The Newsletter Pro September 2018

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09.18 208.297.5700

As Seen On:



Clean Up Your Company’s Slop


What Our Clients Are Saying Are You Creating Your Own Bad Luck? Book Review: ‘The Referral of a Lifetime’



The Key to Great Mobile Ads


Get to Know Neal Didonna


Patagonia Is on a Mission-Driven Mission

Have you ever felt like some people simply don’t have to play by the same rules to get ahead? Elon Musk, for example, can get free PR whenever he wants to. And Uber violated laws in hundreds of cities when it first started, and no one got arrested.

profit on them, and then pay a reduced customer acquisition cost. If that sounds good, keep reading.

You’d think that, as a billionaire, his money troubles would go away, but his burn rate is thousands of dollars a minute. Selling more cars was not going to be the solution to the issue, so Musk, being the genius he is, invented a brand-new Tesla Model 3. Although he was years away from being able to build a Model 3, the idea of a $35,000 Tesla was too good for the masses to ignore. Musk knew that if he got his message out to the world, people would flock en masse to reserve one. So Musk flexed his PR muscle, and low and behold, 550,000 people gave him a deposit of $1,000 to reserve a car that was years away from production.

To tell this story properly, I’m going to have to take you back in time a bit.

Us small-business guys make one little mistake, and the world comes down on us like a ton of bricks.

The year was 2016, and Elon Musk needed some cash, which he often does.

It doesn’t seem fair, but that is life, right?

There was a new battery factory in development and a massive burn rate that needed to be fed. “Selling more cars was not going to be the SOLUTION TO THE ISSUE, so Musk, being the genius he is, invented the BRAND- NEW Tesla Model 3.”

So what? You and I can’t get the PR of Musk or risk breaking laws like Uber, but that doesn’t mean we can’t use some of the elite’s tactics to grow our business. One of my favorite tactics is a referral spin on Musk’s Model 3 promotion. Let me first explain what Musk did with his Model 3 promo. To grow Tesla, Musk always needs a massive amount of cash. As just one example, Musk wants to build Gigafactories to build lithium-ion batteries. What is a guy to do when he needs a billion dollars or so to complete a battery factory and doesn’t want to pay interest? He invents the Model 3. That story will show us how we can use a similar tactic to generate customers for nearly free, turn a

That’s $550,000,000 in deposits collected. It really was a stroke of genius.

But it wasn’t only money Musk got. As a suave entrepreneur, Musk realized he had an amazing leads list and that, with a little email marketing, direct mail, and a bunch of salespeople, he could likely upgrade some of those deposits to full paying customers.

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... COVER CONTINUED Good news for Musk; he was right, and 8 percent of the people who paid a deposit upgraded to a higher-end Tesla. With a minimum cost per new Model S or X of $75,000, Musk was able to generate another $3.3 billion in sales. Not too shabby. Of course, it isn’t all good news; some people got tired of waiting for their cars and asked for their money back. But according to Musk, that only amounts to 12 percent of customers in the last 28 months. That’s a great attrition rate and a loss of only $66,000,000 — a virtual drop in the bucket compared to the $3.85 billion that has come in from sales and deposits. Of course, now that Model 3s are rolling off the factory line, there are 455,000 people who were willing to pay $39,000 more for a car at some point. Assuming 80 percent of them actually pull the trigger, that would be another 14.2 billion dollars in sales over time. Not too shabby. Now, you and I may not be creating products as high-end as a Tesla and making billions of dollars, but we can use some of the same money math to grow our companies.

to be a part of at Here’s some background info on the program and the economics behind it. “Of course, it seems SCARY TO GIVE AWAY A CAR and have a $50,000 liability in cash prizes, but when you think about it, this is some of the SAFEST MARKETING EVER.” The program overview: We’re giving away a Tesla Model S or X to someone who sends us a referral who signs up for any of our custom newsletter packages. We’re also giving away $500 cash money to each person who refers or $50,000 once we reach 100 new referrals.

