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136 - Hooks And Testing Your Material

Hooks And Testing Your Material

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Episode Recap:

A cool lesson I learned after a day of fly fishing, and a really cool story by the campfire. On this episode Russell talks about being on a retreat and learning to fly fish. He relates it to testing out new material and seeing what hooks people. Here are some of the cool things in today’s episode:

-- How trying to catch fish is similar to a comedian testing out new jokes, or an entrepreneur testing out new material.

-- Why throwing out hook after hook after hook will help you figure out which one hits.

-- And why it takes Russell a year to write one of his book, and how he tests out the material that will be in the book.

So listen here to find out how if you set hooks and watch and learn from what the fish are doing, you can become a better fisherman, and a better marketer.

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Best Quote:

You guys have heard me talk about the whole hook, story, offer framework, which is the foundation of everything we’re teaching now days. You gotta create an irresistible offer, then you gotta have story that amplifies the value of that offer, and then you have to have a hook that stops somebody and grabs them. In our world right now everybody is so busy through social media, there’s a million things happening every second. It’s just like, how do you grab someone and pull them away from where they’re at and get them to focus for five seconds.


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Good morning everybody, this is Russell Brunson. I want to welcome you to the Marketing Secrets podcast. Today I am streaming from a little cabin in the middle of nowhere. Hey everyone, I hope you guys are doing amazing. If you listened to our last episode you know that this last few days I’ve been on a top secret retreat with a whole bunch of amazing business owners, and it has been cool, it’s been interesting.

Some things that were amazing things that were something weird that I learned about myself, some other things, so I just want to kind of share with you some of this stuff. And hopefully you guys will get some benefit from it. So I’m actually right now sitting in the cabin, everyone’s leaving, packing up and I’ve got probably 30 minutes or so before I’ve got to get out of here.

But just was sitting here, just contemplating on some of the stuff that I learned and figured out over the last couple of days. So to begin with, I want to step back. For those that don’t know me very well, I’m the least manly man ever. I don’t go hunting or hiking or fishing, or any man things. If my house breaks, I don’t know how to fix things. I don’t know, I’m good at like one thing and that’s selling stuff, the marketing and selling which I love, but I’m not that good at other things. Especially things that are typical man stuff.

So my one big fear on this trip is it’s like a man trip. It’s all these dudes and we’re doing manly things. We went fly fishing, and then we went hiking, and then we went and shot guns. It’s interesting what you learn about yourself because I know I’m introverted by nature and I just assume that at this point of my life I’m not. Especially around a group of people that are in my same world. I’m like, “Aw, it’s going to be so much fun.” But its funny how, I don’t know, it was tough for me a lot of times.

The introverted Russell kept popping out, and it was frustrating knowing that about myself. Why do I feel so awkward in some of these situations that don’t make sense? So for any of you guys who feel that sometimes and you don’t understand or you’re like, “Why do I feel awkward? Why do I not feel comfortable?” Still happens even to me, even among my peer group where it’s just like, I don’t know. It’s just tough sometimes. But I’m proud I got through, and I made some great relationships which was cool.

But then the second part is like, okay we’re going to go do these man things. So the first thing was like, yesterday we went to go fly fishing. And I, okay the incomplete. Some of you guys are going to tease me forever, I’m sure I’ll hear about this when you meet me at the airport and other weird places you guys bump into me. So I went fishing once as a kid and I got my own pole, my dad gave me my own pole for my birthday or something, and I had all this stuff. I was out there and I was so excited and I caught a fish. I still remember it was a blue gill fish, I caught it. I was so excited. I did the whole thrill of the catch and you pull it in.

And then I remember after we got it in the boat it died, like fish do when you catch them. I remember taking it home and I felt so bad. I felt horrible. I can’t believe we killed this animal. So we actually had a funeral for it. I legitimately had a huge funeral in our backyard, and we had a little headstone for my blue gill fish. We called him, I think we called him blue gill, or like blue-y or something like that. I don’t know, but we had a huge funeral for him because I felt so bad. And that was the last time I killed an animal.

So I have all this weird little kid trauma stuff. So they’re like, we’re going to teach you fly fishing and you’re going to do this whole thing and you’re going to rip the hook out of their mouth and all sorts of stuff. So anyway, it’s funny, we go down there and they get me all set up. They’re teaching me how to do the casting, which that part was kind of cool you know. I’m trying to figure it out and I’m completely horrible at, by far the worst of everybody here. And I’m trying to do the thing and trying to get the thing out there, getting the hook out. So I throw it and the hook’s out there.

