Learn about offline marketing for online courses with high ticket ecommerce and consulting business expert Sayan Sarkar in this episode of the LMScast podcast hosted by Chris Badgett of LifterLMS.
Sayan has experience in scaling eCommerce businesses, specifically in the health industry and supplements niche. His company Sark Media Direct is where he teaches people how to start and grow a successful health, eCommerce, or consulting business.
Most of the time in the world of marketing we are learning about the new ways of doing things with marketing online, but as Sayan shares in this episode, he has had tremendous success with his businesses by marketing offline in newspapers.
One of the most important things to keep in mind with marketing is finding people who are interested in what you have to offer. So that may not always involve social media marketing if the preferred media for your clients is newspaper or another offline source.
In many industries we see people purchase educational content and do nothing with it. Sayan’s target market comprises companies that want to work with him one-on-one, and those are higher ticket clients purchasing in the $3,000+ range. By working more intimately with clients he is able to see more direct feedback with implementation and can better help them get the results they are looking for.
We often refer to this as the course plus in the world of online course creation. You can have a course that explains the basic process, but it is also a good idea to have an upsell and higher end coaching option associated with that.
Speaking directly to your customers using the language they use to describe their problems is a great way to target your message to your audience. Chris and Sayan talk about how you can do market research and uncover the challenges your audience faces.
Finding your audience and marketing to them successfully comes down to understanding their pain and being able to talk to them in the same way they describe their problem. A few ways you can find out how customers describe their problem is to check out the Amazon reviews for products in your industry, or join and look at the posts in Facebook groups or on Reddit relating to issues people have in your industry.
To learn more about Sayan Sarkar and how you can start and grow a successful health, eCommerce, or consulting business, check out SarkMediaDirect.com. Sark Media Direct is also on Facebook if you’d like to check them out there as well.
At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Thank you for joining us!
Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses, called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.
Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name’s Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest, Sayan Sarkar. Welcome to the show, Sayan.
Sayan Sarkar: Thanks, Chris. Good to be here.
Chris Badgett: I’m really excited to get into it with you for the course building community, people building membership sites, coaching programs. You’ve got a lot going on. A lot of marketing smarts. System smarts. Entrepreneur smarts. I’m going to see how much value I can mine out of your experience and knowledge today.
Chris Badgett: Sayan is, he has experience in scaling eCommerce. Specifically in the health industry, and in the niche of supplements. Then he has Sark Media Direct. You can find that at sarkmediadirect.com. Where he teaches people how to start and grow a successful health, eCommerce, or consulting business. It kind of, Sark, you have this two market thing going on. You figured out this thing with eCommerce and doing your own thing in Amazon. Then you developed a program, a second market, where you’re going to teach other people how to do what you did. How did that evolve, from doing the one thing to doing the two things?
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, so it first evolved as a way … I got successful, my selling business. I had people asking me what to do, how to do it. Because what I did was kind of weird in a sense. A lot of my business growth came from offline marketing, which means newspapers primarily. People in the industry like my friends, people I knew were like, “How the hell did you do offline marketing?”. Because everyone these days, of course you’re on Facebook or Instagram or whatever it is.
Sayan Sarkar: It was a new and different thing, and I had companies asking for help. So I started working together with a few bigger companies in the space. It began as just consulting with them, telling them what to do, for a decent retainer per month. Over time it evolved. I realized there was a huge huge opportunity and a place for me to help others. To show them what I’ve done, to grow their businesses. At the same time, make essentially …
Sayan Sarkar: What I learned from Jay Abraham, who I’m sure you guys know, his whole thing is, “If you get successful in one place, you then duplicate that somewhere else. You license your model, in a sense, somewhere else”. I realized I could do that with my business. I was doing it for myself for, at the time, five, six years. I had then done it for some big clients in that first year or so. I realized I could then show this to everyone else, make another business out of it. Basically grow my companies more that way.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. So you weren’t an expert being like, “Which course should I make?”, and going to try to find a market. The market was already knocking on the door like, “How’d you do that? Can I hire you to consult for me? Put you on a retainer?”. You figured out how to productize and scale that. That’s brilliant.
Sayan Sarkar: Thank-you.
Chris Badgett: I want to get into the marketing stuff in a little bit. Especially doing things in a counterintuitive way. Where while everybody’s going online, you’re like, “What about traditional offline marketing and stuff like that?”. I think that’s brilliant. But before we get into that, looking at your website. When I see this website I see somebody who’s doing modern marketing, and has really clear thinking. Everything is strategic. From what’s on the menu, to the headline, the sub-headline, the call to action.
Chris Badgett: I want to focus specifically on your primary call to action on your homepage. Which is at sarkmediadirect.com. Which is a free strategy call. That’s another thing, where people are so busy automating everything and putting forms up there. That they don’t put their phone number on the website, or a link to schedule a call. While the world is trying to automate everything, why are you getting on the phone with people?
