The Hawke Method

The Hawke Method

Erik Huberman

The Hawke Method is filled with useful information, though the writing itself leaves much to be desired. It rambles in the sense that every other page contains a plug for one of his clients and/or partners, but if you can ignore the fact that the book is an ad filled with other ads, it’s useful. For anyone starting their business, unsure what marketing even means, I do recommend reading this book. All pertinent and actionable information can be found on pages 11-12, 27-30, 32, 36, 48-49, 52, 70, 75-77, 86, 89, 100-101, 106-111, 116-118, 121-122, 129, 144, and 145.

I will first say that this book contains a lot of good information and second say that I heavily disliked it. Huberman describes marketing in very human-centric terms, emphasizing trust and nurturing relationships, all the while referring to consumers as wallets. The goal is to find a gentle way to pressure people into buying your product and to get the largest slice of their wallet possible. He at one point refers to nurturing a consumer as “squeezing more juice out of every orange,” which is not only disconcerting imagery, but a less than kind way to think of other human beings (91). Huberman is knowledgeable and offers a lot of valuable information, but he also comes across as predatory (e.g., he dislikes the FTC’s ruling that influencers have to disclose when they’re promoting a product; 146-147) and deceitful (e.g., he wrote an article about his own firm being one of the top five marketing consultancies, then sent it to Entrepreneur to be printed under someone else’s name; 74-75).

Pages 11-12 state that marketing is a tripod. Your company or product sits atop the tripod, and the three legs holding it up are awareness (ads, special events, promotional campaigns, etc.), nurturing (How you interact with the consumer from the moment they learn about your product onward), and trust (customer reviews, word-of-mouth, brand, etc.). If any of the legs are taken away, the tripod topples. 

Pages 27-30 relay that delivering an ad in a moment of pause makes the consumer more likely to click and buy. If they’re already doing something else, they’re more likely to find the ad annoying. That’s one of the reasons ads on Facebook tend to work well. If your product solves an urgent problem (e.g., a DUI), google tends to work better, as people most often google when attempting to solve an immediate problem. Affiliate marketing is where another company markets your product and takes a percentage of sales earned (e.g., if BuzzFeed writes an article and links consumers to your business). This can be useful, if the affiliate marketers’ goals align with your own, but it can hurt, too. Affiliates often only care about short-term profits, not retaining consumers for you, and can under or over-sell without care for how it impacts your brand. If the profits don’t immediately roll in, they’re likely to stop promoting the product and may be unwilling to work with you again. 

“One way to reclaim customer ownership from Amazon is to give customers a reason to reach out to you from within your product or packaging. You can even offer something special, like a bonus item, coupon, or instant rebate (32).” Huberman recommends having the budget to double or triple down on any advertising channel you’re willing to use, as there’s no point in advertising if, when the tactic works, you can’t afford to continue (36). He goes on to say that elevator pitches are too long and recommends using drive-by pitches instead. ‘Drive-by pitches’ are 5-7 words communicating the value of your product or company. It’s best to test different variations of these drive-by pitches on people and go with what works best (48-49). Referral incentives work well, but the rewards for referrals have to match the amount of effort expended by the consumer. Money is often an ineffective incentive (52). 

In terms pitching PR, it’s best to pitch not what you want to sell, but what your journalist’s audience wants to read about (70). Pages 75-77 go on to say that PR is largely about controlling the narrative. When deciding what to write for PR, think in terms of telling stories and answer the question: “What narratives do you either want to squash or highlight?” 

When you display an advertisement, most people don’t purchase on the spot. The average purchase cycle (i.e., the time between seeing an ad and actually buying) is three weeks for a $50 order, five weeks for a $100 order, and six weeks for a $200 order (86). Facebook only shows purchases in 28-day cycles, which means longer purchase cycles are often cut off and unseen. You can retarget ads to show your ad to people who just visited your site (or similar sites) on social media sites. This gives the impression that your company or product is everywhere and instills a sense of third-party validation. It’s important to follow up after a purchase, too, as “the user’s experience directly after their initial purchase will drive word-of-mouth more than anything else. When your customer experiences your product for the first time, they make a judgment call (89).” 

