Direct Response and THE BIG Idea

Where is it all going? It can feel the world has gone crazy. The rise of the BIG MEN and the fall of the softer appears to be in the increase. The fracturing of society as we know it is speeding up.

This affects our businesses and this affects our customers, mindsets and reactions have changed.

What can we do?

I’ve spoken about the BIG idea and Direct Response for years but this year I think it will need a far more exaggerated reaction and action very quickly.

The reality is this.

Advertising and marketing costs are up

Conversions are down

Almost 90% of our targets no longer believe a word we say in advertising

Over 80% of social media Ads are ignored and seen as lies

Adwords and Google is more expensive than ever

Facebook Ads (after you work it out) just don’t deliver in numbers

Other Social Medias just don’t work for you

SEO is dead.

The rise of Google snippets and YouTube as a search result can be complicated

There’s even more.

OMG - has marketing your business become impossible or has it opened an opportunity?

Is there another way that will consistently give you results that will grow your business? Let me share more in a moment.

Let’s take a look at SEO as an example.

Not too long ago it was easy to get a decent position on Google or other online engines.

It felt like advertising on social media was ‘the reaction’ to search engines and then blogging. The mantra was and is - fill the web with content - and hopefully catch some clients. Digital agencies specialise in just that… making your business look like crap and sending you bad traffic online.

For the past 6-weeks, we have been doing a major overhaul to our web presence for all of our websites. This is the biggest we have ever done. This involves days of 10-12 hours, 7-days a week, tons of research, reading, studying and a lot of restructuring and days and weeks of testing to see what is working. We made some startling discoveries. For example we realised ALL of our keywords were outdated - every one. How can that happen?

We discovered that the mind, the conversation and then the search terms had moved on. This was due to a change of conversation and language being used online. Interesting right? We had assumed that our clients were searching for what we knew but they weren’t

So the results of this annual exercise have been good but the conclusion is always the same after the fix ...

… By the way, this is a conclusion I stand by in all of my business life and it is this…

You have to have a BIG idea and in 2019 your BIG idea will never be so important – EVER!

This also means … If you are just focused at getting business online it is time to get OFFLINE because the offline world is much bigger than the online world.

Two critically important but massive strategies for your business in 2019 are this…

1. The Big Idea - do you have one?

2. Going offline - do you use any offline tactics and strategies?

Here is why.

First, the BIG idea - YOUR BIG IDEA

As always let me give you an example. I go to YOGA and the class is £12 a session. £12 per week over a month is £144 per month on a yoga class. I met someone from my class the other day. She now goes to Yoga in the gym. The class is £2 or £8 per month.

I asked her why because I know she is fanatical on the other place I use. She replied that the economy right now is forcing her to make cuts. She prefers the old class but is going to stick with the gym class for a while until she knows if her job and everything else is safe.

In other words, in times like this loyalty no longer works or is reliable to keep your business safe. I have noticed that the numbers in the yoga class I use are down pretty dramatically when I go.

Don’t assume because you don’t do Yoga classes this isn’t affecting you and your business. It is and it will for some time.

The only way to keep your customers is to evolve and take things to the next level. You need a BIG IDEA that is so profound that your customers will never dream of going anywhere else.

I love and use Apple. Even if cash is tight I will still take the Apple route. I tried other stuff but the way Apple works is so intuitive it is always so seamless. I just can’t see me moving my tech gear anywhere else.


They have the perfect BIG idea. It’s a club, it’s a cult, it’s a family, they care, they have so much I can’t spell it all out here but even in a recession you know they aren’t going to lose clients.

Guess what else Apple does?

They are OFFLINE as are all the big web companies now. Yes, they still use the online platform but they get the trend, understand the dynamics and patterns. Those patterns are what I have gone on about for over 20-years and that is getting your business seen using the offline world side-by-side with online.

Less noise, less chaos, less battling for space and more availability to hit your targets in ways that the online world cannot do.

Did you realise that there are over 1,805,260,010 (BILLION) websites as I type? You really think getting seen online is that easy?

Books, magazines and taking time to take notice are coming back in fashion. Conversations are now being revived over the table of ‘texters’ that forgot how to communicate.

What are you doing offline to increase your results and conversions?

We run direct mail from our office here. Our conversion rates run around 11%. This is very high. We can send out 200 pieces to one list and that can bring in 11% in actual sales. This is high. The campaign for 200 mailers costs around £2-300.

Yet our response rates from email are a fraction of 1%!

I still meet business owners that insist on email only due to costs - Really?

What do you think?

I have a list of well over 257 things to do OFFLINE that are most cost-effective yet higher return and when you get them right. This is powerful stuff.

But don’t get me wrong – online can works and I have seen incredible results online. The past few years I worked with one client that created a £3,000 start-up that currently turns over £12 million. ALL online but … he eventually opened a large shop on the street to support his website (demand).

2019 is going to be a year when you MUST take a leap of faith and do something else otherwise you might struggle.

The BIG idea is what it is – A BIG IDEA – that must be carefully thought out so you create loyalty, return customers and growth. By the way, growth rarely comes through innovation – growth will come from leveraging what you already have!

Once you have that big idea in place you need to get very smart about how you reach your customers. If you carry on playing out the online game of endless content and other online struggles you are going to lose out.

Will you be ready for 2019?

I’d love to help you get ready, be prepared and create campaigns that will help you stay ahead during what is looking like a turbulent year ahead.

Your BIG IDEA will make a massive difference.

A re-think of your current marketing strategy could change everything.

I can help.

Get hold of me here …

  • WhatsApp: +44 7793069486

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Alan Forrest Smith

Strategist Consultant, Specialist Direct Response Expert and Mentor