Sayan Sarkar: I mean, simply put, to do business at the scale that I want with the people I want, I don’t … Look. There’s nothing wrong with selling a low ticket course for, whether it’s $47, or even $1000, or whatever it is. But for me, I have a high ticket program. I like to work with clients who pay more money, who value my time more, and who get results.
Sayan Sarkar: One of the biggest things I’ve seen in my industry this past year is that there are a lot of people who want to start a health supplement company. They went through all the courses. They bought all the books, all the trainings from other experts. But they didn’t see results. Because the problem with the course is, yes, as the expert you can scale a ton. But unless you have more in place for more direct support working with that client one on one, it’s hard for them to see results.
Sayan Sarkar: I think one of the biggest things that we’ve seen, at least in my industry where it’s a lot of internet marketers. People who want to start a new business. No one wants to admit it, but people buy these books and courses and do nothing with it, for years. They just keep buying more courses and do nothing with it. I mean, that’s cool and all, and fine if they want to do it. If that’s what they want to do. But I want to find the cream of the crop. The ones who want to take action. Who want to pay for my support one on one, and to work with them.
Sayan Sarkar: To do that, I’m not going to have … I mean, yes, a website’s good and so on. But I want to get on the phone with them. Not just have a sales page or a VI sell. I want to talk with them, get to know them, get to know what their goals are. What they want to do. Make sure that we’re a fit for each other. Not just take their money. Just make sure that we’re going to work together. Make sure that, “If you’re going to pay me, yes I will make sure it works for you”. That can’t be done with a tech sales page, or VI sell only. At least from my experience.
Chris Badgett: How do you define a high ticket program? What price range are we talking about, that you consider a high ticket program?
Sayan Sarkar: I consider anything above a 3K or so price point. 3K for roughly eight weeks. My programs are more than that. But at the minimum, high ticket to me is 3K or above.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. I think most people, most do not buy stuff multi-thousand dollars without talking to a human being.
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, exactly.
Chris Badgett: It’s just kind of how it works.
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: Who or what I guess are some of your influences? As you’ve developed to the person you are today. What influenced you as a marketer, a sales person, a consultant, an eCommerce guy? Who are some of your top influences? You mentioned Jay Abraham. Who else?
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, oh my god. There’s so many. I mean, when it comes to copywriting and direct response marketing, there’s Gary Hopper. Dan Kennedy. A lot of old school stuff like David Ogilvy, Eugene Schwartz. All these old school copywriters who really understood and put together the framework on how to really sell via print. They did it 50 years ago.
Sayan Sarkar: Maybe it’s just me, but it’s funny to me how everyone thinks, “There’s this new method out now for copywriting”. It’s like, “No”. People haven’t changed. Or their emotions and what they respond to has not changed in hundreds, even thousands of years. By looking at what was already done in the past or was pioneered in the past, and adapting on that for our current needs, it’s so much faster and easier to succeed than trying to reinvent the wheel from scratch.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s such a good point. There’s the three mega-niches I see course creators operating in. There’s health and wellness, business, and then relationship stuff. Those are the three mega-niches. What happens sometimes in this industry, like you mentioned, I call it the dirty little secret of membership sites. People get into course consumption mode, and the industry standard is less than 10 percent completion rates. It’s a huge, huge problem out there.
Chris Badgett: But sometimes what’s working is a little bit counterintuitive. One of the problems that happens unfortunately to smart entrepreneurs who are trying to develop themselves, their knowledge so that they can effectively teach, build a business, design training that works correctly, build an email list. All these things they have to do. They get into course consumption mode, and they start hanging out with a lot of other entrepreneurs and stuff. They get even more and more detached from their target market.
Chris Badgett: I just wanted to put that into context to ask you, what’s something that we can learn from the health and fitness industry? Specifically the supplement industry, in terms of how the market maybe behaves in a counterintuitive way? How do you sell supplements where there’s a buying behavior or something that’s just different from how entrepreneurs buy stuff or consume things? What’s something we can learn from your industry experience, specific to supplements?
Sayan Sarkar: Okay, and just to clarify. You mean my experience selling B to C, selling supplements in general to consumers?
Chris Badgett: Yeah. What’s a tip, a counterintuitive insight, that we can learn from how supplement shoppers buy?
Sayan Sarkar: It might not be counterintuitive if you listen to all my podcasts, because I say this all the time. But I think everyone, or not everyone. A lot of people, they go for making a great product or a course, so whatever it is, first. They don’t look for that market need first. In supplements what that means is, people go out and they say, “I’m going to make a great product for brain health”, or whatever.
