Saturday, July 24, 2010

WARNING: Do Not Forsake The One Thing That Makes Your Brand !!


I never knew what a pepper bar was before I saw this commercial. I never knew I needed one. But I was sure glad to have encountered one once I found it. This makes all the difference between a great sub and a mediocre one. I took this advice from a couple of singing dust balls and this introduced me to Quiznos. Apparently, it introduced a lot of people to this amazing food chain. I saw this on Comedy Central and I was intrigued.... and I started to go.

This was actually before the Great Recession and I was paying full price for these sandwhiches. Quiznos did not have the discount menu that offer today. And the pepper bar was actually spectacular. It was chock full of pepper rings, creamy horseradish sauce, honey mustard, pepperoncini, and jalepenos. The best though was this thing called, Batch Sauce... it set the entire toasted sandwhich over the edge. I haven't stepped foot into a Subway in years since I experienced this toasty goodness.

I was stunned to hear that my East Coast friends had never heard of this sub giant. With so many local sub shops in the E.C. it would be hard for a chain like this to make much of an impact.

Meanwhile back in the Midwest the population is filled with these Quiznos sub shops. Its like an infestation. I'm not saying that in a bad way but it was really amazing how quickly it grew. As the popularity grew the chain yanked the dust mite commercial and got a little more serious with the brand. I took notice of this too and was somewhat taken aback.

Then something odd happened. Little by little Quiznos franchisees started to fizzle out of certain neighborhoods. And the ones that did survive did not always comply to the franchises wishes. The free X-Box games were suddenly dismantled. The free internet screens were turned off. And worse.... the one thing that made them famous in the first place... the holy of holies... the famed PEPPER BAR .... WAS STRIPPED CLEAN, WIPED DOWN, AND EMPTIED. The glorious stand with its green countertop and multi-holed service station is vacant, abandoned and unloved.

You have to go up to the sandwhich artists and plead for them to give you one little bucket of Batch sauce or peppers. They charge you extra for it of course but they missed the point. This was the star attraction. And now it is completely left out of the Quiznos sandwhich equation.

They forgot the thing that made their brand unique in the first place. Without all the little extras its just not the same stellar experience. Its not Subways of course. But it is NOT the same experience.

This is something that we must remember as we build our brands. That is to NOT kill the uniqueness that made us so incredible in the first place. We have to remember to not destroy the one thing that is going to set us apart from all the others out there.

Ted Cantu coaches companies on how to brand themselves on the web with SEO, viral marketing, and sales copy. Cantu lives in Metro Detroit.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

SEO Sales Copy Software - Just Add Words


I used to believe that there was a, "Do It For Your" over the counter software you could buy for sales copy. I held onto that myth for quite some time. I used to really want to believe that. But as the years grew by and I grew with my marketing and business these tools seemed small to me. After awhile I stopped paying close attention to what they could do.

There was a few that made me stop and turn my head like, Do It For You Sales Letters by Yanik Silver. That was where I first started to poke around. I ordered it and was somewhat fascinated with the idea of getting my solutions figured out for me. I printed out some of these letters and started to sell with them initially. But I did not hit that magic "spark reaction" that I got as when I started to use my own sales copy years later.

Then there was a sales copy software from Brett McFall called Burpies which really got my attention. I actually used that one and liked it. I was creating solid 7 step sales letters off of it and these letters were pre-formated for the web and even gave me an HTML template that I could modify. I thought this was pretty impressive.

The Quest Continued For An Amazing 5 Years....

Along the way I found a program from the Internet Marketing Center that allowed you to put in your keywords and phrases into it and voila... you would get a sales letter! The program turned out to be somewhat low in demand. The only way you could get it was to order some of their larger Internet marketing packages then they would throw it in.... So to get to this puny $299 software I would have to invest somewhere in the 8 grand range.... Hmmm..... sorry guys.....

I decided to learn how to do it myself.....

But where could I start? This seemed to be a daunting task. The idea of getting into the field of copywriting was overwhelming and dark and there was no torch to lead the way. I had absolutely no idea of what I was getting myself into.

Where would I start? How could something going? And who would help me when I get stuck?

I started buying anything I could get my hands on about copywriting from Ebay of all places. There was some gems there to an extent and it was certainly cheap. I hauled in a lot of junk too but you have to start somewhere. Many of these courses I still have today.

INTERESTING NOTE: The Dan Kennedy Copywriting material I bought here was very interesting because I now think that it was bootlegged material. After going through this trauma I realize now that who ever created these recordings used a tape player because I picked up a lot of air conditioning sounds, lighting sounds and other high pitched frequencies that blurs out the voices at times. All in all I was able to pull some things out of these recordings and it led to other discoveries.

The Kings Bookstore in Detroit, Michigan
This place is a hidden gem when it comes to old books. Although it is hardley hidden. You will drive smack into it if you are coming off of M10. Its the big blue warehouse with a big brick exterior. It has the words KINGS BOOK STORE written right on it so you cannot miss it. You will need to either crawl up the stairs, (there is no air in the stairway) or travel up the creepy freight elevator to get to the advertising section. Once you get to the third floor you will find out of print advertising books that contain samples of some of the best copywriting ever done in the last 100 years.