Of course, it seems scary to give away a car and have a $50,000 liability in cash prizes, but when you think about it, this is some of the safest marketing ever. You see, like Musk, we have to invest a little money up front to promote our referral program, and we needed to already have media in place (like this newsletter), but we don’t accrue much expense at all for each new customer until after the new customer gives us money. At that point, we owe $500 to the person who referred the new customer to us. Ultimately, we will have to buy a car, but that is only after we’ve gotten 100 referrals, which we estimate will take around 12 months. We will have had new customers paying us for a year before we have to purchase the vehicle, which allows us to offer a killer prize with minimum risk. We’re doing the same thing Musk is doing, just with referrals instead of product deposits. If we had to buy the car first, the risk would be so high that we’d never take the chance. (The reality is that not all marketing campaigns work, even for me.) But if we don’t have to shell out most of the money until after we already have the customer, it is virtually risk-free for us. If your wheels are spinning on how you can also use these strategies to give away a car or some other killer prize, that’s great. If you want it to be successful, there are two things you must do ASAP: You need to make sure you have media that you own and control (like a newsletter, hint hint), and you need to make sure you’re using that media to build a relationship with your customers and prospects. Ideally, you wouldn’t launch both the referral program and the media/relationship platform at the same time, because you really need the relationship first.

The simplest case study to look at is our Tesla referral program, which you should totally register

If we can help, give us a call at 208-297-5700 . Otherwise, I will see you next month.






Great news — the economy is rolling along and all is good. Sales are growing for most businesses, opportunity is around every corner, new customers are becoming easier to acquire, and profits are going up. Gotta love a strong economy. But we all know a strong economy doesn’t last forever. I’ve been hearing the rumblings from the Wall Street pundits that we only have another 12–18 months left in this good economy. While I have no clue how long or short our boom will be, I do know one thing for sure … Tons of businesses are allowing slop to creep into their operations, and when this economy turns, it is only a matter of time until that slop kills a number of small businesses. LET ME SHARE A FEW EXAMPLES: My team and I recently hit a company sales goal. As a reward, I was going to take the whole company (all 60 of us) to pizza, beer, and bowling. We called the nicest bowling center in town, but they wanted us to use their catering option. Unfortunately, that option blew the budget, so I called back and asked to reserve lanes. I was told that wasn’t an option. It wasn’t like I was asking for two lanes. I needed 10 lanes, and I didn’t want to simply walk in and hope they would all be available. Since a reservation wasn’t an option, I asked if I could prepay the per-lane fee of $40 per hour. Again, the answer was no. I even got a manager who told me they didn’t want to reserve the lanes because Fridays in the summer were sometimes busy. I was floored when I heard that. I asked the manager, “Are you slow some Fridays?” and he replied yes. I then explained to him that I was willing to come in and prepay $800 for 10 lanes for two hours and buy pizza and beer, which would guarantee that this Friday would be busy, and that it didn’t make sense for him to not take my guaranteed money over money he hoped would come in. The answer was still no, so we took our business elsewhere.

In a good economy, a company feels comfortable making dumb policies and simply hoping more money will come in; they have enough cash today to pay the bills. All of this is slop. As I write this, I’m on vacation with my family at a lake resort in McCall, Idaho. It’s a small resort town two hours north of my city and one of our favorite spots to get away from it all. We knew we would want to rent Jet-Skis for the day and have fun on the lake, so I called the marina and got voicemail. Getting a business’s voicemail annoys me, but McCall is a small town, so I let it go. I left a message telling them I wanted to rent a pair of Jet-Skis for the day. The next day, I was near the marina and the kids were playing in the lake, so I decided to take the short walk to the marina and reserve those Jet-Skis for the next day. As I was walking, I came across another place that rented Jet-Skis. I stopped, chatted with the kid who was working there, and reserved my Jet-Skis through him. At this point, it had been 24 hours since I called the first company, and I wasn’t expecting a call back. Either way, they missed out on hundreds of dollars in sales, all due to slop. The phones may be one of the single easiest things for any business owner to fix and see massive improvements with quickly. For my mastermind group, I brought in my phone guy, Dave Tester, to do some live calling to each attendee’s business to help them improve. When I buy or invest in a company, one of the first things I do is look at the phones and who answers them. I secret shop the person answering the phones a minimum of five times, and if I can’t salvage the person answering the phones, they are typically the first to go. When the economy is good, the problem of bad front desk people actually magnifies. This is why I want you to pay close attention to this in your business.