Sayan Sarkar: That’s fine. But what I do is I say, “Okay. If I look at the cross section of America, what are people suffering the most from?”. It’s not brain health. It could be memory. It could be focus. It has to be more specific. Everyone goes out and they say, “I’m going to …”, and this was me too. I mean, I’m not saying I haven’t made these mistakes.
Sayan Sarkar: My first product, I made a great product with everything in it that was the all in one supplement. All in one means it’s for nobody. There’s no clear distinction on what this is for, who it helps, how it helps them. Long story short, I was thinking of myself and my product first, and not the customer.
Sayan Sarkar: I have a lot of clients who come to me today, same thing. Right? They have a great product, or they’ve done all the research on the ingredients. Sure it could help somebody. But they never thought about the customer first. So the way they message and position themselves is wrong, and that’s why it doesn’t sell.
Sayan Sarkar: The same thing relates here, whether it’s courses or my consulting and so on. I can go out and make a course and say, “Oh, here’s how to grow your business”. But who does that help? Instead what I do is I say, “Okay. Here is a market I know. People who want to get into the health supplement business. I know they have a big problem because they’re struggling to scale. Or they’re struggling to get started. Now let me position my offer and my services around their need”.
Sayan Sarkar: That’s why I believe it became so successful. Because I spoke directly to that person and what they wanted, and I made that the focal point of my services. What do they need? How can I help them first, and create content that really fits their needs? That’s worked in any industry I’ve done. Whether it’s for myself or for clients. It’s always finding the customer’s big bleeding neck problem. What are they really suffering from?
Sayan Sarkar: One way I learned about it from one of my old mentors, Craig Valentine, he always talked about, especially in the health industry. If it’s weight loss, there is some 55, 60 year old woman. She’s crying herself to sleep tonight because you have the solution to her problem and you don’t know how to sell properly to her. Because she wants to lose weight so badly, and look good and feel good about herself. But she can’t. She hates herself. It’s my duty to make a product that talks to her and gets her to understand that I have the actual, the final solution for her problem.
Sayan Sarkar: Unless I think of her first and how I can help her, I will not get to that end result. We all suffer as a result.
Chris Badgett: That’s fantastic. I want to go a little deeper into that, and do a little scenario with you. Let’s imagine that I studied health and physiology in college. Then I became, while I worked as a personal trainer and I’m an athlete. Then I went down to the jungles of somewhere and I studied herbology and all these different things. Then I got really into bio hacking. I’m just fascinated by the human condition and health, and I want to live to be 200 or whatever. I’m working on that from 18 years old.
Chris Badgett: I decide that I want to become, I want to do some courses. I want to help people. I just, I’m listening to this episode. I’ve got so much stuff banging around in my head. I’ve got great results for myself. But how do I actually get out and do that market research? Or get that customer … How do I uncover the problems and the experiences of people, like that person who’s overweight, crying herself to sleep? How do I actually do the market research and get focus?
Sayan Sarkar: First of all, if you already know a lot of it, it’s great. For me, when I was making my consulting for health supplement companies, I already knew what they struggled with. Because that was me my first few years. That’s step one. If you already are that customer in a sense, that’s amazing. Most of you might not be. For me, I had to learn about weight loss for women. Because I knew weight loss myself, and the struggles that I went through. But I didn’t know what a 55 year old woman cares about when it comes to weight loss.
Sayan Sarkar: For that, one of the biggest things that I’ve done over time is, I have read everything I could about that person. What that means is, maybe not reading, but skimming through Women’s World magazine. Skimming through People magazine. Going onto other Amazon products that are similar to yours. Reading the reviews and seeing, what do people complain about? What’s wrong with this product? What are they suffering from?
Sayan Sarkar: Because you have to see what they’re saying in their own words, and how they feel and think about that problem. That’s how to really get inside their head.
Sayan Sarkar: I was telling somebody, I think it was a client, the other day about joint pain. If you have a joint pain supplement, if you’re not in that niche, you might think, “Oh, okay. Maybe that customer’s back hurts. Or their leg hurts or whatever. So they need a product to solve their joint pain”. That’s true to an extent. But if you do the research, what it really is, is it’s … There are obviously all cross sections of people. But the majority of these buyers, they’re 50, 60, 70 year old woman who have arthritis in their knees, and/or their wrists.
Sayan Sarkar: You have to put that into their words. It’s not just, “Does your wrist hurt? Take this”. It’s, “Are you having trouble opening that jar of peanut butter in the morning?”. That’s what they feel. Because they think to themselves, “Holy crap. I’m opening this jar of peanut butter and I can’t even do it, my wrists hurt so much”. Or, “I can’t even walk up the stairs”. That’s getting into their head and understanding, not only what they’re suffering from, but how they think about it. That doesn’t come from … I mean it comes from surveying. But you can’t survey …
Sayan Sarkar: To be honest, I’ve been very successful in most of my things, and I have not surveyed people directly. I mean, I probably should have. Maybe it would have been even better. But I didn’t talk to many customers. I did read what they wrote into us and so on. But I didn’t do surveying in the traditional sense. But because I’ve read so much and just paid attention to what’s being said in the market, and what people are writing. Whether it’s Amazon, or Reddit is a great source.
