STEPHEN OLIVER (00:02):
We are recording. I’ll introduce myself, briefly. Stephen Oliver, financial advisor, wealth mastery advisor, WealthMastery.com. I have a very special guest with me today. Travis, you and I are similar in a way that we’ve been all around different industries, we’ve done a ton of different stuff, interacted with a ton of different people. I got my start thinking I was going to go to Georgetown, an MBA, and end up on Wall Street, and ended up opening five and six martial art schools in Denver, Colorado.
STEPHEN OLIVER (00:36):
And did it so successfully, everybody assumed I was a marketing genius, and hopefully, at this point, they’re right. But I started working mostly through our student body, financial advisors, different people in the industry. And for quite a few years now, actually behind the scenes, but more aggressively launching it industry-wide with financial advisors. And you’ve worked with everybody. You sent me that swipe file, and oh my God, I’ve only gotten about 10% of the way through it. But it had every industry possible. Tell us a little bit about your background and some of the industries and success stories you’ve had with that.
Travis Lee (01:13):
Yeah. Thanks, Stephen. Thanks for having me. My name’s Travis Lee, co-founder and owner of a company called 3D Mail Results, and we do direct mail differently. So, we’re talking fun, unique, creative direct mail, stuff that I know you’ve seen because you and I have been running in the same circles now for at least a decade, but most of this kind of stuff is really different. I’ve got some of my stuff here, I’ll show it to you as we move through. I got all kinds of fun stuff that we’ll show. But it really is a different way of doing direct mail. It’s not your traditional #10 business envelope or a one-size-fits-all postcard meant to be sent out to any Tom, Dick, and Harry. We’re really talking about direct mail that looks, feels, and acts different.
Travis Lee (02:03):
The bottom line is when it comes to marketing, I don’t care if you’re doing online, offline, direct mail, smoke signals, I don’t care what you’re doing, you have to get seen, heard, read, listened to. You have to command attention. And so the kind of direct mail that we do really commands that attention, it forces the mail to get opened in a way that most mail doesn’t. We’ve worked in, as you mentioned, all different kinds of industries. We’ve worked with coaches and consultants, like yourself, who put on bootcamps, who have coaching groups. We’ve worked in professional practices, lawyers, CPA, financial planners, insurance, traditional brick-and-mortar, veterinarians. I mean the list goes on and on and on.
Travis Lee (02:48):
One of the biggest groups we work with right now is attorneys, of all things. I’m sure it’ll probably come up, I’m sure we’ll probably talk about, “Well, Travis, there’s a lot of stuff that we can and can’t do in the financial advisor/insurance space. We got all these [crosstalk 00:03:04] go through. We can’t do this and we can’t do that.” Well, I work with lawyers; we probably send out 10 to 20,000 pieces a month for lawyers throughout the country. And there’s probably no industry more scrutinized than law. And so that’s just one example. But I’m sure we’ll talk about it, I hear it all the time, “I can’t do this, I can’t do that.” If we can send little million-dollar bills and little stress cards and fake express envelopes in law, we can send it in financial planning or we can send it anywhere.
STEPHEN OLIVER (03:39):
Yeah. You’re absolutely right. Let’s start with what we were chatting about as I pressed Record, off-camera to some extent probably, but we were talking about my shock that financial advisors, and lawyers as well, you and I have a couple of good friends who work extensively with lawyers, but they’re horrible at marketing, financial advisors are completely clueless at marketing. Most of them just get stuck in one-on-one, asking everybody for referrals and working through their circle of influence, their COI, as it’s called.
STEPHEN OLIVER (04:23):
When I talk to anybody in this industry, if they were getting, for a client, 10% annual return a year, they want to be awarded a gold medal and they’re going to brag about that, and they’re going to talk about how they’re beating the market by two points or whatever. But then you and I talk to them and say, “Well, if we spend a thousand dollars, you’re going to get back 5,000,” or “If you spend a thousand, you’re going to get back 3,000. Spend 5,000, we’re going to get back 50,000.”
STEPHEN OLIVER (04:54):
And we’re talking in terms of 200%, 300%, 500%, 1000% return on investment, not annually, but oftentimes within 90 days; worst case, maybe in the first year, and then it just keeps … Advisors tend to have strong residual income, strong client retention year-over-year. It’s amazing to me how hard it is to get them to see that. You experienced that all the time, yourself. Let’s talk about that a little bit before we move on.
Travis Lee (05:28):
You’re exactly right. And I think the biggest thing, and, again, this is general marketing, we’ll talk direct mail, but just general marketing, so many business owners see it as an expense because that’s what they see on a P&L. They see direct mail, they see pay-per-click advertising, they see the event I went and put on, whatever, I went to the home show, had a booth, whatever it is, and they see that as an expense, when, in actuality, marketing needs to be viewed as an investment.
Travis Lee (06:02):
I’m sure we’ll talk about this as well, even marketing that doesn’t work is still an investment. We’ve all put money into marketing, “Well, that didn’t work.” And so you need to think of it in two different ways. It’s an investment. Just like putting money into a 401(k) or an IRA or anything like that, it’s an investment. You put money down now; oftentimes, like you said, you can see instant returns, and certainly over time, with almost any marketing that is done properly, you see great returns over the long haul.
