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Yogi the Philosopher

It was the great American philosopher, Yogi Berra who said,

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Of course, Yogi’s wisdom doesn’t end there. On matters of life and death, he said,

“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

Some people called him a mystic, others a futurist. You decide,

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”


“The future ain’t what it used to be.”

We love you Yogi.

Then again, some might look to the orient for more practical wisdom. It was Confucius who said,

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

The C-man speaks sooth.

Many people believe it was also Confucius who said, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

But here they would have been caught in a little advertising deception, because that saying was the brainchild of Fred Barnard, an early 20th century ad man who was promoting the use of graphics in advertising.

He wrote the line in 1921 in an issue of Printer’s Ink (though the wording was slightly different) and then, in 1927, he restated it as a Chinese Proverb with the wording, “One picture is worth ten thousand words.”

When asked why he called it a Chinese proverb when it wasn’t, fast Fred said, “So people would take it seriously.”

Ever since then, however, the saying has been attributed to Confucius.

Whether Fred or Confucius, one thousand or ten thousand words, the datum is true – today more than ever.

In 2010, Mashable reported that YouTube was getting 2 billion views per day. Last year, the figure had increased to 3 billion views per day. In January 2012, PC World stated that YouTube was now receiving 4 billion views per day. Looked at another way, according to the company’s website, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Every minute!

People like pictures.

Videos yes, but even ads with a great graphics and little or no text attract the most attention and viewership.

Most people would prefer to look at a picture than read a bunch of text. I’m not saying don’t tell your story, but more graphics can do it for you the better.

Case in point.

Over the years by trial and error, I have now found an email marketing company who has great lists and whose campaigns get the best results of any I have used.

During the Christmas holidays I used them to promote my books and articles (http://johntrumanwolfe.com/products-page/ if you want to look around).

I let their graphics people design the piece- which they do at no charge – the creative was a combination of graphics and text.

The piece went out to fiction book buyers.

There was a dramatic increase in people going to the website, signing up for my newsletter and book sales went up handsomely.

After the email blast and two rebroadcasts, the list company sent me the stats.

They send the number of emails deployed, the number and percentage of those people that opened the email and the number and percentage of those that then clicked on the opened emails to go the website.

Three percent (3%) of the people receiving the email clicked through to the website. This was about 25% of the people who had opened the email.

It was a nice result for my book sales, but these are pretty standard industry numbers.

Fast forward to March.

I created an email piece for On Target Research to be sent to a list of corporate marketing directors. The piece was a graphic that a friend had drawn based on surveys we had done for ourselves.

I put this picture in the email to the corporate marketing directors. The piece was almost all graphic, a small bit of text.

The stats for this piece – just a bit of text added to this – tripled those of the earlier email blast to I’d sent to book readers.

Almost 10% of those that received the email clicked through to the site, compared to 3% for the book piece, and a jaw-dropping 76% of those that actually opened the email clicked through to the site.

The email company was stunned by the result, as was your truly. But then I shouldn’t have been because the ghost of Fred Barnard lives … A picture is worth a thousand words.

If you would like some help with your email marketing give us a call or shoot us an email.

We are doing some spectacular work for our client’s email campaigns. We can acquire great lists, help design the piece and write the copy.

Prices are reasonable, results are delicious.