Friday, March 10, 2023
Important Note: This is just a small part of my newest ‘exclusive all-access interview with Russell Brunson and Jim Edwards’. To get the rest, you should be a part of my NO B.S. Newsletter membership, particularly before this article goes to print tomorrow - yes, you read that right.
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Russell Brunson: So what I want to talk about this month is related to Napoleon Hill, but not so much from a personal development standpoint, but more from a marketing standpoint. I had a chance two months ago to fly to the Napoleon Hill Foundation, and they gave me a whole bunch of cool stuff. And one of the interesting artifacts they gave me was an entire advertising course that Napoleon Hill taught in 1917. It was a year-long course curriculum. I've been studying it, and what was fascinating to me was thinking about the fact that he was teaching advertising in 1917. It wasn't till 1928 that he wrote Laws of Success, and in 1937, Think and Grow Rich came out.
So 20 years before Think and Grow Rich, he was teaching advertising courses and telling people how to sell. And the more I thought about that, the more I realized that he was just like us. He was a marketer. He was studying advertising and marketing and copywriting and all these things 20 years before he actually had his big bestselling book.
So I wanted to have a conversation today with you about Napoleon Hill, not from the perspective of someone who created a really good personal development product, but more as someone who's a marketer and a storyteller, and someone who built something pretty cool off of, honestly, really good marketing and advertising. I'd love to jump in there and get some of your initial thoughts about Napoleon Hill as an advertiser and a marketer.
Dan Kennedy: I think, as legend goes, Carnegie did not provide any financial support when he set Hill on his mission. So, while Hill did his research leading up to the Laws of Success, he had to make a living, and he largely did this in advertising as a copywriter and secondarily as a sales trainer. There's a company so old that both Napoleon Hill and I both wrote copy for it, International Correspondent Schools, which is now owned by somebody else. It disappeared into a bigger entity, but Napoleon Hill wrote most of their original advertising copy. And I wrote a promotional book for them, that they used for almost five years in lead generation. So we have a client in common.
Russell Brunson: I would love to split test your’s and Hill’s two messages!
Dan Kennedy: Yeah. The thing I think that is most relevant is, I say to people, look at if you could get your kid to do it. I only know of one that has actually followed that advice, and it's not anything I've been able to get my grandkids to do, but if you could get your kid to postpone college for a year and go work in pure, hardcore direct sales, in the home stuff, B2B, or selling copiers, the real kind of ugly, dirty fingernail stuff, the education of the year in sales would be infinitely more useful to him than the four years, that he's going to get in college. The advantage Hill had in making himself iconic as a philosopher and writer, from Laws of Success forward, is the perspective of someone, selling ideas, not writing about ideas.
Melvin Powers, who published a version one edition of Think & Grow Rich and published a lot of self-improvement books, Magic and Thinking Big, with his own additions. Melvin said that he will study all the really enduring successful books, classics, if you will, that were written in 1920, 1930, 1940, 1950, and continue to sell hundreds of thousands of copies a year.
The two things they have in common, one is that they are written like long form sales letters for the premise, the idea, the concept that they are trying to put across to such a degree that you could stick a last chapter on it that went into the pitch for a course or a seminar or a next step. And with most books, you cannot do that. They're not written that way.
And Hill very much wrote that way. Think & Grow Rich, which is an abbreviation of Laws of Success, as you know, is essentially a long form sales letter. And one of the models that Hill followed when he started writing his success stuff…
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This is only a small taste of the full Q&A on “Napoleon Hill’s Marketing Viewpoint”. It also includes strategies & tactics on how to tell stories, different channels for today vs a century ago and so much more. It’s all in my April Newsletter, and if you’re a member, we’ll start printing your copy for shipment tomorrow and finishing on Monday.
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P.S. Don’t forget, whoever can spend the most money to acquire a customer wins.