The Motley Fool


My Inspiration – The Motley Fool

I come from the world of Direct Response marketing.

If you’re unfamiliar, Direct Response is basically marketing strategy intended to persuade someone to take a very specific action (share an email address, buy a $7 report, get a quote on $100K worth of lab equipment etc.) and then track the ROI down to the cent.

Unlike Brand Advertising it’s incredibly UNsexy. And you don’t get any kind of fancy digital media award for it.

In this world, design is secondary to good copy. Reinventing the wheel is frowned upon. We want proven methods that work time and time again with no surprises. Our strategies are heavily rooted in psychology and we know human nature will never change.

The goal with Direct Response marketing is to make sure that every dollar you spend pulls in as much profit as possible. Achieving this is a never-ending process of perpetual testing and refinement.

The ad, the landing page, the order page elements… everything needs careful attention and can always be improved for better conversion rates. Even the color of a Click Here button actually matters.

Direct response marketing done right.

I started my career as an assistant to a real estate training coach who would mail postcards to potential investors. The postcard would describe the benefits of his training course with a website at the bottom. What made his marketing unique was the postcard recipient’s name was actually in the URL, which naturally made the person curious.

The landing page of the URL was bare bones, to say the least. Hardly any design work at all. In fact, it was mostly text. But the lead was hot. It was generated from a list of people who had recently purchased a training course on real estate investing. The opt-in rate for the page was insane. Well over the industry benchmark of 20%.

My boss was a semi-famous copywriter turned real estate coach so every word of the postcard and landing page was meticulously poured over. It spoke directly to the lead (using their name) as if the postcard and landing page were written for that person alone.

No surprise he killed it and went on to dominate the industry.

These days, I am always impressed when I see other companies who use direct response techniques effectively. In a world of flashy graphics and short attention spans, direct response marketing can seem like a relic from a bygone era (to the uninformed).

Take The Motley Fool for example.

They teach people how to invest in stocks. Don’t let their name Fool you (ha). the product’s and training they offer are highly respected in the investment community and they have some of the very best direct response copywriters on the planet working for them.

Check out this deceptively simple marketing funnel to get an idea of how brilliant they are:

This simple 3-page funnel is made up of:

  1. A basic landing page that teases you with some interesting copy and then asks for your email address (This is to send follow up marketing).
  2. A video of mostly text that informs you, piques your curiosity and then asks you to click the Get Started button.
  3. A sales letter style page that explains who the Motley Fool is and how they can help make you a better investor. Then they show you what they are selling and ask you to take action by becoming a customer.

Nothing about their marketing is accidental. My guess is thousands of dollars were spent testing this simple looking funnel and they are still testing new elements of it today.

They know exactly what they spend on an email address, what percentage of people actually make it to the third page and can easily predict how many will turn into customers. It’s all about data. Thousands of clicks tell a story. Predictions can be made. ROI becomes a science.

I nerd out on this stuff.

Direct Response is a completely different mindset than billboards, tv commercials and other traditional forms of advertising. With those methods, you can’t exactly pin down how effective your marketing is. Personally, If I don’t know EXACTLY where the sale came from and what it cost me to acquire the customer, I’ve basically failed at my job.

Savvy marketers understand the importance of BOTH cutting-edge web design and rock solid direct response techniques. It’s rare to find agencies who are playing in both worlds effectively which is why I’m proud to be a part of Rock Candy Media.

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