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A personal passion of mine.

Ugly is the New Pretty When it Comes to Marketing

“Ugly is the New Pretty”
by Tony Pearl


Warm weather is finally upon us! Time to get ready for those Summer vacations – trips to the beach, cookouts, swimming, boating, golf, tennis, and everything else that we love to do outside when the weather is warm.

Of course, if you live in the South, Southern California, or a place like Phoenix, you’re used to having nice weather all year ’round. And I hate you. 🙂


But if you’re like me, and live in a place where you get all four seasons (yay), you can appreciate how the change in weather can also trigger a change in perspective.


Long intro aside, there’s something that I’ve been noticing over the past few years when it comes to marketing…


Ugly is the New Pretty


What does that mean? It means that a lot of the usual, conventional, traditional marketing pieces or campaigns that USED to work for many years… simply don’t work much any more these days.

There’s an air of ‘counter-corporatism’ that’s fast taking over our country.


Things that used to get results, like pretty pictures w/ glossy coverings, or words like “When you desire the very best…” and other crap like that all have their place. That stuff is usually associated with image or branding style of marketing.  Basically it’s stuff that nobody cares about except the fat cat CEO types who puff cigars, sip scotch, and tell people what to do all day.

If you ever think about marketing like that, you might as well build a fire with $100 bills to keep yourself warm, because that’s basically what you’re doing with your money.


BUT…if you want to get RESULTS, or a measurable Return On Investment of your marketing money, then listen up, because what you’re about to hear here flies in the face of conventional wisdom…which is one of the reasons I love it so much!


MOST “Pretty” marketing sucks. It’s so busy “looking good” that most people’s eyes just glance right over it. Most businesses try so hard to have their marketing pieces look nice that no one notices them anymore.

Why? Because we’re CONSTANTLY bombarded all day, every day (and night) by all these “me too” marketers, jockeying for your attention so that they can sell you something.


It gets to the point where your brain just ignores it, because it’s either stupid, irrelevant, or you’re just tired of trying to be sold to.  Make sense?


BUT… when you see something that looks so UGLY or DIFFERENT, your brain pattern is interrupted, your eyeballs just can’t look away, and you’re almost forced into paying attention!


That’s the ‘beauty’ of ‘ugly’ marketing. 🙂


Let me ask you something. Have you ever driven your car and seen those bandit signs on the side of the road? (Maybe you’ve put some up yourself!) What do MOST of them look like? They probably have nice lettering, were professionally done, and look pretty good, right? Especially the ones done by Real Estate agents and (gasp) politicians. Don’t you just love those (NOT!)?


After a while, you don’t even notice them any more, right? I know I don’t.

But then… up ahead in the intersection, your eyes can’t help but to notice… a Bandit Sign that was HAND-WRITTEN! And the handwriting isn’t even that good! What does your brain do?

Chances are that your eyeballs are sucked right to it, you notice the sign & start to process the message! Why? Because it’s not just different – it’s UGLY! Your brain is forced to recognize it and make a new neural association.


So people notice these signs. They process the message. They write the number down, and then they call you. Result (if it’s your sign): You get a lead. You buy a house. Nice.


Another great example is the notorious yellow letter. Before my buddy John McNeil ‘discovered’ this method, most people who sent out direct mail pieces in search of motivated seller leads would send out well-written letters with halfway-decent copy. These letters would almost always have the usual computer-generated nice font in black ink on white paper.


The industry standard for direct mail letters like that is around 1%. The yellow letter has seen results up to 35%!!  Why? Again, because it’s ‘ugly’ and different. It’s handwritten (either real or computer generated so that you can’t tell the difference) in red, blue or black ink. It’s written on yellow paper that looks like it was just torn off of a pad. And it’s delivered in an invitation envelope…NOT a traditional #10, like everybody else uses.


So people open it. They read it. They ask themselves, “What the…?” Then they pick up the phone and call you! Or, better yet, they call your live answering company, voicemail, or Virtual Assistant. Yes, some people may be upset when they call, saying that their house is not for sale. Oh well. Be happy that’s not YOU having a bad day, and let your system deal with it.


But you’ll get calls. And that’s the goal with your marketing campaigns – to get people to notice you, process the message, and take action! Chances are that you’ll get a few decent, workable leads and buy a house or two as a result.


Here’s something else I heard recently. They say that most people don’t remember other people’s faces because most people just sort of ‘blend in.’ However, people who were considered to be “ugly” were remembered more often than most ‘average’ people! Why is that? You should know this by now – it’s because they were considered to be so different than most that they stood out and got noticed!


So if someone remembers your face the next time you see them, you might want to ask yourself why! 🙂


Listen, “Ugly Marketing” may not be the best option for your long-term branding or ‘image’ that you might be trying to create for your multi-million dollar corporation that you’re trading on the New York Stock Exchange. But if you’re a small business owner trying to dominate your local market by standing out in ways that get your prospects to not only notice you but take action, this may be just what you need.

Make yourself look good, but try making your marketing look UGLY to stand out, because…


Being “Ugly” just might get you a ticket to the dance this time!


