The Law of Large Numbers – And Why You May Not Hear From Me Again
Hey, it’s been fun everyone, but you may not be hearing from me again.
I’ll miss all of this, but fortune has smiled upon me and it appears that I will soon be the recipient of about $14.6 million dollars! I know! I was blown away, too.
You see, I was approached recently by two different individuals – both desperately needing help with transferring some funds from overseas.
But instead of me telling you about it, let me show you.
Feast your eyes…
So right there, I’m making a cool $10,900,000 plus expenses, right?
But wait! There’s more.
As luck would have it the very next day I received another unbelievable opportunity…
Can you believe it? Another $3,700,000 just for helping this poor little girl. Granted, compared to the first offer, $3.7 million is chump change, but what the heck.
Rip The Needle Off The Record
Obviously, I’m not going anywhere. Someone who can’t write English, or format an email, or even contrive a convincing story has gotten their hands on my email address. Lucky, lucky me. You’ve probably received these, too.
So while I won’t be thumbing my nose at the commoners from my yacht any time soon, there is something truly valuable in these emails. A marketing lesson.
Pick It Apart
Both of these emails are rife with grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors. And the premise of the emails is just plain old-fashioned dumb.
In the first email, the alleged bank guy sent this to me here in the United States – where we’re currently experiencing our worst economy in 70 or 80 years. Yet he mentions “the stable economy of your country.” That’s not something I’d expect a banker from Hong Kong to say at this point in time.
In the second email, Elizabeth introduces herself as “a little girl of 22 years old.” What? ‘Scuze me? But at least she’s going to study hard and become “a surgeons doctor.” Hey… that could be a thing, right?
Anyway, would it be fair to say that there is not the slightest hint of legitimacy or credibility in these emails?
Nope. These emails are laughable and pitiful at the same time. None of us here are buying it.
Why, then, do the senders of these emails continue to send them to people?
A Law Scientists, Gamblers, and Salespeople All Understand
The Law of Large Numbers is a theorem related to probability theory. It has to do with the results obtained by performing the same experiment many, many times.
The Law of Large Numbers has a cousin in the sales and marketing world that I like to call The Numbers Game.
The Numbers Game simply means that if you blast your message out to the world over and over again enough times, odds are you can eventually make some sales. Not necessarily good sales or repeat sales… but some sales.
Sending email is free and sending millions of them is both fast and easy these days.
The people sending these emails are trying to get you to respond to these solicitations to get your credit card or bank account number. When they get it, they talk you into a large “wealth transfer fee” or steal your identity or both. It’s a big score for them.
Knowing that, I’ll ask the question again:
Why do these people continue to send these horrible, implausible, hokey emails?
Sad But True
They do it because they understand The Numbers game. They know damn well that if they blanket the world with enough of these emails, some schmuck somewhere will be gullible enough to bite. And to the perpetrator of the scam, one response in a million is worth it.
It doesn’t matter how bad the message is. It doesn’t matter how downright stupid the premise is. It requires absolutely no skill or intelligence to pull off. The only requirements are a lack of integrity and the ability to barf your message out to the world a few million times.
So what do these terrible scam emails have to do with you and me?
More than you might think.
The Constant Droning
Take a good look at how your industry markets and sells. Give television advertising an honest once over. And if those don’t jump out and smack you upside the head – spend a few minutes on the blogosphere.
Spray and Pray is alive and well. Everyone is jockeying for position and yelling as loudly as they can to be noticed. It’s a contest of who can blast out the most stuff and be the loudest with the hopes that if they do it enough someone somewhere will notice and buy in. Just like those emails – except less criminal.
If enough people scream their message out to the world – what does that create? White noise. A loud, generic buzz from which almost no one stands out.
That white noise is an opportunity for someone like you (who has something truly useful and unique to share) to stand out and be noticed.
Strength does not have to be belligerent and loud. — Russell Brand
Add A Pinch Of Focus
Now, if those crappy emails with no real value can blast out to the world a million times and make a sale…
If your industry or market, all abuzz with sound-alike white noise creators, can eventually produce some successes…
Just imagine what you can do with laser-sharp focus and a unique, useful message.
Five Tips for Feeling Your Focus
So what can you do to be heard above the white noise? You need to develop a very clear picture of who you are and what your goals are. Easier said than done, right?
I have a starting point for you: Five tips for feeling your focus.
1: If everyone’s doing it, it’s not uniquely you.
Just like the teenagers who seem to live by the motto, “I want to be different… just like everyone else” – the vast majority of your competitors are following trends, not setting them. (Click to Tweet this!)
Start thinking about what’s missing in your market. What can you offer that isn’t being offered? Or what can you offer in a way that no one else can?
2: Don’t fight from within the mob – fight on the fringe.
You don’t take on a big, strong competitor head to head. Avoid trying to sell the same types of things to the same types of people in the same ways as all of your larger competitors. Think fringe. Think “edge of the market.” Who within your market is under-served – and what can you do to help them?
3: Don’t let ‘them’ edit the ‘you’ out of you.
Beware the so-called experts… even the well-meaning ones. Blasting your message is loud and annoying, but the other side of the coin is just as bad: Allowing yourself to be corrected and edited into a dull blandness.
For instance – I have a degree in English. That may shock you because I regularly violate a whole slew of grammar and punctuation rules. I do that because I want my readers to read me as they would hear me from across the table if we were hanging out together in person.
It’s sincerely me and I know my readers appreciate it. If you wanted to read a perfectly grammatical boring old encyclopedia, you’d go find a boring old encyclopedia. That’s not me.
The same goes for your business. What’s your thing, your personality, your flavor? Being able to answer those questions is an important element of your success.
4: Consciously choose and rotate your influencers if necessary.
It’s great to have advisors, mentors, and influencers. In fact it’s essential. But those people are human, too. They’re wrong from time to time.
Be careful of blindly taking feedback or advice when it doesn’t feel right and true. And it if consistently doesn’t feel right and true, you may need to find a new influencer. Which leads right into…
5: Stay loyal to your vision.
Once you define and understand your vision, be loyal to it. Don’t let anyone or anything throw you off track. Take advice and adjust your strategy if needed – but stay loyal. It’s fine (and even necessary at times) to change course – just make sure it serves your end game.
Two Ways I Can Help Right Now
If you’re struggling with your focus, your target market, or your “voice”, you should download my free checklist, 10 Ways to Make Your Content Worth Following. It will give you 10 simple guidelines to follow when creating content that will help you stand out from the crowd while keeping your integrity.
I’d also be happy to hop on Skype and help you through any challenges you’re currently going through with your positioning or content. I call these 1-on- session Clarity Coaching sessions, and you can get more details here.
Ok… Now You.
Share your frustration with the white noise in your market – or tell me how you’ve overcome it in the comments.