Learn about mastering modern marketing with Todd Brown’s E5 Method in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett from LifterLMS. Todd shares marketing insights he’s gained throughout his years working in marketing for businesses, both brick and mortar and online.
A marketing campaign’s big idea is the message that underlies all elements of a campaign to resonate with the audience you’re going after. It is something that resonates with your audience and is the source or reference for the methods and messaging of your marketing campaign.
Behind every marketing campaign, every marketing promotion, every video, every long-form sales letter, every promotion for a course, every service, and behind every marketing message is an idea. The copy, the words, the phrases, the message, and the headline of those marketing messages are just expressing the idea. But behind every message is the big idea. What ultimately determines the success of a marketing campaign is rooted in the people in your audience resonating with your idea or message emotionally.
There are a lot of marketing messages out there – a lot of videos, a lot of long-form sales letters – that are filled with hyperbolic, exaggerated, or over the moon copy. And that copy just screams of hype and hyperbole and exaggeration. One of the reasons why most marketing campaigns fail is because the majority of entrepreneurs and marketers are starting with an average, ordinary, run-of-the-mill idea, theme, and hook. And in order to make their programs sound good, they have to use extraordinary words.
When you start with a powerful idea that your marketplace has not heard before, you don’t have to use hyperbolic language or exaggerated claims. You can let the idea shine through. Good marketing campaigns don’t usually need great copy to be successful because they’re based on a good idea.
If you’d like to learn more about Todd Brown, be sure to check out the E5 Method at E5Bundle.com. His best stuff is in there. The E5 bundle has a bunch of stuff that you can go through that will give you a really solid understanding of what Todd and Chris talked about in this episode, but is much more in depth in his book.
And at LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!
Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high-value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. Stay to the end. I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. I’m joined by a special guest. His name is Todd Brown. We’re going to get into some marketing stuff today, and I’ve got to say I’m super excited because I love getting under the sheets of marketing, going into the more detailed psychology and triggers and stuff that are under there where the magic happens.
I know Todd’s super into that. He’s a super authentic dude. He’s into strength training, as well as being an awesome marketer. He’s a community builder. He’s well-respected in this industry. Welcome to the show, Todd.
Todd Brown: Thank you, man. Super excited to be here and excited to nerd out with you, man.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Well, let’s nerd. In marketing, there’s something called the big idea. So if somebody is newish to marketing, what is the big idea?
Todd Brown: Yeah. So let’s take a step back for one second. And so, the first time I heard the big idea or about the big idea and the importance of the big idea was from a gentleman named Mark Ford. Many folks may know of Mark under his pen name, which is Michael Masterson. He’s written … I think today he’s got like 18 published books, many of which are New York Times, Wall Street Journal bestsellers.
Mark is really the guy behind one of the biggest companies in the world of direct response marketing, the Agora companies. They do about $1.5 billion a year. Just a behemoth of a company. Mark was really the marketing genius behind that company.
So one day many years ago, I asked mark. I said, “Mark, how did you help this company grow so big?” Mark came aboard with them and started helping them grow. They were like a $10 million company with the founder of the company, Bill Bonner, and grew to this crazy behemoth. At the time, I think, when I was asking them this question, they were doing several hundred million dollars.
I fully expected Mark to say that they were able to grow so fast because of their copy chops, or because they had a monster list, or they had deep pockets, or they were able to drive a tremendous amount of traffic. Mark didn’t say any of that to me. He looked at me and he said, “Todd, the reason why we were able to grow so big and so fast is because we realized early on that we are all really in the idea business. We’re in the business of developing and disseminating interesting, compelling, unique, startling, fresh new ideas to the marketplace.”
What Mark really meant back then, which that one piece of advice, of course, I dug deeper with Mark, but that sent me off on a multiyear journey to fully understand the big marketing idea, which I’ll explain. What Mark was really saying was that behind every marketing campaign, every marketing promotion, every video, every long-form sales letter, every promotion for a course, a service, it doesn’t matter, behind every marketing message is an idea.
The copy, the words, the phrases, the message, the headline of those marketing messages is just expressing the idea. But behind every message is an idea. What Mark was really explaining and what I really went on to learn was that the power of that idea, the quality of that idea is really what ultimately determines the success of a marketing campaign. How good, how compelling, how interesting, how unique, fresh, timely that idea is really ultimately determines the success of the campaign.
So Mark talked about … He said, “We look for big marketing ideas,” which, really, to boil it down, a big marketing idea is an idea that is both intellectually interesting. It makes you want to hear more. You feel like you’ve just discovered something newsworthy. It gives you this feeling of aha. It gives you this feeling that, “Why have I never heard this before? This sounds true. This sounds interesting,” like this is just intellectually interesting.
And it is emotionally compelling. It’s emotionally compelling because in the idea is this … I don’t even want to call it a hint, but is this promise of result? In other words, it’s an idea that keeps the prospect’s intellect, but also promises them an outcome, a reward, a transformation, a change that they desperately want in a way that they’ve never heard before.
