30 minutes of actionable advice to make the very best use of your time. The 'Minimum Effective Dose' is the right amount of effort you need to get the best results.
In today's show, Dean & Stuart talk about some of the insights from the latest Breakthrough Blueprint Live event and look at the trifecta of a 90-Minute Book, a single purpose landing page and an email that expects a reply to get optin rates as high as 50-60%
Stuart: Hey, everybody. Welcome to another Book More Show. Stuart and Dean here again today. We're actually in London although we're on the 2nd floors of the hotel to do this just so we can get some good audio quality because there were some jams in the meeting this morning and I think this show is going to be spot on for anyone that's thinking about how they can effectively use a book in their marketing funnel. Dean, how's it doing?
Dean: Good. It's been a great 3 days.
Stuart: It's been fantastic hasn't it? Really some really great insights came out and it was nice to see. We had a bit of a mix. I don't want to derail us, but we had a nice mix of people who had been to the Breakthrough Blueprint before and some people who were coming for the 1st time and to see the pages and pages worth of notes that people had in terms of breakthroughs for their business. It was really good. Some good book conversations as well. I'm excited for this one.
Dean: Yeah, we had lots going on. One of the things, I had an insight these last 3 days about it just kind of struck me how they seem to have noticed a pattern in the things that I do and they all seem to revolve around something we were talking about as calling the minimum effective dose is one of my favorite guiding principals. We've heard those words before and one of the things that I always think about is what is the least amount of effort or least amount of requirement to reach the objective that we're trying to reach?
I've learned and heard those words in a lot of different ways, but Tim Ferriss talks about them in the Four Hour Body how the basic concept of minimum effective dose is the idea that there's certain things where when you've got an objective you can take a certain dose of something that targets the results and there's a point at which more isn't adding to the effect. It's not making it, I like to say it's not making the boat goes faster. It's really just adding for the sake of adding. You know, there reaches a point where once you've reached the objective you don't need to continue doing more.
I've used that approach in a lot of different ways. One of the ways, of course, is the way that we use it with the 90-Minute Book. We've talked about that idea that I look at the objective of the book being to generate leads. If you're looking at a book for your business to generate leads to get in conversation with people who could be your ideal prospects that the minimum effective dose of a book, or the minimum viable product we've talked about before, is really all it takes. If you've got a book that is 50 pages or 40 pages or 60 pages, in the range of what we do with the 90-Minute Book, that really is the minimum effective dose. It gets the job done. If you're looking at having a book and you've got a title that your audience really resonates with and when they read it they say, "Oh, I liked that book," it's done it's job.
Stuart: I think it's kind of the effective use of energy, isn't it? We've talked a few times before about people having 100 units worth of effort to put into something. If you waste some additional effort on the 1st stage where you could be taking the effort and using it later as part of a follow on sequence or to deliver extra things. It's not so much that we're saying to people, "Use the minimum effective dose," because we're suggesting people being lazy or taking shortcuts.
Dean: Not at all.
Stuart: I think effective is the keyword there. It's the right amount for the right job at the right time.
Dean: Right. That's it. You're absolutely right. It's funny because these 3 days we had an author in the group who has written a Sunday Times. Is that the equivalent of the New York Times? There's a Sunday Times bestselling book and we were calculating that he had invested probably 500 hours in writing the book and how that was a lot of thought to sit down in writing a book.
Stuart: That is a lot of time.
Dean: When he's surprised by the thought that having a Sunday Times bestselling book would open the floodgates to all the people trying to seek him out and find him. He realized that's not what happens. Being a smart marketer, he's figured out how to find people and how to start relationships with them and the book has always been a great value for him in terms of building a reputation and getting the message out there as a long-term thing having a book in the world that 20 years from now will be just as relevant. He does not, in any way, regret having spent the time to write that kind of a book, but I really believe that most people, most business owners, most entrepreneurs or professionals or whoever is considering a book that most of the time I kind of go with Dan Sullivan's idea of the 80% approach that the fact that you invest your time in creating something that is just that, the minimum effective dose. What does it take to reach the objective that you're trying to reach with your book?
