I Reprimanded A Priest. I Didn’t Return A Billionaire’s Calls. Find Out Why!

This post is on the power of an effective HEADLINE. All of your advertising should start with a headline and a sub-headline (just like this). What did the priest do that ticked me off? And why didn’t I call that billionaire back—twice? Keep reading!

Let me tell you about the billionaire first and then the priest and then we’ll get into this headline thing. I’m sure that everyone returns Tom’s calls. I didn’t return two of his. Most people say “yes” to everything he wants. First of all, I’m no YES man! I’m no ass kisser either (as I’m sure you’re not). Never been. Never will. But besides that, I don’t like the guy. He did something way back when he was only a millionaire that really ticked me off. I priestdon’t like his character. And he’s done some things to other friends of mine that were not kosher. Oh, he called me twice because he wanted to use my delivery service. I thought he was up to no good and I was right. A few months later he set up his two step sons in the dry cleaning delivery business. They lasted a year and bye bye! He should of called me and offered to by my business. That would have been the upstanding thing to do. But Tom is the billionaire with no couth.

The priest. First of all, I know this priest very well. He’s a family friend. He goes on our annual golf trip with my dad, my brothers and all of our friends—24 total. A couple of years ago Father Roger was getting on my nerves. This is friendly competition and he thought that Johnny has 15 clubs in his bag. You can only have 14. Johnny did, but the 15th was a training club. Back 10 years ago you could carry a training club in your bag. Not now though. I told “Rev” (as I call him) that this was not the case and he was wrong. And I told him that it was a friendly match. He pressed on. He got my brother Gary (everyone love Gary because he’s soooo nice) to check his bag. Father made a big production out of it. I quietly went to the pro and asked. I was right. You could carry a training club. Father was wrong not only for his violation call, but for this friendly competition call. I gave him a piece of my mind and he apologized to Johnny and me. I had to reprimand him a couple of years later for something else, but that’s another story.

Let’s get talking about headlines. A headline is an attention getter. It’s the most important part of your advertising. If it’s an ad, the headline should be in a really big font like the beginning of this article. If it’ a TV or radio commercial, it’s the first thing you say to get their attention. You start out every letter that you’re selling something with a compelling headline.

Most dry cleaners don’t use headlines. Most put something cute or clever at the top of their advertising. The dry cleaner likes it because they came up with it, so they think all their potential customers will like it. And then they run the ad and it bombs and they think it’s the magazines fault that it didn’t work. I’ve had advertising for my dry cleaning business work in every print and mail medium. I’ve never tried radio or TV, but I’m sure I could get it to work there.

So, it’s NOT the ValPak. NOT the newspaper. NOT the postcard. And definitely NOT the direct mail that DOESN’T work. It’s you! It’s the ad you wrote with NO headline or not a very good headline that didn’t work.

Sorry to be so blunt, but this is important direct marketing stuff. You must understand this to get your advertising to work.

Do you see how the headline of this article drew you in? And then the sub-headline kept you reading? And then the first paragraph got you to read more? And now you’re reading this and probably the rest of the article.

A direct marketing piece that I wrote and tested 7 years ago is bringing in over $196,000,000 in revenue every year with my member dry cleaners. It took me 18 months of testing different headlines and offers (we’ll talk about that next month) to get this direct marketing piece to get to where it was profitable. This is not rocket science, but it’s hard work and patience to get something like this to work.

Since then I’ve found a simple and fast way to test headlines. Actually I have two ways. The first is my Starbucks survey. I come up with 3 or 4 headlines that I think will work. I’ll pick what I think the winner is and I’m usually wrong. You see, it’s not my opinion of what I think will work, it’s my prospective customer’s opinion that is the final decision. So here’s how this works: I print out 10 separate sheets of the 3 or 4 headlines. I approach people and in Starbucks and ask them I they could just spent one minute helping my by picking the headline that grabs their attention. I go to ten people and ooh- la-la, I have my headline. Don’t get too excited. There is still lots of work to do. This little idea would of saved me 12 months in the letter I was just telling you about.

Now you have to take that headline and write the rest of the ad and start testing it with different offers. Once you’ve done that, you’ll have an effect and very profitable piece of advertising that will last for many years.

That marketing piece I was telling you about is getting long lasting, high spending, high quality route customers for less than $50 bucks each. It’s working with 400+ dry cleaners all over the world. It’s even been translated into Spanish. I’m just finishing up 6 months of testing it again to see if it can be improved. I hired a copywriting consultant to help me this time. The good news is that after 6 months of testing, this guy kicked it up notch. It well worth the time and  money I paid him.

If you’d like my Master Headline Template, you can find it here:

Thanks for listening and I hope your marketing reaches new heights!



Come up with your very own “New Customer Kit” and you’ll get more route customers to stick and you’ll get a bunch of referrals. Don’t do it yourself. Set it up on autopilot and get it done automatically every time a new route customer joins your route.


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