Beware of Me Too MSP Marketing

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Ep 36 Beware of Me Too MSP Marketing

LISTEN to the Mindwhirl Marketing Podcast Ep 36 – Beware of Me Too MSP Marketing

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Podcast Transcript

Shelly Miller  00:08

Welcome to the Mindwhirl Marketing podcast, your source for B2B business building information, where we talk sales and marketing, and give managed service providers and IT services companies, the insider secrets you need to know to grow your business. We want to help you attract leads and sales and show you how to align sales and marketing. So you get more sales faster with less costs. I’m Shelly. And he’s Mike. Let’s get the party started.

Shelly Miller  00:33

What are we talking about today, Mike?

Mike Miller  00:34

Today, we’re gonna talk about something very important. To MSPs it’s basically the copy. Right? So there’s Me Too Marketing. So I think we’re gonna name this one to Beware of Me Too MSP Marketing.

Shelly Miller  00:52

Sounds good. That’s a that’s a huge topic. And I know that you’ll fit down into perfectly.

Mike Miller  01:01

I’ll try. I’ll try.

Shelly Miller  01:03

We’ll see perfectly usable information.

Mike Miller  01:06

Okay. All right. I hope so. I feel like this is gonna meander a little bit. But there’s an order. There’s a logic to it. So it’s all in my head. So I apologize. I don’t know. You know, just chime in. When you feel like,

Mike Miller  01:24

You can? I’ll do it. So this topic, really, I owe it to Martin Messier, our friend and mentor from He introduced me to a copywriter named Jim Clair. And Jim Clair, recently posted a let’s call it a newsletter. But it was like a 12,000 word newsletter, yes. And he was a copywriter that made a lot of money. And he’s retired basically in, like 35 or 40. And he started sharing some insider secrets about the industry. And that, that made me that was the impetus for what I want to talk about today. Because in the MSP industry, there’s a lot of direct response style marketing done. And I love direct response, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s great. But I wanted to share some watch outs, some gotchas, you know, some, some little things that you need to be aware of, because there’s a lot of copywriting courses out there. And they teach you, you know, write copy this way. There’s also a box full of direct response style marketing, that you can swipe and deploy.

Shelly Miller  01:24

I’ll do it.

Shelly Miller  03:01

There is a lot for MSPs.

Shelly Miller  03:04

Yes. So let’s, let’s, let’s take a trip down memory lane. And let me explain a little bit of the history of direct response. And then and then tie it together towards the end, so that you understand why there’s a potential inherent danger or risk with direct response style advertising,

Shelly Miller  03:31

Because there is yes, there’s a big problem with it.

Mike Miller  03:34

Yeah. So and I’m not poopoo in all of direct response style marketing.

Shelly Miller  03:39

Of course not.

Mike Miller  03:39

No. And there’s some good people doing it. But when you take someone else’s words, and you apply them to your business, what happens is, instead of learning how to sell, and instead of writing, in a way that’s clear and logical, that has a logical progression of features and benefits and, you know, utilizes some emotion utilizes some language of the customer, but doesn’t go overboard on tactics and patterns and, and pattern interrupts and all kinds of foolishness that could be going on. When you take someone else’s words and utilize their tactics, you have to realize that it might be making it unclear for the consumer or the the lead or the client potential client. And it, it might actually take away from the selling.

Shelly Miller  04:45

And so I’m gonna stop you there just for a second. Yeah. So So give me some examples of how that could take away or confuse your reader.

Mike Miller  04:56

Well, if you start Okay, so Jim Clair, and he talked about a Palmolive shave cream ad from 1920s, which was Claude Hopkins. And that’s where I wanted to start. Now, Claude Hopkins in that ad, he talks about the features. And and this is a great place to start, he talks about here’s how the ad went. We wanted to, we noticed that men weren’t being served well with their shaving, shaving cream. And we wanted to go into the industry and find out, you know, and serve men. But we’ve realized that as we did our research, we realized that there’s five problems that men have with their shave cream, the there’s not enough bubbles, it’s, it’s it’s weak foam. They’re not able to fully hydrate the beard, you know, like five problems. And so we’ve combated that we focused and did a lot of research and spent the last two years working on these problems. And there’s a coupon we think that we’ve created the best shave cream on the market. And we hope that you’ll like it as well. And to help you, we’ve created a coupon that will allow you to get a free not sample, but to get it for free.

