior with public recognition, by publishing photos and quotes from clients who refer, you "super size" this process. Your clients will save that issue of your newsletter with their picture in it ... and they will likely talk about it and show it to other people. Which naturally leads to more referrals.

2) Rewarding Referrals with a Charitable Donation

There are many ways to incentivize referrals: you can offer a cash reward, gift card, discount on a future purchase, or some combination of those.

But The Prouty Project goes beyond typical rewards by offering a $1,000 donation to charity for one randomly chosen referrer. Then, they take it one step further by letting the winner select the charity that receives the money.

This is a triple play: The Prouty Project wins by supporting a good cause; the winner wins by choosing a charity to support; and the charity wins by getting $1,000.

To power up your referral rewards program (you do have one, don't you?) use these two ideas: publicly recognize referrals and reward referrals with donations to charity.

A smart referral rewards program is a true Marketing Multiplier: Small actions that deliver big profits. This is so low-tech, it's practically NO-tech. And you can create one today.

One more thing: If you own a service business in the U.S., you can get a box of 11 Marketing Multipliers delivered to your door at no cost, if you hurry. Learn more at

Thursday, April 28, 2016

How to Multiply Your Marketing: Simple Secrets That Work Wonders

I'm a writer.

I write.

I don't speak or do many videos.

But a few weeks ago, I did a phone interview with marketers Tom Trush and Andy Renk that delivered so many ideas in so little time, I decided to share it with you here.

Tom and Andy pulled a pickup truck full of ideas out of my head in this interview, "How to Multiply Your Marketing: Simple Secrets That Work Wonders."

If you own a business, listen now to discover:

  • The easiest way to start a conversation that leads to a sale, especially if you sell a service
  • How “The Retention Box” can keep your clients longer, while increasing profits by up to 90%
  • Why you should never send another price quote (and what to send instead)
  • A direct-mail shortcut that's simple, low-cost, and virtually guarantees your message gets opened and read by your prospects
  • And a whole lot more 

How to Multiply Your Marketing: Simple Secrets That Work Wonders

You'll discover a half dozen Marketing Multipliers revealed on our interview. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Educational Marketing: Show, Tell, Teach, and Sell

Do you like visiting the dentist?

Me neither.

But something remarkable happened to me yesterday while getting my teeth cleaned. It could save my smile. And make you a few bucks, too.

Here's the story ...

I own a very spiffy Sonicare toothbrush that I almost never use. It takes too long, it's a bit irritating, a standard toothbrush is easier, blah blah blah.

So, yesterday, I'm sitting in the chair and Theresa, the hygienist, is sticking a probe into my gums. She's counting off numbers: "3, 3, 2, 3, 4, 4 ..." A 3 or below is good -- if she can stick the probe 3 millimeters or less into my gums, that means they are tight and healthy. Any 4s or 5s are bad -- that means my gums are weak and unhealthy.

I'm hearing way too many 4s.

Theresa says, "The good news is, your gums look better than they did 6 months ago. Do you floss?"

"Every day," I respond.

"Do you have a Sonicare toothbrush?"


"Do you use it?"

"Not much," I say.

"Well, you can get 30,000 brush strokes a minute with a Sonicare. The best you can do with a standard toothbrush is about 300 strokes. That's 100 times more brushing in the same amount of time. It removes way more plaque and bacteria, so your gums stay healthy."

That's when a 40-watt light bulb went off in my head.

"You mean I can be 100 times more efficient with a Sonicare?" I ask?


"Duh. Stupid. Okay, sign me up," I reply.


Was using a Sonicare toothbrush a good idea 6 months ago? Yes.

Did I buy into it then? No. I was too comfortable doing what I always did to make a change.

Was using a Sonicare toothbrush a good idea yesterday? Yes.

Did I buy into it? Yes.

Why? Because something clicked when I learned I could be 100 times more efficient. The gain of wiping out more bacteria with the same effort finally broke through the pain of changing my routine.

And here's the marketing moral of the story: While a small percentage of your prospects are ready to buy on their first contact with you, the vast majority are as stubborn, ignorant, and unwilling to make a change as I was about using an electric toothbrush.

Most of your prospects require ongoing, systematic contact to show them, tell them, and educate them -- at different times and in different ways -- until something clicks in their head. No amount of browbeating or scolding from you will make the sale. They must decide for themselves that you are the right choice.

The problem: You'll never know ahead of time what it is you say or do that causes prospects to buy.

The opportunity: If you keep educating prospects, you keep making more sales.

So ... what will you do about this?

One more thing: If you own a business, you can get a box of 11 Marketing Multipliers delivered to your door at no cost, if you hurry. Learn more at

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Marketing Multipliers Manifesto

What can 300 dead Spartans teach you about marketing?


In 480 B.C., those 300 Spartans battled more than 150,000 Persians at Thermopylae.

The Spartans held off a force 500 times their number for two days. Only after a traitor revealed a path that let the Persians surround them were the Spartans defeated.

How did they do it?

Thermopylae, where the Spartans set up their defense, was a narrow coastal pass. A bottle neck. Which forced the Persians to squeeze in and fight in small groups. Which made the Persians’ numbers irrelevant.

The Spartans used the land as a force multiplier, defined as anything added to a fighting force that delivers a bigger result from the same effort. Other examples of force multipliers include training, morale, and weapons.

This manifesto is your introduction to Marketing Multipliers, defined as anything added to your marketing that delivers a bigger result from the same effort.

Marketing Multipliers are often small, trivial changes. Yet, they can deliver very big results ... while making your competitors irrelevant.

Since 1998, I've helped clients large and small do more with less in their marketing.

