How to fail at fundraising without really trying
Recently I found myself watching old clips of the various 2016 Republican debates, which Donald Trump pretty much dominated entirely.
Looking back to those debates in hindsight, it’s easy to think that Donald Trump was predestined to win the GOP nomination (and the presidency).
But that would be a mistake.
Reason is because all the “smart” money was on Trump going down in flames after the first presidential caucuses and primaries because he wasn’t “conservative” enough and broke all the supposed-taboos of conservatism about Big Government, taxes, spending, abortion, gay marriage, the Iraq war, NATO, gun rights, and even Israel-Palestine.
You name the issue, and Donald Trump, to quote Email Players newsletter publisher Ben Settle, “defied and defiled” his market’s norms.
Remember how everyone screamed “political suicide!” at that strategy?
Well, we all know how that turned out…
Trump beat his rivals (in both parties) silly all the way to White House.
Many called it a fluke––especially since for multiple reasons he failed to replicate his success in 2020, despite getting another 10 or 11 million more votes than he did in 2016.
But thinking that would also be a mistake.
While all the rest of his rivals were campaigning on what they wanted voters to care about ( estate taxes, entitlement reform, regime change wars, etc.) Trump was campaigning on what they actually cared about (political correctness, immigration, restrictions, the liberal media, anti-free trade, Islamic terrorism, and more spending for rural and Republican voters)!
For better or worse, voters didn’t actually about what the other candidates were selling.
It’s a great example of the dangers of losing touch with your market (i.e., your donors or customers).
To quote from the late great Robert Colliers––one of the greatest direct response copywriters in history:
“Always enter the conversation already occurring in your customer’s mind.”
You could have the best written sales or fundraising letter on earth, but if it’s about an issue your market doesn’t care about, you’ve lost before you’ve even begun.
This is why you need to be constantly communicating with your market, getting into their world, figuring out what problems and desires of theirs you can solve.
Doing so correctly practically guarantees you success, even if you’re copy isn’t particularly good.