STEPHEN OLIVER (06:34):
Travis Lee (06:35):
Yeah. I mean I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone, we do a lot of seminar events, stuff like that, we set up our booth or we go and we give a talk. You get back and, immediately, it’s like, “Okay, well, the payoff wasn’t great,” but then three months, six months, nine months, 12 months down the road, you look back and you see, “All right, well, we found that client there.” And, all of a sudden, maybe that $10,000 expense to go to somewhere to do something has now ballooned to a $50,000 profit, and it’s only going to go up from there. We got to think about it in terms of investment, and you got to think about it in terms of testing things.
Travis Lee (07:15):
Again, we’ve all had flops in marketing. If you do marketing at all for any amount of time, you’re going to have stuff, “Well, that just plain didn’t work.” But now you know what doesn’t work, and so now you get that little feather in the cap with that, “All right, that didn’t work. What if we shift five degrees from there? What if we shift 35 degrees from there?” There’s probably somewhere on that continuum, even with your failed marketing, where if you test, tweak, or do something different, there’s probably a successful avenue in there.
STEPHEN OLIVER (07:42):
You bet. And even that language that you’re using there, Travis, I think, is unfamiliar with some people. I think it was the president of Coke, some famous marketer was spending billions of dollars, said, “Half my advertising doesn’t work. If I knew which half, I’d be in great shape.”
STEPHEN OLIVER (08:02):
But the idea of you or I going and doing a campaign that works or flops is dependent upon measurement. While we’re directly deeply into the direct response world, where we’re looking at whether it’s online, how many views, how many clicks, how many opt-ins, how many conversions to appointments, how many sales, or if it’s direct mail, how many pieces do we mail out, what was the list, how many of them raised their hand, what was the conversion from there?
STEPHEN OLIVER (08:34):
And again, a lot of people don’t even think that way. They think, “Well, I’m out there getting my name out in the community,” well, okay, great. Getting your name out in the community is fine, branding is a wonderful thing; however, I’d like to have a sale this month, and then I’d like to be able to track back that I got a sale at 90 days, I got a sale at 180 days, I got sales in six months.
STEPHEN OLIVER (08:57):
And speaking of which, let’s cycle back for a second. The world seems, in this space, it’s either people think that everything that they do has to be their own labor, it’s all labor-intensive, holding a meeting maybe at the outer extreme, asking for referrals, working through their circle of influence, all of that kind of stuff, or they go to the other extreme and they think that the only marketing that’s viable is digital, and really get fixated on …
STEPHEN OLIVER (09:31):
In fact, it’s interesting. There was an article, I think it was Merrill Lynch, who is not doing cold calling anymore, but they shifted to cold contacts on LinkedIn as their primary strategy. It’s like, ‘Well, okay, that’s fine. Why don’t I go to the neighborhood over here with three-car garages that sits on the golf course, and just knock on doors?” It’d be much more effective, right? I can cold contact 50 people or I could knock on 50 doors and probably a much higher closing rate when somebody opened the door the other way.
STEPHEN OLIVER (10:03):
But there’s fixation on everything has to be digital nowadays. And when I talk to them about direct mail, they say, “That doesn’t work anymore. That’s expensive,” one thing or another. The first stat I always give them is people get less than four pieces of mail in their mail box every day, and they get more than 200 emails in their email box every day. And, of course, email has deliverability problems and everything else, but nobody, I mean it’s not nobody, but hardly anybody ever prints out an email and puts it under the magnet on their refrigerator.
Travis Lee (10:39):
You’re 100% right.
STEPHEN OLIVER (10:40):
Or some of the stuff of yours that I’ve sent out, or that you’ve sent me for that matter, I have bank bags laying around on my desk, and I have the little trash cans. Exactly. I’ve got one of your trash cans that I use as a pen holder.
Travis Lee (10:57):
You might have one of these laying around, a little bottle.
STEPHEN OLIVER (10:58):
Exactly. But with direct mail, you get that, you get it, it’s laying around, and if they don’t respond immediately, they think about you tomorrow or the next day. Let’s talk about that a little bit because I think it’s really a strange misconception. One, that direct mail doesn’t work; two, that it’s too expensive. I mean it’s more expensive than free with email, but really all that matters is the money you’re making on the backend. Right?
Travis Lee (11:25):
Yeah. So, a couple thoughts there. First off, direct mail is alive and well. You’ve probably heard things that say, “Well, the volume of direct mail is down,” and that is correct because, 10/15 years ago, the first of every month, you’d go through and you’d start writing checks to the water company, to the credit card company, to the electric company, you’d stuff them in their little reply envelopes, you’d stick your stamp on them, and you’d … Until really six or eight years ago, maybe a little longer than that, all correspondence, all bill-paying and all that stuff was done via mail.
Travis Lee (12:02):
So, yes, the volume of mail is down because we’re not sending bills, we’re not sending birthday invitations, we’re not doing any of that kind of stuff. But the flip side is marketing mail, mail used to solicit is actually up. It took a dip in 2008 to 2011, to be expected, and then it ratcheted right back up until last year, took a dive again. Now we’re seeing it ratchet up again. So, the marketing mail is every bit what it was 10/12 years ago. I haven’t seen stats for 2020, we’re probably down for 2020 because of the nature of the economy. However, I can tell you, up until 2019, we actually exceeded the highs of 2006, ’07, and ’08. So, that’s number one.