I purchsed a lot of books from this place and I can say that was the basis of my education. I spent a good $200 here and got a lot more meat from here than from other places. Then, you have to hear this, I picked up this one book for $2 bucks and it was a simple guidebook to write effective sales copy. It was handed out to U.S. troops during WWII should they ever want to pursue a career in the field. I was astounded with this book. There was a time when sales copy was alive and well respected as a field of earning a living in this country.

The other thing I found was peculiar was that this was a well written book. In fact, it is much better than the many books I had purchased in my quest of learning direct response marketing. It was a bit more technical but it clearly laid out the foundations on how to write effective copy. I have not seen many of these out there so I assume these are hard to find.

As far as ads go. I liked the ones I found in old Popular Mechanics issues from the 50's. These are incredible ads and are worth studying. They will cost you $5 bucks an issue but you need to pick up a couple of these and just start studying the ad copy and the mechanics of what it takes to get solid communication across.

** To sum things up I never did find the Golden Goose - a sales copy software that did everything for me -- I ended up doing a lot of this hard work myself. This has been adventatgeous for me becaus I have been able to test what I do and get in front of the right people. Here is the important thing. My sales copy has been tested and I now have sales letters that work and continue to get response from my clients. As a result of learning how to write my own sales copy I have a solid control on what is going to work for my business. Some of my control pieces have an 87% response rate on them.... that is to say I can close with them 87% of the time.

This is a skill worth having.

Ted Cantu writes sales copy for seo campaigns, internet marketing campaigns and runs a video studio out of Farmington Hills, Michigan

Friday, July 02, 2010

What To Do At Your Next Networking Event....


Don't go. I used to get calls to go to the next BIG networking event and it would always be full of people who couldn't sell. They would shove their business card in your hand and ask you to buy their product. There would be a lunch and a pep talk about staying positive and then you would get the boot.

Terrible. That is terrible advice. And the experience isn't so hot either. Warm meal aside you need a better tactic than that!


I grew up in the media circles my whole life. If I wasn't in an art room of some sort I was in media studio. In my 20's this continued with the first five waves of multimedia, then it was called Interactive... and now... in this post dot com world its simply called marketing, (which can be a very vague term). Along with this hoopla came showgirls, (yes, I am serious) and midgets for some reason, however, they prefer to be called dwarfs. We would have media parties and this is what would show up... it was like a circus.

Sometimes in Chicago, we would throw these networking events on top of a microbrewery of all things. Imagine, media people with bad weatherman haircuts, hot babes in sequin body suits and dwarfs, rock star wannabees and me. All hanging out getting loose on top notch swill pulling out our business cards to eachother. There was one guy in particular who went by the name of "Baby Man". That was his gig. He would do baby voices for radio commercials in Chicago. He was picked by a lot of banks and did a lot of voiceover work.

By about 10 PM the real party started. Because usually by then half the guests would be bombed out of their gourds. Its a miracle people didnt fall off the side of the rooftop onto the street below. Business cards would get passed and that was the experience. I actually prefer the circus atmosphere to a typical networking event. They are similar in a lot of ways. But one is definately better than the other.

With a cast like that it would be hard to get the same people to show up everytime. It would get dull. I would go to a lot of these and would rarely see the same people.

The Fish Bowl Gets Crowded

The same people tend to go to these events and share one dangerous personal flaw. They are afraid of confrontation. They are there to feed off of who you know and work and quite often, (either on purpose or by accident) sabotage your opportunities. That is why I am not always known as passive cooperative. You see, I rarely allow people to gain access to my clients. Once in a while I am generous if it makes sense but usually as a rule this is something that I avoid doing.

This is people spam. One minute my list is being used to sell Amazon vitamins, the next its being asked to purchase some time shares or some pre paid legal gibberish. Next thing you know I destroy the trust in my list and the people on it. I get to start all over again by building up my credibility. I don't like doing that.

And why does this happen? The concept of selling to a "warm list" is something that is being hawked around by the big sales guys... Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar etc. And its a good concept of all parties are respected. But quite often, they're not. The warm list is there for one good reason and that is to take the fear out of selling. But I say you need to leave the fear in. You want honest participants. I want people to buy my stuff from the gut I want them to feel it and not obligated because I am a friend of a friend. People who buy out of that type of obligation often get buyers remorse which leads to refunds or worse.

Thats not good enough for me.

That pool, although crowded, gets polluted quick. Everyone is in it, squirming around, selling the same thing in most cases and this loses momentum and credibility. Anytime I am invited to one of these things I see it for what it is. An incestuous group with greedy motives.


Its interesting to see one of these pools bust out. I mean completely BUST OUT. I have seen companies implode and move out of entire buildings because of this type of behavior. It is like a virus and runs rampant. There isn't a whole lot you can say to an empty vacant building with a for sale sign out in front of it but I implore you to try. Its the least you can do.

I say you need to protect your people asset. Especially now with so many crappy marketers around.

The next time you are invited to go to a networking event do what Nancy Reagan suggest, "Just Say No!"

Ted Cantu says no a lot. He rarely shares his people list. And he has two books out on and a thriving SEO practice out of Chicago, New York City and Detroit.

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