Sayan Sarkar: All these different places where people, they’re writing online. They already are looking for that outlet. They’re going to forums and writing their problems out for you. It’s up to you as that entrepreneur to pay attention, and find out what they want to know, and solve that for them.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s really awesome. It sounds to me like even without formal surveying, they say that sometimes people don’t know the solution. What they really know about is their problem. If you’ve become an expert in the problem, not just, “Natural joint pain cure”, is what you’re going to do. But they have trouble opening peanut butter or getting into the car or whatever. You’re getting really inside the mind there.
Sayan Sarkar: Exactly.
Chris Badgett: Let’s switch gears and get into what you discovered in terms of offline marketing in an online world. Apparently people still read the newspaper.
Sayan Sarkar: Quite a bit, yeah. Probably not me and you, but customers of supplements? They’re still reading it.
Chris Badgett: Well that’s, I want to ask about that. I’m an online guy. Software company. We’re in a virtual meeting right now. Podcasting and all this stuff. But I don’t have a newspaper mailbox or anything like that. Talk about, people get in a bubble I think, and they start thinking, they don’t understand their market. Or they start thinking their market’s like them.
Chris Badgett: How many people still read newspapers? Or how did you know that this was a good channel?
Sayan Sarkar: I don’t have the exact number. But I think the last I heard, there’s 70-something million people, not who read, but who receive newspapers over the course of a month. It might be a month or year. I’m not sure. But multiple millions.
Chris Badgett: It’s a lot.
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, multiple millions. Look, again, they’re not our age. But they’re the ones who are the main buyers of supplements. Which most people don’t realize. There are a lot of younger buyers of products. Whether it’s Nootropics or other kinds of supplements. But the biggest buyers actually are 50 plus year old men and women. Because they’re the ones who have the most joint pain and diabetes and weight problems and so on.
Sayan Sarkar: A lot of them are still reading papers. They’re in their mail. They’re listening to their radio. They’re watching TV. That’s why if you look at some of the biggest direct response companies, you think ProActive and Flawless Beauty and all these ones. They’re still on TV. They’re spending millions of dollars a month on TV.
Sayan Sarkar: Maybe not ProActive. But Guthy Renker, who’s the owner of ProActive, all of their products, they lean towards that older demographic. You’ve got to go where they are.
Sayan Sarkar: As to where I learn about it, I first learned from a guy named Doberman Dan. He’s a supplement expert in a sense. I learned from him probably five, six years ago. He opened up my mind to the idea of the papers. I was in one of his programs back then. We would review some of my copy and stuff on calls with him. Basically he walked me through the process, and I started doing it myself.
Sayan Sarkar: Obviously the first few runs sucked. My copy needed work, and so on. But over time I figured it out. That was five years ago, and I’ve been doing it since then, for myself and clients. It still works because that’s where that customer is. Again, it’s what I was saying before. Going back to thinking about that customer and what they want. Where they are. What they want to hear. What they’re used to. They’re used to papers. They’re used to radio. They’ve been listening to those and watching those for the last 30, 40 years of their lives. It’s not going to change, you know?
Chris Badgett: Could you … It’s the original content marketing, really.
Sayan Sarkar: In a sense, yeah.
Chris Badgett: Can you describe the difference between an advertorial and just a regular newspaper ad? What’s an advertorial?
Sayan Sarkar: That’s a great question. You have companies like, just big companies who, they’ll advertise in the papers. But they have these really big image ads. They’ll have an ad of some product. Some people laughing and using their product, and being all happy and stuff. Some really light copy. 20 words of copy. That’s an ad, right? That doesn’t work, at least has not worked for me. I tried it once for a client, and it was about 10 times worse than the advertorial we wrote for them. The advertorial always works … I mean, the copy has to be done properly. But if it’s done properly, it works.
Sayan Sarkar: What it is is essentially, it’s a 1000 word article in a sense, that has selling baked into the article. You’re presenting your article as a news story in a sense. Of course it’s pretty obvious from the get go you’re selling a product. But the way it’s written, it has a mix of content and selling. Actually, you guys probably, if you watch any native ads online. If you’re on MSNBC or whatever site, on the side bar there are these ads.
Sayan Sarkar: A lot of them, if you click them, they’ll go to an online pre-sell page. A pre-sell page is very similar to an advertorial. Essentially it’s this 1000 word story, with content and selling weaved in. That’s what you’re doing, essentially. You’re putting an ad in that is half ad, half article. It’s giving them information. It’s presenting it in a newsworthy way. Then the last 100 words is basically a harder sell to get them to call in to the call center and buy.