Travis Lee (12:46):
So, personal mail is down, marketing mail is up, which still means we got to do some unique, creative things to get through. Now, to continue that thought, there are all kinds of people, especially the kind of people that financial advisors want to be in front of, who aren’t going to open email, who aren’t going to be on LinkedIn, who aren’t going to do all those other digital things, and they may be there, but as a general rule of thumb, the higher up the financial ladder you go, the less likely you are to click on Facebook ads, to engage in email, to do all those other digital things. While, at the same time, you are much more likely to trust and engage with something that comes in the mail.
Travis Lee (13:33):
And there’s all kinds of stats about that, you can google it. USPS came out with a giant study, I think it was 2016, about the strata between different people and who opens what and who doesn’t open what. If you’re going after business owners, 60% of business owners and CEOs still prefer tangible stuff in the mail. So, again, if you’re targeting business owners, to get their personal wealth management, 60% of them, on average, want physical stuff. So, if you’re telling them, “Go to my website to get that,” or “Let me email you a PDF,” I would tell you send both because the person you’re talking to may say, “That’s great, send me the PDF,” but then it’s going to go, and they’re going to hit their email and they’re going to hit Delete.
Travis Lee (14:16):
I’m still pretty old-school. Even when I do get an email like that, especially if it’s more than three or four pages, I print it off, I staple it, it goes into my stack with all my other reading, with all my other magazines and newsletters that I’m going to read. So, the higher up that financial ladder you go, the more likely they are to be less engaged and less impressed by digital stuff, the more likely they are to have trustworthiness and be engaged. And that’s the big part there, that trustworthiness.
Travis Lee (14:43):
Again, I forget the exact numbers, it was in that 2016 USPS study, but there was a giant difference, especially in the age 50+ category, giant difference between perceived trust of something sent through the mail versus the same message put online or in email. We can get into the psychology of why that is, “Okay, this company can actually afford to put a stamp on something, put it in. They had to actually put together something to send it out to me.” So, there’s all kinds of psychological reasons why. But the bottom line is people like it. The higher up you go, the more likely they are to trust it, like it, engage with it.
Travis Lee (15:22):
Here I am on a Zoom virtual call as a direct mail guy, so this isn’t to say to ditch all that other stuff. And you and me, we’re both in the same camp on this. You’ve got a giant toolbox of marketing stuff. And a hammer is great when you need a hammer, but when you need a screwdriver, a hammer really sucks. So, what tool is right for the job?
STEPHEN OLIVER (15:45):
Yeah. Well, you and I have worked with Dan Kennedy a lot. A term I saw from Jay Abraham that I actually worked with quite a bit before I ever met Dan, he calls it the “Parthenon”. So, you’ve always got to have the Parthenon of marketing, meaning you’ve got to have 20/30 different things going on at all times to drive traffic. And what happens is people, and he calls it a diving board, they have one thing that’s working, and guess what? That one thing stops. And we’ve been through that cycle. I used to do millions of faxes. Literally, I had five computers in my basement with five phone lines each, running faxes all the time. Well, that’s dead.
STEPHEN OLIVER (16:25):
Infomercials, I ran infomercials for 25 years. And they’re not dead, but it’s much more difficult in the age of streaming and so forth. And so you look at so much of the stuff that you’re doing, and, to me, it’s either you can be reliant on a media that becomes more difficult or stops working, but you can also just realize that Murphy’s Law is real, some day you’re going to have one thing or another that works or doesn’t work, you’re going to have different things pull in different months. And if you want to be consistent with your results, you got to have a lot of different things going on, and know that there’s going to be an up and down pull with what works, what doesn’t work.
Travis Lee (17:09):
Yeah, I mean you’re exactly right. Your story about the fax machine is right. Real estate agents used to be able to call real estate listings. Well, now there’s a do-not-call list. So, the guys that were working the phones, now all of a sudden, they had that taken away. And one of the things that we both learned from Dan Kennedy over the years is, again, let’s use your little Parthenon example, you’ve got five pillars. Well, some pillars might be doing more work than others, but even the pillars that may not be working as well as this pillar, if it’s still making you money, you don’t stop it. Because what happens if that other pillar does …
Travis Lee (17:50):
One of the things that happens with online stuff is as soon as you get good online, your competitors that are also working the marketing side of their business know it all pretty quick. There’s umpteen-thousand websites where we can go and look at every single ad and see how much they’re spending and see what their click-through rates are. There’s no veil to it, there’s 100% transparency. Really good if you want to go rip somebody off; really bad if you’ve got an ad that’s working, and now the guy down the street can just go, “Let’s just do that then.”
Travis Lee (18:26):
What’s great about direct mail and then some of the other marketing things that you can do is you control who sees your message. So, if I’m buying a direct mail list, can I strip out my competitor down the street if his makeup matches the people I want to buy a list for? I can’t strip him out. However, I can make sure that the Merrill Lynch guy down the street, the whomever guy down the street doesn’t see it because I control who sees my message at all times. So, there’s none of this peeking behind the curtain to see what you’re doing because you control the curtain.
Travis Lee (19:08):
Kennedy calls it “making your money in the dark” when you use direct mail because until your competitors see it, and the chances of them seeing it are pretty low … I work with a decent amount of attorneys, as I said at the beginning. The only way that another attorney is going to see the kind of marketing we’re doing is if they have a client who brings it to them, which we see every once in a while, “Hey, I got this piece of mail from Joe,” and they do it to our clients, “You sent me this letter. Here’s all the other letters,” because with those guys … Let’s say you’re having a bankruptcy issue. Well, now all the attorneys doing proactive marketing know that, they start sending you mail, and they’ll actually keep it. And the most appealing one wins, and hopefully you’re the most appealing one.