Here are 3 simple, practical lessons I've learned.

[NOTE: Don't forget to grab a free PDF of The Marketing Multipliers Manifesto at the end of this post.]

1) Get Real to Really Sell

Do you sell a service? This is especially important to you.

Because selling a service is tough.

Unlike a product, people have no idea what your service is like until after they give you money. So ... you're selling a promise. You're selling the invisible.

And THAT is a tough sale.

So try this: Get real.

By that I mean put something real and tangible into the hands of your prospects. The sooner you do, the sooner you build trust. And the sooner they buy.

Example: GoToWebinar sells an online service -- webinars. They've got loads of competition. Yet, I've been a loyal customer for nearly 6 years now. One reason? Kristen, my account rep, mailed me this thank-you note after I signed up for a trial account in 2010 ...

Instantly, an intangible service became real to me. I trusted GoToWebinar more. I converted to a paid account. And I've given them hundreds of dollars since.
  • Cost: $1 for a thank-you note + stamp
  • Revenue for GoToWebinar: $1,500 and counting
  • ROI: 149,900%

2) Speak the Language of Your Market

This lets you crawl inside the mind of your prospect and use their thoughts to make them buy.

Don't worry. This is 100% ethical, legal, and simple.

Here's all you do: Pull language from book reviews on Amazon.

You see, no matter what business you're in, there are books about it on Amazon. Find those books, read the reviews, then use the wording in your marketing.

These book reviews are valuable because they are written by people who paid money to learn about what you sell.

Here's an example ...

In your marketing, you can use that language for headlines, desires to emphasize, or objections to overcome (among other things).

I did this for one client who sells a real estate service -- highly intangible and very high trust. We peppered his postcards and sales letters with the words I found in Amazon book reviews ...

... and at last count, he's brought in more than $840,000 while doing transactions entirely by phone and fax.
  • Cost: $0 to read Amazon book reviews
  • Revenue for my client: $840,000
  • ROI: Infinite, but for argument's sake: 84,000,000%

3) Never Send Another Price Quote

If you sell a service, you almost certainly deliver price quotes or proposals to prospects.

Stop doing that. Now.

Here's why: When you submit a "Price Quote," "Proposal," or "Bid," you're using commodity language. Which brands you as ... a commodity. And how do people buy commodities? Based on price.

Instead, stop call your price quotes by that name. Call them something -- anything -- else.

Examples: Game Plan, Profit Blueprint, Project Summary, etc.

Take a look at the first few sentence of the Project Outline I send to prospects ...

Think: If a prospect is holding two price quotes from your competitors, and one "Project Summary" from you, guess who defies comparison and avoids questions of price?
  • Cost: $0 to name your price quotes something else
  • Revenue for you: How much is one new client worth over their buying lifetime? Fill in the blank: $____________
  • ROI: Infinite

Now before you go, do this: Download your free PDF of the Marketing Multipliers Manifesto to print and refer to later.

Monday, April 11, 2016

3 More Reasons Why You Need a Strong Guarantee

If you've read any of my 576 blog posts in the last 6 years, you know that I'm a strong believer in strong guarantees.

As long as you don't sell crap, a money-back guarantee can grow your business faster than almost anything else.

(NB: If you do sell crap, a money-back guarantee will put you out of business faster than almost anything else. Hey, sorry. Don't sell crap.)

Anyway, here are 3 reasons why you need a strong money-back guarantee in your business ...

... based on the "Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee" from The Great Courses. That's it above.

Study it. Because that guarantee is worth millions to The Great Courses. And you need one like it in your business, for 3 important reasons.

Reason #1: You will get more new clients, faster, from the same marketing

Quick, which guarantee is stronger?
  • "Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed" (which is how far most timid, lazy marketers go, i.e., not very)
  • "Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. If a course is ever less than completely satisfying, you may exchange it for another of equal value at any time. You may also return any course, within one year of initial purchase, for a full refund" (which is how far The Great Courses goes)
Duh. The one that promises you a refund. It's clearly stronger. And all things being equal, the stronger guarantee wins more sales. Consequently, The Great Courses got my money.

Reason #2: Your clients will buy and refer longer

Now, it may surprise you to learn that I just returned a DVD to The Great Courses for a refund today. And I've returned stuff to them before.

Yet, I've been buying from The Great Courses going on 10 years. I've given them at least $700 in business, minus about $75 in refunds. So they're still ahead.

BUT ... that doesn't take into account the referrals I've sent them, like family members and clients, to whom I rave about The Great Courses. And now you, my loyal readers.

One reason I recommend The Great Courses is because they offer ... great courses.

Another reason? I can't look like a dolt for recommending them. Because anyone who dislikes a purchase can get a refund. That kind of "insurance" is important to anyone before making a referral.

Now, think. If you don't offer a guarantee, what does that say about your business? Does it make you more referral worthy or less?

Reason #3: You will do better work. Which makes everything better

Look at that last line in The Great Courses' guarantee. It's brilliant: "This guarantee not only protects your investment in learning, it also compels us to produce great courses."

Nothing like tightrope walking without a net to compel your best effort, eh? I can tell you from experience, after offering an unconditional money-back guarantee on my copywriting and consulting services since 1998, that it compels you to do your best work. Which is good for everyone.

Hey, I'm not perfect. Neither are you. I give refunds about once a year. And if you offer a strong money-back guarantee, you'll give refunds, too. But if your sales go up 25% ... 50% ... or more, will you really care?

One more thing: If you own a business, you can get a box of 11 Marketing Multipliers delivered at no cost, if you hurry. Learn more at