Chris Badgett: What’s the content in the advertorial like? Let’s imagine we were doing it for a training program or course or something like that. Is it sort of a case study hero’s journey? “Meet Sally. Sally had this problem”, and then just go through her whole journey of transformation through the product? Or what are some good angles for the non-selling content? Or the story?
Sayan Sarkar: I’ve seen some done with that story. Some of them have worked. But it tends to be less of that. We use a lot of that story style for our VSLs and content online. But offline, it tends to be, there are three ways. One really is talking about the social proof of your product. How much everyone’s buying it. I mean, it has to be real. But let’s say you launched online first. It’s very popular. You then create a story around, “It’s selling a lot online”, and you build this social proof aspect into it.
Sayan Sarkar: Similarly, some people online, you might see people doing, “America’s going crazy over this new whatever”. They have these native ads all over the internet for that. It’s that whole idea of, “Everyone’s going crazy for it. It’s so popular”. That’s one. That social proof angle of, “This is amazing”. Then selling the product kind of from the get go. But using the power of people’s … Just social proof, right? If you’re friend’s doing it and if all of America’s doing it, then why aren’t you? What’s wrong? That gets people to act in some niches.
Sayan Sarkar: Other ones, you’re talking directly about benefits. You’re selling a product from the get go. But you’re still weaving in content, so it’s not an entire sales pitch. You might talk about the ingredients. Where the ingredient was discovered. What it does. How it works. Then the end, it’s the pitch for the product.
Sayan Sarkar: Lastly is what’s called a credibility pitch. That’s all around some credible expert or university or whatever, that has backed one of the ingredients in the formula. The headline might be, “Doctor from Johns Hopkins discovers new solution for …”, –
Chris Badgett: Tumeric.
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah. “New solution for whatever”, right? Just some way to bring in that angle of credibility, while still presenting it as a news story. Your headline is not saying –
Chris Badgett: “Buy my stuff”.
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, “Buy this for half off”. It’s saying, “Doctor discovers new pill for blood sugar”, or whatever. Right? It’s presented like an article based unique way.
Chris Badgett: How, for example, for supplements it might be relevant to an older population that are all over the place. In the US and abroad. How do you target or choose a newspaper, or how do you start? Can you give us an idea of costs of these types of things? Or are they magazines? What’s the cost, and how do we start small and validate? Or do we just go big? How small is an initial try at this?
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, so you always start small and test. I mean, similar to really any kind of advertising. We’ll start with a $3000 buy in 30 papers. Basically you’re spending an average of $100 or so per paper.
Chris Badgett: Is that, is there a broker you work with to –
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah. I’m not going and buying stuff myself. That would be not a good use of my time or yours. So we use brokers. One that we love, they’re called Macro Mark. They’re here, upstate New York. They’ve been doing this for 30 plus years in the health and other industries. They’ve been doing newspapers and direct mail primarily. We’ll work with them. We’ll give them our test budget.
Sayan Sarkar: They will put together a media plan of these smaller papers. The way it works is, you start with these smaller local papers. Because the last thing you want to do is spend 3K on one paper, your ad bombs, and you’re out 3K, right? So you split it between 25, 30 different smaller papers. Get an idea of what’s working. On top of that, we’ll do 3K, but we’ll do it over two ads. Basically we have the same ad with two different headlines. Because a lot of times, one headline could be the difference between a horrible campaign, and one that scales for months and months on end.
Chris Badgett: How do you track the conversion? Is it a unique link? Or a coupon code? How do you know that the lead is coming from that –
Sayan Sarkar: We actually drive to a call center. Each paper has a different toll free number. Basically, every call that goes in is tracked. We know which paper it’s from, and we know how many sales it did. So yeah, that’s the entire process. It’s a little different, because it’s offline marketing and it’s old school and so on.
Sayan Sarkar: So yeah, we cater to that customer, and we know that they’re used to newspapers. They’re used to calling in and speaking to somebody on the phone. If they’re 80 years old, they’re not going online to buy, most likely. So we put a toll free number there and have them call a call center. We just pay the call center on commission for each sale that they make.
Chris Badgett: Do you have any recommendations of a call center, or how to go about finding one to work with that’s skilled at this kind of thing?
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah. We use Great Falls Marketing for most of them. There are a lot of them. They’re actually up in, I forget the town. But they’re in Maine, actually. There’s 10 call centers in this three mile radius. But we’ve used Great Falls for a while, and they’re one of the best. They also do … Again, similar to Macro Mark. Great Falls has been doing inbound sales for direct response offline companies in newspapers, direct mail, radio, TV. So they know what they’re doing. They’ve been doing it for decades. So yeah, those are the ones to go with if you’re going to try this out.
