Ken: Hey guys. It is Ken Courtright from today’s Growth Growing Business Today. I have been looking forward to this podcast for some time. I was going to do it early on in the podcast, one of my first few episodes, but I’ve been adding to it and I wanted to save it until I thought it was just right on the money. I’m going to jump right in. This is titled Copy Creates Cash and I’m speaking of copywriting. Another reason that I wanted to save this podcast until about episode 15 to 20, somewhere in there, was this one’s emotional, this is by far the top 5 favorite things I like talking about.
We have a couple large annual events called Digital Footprint. We also do a mastermind meeting every summer at our house. In both of those events we have a thing that we call the camp fire. In a camp fire just like an old fashioned camp fire we sit around in a circle, we start with the person to my right. I say, “What is your name, what is your industry, and what is your current business challenge?” I don’t think we have ever gone around the circle in any event where pretty much the whole audience wasn’t moved to tears. A lot of it is because somebody is going to mention something and I’ll go back into my 23, 24 years on the firing line as a growth consultant and I’ll know instantly the problem with this person’s challenge has already been solved in a different industry, and I need to be very, very careful how I explain to this individual that everything that they’re having challenges with right now in their business, and it’s almost always extremely financially rough at this point when they’re bringing this up, but I can almost pinpoint it to messaging, and the narrative, their speak. I don’t even have to open their website. I can tell you that I’m not going to find a proper tag line. I’m not going to find the narrative that regular customers and regular clients need to feel comfortable doing business with that person.
Tag Lines Are Gold
What I’m going to cover today it starts out with a game. It’s called the tag line game. It comes from the 1980s. I don’t know if it’s Leo Burnett or one of the big ad agencies, but one of the big guns in the mid-80s said to their team or their staff. I think it went something like this. “I don’t care if Pepsi calls us or I don’t care if [Boeing 02:52] calls us and they want us to do their national highway billboard campaign, if the messaging they give us is 17 words or more, I don’t care if they want to give us $10 million, we cannot take that job.” I want to frame this properly because there is not a single individual listening to this podcast, whether you’re a solopreneur working from home just started your business, or you are running a Fortune 100 company, there is not a soul listening to this that can’t take something from what I’m about to say. From the biggest companies to the smallest companies, I don’t know how we’ve slipped or lost the art of communicating, but we have. As an industry, as an industry of business we really need to go back into some of the old marketing books. Anyway, here we go. One of the big ad agencies came up with a game called the tag line game. The tag line game says this, “You cannot be your customer. You cannot be your client. You are the author of your story. You’re the business owner. You’re the general manager. You’re the head of sales. You’re a leader. You’re a thinker. You wouldn’t be listening to this if you weren’t a leader.” We have to step outside our own bodies and realize we’re the deliverer of this message. We’re not the receiver. We have to ask ourselves as the receiver, what do they need to hear from us or see from us in verbiage for them to begin to start walking forward towards a purchase. The tag line game says this, and if you’re listening to this in a car you can just pause it and think about this. If you’re sitting down you can take note and write this down, but the tag line game usually you’ll take out a piece of paper and you’ll just draw a long rectangle across your sheet of paper. Then above that rectangle on the left hand side you draw another small rectangle and you write the word logo, L-O-G-O, in the small rectangle at the top left. You’ve got 2 rectangles, 1 is really long and skinny on your piece of paper maybe an inch tall, 6 inches wide, and then right above the left you might have something that’s maybe a half an inch by an inch or something like that. But in the top little box you just write logo, L-O-G-O. That stands for your company logo.
