Guerrilla Internet Marketing and Covert Black Ops Tactics

By Ernest O’Dell

Guerrilla warfare is the unconventional warfare and combat with which a small group of combatants use mobile tactics (ambushes, raids, etc.) to combat a larger and less mobile formal army. The guerrilla army uses ambush (stealth and surprise) and mobility (draw enemy forces to terrain unsuited to them) in attacking vulnerable targets in enemy territory.

Guerrilla marketing utilizes many of the same tactics in the business world in the sense that small companies and individuals must use stealth and surprise to gain a market advantage. Not only S&S (Stealth & Surprise), but you must become adept at drawing your competitor into unfamiliar terrain to gain the “upper hand” on them and capture the lead in market share.

Guerrilla means “little war” in Spanish and was coined during the Peninsular War. The concept acknowledges a conflict between armed civilians against a powerful nation state army. This tactic was used by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. Most factions of the Iraqi Insurgency and terrorists use some form of guerrilla warfare.

In your business, whether it is an “Internet” based business, a used car dealership, a real estate agency—or any other type of business—you must be quick and agile and use unconventional marketing tactics against the bigger corporations.

Can you make a sizable “dent” in the marketplace? Yes. Can you make an impression on the big competitors? Absolutely.

In any business, “guerrilla” defines the smaller business as being able to move on a moment’s notice, and be more agile than the cumbersome giants in the industry. You have to be like a small wolverine up against a pack of wolves: you have to be lean and fast… otherwise, the corporate giants will have you for lunch. And I don’t mean that they’re going to invite you to their corporate galas: they’re going to pounce on you and try to force you out of business.

When it comes to the Internet based portion of your business, you’re going to run up against the likes of some big names in the Internet Marketing sector. I won’t name any names: you already know who they are.

When they find out what you’re doing and how you’re taking “market share” away from them, they’re going to “cry foul” and bad-mouth you on their forums and try to steer customers away from you. But you will have already had the “jump” on them, and they’ll never recover.

When you raise the eyebrows of the big names in the IM community—and trust me, you will—then you will know you’ve successfully learned, and implemented, “black ops” guerrilla marketing strategies for your business.

Your Size Is Your Strength

I’m happy to tell you that your size is an ally when it comes to your marketing efforts against bigger competitors. If you’re a small company, or a single individual, you can utilize the tactics of guerrilla marketing to your advantage—and your competitor’s demise. You can leave them in the dust of your trail, scratching their heads, wondering, “How did they do that?”

You Must Have Quality

What you are offering is quality: whether it is a product or a service, or both. Even the best marketing efforts in the world won’t motivate customers to purchase from you more than once if your service (or products) are lackluster. In fact, the most brilliant marketing campaign can speed the demise of a poor product or service, since people learn of the shoddiness much quicker. And with “word of mouth” , “word” will eventually “get around.”

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

The more attention you pay to your market and your competitors, the more agile you will be when it comes time to “strike” an attack. A great deal of marketing isn’t merely executed poorly these days—it’s just not executed at all! Pay attention to what your competitors are doing… and what they’re NOT doing.

There Is No Substitute For Excellence

Guerrilla marketing on the Internet dictates that you comprehend every facet of marketing and your industry. It demands that you employ your tactics and strategies with excellence. There is no room for error.

To understand the nature of this idea, it may be useful to examine the real reasons why Japan was able to knock the United States off its perch as world leader in the manufacturing, TV, stereo, automobile, and electronics industries.

For years, industry in the United States has been able to turn out excellent products and services with a low percentage of rejects. Occasionally, you might get a lemon, but it was rare. The buying public wasn’t really surprised by it, and eventually became accustomed to the concept. However, word of mouth got around and usually took care of the cause of the “lemons.”

After Japan suffered a monumental defeat in World War II, their products sold here in the United States carried an equally defeated stigma of poor quality. For years the phrase “Made in Japan” was a detriment to the product, and would elicit a smirk from sophisticated consumers. (Think Chinese: they now have the same problem. They turn out crap.)

How did the Japanese overcome this problem? They decided to fly in the face of the economic truism that allowed for a small percentage of inferior products and services. They figured if the public would accept, let’s say, a 5% inferiority rate in products, it might happily embrace products of which fewer than 5% were unacceptable. But according to economists, this would cost a lot of money. Perhaps that is true for big corporations, but it’s not true for small companies and individuals.