And so, to just put a bow on this, it is important for everybody to understand that before you craft a marketing message, you want to identify, develop, nurture the hook, the theme, the angle, and you want that hook, theme, angle, idea to be something new and different that your marketplace hasn’t heard before.
You see, really quick, without going down a crazy rabbit hole, what happens … There’s a lot of marketing messages out there, a lot of videos, a lot of long-form sales letters that are filled with hyperbolic, exaggerated, over the moon copy, copy that just screams of hype and hyperbole and exaggeration. It’s filled with adjectives, the steroid-like, amazing, super fantastic learning management system, blah, blah, blah, blah.
One of the reasons why is because the majority of entrepreneurs and marketers are starting with an average idea, an ordinary run-of-the-mill common idea, theme, hook. In order to make their stuff sound good, sound extraordinary, they have nothing else to do other than use extraordinary words.
But when you start with a great idea, when you start with a powerful idea, an intellectually interesting and emotionally compelling idea, an idea that your marketplace has not heard before, you don’t have to use hyperbolic language or exaggerated claims. You can let the idea shine through.
That’s why some copy sounds like copy, it reads like copy, it feels like copy, and some copy, good copy, doesn’t. It doesn’t because it doesn’t have to, because it’s based on a good idea. So does that make sense?
Chris Badgett: That totally makes sense. I’m the old-school internet marketer. If I go back to 2008, I want to pull an example out of you. I think that was the first time I heard Jeff Walker do his Product Launch Formula deal. So I’m looking for what’s the big idea there? You have the sideways sales letter. He was a regular dude who had these extraordinary results. He felt like your uncle next door that you could just do a product launch with. What’s the big idea in that? Which obviously works because he’s been doing it over and over and helped a lot of people onboard into the world of marketing and sales.
Todd Brown: Yeah. Jeff is a good friend of mine. He’s a great guy, tremendous marketer, built up a tremendous business online with PLF. I remember when Jeff first hit the scene. And so, I’m a fan of Jeff and what it is that he does.
So I think this may be hard for some folks to understand, folks that are fairly new to the world of online marketing, and only know of Jeff and Product Launch Formula today. Today Jeff and PLF have so much credibility cloud, so many success stories that today many people are buying because they know so many people that have benefited from Jeff’s method. [crosstalk] Jeff-
Chris Badgett: Celebrity, if you will.
Todd Brown: Yeah, celebrity, authority, credibility, track record, all of those things are doing a tremendous amount of heavy lifting, rightly so, for Jeff today, as they should. He’s earned it, his method warrants it, and so on.
But years ago, there was this idea that starting from nothing, with no following, no buyers, no other product, no joint venture partners, no connections, that you could really generate really a year’s worth of sales in a matter of weeks by following this formula, which flips the standard marketing approach on its head.
And so, the idea back then, first of all, flipping the standard common marketing approach on its head, doing things very differently from everybody else in and of itself was intellectually interesting, always is, to the marketplace, a new and different way to do what it is that’s being done. Then this idea that you could generate a year’s worth of sales in a matter of weeks starting with nothing because of this new and different way is emotionally compelling.
And so, at the time that was enough for the marketplace to say, “What is this about?” And that was the idea. That was unique, fresh, timely, different back then. Today not so much because of how many people talk about launches and campaigns. But, thankfully, Jeff has built up a tremendous following, credibility, authority, expertise, track record, all that stuff. And so, the reality is he doesn’t need that anymore.
Chris Badgett: Let’s talk about the unique mechanism. What is that? How do you show up with that?
Todd Brown: Yeah, so that’s my favorite topic today because I feel like I see how much of a game-changer that is for entrepreneurs and marketers. So the way to think about it, again, to give a little bit of context, so, number one, differentiation in marketing is critical. People want to know what is different. They’re always looking for different. They’re not looking for more of the same. That’s why you show up at a social event, people want to know what’s new, what’s different, what’s happening in your life now that wasn’t before.
People want new … They want different. That’s why different gets attention. Better doesn’t always get attention. Simply saying, “This is better than those methods,” is not enough. What interests people is different.
Now there’s only a couple of different ways that you can differentiate what it is that you are doing or offering in terms of your product or service. One of the original ways of differentiating is with what’s called a unique selling proposition or USP. USP was something that was first pioneered or first popularized by one of the old-school direct response marketers, [Russ Reids].
Really the simple way to understand a USP is it is when a product or service offers a unique benefit. So when there is a benefit that the marketplace could enjoy from your product or service, that they can enjoy from a competing product or service, you have a unique selling proposition.
But today a unique selling proposition is rare. You typically only see it with disruptive technologies, like when ride share like Uber first hit the scene and you no longer needed to have cash. You no longer needed to hail a cab. You could see when the driver would show up. There were ratings. You didn’t have to tip at the time, all that stuff. Those were unique benefits that you can only find in Uber. That, of course, is no longer the case thanks to Lyft and whatnot.
When Netflix went all online to a streaming service, that was a disruptive technology. They had multiple unique selling propositions in there. You had a whole library of videos. You could start one right away. You didn’t have to return any DVDs or Blu-rays or anything like that.