and new customers are coming in daily, it can be hard to focus on keeping what you already have. Considering that an existing customer is easier to sell to and more profitable than a new customer — according to every study I’ve ever read on the subject, not to mention my personal experience in business — taking your focus off customer retention is a massive mistake. The business math is always better if you grow and have low attrition. Not to mention the fact that, when the economy turns, you’re likely going to lose a few customers, so wouldn’t it be better to have more customers rather than fewer so the loss hurts less? If, after reading this, you think slop isn’t happening in your business, think again. It happens to everyone to some degree, but if you aren’t paying attention, it happens so much more than you know. Right now is the best time to fix slop. The economy is great, and fixing these areas that are costing you money is a great way to maximize profits so you can continue investing in your company, continue growing it, and make sure the next downturn — whenever it hits — is simply a minor annoyance to you instead of a potential business killer.


Another area of slop that often gets overlooked is customer retention. When the economy is rolling







“I’M GLAD WE INTRODUCED THE NEWSLETTER TO OUR BUSINESS.” “The team at The Newsletter Pro is awesome! I’m glad we introduced the newsletter to our business. We have received a lot of great feedback from our clientele, and our business has been having an increase in referrals. The Newsletter Pro makes the whole process very streamlined and smooth and does not require a lot of time each month. These guys are great!”

– Chris Thomason Eagle Dental Care

I have a few cautionary lessons for you, your employees, and your loved ones to read.

I’ve altered the stories a bit to protect the guilty, but I’ve seen so many people make these mistakes that I figured it was time to write about them. MISTAKE 1: NOT DOING AS YOU SAY YOU’LL DO

I run across this all the time. Promises are made and rarely kept. Excuses seem to rule the day, but so few people realize how much this costs them.


I recently hired a temporary employee (not at The Newsletter Pro), and we set out a work agreement for them for a period of time when they needed some extra cash. The employee did a great job, and I made plans based on the amount of work they were contracted to do and the time frame we had agreed on.

“These guys are so professional and personal that I use them as an example for things to do in my own business to make my clients feel good! They are super attentive to detail and seem to care about really getting to know my business so they can strategize with me on my newsletters. They are always perfectly on time, respond to my emails immediately, and write and design super well. My clients LOVE the newsletters and tell me they’re the highest quality we have ever put out. And I hardly have to do anything. I would recommend these guys to anyone! Go for it!”


REFERRAL MADNESS Find Your ‘Referral of a Lifetime’

– Jessica Schatz Expressions Music Academy

When you do a web search on ways to boost your sales (that actually work), Google will serve up thousands of results telling you one big thing: You need a referral campaign.

And that’s true. Referrals are big for small businesses. When implemented correctly, referrals can become your bread and butter. But that, of course, is the challenge. How do you implement a successful referral campaign that makes sense for your business? This is one question Tim Templeton takes a hard look at in his book, “The Referral of a Lifetime.” Templeton, a renowned business coach, has been helping entrepreneurs and business leaders answer that question for years. He’s getting more referrals through their doors. “The Referral of a Lifetime” dives into one of the most important aspects of referral marketing: building relationships. Not only do you want to foster the relationships with the customers you already have, you want to foster relationships with the people whose business you really want.