And what’s interesting, I’m sitting there in the middle of nowhere next to this little pond, I’m like the only person there. I’m casting this thing, trying to hopefully catch a fish. It’s interesting, I’m noticing there’s this hook on the end of my pole and I’m throwing it in and then throw it, pull it out, throw it out, pull it out. I’m doing this over and over, hundreds of times casting in these hooks, trying to catch a fish. And here comes the moral of the lesson for today. I was looking at it and I was like, this is so much like business.

You guys have heard me talk about the whole hook, story, offer framework, which is the foundation of everything we’re teaching now days. You gotta create an irresistible offer, then you gotta have story that amplifies the value of that offer, and then you have to have a hook that stops somebody and grabs them. In our world right now everybody is so busy through social media, there’s a million things happening every second. It’s just like, how do you grab someone and pull them away from where they’re at and get them to focus for five seconds. That’s the hook right.

And the thing about this, like with me fishing, I’m throwing a hook in and another hook, and another hook, another hook. And I’m trying to get these fish to notice my hook and come and eat it. I do it over and over and over again. And finally I remember, the very first hole, the little bobby thing (I can’t remember what it’s called) goes under the water. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh the fish took my hook, bit my hook.

And I remember the first thought that went through my mind, and there’s a moral to this too, but somebody grabbed on the line and the little thing went under and I was like, “Oh no, I have a fish.” And the first thing in my head is I freaked out, and I’m like, “I hope it gets away. I don’t want to catch this thing, I don’t want to hurt this thing.” I just got so scared, I was just praying, “Fish get away. I don’t want to pull you in, I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want to hook your face with a hook. What kind of person does that?” I’m freaking out and all these things, all these emotions going through my head. I start pulling it in and this fish is huge. I think they said it was a 26 inch something. It’s a big fish.

I’m pulling this thing in, I’m reeling it in and the old man comes down and he’s trying to scoop it into a basket and the fish is flipping around and it flipped out and fell out of the basket and we didn’t get it. And I was like, “Oh dang.” But then partially kind of grateful, oh good I didn’t catch it. I didn’t have to deal with the aftermath of catching a fish. And then it was funny because, okay you have to start fishing again. I’m like, do I really want to throw the hook back in? I don’t know. But everyone else is doing it, I don’t want to look like that guy, so I kind of halfway throw my hook in and then I move from pond to pond to pond. I’m doing this thing and I think I caught two or three other little fish, and luckily we got to let them go, which I was like, oh thank heavens.

So we caught them and let them go. But I definitely was the worst, of everyone. Dean Graziosi is here and he caught like 30 fish or something. I think I caught like 1 ½, it’s way different. But I was looking at Dean and he’s out there and he’s throwing it in and out and in and out and he’s setting the hook and he’s getting better as he’s watching. The first thing he noticed he said, “If I walk towards the water, the fish could see me and freak out.” So he’d get low on his knees and he’d sneak over to the water and throw his thing in and he’d see as the fish get closer, as soon as they’d open their mouth, he’d just yank it out and he’s pulling fish after fish after fish. It was crazy to watch.

And I’m looking at this, we all have the same tools. We both had fishing poles, we had things, but what are the things we’re doing different? Some of the lessons I was thinking through on this for us as business owners is all of us were out there throwing out hooks, and if our hook doesn’t convince the fish that it’s a worm or a bug or a whatever, they’re not going to come and bite your line.

I think a lot of times some of us are trying this business and you’re putting out your first thing and nobody bites and you’re like, “This internet marketing thing doesn’t work.” It’s like, no your hook didn’t work. You need throw hook after hook after hook. Half of what I do in this business is figuring out hooks to grab people. Every email I send is a hook, every Facebook Live is a hook. It’s trying different hooks to see what things people respond to. And it’s interesting, even me, tons of my hooks fail. Ton s of messages I put out there do not resonate with people, they don’t do anything with them. It’s really fascinating.

And the good news is nobody knows when they failed because nobody sees them, because we don’t put much advertising dollars behind it, because the hook didn’t catch any fish. So that’s kind of the first lesson, just understanding it. It’s just like catching fish, you’re standing on the bank and it’s like I’m going to cast this thing 30 or 40 or 50 times before I’m able to get a fish to believe that it’s a bug. Same thing for you, you’ve got to cast out all these different messages and headlines and hooks and things until you find something that somebody grabs onto.