I look at it, for me, and I've done several of the 90-minute books, has been the way that I've done books prior to setting it up and creating it as a service that we offer for other people, it kind of developed out of the way that I write books. I think that what's appealing to people is that they know what to say. They know what the message is and I think that that's more important that you understand what you're trying to stay, what your message is than how many words it takes you to say it.
I had an epiphany today because it was really interesting to me that I've used this approach in everything that I do with marketing, not just in the 90-minute book being the minimum effective dose of a book, but also in everything around. I was thinking to myself how I developed this idea of a very minimal landing page where the only purpose of the landing page is to encourage people to leave their name and their email address so that they can download a copy of my book or get their email address so that we can engage with them and get their mailing address and send them a copy of the book. That really has stemmed through. I realized that probably 2016, so 1997, '98 when we first started making landing pages almost 20 years ago.
Stuart: The scary thing is there's probably people listening who were barely born back then.
Dean: Yeah. We have an author that is- How old is our young author? 17, I think? Conner Blakely, yeah, yeah. 17 years old. When you look at the pattern and it's still true about websites today that often people start by asking the question, "Well, what else?" That seems to be the pattern. Oh and we could add this and we could add this on our website and what I really found was that the less that I put on the website the more response I would get. The more names and email addresses. When I look at it, I let the objectives guide the content. If I look at it that the objective of the book is to have a book available with a title that my audience really wants to have. If I look at the book we did with Ms. Luba Winter, the Auto-Acne Cure, that book says exactly the right thing to exactly the right audience and no matter what they don't know or care whether it's 50 pages or 250 pages. It's got the title that promises the benefit that they want.
The 90-minute book format is really the minimum effective dose for having that book. Now, when you go to think about a landing page or where you're going to send people to get your book, you know like looking at our 90-Minute Book or looking at Email Mastery or any of the books that we've done with our authors, the things that we create are the very short landing pages with the objective of just getting people to leave their name and their email address so we can start a dialog with them. I look at things like that that my objective is to just get their contact information. It's not to convince anybody to do anything right now. It's just that I've got the book. You're in the right place. Here's where the book is. Just leave your contact information and we'll get the book out to you.
By the way, it's very simple for people to see that. I found when I was doing these webpages in 1997, '98, that the less options that there were on a page, like I find right now that people may put an opportunity for people to leave their name and their email to sign up for my newsletter or join my newsletter or whatever the offer is, but if it's buried among 10 or 12 or 15 other things that people can click on, they're going to get distracted and it's taking away from the core objective that I'm trying to reach with the webpage which is to just get in a conversation with people.
By stripping everything out, the minimum effective dose to get somebody's name and email is to match what got them there in the first place. They wanted to get the book, the 90-Minute Book. They go to 90minutebook.com. All they see is a landing page with a picture of the book. There it is. Here's how to write and publish your first book and then leave your name and your email address and that's it. When we do things like that, we're getting opt-in rates of 60% and 70% of the people who come to the site leaving their name and their email address. By focusing on the objective and then doing the minimum effective dose of what you need to do to reach that objective, your goals are in alignment and you end up winning that way. You get the most for the least.
Stuart: Absolutely. I think we've said before, the constraints are freeing and allow you to focus on the real job of work. One of the elements that I've heard you talk about before in terms of the landing page matching the ad so if people, a lot of people, I guess, listening to this will have seen perhaps the Facebook out that we've got from the 90-Minute Book certainly come through that landing page, but what people will notice that the ad copy in the very first place, the thing that people might see, all the words on a 9-word email, if we send them a 9-word email are very minimal. One single job will work. Absolutely targeted. The landing page, that's the only option they've got.
I've heard you described it before as someone has the thought from the ad, from the contact in the first place, someone has the thought that this is what I want to do. By presenting them with a landing page where that's the only option, it's almost incongruent that they don't fill in their details. They went there to do this 1 thing. This 1 thing is the only thing they can do; therefore, by not filling it in, it's almost not completing their own action. I think adding other stuff to it, so having a Facebook here or a newsletter opt-in over here separate from the book or click here for more information, it just gives people the opportunity to be distracted. It's not that the minimum- In the term minimum effective dose, the keyword isn't minimum, it's effective. That's what's the most effective. Fortunately, it's the minimum effort as well, giving more effort for other things.