STEPHEN OLIVER (19:56):
You bet. And you talked about several topics there, and I want to go to list before we overtalk ourselves, we run out of time. Start with Dan’s principle, which I completely agree with, is you don’t want the cheapest leads available, you want every lead that’s going to give you a positive return on investment. You want every sale that’s going to give you a positive return on investment. And what happens so many times is people will say, “Well, we’re getting pretty good results from email, so we’re just going to do emails.” “Well, okay, yeah. But if you had a lead and you followed up with 100 emails, what if you did 10 pieces of direct mail? Would you maybe double, triple, quadruple the efficacy of conversions? And then what are the value of those conversions?”
STEPHEN OLIVER (20:49):
And I tend to start with my clients. That way, Travis, I start at the very end of the funnel, if you will, to use current terminology, and say, “Well, okay, you say that direct mail’s too expensive. Well, let’s say, take financial advisor terms, you have a prospective client, you know that he has 50 million to invest, and you have a one out of 10 or a 50% or some odds of getting him, would you be willing to spend 100 bucks on that one to get somebody who’s going to return to you 5,000 a year for 20 years or something like that?” Well, okay, sure. Given that example, it’s hard to argue that I’d be willing to do that.
STEPHEN OLIVER (21:35):
So, now if I’m doing lead-generation marketing of any sort, whether it’s clients giving me referrals or whether I’m doing live events and so forth, would I be willing to do direct mail follow-up to qualify leads who already gave me some information, raised their hand, and are obviously interested? Well, to me, I always start there. And you’ll probably agree with me, nobody is doing an adequate job following up on their leads if they’re just sending them a few emails. And so I always start there. Once you have a qualified prospect, should we be sending them a lot?
STEPHEN OLIVER (22:20):
With me, I have there or four pieces of your stuff that are or are going to be queued up to send if somebody raises their hand. I also send them popcorn and caramel corn, and then we send them a big-ass box of stuff with books and so forth. And if they’re really highly qualified, they get Mrs. Fields cookies. Okay, so I just spent 100 bucks, but they’re potentially worth to me 100 grand, so why wouldn’t I do that and do that in follow-up? Let’s talk about the levels of lists and how you back into it, where you’re going to get the biggest bang for the buck a little bit, Travis.
Travis Lee (22:56):
Yeah. I mean you hit the first one on the head. First off, your most responsive list, very top of the list should be your current clients. So, if you’ve got new product offerings, new services, new anything that you’re offering, direct mail should be a no-brainer for those folks. Because, again, yeah, you may have a relationship with them, that doesn’t mean they’re going to open your emails, that doesn’t mean they’re going to click on them, it doesn’t mean they’re going to read them. So, going back to our conversation about how they trust it more, they engage with it more.
Travis Lee (23:26):
So, the highest level of list you have is a current client list that you can work, and if you’re adding products or services or joint venturing with other people and all that kind of stuff, you should be putting stuff in the mail every time you got something fun to announce. And I’ll take it even further, you should be keeping in touch with them even when you don’t have anything to announce. So, monthly newsletters and keep-in-touch stuff.
Travis Lee (23:53):
I’ve got a fun little piece, it must have been in February 2020, right before the pandemic hit, from our business insurance guy. He sent us a little thing of candy, the little heart-shaped candies with the little writing on it, and it said nothing more than, “Just wanted to keep in touch. We love our customers. Call us if you have any issues.” And it was just a fun little piece right before Valentine’s Day a year or two ago. So, keeping in touch with them that way.
Travis Lee (24:21):
I love sending out printed newsletters. Again, keeping in touch. Speaking to them not only when you want to sell them something. That’s a big deal with all kinds of marketing when you get in that client list, that highest level of list, is you can’t just hit them up when you want to sell them something. Give them information, give them timely information.
Travis Lee (24:43):
I was talking, again, to use one of my attorneys. Foreclosures, as you know, just went away. Foreclosures have not been a thing for the last year-plus. Well, that’s a big issue for some attorneys. I mean they get them in, I think it’s chapter 11 for attorneys, bankruptcy and foreclosures. That’s a big chunk of change for them that just went away. Well, they still have these lists of people who are in limbo, they know they’re going to be in foreclosure eventually. So, our advice to them was keep them in the loop, keep sending them good, timely information about their current situation.
Travis Lee (25:17):
So, same with a financial advisor. Market’s up, market’s down, that’s a good time to send out some helpful information. So, that’s your highest level of your list, the list that should give you the best bang for your buck, consistently profitable. We talked about having duds in marketing. You should rarely have a dud if you have a good client list. Happens occasionally, but it shouldn’t happen.
STEPHEN OLIVER (25:44):
But the other thing you didn’t mention is to stir up referrals.
Travis Lee (25:49):
Yeah. Didn’t even think about that.
STEPHEN OLIVER (25:51):
People in every business niche, but advisors are every bit as bad as any other, is they think, “I’m going to do a great service, and they like me, and we have great rapport, and I sent them a birthday card, so they’re going to send me all their friends.” And then they’re out on the golf course or they’re at the restaurant, and they’re talking to somebody who has a need that you could fill, and you’re not on the top of their mind, they’re not even thinking about you, and opportunity comes and goes. And so the more you’re there in front of them, in front-of-mind awareness, and, frankly, the more you’re sending them pass-along items, whether it’s books or reports or different things that they could hand off to their friends, then the more likely you are to stir the pot and generate referrals.