I remember Anthony DeClementi, when we launched Biohacking Secrets book, I had these ideas for it, the hooks I thought were going to be the best thing and we had him start doing a Facebook Live every single day. And he did the first Facebook Live and it was like throwing the hook out and crickets. Next Facebook Live, crickets. 3rd one, 4th one, 5th one, 6th one, 7th, he kept tweaking and changing his messaging and trying different stories, and different hooks and different things and I think it was like the 11th or the 17th, I can’t remember, but it was a number like that.

The hook was the right hook. And I think it was how to biohack your vegetables. And that one went out there and it hit, it was like boom. And all these people starting coming towards him. I think the video ended up getting a million views and it was just crazy. But it was the hook, that was a hook that caught the fish. So I think all of you guys need to stop freaking out about making the perfect headline, crafting the message perfectly and putting it out there.

I’m like, I want to do a webinar a month from now. I’ve got 30 days to throw out 30 different hooks and find out which one is going to be the one that actually grabs people. So that can be a Facebook Live every single day, it could be you set up an ad with like 20 different headlines and rotate it through and see which ones get the highest click through rate.

There’s a lot of really basic things you can do, but it’s just testing things and seeing what actually gets the fish to grab. Number two is now that you, that everyone, we’re all fishing from the same pond. And if you look at it like, how come Russell pulled out one fish and Dean pulled out like 30, what was the difference? Well Dean was paying attention to the market really close. He noticed that every time he walked towards the pond, the fish would scatter. I think a lot of times you guys are trying something and you’re not noticing what’s happening.

When I do a Facebook Live I’m watching what are people’s reactions and comments? Did anyone share this one? What were they saying? What was happening? And I’m looking to see what the market is responding to. And if I get a good response and if I’m doing a Facebook Live and I say something and all the sudden people start going crazy. I’m like, oh interesting. So I’m paying attention to what’s happening and I’m taking a mental note of that so as I’m doing the next thing, I do it better. One of the really cool stories, who was it that told it around the campfire? One of the guys here told it around the campfire, but they’re talking about how if you look at standup comedy, a standup comedian doesn’t just one day show up on the tonight show and do his pitch and just crush.

What happens is they go and play the small shows for a year, or two years, they do there in the first place and they test all these jokes. And they say, okay I did all these jokes and 20% of them landed and people were going crazy and the other 80% were okay. So then they take that, delete the 80% of jokes that didn’t land, then they go and write some new jokes and go to the next show. And they do the same 20% that the people died for last time, so they perfect how they do that message, and they try 80% new jokes. And from the 80% new jokes, they had two or three land really good this time.

So they take now the 20% from before, the two or three new jokes and the next show they use those 40% they know are good and then test out new material. And they do it over and over and over again until eventually they’ve got all new jokes that just land, perfectly hit, and then they come and when they go on the Tonight show or whatever, whatever the big comedy show is, they’re up and they tell it, and they slay it because every joke they tell lands because they’ve tested it over and over and over again.

But it’s not just they show up and write this pitch and hope it’s good. And the same thing should be true for you guys. When you’re doing your webinars, I look at now people are like, “Russell how did your webinar crush it so well?” the reality is I’ve spent 10 years prior to me writing the Clickfunnels webinar, or writing some of these webinars, and I’ve been speaking on the road, doing podcast interviews, doing teleseminars, doing my own podcast, doing all sorts of stuff, and all I’m doing is I’m testing, testing my material just like a comedian would.

Testing thing after thing after thing and I’m seeing what lands and seeing what doesn’t land. At Funnel Hacking Live this last year, I did six presentations. My first presentation did not land as a whole. There are a couple of pieces that did okay, but I do know that that presentation didn’t land. The second presentation I did, it crushed it. My Funnel Audibles presentation, for those who were there, that was the one of my presentations that people just, that one nailed it. So I know that message is like boom.

So I’m like Funnel Audibles, that’s an important message, something I gotta go deeper with, create a whole bunch of really cool things around that because that one crushed it. And even within the framework of a presentation I’m telling stories, which one’s crushed it and which ones didn’t, I tweak it. So for any of you guys who are like, I’m going to go make a webinar today, and you go and start creating it, if you haven’t been doing this thing, what we’re standing on the side of the bank throwing our hook in over and over and over and over again, to see what jokes hit and which one’s don’t.

You’re going to struggle because you have no idea. You’re going to do your best webinar, you’re going to hope it’s good and spend all this Facebook ad money and do it, and then you go and you do it and what happens? It bombs. And it’s like well, 20% of the jokes, 20% of the stories, the things you did were right. But the other 80% failed it because you put all your eggs in one basket. You had no idea and that’s why sometimes these things don’t hit.