As Templeton explains, maintaining regular contact with your customers is crucial — if there is any secret to referral success, it’s this. Of course, setting the ball in motion is the real trick. And that’s what Templeton does. Through “The Referral of a Lifetime,” he gives you an outline to get the ball rolling along with what you need to know to keep the momentum going for a long time to come. Templeton makes going after referrals refreshingly simple. He makes it practical. “The Referral of a Lifetime” is a down- to-earth approach to referral marketing, something that is often missing in those thousands of online articles that attempt to explain the process. If you want to unlock the power of your next referral campaign, you need to read this book first. You can learn more about “The Referral of a Lifetime” at thereferralbook. com or find it on Amazon. Now, this side arrangement wasn’t with some random stranger, but with someone I’d known since they were a kid. A few weeks before our work agreement was up, they put in their two weeks’ notice to pursue another opportunity. This left me in a bind for those last two weeks. To my employee, it didn’t seem like a big deal — after all, they gave two weeks’ notice — but to me it was huge. Little will they ever know it cost them big time. Just two days before this person gave notice, I was scheming to help them out. They had done such a good job so far that I wanted to give them a boost in life; I was going to write a check for about $6,000 to pay off their student loans. Unfortunately for them, because they didn’t honor their commitment and they put me in a bind, that extra money is now off the table. I see this kind of miscalculation with CEOs, employees, family, and friends. I’m even guilty of it myself from time to time, but that doesn’t make it right. In my experience, the vast majority of people have an issue keeping their word. If you can and others can’t, it helps you stand out from the crowd. What do you do when life happens and you simply can’t keep a commitment?

When this happens, you need to go to the other party, explain the situation, and make a new deal. Of course, people do this all the time, but it’s typically minutes before the deadline or after the deadline has already passed. Both of those are too late. The best time to make a new deal is the moment you know you can’t meet the terms of the old deal. By living your life in an ethical manner and keeping your word, people will trust you more, and with more trust comes greater opportunity. MISTAKE 2: BEING A BULLY So, you’re going to miss your deadline or you can’t or don’t want to continue a contract or agreement of some kind. Instead of owning their position, I watch people from all walks of life try to bully their way into a better deal. The bullying tactic often works if the other person is weak or simply doesn’t care, but it can cost you dearly in the long run. This mistake is common and can go hand-in-hand with the above mistake.

this happened because I was in no position to argue about whatever terms were thrown my way, but you’d better believe I worked hard to make sure that person couldn’t bully me in the future, and when the timing was right, we were done. In this case, that person was a victim of self-inflicted bad luck. Just because you have the upper hand today doesn’t mean you’ll have it tomorrow, so you should treat people the way you want to be treated. I’ve found that the way people in power (even if the power is going to be short-lived) treat those who are not in power speaks volumes about the person in power’s character. MISTAKE 3: NOT TAKING OWNERSHIP When something goes wrong in life, you have to first be introspective. What did you do wrong? How could you have made this situation go better? I just signed an agreement that now appears to be a bad deal based on bad info I got. I’m not responsible for the data, but I am 100 percent responsible for not spending more time making

I’ve been bullied many times over the years by employees, customers, and vendors. Sometimes

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Have You Heard the Good News?

1 John 3:1 — ”See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” Matthew 5:15-16 — ”Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Ephesians 5:2 — ”And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”




sure the date was 100 percent accurate before I signed the agreement. It’s going to cost me a lot of money, and it is my fault. I can assure you I will do better next time. Years ago, I was chatting with a prospect, and he told me marketing never works for him. He went on and on about how all the marketing he’s even done has failed. He then asked me to sign him up for newsletters, and I told him that was a mistake. He was taken aback and asked why. I told him that if all marketing fails for him, newsletters would fail MARKETING HOW-TO CONTINUED ...

as well, because the problem wasn’t the marketing; there was something wrong with him or his business. We went back and forth, and he insisted he wanted to sign up. I told him I was altering his agreement and would note that I strongly suggested he did not sign up so that when he came back 12 months later and said it didn’t work, I could point to the agreement where I told him it wouldn’t work for him because nothing works for him.

and advised him to take a hard look at himself and his employees because they are the reason all the marketing doesn’t work. I can only imagine how much money he had wasted and lost over years because he simply wouldn’t be introspective and take ownership of all the failed marketing efforts. I know some of these may seem like common sense, but based on how often I see these mistakes, it doesn’t appear that many people commonly practice these principles. Hopefully, at a minimum, these have been good reminders, and you can avoid having any self- inflicted bad luck in the near future.