But a USP is extremely rare in the majority of markets today. And so, if your product or service doesn’t offer a unique benefit, what else can you do to differentiate? Well, what a lot of marketers and entrepreneurs try to do is they try to simply enlarge their claim. They try to make a bigger promise. We see this all the time and this is, of course, what brings about this hyperbolic, exaggerated, just overblown, bombastic copy, like, “Get Facebook followers or Facebook fans,” “Get a thousand Facebook fans,” “Get 10,000 Facebook fans,” Get a million Facebook fans.”
What happens, though, in every marketplace is, one, if you enlarge the claim more, you’re either lying … Like you’re lying, and so unethical, it’s wrong … or you reach a point where it’s no longer believable and credible. But if we came out with a pill and we said, “Take this pill and you can lose a hundred pounds in one week,” very few people are going to believe us, whether it’s true or not.
And so, you’ve got USP, rare. You’ve got enlarging claims. It only works for a certain period of time, whether it’s true or not. And so, what you’re left with is differentiating through how your product or service works uniquely to deliver the result.
So let me take a step back and say at the root of all effective marketing campaigns has to be a promise of transformation, of result, of outcome, of change. Ultimately, all products and services are purchased because people are trying to solve a problem. That problem could be the existence of a pain point that they want to get rid of, or it can be an unfulfilled, unmet need, or desire. Either of those, both of those, are considered a problem. Ultimately what people want, why people are buying products and services, is to solve a problem.
And so, a unique mechanism is when you are able to articulate what is different about the way your product or service is able to solve that problem, is able to deliver the result, the outcome, the transformation.
And so, the beauty is that unless you are selling a pure commodity, like a glass of tap water, it really just takes a little bit of work and understanding to identify the unique mechanism within what it is that you do, whether you are selling courses, whether you’re selling information products, whether you’re doing consulting, coaching, you have an agency, you sell a piece of software. You are able to identify the unique mechanism. You’re able to identify how your product or service works to deliver the result.
The beauty is that once we identify that, which takes a little bit of digging, it takes a little bit of what I call interrogating and work, and then we’re able to name it, which has been done since the beginning of time in commerce, what that does is that allows us to now create a marketing message that is education-based, meaning that we’re able to go to the market and say, “You want to do X, Y, Z. You want to eliminate X, Y, Z problem. Well, we’ve got a new and different way for you to eliminate that problem. That new and different way is superior to every other way and here’s why. Here’s how it works. Here’s why it works. Here’s why it performs better in these particular areas. Here’s why this is the perfect solution for you.”
So we’re able to take that mechanism, the way that our product or service works. Without talking about the product or service, but just by talking about the mechanism, the method, the framework, the system, the process, we’re able to educate prospects, showing them why it’s not only different, but superior, and ultimately in the process then creating demand for our product before we ever even talk about the product.
So before we ever even introduce or offer the product, we’re first getting buy-in on the mechanism. The mechanism is what they can experience when they buy the product. And so, we get buy-in on the method, the formula, the process, get people to recognize that’s the process, “That’s what I need. That’s what I’ve been missing. That’s what I’ve been lacking all along. That’s the way to go. I want that,” and then you segue into, “Well, that’s why we put together X, Y, Z course. We call it L, M, N, O, P so that you can experience this unique mechanism yourself. Let me tell you everything you get with it, what it’ll do for you, how quickly it works and blah, blah, blah.” Does that make sense?
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Just to make sure I lock in the learning and for the audience, I have a friend named Chris who put on a mastermind retreat … By the way, combining those two words is a little bit unique. He did it in Mexico, in Cabo. He did it where all the meetings were in the pool and some of the time was unstructured. It was multiple days. It was just like a little different from a business conference. So is that an example of a unique mechanism where it’s not like a boardroom at a hotel? This is like …
Todd Brown: So it could be. So let’s say this. Remember that … Put the unique mechanism in context. So the unique mechanism, remember, is how does your product or service uniquely deliver the result, the outcome, the change, the transformation?
So let’s say that in your friend’s case, he was meeting with business owners and this mastermind retreat was about experiencing breakthroughs in how you grow your business. You’re going to walk away at the end of this with a breakthrough on how to multiply your revenue and profits-
Chris Badgett: Which happened.
Todd Brown: Yeah, which I’m sure, right?
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that was the promise.
Todd Brown: Yeah, yeah. Right? If he presented it as that the reason why is because we’re going to be in a setting which creates less mental blocks, which stimulates ideas, which stimulates creativity, deeper thinking, and more generosity in sharing between people, and all of those things in combination leading to more and better ideas shared with you about your business and how to grow, that would be an example of how you could take that and potentially position it as a unique mechanism.
The key is to see how … Remember, the unique mechanism is how your product or service or event, whatever you want to call it, delivers the promise. So let me give you more of a foundational and easier example to understand.
So if we had a supplement that you could take to lower blood pressure and we said it lowers blood pressure by X amount and X period of time, it does it without damaging the liver or blah, blah, blah, it’s not tough on your gastrointestinal track, and unlike medications, it’s got no side effects, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and we said the secret, the power in this supplement is in the unique formulation called L, M, N, O, P and it works by a different system in your body than the typical supplement or medication does, the formulation in this supplement triggers chemicals in your brain that help to relax blood vessels and, therefore, lower blood pressure, blah, blah, blah and that’s why it’s so effective.