Travis Lee (26:41):
Yeah, that’s 100% correct. We actually just, a month or two ago, finished a campaign for a kitchen remodel company that hired me to write. Our only goal was to get referrals. Because when is a kitchen remodeling client the happiest? Right when they get their kitchen remodeled. So, we go bam, bam, bam and we go hard. We send them a whole bunch of stuff that they don’t expect. So, we send them a gift package, we send them some referral cards, we give them the before-and-after pictures to share with their friends on Facebook, to get that ball rolling, plant the seed. They’re going to send out newsletters, there’s ongoing communication throughout the year.
Travis Lee (27:22):
Referrals are a great place to be working that list. There’s just no way … But, again, you got to plant the seeds. Like you said, you’ve got to explicitly tell them. You take them golfing, you send them a gift card to Morton’s, whatever it is, there needs to be explicit instructions, “If you are satisfied, please tell your friends. Here’s how to do it.” That’s what we do with my kitchen remodel. When we send out stuff, it’s, “We would love your referrals. If you refer us, you get X, they get Y. Here’s how to refer them.” So, we tell them exactly what to do, we don’t leave it to them. So, you’ve got to be, “aggressive” may be too harsh of a word, but aggressive. You’ve got to tell them what you want, not just expect them to figure it out.
STEPHEN OLIVER (28:16):
You got to educate them, right?
Travis Lee (28:18):
STEPHEN OLIVER (28:19):
And educate them on how to communicate, educate them on how to pass somebody along. And a lot of businesses, advisors have this problem, is their clients see them running around, busy, and they assume they don’t have capacity, “Well, I didn’t know if you needed or wanted any more clients. I know you’re very selective.” Well, it’s a good way to educate them on what it is you are looking for, what it is you have the capacity for, and how all that works. But staying on lists here for a second, so now you have the current client list, you have a prospect list.
STEPHEN OLIVER (28:57):
I was talking to an advisor, very sharp guy, he’s in his 50s, been in the industry his entire life, so probably 25/30 years. And he’s just delved into digital marketing. He said to me something that was both very smart and very stupid. He said, “Once we get somebody in the lead list, I’ve put together 29 very personal, engaging emails, and so we subscribe them the list, and they get an email every day. And then, on the 29th day, if they haven’t responded yet, we take them off the list.” Well, you know what the stupid part is, right? You never take them off the list because you may get them in 29 days. Right now, you might not get them in August, but you might get them in November, you might get them in March, you might get them next year.
STEPHEN OLIVER (29:46):
And, of course, first thing I said is, “Are you texting them? Are you calling them? Are you direct mailing them? Have they gotten a book in the mail? Have they gotten a box in the mail? Have they gotten a FedEx?” He goes, “Oh, no, I don’t do any of that stuff, that’s too expensive.” “Well, wait a minute, where do the prospects come true? And, by the way, what’s their first-year, what’s their lifetime value? And so is it or is it not worthwhile?” I wouldn’t send a big box to convince somebody to buy an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen, but to have you be their advisor and be with you for five, 10, 15 years, especially if they have any decent level of assets that they’re going to have you managing, I mean it’s a very, very profitable transaction.
Travis Lee (30:32):
Yeah. And I hear that all the time. People say, “I’ve got a follow-up system,” and they say, “I’ve got emails.” Well, that’s not quite enough most of the time. So, I’m glad you brought up your prospect list. We call them “unconverted leads”. So, those are people that you have in a database, in a spreadsheet, your shoebox full of business cards that you’ve collected over the years, we’ve all got a database. Some of us have it digitally, some of us still have old-school shoe boxes. I do. I learned really early on, I’m going to put every contact I get, we use Infusionsoft, I think you have the same. I’m agnostic when it comes to what you use. But you’ve got to have a system to follow up with these folks, and hopefully it’s a systematic, automated type of system, where you can go and do these things.
Travis Lee (31:19):
You mentioned the guy does his 29 emails. I agree, that’s great. At some point, the frequency probably needs to slow down, but not stop. And now, like you said, there should be absolutely stuff going on outside in the real world, in the direct mail world. Now, like you said, not every lead is created equal. So, if you know certain things about them, certainly somebody is worth getting a $100 box of stuff, and certainly other people are worth getting, at the very least, a little note, a 55-cent stamp and a paper. And there’s probably a continuum all in between. So, you need to look at that.
Travis Lee (32:01):
I’ll use an example from your world, Fisher Investments, they’re as good as anybody when it comes to direct response marketing in the financial space. They run lead-generation ads, they do follow up. Well, if you go to any of their landing pages, they ask you, “How much do you have to invest?” Based on what you answer, they’re going to send appropriately the stuff behind it. So, if you say, “I’m under a certain amount of numbers,” and you think you’re getting a free book, well, guess what happens? They say, “Well, here’s an email version of the book.”
Travis Lee (32:36):
If you hit the right radio dial, they say, “Perfect. Here’s an email version of the book, and we’re going to send you a book, and we’re going to send you a whole bunch of goodies along with it.” So, they’ve got that dialed in where, in that process, they can now filter out, and they get those leads, someone’s getting a big box of stuff, and more people are getting a little box of stuff. We can get into the weeds, what do you send? We probably won’t have time for that.
STEPHEN OLIVER (33:06):
Well, I was listening to an interview with him, and you and I may have both been there live, I don’t even remember, it was one of the Kennedy events.
