Marketing With the ‘Next in Line’ Principle

“You know, anything can be great. I don’t care, BRICKLAYING can be great, if a guy knows. If he knows what he’s doing and why and if he can make it come off…. It’s a great feeling, boy, it’s a real great feeling when you’re right and you KNOW you’re right… You make shots that nobody’s ever made before.” – Fast Eddie (Paul Newman) in The Hustler (20th Century Fox, 1961)

A reporter once asked legendary pool player Minnesota Fats what made the difference between a great pool player – which Fats was – and one who was merely good. “The good pool player makes the shot,” said Fats. “The great pool player not only makes the shot, but does so in such a way that the balls are lined up for the next shot.”

I think the same applies to marketers.

Are you a good marketer… or a great marketer?

A good marketer creates a product, runs a promotion for it, gets a healthy response rate, and makes a nice profit. A great marketer does all that too… but he also designs the product, promotion, or both in such a way that the next sale is ready to be made.

Example: A good Internet marketer I know came up with a 40-page e-book that he priced at $39 a copy. He paid a freelance writer a flat fee of $700 to write it.

The first time he sent an e-mail about the new e-book to his list, he sold 154 copies, bringing in a quick $6,006. But he made that six grand within three days of sending his e-mail blast. After that, the orders from that promotion – and cash flow – dried up.

A great Internet marketer I know created and marketed his new e-book differently. Instead of paying a writer, he e-mailed a few dozen experts he knew and asked each of them for a contribution. About 30 responded, and this marketer simply cut and pasted their replies into a Word document to create the e-book.

More important, the experts the great marketer asked for contributions were all marketing their own high-priced information products at the time – products that he knew would be of interest to his customer list.

So here’s the deal he made with them. At the end of each of their chapters in his e-book, he included the expert’s bio and a description of one of their related products, along with a “live” link to the landing page where the product could be ordered online. And whenever a buyer of the great marketer’s e-book clicked on one of those links, read the landing page, and ordered the contributor’s product, he got a cut.

Like the good marketer, this marketer too sold thousands of dollars worth of his e-book within a few days of notifying his list about it via e-mail. But, unlike the good marketer, the great marketer continued to get orders from the product links built into it.

Result: The great marketer’s campaign brought in many times more revenue than the good marketer’s campaign for a similar product.


The good marketer was only trying to make the shot – creating a product and selling it to his list. He made nice money. And he was content.

The great marketer put more thought into the project, and did a little more work up front. He too made the shot and sold his product to his list. But by building a “back end” directly into the product he was distributing, he also lined up his customers to make the next sale.

Friendly’s restaurant chain, regardless of what you think of their food, is often a great marketer.

Yes, when you walk in, there are always specials, enticing you to buy more during your visit. These specials often include an ice cream dessert, which many customers are too full to eat after a big meal. Instead of letting those customers walk out without getting their dessert – which would slightly increase the restaurant’s margin on the meal – my local Friendly’s gives away a certificate entitling you to a free ice cream on your next visit.

Are they being generous?

Yes. But they are also being smart. Because when you return to claim your free ice cream, you will most likely buy additional ice cream for the people who are with you… or pick up a quart to take home… or stop and have lunch.

Friendly’s is thinking ahead to the next sale – not just focusing on today’s transaction.

How about you? Are you a good marketer… or a great marketer?

Good marketers focus on the front end – the immediate sale. Great marketers strategize ways to maximize revenues from every product, promotion, and customer.

Good marketers make a good living. Great marketers make a great living – and become rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

[Ed. Note: Learn how to market your business quickly, cheaply, and easily with ETR’s Direct Marketing Masters Edition. And get free tips for doubling your response rates with Bob’s Direct Response Letter (]