Chris Badgett: When that validates, you also recommend doing radio ads. Direct response radio ads. How do we get in the game with that, and how is a radio ad different from an advertorial, as an example?
Sayan Sarkar: Similar to the brokers, we work with agencies in the space. There are two ways to do it. One is, you can work with a per inquiry radio agency. Which means you only pay them per call that comes in, which actually saves you some money on the front end. It helps you test the offer, and only pay when calls come in. The only problem is, it’s hard to get scale with them. So then after your ad is validated, you can then go to an actual cash media buy agency. Paying cash upfront.
Sayan Sarkar: Again, you need some more money for it. A 5K or 10K buy is kind of minimum buy-in. But again, if you’re doing well in the papers already, it’s a good time to scale in because you have cashflow coming in from papers. You can divert some of that towards radio.
Sayan Sarkar: The way we do it, I love papers because that was one of the ones I started in. But I love radio even more. Because radio is so, it’s not easy, but it’s a one minute ad. You’re writing 170 words of copy. Every word has to count, so that’s the hard part. But it’s also easy, because you’re writing 170 words. If that ad works, you’re going to make six figures a month on that campaign.
Sayan Sarkar: It makes it, not easy, but it makes it so much more simple than, online you’re writing a 10,000 word sales letter. Even in papers you’re writing a 1000 word advertorial. If it bombs you’ve got to write a new one, and that takes more time. In radio it’s 200 words or less. It makes it a lot easier to really test new, create it and get in there. Again, if it works it scales pretty well.
Chris Badgett: Is the radio the same thing, where the call to action is to a phone number so you can track the source?
Sayan Sarkar: We’ve actually done a lot with text messaging. That’s a bit different, because we just have seen that work, so we’ve used it. It’s like, “Text the word sugar to 444333”, whatever the number is. They’ll text, and then they’ll get a text message back. It will have an image of the product or whatever it is with a link. Then they’ll go online. That’s one way. We can do a toll free number, but we’ve done a lot more text messaging call to actions, and it’s worked very well for us. So yeah, that’s what we recommend.
Chris Badgett: Let’s say I have a course and I’m going to do a radio ad. Or even a podcast sponsorship ad. I’ve got my 60 seconds. What do I put in that? What kind of content do I put in the 60 seconds? What are some approaches?
Sayan Sarkar: The biggest thing that I’ve found, and actually, it’s not me who’s found it. In general, you always want to think of, whatever your ad is, whether it’s radio or Facebook or whatever it is, as all you want them to do is take action on that ad. What that means is, in the radio ad, you don’t need them to buy on that ad. You need them just to make contact with you, and either call in or text you in.
Sayan Sarkar: What that means is, you do the best you can to convince them that yes, they must text or call right this second. What that means for example is, we have one of our ads running right now. This one actually is going to a toll free number. But essentially what we do is, we offer three free bonuses within the ad. The idea is, “If you do nothing else, at least just call this number to get your free bonuses”.
Sayan Sarkar: What happens is, we’re not thinking of, “I want you to spend $100 with me”. We’re thinking, “I want you to take this free thing, so just call us, and do it right now”. That gets the most people in the door. Then it’s the job of the call center to then convert some of them into sales.
Sayan Sarkar: When it comes to, whether it’s a course or a program, again the idea is, you want to do whatever you can in a way of, what I’ve seen work is free bonuses or other free stuff. It could be a free digital report. Or a free whatever it is. But something free that gets them, that’s so low risk that they’re forced to say, “All right. I’ll call in. All right, I’ll text in”. Whatever the case is.
Chris Badgett: So the internet did not invent the lead magnet, is what I’m hearing.
Sayan Sarkar: Correct.
Chris Badgett: It’s been around for a while. I actually got something the other day. I’m trying to remember how it even came into my awareness. It might have been even just a random newspaper I picked up. It was like, “Come by this car dealership, and we will give you … You’re going to draw a thing. You’re either going to get $5 or $100”. I went. I went by. I was driving by. I’m sure that’s a really old school tactic. They could tell I wasn’t really shopping for a car, so they didn’t try too hard. But it works.
Sayan Sarkar: Exactly. Because again, all you have to do is think, “How can I get this person to stop what they’re doing, and either give us a call, or walk in the door?”. Then after that they’ll focus on step two. Which is, “Okay. Which of these guys might be interested? Let’s talk to them and get them to buy”. That same process. Whatever industry you’re in, just always think of that as, get them to act first and figure out the rest later.
Chris Badgett: What are some direct mail tips … I mean a lot of people, you mention newspapers. Some people think, “Oh, that’s old school advertising”. But it actually works. It works quite well. What about getting stuff in the mail, or lumpy mail? All these old school copywriting techniques. What works? What are some examples of some functioning direct mail campaigns that you’ve seen do well?