Maybe that’s on your business card. Maybe that’s on your website, your brochures, your letter head. It doesn’t matter. You got a logo somewhere typically. Or it could just be the name of your company in Roman font, something like that. Underneath it however you now have room to play the tag line game. What you have to do to play this according to the rules is you’ve got to come up with a tag line that is 16 words or less and, watch this, if only the words, not your logo, no graphics, just the words were written on a highway billboard with a toll-free number underneath, would those 16 words be strong enough to drive people to the phone number? I’m going to tell you of all the years I’ve been playing this game 98% of the people’s tag lines are confusing. They have no movement to call to action, there’s no clarity, and often there’s 2 messages in the same tag line. I’ll give you some rules. Rule number 1 is your tag line, I want you to in your mind’s eye right now picture a 16 word or less phrase or message underneath your logo on a business card, underneath your logo on your website. Now I want you to pretend literally that this tag line is like a cartoon character with a voice. 24 hours a day 7 days a week when people grab your business card, look at your logo, look at your letterhead, open your website, there’s a little character screaming your tag line to the world all the time 24/7. It’s your silent sales person. Let’s go back to the billboard example. Why do we think that that big ad agency said if it’s 17 words or more we can’t take the job? I think most of us listening to the podcast realize, “Well, if you’re driving 65 to 80 miles an hour and there’s more than 17 words on a highway billboard, you probably can’t absorb that and get back to driving down the road safely. Anything longer than that is just too much. You have 7/8th of a second to read a highway billboard. Well, if that’s the case, wouldn’t that make sense on a business card or somebody’s website or in general? Doesn’t that make sense? The greatest tag lines are under 12 words, under 8 words, some are even 4. Rule number 2 of a tag line. Rule number 1 16 words or less. Rule number 2, if you can get away with it, and that you can’t always do this, but if you can get away with it the first word of a tag line should end in -ing. The first word of the 16 or less words, the first word ends in -ing like equipping, growing, leading, helping.
This word is very, very important. It’s empowering, it emotes energy, but absolutely most importantly it shows authority and leadership. It says to the reader, “Hey, as a company we’re already in motion. This isn’t a 1-man shop over here. This is a big business. We’re in the business world moving and helping and growing.” The question is a) Do you already have a tag line? Hopefully you do. If you don’t, it’s a great time to start one. Can’t that tag line have emotion? Can it emote? The best way to get emotion and emote is to start with a word that ends in -ing because it says to the world, “Hey, we’re moving here. We are moving.” In a prior example, prior episode I should say I gave some examples using what are called stories and anchors. I was talking about information and data is forgettable. Anchors and stories are literally unforgettable. I gave the example of 5000 years ago before print how did a father get a message to the next generation. He didn’t sit his kids down and said, “Okay, I want you to remember this, I want to remember this, I want you to …” This is before print. This is before tabloids. He had to tell stories because stories with emotion are absolutely unforgettable.
Great tag lines are kind of mini stories if you will. Tag lines are unforgettable. Ready for this? Business names, company names, names of divisions, titles of people’s position at a company, that’s just data and information. It’s incredibly forgettable. I’ll give you an example. Our parent company Today’s Growth Consultant is a very boring, very forgettable, quite frankly not a very good name. However, our tag line, “Growing any business in any industry at any time,” is outstanding. It’s 9 words, “Growing any business in any industry at any time.” It’s on our envelopes, our business cards, our letter. It’s literally everywhere in the world. Watch this, if that was on a highway billboard and there was a toll-free number underneath it, and I want you to picture you’re driving down the highway and you read, “Growing any business in any industry at any time.” I want you to imagine yourself. You’re a business owner. You’ve been talking to your management and to your employees, “We need to increase sales. We need to grow. We need to do …” All of a sudden you’re driving down the road and you read, “Growing any business in any industry at any time.” Is there a chance there’s clarity there? If you’re a business owner in need of growing your business, you might write down that phone number. Where our company name Today’s Growth Consultant, that’s terrible. What does that mean, today’s growth consultant? What? Do I help people with personal development? Is it about the word today? Is it about consu- It’s terrible. But the tag line completes the picture. Here’s why this is critically important for small business, medium size business, big business. Here is why this is critical.