See, what we’re talking about is that formula, that formula, which in that little example, I never told you what the formula was, but that formula is the reason why the supplement works. The supplement could be called blood pressure supplement. It could be a goofy name. It could be a boring name. It works because of this X, Y, Z formulation in there. It’s that X, Y, Z formulation that is responsible for why this supplement is able to lower blood pressure. So, again, you see how it’s the reason why your product or service is able to produce the result, the outcome, the transformation. Does that make sense?
Chris Badgett: That does make sense. Thank you. Appreciate that. You’re the creator of the E5 Method, which you can get at [e5bundle.com]. I was watching a video on your YouTube channel, Todd, and you were talking about showing up different and … What was it called? The simple selling saga. In that video, real quickly, you mentioned … I think it was the E5 Method where you talked about the unique promise, the primary promise, the sin offer, the argument, and the thesis. Let’s get into that. Is that the E5 structure right there? If so, please elaborate. What is the E5?
Todd Brown: Yeah. So E5, first of all, to give a little context so that this answer makes sense, is a five-step process for … And I’ll go through this very, very quickly. So is a five-step process for engineering a single evergreen campaign, meaning a campaign that you can use into perpetuity to acquire new buyers, new clients, new students, new customers day in and day out with consistency. So like repeatability, reliability, that sort of thing.
And so, the five steps, step one is what we call the examine stage. That’s really, for lack of a better word, you could refer to it as research. We have to understand our prospects, our competitors, and the product or service that we’re promoting. And so, that’s all about understanding what does the market want, their emotions, their feelings, their beliefs. What’s their current state, their after-state, all that? It’s about understanding what your competitors are saying, doing, presenting, their mechanisms, their ideas, as well as their offers.
Then, of course, using those two things, we’re then able to look at the product or the service to identify what we then need to say to the market based on the product and based on what we know the market wants and based on what we know they’re already hearing from competitors.
Then we go into stage two, which is the engineering stage. This is where we engineer what is referred to as an E5 campaign. The core components of an E5 campaign are the big idea. Part of the big idea is primary promise and unique mechanism. Those are parts of the big idea. So the big idea is how we get attention, how we stand out and have something different to say rather than just contributing to the noise in the market. That’s how people are able to get their ads, get engagement on their ads, get clicks on their ads, get visitors to their website by cutting through that noise.
Then we’ve got the Lead, which is capital L, which is the first 350, 400, 500 words of a campaign, whether it’s a video, whether it’s a webinar, whether it’s a long-form sales letter. The whole purpose of that Lead is to set the emotional hook by unpacking a little bit about the unique mechanism and the primary promise. So we’re turning the attention that we got from the idea into engagement with the Lead.
From there, we go into an argument, the argument portion of the … That’s the education portion of the campaign. The purpose of the education portion of the campaign is to ultimately prove that the unique mechanism that we’re talking about is not only different, but it’s superior to every other method, mechanism, framework out there for the prospect to experience the result. That’s what we call the thesis, meaning the thesis is usually some form or fashion that the unique mechanism is the superior way for the prospect to experience the outcome that they want.
Once we’ve used the campaign argument to lead the prospect to accept the thesis, then we segue into the introduction of a sin offer, which is just an offer to get the product or service that makes it easier for the prospect to say yes than it is for them to say no. That’s what we do in stage two of E5.
Then stage three of E5 is where we take the E5 campaign, we turn it into a minimum viable funnel, which is really just four pages, and we roll it out to the marketplace to evaluate the profitability of it.
After we do that and we prove the profitability, then we enhance that minimum viable funnel, turning it into a full-blown campaign. Then we bring it over to the expand stage, and that’s where we expand the reach, meaning that’s where we drive more and more traffic into the campaign to acquire more and more buyers. And so, that’s a big, broad, fast overview of the E5 method.
Chris Badgett: I love that. So when the E5 Method drops in and fixes a customer acquisition funnel or establishes it for the first time, what is it replacing that is not as good, or what is often the big mistake the market makes instead of using this method?
Todd Brown: Yeah, that’s a great question, man. I think that, number one, I would say this to just be really accurate, that typically the E5 Method is not used to try to improve an existing campaign. Typically, really honestly, there are typically just too many issues with the campaigns that folks are using, like they’ve been taught to just talk about their product, talk about the benefits of their product, talk about what makes their products so great, which is not even really marketing. That’s really selling.
And so, typically what we’re doing is we’re taking somebody that either hasn’t engineered their first campaign yet, or they’ve tried a lot of things and they’ve yet to get to a point where they’re able to acquire buyers, clients, customers, every day. What we do is we create a new campaign.
What that new campaign does for them, it does a number of different things. Number one … And this is … It takes care of things that they’re typically struggling with right now, which is why they’re not getting the results that they want right now in terms of daily, consistent new buyers, new clients.
