In Defense Of Scumbag Marketing Tactics
I don’t personally know Tim Ferriss. Unlike most of the people in the online space that would give him a handjob on site, if I saw him at a bar I’d probably stand at the other end.
But I do have a ton of respect for his work. If you want a very short and condensed guide on time management, small business marketing, non-conformity, and lifestyle design, The Four Hour Workweek is it. I’ve only skimmed through The Four Hour Body, but I liked what I read. My brother has done the Slow Carb diet from the book, and since it came out he’s dropped 13 pounds of fat and turned into even more of jacked beast.
So although I’m not a raving fan Tim’s, I’m not one of his haters either. I just recommend people like and respect him as a hard working guy trying to make a buck like the rest of us. Actually, considering the content of his two books and the fact that he was a direct response marketer in the sports supplement industry in his previous life, he is EXACTLY like us. And the way he parlayed that into becoming an investor and leader in the tech industry is very clever.
Tim’s blog is the only one I have in the RSS coming to my primary email account, mainly because he has the good sense NOT to send tons of spam emails (like me), so it doesn’t cramp my already crowded inbox. I got a recent RSS on a post from him that surprisingly is not on his blog anymore (let me know if I’m missing it), but I felt I needed to respond to here.
Not because I’m in any way offended by it or will change my approach because of it. But because it almost directly contradicts what I wrote about a couple of posts ago. And for that reason if you read his post you might interpret what he’s saying as a knock on direct response marketing and the often scumbag tactics we use to persuade regular folks to consume our high end, high quality training services.
(If you own the SIX-FIGURE TRAINER MANUAL, you know how to create high end training services that are in the top 10% of the industry and worlds better from anything sold in the healthclub setting, so I feel you’re entitled to use any and every tool at your disposal to get the public to consume it and to make lots of money from it.)
If you didn’t catch the post (because it’s not his site anymore) I had to respond anyway because this was clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black because it comes from a guy who worked the system to get his book out and to achieve most of what’s in it, and nearly everything else since. He’s a different type of “mild sociopath” than the rest of us, but he is one none the less. Here’s what Tim had to say in his blog post that’s no longer on his site:
Of the entire process from product creation to the launch of DVD, the biggest obstacle that I had to overcome was realizing that I had to thoroughly break all the “internet marketing” rules; they just didn’t fit my personality or the brand of Guerrilla Drum Making. The DVD is edgy, groundbreaking (it’s the first drum making dvd ever), it’s fast paced and it’s a very creative DVD for a “how-to” product. I just couldn’t settle on some cheesy ass web site, an overly persuasive and pushy e-mail marketing campaign, etc.
I interviewed copy writers, internet marketing gurus, adwords experts… one after another, and they all had the same opinion. They were all bound by the same rules. These guys wanted my site to look like I was selling the SHAMWOW or something. I literally had to write in my elance job postings for copywriting, “If you are going to suggest highlighting my most important headlines in yellow block-out, don’t even think about bidding on this job.” I talked to one “marketing guru” that said on the phone, “Listen… the secret to internet marketing success is to sell, sell sell. Your not going to have ANY sales without salesy copy, a killer one-of-a kind deal on your product, and a fantastic opt in for your future clients.” I told that guy to go to hell… I’m not a car salesman. I’m a musician and I like cool things. I’m my first customer and my biggest critic and I have never, and will never buy anything from a website that looks like that. NEVER. Those products always suck.
So that was very hard for me. It took almost a whole year to realize that what everyone on earth was suggesting was NOT right for my product. The internal debates; “Do I just go with what these experts are saying, or should I do what I think is right?” That kind of stuff keeps you up at night.
As you can see, Tim was pretty hard on some of the copywriting and sales tactics we talk about on this site and that you read on other fitness marketing sites.
On the one hand I agree with him. I’ve always felt most of the biggest names in fitness use little to no direct marketing tactics in their businesses. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them.
I’ve always believed you can learn something form ALL success – any success. Even if you don’t want to model it, you can learn from it. That’s one of the reasons why I’ve even recommending observing (not modeling) the success of criminals in the past, looking for clues.
And when it comes to studying direct response to sell fitness services, that is a type of successful marketing that it is smart to model. Direct response deals with math, ie managing a budget. It deals with getting a response on your first try selling something. It deals with positioning against the “noise” of big businesses to sell your small business services. All valuable lessons.
Persuasion is one of the tools you have at your disposal as a small business owner. It goes back to something I read from marketing legend Jack Trout, who it is VERY smart for you to study to understand big business marketing, as well immutable laws that pertain to small business marketing as well. Jack says that guerilla marketing is the realm of small business. Although he doesn’t recommend it for big business, he recognizes that small businesses have to use whatever they have at their disposal to survive. If not, you’ll never get to the big business level. No chance.