All Business Being Done Is Based in Psychology
Everything in business is psychology. I’ve said on many episodes I think the greatest book ever in business is “The Psychology of Selling” by Brian Tracy. All business is selling. That’s all we do every day. We wake up and we sell. We sell our wives on how great we are. We sell our kids on behaving. We sell bankers on loaning us money. We sell employees on doing the job. That’s it. We’re all sales people. Psychology is about why and how people react. There is a phrase, when the student is ready the teacher appears. In a previous episode I give the great example of I had a mentor named Brad. Brad said, “Hey Ken, I want you to read ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and I cut him of mid-sentence. I said, “Brad, wait, wait, wait, stop, stop. I already read that book.” He goes, “Ken, mentor,” points to himself mentor, points to me and he says, “Mentee, I wasn’t even finished. I hadn’t even put a comma in that sentence and you cut me off. I want you to read the book every January. The first time you read it use a yellow highlighter. A year later when you read it use an orange highlighter, and I want you to call me after you read it the second time with an orange highlighter.” Well, of course I read it the first time, used yellow, read it the second time used orange. Called Brad hallway through and said, “Brad, this is amazing.” He says, “What did you learn?” I said, “Well, I’m just dumbfounded that I’m not even noticing anything that I highlighted previously in yellow, and all new stuff in this book is jumping out at me and I’m highlighting it with orange.” He says, “Well, what’s the point?” I said, “Well, it’s simple. When the student’s ready the teacher appears. I wasn’t big enough as a man, as a business leader to understand the parts in orange last year. But I grew as a person, so now new parts of the book are jumping out at me because I’ve grown, and I’m assuming next year when I have another year of learning I’m going to see different things. He says, “Exactly, exactly.” How does this relate to a tag line? What does this have anything to do with a tag line? It’s everything. We’re going to use the jewelry industry to prove this. The jewelry industry proved in the late 80s that when the customer is ready the sale appears. You tell me if you can ever drive by a jewelry store and it doesn’t say 70% off of something in the window. Everybody listening to this podcast knows that nothing is ever 70% off. It’s insulting. Everybody knows the price is jacked up so it can be lowered 70%. Everybody at their core level knows that. Yet, when all of a sudden life changes and you need to go get a wedding ring or a necklace or it’s Valentine’s Day and you’re panicking and you’re driving by the jewelry store and it says 70% off, I don’t care who you are. You’re turning the wheel of your car so rapidly because it’s 70% off. When the customer is ready the sale 70% off sale appears.
How Does This Relate To Your Business
What does this mean for you? It means exactly the same thing. You’re a business owner. When your customer is ready, you’re ready guys, listen, your tag line appears. When your customer is ready your tag line appears. Not your business card, not your website. That’s too complex. Not your commercials. It’s your tag line. It’s your narrative. It’s your message. When your customer is ready your message appears. I love using Toms Shoes as an example. Most of you guys know if you’ve heard some of my podcasts, I’m enamored by that company. Bain Capital just gave them $730 million for 35% and I’m enamored because Toms has proven the point in the business world, the stuff I’ve been talking about for 5 to 10 years. Toms Shoes, fastest growing shoe company in the world, you can’t even find shoes on the homepage of the guy’s website. He doesn’t sell products. He sells a narrative. His narrative of clothing the world is what sells. People don’t buy shoes from Toms Shoes because of the shoes. They know they’re $2 to $4 more expensive, but they know in their heart that if they buy a pair of shoes there, Toms is going to send a pair of shoes to a kid that’s never worn shoes before. Not a used pair, a brand new pair. Toms regular clients and regular customers know as soon as they realize, “Oh time for new shoes,” they don’t remember Toms website. They don’t remember Toms commercials. They remember Toms narrative of clothing the world. They remember his message. I’m going to take this now as if we’re in the camp fire of one of our Digital Footprint conferences. Again, this could be one of the reasons Forbes says our Digital Footprint conferences are 1 of the top 5 must see can’t miss conferences of 2016. It could be because we get real. We get very real with people. This isn’t subject matter experts coming in, just telling you theory and reading from books. No, no, no, we get real with every one of the people in that audience and help them grow their business. We make a Digital Footprint of their business, and we basically fillet people open and get real and say, “Listen, if you really want to grow, this is what you need to do.”
In every Digital Footprint conference every one of our mastermind groups at our house we get into a little circle, we do a camp fire, we do breakouts, and we basically share what we know is what is generating our 670 websites that make money every month and getting them to grow every month, every month, why we have 200 million people a year looking at our websites. We’re going to get very, very real on this podcast, in the same way that at every conference we put on you can see dozens of grown men crying because I’m getting real with their narrative of why they do what they do. We’re going to go in a Tony Robbins direction for a minute here and we’re going to stay on the point of why Tom from Toms Shoes, and his name is not Tom, that’s not his real name, but why Toms Shoes leads with an emotional narrative and not product, and why I believe this is the way of the future. No question, this is the way of the future. I want everybody for a minute to just mentally pause and ask yourself, “Why you do what you do? If you’re a manager at a company, why you do it? If you’re the head of sales, why do you do it? If you’re in sales, why? If you’re an engineer and you want to break out and start your own company, why? Why?