The Japanese really had no other choice: they had nowhere to go but up. They had no choice but to become successful. They were practically bombed back to the Stone Age, and figured it was worth the time and expense. They improved the quality of what they made to the point that right now, they have less than 200 rejects per million units. That’s less than 0.0002%!

Is it any wonder why we are seeing many of our industries failing because they’ve been conditioned to believe that 5% rejection rates are acceptable? Is it any wonder why our own auto industry is in trouble because they haven’t figured out how to “trim the fat” and make themselves “leaner and meaner” and more productive? Perhaps they could learn a lesson or two in guerrilla marketing.

Guerrilla marketing involves recognizing a myriad of opportunities and exploiting every one of them. Like the Japanese, don’t overlook a thing. Don’t discount or dismiss any tactic or strategy that you haven’t tried.

In the marketing of your product, you’re going to encounter problems and challenges from time to time. These are going to be opportunities for you to come up with a winning solution, not only for yourself, but also for your clients.

You won’t have the luxury of neglecting the smaller opportunities, nor overlooking certain tactics and strategies. You’ve got to go “all out.” Because if your competition uses a tactic or strategy that you wrote off as useless, you just might find yourself in the trail of THEIR dust! You don’t want that to happen!

To your success!
Ernest O’Dell

Ernest O’Dell is the moderator of the Guerrilla Internet Marketing group on Yahoo Groups and author of Guerrilla Internet Marketing and Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing, public speaker and Director of Public relations for DMS Group Publications. He can be contacted personally at

The “Black Ops Manual In Guerrilla Internet Marketing” will be due out before Thanksgiving on Watch for it!


Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing is now available

Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing (2nd Edition) is now available in PDF format for immediate download.

Discover the “dirty tricks” and secrets of marketing your real estate business in today’s economy.

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Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing by Ernest ODell – Your Secret Arsenal For Making Extreme Profits In Your Real Estate Business, is packed with tools, tips, tricks, strategies and tactics for making extreme profits in your real estate business.

Welcome To The Slow Season

5 Simple Strategies To Increase Your Sales During The Recession

By Ernest O’Dell
Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pull up a chair and sit down.  Relax! Relax! I’m not going to sell you anything. I’m going to give you some tips to make more sales in YOUR business.

And the best thing about it—it’s not going to cost you anything.

And welcome to the slow season of marketing in general.

I saw an interesting news report on television yesterday. The news was that there are more new business start-ups during a recession than during “normal” business cycles.

I remember reading Dr. Joe Vitale’s book “The Seven Lost Secrets of Success: Million Dollar Ideas of Bruce Barton, America’s Forgotten Genius” where more businesses were started during the Great Depression of the 1930’s than during the “good times.”

Think about it. Now is a great time to start a new business. Whether it’s online or a “brick and mortar” business, people are finding ways to make an extra income, and eventually replace the job they once had.

I’ve been doing business—on and off–for several decades. It has only been over the last 15 years that I’ve used the Internet in one way or another.

Every year it’s the same: the months of June, July and August can be slow in relation to sales. September, October and November—one would think—start to see a “pick up” in business, but that doesn’t hold true in all cases. There are still a lot of people experiencing slow cycles in their business.

Summer is a time when a lot of kids are out of school and families take vacations. Here lately, due to the economic downturn, people have tapered off some of their vacations and learned how to be more creative with their leisure time.

When it comes to marketing your business, have you thought of creative ways to get your message out to the buying public?

Over the years I’ve experimented with a variety of strategies to keep sales strong during slow months. If you’re looking to keep sales up, consider trying a few of these strategies…

Strategy # 1: Have a special promotion.

Have you ever noticed the increase in department store sales fliers during the slow season and holidays? That’s because big stores need to get customers in during their slow periods.

What do they do? They have a special sale every time any day resembling a holiday comes along. (You can actually get more sales during the holidays when you ‘target’ specific locations with a flier “tailored” for that holiday!)

Example: Use a generic flier that can be inserted into the newspaper. If you’re in a large metro area, this will cost you a lot of money, not only for printing/copying costs, but also for insertion into the paper.

If some of your local retailers allow you to place fliers in their businesses, then find some acrylic displays to fit your fliers and place them in a strategic location where people will take them.