Shelly Miller  06:33

Okay, right.

Mike Miller  06:34

So would you please try it?

Shelly Miller  06:39


Mike Miller  06:40

that was the ad.

Shelly Miller  06:41


Mike Miller  06:42

Now, it didn’t say, right. If, you know, the problem with men is that they they miss shave, and they miss hairs. And you know, you never you never got that promotion last year. And you know, your boss stopped liking you as well. And that that Secretary, you know, she doesn’t, you know, flirt with you anymore.

Shelly Miller  07:04

All because you missed that one hair.

Mike Miller  07:05

Yeah. Because you’re not sure. rectly and you’re not you know, it’s the it’s because you can’t shave correctly, that you’re missing out on all these things.

Shelly Miller  07:13


Mike Miller  07:14

Right. So like, you don’t have to go there. Like, what what does that add to it? Sure, it adds some emotion. But in some aspirational, you know, I’d like the Secretary to wink at me every day. I’d love my boss to like me, and I’d love to get that promotion. But what does it have to do with shaving? So that’s how people mess it up.

Shelly Miller  07:37

They keep thinking they think that they have to add that this needs to be a sales letter. That is 10,000 or 15,000 words long. And so they have to keep piling on. Right?

Mike Miller  07:51

Yeah, exactly. And it doesn’t, it has to be clear.

Shelly Miller  07:54

Yes, it has to be clear,

Mike Miller  07:55

it just has to be clear and have a logic. Like we like the term logical progression. You can say an order, a sequence of events, right? That takes you from, hey, this is our product. And this is our big idea about the product. And then this is what we’ve found, and how it can help you and how it solves your problem, and then call to action.

Shelly Miller  08:20


Mike Miller  08:21

There’s a logical progression. So if you add a whole bunch of stuff into it, then you are just Well, it shows that you’re naive with your copywriting ability, because you’re utilizing other people’s patterns and sales patterns. Like one of the ones that Jim Clair pointed out is the pattern interrupt of: Hi, I’m Jim, this is a river. In a moment, I’m going to show you how this river is going to make you a million dollars and then let in the next five months. But first,

Shelly Miller  08:53


Mike Miller  08:54

yes. So what’s the river have to do with anything like, okay, it gets your attention. But what happens after that? And it makes no sense. So then people are copying this style. And it doesn’t work for them.

Shelly Miller  09:09


Mike Miller  09:10

it’s actually only work the first time. And that’s the other thing you have to understand. Like there’s patterns. And if you do something a certain way, it won’t work. If you change that pattern just a little bit. Like for instance, let’s say you send an email and then you send a postcard and then you make a call. But it only gets a certain amount of response, right? It only gets like a certain, you know, 10% response rate. But you start with a call then you do a postcard, then you send an email, and that gets 17%. Right. So now it’s it’s different. It’s the same information, but it’s a different pattern and it gets different results. as marketers, that’s what we do. We try to find the patterns that work that make everything work better. and convert better. Well, let me go on this trip down memory lane real fast. Because if you start in 1920 with Claude Hopkins, and you think about that Palmolive shave cream ad, and you move forward, right into the 50s. And in comic books, there was Charles Atlas. And he was telling kids that the story was that he was on the beach with his girlfriend. And this big muscle bound guy came along through sand in his face and stole his girlfriend. So he was like, that’s never gonna happen to me. So I’ve built so I started working out, and I use this dynamic tension or whatever it was, and I got muscle bound. And it was easy. And I want to show you how it’s only $3. And if you don’t like it, you can send it back for a full refund.

Shelly Miller  10:53


Mike Miller  10:54

Okay. Move forward. Ron Popeil in the 60s 70s Yes, right. He it smashes it, cuts it chops it, you know, it spends at Worlds it does all these things. And because he sold a variety of products, and he always had like a money back guarantee on it. And it was like value based right. So floor, you could get this cooker, the stovetop cooker for you know, $19.99,  $24.99 something like that. Then, but there was always it was always a cheap product. And it was like there was always a money back guarantee. And if you act now, you can get these these bonuses,

Shelly Miller  11:42

like additional items.

