Ten Rules Of Marketing You Simply Can’t Afford To Ignore

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As you know, I am a big fan of Dan Kennedy. His books are responsible for a big portion of my understanding of Copywriting and what motivates human behavior.
In his book, No B.S. Direct Marketing For Non Direct Marketing Businesses, he proposes ten marketing rules that you should post somewhere you can see every day. These rules are fundamental truths that come from a deep understanding of consumerism, human behavior and marketing backed up by decades of experience and research resulting in billions of dollars in revenues.

Every time I open a newspaper or magazine, I am literally shocked by how many ads miss hitting the core triggers needed to pull profits from your advertising dollars. It literally frustrates me to the point of wanting to just cut out the ad and mail it to the advertiser with my edits and notes. By the way, this is an excellent client compelling lead generation strategy, but we’ll get to that another time. For now, I am sure you are eager for the rules, so here they are…

  1. Every Ad you run, every flyer you distribute, every postcard or letter you mail, every web site you put up, YOU WILL ALWAYS INCLUDE AN OFFER or OFFERS.
  2. Every Ad You Run, Every Flyer You Distribute, Every Postcard or Letter You Mail, Every Website You Put Up, You Will Always Include A REASON TO RESPOND RIGHT NOW!!!!! So many ads fail to pull results because the person procrastinates… a solid offer with a reason to respond right now will push them over the edge and pull them into your world.
  3. You Will Always Include CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS on How To Respond. Don’t assume anything is intuitive, tell them exactly what action you want them to take and tell them exactly how to do it. Don’t give them the excuse to walk away because its too complicated or they don’t know how to respond.
  4. You Will Track and Measure All of Your Advertising. For offline ads, use a coupon or a unique phone number. For online, you can use analytics, cookies, tools, whatever you use to measure your ads… but measure and track every penny you spend in advertising. Without this data you will end up wondering if something worked or didn’t and maybe even become a slave to your media mix which is a conversation for another time. TRACK AND MEASURE EVERYTHING!!!
  5. Whatever Brand Building results from your ad will be gravy, a happy by product but not bought.
  6. YOU WILL FOLLOW UP WITH PROSPECTS…. I personally struggle with this myself… So much opportunity is left on the table by not following up with prospects and customers.
  7. You Will Use STRONG and POWERFUL Salescopy, not Hyperbole. People don’t believe claims you make about your product or service… but they believe your story, and they relate to a strong empathetic sales letter that shows you understand exactly where they are coming from and have been there yourself. No One Believes What You Claim About Yourself… So, use your space to tell your story and make yourself relatable.
  8. In general it will look like mail order advertising. No form of direct response advertising is as powerful as direct mail, study what they do, and build a swipe file of their ads. Notice they follow a structure that we will cover in a future post.
  10. You Will be a Strict Disciplinarian and keep your business on a strict direct marketing diet for at least six months. If you need more guidance on how to do this, check out the Ultimate Marketing Plan book from Dan Kennedy. The process of direct marketing and the above rules work… So, I guess the real question is… what’s holding you back?

These rules are guiding light, and they work because they follow how people think about, relate to, and respond to advertising. Feel free to ignore them, but if you really want to grow your business. These rules will be applicable most of the time. Sure, there might be exceptions to when to apply these rules…But, they are a great framework to filter your new ads and media planning strategies through before running off like a cowboy spendin yar money around town.

Good Luck.

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About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.


  1. Marianna Elizabeth Beavis says

    The rules are all great and very relevant, but I have to say that 1 and 2 are the ones that stand out to me the most. I’ve watched my uncle build his business up this way (house washing with 6 monthly reminders and Christmas letters), and he thrives off of the repeat business that he gets by simply sending a friendly letter and a 10% discount offer. I can’t exactly say it’s an earth shattering offer, but hey, it gets people moving and on the phone. Thank you sharing these great points.

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