Sayan Sarkar: The most important thing with direct mail is, because it’s such an expensive medium, you want to get something in there that already has seen some kind of progress and success elsewhere. What that means is, one of the biggest things we do when we’re scaling clients into direct mail is, we have their ad working in the newspapers first.
Chris Badgett: So you’re validated.
Sayan Sarkar: What’s that?
Chris Badgett: You’re validated. You’ve –
Sayan Sarkar: Exactly, right. Yeah. We’re validated at a much lower price point. Much less risk. We get it working there first. Then we turn that into what’s called a direct mail tear sheet. A tear sheet essentially is that paper ad, blown up a ton, folded up with a post it note on top. It’s in personalized handwritten font. We put it in an envelope, a normal white envelope. Again, the address is handwritten on the front. It’s done in a very personalized manner.
Sayan Sarkar: The open rate on that is very high, because you essentially are getting this letter in the mail that seems like it was written by somebody personally. The open rate’s high. Conversion rate’s very high. But again, that’s only because you got it working first in the papers, and knew that that ad brought in the most response.
Sayan Sarkar: What that means essentially is, of course if you’re not in papers, that’s okay. Let’s say you have a business doing well online. You can do direct mail re-targeting. You can target at people who came onto your site, and send them a postcard. But again, you’re still looking at the interest already there that has some success, and building a campaign out of that. Instead of going and spending 30K on an entire new campaign, and having it bomb. So you’re finding ways to work your way in based on what works, or where there’s interest first.
Sayan Sarkar: That’s what we always recommend. Because again, direct mail is a very expensive medium. The last think you want to do is spend 15K on a copywriter, 20K, 25K on the mailing and printing costs. Then waste almost all that money.
Chris Badgett: Excellent. Well those are some really good tips and insights. I want to talk to you about your program over at sarkmediadirect.com. You mentioned, you really peaked my interest earlier in the show when you mentioned your dedication to results and success. That’s what people, especially at high ticket price points, are buying. They really want it to work out and get the results promised in the marketing. They’re committed, especially if they’re spending a lot of money.
Chris Badgett: How do you design a high ticket program that’s going to get good results for people dependably?
Sayan Sarkar: The biggest thing, which was the hardest part, was making all that material. Making sure the material that I made had everything they needed to succeed, but not more. Even right now there’s still a problem with that. Because there’s still a little bit too much information in the program, which will help them. But it’s just too much stuff.
Sayan Sarkar: You’ve got to find that fine line between, what gets them results without overwhelming them? Because my program, it’s eight weeks long for the first phase. You have to make sure that within those eight weeks, they have the resources they need to scale their business. But no so much that they just, they get stuck in this analysis paralysis and do nothing.
Sayan Sarkar: The first phase essentially is, you have to record great material that you know is going to work. Of course that means you have to have that success already in that niche, in some way, shape, or form. Whether that’s you personally. Or if you want to hire an expert, that’s okay. But I recommend having that foundation already. Because there are people who I’ve heard from who, they hear high ticket. They hear it works great. So they go and make a course, but they don’t know what they’re doing, and the clients get no results. It’s really bad, because you’re scamming them. Right?
Sayan Sarkar: The biggest thing to do is, whether it’s you as the course creator, or if you want to hire a coach who knows what they’re doing, is making sure that your content actually is going to help them. Then figuring out, what is the best out of this? What moves the needle the most, and what gets them results without overwhelming them? Putting that all into this eight week course in a sense.
Sayan Sarkar: But what it really is, is the course would … If it was just that, then you could sell it for 2K and call it a day. What we do is, we have a ton of support baked in. We have two small live group coaching calls every week, to do Monday and Thursday. Monday is our planning call. So we’ll get on the phone with all the clients. They’ll check in. They’ll tell me what they’ve done the previous week. Then I’ll walk them through what they should be doing next for the rest of the week.
Sayan Sarkar: So Monday really, it sets the stage for the next five days to make sure they’re on track, and that they know what to do to keep things moving. Because again, you don’t want to have somebody just have all this material in this program, and not know how to move forward. Really, that’s all about guiding the way for them. Telling them what to do. Telling them what not to do.
Sayan Sarkar: Because a lot of times, if you’re in this industry, or whatever industry it is, you’ve already spent a lot of time and energy figuring things out or trying to do things. When you hear advice from me which might sound counterintuitive, you think, “Oh, well actually I heard something else somewhere else. So I’m going to do this instead”, and you fall off track. It’s my job to tell them, “Look, don’t do that. Just do this thing right here. Focus on it, and it will work”.
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, that’s really, that planning stage, all of that is on Monday. Then Thursday … Sorry, one second. Got a frigging call coming in.
Sayan Sarkar: Sorry about that.
Chris Badgett: You’re good.