Here’s why this matters, especially if you’re a solopreneur, if you’re a 50 employee or less company, you better get really real with why you do what you do if you want to be in business short term and long term, because people no longer buy products, they buy the narrative. They don’t buy the Ps, Product, Price, Positioning, Placement. That makes people gag. They buy the message. You can hear our other podcast on that. But let’s stay right here on this tag line game for a minute. Tony Robbins says, and this is backed up by either Yale or a Harvard study, that you do what you do for 1 of 2 reasons, you’re either chasing a mighty dream or you’re running from a nightmare. Now that was the Yale or Harvard piece. Tony took it a step further I want to say in the 90s and he goes, “You know, I commissioned a study that went deeper, and I do agree you do what you do because you’re either chasing a mighty dream or you’re running from a nightmare.” But he says, “I think you’re even trying to preserve the next generation or you’re trying to run away or clean house on the previous generations, and you don’t want to bring that in.”
All of this to say this, a lot of small businesses are afraid to tell the world the root cause, or their be cause, or their because of why they do what they do, like Toms Shoes. He led from day 1. I’m not going in the shoe business because I want to sell shoes. I want to clothe the world. That’s his narrative. He led with the narrative. I’m asking everybody listening to this podcast, just for a minute, can you get a piece of paper when you get home, if you’re driving right now, can you pause this, do not write while you’re in your car if you’re listening, but when you get to a space that’s proper I dare you to write down why you do what you do. That’s if you’re a solopreneur. If you’re a company with multiple employees, why does the company do what it does? I don’t want anything to do with money. I need the root why and I’m leading somewhere with this. If you can find out exactly why you do what you do, and I’ll take this in another direction, there’s a lot of studies oh DiSC Profile, or this or that that say, “Well, you’re built to be an engineer. You’re built to be a brick layer.” That is all freaking trash. It’s pure rubbish. Ready for this? The 1905 definition of the word job in Webster’s was a temporary means of income until your business takes off. That means everybody prior to 1905 was a business owner. Not an accountant, not an engineer, not something somebody batched you into. Just because you’re slightly left brain and you have bent or a slant towards numbers doesn’t mean you should be an engineer or an accountant. That makes me gag. Some of those folks that are boxed into those left brain positions could be the greatest business owners in the world if they gave themselves a chance.
Everybody was a business owner at one point. You owned a farm. You were a blacksmith. You were a pharmacist. It was the only way you could survive. The business owners that are out there today and the sales managers and the marketing directors that are out there today, especially if you’re listening to this podcast, I want you to get very real. If you want to sell more product, stop selling the product and sell the why that your company is in business for. Why do you do what you do? If you can be willing to be transparent like Toms from Toms Shoes, and again that’s not his real name, but if you can be that transparent I dare you to try to turn that into a tag line. I dare you.
Again, if you listen to a prior podcast where I talk about exposing the why and leading with the why and how Dan Kennedy says the affluent only buy the why. They don’t ever buy a product. They only by the why, period, endo of story, after a 5-year study, I mean, the reality is let’s get this thing right back to the rules of engagement. If you come up with the real reason of why your company does what it does and you’re willing to put it into emotion, start a tag line that ends in -ing, first word ends in -ing. Then I dare you to tell the true reason why you get up in the morning and you go to work and run your company, you get up in the morning, do what you could do, head of sales, whatever you do, doesn’t matter. I dare you to tell the world that you started this company because maybe a father was a drinker and you saw what happened and this and that, and you said, “I will never, ever, ever let that happen to my kids.” Whatever. Get real with whatever your personal trauma is.
You understand we’re either in a storm or we just came out of a storm or we’re about to go into a storm. That’s it. That’s it. You’re about to go into a storm or you just came out of a storm or you’re currently in one. Well, since life is very real if you want to move a lot of products and a lot of service, wouldn’t it make sense to just be real and lead with the real? Here’s what I’m going to ask everybody to do. Pause the podcast right here. Write down a sentence, why exactly you do what you do. “I am this,” if you’re in a position working for someone else, or, “I started this company because,” and I dare you to write down the real guttural reason. If you get real like in our events and you see a lot of grown men crying when they really share why they really do what they do, it has nothing to do with making money. They’re trying to protect the next generation, or they’re trying to repair a previous generation, or they’re chasing a mighty dream. It’s not because of how much money they want to make. It’s what they want to do with the money. It’s very, very moving when we do this exercise.
