Ryan Deiss and his team at Digital Marketer have spent over $15 million testing different marketing strategies to find out what works and what doesn’t so they can teach the very best methods to their devoted followers. They’ve sent over a billion emails, generated tens of millions of unique visitors, and run over 3,000 split tests and multivariate tests. We’d call that walking the walk — and it’s a big reason why we at Ontraport love taking inspiration and ideas for our own marketing strategy from Ryan Deiss and Digital Marketer.

Here are five of our marketing team’s favorite ideas from Ryan Deiss and his team of experts:

1. Branding is relational equity.

Ryan Deiss teaches marketers to think of their relationships with prospects, leads and customers like a bank account. Here’s how he defines branding: “Branding is anything that makes a deposit into a customer or prospect’s relational equity account. Some marketers have built up a positive balance of ‘goodwill’ in their vault. In some cases it might even be overflowing. For others, however, the vault isn’t just empty — it’s running a negative balance.”

As a marketer, it’s critical for you to understand where you stand with your audience. Whenever you ask them to do something, whether it’s sharing their contact info or buying a product, you’re making a withdrawal of “goodwill” from that relational account. Whenever you give away valuable content, sell a great product or create a branding campaign that really resonates, you’re making a deposit. If you’re having trouble achieving the response rate or sales conversion rate you’re shooting for, ask yourself this: Have you built up enough positive relational equity to make the offer successful, or have you overdrawn the account?

2. The size of your email list matters less than what you do with it.

Have you ever been told that the key to making email marketing work for your business is to build up a massive list of subscribers? One of Ryan Deiss’ most important insights from his book Invisible Selling Machine is the idea that a small email list can actually achieve pretty big results. According to Ryan, “All other things being equal — a bigger list is better. But list size is certainly not the primary driver of email marketing success. I know lots of marketers with great big lists that don’t make a dime, because at the end of the day, it’s not the size of the list that matters — it’s how you use it.”

If you have a big list of contacts who are just barely engaged, your ROI from any individual message is likely going to be much smaller than what it could be if, instead, you sent a very well-targeted message to a small list.

3. People buy outcomes, not products.

Ryan Deiss teaches that there are pretty much only two ways to explain a lack of demand for your product. One, the offer is mediocre — which means no matter how clearly you explain the features and benefits, people simply don’t want the product. Two, you aren’t articulating the benefits in a way that people can easily understand. Remember — it’s all about the “before” and the “after.”

According to Ryan Deiss, this is what all marketing is about. He says, “In the ‘before’ state the customer is discontent in some way. They might be in pain, bored, frightened or unhappy for any number of other reasons. In the ‘after’ state, life is better. They are free of pain, entertained or unafraid of what previously plagued them. People don’t buy products or services — they buy outcomes. They buy access to the ‘after’ state.”

The key to all good marketing copywriting (and sales strategy, too) is in selling the outcome — the desired state where life is better in some way after buying your product. Remembering this simple principle takes the pain out of copywriting, so give it a try next time you sit down to write an email, landing page or advertisement.

4. Use tripwire products to find your best leads.

There’s no one more likely to purchase a product from you than an existing customer. Out of all your leads and prospects for your main product, you can find the very hottest ones by qualifying them with what’s known as a tripwire product. According to Ryan Deiss, “The tripwire is an irresistible, super-low-ticket offer (usually between $1 and $20) that exists for one reason and one reason only: to convert prospects into buyers. The goal of the tripwire is to fundamentally change the relationship from prospect to customer. The conversion of a prospect to a customer, even for $1, is magical. The key is to make a tripwire offer that leads are unable to resist.”

Out of all your leads, those who have purchased the tripwire product are the most likely to become loyal customers. They’ve given you a signal, loud and clear, that they’re interested in what you’ve got to offer and have already taken action to get their hands on it. Now it’s up to you to make the most of that interest, and turn them into a customer for life.

5. There’s no such thing as a traffic problem.

It’s not uncommon to hear new digital marketers complain that they just can’t get enough traffic to their offer. They might believe that if they could just get more eyeballs on their landing page, they’d be able to sell more.

Ryan Deiss begs to differ; he’s said many times that traffic isn’t the problem in a scenario like this (for example, in this video). Traffic can be obtained pretty cheaply if you know where to look. The trick is to make the investment worth it by sending the traffic to an offer that’s proven to convert. Once you know you’ve got an offer that gets traction, it’s time to step on the gas and start reliably generating leads and customers.

About Megan Monroe
Associate Editor Megan Monroe is a graduate of Santa Barbara’s Westmont College where she studied Philosophy and Communications. After working for several local small businesses (where she gained firsthand experience with the frustration of manual segmentation and follow-up), Megan joined the Ontraport Growth Team. When she isn’t writing marketing copy, social media posts or educational guides for entrepreneurs, she enjoys taking advantage of the Central Coast's amazing wineries and cooking without following a recipe.