So for you, starting today, I tell you all the time. I did a three day Facebook Live after the Expert Secrets book launch and the whole thing was about finding your voice. And it’s like, okay, do a Facebook Live every single day. And then you’re watching it, you’re seeing people react, and you see these stories resonate, these ones didn’t resonate, this one did, this story, this joke, this idea, the concept, this false belief, this epiphany bridge story, this kind of bridge, you’re just testing it over and over and over again.

In fact, the day before I left on this trip, the night before I went to my buddy Chad Woolner, he’s a chiropractor and he was having a big chiropractor event at his office in Boise and he asked if I’d come speak. And it was a group of like 20 people, and you know I’d normally charge a lot of money to speak, and it was funny. I love Chad, he was like, “How much would it cost to have you come speak at my thing.” And I smiled and I was like, “Dude, I’ll just come speak.” And he’s like, “No, no, no, I want to pay you.” And I’m like, “You don’t want to pay me what it would cost.” But I was like, “It’s worth it to me because number one, you’re a friend and it’d be fun to do. And number two, I have some new material I want to test.” Literally that was it.

So I did this presentation with him because I was trying to feel out this new material. Now today, I’m flying to Minneapolis to go speak at Dana Derricks event, there’s going to be 100 people there, I’m giving a new presentation that I’ve never done before that’s actually the framework for the new Traffic Secrets book.

So I’m in the process of writing the book right now, in fact, someone asked me “How long does it take you to write a book?” and I said, “About a year.” And he said, “It takes you a year to write a book?” And I’m like, “Yes, but it’s not like I’m writing for a year.” For example, what’s happening is I’m speaking at Dana’s and I have the outline for my book and I have a two hour timeslot. So for two hours I’m going to be teaching the framework for my book and I’m going to see what hits and what doesn’t. And that’s literally why I’m speaking at Dana’s event.

Because it’s his topic, and well number one I love Dana. He’s the man. But number two is it’s like, his event’s called Dream 100 Con, so it’s about Dream 100, which is like the foundation of Traffic Secrets, so it’s like this is the perfect audience and opportunity for me on a small scale to test out my material. So I’m testing out the material here at Dream 100 con and I’m going to use it, and again I’m teaching my entire book, the whole framework at a higher level.

Like here’s all the pieces and I’m going to feel how that felt. Then two months from now, for my Two Comma Club X members, I have a two day event where I’m teaching the framework for the Traffic Secrets book again. So this time, the first one is two hours, I’m going to test the higher level material. And this time I’m going to do the second one, which I’m going to have a chance to test all the material, every single section in depth, in detail, every story, all the different pieces.

And I’m going to feel what works, what doesn’t work and cut things out and move things around and then I’m going to start writing the book. The first two books, if you remember, if you’ve been following me for a while, when I wrote the Dotcom Secrets book, we wrote the very first version of it and I hated it. I was just like, huh. So I was like, I gotta do something. So I literally threw an event, I was like okay in a month from now I’m going to do an event, I’m going to teach this whole framework because it’s not working.

So we flew all these people in, we had 100 people show up to this event in Boise and I taught the Dotcom Secrets principles in a three day event, and what was cool, teaching it I saw what material worked, and what didn’t work and I was able to from that make some tweaks and some changes. In fact, the day after the event I sat down with Julie Eason who is the main writer helping me with the Dotcom Secret book, and we spent four hours after the event and I was like, “okay, this story sucked. Nobody got it, it didn’t make sense.”

This concept I taught, I had to teach this one first because it makes sense.” We moved the outline around and we moved things and spent four or five hours rebuilding the outline, the framework, and deleting stuff that didn’t hit, keeping stuff in that did, and then that’s when we wrote the second version which became the Dotcom Secrets book. Same thing happened with Expert Secrets. I went and initially wrote this book based off my head and then I got it back and I’m reading it and none of these jokes are landing.

So then what did I do? I threw a two day event, threw everyone in and for two days I taught the Expert Secrets process. And same thing happened, I saw what landed, what didn’t land, and then after that, the next day went and rebuilt the framework and then started the book round two and got Expert Secrets. So for the third book, Traffic Secrets, I decided I’m just going to start with the event. But notice what I’m doing, I’m throwing hooks out on the side of the thing, just throwing hook, hook, hook trying to see what things people resonate with, what things people are gravitating towards.