Now let’s bring it back to business. Can you take your personal narrative, you’re ready for this one, and pull a Seth Godin and turn it into what’s called a purple cow. We’re going to go from the emotional deep of why we do what we do, and we’re going to lighten it a little bit, but this is deadly serious. One of Seth Godin’s most famous books is called “Purple Cow,” and as Seth phrases it, it’s based on a semi-true story. He frames it as if he’s driving from I think Chicago to Denver. He’s heading straight west. He looks to the right which is to the north and he sees grazing on the side of the road on Interstate 80 a purple cow, a physical purple cow, almost to the point where he gets out of the car, runs up to the barbwire fence, touches the cow, there’s no purple dye on his hands and he’s like, “Wait a second. Wait a minute. This is a purple cow.” Well, this is before cell phones. He gets back in his car. He heads to Denver. What do you think is the first thing that happens when he gets to a gas station or a hotel? Yes, he has to tell somebody. He saw a purple cow. You guys ready for this? He can’t hold it in any longer. He was almost going to roll the window down and tell people driving the other way, “I just saw a purple cow. Don’t forget to look to the left for the purple cow.”
The point is this, we can’t hold in as people a purple cow. A purple cow is something that is as Seth describes in the book he uses the single word remarkable. It has to be remarked. It has to be restated. It has to be shared. Ready? It has to go viral. It has to go viral. The lesson we have at our events is do you have a tag line? Do you have one? Then if you have one, is it terrible? Is it boring? Does anybody remember it? You’re ready for this? If the tag line was written on a highway billboard, would 3/4th of the people know unequivocally what you do, and is there any emotion there that would drive them a toll-free number if they were ready? Because remember, when the client’s ready the sale appears. When the client’s ready the message or the tag line appears. Do you guys follow this?
The final piece to this exercise is can you get your tag line emotional? Can you pull out of you why you do what you do? Why did you start the company? Why are you running that company? Why do you do what you do? Can you get that in agreement with your team into a tag line with emotion? Then, can you turn those 16 words or less into a purple cow, something that has to be remarkable, it has to be shared, it has to be restated.
How about Toms clothing the world? Hey, that’s a pretty profound tag line. It’s only a few words. You don’t have to get fancy here. Can you turn your tag line into a purple cow? We kept ours corporate because our clients are very, very corporate, “Growing any business in any industry at any time.” I don’t care what business you put in front of our team of 72 people. I don’t care. We’re going to grow it. There’s no question. There’s never been a website we couldn’t grow. There’s never been a business we couldn’t grow.
We had no business in the 90s. It was just 3 of us working with MCI WorldCom, McDonald’s, Harrah’s Casino, First National Bank. Why were they letting little old us into grow their business? Because they knew our narrative. We could grow and still can any business in any industry at any time. It’s a definite purple cow tag line. Again, no business being there, tag line. When the client is ready the tag line appears. When these bigger companies said, “You know what? Man, we got an issue here.” Then they’d remember our tag line and say, “Call that crazy Ken guy. See if he can come in here. See if he can help us out.”
Final note on tag lines and why they’re still profound. Ready? Nobody goes first, nobody. If you heard the episode on Trust Trumps Everything we’re not built to go first. That is one of the greatest podcasts I’ve ever cut. We are not built as humans to go first. We only lead when we have to. Does your tag line prove to people that you’re in business, you’re growing, you’re leading, you’re equipping? Or do they think they might be your first customer? Nobody goes first.
Preservation is a primal urge, preserving ourselves. Everybody has so much money in their bank account and preserving that money is a primal thought. Trust me guys, the fear of loss of a customer giving up their heart and money for the potential benefit of your product or service doesn’t even equate, so you have to have so much value and so much evidence and proof and social proof, which is the point of that podcast Trust Trumps Everything, you have to have so much social proof that you’ve helped so many other people that it should be a no brainer for people to do business with you.
Let’s go wrap this up. Nobody wants to go first. They want to follow tons of other people. They want to see that clients have tried you. Thus it’s even more critical that the first word of your tag line ends in -ing. It shows that it’s bigger than a 1-person company, if you’re in business, you’re not just starting out, it shows leadership and authority. I’m going to finish this way. There is a reason that great copywriters make an absolute fortune. Man, if you have kids today and you want to give them an industry to go into, have them become one of the greatest copywriters. They will … I cannot even share with you how much money some copywriters make that we’ve looked into. It’s suffocating.
Great copy can make or break a campaign. Quite frankly great copy can make or break and has made or broken some of the greatest companies out there. It definitely got a little long on this. I try to keep these to 20 minute chunks. I think I’m in the 30-minute range here, but I’m pretty passionate about leading with a narrative and not leading with product. There’s no question copy creates cash. I am Ken Courtright, signing off for today’s Growth Growing Business Today. Talk to you guys soon. Take care.