Mike Miller  11:43

Yeah, little cookbook, whatever. So then in the late 70s, early 80s, we had the Ginsu knife, and the Ginsu knife, basically did the same thing. Alright, it’s cheap knives, you can get them for 1999. If you act now you get the slicer the peeler, the extra paring knives, the set of steak knives, you get a cookbook. And if you order in the next 15 minutes, you can double your order for just an additional $4.95.

Mike Miller  11:43

Yes, we’ve all heard those. Yes, yes. They’re excellent.

Mike Miller  12:15

Yeah, they are right for what they do.

Shelly Miller  12:18


Mike Miller  12:19

They’re excellent. And we’re gonna get to what they do.

Mike Miller  12:22

Right. So they were

Shelly Miller  12:23

the exact tactic for that product,

Mike Miller  12:26

right? Yes, exactly. But so let me just put a little seed into your mind. Should you use that tactic with your MSP service, you know, in your managed service, industry or business, jeez, and your managed service business? Should you use that tactic? And you’re going no, Mike, why would I use that tactic? Okay. So think about that for a second. Let’s move forward into the 80s, the late 80s, the early 90s. Dan Kennedy was a copywriter who was doing okay, you know, he, was doing okay, at first he wasn’t doing okay. Then he started going on this tour, where he spoke all across the country. And he got some notoriety. And then he met Bill Glazer, and Bill Glazer and him started Glaser, Kennedy. And Bill Glazer actually was the guy right, and all the copy and doing all the promotions and everything, and Dan would write the monthly newsletter and, and then come in and do speeches and they would have events. And they spawned a whole industry of direct response style, copywriting. And the names that you know, trained from them, were trained by them.

Shelly Miller  13:55

The names, you know in the MSP industry

Mike Miller  13:57

names, you know, in the MSP industry who are marketers, they were trained by them. And you probably know this, because the MSP industry is heavily into direct response.

Shelly Miller  14:10

They are

Mike Miller  14:10

so let’s look at one of Bill Glaser’s. So Bill Glazer owned Gage Menswear.

Shelly Miller  14:17


Mike Miller  14:17

one of his most popular ads was it was printed on yellow. legal pad.

Shelly Miller  14:27


Mike Miller  14:27

Right. And he had handwritten it. So it was printed out and it looked like he hand wrote it. So it’s a grabber, right? So nowadays, it’s popular to put magnifying glasses or ducks in a box or aspirin or whatever else into something. That’s called lumpy mail or 3d mail or grabbers. So, Bill made it look like it was handwritten. And I’m not going to go Through the whole thing, just the basic premise, right, the big idea of the whole thing is that we had all these clothes. Now, I don’t know if this is true or false, you know, but it’s the premise. We had all these clothes that are great clothes, and the roof leaked. And it got some of them wet. So the insurance company came out, and they wrote off this whole section of clothes.

Shelly Miller  15:25


Mike Miller  15:27

So they gave us like, 70% of the value of the clothes, and we just need to make up the other 30%. So we’re gonna have a 70% off sale, on these suits, and whatever it is. Come and get it. This is your opportunity to to, you know,

Shelly Miller  15:48

get bargain basement prices.

Mike Miller  15:50

Yes exactly.

Shelly Miller  15:52

To get steals.

Mike Miller  15:53

Yeah. And so the truth could have been that they’re three years old, and you can’t get rid of them could have been, and he just needs his money out of them. But it was a compelling story, but it’s a compelling story. So that was his big, like, money making ad.

Shelly Miller  16:12

Yes, it was.