Travis Lee (33:17):
Yeah, I was there.
STEPHEN OLIVER (33:21):
But he said something I thought was typical, and he said, early on, when he got all of this direct response machine working, it was doing really well, and he was, I think he said, about $15 million-a-year company at the time, rather than a multibillion-dollar company, is he was really worried about everybody copying him, and he knew that the other players in the industry, there was a bunch of big players, and they had money to throw at it. So, he was out looking to sell a piece of his business to get enough capital to block them out of being able to compete with him. And he said, over and over, he went and talked to people about this, and they said, “Yeah, we’ve tried that stuff, it doesn’t work.” And he very quickly figured out that everybody watching what he was doing was just blind to it.
Travis Lee (34:07):
They thought he was the idiot.
STEPHEN OLIVER (34:09):
Yeah, exactly, they thought he was the idiot. He had a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal a couple days ago, and I keep taking pictures of that and posting it for our members and talking about what he’s doing. On my desk upstairs, I’ve got a stack of, I think, 12 books that he or his son or different people have written. But people just don’t pay attention, they don’t recognize what it is that works. And you see very big companies, I work a lot with Northwestern Mutual, but they’re blind to this stuff. On Fox Business or something the other day, I saw a Fisher ad, and then a couple hours later, it may have been on a different channel, I saw a Northwestern Mutual ad. And the Fisher ad was, “Here’s the free report on the 10 things you shouldn’t do. Call now to get that,” and all of it has-
Travis Lee (35:01):
Call to action. Qualifiers, “Only if you make X amount do you even bother calling us.”
STEPHEN OLIVER (35:08):
Yeah. And the Northwestern Mutual is this feel-good thing. And, basically, at the end, it had, in little-bitty type, in nine-point type, “Go to NW.com if you’d like to find an advisor,” that was their call to action. We’re working with a lot of those … I feel like throwing something at the TV, going, “Oh my God, when will you guys get a clue?”
Travis Lee (35:32):
We work with a decent amount of folks that have that kind of relationship. They’ve got the home office, the big corporate office, the home office, and I tell them, “You let them do whatever they want because no matter what you tell them, they’re going to do that. So, you pay your fee to be under the NW umbrella or this umbrella. That’s a sunk-cost for you. When they run their ads on Oprah, sorry. However, when it comes to doing your marketing, and it’s your money, now you’ve got to look around and see what the direct response guys are doing.”
Travis Lee (36:08):
So, let Northwestern Mutual do their stuff, but if I’m using my money, I’m ripping off Ken Fisher, and instead of running national ads, I might get a list of the home addresses of all the dentists who have a net worth of a million dollars or more in the three counties surrounding me. I just made that up, it may or may not be great list. But then I’m going to run that very targeted list just to those folks, and it’s going to only be the dentists. And then maybe the next month, I do the same exact thing, but it’s only to people who own construction businesses. And then the next month, I might do the same thing, only to veterinarians.
Travis Lee (36:50):
I know you’ve done this, I’ve done this. We’re doing a lead-gen piece, we got a picture of the book, and guess what? The cover of the book for the dentist has a dentist with his little thing, and the construction worker, he’s got his arm over some lumber. And we target that message for that list. So, we’re getting off the whole idea of lead follow-up, but that’s how targeted you can be when it comes to your own marketing budget. I often tell people, “We’re running online ads, and we’re targeting this, this, this, this, this, and this.” Well, you can go target this, this, this, this, and this in direct mail.
Travis Lee (37:32):
All Facebook has done is taken the direct response mailing world and put it into their Facebook algorithms. That’s all they’ve done. So, they get demographics, geographics. So, they’ve got more real-time information. Because now, let’s say, you and me, we’re thinking about remodeling our home, and we go and we click on an ad for paint somewhere, whatever. Well, now they’ve got real-time information, there’s a little bit of a lag, but all they’ve done is taken direct mail direct response list-building and brought it into the 21st century. All they’ve done is completely rip off the direct mail people. That’s all they’ve done.
STEPHEN OLIVER (38:12):
And you addressed three or four different discrete ideas there. One is the idea of niching, and advisors, many of them are familiar with the concept, but they’re afraid of it because they think, “If I become the guy for dentists, now when I get a referral and they happen to be a manager in a tech company, that it’s not going to be a good fit.” Well, that’s exactly the wrong way to think about it. The reason to do the niching is to be much more responsive and have somebody you can target.
STEPHEN OLIVER (38:44):
I heard somebody, and he’s well-respected in the industry, but he said, “Well, there’s 380 million people,” or whatever it is, “in the United States, all of them need you.” It’s like, well, no, that’s exactly backwards. What you want to do is find a small list of people who really desperately need you and are highly qualified, that you can then target effectively. And then when you target them, you want to talk in their language, and be the guy for them. And you can certainly use the example you just used, you could be the guy …
STEPHEN OLIVER (39:14):
I have a client I’m working with right now, he’s a general contractor who then was doing coaching and consulting, like I do for advisors, to contractors, and now he wants to become financial advisor to general contractors because he saw how poorly they handle their money. Well, it’s a natural. He is one of them, in this case, he’s in California, he could go to every general contractor in California, I’ve got him joining all the associations, getting their list, they have magazines, you can get their list, all of that, and then you can direct mail in a very targeted way. But you can do that over and over and over again. So, you can have a very effective list.