Number one, it gets them attention even in a crowded and saturated marketplace. In other words, it ensures that their marketing, that they have an idea that stands out, that gets attention, that drives clicks. You can’t convert anybody if you don’t first get their attention. It does it in a way that is compliant.
So today a lot of the platforms like Facebook and YouTube and Google, they’re cracking down more and more on the typical hypey, exaggerated direct response copy, much of that you can’t even run anymore, or if you do, if it slips through, you run the risk of having your account banned, turned off, disabled, that sort of thing. And so, we’re able to get attention in the market with an intellectually interesting and emotionally compelling idea in a way that is compliant.
Then what we’re able to do is we’re able to differentiate. What this does is this ensures that your marketplace immediately sees what is different and superior about your approach, like about your method, about your process, about your product. So it immediately communicates to them this is different. This is not what you’ve heard before, not what you’ve seen before, not what you’ve come across before, not what you’ve tried before. This is something different.
Then what it does is it delivers value in the marketing, rather than being a pure pitch for a product, like selling, selling, selling, rather than just bringing, “These are all the benefits about my product,” which is exactly what prospects in the marketplace expect you to say. But, of course, they expect you to say all these great things about your product or service. That’s what they expect to hear from an advertisement or a marketing campaign or a marketer or a sales person.
What this does is it gives you the ability to educate. It gives you the ability to educate about something new, different, and superior. So through your marketing, you’re not only able to differentiate and create attention and engagement, but you’re able to establish expert authority positioning. You’re able to establish credibility through your marketing message because you’re teaching them. You’re giving them aha moments. You’re giving them this feeling of discovery.
But you’re not just educating them for education’s sake. You’re educating them in a way that leads your prospect to want your product or service before you ever even talk about your product or service. So that when you segue into the offer, you no longer have to use these hard, aggressive closing techniques or artificial scarcity or artificial urgency. You’ve built demand for your product or service before you ever even introduced the offer.
And so, when you combine it with a sin offer, the type of formula that we teach our folks, you get prospects that are grateful for the opportunity to take advantage of the offer. That’s good marketing.
It was Peter Drucker, one of the greatest management gurus ever, who said that the job, the objective of marketing, is to make selling superfluous, to make selling unnecessary. That’s really what he said.
That’s at the heart and soul of the E5 Method, because we’re not trying to hardcore close somebody into buying our thing with hyperbolic language, exaggerated claims, and this artificial scarcity and urgency. We’re building demand for the product by showing the prospect and proving to the prospect with an education-based message why this new mechanism, method, framework, system, process is the best solution for their need, for their want, for their problem. We’re doing it with education. So they’re led on their own to see it as the superior solution, they want it, and then we offer them an opportunity to get it.
Chris Badgett: I love that. So go to e5bundle.com. I’m going to be going there and getting a copy of the book. Let’s go technical and more tactical for a second. What are the components to create one of these campaigns? We’ve got emails, we’ve got landing pages, we’ve got videos.
I was listening to you in one of your videos talking about when the video sales letter was novel, and sometimes these things are novel for a little bit, but then everybody does it and overdoes it and stuff like that. How do you think about the stack of implementing this customer journey, this educational journey and campaign? What is this on top of?
Todd Brown: Yeah. So hang on one second. I want to let my dog out of my office.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Todd Brown: Hang on one second. All right, sorry about that. So I’m going to answer that question, but I’m going to answer that question likely in a way that you weren’t expecting, and that is this. I really feel like that the delivery medium of the message is far less important than what most people think. In other words, most people have been led to believe that the medium-
Chris Badgett: They just need a tool. They need a tool.
Todd Brown: Well, they think like, “You know what? It’s all about the webinars,” that I would sell more if I was using a webinar, or the people that are using webinars and not seeing conversions, people aren’t buying their course or program or product or whatever, they think, “Well, if I deliver this as a VSL, the answer is in the VSL,” or the answer is in the long-form sales letter. The reality is it’s not. The magic isn’t in the medium. The magic is in the message.
I like to compare this to, look, if you have a book and it’s a Kindle book, it’s a PDF or it’s a Kindle book, it’s an ebook, whatever, and it’s a garbage book, turning it into a hardcover book isn’t going to make it a better book. Turning it into a paperback isn’t going to make it a better book. Changing the size of the book isn’t going to make it a better book. The delivery medium of the message doesn’t fix the message. What fixes the message is fixing the message.
And so, look, if you line up … I’m blessed to get to work with … We’ve got clients and students today in something like 66 different countries around the globe. I’m blessed to get to work with some of the sharpest marketers and entrepreneurs online today. You could line up 10, 12 of my students, clients, some of the most popular folks out there that you know and you’ll find some that rely on webinars, some that rely on video sales letters, some that rely on email, some that rely on Facebook Messenger, some that rely on Facebook groups, some that rely on direct mail. That’s because it’s not about the medium of delivery.
