LESSON #91: Your Marketing Narrative

(Product Launch Series Part 3 of 4)

In the previous lesson we talked about creating a prelaunch campaign. Today we’re going to look at an important ingredient for any product launch…

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Abbreviated Outline:

  • “Facts Tell, Stories Sell!”

  • Why do stories work? Engagement is key. A good story will transport your audience into it.

    “Great stories agree with our world view. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.” – Seth Godin

  • The entire prelaunch and launch should carry a consistent narrative.

    (See video for case study on Coca Cola’s narrative)

  • The story creates a connection between the product and the prospect.

  • One-time narrative vs. open-ended narrative. One-time firesale vs. building a long term business. (See video for examples)

  • Your story can be about…

    – You
    – The product
    – The creation process of the product
    – The impact on people who use the product (your customers)

    It is certainly possible to create a narrative that doesn’t revolve around a central character, but for the purposes of Internet marketing, and particularly launching an information product, I would highly encourage you to use a character-driven narrative if possible.

    Example: Jared Fogle’s story became Subway’s narrative.

  • A good story needs good characters, and the most important character is the protagonist (the main character).

    It can be very helpful to identify an archetype to define your main character. For example, here are some character types that I’ve seen work well for Internet marketing:

    (See video for descriptions and examples)

    – The Reluctant Hero
    – David vs. Goliath (aka The Underdog)
    – The Rebel (aka The Bad Boy or Bad Girl)
    – The Glamorous Lifestyle (Money, power, fame)
    – The Reformed Bad Boy
    – The Exposer (aka The Spy)
    – The Good Rebel
    – The Successful Idiot
    – The Underground Success Story
    – The Mentor (aka the Humble Expert)
    – The Messenger of Doom
    – The Benevolent Guru

  • When possible, create a sense of Us Against Them.

    Examples of THEM:

    Market Makers
    The Government
    Parmaceutical Companies
    The Gurus
    The 1 Percenters

  • Four-step copywriting formula to integrate into your prelaunch narrative:

    1) Here’s the problem.
    2) Here’s my solution.
    3) Here’s why you need it.
    4) Here’s how you can get it.

    Summary: Your pre-launch and launch should carry a consistent narrative, containing a character-driven story that engages your audience while delivering these pieces of information: The problem. The solution. Why they need it. How to get it.

    Action steps:

    1) Decide what your narrative will be.

    2) Choose your main character.

    3) Craft a story that engages your audience, transports them into it, and strategically delivers the key points while moving them closer to a purchase.

    In the next lesson we’ll look at what to do when it comes time to actually launch your product.

    As always, you are welcome to post your questions and comments below πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

  • 33 comments on “LESSON #91: Your Marketing Narrative

    1. Paul

      Great advice Eric. The story that leads to the products and connections – then putting altogether can be done. No doubt about it! But there is one caveat. How can one put it altogether without first becoming successful in the first place. I am sure you will have a good answer, perhaps a forthcoming post?

      1. Eric Post author

        That’s a very good question, and there are a few possible solutions.

        One option is to play the role of an exposer, who has not yet reached success. It’s basically like, I’m a newbie, and I’m going to document my entire journey so you can learn from me and not make the same mistakes. There have been several famous examples of this in the IM industry such as Yaro Starak (Entrepreneur’s Journey) and Pat Flynn (Smart Passive Income). They started blogging when they started their businesses, and gained more of a following as they became more successful. A big key is that you have to be very transparent to pull this off. Part of the reason it worked so well for those guys is they were very up-front about what was working for them, and especially in the case of Pat, he reveals his exact income amounts and sources. Another big key is to document your little successes. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t “arrived” yet, if you can document how you made $100 online, people will listen.

        Another option (and this is a very good one) is to borrow someone else’s credibility for your narrative. I’ve given examples of how this can be done when partnering with experts. For example, when I launched into the Stock Trading niche, I had not yet had any success in that niche. So the narrative was about my partner who had experienced a lot of success.

        Another option, which I mentioned in this video, is to “fake it till you make it”. Again, I’m not talking about deceiving people, but in some cases you can legitimately portray yourself as an authority even though you haven’t experienced a lot of success yet.