If you can’t find the right kind of brochure holder at your local business supply store, then go online to and check out some of their offerings. I’ve been buying from them for years and they have some really great products that you can use at the Point of Purchase locations in stores.

Example: In a convenience store or a beauty shop, put your brochure holder next to the cash register. Always make sure to patronize their business and stop by to check on your brochure inventory.

You could even print something on the back of your retail offer and give them information how to sign up in your downline, if you’re in a multi level program. Some will, some won’t. So what!

The extra profits you generate during the holidays, and the extra commissions you make from building an army of sub-affiliates in your business can produce some pretty phenomenal commission checks.

Strategy 2: Put together a “joint venture” deal for a specific retailer.

Here’s a strategy I used one time with a car dealership that worked like gangbusters.

I made a special promotion piece about the size of a door hanger and had it printed up to look like a gift coupon. The dealership, which was going to run an ad in the paper anyway, put a blurb up on the top right of their ad saying, “Come in today (or this weekend, or whatever) and receive a FREE Gift Certificate for _____ (fill in the blank for your promo)! No purchase necessary.”

I had a special tracking number on the gift certificate that I knew came from sales generated by his dealership, and I made a deal with him to give him a percentage of my sales.

I just had to make sure I left enough of the “gift certificates” with him to give out to people as they came in.

It was a great way to get people into the dealership, and the salesmen made a lot of sales that day. Because once they got the people into the dealership, all they had to do was do their “car sales magic” and make some sales.

Some of the gift certificates ended up going home with people, whether they bought a new car or not. Some of the gift certificates ended up on the floorboard of the cars, and some made it home to get plastered up on the refrigerator.

Most of them generated sales for the promo I was running. At the end of the month, when I got a commission check, I would take out my agreed percentage and send a check to the manager at the dealership with a note.

Was he happy? You betcha! He didn’t have to spend any extra money on the blurb in the ad because they were already spending $10,000 on the full page ad in the paper that weekend. What’s a few more lines of ad copy on the page?


Some people refer to this as a “joint venture.” Call it what you want. It works.

You can do this with your local Jiffy Lube, or your Midas Muffler Shop, or whatever. Pick a business that has a high traffic ratio either during the week or on the weekends and go talk to the manager and see what you can work out.

Get on the phone and call people around town and introduce yourself and tell them you’ll be giving away free gift certificates for “__________” (fill in the blanks with your promo) at “such-and-such” business. No purchase necessary.

Just make sure you don’t come across as trying to sell anything because a lot of people that you call might be on the National “Do Not Call” list. There still might be some stipulations, so check with local regulatory authorities.

I have one sub-affiliate that has used this strategy in tire stores. How many tire stores do you have in your area? How about mechanic shops that sell tires? How about muffler shops? You can develop a special promotion for them, too! The list goes on. And it’s only limited by your imagination!

Strategy 3: Hold a contest for your sub-affiliates.

If you access to your sub-affiliate’s emails, develop a contest for them. You’ll have to crunch your own numbers, but maybe you can give them a $1,000 pre-paid VISA Gift Card for making 100 sales. (Figure out how much money you’re going to make, and if this is going to be cost effective for you!)

I had over 200 “inactive” affiliates become active and each one of them sold 1 or 2 units that month. Could I afford to give away a $1,000 card?

You betcha!

CAVEAT: The only thing you DON’T want to do is spam your downline! Make sure, if you are offering a true contest for them, that you do it professionally and that you offer something of value.

Now, the question is, “What do I offer as a prize for my sub-affiliates?” Well, that could take on many forms, and whatever might fit into your budget.

As I mentioned above, it can be a gift card, or an iPod, a Nintendo DS, or a new Xbox.

I know several of my friends who like Amazon Gift Cards. I even gave away a Samsung Netbook laptop computer. Heck! It only cost me $400 dollars. I got off cheap on that one!

You can even have “Second Prize” offerings to motivate all your downline. Second prize offerings can also be offered to the sub-affiliate who produces the second largest sales in your downline. The opportunities are limitless!

Give away cash or merchandise to the top 1 or 2 affiliates for a 4 week period, and you’ll see a frenzy of sales. Use your imagination and come up with some irresistible prizes.