STEPHEN OLIVER (39:58):
And, again, for those who don’t like direct mail, what if you were … I have another client who has a lot of people who are in the tech industry, so he wants to go after more people in the tech industry, he wants to go after C-suite people in the tech industry. Well, that’s a list you can generate, easily. All C-level executives, you could take the top 500 tech companies, the top thousand tech companies, whatever it might be. You can mail them regionally, you can mail them nationally, you can mail them North America, whatever it might be. And then it becomes a very valuable list. Are you willing to spend 10 bucks for a mailing to the CEO of Vonage, for instance, as opposed to you’re just mailing people who happen to be in your neighborhood that somebody tells you make more than $100,000 and they’re between 50 and 60? Big difference.
Travis Lee (40:51):
Yeah. And I tell people all time, because I get the same argument, “Well, I don’t want to be known just for that.” Okay, that’s fine. You want to be known just for that, because now we’re going back to only specific people see your message. So, if you target dentists, and then you’ve got veterinarians and you’ve got lawyers and you’ve got general … well, they don’t know that you’re also pushing the dentists. So, you can be very specific to that person. Now, once they open the door and they walk on in and they see all the other … okay, the cat’s out of the bag. But when it comes to that initial marketing to start with, I almost always say it’s very important to niche down because we could all live so long to mail everybody who could possibly be a customer.
STEPHEN OLIVER (41:37):
Yeah, it’s impossible.
Travis Lee (41:37):
I mean we couldn’t do it online, we’d go broke. Facebook would take our money like that if we allowed them to. We couldn’t buy enough stamps to mail everybody that could be our customer. So, now to niche that down. And at least until they walk into the front door and then realize, “All right, he’s not just dentists,” well, that’s fine, they’re in the front door at that point. So, I talked about the lawyers I work with. I’m getting on a plane, flying down to San Diego tomorrow to go meet with a group of about 100 of them. When I get up and give my little elevator speech, I’m going to be the direct mail expert for small business attorneys, one-to-five staff attorneys, because that’s what this group is. If it was attorneys that have 20-50 staff, I’d say, “I’m the direct mail expert for attorneys who have 25-50 staff.”
STEPHEN OLIVER (42:32):
And you’d be right in both cases.
Travis Lee (42:34):
Exactly. And they don’t know. Once they become a client and start giving me money, they realize, “All right, he doesn’t just do attorneys.” Oh, well. That’s fine with me at this point.
STEPHEN OLIVER (42:47):
Yeah. If it’s working, who cares?
Travis Lee (42:49):
Yep, you’re exactly right.
STEPHEN OLIVER (42:50):
Hey, as we predicted early on, this could be three hours, and probably should. For anybody who’s on video, some are here on audio, we can describe it, let’s show them some of the actual fun stuff that we’ve mailed.
Travis Lee (43:06):
Yeah, so I’ve got some cool stuff here. So, let’s say you’ve got that leads list. We can send them real bank bags. I know you’ve used these over-
STEPHEN OLIVER (43:17):
I love those.
Travis Lee (43:17):
You used these at your bootcamps, at your coaching groups. This is an actual bank bag, it opens up. What’s cool about this is, and I got some glare, you actually put your mailing label right on here, and then this shows up in the mail. You don’t put it in an envelope, we don’t put it in a box. So, imagine this thing shows up. What do people think is inside a bank bag?
STEPHEN OLIVER (43:39):
Travis Lee (43:40):
Money. So, they open it up. Sometimes, we’ll attach our million-dollar bill to it. Not every time, but sometimes. So, if you’ve got a money thing, “Hey, let me help you fill this bank bag.” So, let’s say you do the dinner plate-looking dinners. You get 20 people in a room, six of them sign up for the next step, that means 14 of them didn’t do anything. And I think that’s pretty typical, 30/40% you usually get maybe at those plate-looking dinners.
Travis Lee (44:07):
Well, what happens if those 14 get something like this out three days later that says, “Hey, you were at my event, we can really help you with this. I thought I’d give you one more chance because here’s all the reasons you didn’t come in, you didn’t schedule right away,” and they get this in the mail? Well, how many of these can you send out for just one of those people over the course of years to finally say, “You know what, Stephen? You’re right, I missed the opportunity, sign me up”? I mean you could send out thousands of these and still have a payoff at the end of the day.
STEPHEN OLIVER (44:39):
I’ve done a bunch of those. I have one that has the million-dollar letter and it says, “I want to talk to you about a million-dollar opportunity.” One that’s the classic Gary Halbert ripoff dollar-bill letter that I’ve used. They don’t miss it. You’re not going to not open that in the mail. In general, maybe to step back a second, I really love the stuff where the interesting three-dimensional thing is the mailer.
Travis Lee (45:11):
Yeah, here’s the other one.
STEPHEN OLIVER (45:12):
Yeah, there you go. The message in the bottle.
Travis Lee (45:15):
We have this little message in a bottle. I just mocked up one, it’s a blank piece of paper in there, but this comes off the bottom, “Is your current advisor leaving you stranded?” Because let’s be honest here, you’re not converting people. If they got money, they got a money guy. It may be their deadbeat brother-in-law, but they got a money guy, they all got money guys. Now, whether they trust them, like them, care about them, it was a referral from their brother 26 years ago, and the money’s just sat there. So, “Are you left feeling stranded from your current advisor?” You get a letter, lead-gen offer, out it goes.