He signed up, and sure enough, 12 months later, he said it didn’t work. I showed him the agreement



Let Your Ideas Flow Creative Hub Ensures Pol ished Ads We’ve all been there, scrolling aimlessly through

nailing an effective launch without needing to be programming engineers. The interface allows you to upload ad mockups securely, where you can preview exactly how they will behave on Facebook and Instagram’s mobile apps. COLLABORATE Not only does Creative Hub let your team see an ad take shape, it allows them to do so from across zip codes. With cloud-based project folders, you can collaborate with creatives, executives, and customers across the globe. This streamlines workflows and ensures your next mobile ad ticks all

drill down into the exact format you want to use, such as looking at the best applications of vertical video. Creative Hub is a huge boon for small marketing teams with big ideas. We’ve use it for our own social media campaigns, and the amount of time and stress saved by being able to see a working mockup has been invaluable. And the best part of all? This powerful marketing tool is completely free!

our newsfeed, when something catches our eye. We know it’s an ad, but we stop and stare anyway. Maybe it’s a video making innovative use of a 360-degree camera. Maybe it’s a carousel of images telling an engaging story.

Or maybe the ad is broken.

From image text with glaring formatting faux pas to videos in the wrong aspect ratio, there’s a lot that can go wrong with mobile advertising. Having an innovative social media ad flop because of technical problems is a huge waste of time and money. Thankfully, Facebook has created a space to let you work out all the bugs before your next mobile campaign goes live: Creative Hub. EXPERIMENT At its core, Creative Hub is a space to let your (or your marketing team’s) imagination run wild. Facebook created this resource to help small- business owners go from having an idea to

the right boxes. GET INSPIRED

These tools are all well and good, but what if the creative juices just aren’t flowing? That’s where Creative Hub’s “inspiration” section comes in. This is the icing on the cake: Facebook has curated some of the best mobile ads from top brands to show off just how much the medium can do. You can even





If you’re fortunate enough to work with Neal Didonna, one of The Newsletter Pro’s prized writers, you have probably enjoyed some incredible conversations. Neal is the kind of person who truly loves connecting with others, be it over a good beer, while enjoying the great outdoors, or when kicking back to watch some sports. He has a natural talent for relating to other people and forming lasting connections.

“I really strive to make a positive impact on other people,” Neal says. “As a writer, I know the relationships I have with my clients truly make a difference in their lives and their businesses. That’s not something everyone gets to say, and I’m proud that the work I do makes an impact. Because to me, making an impact is what makes a person successful. “I first began to understand what success really meant a few years ago, when I went up to Spokane to attend the wedding of a close friend of mine. This guy had always been brilliant, with near- perfect SAT scores and a degree in civil engineering. But at the time of his wedding, he was interning at his local church during the day and stocking shelves during the night shift at Walmart. He’d left his future in engineering to become a pastor. “It sounds like a huge step backward. But at his wedding, I discovered he was probably the most successful person I’ve ever known. His new wife looked at him the way every man wants

to be looked at, he had the love and support of those closest to him, and he was committed to something he was truly passionate about. Today, he is an assistant pastor at his local church, with a wonderful marriage and two beautiful boys. He’s successful beyond compare.”

Seeing the valedictorian of his high school happy to stock shelves shifted Neal’s paradigm.

“I saw how valuable it is when a person creates impactful experiences for the people in their life. That commitment to making an impact inspired me to do the same in my life, using writing as my vehicle. “I define success by the experiences I create for others and for myself. And an experience doesn’t have to be life-altering to be impactful. As long as I’m creating something awesome for people, be it through sharing a beer or writing an article, I call that success.”

Creating something awesome sounds like a pretty good life motto to us.