So think about this while you’re enjoying your summer. And make sure you wear your sunscreen and water wings when you go swimming!


See you next month,

Tony Pearl



[title color=”red-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”georgia” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-3em”]“The Biggest Mistake Most People Make in Their Lead Generation Marketing” [/title] by Tony Pearl

Originally Published and Syndicated in the Atlanta REIA Newsletter,  June 2013

Lead Generation Marketing Mistake

Lead Gen Marketing Mistake to Avoid

Has This Ever Happened To You?

You spend a good chunk of time writing what you think is a KILLER ad.

You’ve picked where you’re going to advertise (Offline? Online? Both?)

You set aside some marketing money, and hope that it works out by bringing you back some leads, which should turn out to be a deal or two.

Then you place the ad. And wait. And wait some more. You stand by the phone – or look at your inbox to see when those leads will come rolling in…  And THEN what happens?

Nothing! Nada. No calls. No email submissions. No love. Sound familiar?

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve been there. It sucks.

No leads. No phone calls. Money down the toilet.

Worst of all: No Leads = No Deals. And No Deals = NO Income!

WHY did that happen? And what can we do to FIX it so it doesn’t happen again?

Well, there’s actually a lot of different things that could have made this marketing disaster.
Here’s a couple example of some of these things may be beyond your control:

1. Bad timing (Example: It was a bad time to be an air travel agent right after 9/11);

2. No market for what you’re selling; or

3. Excessive, Superior Competition.

But let’s not focus on what we can’t control.  Chances are, there’s always something that you can do better to have success – MOST of the time.

Here’s ONE obvious thing you should always check:

Accuracy: Is the right Phone Number, Website, or Hyperlink in your ad? We’ve heard stories of people who have put out a proven, winning ad to a responsive, targeted list, then wonder why they got no phone calls… only to discover that the WRONG phone number was on the ad!
That could be a bad day, so be sure you proof-read your ad one last time before committing it.

Assuming it is correct, it’s now time to look at:


“The Biggest Mistake Most People Make in Their Lead Gen Marketing:”

Yeah, I know that’s the title of the article. I’m saying it again for emphasis!

So Here it is: The Biggest Mistake Most People Make in Their Marketing is:
Trying To SELL To The Prospect!

Wait… what?  “But I thought that marketing was the same as selling?!  I don’t get it!”

Right… That’s why you’re reading this article!  🙂

So Let Me Explain…

Unless you’re sending out a full sales letter,
The Purpose of an AD is NOT to SELL The prospect anything.

There should be nothing for them to BUY.

Confused? Good. Keep reading.

The Purpose of an AD is to Target a Specific Market, then Arouse enough Curiosity to Get the Prospect to “Raise Their Hand” and Request More Information – by taking a certain, specific ACTION, such as making a phone call, or filling out a FORM, etc.
(Back in the Flintstone age – before the internet – people used to actually MAIL stuff in!)

If you can do THAT – Get someone to Call You and/or request more information, then you’re giving your sales process the chance it needs to succeed. The idea here is that you don’t want to give your prospect too much information in an ad that they can make a decision – because most of the time, they’ll think they already know enough, and their decision might be ‘No.’ (Not good)

Action Tip: So, for your next ad, try writing it so that you don’t “Sell” your prospect on anything… except why they should pick up the phone & call you to get more information about HOW you can help them.

Once they call you, THEN you can engage them in your process – ask them questions, see what their needs and goals are, so that you can then ‘Make ‘em an Offer They Can’t Refuse.’

HOW do you get them to take action? It all starts with your headline. Your ad’s headline should first Identify & Target your prospects. The more specific, the better.
Example: “Attention: Atlanta Homeowners Behind On Your Mortgage…”

That headline targets a specific market. Obviously, someone who rents an apartment in Oakland, California wouldn’t even notice an ad like that.  And that’s exactly what you want.

The next part of your Headline should offer your prospect something desirable, that arouses curiosity, and compels them to keep reading. Continuing with the above example:

“Shocking Video Reveals the #1 Way
Atlanta Residents Can Avoid Foreclosure –
WITHOUT  Bankruptcy, Guaranteed!”

Depending on what type of ad you’re using (Bandit Sign, Craigslist, Newspaper, etc.), you can either sprinkle in some benefit-laden Bullet Points, or just cut straight to the Call to Action (CTA) – Get them to DO what you want them to do, like call you on the phone number you provide.
Or fill out the form when they go to your website.  You get the idea. But ALWAYS have that CTA.

And there you have it! The biggest mistake most people make in their Lead Gen Marketing is that they try to SELL the prospect on trying to make a BUYING decision too early in the process, rather than simply arousing enough curiosity to compel the prospect to ‘raise their hand’ and Take Action to get more information.

So don’t make that mistake anymore, and you’re well on your way to making a much higher Return On Investment (ROI)with your marketing money, doing more deals, and having more FUN when you run your ads from now on!

Make sure you read this column next month, when I’ll talk about a couple more common marketing mistakes most people make, and how YOU can avoid them.

Until then, I’m…

Wishing You Success,

Tony Pearl


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