Now there may be some nuances depending on the demographic that you’re dealing with, but it’s not about the delivery medium. It’s about the message. When you’ve got a good message, that message can be delivered as a webinar, as a VSL, as a direct mail piece, as an all-in email. You might see some slight changes in conversion, but you’re not going to bring something from a zero to a hero simply by changing the medium. You’ve got to fix the message. And so, you’ve got to make sure that you’ve got the right …
Oftentimes, man, what people are doing just to cut through the fluff, what people are doing, they’re starting with an ordinary idea, like a run-of-the-mill, like how to grow big tomatoes. What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to … Instead of how to grow big tomatoes, how to grow huge tomatoes, how to grow humongous tomatoes, how to grow humongous, gigantic tomatoes, how to grow gorgeous, humongous tomatoes. None of those things, none of those word changes change the idea. It might change the expression of the idea, the way that we’re talking about the idea, but they don’t change the underlying idea.
The underlying idea is still the same old boring idea of how to grow big tomatoes. That’s the first thing. When you bring an ordinary idea to the table, it’s difficult to get attention. Not enough entrepreneurs and marketers think about why should people even listen to you? Why should they click on your ad? What new information, new insight, new aha are you going to give them, or are you bringing more of the same? Does your stuff sound just like everybody else’s stuff?
Too many people take for granted attention, clicks. They think that because they publish something online that people are going to listen or people are going to read or people are going to engage. There’s a reason why lots of people, when they put up a video sales letter and then they look at their analytics, they see that 80% of the people dropped off within the first 18 seconds, because they had nothing new, nothing different, nothing emotionally compelling, nothing intellectually interesting, nothing that said to the audience, “This is different. This is what you’ve been missing. This is new. This is timely.” None of that.
Then, of course, when you get to the heart of it, people struggle because they’re making outrageous claims and they’re giving zero support, zero evidence for that. They think that just because they’re claiming this product can grow you big tomato, this product can grow you green grass and a gorgeous lawn, and this product will do this for you and this for you and this for you, they think that today all they’ve got to do is just present a bunch of claims and promises.
But anybody today online, and markets, people know this, anybody online can claim anything. Today, when you make a claim, you need to have support. You need to have evidence. You need to have proof. You need to, at a bare minimum, give a reason why your prospect should recognize it’s true. If you say this works quickly, you have to be able to follow that up with, “And the reason why is because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” “This is easy to use and the reason why is because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, “This can work for anybody and the reason why is because … ” You have to give support.
And so, most people have messages that are just none … They’re not believable. And so, they’re making a bunch of claims or stating a lot of benefits. They’re following the typical approach and they don’t understand why people aren’t buying. Well, the people that they do get the attention from and they are able to create engagement, they just don’t believe them. They don’t believe that they’ll experience the results because there’s very little evidence presented.
As I said, there’s little differentiation. There are people that are … What their marketing is, they’re trying to market, “Mine is better. I’m going to teach you Facebook advertising, but the way that I’m going to teach you is better.” That’s a mistake because what people want is different. They don’t want better. They want different.
It’s a weird thing how people don’t want better, they want different. Often they feel that different is better. They don’t want just the ordinary, but a better version of the ordinary. They want something different. Hence, the value of the unique mechanism. So I could go on, but I’m rambling here. And so, did that answer the question?
Chris Badgett: That did answer the question. Let’s go deeper. I just want to pull out a part you mentioned about an emotionally compelling hook. Do you have an example of that, or tease that out of how in a campaign, in the sequence, you really get that emotional hook set? What’s an example of that?
Todd Brown: Well, so when we’re talking about the Lead of a campaign, which is the first 350, 400, 500 words, first of all, the idea of a Lead, capital L-E-A-D, sometimes it’s spelled L-E-D-E, it really comes from journalism.
If you’ve ever heard the expression, don’t bury the lead, and the burying the lead is this idea of taking the most compelling aspect of the story, the heart and soul of the story, and putting it five paragraphs in, or putting it in the middle, or putting it towards the end, what they’re talking about is you lead with the juiciest bit. You lead with the most exciting, most compelling, most interesting bit of the entire thing.
And so, when we’re talking about the Lead of your campaign, you’ve got to recognize that the purpose of the opening of your campaign is to first get your prospect emotionally excited. You’ve got to recognize that the heart dictates what the head looks for. In other words, the head, the intellect, looks for justifications for what the heart wants.
And so, when we want something then, our mind goes to work justifying why we should get it and why it’s a smart purchase and why it’s cool before we get it, why we can afford it, and all that stuff. So the heart comes first. And so, you’ve got to “market” to the heart or convince the heart or get the heart on board first.
And so, the purpose of the Lead is to set that emotional hook, to get that heart on onboard first. The way that you do that, what people want to know when it comes to a marketing message, or ultimately at the heart of what it is that we’re doing, is we’re letting them know that we’ve got a different way for you to get the result that you want.
In other words, what becomes emotionally exciting to people is to be able to say, “For the first time, you really can experience X, Y, Z. I want to tell you about a different way, a new way for you to get X, Y, Z, a way that allows you to eat all the foods you want, not exercise. Eat all the junk food, blah, blah, blah, not burn calories.” And so-
Chris Badgett: A good question right there, so not necessarily faster, better, cheaper, but different?