For me, the effect of going direct response was miraculous whether it was with my training services first, and my information products later. My products come from ME to YOU. That’s why the sales process is often in the same ME to YOU fashion. The salesletters to these products is me trying to convince you of something.
And that directly reflects what is inside the product as well – there is no misrepresentation here. The product is delivered in a me to you fashion. The first thing I say is that if you are expecting a polished professional recording made in a recording studio, or something with zero typographical errors, this isn’t it. It’s one guy that has some valuable info to share, sharing it with you for money. If you agree, enjoy. If not, I wish you well on your way.
And my results in helping people change their lives and businesses is justification enough for me, and will pretty much keep me doing what I’m doing even when my products go off the market permanently (more on that later). I’ve said it before that hardly a day goes by that I don’t get some kind of positive feedback on my site content or my products. Just TODAY I got the following email from Michael, a program owner of mine:
First off, I’m back in the driver’s seat in a major way. I’m literally about to go HAM! (Laughing). Seriously, I have so many great things coming together. I’ve got 2 websites on the 1st page of Google (one for Detroit bootcamp and another for Detroit personal trainer). I’m right next to folks who have been doing it for years. Some have been crowned “Best Trainer” in Detroit and I’m right next to them (or ahead) of them on Google. I set up and optimized these websites all myself. This is only a part of the great things coming together. All the hard work is paying off. I’m attacking it more and more everyday with the intensity of DMX on the mic.
Anyways, here’s my testimony:
“Kaiser’s blog is the rawest & realest of all fitness business blogs…hands down. The same can be said for his products.
I’m blown away at the straight to the point, no fluff info that Kaiser gives. The Six Figure Manual, Six Figure Trainer Gold Supreme Edition, Six Figure Platinum Series, and Studio Start-Up are very in depth. Like I said before, no fluff!
I remember the first day I came across Super-Trainer.com . It was late one night, while I was doing my typical web research. What was suppose to be a 20 minute read, turned into a several hour session. My mind was hungry for more and more of the material. I purchased the Six Figure Trainer Manual. Once again, I was suppose to just spend a few minutes on the first read, but instead read the entire manual in one night…sleep had to wait. The same thing happen with Studio Start-Up. I literally read half the book in one sitting.
All of the information is simple to digest, yet laden with many details. The parts that helped me the most were the psychological parts about running your business and training sessions. You’re probably not going to hear other fitness business products break it down the way Kaiser does. The Referral & Retention part were my favorite. You get to understand the psychology to successful trainer to employee and owner to employee relations. Once again, there is no tap dancing going on about the subject. I see everything in a whole new light after reading/listening to his narration. Lastly, it’s so motivating to hear Kaiser’s breakdown about going (hard) after your goals. Many of the examples and ideas have helped me break through the mental barrier of motivation (this isn’t any pie in the sky, “The Secret”, or positive thinking mumbo jumbo). I’m a highly motivated person, but it can be very difficult when you’re building from nothing to something all by yourself.
I’m now well prepared to open my future studio. When that day comes, part of that success will be because of Kasier’s products.”
I also give tons of free and no-risk trials. This doesn’t burn me, because compared to what I sell, the return rate is practically non-existent. They say in information marketing circles that you should aim for 10-15% refund rate, but mine is nowhere close to that.
It’s a combination of hitting the right price: enough to reflect the level of content, but not too much as to break anyone’s back or prevent them from immediately earning their money back by implementing a few strategies.
So that’s a little story of why I sell the way that I do. And it’s why if you’re still building and growing a high earning business, you wouldn’t go wrong doing the same things. And despite what you may have read from Tim or some of the other people that knock “hype”, they did the exact same things when they started out. That’s grass roots, guerilla, direct response marketing for you. It’s not what you’re typically used to, and not something you can always show to your friends to get them impressed, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work like a mofo.
Hope you got some good info out of that post. Now speaking of my programs I have something to add to what I told you about last week.
If you’re a follower of the underground newsletter, then you know that I am opening up a training studio in the very near future. This was out of the blue and left a lot of people shocked (including some of my friends in the industry). Here’s a excerpt from the email I sent on Monday talking about it:
Subject: Here’s my BIG announcement …
From Kaiser and Super-Trainer.com
Sent by permission to UNDERGROUND MEMBERS ONLY
Ok so here we go …
Yesterday I sent you an email letting you know about the latest
article on S-T (which I think is pretty funny by the way), and I
also told you I had a big announcement for you today.
It has to do with something I’ve been hinting at for a while now:
that I’ve been itching like a heroine addict to get my hands dirty
in the offline world of training again.