STEPHEN OLIVER (45:50):
And, by the way, the data shows that well over 60% of them, more like two-thirds of them, do. So, those who have a current advisor, I’m not pulling the right numbers up, something like a third of them are thinking about leaving actively, and two-thirds of them aren’t particularly enthusiastic with who their current [crosstalk 00:46:14].
Travis Lee (46:13):
Yeah, exactly. Here’s another fun piece. This is great for a cold mailer. So, we didn’t even get to cold mailers quite yet, kind of sort of, you got your in-house list, you got your leads list, you got a cold list. Now, these little pieces go out, they look like a priority mail envelope, we got a couple different styles, but they go out for a single postage stamp.
Travis Lee (46:35):
So, instead of paying five, six, seven bucks for priority mail, you can send these out for a 55-cent stamp, as long as it’s under … there are some qualifiers with that, but if you got two or three sheets of paper, you’re 55 cents to send this stuff out. Something like this, two bucks out the door, with the envelope, the stamp, the letters inside. I mean you can’t get much cheaper than that with direct mail nowadays, and still get an impact. I mean you can send a little crappy postcard, but no one’s going to read it.
STEPHEN OLIVER (47:02):
And, by the way, the Post Office, oftentimes, we will send it as overnight, they show up and get them to sign for it.
Travis Lee (47:11):
Every once in a while. I know you and I have been running in the same circles long enough. Actually, about eight years ago, we got our hand slapped because they said “priority”. So, priority mail is actually a trademarked name for the Post Office. About 2014, they came to us and said, “You got to stop,” because we are mailing these at full priority mail rates. So, we had to take some of their proprietary language off. But you know what? We found out …
Travis Lee (47:39):
Real quick, I know we’re getting up on time, just real quick. We had a client, completely different industry, doesn’t matter what the industry is though, we had a list of 400. 200 got an actual priority mail envelope, eight/nine bucks a pop for postage; 200 of them got a 9×12 version of this. This one won, at one-eighth of the postage price. You never know until you test it.
STEPHEN OLIVER (48:03):
Well, the other one I like is the aspirin bottle, the pill bottle.
Travis Lee (48:08):
Yeah, I was going to bring that one. I was going to have it, and it wasn’t on my shelf to pull off as I walked in here to my recording studio. We got a little pill bottle, “Cure your headaches. Cure your financial headaches. Cure this, cure that.”
STEPHEN OLIVER (48:21):
We were just having a conversation yesterday with one of my clients, “Cure the headache of fearing that you’ll run out of money in retirement. You’ve been spending a life investing money, but here’s how you get it back, and make sure you never run out.”
Travis Lee (48:43):
Here’s our little cheap replacement for that. We send little bags of aspirin. So, you don’t want to swallow something that might be four or five bucks, send out something that’s 72 cents or something like that. So, we send them little bags of aspirin.
STEPHEN OLIVER (48:54):
There you go.
Travis Lee (48:55):
There’s all kinds of different ways to skin that cat.
STEPHEN OLIVER (48:57):
Yeah. And that becomes in that other category of either a grabber, so you have a letter with something attached to it, that they go, “What is this?” So, the aspirin or the million-dollar bill or the dollar bill, or whatever it might be. Or you have that category of lumpy mail. You fit it in an envelope … I have you guys working on sending, I don’t know, 700 gold medals tied to the Olympics, for me, right now.
Travis Lee (49:25):
They’re back there, working on it right now.
STEPHEN OLIVER (49:27):
Good for them. Keep them working, 24/7. But it’s something that arrives. And a lot of us have gotten the pen solicitations, the printed pens. The same idea, where you can feel the envelope. With the pen guys, you know what it is, and I tend to open it and just take the pen. But with something like this, you’re going, “What the hell is this?”
Travis Lee (49:51):
You’re exactly right. We got little stress cards, “You feeling stressed out about …” We’re going to jump on a call with your other group here in a second. This stress card could be used for any type of group that is worried about stress or money or anything else like that. There are all kinds of fun ways you could do this.
STEPHEN OLIVER (50:10):
You bet. Well, hey, Travis, I guess we got to call it a day. Your company is 3D Mail Results. If they want to learn more about what you do and your various options, how do they get ahold of you?
Travis Lee (50:22):
Yep. So, 3D Mail Results, right here, somewhere on my screen. I also got a free book for you. So, if you go to 3DMailResults.com/book, you’ll get this, it’s a catalog and book, completely free, there’s no shipping cost, there’s no give-us-a-credit-card-and-we’ll-bill-you-until-you’re-dead, just completely free. Just give me a mailing address, we’ll drop it in the mail today for you.
STEPHEN OLIVER (50:44):
Yeah. And I’d certainly recommend go to 3D Mail Results and get that, but also look at all of the crazy fun stuff that you can do.
Travis Lee (50:53):
Yeah. Get some inspiration.
STEPHEN OLIVER (50:55):
Yeah, absolutely. And, by the way, you have a bunch of pre-done templates. I’ve done a lot of my own copywriting, but I used a bunch of your stuff as inspiration, just to get started.
Travis Lee (51:08):
The templates you mentioned, you’ll get about 30-35 of them when you request this. It comes with, we call it a digital swipe file. So, you’ll get this book in the mail, and then you’ll get an email right away with that digital swipe file.
STEPHEN OLIVER (51:20):
Sounds good. Well, thanks, everybody. We’ll call it a day. And, Travis, we have to do one of these for three hours, and I’m willing to get a little bit more of the content going.
Travis Lee (51:27):