Todd Brown: Well, the different way. Put cheaper aside, because when you talk about cheaper, you’ve got to be careful that you’re not starting to talk about the product. If you were talking about this normally would cost you $3,000 and it’s only going to cost you $300 now, but yet different, it’s different. This different way will either give you faster results, easier results, safer results, more consistent results, require less work on your part or whatever.
Yeah, so it’s different and this different way will give you either faster, safer. It doesn’t have to be all of those, but you have to … Look, let’s take a step back for one second. So, number one, it’s important for everybody to understand that what prospects look for is the superior solution.
Nobody goes to Google and searches for the third best way to lose weight. Nobody wants to know the third. What’s the third best time management system? Nobody wants that. Nobody wants the third best way of setting your LMS. Nobody wants that. They want the best way. What’s the best way to lose weight, or what’s the fastest way to lose weight, or what’s the safest way to lose weight, or what’s the most consistent way to lose weight?
All of those things, fastest, easiest, safest, most consistent. All of those imply superiority. The fastest implies superiority in terms of speed. Not necessarily ease, not necessarily safety, not necessarily consistency, but in speed. It conveys superiority. The easiest doesn’t necessarily convey superiority in speed or safety, but it conveys superiority in terms of ease. If we said the fastest and easiest, now we’re conveying superiority and speed and ease, not necessarily safety.
And so, my point, though, is that it’s different and it’s superior in some area or areas. And so, yeah, we’re letting them know that, because people don’t buy different just for different’s sake. It doesn’t matter that this is different in that it’s got a blue cover and all the others have a red cover. They only care about different when it comes with an element of superiority, like a benefit to them, and that benefit is this is either easier, it’s faster, it’s safer, it’s more predictable, it’s more consistent. There’s got to be some superiority there or why should they buy it? Or why should they buy it? Does that make sense?
Chris Badgett: Does that make sense. One more piece before we shift into another part. Where does trust fit into this? In terms of you’ve got their attention, then how do you earn their trust in this E5 method?
Todd Brown: Yeah. And so, what I would say is that I would say it a little bit of a different way. So what I would say is in the E5 Method, in between the Lead and the campaign argument, in between the Lead and proving what makes the mechanism superior, there is what we call a credibility chunk. The credibility chunk is typically very brief. It is typically anywhere from two to three sentences, max.
Really, the credibility chunk is just there to answer one question, and that is why should I listen to you on this topic? Who are you to tell me about weight loss or growing a green lawn, or who are you to tell me about time management or learning management system or something like that? Who are you to tell me about any of that?
And so, that’s the only question that we’re trying to answer in that credibility chunk. That’s the only purpose of the credibility chunk. It’s not to give our full bio, our full CV, or resume, or anything like that. It’s just to answer the question of why should I listen to you? Which is why it only has to be two to three sentences. And so, that’s the credibility of why you should listen to me.
When it comes to trust, the way that I would articulate it is that what we don’t want to do and what we avoid with the E5 Method is doing anything that breaks that trust, meaning we don’t do anything that would demonstrate we’re not trust trustworthy. That goes back to when we make a claim, we always give evidence, support, or proof for that. So we’re letting the argument demonstrate the trustworthiness because when we make a claim, we’re backing it up with evidence.
The thing to recognize is that there’s always going to be minimal trust when you are marketing or communicating with a cold prospect that just saw an ad, clicked on the ad, and now is reading or listening or watching a marketing message.
And so, what we’re going to do is we’re not going to just expect that they’re going to trust us and accept our message at face value. We’re going to prove it to them. So that’s why we refer to it as a campaign argument, similar to the way that a prosecutor presents an argument proving that the defendant is guilty. They don’t expect the jury just to trust them because they say the dude’s guilty or the dude had a motive or the dude’s violent. Anybody can say that. They are building trust or creating trust or maintaining some semblance of trust by when they make a claim, they give proof, they give evidence, they give support, and we’re doing the same thing.
And so, anything that, like, if they can question it, we have to give support and evidence for it. Does that make sense?
Chris Badgett: That totally makes sense.
Todd Brown: Okay.
Chris Badgett: I’m going to switch gears. This is the last question for you. It’s the area of you becoming an expert. I see basically people have to wear a bunch of hats. They have to be an entrepreneur. They have to be an expert technologist, community builder, instructional designer. There’s all these things that an education entrepreneur needs to figure out.
Your expert journey, I found fascinating. You didn’t come from a marketing background, but you went all in. I mean you’re going into the deep history of marketing and copywriting and management and all this stuff. What was that like for you, like making that turn and then really just going all in when you found your calling?
Todd Brown: Wow! So that’s a big question, man. I think … What was the question?
Chris Badgett: I just want to say some people don’t give themselves permission to really follow that thread. You follow that thread and then here you are on your hero’s journey trying to give back to the people. This is part of the hero’s journey. What was your call to adventure and how did you go all the way?
Todd Brown: I mean I don’t know. I have a crazy story that I won’t get into, but I think … Look, the first time I came in contact with direct response advertising, direct response marketing was almost two decades ago, a little bit more than two decades ago, actually.
At the time I knew nothing about the difference between advertising and marketing. I thought they were the same thing. I thought marketing, advertising, it’s what Pepsi and Home Depot does. And so, I had no idea.