Sayan Sarkar: Step two is what we call the implementation and Q&A call. Of course there’s Q&A in the Monday call too. But Thursday is all about what problems you’re having. What challenges? What questions do you have? Whether it’s on your tech. Whether it’s your copy. Whether it’s your ads. Whatever the case is, bring it to that call. Let’s screen share. Let’s go over it in detail. Bring those questions to me, and let’s help you solve them.
Sayan Sarkar: On top of that we have a copy call every other week. Clients will submit their copy. I have a copy coach for that also. I’m on the call as well, but he also is great at online copy. He does those calls also, so the clients will submit their copy two days in advance. The copy coach will review them over the next two days, and then on the call, dive deep into what could change. Why to change it, and help them understand the entire process.
Chris Badgett: All three of those are group calls, right?
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, the three are group calls. I was doing one on one before. But I realized that for … Maybe this sounds wrong, but it shouldn’t. For what I’ve been able to do for my clients in terms of their results, for me to do one on one calls with every client, it’s a bad use of my time. It means that other clients can not get my time and my support.
Sayan Sarkar: Basically it moved into this group model, where everyone still gets my direct advice. But I’m not spending 30 hours a week on coaching calls.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, and they can learn from each other, I would imagine.
Sayan Sarkar: Oh, for sure.
Chris Badgett: There’s a copy coaching session going on? I mean, light bulbs are going to be going off for everybody, not just the person whose work is being reviewed.
Sayan Sarkar: Exactly. Oh, and also we have a Facebook group. So similar to that, people drop questions and concerns on Facebook. Then I’ll answer them, or someone else will jump in from the group and answer. So people start working together in that sense. They help each other out. Because people are in there at all different stages. So some of them might be six weeks into the program. Whereas one of them is in week one. The guy in week six can have that guidance for the week one guy, and give that feedback without me jumping in.
Sayan Sarkar: It’s nice how you see , yes I’m there for them. But they end up being there for each other also.
Chris Badgett: That’s fantastic. I like how you mentioned that you have, is it an eight week process?
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, eight weeks.
Chris Badgett: Then you said phase one. One of the things that happens in this industry is, you mentioned earlier that, you were like, “How do I give them as much results as I can with the minimum amount of information and commitment?”. Because attention is scarce. You have to respect and protect that. How did you end up at eight weeks, chopping off the end and being like, “You know what? That’s phase one. We’ve got to stop here”. Or, “You’ve got to be here to start, and you’ve got to be here to stop. Eight weeks”. How did you come to that?
Sayan Sarkar: It actually was a very frustrating realization that made me do it. We had a year long program that a lot of clients ended up joining. I noticed that at month three, they had gotten less done than the clients who had joined the shorter program. What happens is, when you buy into this long term program, I’m not sure what it is, but you just tell yourself, “Oh, I have 12 months. I’ll just do it later”. So people stop getting the same results because they waited long, and they thought to themselves, “I’ll do it some other time”.
Sayan Sarkar: That sucks, right? A, why should you pay all this money per month to not get results, because you’re being lazy? Why should I have you in the group if you’re going to skip the calls, you’re not doing the work, and five months later you come to me with questions that should have been handled in week two?
Sayan Sarkar: A lot of it is, how do we maximize client results? It is forced in that short time, and forcing them to act. I mean, I guess it’s not their fault. I think it’s human nature. This was me yesterday. We have this new offer launching in my health company. I had to put new upsells on our pages and do the copy for them. I just kept slacking on it. Then we had a big affiliate promote us today. Now I’m in a mad rush to get it done, because there’s a deadline that’s forced in place. It’s the same thing, right?
Sayan Sarkar: People, we just push things off until we have to do it. Putting that eight week deadline, it forces them to do stuff and get things done.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well Sayan Sarkar, thank-you so much for coming on the show. You can find him at sarkmediadirect.com. Check out this website. If you’d like to get on a call about his consulting help, there’s a big button there to get on a strategy call. Is there any other place you want to send people, or tell them how to go further with you if they’ve gotten a ton of value out of this episode?
Sayan Sarkar: Yeah, definitely. We’re on Facebook of course, Sark Media Direct. We post stuff there occasionally. Also, you could join an email list if you’re not ready to talk to us right now. You can go to sarkmediadirect.com/case-study. So that has a case study of building a six plus figure health supplement business pretty quickly. You can read that whole article, opt into the list, and follow us that way as well, and go from there.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well Sayan, thank-you so much for coming on the show. I know you’ve got to go. You’ve got an impending deadline. You’ve got to write that copy there. But I really appreciate it. You added a ton of value, and I appreciate everything you shared today.
Sayan Sarkar: Thanks man. It was awesome being here. Thanks for having me on.
Chris Badgett: That’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling, and protecting engaging online courses. To help you get more revenue, freedom, and impact in your life, head on over to LifterLMS.com, and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most amazing results getting courses on the internet.