        1. Raymond A. Ramirez

          I have a great story. It is a true story of my life and military experience It has receive great reviews. How do I get the review and the picture of the cover of my book. The book is sold in Hardback, softcover and e-book. The title of the book is “My Dad The Runner” Amazon carries it.
          Please help me how to do this and get my business started.
          Raymond A. Ramirez

    2. Mit547rk

      Such a great advice and motivating and which part of your brains are you going to use. But sometimes too much psychology. Learn not only from Americans

      1. Eric Post author

        You bring up a good point. While there are probably some fundamental psychological motivators that are shared by all humankind, there are certainly differences in the way different cultures think. I’m sure the American “hero” is a different character than the hero of many other cultures, which needs to be kept in mind for your particular audience.

    3. Kevin Pirnie

      Hi Eric,
      First, congratulations and blessings to you and your family on the birth of your latest daughter. Is there maybe a family choral group in your future?

      Well I must say you continue to impress me on the thought and depth of the observations and insights you share in your Eric’s Tips. I have many years of marketing experience in a variety of industries and you do a great job of both outlining the importance of the story line and applying it in your own marketing. I’ll also add that you bring great value in sharing your case studies and personal experiences as well.

      I would love your thoughts on a narrative that I may employ as I move into product creation and the launching phase of my career. I began working online with my volunteering to build a website for a Biblical Greek and Hebrew theologian in the late 90’s for the purpose of featuring his teaching. Talk about a learning curve. I learned everything from scratch and many hours of trial and error. However, the rewards were huge. It was not long before I had built one of the most content rich websites that was on the web for this area of interest. It is still out ranking a multi-million dollar radio ministry with a similar name. I might add that I deliberatly never monitized it or asked for donations so that there would never be question on this ministries intent.

      A few years ago I began exploring and applying ways to utilize these skills, along with my marketing and business kills, to build reliable income streams online. I approached this with great seriousness as I had closed my business as a result of losing a major contract with a currupt government agency. Anyway, I decided that I would build an online business that would be built on solid and ethical business principals, as all my prior businesses, and would not be dependant on large contracts and I had to get results quikly.

      I now have income streams in a variety of niches and models including lead gen, plr, and affiliate marketing. Of course I utilize many of the familiar IM skills and resources from SEO to PPC. Now I want to transition into product creator or at least begin branding myself as one who always provides great value to the marketplace.

      I actually did not intend to share all of this at this time, but you really touched a chord at a critical puint in my thought process. Eric, I would sure value your input if you are so inclined to offer your thoughts.

      Thank you again for the consideration and openness that you bring to the IM community.

      In His Grace,

      1. Eric Post author

        Hi Kevin, Thanks for sharing your story πŸ™‚

        I have a couple of thoughts…

        The first is to consider those income streams that you’ve already built. The hardest part for most people building an online business is just getting to that point. There’s a 3-step formula for making a lot of money online:

        1) Find something that works. (you’ve done this)
        2) Replicate it. In other words, keep doing it. (sounds like you’ve done this)
        3) Scale it.

        It is step 3 that you may want to think about. For example, let’s say you have a lead gen business that is generating 200 leads a month, for $2000 income. What would it take to turn that into 2000 leads and $20k/month, then 20k leads and $200k/month?

        This is the point where many entrepreneurs get stuck, but you’ve got the skills, you know how to do it, it’s just a matter of scaling it up. For most businesses that means outsourcing or hiring people, and creating systems.

        That having been said, I do think transitioning to product vendor is generally a good idea. Whether you are actually the product “creator” doesn’t matter so much, but having your own products is a great idea– as you know, that’s the primary business model I teach in these lessons.

        I also think you’re a prime candidate to get into the guru business, and teach others to do what you’ve done!

      2. Chris

        I’d like to suggest that you learn a bit more about telling stories …since stories are what connect with people.

        This is not an overnight learning curve, but one that will pay dividends in the end. Remember that stories are what we look to find out how to be human …how to live better and be better people.