The first direct response thing that I came in contact with was a postcard when I was in the fitness industry. It was offering a course, a training program, for fitness professionals on direct response. And so, I was like, “Oh, let me check this out.” It was promising to help get more clients, sell more clients, make more money, all that stuff.
And so, I asked my boss at the time if I could expense it and he said yes, and I started to dive in. This was way, way .. I was going through cassette tapes and there was a diskette. And so, most of your listeners don’t even know what that is.
And I just fell in love with it. I had never been a student. I was a terrible student in high school. I was just talking to somebody else about that. I was a terrible student in high school. I don’t think I read my first book from cover to cover until I was in my early 20s.
But I just became fascinated by this idea that you could craft a single message that generated a sale, and you could then use that single message with thousands, hundreds, tens of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people to create sales over and over and over again automatically. I became fascinated by that. It was almost like I discovered this opportunity that I had no idea even existed before.
And so, for me, that just became the start of this … Most people think that’s a green screen in the back of me. That’s not a green screen. I just-
Chris Badgett: For those of you listening, there’s a library of books and there’s even a ladder. So he’s going to get up high to get to all the books.
Todd Brown: Yeah. The ladder has a lot more to do with my height, or lack of height, than it does the height of the bookshelf. But nevertheless.
Look, man, I recognized early on, I recognized the opportunity, which I think the opportunity is even greater today. There are more paths and more opportunities online than ever before. There’s more education today that you could go through and learn and all that. It’s easier today thanks to software applications and whatnot, and pros like you teaching folks how to do stuff with their courses and WordPress and all that.
When I got online, when I first started there, there was no WordPress. So stuff was being created. I remember having to figure out Microsoft FrontPage, which doesn’t even exist anymore. It was the Dreamweaver for dummies. Most people don’t even know what Dreamweaver is.
And so, I recognized the opportunity and I recognized there were things that I didn’t know that I needed to know. I just believe that if others could do it, if others could figure it out, so could I. And so, I just became a lifelong student and still am.
And so, I don’t know if that helps or answers the question, but I think that … Look, I think there are a lot of people, man … It amazes me that there are a lot of people that give up because they don’t know something. It just baffles me because I once … No joke, I think there was a video on YouTube, on our channel, of me showing somebody talking about how they decided that they weren’t going to … They were stuck, they couldn’t move ahead with their business, something like that, because they couldn’t figure out how to turn a JPEG into a PNG, like a file format. No joke.
I show in this video somewhere, I don’t remember where it is, but I show this comment of this person saying this and I’m just like, “Are you serious? Are you serious that that’s going to be … ” When your grandchild asks you one day, “Grandpa, grandma, why didn’t you launch your business? Why didn’t you succeed in your business?” you’re really going to feel comfortable saying, “It’s because I couldn’t figure out how to turn a JPEG into a PNG”? Figure it out. Others have before you. Do some digging, do some work.
I remember when I first launched my business, man, I had two toddlers at home. We were talking about I had two … Or I think I might’ve had my one daughter and then later my other daughter came along. I’m working in the mornings, I’m working at night, I’m working on the weekends, and I’m working a full-time job. And so, you do what you got to do.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome.
Todd Brown: That’s my rant. That’s my rant, man.
Chris Badgett: So here’s Todd. This is 20 years later. He’s back. The purpose of this podcast is to condense decades into days. Really, it’s not this episode, it’s Todd’s work. If you go to e5bundle.com, his best stuff is in there. Check it out. e5bundle.com. Any final words for the people, or anywhere else they can find you online, Todd?
Todd Brown: No, I think that’s a perfect spot. E5bundle is just a crazy bunch of stuff that they can go through that’ll give them a really solid understanding of what we talked about much more in depth my book.
I think the only final words that I would share, man, is what I already said, just to reiterate just a little differently, and that is that don’t look at the gurus or the people that you see as at the top of their field and think they brought something to the table that you don’t have, that they had connections, or they had innate intelligence, wisdom, genius, like they’ve got something that I don’t, because that’s absolutely not the case.
You’ve got to remember that … I’ll tell you that … And I know and work with and have clients, students that are the best of the best. Most of them, myself included, are not intellectual giants by any stretch of the imagination. I almost didn’t graduate high school. It took me six years to get a four-year degree, which has nothing to do with business or marketing.
In sixth grade, I was diagnosed with a learning disability. I’ve actually showed proof of that online. Most of my friends and clients and students that are wildly successful, I would say, fall into some capacity into that same area.
The top 1% at one point were the bottom 1%. At one point, the people that know it all right now at one point knew nothing and were just getting started. And so, if we can do it, you can do it. You just have to decide upfront that you’re going to commit to it and make it a reality, and expect that you are going to come across obstacles and roadblocks and struggles. Everybody does. It’s normal. But keep going, keep moving forward. If you’re willing to do that, you can reach anything.
Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. Did you enjoy that episode? Tell your friends, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode. I’ve got a gift for you over at lifterlms.com/gift. Go to lifterlms.com/gift. Keep learning, keep taking action, and I’ll see you in the next episode.