Two days before Digital Marketer’s Traffic and Conversion Summit 2017, I went to check the mail and found this:
Not one to throw away some high-end direct response (DR) copy, I opened up the letters to examine their contents.
One of the pieces of junk mail was a fancy black envelope, designed to make me feel like I was being selected for something special and important (which, was the point).
Inside was a 17-page sales letter. It was on plain yellow paper, stapled, and looked like it was printed in someone’s home office.
I was confused.
This conference was being run by some of the best Direct Response Marketers on the planet.
Why would they send me these sloppy pieces of mail?
- No personalization, no bangtail envelope, no lift note
- The sales-letter broke Molly Pittmans’s rule of congruency between an ad and its landing page. Instead of matching the high-end feel of the envelope (and special seal), there’s a janky plain paper insert.
Determined to get to the bottom of this, I kept the pieces of mail and flew out to San Diego.
The first night of the conference, I came into my room to drop off my computer when I saw a mysterious black envelope on the corner of my bed.
It was the same sales letter!
After 24 straight hours of being swarmed with branded messaging, I thought, FINE I’ll take a look.
And what happened next, was the greatest lesson in marketing.
(That’s called an “open hook.” Thank you Andre #ARM)
Hidden in Plain Sight
The difference between this conference and all other marketing conferences was that they lived their principles. #metamarketing
The speakers shared tons of juicy strategies to generate massive leads, traffic, and sales.
(You can check out my tactical takeaways here)
But that’s not where the best marketing lessons were.
The best lessons were hidden in plain sight, like this:
Do you see it?
The marketing lessons at this conference weren’t in what they were teaching – they were in how they were teaching.
These guys knew how to bait you, keep your attention, and then let you go.
Every Presentation Was a Sales Letter On Stage
With masterful use of story, attention-grabbing headlines, and seamlessly integrated up-sells, T&C was showing you – not telling you – how to be a better marketer.
Take one glance at these CTA’s and try not to learn something:
There was even a T&C conference app that sent you real-time relevant notifications, and, of course, more up-sells.
And another just to drive home the point:
But wait…there’s more!
There was a Digital Marketer Video Sales Letter auto-playing on loop between sessions (also, in your hotel room. Yes, your personal hotel room.)
There was enough direct response marketing collateral at each presentation to fill your swipe file for years.
There was a visible hierarchy to attendees and a clear badge value to your conference pass (“VIP’s” were identified with a green pass and given priority seating, private rooms, exclusive parties, and swag bags).
Even if you didn’t care about those benefits, you still felt it.
Then….the headlines. Oh man.
Perry Belcher gave a session called “Master The MAGIC Headline Formula That ALWAYS Works and Get a KILLER Hook for Your Product or Service in the Process.”
Russ Henneberry gave a talk called “Content Engine: How To Quickly Crank Out High Quality Blog Content.”
Jason Swenk led a session called, “How to Close 80% of Your Marketing Proposals For Clients Like AT&T and Hitachi.”
Come on people!! Claude Hopkins is looking down going #respek.
(See the rest of the headlines disguised as sessions here.)
Lastly, Digital Marketer used their own promotion for the event as part of their examples and case studies to demonstrate the concepts they wanted to drive home (like messenger bots and email marketing techniques).
The greatest marketing lessons were being shown to you — not told to you — every. step. of the way.
The Distinct Shift Saturday Morning That Changed Everything
When I picked up that janky 17-page yellow plain-paper sales letter again it looked…different.
Instead of looking like spam, it looked like…something I might want to join?
And then it hit me. The ultimate marketing lesson of them all:
Everything is annoying, until you’re the market.
We all want to know how to reach people without annoying them.
This conference was chalk-full of annoying. You were up to your ears in ads, up-sells, and pitches.
Which, as it turns out, was the secret sauce.
33 hours into T&C, I’d been completely immersed in digital marketing causing me to go from, “Ignore. Annoying.” to “Maybe? What was that again?” to “Wait, tell me more…”
Which is exactly what your prospects are doing.
Many famous DR marketers preach that to get better at marketing you need to read and practice DR copy every day.
This summit followed in that logic by immersing you in the skills you needed. They didn’t just tell you “You should do X,” they showed you.
Click-baity headline. I know. I know. I couldn’t help myself.