        Learn the three act structure (even if other people argue about its effectiveness) and learn how to incorporate it into your work. Here is a formula to get you started on your journey:
        Story = (Character + Active physical quest + Emotional desire) / Stakes
        So, the more ‘dangerous’ these story elements the better the story. Read, research, and discover how to incorporate “Story” into your marketing and you will reap the rewards.

        Just to make a point … I recently began film school – and there was two main reasons for that decision …1st was to get professional instruction on how to shoot video, and the second was to learn how to tell ‘story’ because I understood it’s importance in relation to marketing.

        Good luck,

    4. Colin

      Thanks Eric, Perfect timing. I was trying to write some promotions and my trash bin was getting bigger than my portfolio file. Your clear teaching style helped me nail down a few approaches. Thanks again! Colin

    5. David Robichaux Sr

      My girl friend Diane Rose uses her story to sell her quilts. She is a well known around the world totally blind quilter. She was featured on Texas Country Reporter more than a year ago. The video story about her was posted on YouTube and has had almost a million views. The story on YouTube has contributed to many sales of quilts and a number of speaking engagements one of them England. To see her video just type in blind quilter. Her latest quilt was a scenery quilt of David and Goliath which can be seen on her website http://www.theamazingquilter.com where you can also read her story.

      1. Eric Post author

        that’s very cool!

    6. RICK

      Hi Eric ……Thanks for all the amazing FREE info …Much appreciated ..Based in UK and all very new to this …Looking to start on eBay, then progress to Amazon and beyond ..Bought your Firesale promotion some time ago, then realised I had no idea what to do with it. Lot of your stuff is for experienced online guys and I have zero. Would be good to get some guidance .Would it be best to join Jim’s SAMS course, then progress to your level ..Would love to monetize the Firesale impulse buy ….:)))) Thanks again for wealth of FREE info …Well done …..Rick

      1. Eric Post author

        These lessons (if you start from the beginning and do all the action steps) contain the information necessary to build an information product business, wherein you can sell any product such as the firesale package. I’d recommend trying out my group coaching club if you’re getting stuck/overwhelmed or having a hard time moving forward. Thanks

        1. Raymond A. Ramirez

          Eric, I paid for one month of coaching and no one has contacted me. Could you have someone give me a call at 5624163401 or send me an e-mail at raymond_r44@yahoo.com
          Thanks, I’m new to all this and need some help to get started. I want to get started like yesterday..

    7. Brad

      Hi Eric and co

      Since I joined bought one of your products I’ve been receiving quite a lot of email from you and Jay. I then just received an email today from MMM? Talking about this product: (link removed by Eric) IS this part of your company? Sounded to good to be true… then half way through I could see the bad acting on the video. Can you please confirm that this is not part of your network.

      1. Eric Post author

        No that email is definitely not from me, and in no way affiliated with my company. I would never promote that scammy video. I have no idea whether it came from Jay, but Jay and John have their own company, they are not a part of mine.

    8. David

      Hi Eric,
      great a vice, i have find this good and getting thinks dun here and your email are good here for me…

    9. dave

      Hey Eric,

      Hope you are doing well. My apologies upfront if I seem a little jaded, or overly blunt. It’s just that I am a very no nonsense person and am only interested in the true truth πŸ™‚

      I recently attended the Mike Long OMG webinar, during which he showed his students (associates?) like, Jimmy Kelley, Russell Wright, and Becker- all making sick cash, backed up by screen shots of the (supposed) earnings. So here is my question and please be honest….. is that real? Meaning are those guys REALLY making that kind of dough, or is all just cooked up hype, with the screen shots being just illusions of earnings? Reason being when I read his OMG report, I see such over-used, yet suspicious terms like “secret”, “unknown” and others, which frankly make me bristle. (again, pardon the overt nature)… just looking for the low-down.


      1. Micah

        Hello Dave,

        Earning claims can be real, but that doesn’t always mean that the technique is still viable.

        If you plan on earning an income online, it will take hard work and determination, like any other career.