Believe it or not, your sub-affiliates will work just as hard trying to win something for their kids, such as a new iPod or Nintendo DS, as they will for cash prizes.

Strategy 4: If you can’t beat’em, join’em!

Not everybody can afford to do these promotions. Sometimes you have to put money somewhere else where it’s needed most. You might have some bills, or a mortgage note, or utility bill that needs to be paid. You might be down to your last ten bucks and need to buy milk and bread for your kids. I understand.

I realize not everybody can do these types of promos because times are tough out there. But if you can, then, by all means, think of something and DO IT!

The key here is taking action on your ideas and putting them into motion!

Strategy 5: Work in a few brochures when you’re traveling.

I always make sure I carry business card sized ads in my pocket or briefcase when I’m flying around the country. When the person sitting next to me strikes up a conversation and asks me what I do for a living, I give them one of my cards. On the front side is all my contact info, and on the back side is my promo info.

Use both sides of your business card!

I also carry door hangers and brochures with me in my briefcase. A nice professionally designed brochure always speaks quality and professionalism to your prospect. Even if they don’t turn into a customer, they might be able to give it to a friend or colleague who can use it.

When you’re driving along the interstate highways from one state to another, stop off at the State Visitors “Welcome Center” and Turnpike Rest Stops and see if they will let you leave a brochure holder and some brochures.

You’ve probably seen them as you travel from one state to another. They’re all over the country. You go inside, buy some chips and soda, take a “break” and use their “facilities” and browse around their shops. (Truck Stops: another idea that comes to mind…)

One of the things I’ve noticed about truck stops and visitor’s centers: a lot of them have brochure racks with – sometimes – 50 to 100 slots with various brochures about sights and tourist attractions. If they don’t, then perhaps you could spring for one at and ask them if you can set one in their location—as long as YOUR brochures remain in the top slots.

If you come in sometime and find someone else’s crap in your slot, there’s probably a number of reasons: either you let them run out of brochures, or some jerk came in their and took your stuff out and threw it away, replacing it with their crap.

Guess what? You know “who did it” because it will have all their contact info on their brochures. Call them up and tell them that you’ve moved their brochures to a lower rack because YOU own the rack. And if you find your stuff gone again, then you will pull the rack and nobody will benefit from it.

I had an a**hole that tried that with me only one time. After I gave her a call (yes, it was a “her”) she didn’t mess with my stuff anymore.

Since your brochure is in the most prominent position (on the top rack) you should have a high conversion ratio.

If you can get your display “set apart” in a more strategic location within the Welcome Center, truck stop or retail location, all the better.

NOTE: Make sure you take down the name, address and telephone number of the location, along with a contact name for the manager. Tape one of your business cards to the bottom of your display, or to the back of it, and tell them,

If you start running low on these brochure cards, just give me a call or email me, and I’ll send you some more.”

If you don’t have a toll-free number on your business card, get one. You want to make this as easy as possible for them to contact you.

For about $34.95 you can get set up with iTeleCenter Pro which will provide you with a toll free number which will roll over to any number of phones you assign to your system—so that you’re never out of touch. You can set everything up in less than 5 minutes and do it all online.

With iTeleCenter Pro, you can get instant activation of your toll free number, and for about $1.13 a day, you can sound like a giant corporation with automatic forwarding to your cell phone, your office phone, your home phone, your voice mail—or however you want to set it up.

What Is TeleCenter Real Estate Pro?

TeleCenter Real Estate Pro was originally designed as a Toll-Free Real Estate hotline and lead capture system for real estate agents and brokers. It soon proved to be a valuable tool for a variety of other businesses. Poke around on their web site and see if it fits into your business model.
If you already have a Toll Free number, you can probably use that with the iTeleCenter system by plugging it into the admin panel.

Always make sure that you have your email address on your business card. Most businesses and managers have email, or they can send you a quick message on their BlackBerry to let you know that they need more brochures.

Remember: Your business card is your ambassador. They will work for you 24/7 and never need a break.

Do some brainstorming.

Last, but not least: plan your next BIG project.

Dream up some new ideas. Plan a little downtime so you can open up your mind and get those creative “juices” going. You’d be surprised at how many new ideas flow in while you’re “taking a break”.