So for you I want you just thinking about that. If you’re writing your webinar pitch, or doing your thing and you haven’t been throwing out hooks, you’re just guessing. You’re writing the first version of your book and you’re going to get it back and it may suck. It may be awesome, it may have landed the first time, but you gotta go out on the road and test your material. You should be doing it through all these different means, doing it through podcast interviews.

Literally if you, podcast interviews are one of the easiest things. If you’re an expert manner in any topic, go pull a Dream 100, go log into your, log in to iTunes, find every podcast on your topic and then build out a topic you can be interviewed on and message every single one. Be like, “Hey, I love your podcast. I talk about this, do you want to interview me for your podcast?” And go get ten different podcast interviews, where you can test out your jokes, test out your framework, test out your concepts and see what lands and what doesn’t.

Then you can do the same thing on Facebook Live, do it on your own page, do it on other people’s pages. You’re just testing out material the whole time so you can find out what lands and what doesn’t land. And that’s it you guys. So that was the big lesson I had just sitting here and I hope that helps some of you guys. I know a lot of you guys have been scared or nervous or frustrated or whatever. But as soon as you know what hits, you know these are the jokes that hit.

It’s just like Dean on the side of the thing. As soon as he figured out, this is the hook, this is the process how it works, he sat there, he literally sat there and waited, there were like 5 different fishing holes we went to and we had like 20 minutes at each one. So the last fishing hole he sat down and at that point he’d figured out the hook, figured out his approach, figured out all his material, nailed it. And he walked over, snuck up to the side, tried throwing it in, pulled out twelve fish.

Boom, boom, boom. Twelve fish in the same pond that I wasn’t able to catch one, because I’m just throwing my thing in and praying for the best. Part of me was so scared, hoping that people weren’t going to bite. I think some of you guys have that same fear. Like, I was scared. I can’t even tell you, it was weird. As soon as that first big fish bit that hook, I just wanted it to run away.

And I’m sure the first time you guys do something and it hits, you’re going to be like, ugh, some of you guys are going to get freaked out by it. It’s like, oh my gosh people responded, they asked some questions. And maybe it’s something you did that made you vulnerable, and all the sudden you’re vulnerable and someone comes and says something and it’s….there’s a lot of magic to that.

Alright, and just by the way, BTW, I’m 20 minutes into this podcast episode and what was I doing today, I was testing material. I told you guys a story about fishing and the hook and how it worked and the comedian, I was just testing some material. The first time I ever vocally shared it was right now. And some of the pieces felt really good to me and I’m going to watch over the next little bit after this podcast episode goes live, I always know there’s people responding in different ways.

And some podcast episodes nobody responds, other ones I see people talk about, or people message me, or things like that. I’m just feeling it, feeling which ones nailed, which ones hit, which ones didn’t hit. So this, literally the Marketing Secrets podcast, if I’m completely honest, 90% of the reason why I do it is I’m testing material. Every single day I have a chance to test some new material. I think there was some cool things that came from it.

The podcast I did a year and a half ago, the one I did for Nathan Fitzgerald, where I talked about the entrepreneur, the technician and the rainmaker, that was, I never talked about that before, I shared that. I pulled a podcast, did an hour long episode on it, and that’s going to be probably one of the chapters in the Traffic Secrets book. Because I was like, man that nailed it. That resonated with so many people back that. That’s going to become now some material I’m going to use in the future.

So make sure you’re using these publishing platforms, even if no one’s listening to you. Just do it because it’s a place to test your material. And it’s not always external feedback. It’s not like you guys responding, “That was a good story Russell.” I’m like, “Cool, I’m going to remember that.” Like you can feel it when you explain something. The first time you explain it, it’s always going to be the worst too.

So I told this story, it may come up in my presentation tomorrow at Dana’s event, it totally could. But I might tell it a little bit differently and I’m going to tweak some things. I know at Chad Woolner’s event, I talked about hook, story, offer, talked about framework and I know that the way I did the offer, the way I explained that, it did not nail it. It was confusing and kind of clunky. The way I did story felt good, the way I did hook felt really good.

So I was like, okay cool. I had learned some things. So next time I teach offer I’m definitely going to make some changes based on how I felt giving that presentation. Anyway, I hope that helps guys. Time to start throwing some hooks, time to start testing your material. And I think if you do that you’re going to have a lot of fun. So alright, I gotta bounce. I gotta get everything packed up and get out of here so they don’t leave me. Because if I miss the helicopter flying me back to the airport, then I’m screwed. Alright thanks everybody, appreciate you all, thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you guys soon.


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