Ian Brodie

Ian Brodie is the best-selling author of Email Persuasion and creator of Unsnooze Your Inbox - *the* guide to crafting engaging emails and newsletters that captivate your audience, build authority and generate more sales.



Why you must “keep the ball” in marketing

Posted on 19th June 2022.

Oh no…the football analogies continue…

Last week I talked about how your sales are more dependent on how often you manage to build the trust and credibility needed for people to be ready to buy than on how good you are at the final step of selling.

(Like the way a football team's goals are more dependent on how often and how well they get the ball into danger zones on the pitch than they are on their shooting ability).

There's another related football analogy that's important here too.

I can't source the quote exactly (I had in my mind that it was Johan Cruyff from his groundbreaking work at Barcelona but it seems not) but you may well have heard some variation of:

“If we've got the ball, it means the opponent can't score”.

It's real back to basics, but it's true. None of that fancy stuff about getting into danger zones means anything if you haven't got the ball.

In marketing, keeping the ball means keeping the attention of your audience.

You can't build credibility and trust and get people ready to buy if you've lost their attention. If they're no longer listening to you.

I don't just mean people actively disconnecting – unsubscribing from your emails for example. Far more common is people staying subscribed but just not opening or reading any more.

In fact, your main issue isn't upsetting people so they unsubscribe, it's boring them so they drift off without unsubscribing.

It's particularly vital if you sell something big with a long sales cycle. You need people to keep paying attention over a long period of time so you're there and front of mind when they're ready to buy.

And unlike football, if you lose attention, it's rare you get it back.

It would be fantastic if there were marketing equivalents of ball-wining midfielders and hard-tackling defenders to get attention back once you'd lost it. But that's rarely the case.

Instead your best option is to make sure every email or piece of marketing you send is valuable or interesting – ideally both.



The Remote Working Recovery Plan for Freelance Consultants, Coaches and Trainers

Posted on 27th March 2020.

We're living in unprecedented times. At least for our generation.

And I'm not going to pretend that I know exactly what to do right now or have all the answers. Anyone who says they do is either deluded or lying.

But we can apply the lessons of what worked in other crises like the financial meltdown of 2008. And we can learn as we go along from what's working right now and share that with each other – which is what I'm doing in this post.

I'm going to lay out a clear strategy and options for switching your business from face-to-face delivery to remote working in a variety of forms. Something I've done myself over the last decade or so. Something many businesses are doing right now and something you will need to do if you want to survive the current crisis and be prepared for the world beyond.

It'll require you to take action fast and potentially make some tough choices. But it could well save your business and put it on the path to recovery and growth.

I hope it helps.
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What Clients REALLY Want…

Posted on 1st June 2018. What Clients Really Want

Clients want the impossible.

Always have. Always will.

And if you're in consulting or a similar advisor profession, the particular type of impossible they want is that paradoxical combination of “new and different” with “tried and tested”.

New and different = something their competitors aren't doing, so will give them a competitive edge.

Tried and tested = proven, so they won't be taking a risk by implementing it.

Of course, a moment's thought will tell you something can't really be both new and different AND tried and tested. But “wants” are driven by emotion and gut feel. Cold hard logic doesn't often get a look in.

And yet…
Click here to read how you can deliver the impossible!


Get Clients Online

How To Make The Time For Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

Posted on 16th April 2018. How to make the time for marketing

Of all the problems I hear from people struggling to win enough clients, probably the most frequent is “I just can't find the time for marketing”.

It's an insidious problem. No matter how smart you are, no matter how brilliant the marketing strategies you're trying to implement: if you can't find the time for them then you won't get results.

And it's such an easy trap to fall into. If we're not naturals at marketing we probably don't know how to do it efficiently. And we probably don't enjoy it, so we kid ourselves that we're doing OK, we have enough clients for now, something will turn up anyway…and so we avoid doing the marketing we really need.

But it absolutely is possible to fit effective marketing into a busy schedule. What it takes is a combination of mindset, ruthless prioritisation, scheduling and techniques for doing your marketing efficiently. And that's exactly what you'll learn in this guide.

Click here for the Ultimate Guide to Making the Time for Marketing »



3 Relentless Trends That Are Disrupting Marketing

Posted on 29th July 2017.

A little while ago, after being named by OpenView Labs as one of their Top 25 Sales Influencers – their list of “25 of the most powerful thought leaders in the world of sales management, lead generation, and more” – I wrote an article on 3 relentless trends that are disrupting marketing.