Mike Miller  16:13

So that’s the site and he wrote a book two books, actually outrageous advertising that, you know, produces outrageous results, outrageously successful, something like that. But it’s all based on grabbers, and you know, special, like lumpy mail and 3d mail and unique ideas, and irresistible offers, like, come get 70% off of the suits. So let’s look at Dan Kennedy. His most famous ads were never run. And those are called his Georgio letters. The first letter had it’s their sales letters, and the first one had three pennies taped to the top of it, which made it lumpy mail. And he basically said that he impersonated Giorgio, a restaurant tour, yes, Italian restaurant, right and so Valentine’s Day is coming up. And I’m not Giorgio, the restaurant tour anymore. I’m Giorgio, the master of love, or the love doctor or however you want to say it. So what I’m going to do for you guys and and here’s what happened is over the course the three letters, the offers got better and better and better. And at the end, by the end of the third letter, Giorgio was going to pick you up in a limousine right for you and your wife or you and your girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. He’s going to pick you up in a limousine bring you to his restaurant, have a red carpet out for you give the lady a rose give you a bottle of Dom Perignon. Feed you steak and lobster have a violin playing. And instead of the 79.99 that it would usually cost. It’s only 49.99. That sales letter series basically set up all of the marketing that you see today in the MSP Industry. And it makes me wonder why? Because let’s look back at all of these ads that I’ve told you about from night from Claude Hopkins in 1920. All the way through to Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer. Every one of them has, there’s a there’s common thread through all of them and that is that they have an irresistible offer. Number one, number two, they they’re trying to do. Okay, so the worst, the worst way to say this is cash grab.

Shelly Miller  19:06

But it’s the most it’s the most obvious way to say it. That’s what it is. It’s a cash grab.

Mike Miller  19:13

Yeah, exactly. So I don’t know how the maths work on the Giorgio deal. I don’t know how you can get a limo and served on Dom Perignon and all that stuff for 49.99. Maybe there’s a way to make the math work. But essentially, it’s, it’s a cash grab. And here’s the other obvious thing. Every one of these ads is a one time deal. So typically in the 1920s direct response style ads were created to launch a product or to start, you know, to launch a product like the Palmolive add. Claude Hopkins was saying look, we’re going to give you a free one so that you can try it This wasn’t an ad that they did over and over again. The Ginsu Ron Popeil. They weren’t building a business based on recurring revenue. They were trying to get the money out of the they were trying to get every person in the world to buy one. They weren’t they weren’t trying to get people to recurringly purchase.

Shelly Miller  20:21

No, that’s what all of those were designed for one time.

Mike Miller  20:25

Right, exactly. So the Georgio letter that the Bill Glazer letter, like every, almost every direct response style ad that you look at, is based on a one time response. Now, think about that. Your business isn’t based on a one time sale,

Shelly Miller  20:51

never has been know your whole industry is not

Mike Miller  20:54

Exactly it’s recurring revenue. It should be unless your break fix, which I would suggest you move to manage services, because you can’t take care of people

Shelly Miller  21:03


Mike Miller  21:04

Doing break fix. I mean, you know, you, they feel like you can and they like not spending the money, but they need someone to watch over them and protect them. That’s why you have to do recurring. So should you sell recurring revenue? Should you market your business? Like you’re trying to grab cash out of the marketplace? Should you?

Shelly Miller  21:30

It seems real obvious, doesn’t it? Yeah. When you when you realize that that’s the kind of copy that you’ve been copying? Yeah. And, you know, probably the reason why you aren’t selling as much as you should is because you’re using copy that that was not set up or written for that type of business, that type of customer.

Mike Miller  21:52

Yes, exactly. And we had a we have a client, who 20 years ago tried it. And he’s told me for 20 years that direct mail doesn’t work. Right? And the reason why is because he hired a marketing company, and they created like this firecracker, and they mailed it out, and it costs him like $7 each, and he didn’t he mailed it out to like 1000 people, and he got zero response from it. Well, that doesn’t mean that direct mail doesn’t work. That means that that promotion was not sequenced correctly. Like, here’s what I’m, here’s what I’m trying to say. I’ve been reading and watching and learning as much as I can, and for the last 20 years, and the best of the best will tell you that it takes eight to 12 touches before they get a response from the person that the lead that they’re going after.

Shelly Miller  23:04

Great point

Mike Miller  23:04

yes. So you send someone a magnifying glass in a box with this really creative letter, and explain your offer and then make a compelling offer at the end, which is irresistible. Like we’re going to give you computers and they’re only $1. And we’re going to replace those computers every year for $1. Right. I don’t know how the math works. But I know that that’s an offer in the marketplace right now. And why? What my question is why? Why are you doing that? It doesn’t make sense to me. So I’ve learned everything that that I can and I know that that one grabber letter is only going to, you’re only going to get a certain response rate from it. What you have to do is to constantly consistently market to to those leads in order to get the response you want. So my question is, like Shelly said, like three podcasts ago, have you tried selling it yet? Like why come up with all of these offers tricks and offers and do all these special things to try to get attention so that you can still have to send seven sales letters, eight postcards, call them five times before you get a response?