We’re talking about opening a training studio. Well one thing you
should know about me is that if I talk about something I’m going to
Well guess what – I’m doing it.
For the past month I’ve been working non-stop on getting my new
studio open. I know this is all of a sudden, but all the details
will follow on Super-Trainer so you won’t miss a thing. I know the
process is going to help you a ton in growing, expanding, and
increasing the profits in your own fitness business.
But one major thing to consider here is how this is going to effect
Super-Trainer. The bottom line is it will effect it a lot,
especially the programs.
I’ve always prided myself on going a little deeper and giving you
the true dirt on what makes a fitness business work. Now however,
things will need to change.
I can’t let people hear how I talk about customers, customer
psychology,employee compliance, managing expectations, wealth
perception, and all of the other underground info that’s been in my
programs. I’ve basically taught you how to slap people down, hijack
their brains, and get every dollar out of their pockets for training
programs, and that’s going to have to change. In the real world
this kind of info gets out among your customers and employees, and
will end up hurting my business and reputation.
So yes, this is a farewell to the programs you’ve come to know and
love. The one thing that will be staying is the SIX-FIGURE MANUAL,
since that’s relatively tame compared to the other programs. But
STUDIO START-UP and all the upgraded courses are going to go.
Well, this makes for a great opportunity to have a CLOSE-OUT sale
of sorts. Give me a day or two and I’ll think of a great offer
to help you get your hands on any of the courses you’ve missed.
I may even open up a few links to hard copies of the courses – who
knows, they may turn into collector’s items one day!
I still haven’t decided on any of this – I just wanted to officially
get the word out to you right now.
Don’t worry, I’ll still keep up with Super-Trainer for the foreseeable
future. In fact, the content will likely get much better. Now may
even be a good time to introduce a coaching program. We’ll see.
But when it comes to my courses that have literally changed the
lives of hundreds of trainers worldwide, it’s the end of an era.
But more importantly, it’s the start of a new era. It’s been a hell
of ride and it just keeps getting better.
Thanks for hanging with me til now and being a loyal reader and
customer. Oh, and keep this under your hat for the most part – I
still haven’t told most of my friends in the industry about it.
I believe action speaks louder than words, so I’m going to wait
til this baby is up, running, and hitting on all cylinders before
I really put it in people’s faces. Just wanted to let you know
Thanks again and I’ll get back to you this week about any close-out
type promos. Talk soon.
Ok so I had a little while to think about it – and here’s the promo we’re going to run this week. This is the offer to end all offers. The once and for all, whole enchilada promotion.
If you’re new to this site and have wanted any of the programs, you’ll now be able to get in on everything at once.
SIX-FIGURE TRAINER PROGRAM: How to create an outstanding training service and market it immediately for high rates.
SIX-FIGURE MASTERY SERIES: Expands on the program with step-by-step details on how to go from start-up to high-end, high earning trainer in the shortest time humanly possible.
SIX-FIGURE GOLD PROGRAM: How to take the next step from high earning independent trainer to fitness business owner
SIX-FIGURE PLATINUM PROGRAM: Advanced marketing, employee psychology, customer psychology, sales, and financial attraction tactics.
STUDIO START-UP: How to open a high earning studio and make it work with a minimal initial investment
You’ll get the whole thing for $450, payable in three equal payments of $150 billed 21 days apart. It’s hard to see how you could go wrong jumping on this offer. This is a monsterous amount of info – FIVE high level courses that have sold for nearly that much a piece, all yours for one low price.
No filler and no fluff. You’ll notice that I try to speed through all of the detailed info I give you, and still the shortest modules are one hour, some going over three hours. And that’s just a single module covering a single topic in one of these courses.
Three payments of $150 for the whole enchilada.
Also, for anyone that gets on board before Wednesday, you’ll get one full hour of coaching with me.
My time is worth WAY more than 450 an hour, so giving an hour of coaching away petty much makes the products free – but I have an alterior motive. The coaching keeps me focused and sharp.
For example, I’ve always given away speed coaching to program owners. That’s what’s allowed me to hit the mark with my programs so well, and made them what many consider the hottest on the market.
So this is it – the last hoorah. These courses are off the market for good after Friday March 4th.
And the coaching bonus is only good for the first three days, until Wednesday March 2nd.
Looking forward to talking to you – whatever you got planned, we’ll make it happen.
Three payments of $150 for the whole enchilada.
P.S. This doesn’t mark the end of my blog, just that these programs are going off the market.
P.P.S. If you’re wondering how my studio is coming along, I’ll give you ALL the details once we’re open. I don’t like to talk about it, I like to be about it.
P.P.P.S. You won’t get a deep insiders look into what it takes to make it every again like you will with my programs. Get in on them here:
Three payments of $150 for the whole enchilada.