The best way to build a sustainable long-term lifestyle business ($1-20 million annually) is to build a brand first, and then sell one flagship product.
I call this “Brand Response Theory,” because the brand comes first.
This contradicts much of the current conventional wisdom (read: bullshit) about marketing online.
In the last three years, the internet has been hijacked by “direct response marketing” gurus, who have built businesses selling direct response marketing stuff.
In other words, there is an entire industry of selling stuff teaching people about selling stuff. Your Facebook feed might be full of people selling “the magic trick to running Facebook ads.”
Facebook Ads selling training on Facebook Ads.
Very circular. Very self-referential.
The Great Online Marketing Lie:
- Even if you don’t have a product,
- Even if you don’t have a website,
- Even if you don’t have any experience,
- I can teach you to be rich.
This, of course, is bullshit.
So I’m here to say that Direct Response Marketing is dead.
Brand Response Marketing is the only way to build a sustainable lifestyle business online.
The Basics of Brand Response Marketing:
Here’s how to build a sustainable lifestyle business online. I’m gonna make a bunch of bullet points for you. This is a stream of consciousness but I after re-reading the list, it’s in a pretty good order.
- Stake a claim on unique territory. In other words, have a bold position on what you STAND FOR and what you STAND AGAINST.
- Don’t be boring.
- Spend a year or more staking that claim – writing, blogging, self-publishing on Kindle, doing a podcast, creating YouTube videos.
- In other words, build a base of followers. Ideally, you’re going to build an email list over this time. Even 1 new email subscriber a day.
- YouTube followers are also super valuable. I think if I were starting my trading-education business over today, I would start on YouTube and I wouldn’t even care about building an email list.
- Once you have built a loyal following (they would miss your content if you didn’t publish it, and they would ask you where the most recent episode/email is), launch your flagship product.
- Put it on sale for a short time (the first time you did it) and only sell 10 copies. You could sell 1,000 but, the first time, just sell 10. Then put a “sold out” notice on your sales page. Hopefully you will have sold out within the first 10 minutes.
- Tell people that you’re going to re-open it soon, and they should continue to follow you for updates.
Read that list a few times.
I’ll return in later updates with more on this topic.
Seth Godin is the father of this concept:
Permission Marketing is the most important book I’ve ever read on business. It’s worth reading once a year. Or more. If someone asks, “What’s the one book I should read?” that’s it. You could read this book and be done. Get permission. Stay in touch and build a relationship. Then take it a step further by offering something of value.
Gary V made the concept famous in his book.
I didn’t read the book. I did buy it. But I didn’t read it. I only read the title of the book and that was enough. The title tells you everything you need to know, which is true of basically everything GV does – just read the title and you’ve got the whole message. (That’s brilliant, by the way).
More Reading about Brand Response Theory: