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B-to-B Insights : Don't Be a Fool

Avoid the worst marketing mistake in the world

May 2014 By Bob Bly
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Recently, I sent an email to my online subscribers driving them to a video selling an information product produced by Mary Ellen, one of my joint venture partners.

In return, I received an email from a subscriber—who shall be known as MH—taking me to school not for recommending the product, but for sending him to this particular video sales letter.

"The video style is outdated," began his lecture on what works in online video. "It's too long and boring," he stated. (The run time of the video is about 30 minutes.) "We're at a point in marketing, thanks to YouTube and Facebook, where we are competing for attention. This video didn't grab my attention, but bored me."

Nowhere, you will notice, does MH say "in my opinion." So we have to assume he believes what he is stating is irrefutable fact, and not merely what he thinks is the case.

Then my lesson began in earnest: "We're looking to get three things answered within three seconds. Yes, three seconds, Bob. In those few seconds, you must answer three questions: What is it, who's it about, and what do I get?"

"Really?" I thought. "Not, 'What are the benefits?' or 'Why should I buy and read it?'"

Teacher MH continued to lecture me as one would talk to a marketing newbie, even though I probably have been in marketing since he was in diapers.

"The reader MUST be put into an instant spotlight," he explained. "If this isn't clear, the prospect will bounce or start opening other sites and tabs on their computers. People are being trained involuntarily how to scan for the quick three answers above. Don't forget over 60 percent of these emails are opened on mobile phones also and rising this year.

"Mary Ellen completely failed to answer 'What do I get.' I need screenshots of the software, system, etc. I feel like I can do what she is doing without the program. Probably NOT, but where is the proof?"

I replied, "MH, unfortunately, your statement about the video style being too long and boring is only that, your opinion, and in fact has been proven wrong by extensive testing. In video sales letters selling information products, we find consistently that half-hour videos outperform both standard online sales letters and shorter videos. By the way, this is not opinion. This is tested fact, which trumps your mini-lecture, which is purely marketing theory and therefore, though it sounds nice, is virtually valueless. Sorry."


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