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🏈Intern goes legend: a playbook for businesses

business success

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The sun rose up one more time. Glad to see it. Glad to have you here too. Today’s Feature Story is about a philosophy any marketer or business owner can harness and should — the ability to suffer the trenches. After the Feature, we’re serving up…

  • The Knowledge Base (get Google-free traffic)
  • Self Help 
  • Facts & Stats (WFH shopping boom)
  • Get Hacking (A/B testing most forget about)

Now, let’s wade into the trenches with the most successful grinder in his field –  ever.

Wondering What Makes a Business Successful?

I used to love watching football (until Alex Honnold showed how unimpressive other athletes are).

One thing I always wondered about was what made the legendary teams legendary.

Tracing the NFL back to its beginning, you can’t say one team had any specific advantage over another. They all started at zero. But something made the Packers better and winners of the first two Super Bowls.

What was it? 

Unlike today’s gurus with easy fixes and “that one thing that will explode your business,” I’ve no clue. Too many variables. But I will tell you what nobody wants to hear.

You Can’t Go Wrong Working on the Little Things

Football’s a game of inches. So is business. Little things add up to equal success or failure. Sometimes, they add up to a business that never quite finds success but never quite collapses either.

“The little things” aren’t click-baity enough for 2024, though. But that’s the only path that at least guarantees the odds favor you instead of opposing you.

Bill Belichick is the greatest football coach in history. Sure – without Tom Brady, he isn’t. Same goes for Brady, despite him winning a Super Bowl without Belichick. Brady never gets a chance to develop into the best QB ever if not for his coach. 

Without Belichick-built defenses that kept Patriots games close, the young version of Brady would’ve been blitzed in blowouts, pounded, and would’ve lost confidence like 95% of young NFL quarterbacks. Also, Brady got to see opposing defenses through the eyes of one of the best defensive minds in football history…

Those Insights Came from the Trenches

Bill Belichick didn’t watch a 40-minute webinar on how to become a legendary coach. And he didn’t learn ALL the Xs and Os in a week after being fired up by a Gary Vee rant.

Nope. Belichick began in the tedious trenches of a film room, working for free as an intern breaking down game film many decades ago. Even the most hardcore football fan wouldn’t be able to stomach football plays on a loop for 14 hours a day.

All those hours this coach invested in staring at game film added up to him being as high-level an expert as one can become. 

There was no:

  • Mr. Beast template for him to follow
  • Social media hack to 10x his knowledge
  • Thought leader to enlighten him on something “new”
  • Case study that convinced him to stick to one strategy
business playbook

There was a trench for him to descend into. One filled with boredom, repetition, and a thousand insights that proved useless once put into action. That trench was also filled with wisdom that could be gained by no other means. Inch by inch. 

I’ll stop there, though I could go on forever on the topic of what makes a person, team, or business successful. It’s super-intriguing to me. All I know is there are tactics that help. Lady Luck plays her part too. But the path to success is rarely easy or glamorous and can’t be mapped out. 

More on this trench-work philosophy with The Education of a Coach. 

Now, a way to hit list growth goals…

Easy Leads

Sign-up forms are easily avoided these days. So, collect leads the new-fashioned way. Smart Recognition collects leads from your anonymous traffic. Get a free 1:1 demo here.


The Knowledge Base 

⭐6 gurus spill beans on getting traffic without Google

Buy Now Pay Later survey (more rewards wanted)

📭4 direct mail tips for non-profits

Try easier with email campaigns 

⚠️Beware experts in general (& spot phony ones)

Apple Mail tabs coming

🧘‍♀️Deep focus: a how-to for peeps under work pressure (my solution: say “no” – out loud!)

9 IG video marketing tips (use #8 if nothing else)

🧠Hiring boom for those with atypical brains

Popular but sucktastic resume advice

How ’bout some good AI news?

Self Help

Some great news out of the AI world. Finally, a reverse doomsday story. 

This one has AI finding new paths to antibiotics instead of plotting mankind’s demise with only Sammy Altman surviving to reign over the bots. By the way, antibiotics are not as effective as they once were – a real problem (as talked about in Bill Bryson’s The Body).

Facts and Stats

  • U.S. consumers: 59% live paycheck to paycheck. Worse for Generation Z at 64%. And 66% for Millennials (PYMNTS)

  • 69.5% of advertising revenue will be informed by artificial intelligence this year (WSJ)

  • Shop-on-the-clock: Online retail shopping running at a $375 billion annual rate above the 2015-2019 trend — the greatest increase came in regions with the most hybrid and remote workers (Mastercard)

Bonus: 2nd best way to reduce cart abandonment (without profit-killing discounts)? Answer is don’t require an account sign-up (Stacked Marketer).


Getting traffic but leads escaping?

Sucks. But that’s the reality of any website with decent traffic. Most visitors are just browsing. You’ll never know who they were…

Would you email them if you could, though? To get one or two extra touchpoints that could produce a sale?

If so, use Smart Recognition to identify those anonymous website visitors. It collects their verified email addresses. Then automatically sends them to your ESP for email targeting.

Book a free Demo to start gathering up to 40% of those anonymous leads.

*Similar tech used by Fortune 500 Companies so it’s CAN-SPAM compliant. US traffic only. Need 15k in monthly traffic.

Get Hacking

Have you A/B tested yourself into a stupor, figuring out why your abandoned cart rate is so high?

Cart abandonment isn’t always due to shipping cost sticker shock, checkouts with too many steps, or mediocre copywriting. Those are legit problems. 

But have you considered adding more payment options? Some people have specific payment preferences, like underwear preferences. Another possibility — your payment processor is glitchy, or its fraud-prevention settings are too strict, keeping legit shoppers’ payments from completing. Test those things to perhaps move the needle. (good payments resource)

If you know another big-brained marketer, share Inbox Hacking with them. Thanks for reading.

Shane McLendon, Copy Kingpin – Inbox Hacking 

P.S. Human potential (little Ironman goes legend with bionic arm).