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Joshua Myrvaagnes
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How Your Business Cards, Brochure, and Site are Wasting Your Time and Diminishing the Impact You Have on the World

Unless you’re a rare genius among geniuses of marketers, YOU’RE PROBABLY WASTING %65-%85 of your energy—and the solution is more inspiring than you're thinking.

Every business card you put out into the world, every brochure you write, can waste energy or can use it optimally.  Let's say one business card has a 3% response rate.  Another has a %1 response rate.  (These are made-up numbers).  You'd want to change your card so you could get a 3% response rate, right?  Since that would mean that you'd just tripled your revenues.  That's right--you triple the number of people doing business with you just by changing something about the business card to make it more effective.  
    What would make it that much more effective?  Different words on the business card can change the response rate. How would figure out what words will do this?  Well, you can take a guess about what is going to work and then keep using it (what most people and even, embarrassingly, businesses do), or you can use a scientific approach, trying things out and comparing the results with trying something else out.  
    But let me back up for a second here--writing an ad is not just about being creative.  It's not just about getting attention.  It's also about doing something wtih the attention once you've got it--answering the unspoken, even unconscious doubts in your reader's head.  That's how one internet marketing whiz, Ron Richards (, describes it.  Or, as Rich Harshaw puts it (, you're educating the reader about what possible values and pitfalls can exist in the type of prodfuct you're selling in general (widgets, green products, whatever type of thing it is you're selling) and let people know what to look for (in a widget, in a green product, etc.).  This might feel artificial, but I would ask you just to try this idea on for a few minutes while you read this page, and then you can decide what you think when you get to the bottom.  
    Granted, you can be creative about how you answer the customer's doubts, but if you're just creative aimlessly, you're wasting energy.
Creativity can be functional, but it has to be in the service of function and purpose, not at odds with purpose.  (You can also educate, inpspire, and serve the world through your messages on business cards, etc.; that is another purposeful way of making your marketing--and addressing doubts can be a key part of this work too.)  You need your business card, brochure and site to be purposeful because each one works x % of the time, and therefore serves your mission—making the world a better place--x%.  The item's purpose is  bringing toward you the money you need to keep doing your job without your having to use up energy making cold calls or working a day job catering.  
    Now if you have a card or web text that don't have much purpose to them, that doesn't mean you're stupid.  Most people do what they see around them, and we tend to see all around us purposeless, wasteful ads for vapid products--and a smaller number of vague, unspecific ads for holistic products.  It's natural then to think that the way to advertise is to have a catchy jingle, get attention, and then repeat, repeat, repeat. Then, too, some people pour their souls into their cards and web text, and if you love your materials the way they are, I do not want to diminish your pleasure in them.  I only offer an alternative view, and some questions for you to ask yourself, and if you feel you want what I offer then I'll work with you to create wonderful new ideas.  But it has to come from you, I don't push this on anyone.  
   The second approach—scientific trial and error--is what large companies are able to do (the smart ones) and, especially for products that compete on quality rather than on price, it is effective. 
    (You don’t have the budget to do that.  I know.)
    You’re just one qigong teacher with lots of school loans to pay back. 
    That's why I have a proprietary tool that is comparable to, and is in some ways even more effective, than scientific trial-testing.  If you want to know what it is, I’m afraid you’ll have to contact me (917.648.3993).  I really can’t tell you about it on the internet without creating serious problems for myself, and I only want to tell it to people who are serious about making change in the world.
    Instead I’m going to tell you more about approach #2, the one that’s easiest to talk about, and describe what you could have if you were a big business with an advertising budget of $50,000 (or if you use the proprietary tool).  I can do a lot for you even without that tool, by the way.
    Ron Richards of ResutlsLab, who is a superb example of method two and always creates a 2-5x increase in customers for his clients, observes that your marketing works best if it is like a trail of breadcrumbs that are increasingly tasty (that's my analogy for his idea).  The first crumb in the trail is the business card, it gets, say, %2 of the people who see or receive it interested.  It’s different enough from the competition that %2 take the time to go to your web site, rather than. 0001%.  So, those %2 of people go to your web site to learn more about you.  Now, your web site is not just as good as your card.  It’s significantly better than your card.  It doesn’t disappoint the expectations raised by the card, it exceeds them.  That makes me want another crumb!  So let’s say %40 of people who’ve made to your site want to take the next step. 
    Now, I see there’s another step I can take to learn more, like a free questionnaire, say, that I can fill out that will help me know if I am a match for what you provide.  So %60 of people who've gotten to your site and read what you have to say fill out that questionnaire, and again, it’s not just a match for the expectations the web site raised.  It's a smart, useful, well-designed, relevant, specific questionnaire, and exceeds those expectations again.
    By now I am 75% confident that you are not only really competent but a very good match for my needs, and so when I pick up the phone and talk to you—I’m severely disappointed!  You don’t exceed my expectations in person!  Or, instead, you actually talk about your work even more impressively than the questionnaire led me to believe. 

    Here’s the only problem: you need to be one damn good Reiki healer to exceed the expectations raised by that conversation. 
    But the fact is, you are, or, if you aren’t yet, you can be.  First, real results are always better than a conversation, than "conceptual results." Second, you can give better results by having a level of scientific rigor to your work with your clients that means that you constantly upgrade the level of service you provide to each individual by really listening to what they say they want and by measuring objectively (and again the proprietary tool can help you here as well, though you can work without it) the effects of your work and by changing direction.
    Don’t all holistic healers do this?
    Not all.  Because many acupuncturists aren't handling their client's unspoken doubts, are, sadly, "pulling their punches" and stopping short of making sure to give real, tangible, long-term results.  Most people only listen to what the client says, and maybe to their pulses—they don’t know enough about marketing principles to listen to what the client doesn’t say.  Or in the case of a green product busienss, to listen to what the customer doesn't say till she/he gets home and tries to use your product and has a less than scintillating experience, and doesn't really sound actually happy when telling his/her friend, "You should really get this, it's good for the environment!" You can learn to do this, and to address the issues the client is either too shy or too embarrassed to talk about (see Ron Richards again for this issue--as relating to marketing, that is, not holistic healing per se).

    To recap, you can improve your marketing on every level—from business card to the improvement of your service and delivery of service itself—if you listen to the needs of your client, not just the ones s/he says aloud but also the unspoken ones.  Ron Richards has demonstrated that businesses can get an improvement in their numbers of 2 to 5 times.  And I'm going to show that you, a green/holistic business, can get a total improvement of three to seven times the effectiveness. With the proprietary tool, it's very likely you can beat the 5-fold number, and even without it, you can probably do a lot better than five times since, if you're like most idealist entrepreneurs just starting out, you're probably starting from not even having a business card.

    I hope this new paradigm has been useful to you to consider, and if it feels like a good fit for you I hope you'll read more.

    There are probably some questions in your mind, and some that you should be asking.  You can go to this page of questions to get some answers, and also to see an example of what I mean by responding to your clients' doubts.

    Or, if you want to know if you're a case I can get these kinds of results for, please answer the free questionnaire to learn if I am a match for your needs.  YOU WON'T HAVE TO GIVE YOUR NAME OR CONTACT INFO to fill out the questionnaire, and it only has six questions.  Many marketers use a "questionnaire" as an opportunity to stick you on their mailing list with out your permission or with your grudging permission; I absolutely don't do that and you won't be asked for any contact info.  

    Or if you prefer you can send me your URL or the proposed text of your site and I'll be happy to have a look at it.