Pages 100-101 introduce the concept of calculating a purchase cycle while pages 106-111 go into detail over calculating true Return on Investment (tROI). The purchase cycle or conversion period can be calculated by averaging the time between a consumer landing on your website and clicking ‘purchase.’ The period between a consumer finding out about you and purchasing your product is optimal for targeting and nurturing potential clients. To calculate tROI, you first need to calculate lifetime value (LTV) and cost to acquire customer (CAC). 

Lifetime value is the amount of money spent by the consumer over their ‘lifetime.’ To calculate LTV, define your cohort (i.e., the group of consumers you’ll be tracking). The cohort is often grouped by date of first purchase, as the LTVs of someone who’s been buying for five years versus someone who made their first purchase yesterday will be wildly different. Choose a timeframe (generally a year or less, for most small to mid-level businesses), and check how much money was spent by the cohort in that timeframe. Cost to acquire customer is the amount spent on the ad(s) that drew the customer to your site as well as any nurturing processes (e.g., welcoming emails, reminder emails, coupons, etc.) that brought them to the sale. tROI is calculated by dividing the LTV by the CAC. 

Huberman recommends aiming for a tROI of four times the CAC or higher. That means for every one dollar spent, you earn four more. He recommends this calculating method over return on ad spend (ROAS), as ROAS doesn’t take purchase cycle into account. 

Pages 116-118 explore email marketing. “Promotional email campaigns netted 111% year-over-year improvement. And just by incorporating a good, email-welcome-series, conversion rates can improve by 50% to 300%. There’s even an opportunity to boost sales through order and shipping confirmations. The conversion rates for these transactional messages jumped 346% from 2019 to 2020.” Adding an email pop-up box causes 10% more people to subscribe. Welcome emails (automated emails sent when a person subscribes) are ranked as “the highest converting automation,” with a 51.9% conversion rate. 

After the welcoming email, Huberman recommends setting up an automated series of emails which last the length of your purchase cycle and send in decelerating cycles (e.g., two days, then four, then five, ten nine, etc.). It’s best to use different material for each email (e.g., a coupon, positive press, best-selling items, etc.) as different people buy for different reasons. The key is not to let potential consumers forget about you. Similarly, when someone places an item in their cart, then leaves without buying, it shows serious intent to purchase. By sending an email alerting them that they left something in their cart, you get an extra 33.9% conversion rate. 

When purchasers get through the end of your repurchase period without visiting your site, sending a “winback” email saying something as simple as, “We miss you,” has a 21.27% conversion rate. Huberman also says to automate your email messages based on buyer behaviors rather than doing email blasts for your entire list. For example, you don’t want to send a discount to someone who bought something last week. He recommends only sending email blasts on specific dates, like holidays and with large announcements. 

Pages 121-122 discuss SMS marketing. While ten times more effective than email marketing, it’s delicate and requires proactive customer service. Huberman suggests that when someone leaves something in their cart, you should text them reminding them that they haven’t checked out and ask if they have any questions. Page 129 states that loyalty programs work best when you give consumers enough points to redeem a reward after 2-3 purchases. Page 144 circles back to PR, stating that once you have good PR and third-party validation, you should share it everywhere. The PR doesn’t matter if your leads and potential clients don’t know about it. Lastly, page 145 returns to pitching press, stating that, “Headlines matter. (…) When crafting an article, read your headline as if it’s the only thing the customer sees.”

And now, as far as pertinent and useful information goes, you’ve read The Hawke Method. If you liked this and found it useful, please share it on your socials and with your friends. You can sign up for my newsletter here. If you have any books you’d like to see on Too Busy for Books, you can contact me here. I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Thanks for reading,


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