Posted by Scott Bywater in advertising, copywriting, marketing Oct 29th, 2010 | No Comments »

One of the problems with some of the advertising books of old is they were written in a different time.

A time when consumers didn’t receive an avalanche of adverts like we do today.

A time when things were a lot less competitive.

A time when people were a lot less cynical.

And so they could get away with just having a big promise… painting a colourful picture and asking for the sale.

But today things are different.

We get hit by promotional material everywhere we go…

On buses… on TV… on the internet… on Facebook… in our email inboxes…

You name it and it’s probably there.

Imagine this…

You are walking down the road and somebody asks you for directions.

You are happy to give them directions. No problem.

But imagine you are walking down Sydney’s Pitt Street and every second person asks you for directions.

And then I am the 1500th person to ask you.

What would your response be to me?

Happy to give me directions?

I don’t think so.

The same thing has happened with advertising.

People are like… why should I take any notice of what you have to say? And why should I believe you?

That’s what they’re thinking. Heck, that’s what I am thinking. And that’s what you are thinking.

And that’s why you need to do two things whenever you communicate in print with your prospects:

1) Make your information valuable: provide information which is useful to your target market.

2) Back up every claim you make with proof.

For instance, don’t just say your tyres are twice as safe as other tyres – prove it.

Don’t just say your BBQ cleaning spray cleans better – prove it.

Don’t just say you are the best real estate agent in your area – prove it.

Don’t just say you sell the best vitamins – prove it.

It is no longer good enough to make an awesome promise and wait for everyone to flock through your doors.

Today you have to be smarter – because the prospects you are dealing with certainly are.

By the way, if you want a step-by-step guideline of how to write great ads in 2010, then why don’t you hop along to

Posted by Scott Bywater in copywriting, marketing Oct 27th, 2010 | No Comments »

Imagine this…

I call you up in the middle of the night to tell you about this awesome deal on tyres being offered by the tyre shop down the road.

It’s 2am when you receive the call and the conversation goes something like this:

Me: There is an awesome deal going on for Jims Tyre Shop down the road. You can get four tyres at no cost.

You: What?

Me: Listen, I know it’s late, but I just saw this and I had to tell you about it, because it will save you a heck of a lot of cash. And you really should do it now.

You: Scott, do you realise it’s 2am in the morning?

You can imagine it, can’t you? And if this happened you would probably think this Bywater fellow has lost his mind and all this marketing stuff has gone to his head.

But let’s look at another scenario.

It’s 3am and the conversation goes like this:

Me: Did you know your garage door is open and right now there are 3 guys taking the tyres off your car and loading them onto the back of their car.

What’s your response now?

Remember, it’s the same four tyres.

But in the first example, you have the opportunity to gain something, whereas in the second example you are avoiding the loss of something.

Remember this when selling or advertising: fear of loss is a greater motivator than a desire for gain.

And most people will do far, far, far more to avoid losing $1,000 than they will to gain $1,000.

So use that in your advertising.

Like this copywriting tip. It’s just the tip of the ice-berg. To get everything outlined for you step-by-step so you can write ads & letters which make the cash-register ring, get your hands on

Posted by Scott Bywater in marketing Oct 25th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

There’s a new show coming to Australia called “Undercover Boss.” I’ve managed to catch a handful of the US shows and they are pretty valuable learning experiences for any business owner.

In a nutshell, here’s what happens…

The boss goes out to try to figure what’s actually going on in his company. He dresses up as an ordinary guy getting a new job, so nobody knows he is actually the boss. Everyone treats him (or her) like just another person working for the company…

And as a result, he manages to find out what’s really going on.

As you can imagine, this can be quite insightful.

Now let’s take a look at how any business can apply this principle to find out more – after all, when the boss is around it’s only natural for team members to behave differently.

But here’s a few things you could do…

You could tell your staff that somebody will be calling into the office once a month and these calls will be recorded. And then have somebody call in, record the call, and you can hear how the phone’s at your office are really answered.

If you have a retail store, you could send in mystery shoppers.

If you have a warehouse, you could hire someone you know for a month with the commitment that their job is to take a  normal position and then report back on what’s really happening.

If you have someone mailing out letters to new clients, you could “seed” the letters with an address of your own every now and then, so you know the letters are really being sent out.

While it’s nice to be able to trust everyone in our team, it’s also good in my opinion to have a bit of healthy paranoia. This also allows us to reward those who are doing the right job and to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Anyway, the first episode of the Australian version screens tonight at 8:30pm on channel 10.

If you watch it, do so while asking the question

“What can I learn here which I can apply to my business?”

It can be hard to know what’s going on with our team members. And it can also be hard to know what’s going on in the wild world of internet marketing if you are doing anything online. Remember, knowledge is power. So if you are doing anything online, I also recommend you discover these confessions from an underground internet marketing genius at

If you do watch Undercover Boss tonight, I would love to hear about what you learnt. Feel free to comment below.

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