Let's take a look to see how they turned out…

Click here to see the results »



How To Get More Customer Reviews And Testimonials – The Ultimate Guide

Posted on 14th June 2017. How To Get More Customer Reviews And Testimonials

If you've worked in a service business for any length of time you'll know the power that customer testimonials can have in shaping buyer decisions. Especially when the service is expensive, intangible and new to the buyer.

According to PowerReviews' 2018 survey, 97% of consumers check reviews before buying.

And as I showed in my recent article on how to get star ratings to appear in the Google search results, having those reviews visible in the search listings can give you a significant boost in clicks to your site too.

So if that's the case, how come most of us don't use customer reviews and testimonials all that often on our sites?

The truth is that despite knowing how valuable reviews and testimonials can be, most of us don't have anywhere near as many really strong ones as we'd like.

In this article, I'm going to show you how to get more customer reviews and testimonials by following a few simple steps. So let's get going…
Click here to find out how to get more customer reviews and testimonials »



Why Informally Written Emails Work Better: Some Hard Data

Posted on 23rd July 2016. Why Informally Written Emails Work Better: Some Hard Data

If you've read Email Persuasion you'll know that I recommend writing your emails in an informal style: as if you were chatting to a good business friend over coffee.

Every now and then I get asked “why?” Especially given that the dominant style of writing business emails is much more “professional” (ie stiff and formal).

My recommendation comes mostly from personal experience. I started getting better results (more interactions and more sales) the more I wrote informally. And partly because writing informally is a generally accepted best practice for sales letters.

But honestly, I wasn't quite sure that was enough. I wanted some real, solid evidence that writing informally worked.

Strangely enough, there seems to have been very little testing done on informal vs formal writing in the marketing world. It's just kind of accepted wisdom that informal works best.

But there has been quite a bit of testing done in other fields, notably in online learning.

In a meta analysis published in Teacher Magazine in 2015, Professors Paul Ginns, Herbert Marsh and Andrew Martin analysed multiple studies looking at the impact of formal vs informal communication on the effectiveness of online learning.

The studies they looked at covered four primary aspects of informal vs formal communication:

  • The use of first/second person vs third person language – ie talking about I/we and you.
  • Adding sentences which directly address the reader – for example “Let me tell you what happens when lightning forms…”.
  • The use of polite requests rather than direct commands (e.g. “Why don't we save the factory now?” vs “Save the factory now”) – just like we would do if we were speaking to a friend face to face.
  • Making the author's view and personality more visible.

The results?

Students who studied from more conversational instructions rated them as more friendly and less difficult. And when there was a more personal and conversational style in the writing, students remembered the material better and were able to transfer that knowledge to new problems.

In other words, when it comes to online learning: informal wins.

Why does an informal, conversational style work?

Click here to find out why…



How To Spot When You’re Being Manipulated By A Presupposition

Posted on 25th August 2015. Manipulated by a Presupposition

Failed PitchGot this in my Linkedin Inbox yesterday. It's the first message from someone I connected with a couple of days ago and it's a perfect example of how NOT to build relationships.

First off, it begins with a lie. Or at least an inaccuracy. I didn't reach out to her, she reached out to me to connect.

So immediately I'm on my guard. Either this is a canned message or she's hitting up so many people she can't remember whether she reached out or I did. Or she's trying to fool me into misremembering and thinking I reached out.

Then there's a beautiful line. The sort that annoys the heck out of me.

Click here to read more »



The Right and Wrong Way to Use Controversy in Subject Lines

Posted on 1st July 2014.

A couple of years ago a load of emails dropped in my inbox proclaiming “Social Media Doesn't Work”.

It was one of those big product launches. You know the ones where a bunch of gurus cross-promote each other's products in turn to create the sense that everyone is talking about the product and that this is the one you must buy (until the next one comes along).

This one was being promoted with the line that “social media doesn't work” and a link to a video that would explain why.

So, of course, I clicked. Who could resist a controversial subject line and topic like that?

What was the great revelation about social media not working?

Click here to find out »



Why “Free or Low Cost” Marketing is a Trap

Posted on 8th February 2014.

freesignGoogle “free or low cost marketing” and you'll find a zillion websites, books and coaches offering to teach you how to market your business without spending much money.

And while some of the techniques they preach can certainly be useful, I've found that rushing down the “free or low cost” approach can be a huge mistake for most businesses.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating that you splurge a ton of cash on marketing just hoping it'll work for you. A lot of paid advertising is a huge waste of money for consultants and coaches. But “free or low cost” can be equally as damaging in a more insidious way. Here's why…

Click here to see why “free or low cost” can be a huge mistake >>