Dean: That's the way I've found it, yeah. Thank God that the minimum is most effective because that's a win for everybody. I don't have to write so much. If the minimum effective dose of a book was 250 pages I wouldn't have any books on the market right now, you know? Thank God that the minimum effective dose is 50 pages and I'm able to crank those out.
Stuart: Absolutely. Again, I think that's the most effective communicating that single task that you're trying to do. That 1 job of work that you're trying to achieve. Start a conversation with them that you can then continue in another way. That's about the right size. Any larger than that you're starting to just put stuff in there that isn't cool. It's either going into multiple topics or you're starting to try to be convincing rather than compelling or, for whatever reason, you think that, "Okay, it's a physical book. A book equals 100 pages," going on the mindset from everybody else. Not actually stopping to think for a moment about what it is that you're trying to do. Just as you said before, what you're trying to do at this stage is make a invisible prospect visible. Get them to raise their hand and then start a dialog.
Dean: That's exactly right. That's the 3rd important part of this is start a dialog. The only thing that I want to do and you said something that reminded me that most of the people listening to this have come through and had an experience of this by seeing an ad or hearing somebody or hearing me talk about or hearing Dan Sullivan talk about or hearing somebody talk about this idea of a 90-minute book and that you could download, get a free copy of the 90-minute book by going to 90minutebook.com. Most of the people listening to this have had that experience. They've gone, they've left their name and their email address and then at some point probably they've received a 9-world email. We talk about if it's been 60 days or 90 days since we've engaged with somebody, one of the most effective things is sending a quick email where the objective is to determine is somebody still interested in writing a book. Sometimes the easiest way to determine that is to just ask. I mean, just say, "Hi, Stuart. Are you still interested in writing the book?"
Stuart: Oh, you mean it doesn't need 3 paragraphs of introduction beforehand?
Dean: When people see that or hear that concept it seems like so simple, simplified, but when I look at it it's the most effective way to reach that objective of seeing is somebody still interested in writing a book. We've seen that 9-word email. I did a full series of ads in Success Magazine, full-page ads, offering the Email Mastery book. The ad was just talking about the amazing 9-word email that revives dead leads and telling the whole story about that and giving people the 9 words which are just are you still interested in, fill in the blanks of whatever it is that you do.
We have lots of different examples of people using that and have used it with real estate agents saying, "Are you still looking for a house in Georgetown?" We had a gentleman who's used it for jujitsu. "Are you still interested in jujitsu classes or learning jujitsu?" Recruiter, executive recruiter had used to say, "Are you still available for work?" That's an interesting way to use it. Of course, we use it right here with, "Are you still interested in writing a book?" Once you just engage with somebody, once they respond to that email, it's done it's job. Right? The purpose, the objective of it is to engage in dialog with people who are still interested in whatever it is that you're doing. Your brother is a yacht broker and he sent the email, "Are you still looking for a yacht?"
Stuart: It works at every level because it's the most straightforward personal question you can be asked. The yacht example, people have heard us talking about it before, but that revealed a contact that had been buried in some other leads for a couple years and a reach out then started a conversation, these things don't happen overnight in the yacht industry, but it's leading towards $150 million yacht being built. To understand, a lot of people think, particularly if there's any kind of hint of a corporate background would say, "Oh, well, that wouldn't work in my industry because," but I think we've evidenced in industry after industry that that simple effective short expect a reply email is a perfect way to engage and I think ties in exactly as you were saying, it ties in perfectly with the sort of trifecta of the book approach. It's the most effective or minimum way of getting people to raise their hands. It's the most effective way of engaging them and then the most effective way of starting a dialog with them afterwards.
Dean: Mm-hmm, I agree.
Stuart: By the way, as well, it seems much more personal. I mean, some of the, just the stuff that we did, the number of replies we get where people are genuinely touched and affectionate that they've got a personal message. I think people get so desensitized to email and the whole kind of stereotype of emails barely being opened or responded to. I think that's when there's obviously it's just a news ad being sent out, the response rate and the engagement that we see from short personal emails it's through the roof.
