Article #2 – Tactics to Avoid, Principles to Embrace

27 September, 2022

We don’t approach online marketing like other people.

Billy describes the philosophy he teaches and that I’ve adopted as “simple marketing for smart people.” Let’s break that down.

First, simplicity is key.

So much of the advice I see online is about worshipping complexity for the sake of complexity.

I see so many complicated funnel diagrams being sold by the bundle, as if you can just flip a switch and watch the customers come flooding in. Self-proclaimed experts hawk their 15-stage Facebook ad campaign funnels targeting ever smaller micro-segments.

As if it were that easy.

Is this not the craziest thing you’ve ever seen?!

It’s all just far too complicated and requires far too much constant maintenance.

Even if you succeed at getting one of these beastly funnels up and running, do you really want to burn the energy needed to keep it going? Do you really want to spend your valuable time meticulously adjusting ad campaigns and fiddling with integrations? Do you really want to treat people like cogs in a machine?

Nope.

Billy and I see edu-creators everywhere being suffocated by the weight of the fancy systems they’ve built, and honestly, it’s painful to watch.

We avoid anything that introduces more complexity than it’s worth (which unsurprisingly, often happens to coincide with dishonest, pushy sales tactics).

Here’s our marketing philosophy:

  • No unethical, high-pressure sales tactics
  • No complex funnels with endless sub-branches
  • No obnoxious countdown timers to create fake urgency
  • No artificial social proof with “anonymous” testimonials
  • No cold emails to people who don’t want to hear from you
  • No deep discounts or “limited time” offers that aren’t actually limited
  • No relentless self-promotion on social media
  • No “evergreen” webinars you can watch any hour of the day
  • No hype-filled pitches with infomercial-style bonus after bonus stacked on top

You read that right. You can skip probably 90% of what most people think of when they hear “online marketing.”

You’re probably thinking, “Well what should I invest in then?”

You should invest in your messaging. You should invest in timeless, tried-and-true, education-first marketing that always works – regardless of the latest tech trend.

Our messaging approach involves:

  • Classic, heartfelt storytelling that speaks to people’s everyday problems
  • A strong and well-communicated differentiator, so you stand out from your competition
  • An email list you control and regularly provide value to
  • Claims backed up by irrefutable proof
  • Informative, insightful content that delivers value upfront while also moving people toward a sale
  • Long-term relationships that will continue to bear fruit for years
  • Authentic testimonials that help people see themselves in what you’re offering
  • Building a brand that transcends any single channel, platform, or product

In other words, it is possible to trust and respect your customers while earning their trust and respect in return. It is possible to have people look forward to your promotions because they provide so much value.

Here is a message I received thanking me specifically for “promotional” content:

A message I received thanking me for my promotional content, which he found valuable even though he didn’t end up joining

This is where the “smart people” come in.

You see, many different kinds of marketing tactics can work. But each one will tend to attract a certain kind of customer. Remember, you’re going to be interacting with these people all day every day. It’s worth asking yourself, “Who do I want in my inner circle?”

Money isn’t as important as peace of mind. We avoid spammy tactics not just because we care about our reputation, but because of the kind of customers they attract…well, you wouldn’t wish them on your worst enemy.

Smart people, according to our definition, think about their decisions instead of acting impulsively. They weigh the pros and cons, compare different options, and make an informed choice. They have high but not unrealistic standards. They are committed to putting into action what they learn because they see the impact it could make.

Those are the kinds of people you want as your customers. They are the kind of people doing important work in the world, who you’d be honored to work with.

You don’t have to burn your network to make a great living. There is a sustainable, profitable, and ethical way of making it as an edupreneur. And it is one of the most fun and exhilarating careers available anywhere.

Now you may have noticed something: it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between the items in the two lists above.

What is the difference between a “hype-filled webinar” and a “virtual workshop,” or “artificial social proof” and “authentic testimonials,” or “fake urgency” and “true scarcity”?

Good question!

The difference is not which tactics you embrace, it’s how you execute them.

I’ve seen even the best strategies corrupted when an instructor doesn’t care about the people they’re trying to reach, and I’ve seen the worst, spammiest tactic redeemed into something tasteful and effective when they do.

It requires taste to know the difference. You need judgment, which is based on experience.

That is what you are gaining access to when you work with someone of Billy’s caliber. He’s worked with instructors across more than 50 niches for over 10 years, has helped enroll tens of thousands of customers, and sold multiple 7-figures worth of online education products.

Simplicity always wins, but it is simplicity on the other side of experience. You have to trudge through the swamp of complexity before you reach the oasis of simplicity on the other side.

I highly recommend working with someone who has made that journey before.

In my next email, I’ll share with you in detail the 5 biggest takeaways from my own experience in Billy’s program back in 2019. Look out for it tomorrow!

Best,

Tiago

About the Author

Meet Billy Broas, the creator of The Five Lightbulbs

Billy got into marketing in 2010, when he left his career at an engineering company to start his own business on the internet.

Since then, Billy has been the marketing brains behind some of the top online entrepreneurs and course creators. His clients include David Perell, Tiago Forte, Kimberly Snyder, and Ryan Deiss.

An introverted intellectual, and definitely not a "natural marketer," Billy saw an opportunity to create a tool for anyone who wears a marketing hat. Read more about Billy's story here.