If you’re looking for more great content — like what you’re reading in this newsletter — to drive your business forward, take a look at these articles on our blog. Find Your “Why” to Become a Better Leader Costco: A Business Driven by Their Mission The Winning Formula for Content Creation formula Overcoming Amazon




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How Patagonia Shatters the Concept of Mission-Driven Business

It’s no secret that a rock-solid mission is crucial to a business’s success. Every company needs guiding principles to drive it forward. An effective mission statement harnesses those principles into a single, unwavering focus. Head to any website of a company you support, including ours, and you’ll see the benefit of effective strategic planning on display. In the laying or revamping of a business foundation, companies come up with values that matter to the collective soul of their identity. You’ll see it in multiple forms — “about us” or “who we are” are common — but a mission/vision/values section that details the purpose behind the actions of a company will be proudly on display. Patagonia is a great example. Zip over to their website and you’ll see a well-formed, concise mission statement on the front page: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” You can tell every word was carefully crafted to embody ideals that are important to the company. Every word packs a specific and necessary punch to explain their values and why they do what they do. When you read it, it’s easy to see why someone would be drawn to Patagonia. They make their message accessible in more ways than one. MORE THAN MONEY It doesn’t take long to find information about what drives a successful business, and there’s a very specific reason for that. It’s not because mission is a selling point, but because all great companies want their consumers to know that goods or services are only one part of their purpose. Committing wholeheartedly to business principles would make for a pretty dull company. Would you want to work for a business if their mission statement was, “We consistently have a 12 percent growth rate with profit margins at 48 percent while limiting attrition, increasing lead conversion rates, and using systematized models for operations?” The only people who’d come to work for you are robots.

They start with a reason. Patagonia explains why their business exists and how that influences their desire to drive sales forward. But Patagonia differs from most for-profit companies because their mission statement is very active on social issues that matter to them— they are a mission-driven business, but their mission isn’t focused on business. Self-labeled “The Activist Company,” Patagonia oversees a convergence of two ideals that have often been on the opposite side of the social issues table: business versus the environment. Patagonia’s mission statement is so distinctive it almost functions as its unique selling proposition (USP). Product users engage with the brand because it stands for something that matters to them and because it’s different. If the brand backs up their mission statement with high-quality products or services, it gains loyal followers. From loyal followers, you gain organic growth that you just can’t find anywhere else. Most outdoor enthusiasts can agree that, 10 years ago, Patagonia was just another middle- of-the-road company. Now it’s an industry leader, and it’s accomplished that status in the most authentic way. If you don’t agree, you haven’t heard of their “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign.

“Don’t Buy This Jacket” was an advertisement displayed across multiple publications, asking consumers not to purchase their R2® Jacket. Even though the advertisement detailed the benefits of the jacket, they peeled back the curtain on how grossly inefficient it was to make such a jacket from new materials and the environmental impact consumerism has on the planet. So if it kills the planet, why does Patagonia make it? That seems hypocritical, right? Well, that’s where their initiative of “Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle,” comes in. The R2® Jacket mentioned in the ad wasn’t made from all new, raw materials. Instead, the source threads came from 60 percent recycled polyester. CREATIVE OR REAL? Marketing like this isn’t a creative way for Patagonia to encompass their mission. It is their mission. And it’s not just broadcasted in their marketing and executed in their production; it’s practiced in their operations as well. 1 percent of all sales, or 10 percent of pretax profits, goes to environmental groups, demonstrating their continued commitment to their calling. You could argue that what Patagonia is doing with their business model is very purposeful — offer up a contrarian standpoint that goes against the status quo and make sure everything about operations backs that up. But brands like Vans, Hurley, and Burton have built empires off the same concepts. Patagonia breaks that mold because their counterculture movement should be counterproductive to their bottom line. Donating profits, discouraging sales, and funding activists are not in anyone’s business manual. But that’s precisely why it works. People want to be a part of a story, and Patagonia tells a tale that is important to many people across the world. By taking a stand for what they believe in, their branding, marketing, and loyal followers have perpetuated their story at the tallest peaks, the largest waves, and the healthiest streams of the world. Every great business is mission-driven, but Patagonia is driven by something more: a calling.

THROUGH THICK AND THIN 2011 wasn’t exactly the height of consumerism in America. Every business was desperate for sales. In a down economy, one of the most affected industries is recreation. Less available money to spend means families have to be diplomatic about where their cash goes — most prioritize food and shelter over new outdoor gear. Yet, on Black Friday in 2011, Patagonia ran one of their most famous campaigns ever.

Successful businesses commit themselves to something more meaningful than just the bottom line.




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