I think circling that back to the authors in the 90-Minute Book program, writing a book that's the effective length, the minimum effective length to start that conversation, for anyone that works with us we set them up with a landing page that reflects or is set up in the same way as the 90-Minute Book page. Again, the 1 that we found to be the most effective we help or we craft for them just a short engaging email to begin with. That series, focusing at each stage on what it is you're trying to achieve. We're not trying to write a book so that you become a New York Times bestseller. We're not particularly writing a book so that you can sell copies, because for most people that's not as effective.
Being an author isn't the product in its own right. It's starting the conversation. Then helping them or writing for them at the beginning of a sequence that can identify those leads, capture those leads, and start he conversation. For the most part, we talk about the 90-Minute Book sales as a business tool, as a way of uncovering your visible leads and I think that this is, without a doubt, we've proved that this is one of the most effective ways of using a book like that because it's pulling all of the right levers to get traction and get engagement in the most effective way possible.
Dean: Right. I think that the practical way to start observing this and start applying this is to look at all the things that you're currently doing and just ask the question, "What would happen, where do we reach the point that all this extra effort is not going to make a difference?" That's a huge difference in the amount of work between 90 minutes and 500 hours. You have to ask and question where does the line, the ROI on the extra effort that it takes to create more. Is it effective? Is it adding anything? Is it what I call making the boat go faster?
When I look at my objective, the thing that I'm looking for is the number of people who will ask for the book, whether it's the Auto-Acne Cure, whether it's Email Mastery or the 90-Minute Book, whether it's the guide to Winter Haven health places, whatever it is, the thing that matters is at what rate, what's the percentage of the people who come to the landing page that leave their name and their email address? Right. I've seen that we're getting, as I mentioned, it's not unusual to get 60% to 70%, certainly 50% of the people who come to a page to leave their name and an email address. If you compare that to what your current website is doing, you're going to find that those numbers are very high. I find it, I mean, I'm surrounded by and friends with the people at the very top of the marketing world that are amazed by how high the opt-in rates are when you strip away all the excess stuff.
Stuart: All the distractions.
Dean: All the distractions. Where does it become a distraction, you know? Just like the minimally effective dose, it's not beyond 50 pages, it's not making the boat go faster. 50 pages is a minimum effective dose for a book to say that it's a book, yet it still feels like it's short enough that you could read it in 1 sitting. 150 pages is not making the boat go faster. The incremental return on the extra 100 pages is not getting you more opt-ins. It's not getting you more people to ask for it. The title is what does that.
Stuart: Exactly, exactly. Just exactly what I was going down as well. The title gets the opt-ins. It carries on the thought. 50 pages for the first book. That same amount of effort that you were to go into writing the additional 100 pages, you could write a 2nd or 3rd book aimed at a slightly different group or audience.
Dean: You could write a 2nd or 3rd book or you could write a series of 12 newsletters that will follow up with those people for a year.
Stuart: Yeah, yeah, which leads back to the other conversation. We're running up towards time so we'll have to pick this up in another show, but it follows onto the other conversation of the conversion rates over time of how many people are likely to commit in the first 90 days and then the following 12 months.
Stuart: We'll definitely pick it up in a future show, but absolutely not sacrificing everything just in that 1 shot. Having an orchestrated plan every time is definitely a better use of time and way more effective.
Stuart: Fantastic. Well, as I say, we're just about to run up on time. If anyone's interested in writing their own 90-Minute Book then obviously head over to 90minutebooks. You can reach us, just drop us an email to hello@90minutebooks if you've got any questions about the process and we'll get back to you. Betsy or Susan they're waiting to follow up on the calls. If you want to get started now, obviously there's no time like the present so just head over to 90minutebooks.com/start and then just think in the next 90 minutes of your time you could be one of the examples that we're talking about of people getting opt-in rates of 50, 60, 70%.
Stuart: Any last words from, I think you're 7 floors below me. Any last words from down there?
Dean: There we go. I think you've said, I think we've reached the minimum effective dose.
Stuart: Perfect. Okay Dean. Thank you.