This is one of the reasons I always keep a journal with me. I’m always making notes and later, when I get back to my computer, I’ll put them into my “swipe file”. (Much of what I have written you in this newsletter comes from my swipe file!)

One Final Note:

Develop a joint venture with major retailers in the U.S. – Lowes, Home Depot, Wal Mart, Sam’s Club, etc. If you can think of it, you can do it. Figure out who is running the show from “the top down” and get in touch with them.

If you contact them to do a joint venture, make sure you outline who THEY are going to benefit from it. They’re going to want to know “What’s in it for me?”

If you have some sort of “pre-approval” with the home office, or at least a “blessing” on their part, you will have a much easier time getting in to the branch stores.

Ernest O’Dell
Guerrilla Internet Marketing

P.S. To download this article in PDF format, click here.

Why Do Over 90 Percent of Businesses Fail?

By Ernest O’Dell
Guerrilla Internet Marketing

Never mind if they’re online or not…

A lot of people start a business, only to give up after a few weeks or months. Some might put in two or three years of hard work (and lots of money and time) only to lose their shirt.

So, the question begs:

Why do 90% of people who start a business fail? Why do people think making big bucks in their business is difficult? It doesn’t matter whether your business is “brick and mortar” or Internet based… it’s all the same.

Before answering these questions I will ask you four questions:

1.Can you practice law without studying law?
2.Can you treat a patient for an illness without studying medicine?
3.Can you engage in Business Marketing without studying business or marketing?
4.Can you operate ANY business, whether online or “brick and mortar” without learning about that business?

If you answered no to the above questions, then how can you imagine doing business on the Internet, a totally new science, without getting the proper training and education? How do you think you are going to make “tons of money” without knowing each and every aspect of the Internet and online business marketing?

How do you think you are going to make any money at all if you don’t learn about the basics of your particular business?

Most people who get involved with an MLM—or any other type of company—don’t have a basic knowledge of how business operates in the first place. Too many of them have the mindset of an employEE and don’t have the mindset of an employER.

They don’t know what it takes to run a business.

They don’t take the time to learn their particular business or the methods to make it profitable. They just want to sleep in late each morning, go to the beach and drink daquiris while the “money rolls in.”

People who believe those wild pitches on the Internet need to be “fleeced” because they’re not going to learn any other way.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think it’s right, legal or ethical to scam people out of their money, but they both have a common factor driving their blindness: GREED. Both parties in those arrangements are driven by greed and don’t have a basic understanding of how business operates.

Too many of these young studs you see on the Internet are overnight wonders, driving Lambourghinis and Ferraris, and have no idea how to build long term wealth. Look at some of them! Remember the ones who were “rolling in the dough” just 5 or 10 years ago?

No! Because they’re gone! They’re history!

Why? Because they were just lucky enough to sell of their crap to a bunch of gullible ass-monkeys who would pay out their hard earned cash for the crap!

Now, that last paragraph will probably piss off a lot of people, both sides of the equation… the seller and the gullible buyer.

Most times it’s just the seller trying to make his money back because he was ripped off by someone else. So, if he can con you out of your money, he gets his money back and you’re screwed and tatoo’ed!
You see these knuckleheads in court all the time because they make wild claims and don’t back them up.

That’s why over 90% of people who get involved in ANY kind of business fail.

‘Nuf said?

Reposted at:

Ernest O’Dell is the author of Guerrilla Internet Marketing, Guerrilla Real Estate Marketing, and is a Communication Systems Integrator at DMS Group Publications.

Being All Things to All People Eventually Makes You Nothing to Everybody

You can’t be all things to all people. Otherwise you turn out looking like the wishy-washy politicians we have in the District of Criminals.

It takes courage to say no to your constituents and say no and to a paying customer.

What?! Turn away a paying customer? You gotta be kiddin’ me?

Nope. I’ve done it before, and not just to hang on to my pride, but to survive.

Let me explain.

Let’s say you have a business that specializes in brake repairs on automobiles. You have three mechanics who work for you. One of them is a master mechanic. He can do just about anything. A friend of yours comes into your shop and asks you to repair his muffler, change his oil and rotate his tires. You could use the extra business, and this is your friend, so you take the job.

Fast-forward one year and word has gotten out that you’re a “do all” kind of shop, and you no longer have a unique selling proposition. You’re busier than a pack of coyotes fighting over a carcass, but you’re not making the profit margins you used to make.