        1. dave

          Hey Micah,

          Fair enough and I can understand and empathize with your position. In full disclosure, let me add one more comment. During the webinar Mike opened with the Lord’s Prayer. Which is good, but, from my view, something wasn’t sitting right. After I searched for him (Mike) via Google, I discovered a YouTube clip of Mystery (that guy from the Pickup Artist, real name Erik von Markovik) giving Mike Long a recommendation. The clip should still be on line, unless Mike took it down. The point… The Lord’s Prayer and getting props from a guys who makes a living picking up chicks… doesn’t quite gel in my book. Sorry man… a part of me thinks Mike was simply pandering to the audience. Sorry to be blunt.

          Anyhow…. I truly appreciate you taking your time to address such a “touchy” comment. All the best to you and Eric.


          1. Micah

            Hello Dave,

            We have people with different worldviews and positions on morality recommend us all the time. They might promote our products, despite disagreeing with our beliefs or standards. We don’t even know who promotes us many times. Becoming an affiliate is as simple as creating a hoplink at ClickBank. That doesn’t make vendors in league with every affiliate’s standards somehow.

            1. dave

              Hey Micah,

              I totally agree with your points and fully understand where you are coming from. Again, not being combative just running things through a pretty tough moral filter. Not saying I’m above anyone since I am obviously not. Rather, not being afraid to call into question certain obvious discrepancies.

              I appreciate your time!!!

            2. Micah

              Hello Dave,

              It’s a very good thing to hold high standards. We certainly do our best to live right, setting good examples for the people in our own lives!

              Best of luck to you in your online endeavors!

    10. jim ellison

      i stopped for a while but keep getting the lessons. i have started over and noticed that the lessons stopped on lesson #91. nothing after that, is there a way you can send me the rest. it will be a while before i get to this spot but would like to be able to finish it.

      jim ellison

      1. Micah

        Hello Jim,

        Eric will still be completing 100 lessons. You’ve simply caught up to the latest lesson.

        The next lesson will be sent to you soon. You can also visit the following link to see the latest lesson updates and revisit earlier lessons:

    11. Laura McCullough

      Many, many thanks, Eric! You have me harboring hope that I can actually make it in this business, even if I AM commenting on an Eric’s Tips post that hit my Inbox 5 months ago, and even if I HAVE just this month started with the Eric’s Tips that have sat in an email folder since October 2011, (the same time my dear hubby went through cataract surgeries, angiogram, angioplasty, and pneumonia), and even if I DID just turn 60 this month! Yes, I’ve been dabbling at this through a variety of “life interruptions,” sometimes just throwing in the towel for a while, other times paralyzed by information overload–as I’ve purchased your Ghostwriter Firesale (Oct. 2011); your No Cost Income Stream (July 2012); your Hot Niche Firesale (June 2013); the Proven Traffic Methods… (of Jeff & Paul, Oct. 2013); the Video Cash Firesale (of Jay & John, also Oct. 2013); also their WP Monster Sale (Jan 14, 2014); and finally your Fitness Firesale, Jan. 27, 2014. And no, I’m not being sarcastic when I thank you! All these are now bookmarked and ready when I’m ready.

      Hours ago I told [you] in a support ticket that I’d send you an email today, explaining… well, it’s still today out here in Central California, and I’m working to keep my word, even if it only gets to Mr. Micah. πŸ™‚ This will be a combination comments/questions/request:
      Commenting on #91, “Your Marketing Narrative” –enjoyed it thoroughly! I had just read your narrative where you introduced your friend Dave Vallieres and pitched the Winning Trade System, (and no, I didn’t look at the video–I know I’m not nearly ready for that)–it was October 27, 2012. Was that a bit of David vs. Goliath–stock market amateurs vs. the elite millionaire traders? And maybe a little of The Exposer, discovering the secret and sharing…? That’s still going well for you, I hope?

      I was surprised to see “The Messenger of Doom”–Harold Camping’s pic. Appropriate! He was a contemporary of my parents out here, and in fact, my hubby Mike preached numerous times for the group of his followers, even though he and Mr. Camping held starkly different views on eschatology, among other things. He told Mike that if it were up to him, he wouldn’t have him back, but the people kept asking for him… That was about 22 yrs ago, before he concluded all churches are apostate….. You do see Messenger of Doom-type ads lately, like end-of-our-currency, pitching Bitcoin…

      Not sure of my narrative character, but sure of my niche, initially at least. I’ve been dealing in the Health/Weight Loss for years. Herbalife MLM (ran Weight Loss Challenge classes for over 2 yrs in our town–supposed to be a platform for promoting the product, but I wanted to help folks more than make money off them, so because I felt it was too expensive, I often sold product at cost and gave away their snacks as weight loss rewards–lousy business practices!) Then VEMMA, (Vitamins, Essential Minerals, Mangosteen, and Aloe), another MLM, same story… Great products, but costly. We lost thousands, on Herbalife especially.