Shelly Miller  24:41

Exactly. I mean, it also reminds me of Weight Watchers, weight loss soup. Yeah. You know, if you just if you’re trying to lose weight, and you make the soup like it with the ingredients, the five ingredients, then you lose weight. So that’s just the equivalent of so when you are getting ready to market your company, you’ve writing copy for it. If you have your ICP, and you write your products in the language, you know, of your ICP, it works. But going back to the soup, if you add andouille sausage, and lima beans, and 12 other things, the soups, not going to work, it’s not going to work. It’s a five ingredient soup that you can lose weight with. But when you add other things, it doesn’t work anymore. Well, copy is the same way. If you’re if you’re taking, this letter and you’re just copying it. You know, I’m not saying plagiarizing. But you know, doing the format writing the format. Yeah, you know, going by the style. Yes, copy the style, but you’re but you’re not thinking about who that letter was intended for. And what type of purchase it was. Is this for reoccurring? Is this for one time? Is this for, you know, what, what are you copying? And people don’t realize that?

Mike Miller  26:06

No, they don’t. They they? And that’s the problem. That’s so in the 80s, Dan Kennedy was saying, beware me too marketing.

Shelly Miller  26:16

Yes, he was.

Mike Miller  26:17

because everyone was trying to be Coca Cola. Even small business. Yeah. And he’s like you’re wasting money. Don’t do that. Don’t just throw money out without any kind of call to action without offering any value,

Shelly Miller  26:28

right? Because you’re not Coca Cola. So you can’t write like them.

Mike Miller  26:31

Yeah, you don’t have mountains of money. So you can’t do that. You have to do direct response style. So everybody started converting to direct response style. Not everybody, just certain industries. And the IT industry is one of those industries that like really adopted it. And there’s a reason for that. And I’m sure you know what the reason is. But we respect those people. And we’re not going to, you know, say anything bad about him. But the thing is, is that now you’ve adopted a style of marketing that everyone is doing. So it’s me too. Now.

Shelly Miller  27:07

It is.

Mike Miller  27:08

And not only is it me too, you’re doing it wrong, because you’re trying to create one time deals. How can you create one time deals when you’re a professional services company built off of recurring revenue? You know, like, okay, the, you could do things you can discount the first month, right? You could waive the setup fee, you know, you there’s things that you can do, right, instead of charging $2,000 for the risk assessment, you’ll give it away, you know, you’ll, you’ll comp it. If they become a client, there’s things that you can do. But you shouldn’t be trying to run sales patterns that are designed for cash grabs.

Shelly Miller  27:54


Mike Miller  27:55

You shouldn’t be creating irresistible offers that are designed for one time sales.

Shelly Miller  28:02


Mike Miller  28:03

Not against you knife.

Shelly Miller  28:05

Exactly. You know, that’s it, don’t be like the ginsu knife. So don’t write like it. And if you  need to spend time trying to write the copy that’s best for your business. And if you don’t have that time, then you need to hire people who can.

Mike Miller  28:25

Exactly, exactly. And I had a lot more to say about it. But really, we’re out of time. And that’s the crux that’s the crux that’s that’s the main point. You know,

Shelly Miller  28:37

just remember, you’re not against your knife,

Mike Miller  28:39

right to take away professional services, who has recurring revenue.

Mike Miller  28:42

Yes, you want to keep clients forever.

Mike Miller  28:45

And and beware me too marketing, if everyone else is doing it. That’s your clue. You know, Dan Kennedy always said it. If everyone’s doing a certain thing. The smart people do the opposite. So we’ll leave it there. All right. Thanks for watching.

Shelly Miller  29:03

We’ll see you next Thursday.

Shelly Miller  29:06

Thanks again, for listening to the Mindwhirl Marketing Podcast. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google podcast, Stitcher, Deezer or Spotify. Plus, check out my where on YouTube and subscribe. You’ll find a lot more marketing tips, insights and resources that will help you get your sales and marketing working together and moving in the same direction.

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Shelly Miller

Shelly Miller

Entrepreneur, marketer and social psychologist - I help you make the most of your business with marketing, online and offline.

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