What happened?

By generalizing your business, and allowing the wrong kind of “word of mouth” advertising to get out about you and your business, you gave up three significant advantages:

1. You lost the overhead savings that came from doing only one thing, and doing it good.
2. You went from a business that had a memorable purpose to something very ordinary and easily forgotten.
3. You gave up the high profit margins that come from specializing in one product or service.

MacDonald’s sells several dozen products today and has stores all over the world. When Roy Kroc bought the old MacDonalds burger stand from the MacDonald brothers, he focused on hamburgers and fries, then franchised his idea and business model. If he had succumbed to the temptation of turning his restaurant into a diner, he would have become just another diner owner instead of one of the most successful restaurateurs in American history.

And he would have easily been forgotten.

When I was growing up, my dad worked a full time job and preached full time. He traveled a lot to preach in churches throughout Texas and Oklahoma. He would hold revivals that would run for the whole week. Nowadays, if you see a revival at all, it might run just a few days.

Before he went into a town to do the revival, he would get posters and fliers printed up announcing the “gospel meeting” and have them plastered all over town in just about every store window on the square. (Back then, that’s where everybody went to go shopping. They didn’t have malls back in the 50’s and early 60’s.)

Come time for the revival, he had a packed house, nearly the whole week, and had “standing room only” on many nights.

He did things in a big way, but he did one thing really good: deliver one heck of a sermon.

He preached. He didn’t get up there and lead singing. He didn’t do all the other functions of the church. He just preached. But boy! When he did, you didn’t forget it.

He had a unique selling proposition.

There’s another guy over at who builds the cleanest screensaver ever. Not the “memory hogs” put out by Microsoft and other programmers that don’t know what they’re doing. This guy has a patented process where he plugs in a line of code in his software to “free up” the memory every time the screen saver bops out.

Not only that, but he made the engine of his software play your own videos! The engine could be used in corporate training videos, or to run pics and videos for those big screen tv’s when they’re not on. You know the ones I’m talking about. Those big black squares and rectangles on the wall? Well, he’s developed the engine to run the pics and videos so that your big screen tv will play works of art on it… like a screen saver.

He has a unique selling proposition: he builds screen savers… or more appropriately, he builds the engine that “drives” them.

The engine will play digital, HD, and still pics. Whatever you connect it to… high definition 1080p videos, multimedia movies, you name it.

USA TODAY calls it “sweet.” Steve Oedekerk at O Entertainment calls it “cool technology.”

The screensaver (and engine) runs in Windows 7, XP and Vista.

This is the only high-definition capable video and multimedia screensaver available anywhere that I know about.

No brag. Just Fact.

So… find one thing you’re good at. Make sure you have a market for it. And do it big time.

In short: stay focused.

Life Isn’t Fair!

What’s the best way to surpass your peers and outdo your competitors? Work harder than they do.

I know that sounds trite, but to read the rest of this rant, click here.

The Story Teller – A Lesson From The World’s Greatest Hypnotist

By Ernest O’Dell

Pull up a chair and sit down.  Relax.  Let me tell you a brief story about the World’s Greatest Hypnotist and how he learned an important secret about writing.

Milton Erickson was a legendary psychiatrist.  He used hypnotism long before it became an acceptable practice in the field of medicine and psychiatry.  He was brought up before the Board of Examiners of the Psychiatric Association and was going to be stripped of his license to practice.

Before the board convened, he managed to catch up with the most influential members of the board—the chief decision makers—who could make or break his career.  He got them off to the side for just a few minutes—and in the short space of a conversation—changed the outcome of his hearing.

Not only did the board allow him to continue using hypnotism in his practice, but officially sanctioned hypnotism as acceptable in the field of medicine and psychiatry.

How did he do that?  How did he change the outcome of his trial?  Because, that’s exactly what it was!  He was on trial.

Without them knowing it, Dr. Erickson hypnotized them and gave them a pre-determined response.

Ethical?  Some would say yes, others would say no.  Effective?  Absolutely!

Could this have dangerous side effects?  In the wrong hands, and with the wrong intentions, I imagine it could be.

For decades after that trial, Dr. Erickson was considered the foremost authority and practitioner of hypnosis and became famous for his unique methods of induction.