      I actually have a website, hosted by Carol Amato, my OTHER most-favorite Christian mentor, who pointed me to you years ago. NutritionToLoseFat.com I didn’t post it up above because it’s quite empty, yet. I’ve also been paying for AWeber, but refuse to say how long… Running the Weight Loss classes did leave me a pile of email addresses that could start my listbuilding.

      You can see why it’s your Fitness Firesale that got me excited again. I plugged into your Real Guys Coaching, intending to get farther through the Eric’s Tips before the trial month was up. Thankfully I have them in an email folder, so I won’t lose that when I can no longer access the Member Area. (I’m only missing #56 and #63, for some reason.) Going through them, and looking at the Fitness Firesale products, however, has me possibly switching gears from affiliate marketing to info product marketing. I bought into a couple weight loss programs months ago from Clickbank to promote as an affiliate, but have had reservations… If you have any advice for me, given what I’m sharing, I’d be grateful.

      FWIW, briefly:
      VISION: I envision my husband retired from the post office, able to give himself more fully to his first love, Bible study and preaching. There will be a few income streams already, but more needed to be comfortable.
      And I envision us being able to travel to Southern California to visit our five grown kids, (and a few grandkids), whenever the spirit moves; and also to travel to Brazil, where my hubby grew up on the mission field, and where we sponsor a young boy, just turned 10, with Compassion, Internat’l.
      GOAL: To have my website filled up and running by March 15. To start seeing some income by the end of May, (even $100 would thrill us!) That has been a target date for Mike’s retirement. To then tap into the vast potential of all these other firesales sitting on my laptop. One by one. Lord willing, make enough to fulfill our vision, support our church ministries; and learn enough to teach it to others, especially young couples in or entering minstry, enabling moms to stay at home.
      PLAN: Finish going through the Eric’s Tips in the next 2 weeks. At the same time, begin Carol Amato’s coaching program March 1, using her help to finish building the website she created for me 4 months ago. (Nothing against Real Guys, but her coaching offer is more like $40/mo for 6mos., then continuing for $0–much closer to my budget while I’m making $0!)

      That last is my explanation for my request to cancel my membership. You lit a fire under my behind that I badly needed, especially with the Fitness Firesale. Carol is not only recommended by you, but she’s geared toward us 40+, techno-ignoramus ladies like myself. I’ll be enjoying the best of both worlds–you on Eric’s Tips,…–and her cheery advice. I still have over 240 of your emails….

      A last question–did your Tips ever reach #100? I have up to #91,

      Thank you again,

      1. Micah

        Hello Laura,

        Thank you for everything you shared. We’re glad to hear that you have plans and goals in place, to keep you moving forward.

        We took care of your membership requests for you. The lessons will continue, but only 91 have been created up to this point.

        Please contact us again at our helpdesk, as we have some bonuses we’d like to send you to help you with your recent Fitness Firesale purchase:

    12. sirkaylex fadok

      yeah Eric love your article, you are really a good mentor to follow when it comes to internet

    13. Bookerads

      Hey Eric, Your one of my coaches online and I want to say a huge thank you for all your help. I just created a FB group and was wondering if I can use some of your videos tutorial for training purposes in the group. I have about 80 or 90 from your emails to me. I wish there was a way for me to make a little money by sending them to your blog, but it is what it is, What are your thoughts in this regard?

    14. Bo Tipton

      It is easy to see how much people are into stories. People here in the U.S. watch TV for hours each week, go to movies and read novels. That is nothing but stories. Stories as you say catch our attention. The part about the difference characters one made me thing and two helped me look at the stories I have been using. Once again as always a great tip.


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