It was documented that he could put you into a hypnotic trance with a handshake, or with a calm tone of voice in his conversation.

One of his greatest achievements was using stories to put people into a “waking trance.”  His innovative approach to curing people of various ills have led to numerous books by him and about him.

Erickson himself was one of the three people who inspired the development and creation of NLP: Neuro-Linguistic-Programming, a new field of communications and behavioral study.

It is used by top interrogators in various fields of law enforcement, by many intelligence agencies around the world, and by businesses.

Yes: when you hear, see or read an ad by some businesses, you are being “programmed.”

One day, Erickson had to write a paper about hypnosis and medical treatment.  He had a difficult time getting it down on paper because he wasn’t sure how to write it.

What this colorful psychiatrist did next was brilliant.

Erickson put himself into a hypnotic trance and tapped into his unconscious mind for guidance.  Don’t ask me how he did it; I don’t know.  I’m not a hypnotist.  All I know is what I’ve read about him.

When he came out of his self induced trance, he looked down and found several comic books laying in his lap.  He didn’t know what to think of it and didn’t have time to think about them at that time.  About that time the doorbell rang and he had to leave to go see a client.

But he didn’t forget the comic books.

What did the comic books mean?

What was his unconscious trying to tell him?

What do you think was going on?

What happened next is will totally shock you like a bolt of lightning!

What Erickson finally realized was that comic books are written in a very simple and direct style.  There are very few words, but lots of pictures.  Every idea in the story line gets communicated in a brief, but very effective way.  Everyone understands comics.

I had a friend, yeas ago, in Houston, Texas who was hearing impaired.  We worked together on the same job for several years, and he had been “mainstreamed” in the schools to read lips.  (My “signing” abilities in American Sign Language were elementary, at best.)

However, Mark, would get animated around other hearing impaired people and tell stories in ASL (American Sign Language).  He would draw crowds and they would all stand around in rapt attention “listening” to him as he weaved his story like a weaver working on a loom.

It wasn’t until then that I finally figured out why Mark had such an amazing ability to draw crowds and communicate so effectively: He read comic books all the time!

Now, I only mention this because, at the time, I thought it “beneath me” to read comic books.  Why!  I was just too “above that” to lower myself in my reading standards.  I thought them beneath me because I prided myself on reading scholarly works.

Little did I know that the scholarly approach to writing, and ad copy, wasn’t working.

I learned how to totally rearrange my style by watching Mark, and I went back to reading comic books.  It was then that I realized how much I had been missing by not reading comics for so long.  Now I have a valuable collection of “mint condition” collectors items.

Anyway, back to Erickson and his “Aha!” moment…

Comics were, and still are, written in such a way that even kids can make sense of them.  This doesn’t mean that we have to “dumb down” our work for the masses, but we have to make our writing “riveting” in a way that it will hold adult’s attention, like it did when we were kids.

Like Mark used to do with his fans.

Erickson knew that he had to communicate his ideas so simply that even a child could grasp his meaning.  He knew that if he expressed himself in simple terms, every adult would be able to understand him.

I used to put my work in front of junior high and high school students and have them read it.  I would have them “critique” it for me.  If they could understand it, then I was successful in communicating my ideas.  If they didn’t understand it, then I went back and re-worked the copy.

This is the important lesson to learn here:

If you can imagine a child, or a student, reading and understanding your work, then you have become successful at writing in a way that everyone will understand.

If someone, anyone, doesn’t understand the meaning of what you wrote, then it means you didn’t succeed in writing clear and direct material.

Erickson was a genius.  He learned to write in a way that was like his practice: hypnotic.

You might not be writing for children: your market might be geared to a different market sector.  But you must—you MUST—speak to that “inner child” in your reader.  When you do that, you will succeed in communicating to your reader.

When you speak to that inner child of your reader, you speak directly to his or her subconscious.  You will plant hypnotic triggers in their unconscious mind.  Few people can resist what their inner child likes.  Speak to that “child” and you WILL hold his attention.

Erickson once said in a lecture that “…the unconscious mind is decidedly simple, unaffected, straightforward and honest…”  It’s really not complicated at all.  It’s like talking to a child.

Your assignment?  Read some comic books!

Ernest ODell – Guerrilla Internet Marketing
Dominant Marketing Strategies
(a subsidiary of DMS Group)

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