Everything You Need to Know about the "Napkin Project"

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The Napkin Project is a training program developed by Ryan Deiss from the company Digital Marketer, which sells marketing training products. It’s technically called the “Million Dollar Napkin Project.” At the time of this writing, you can no longer sign up for this program. However, for many marketers, this training was fundamental in how they approached digital marketing campaigns.

Since the program is not available now, here are some takeaways from his lessons that every copywriter and digital marketer should know.

Business Processes Must Be Concise

If you haven't heard of him yet, Ryan Deiss is one of the world's leading digital marketers. His idea of the Napkin Project is in part that a business’s processes should fit on a napkin. They should be concise and easy to explain. In the same way that you should be able to tell someone your business’s entire pitch on a short elevator ride, your business’s strategy for marketing to new customers should also be written out in a concise manner.

Must Court Customers

With this training, businesses are encouraged to “court” or “date” customers before trying to sell to them. This might include giving away a valuable lead magnet that establishes trust first before sending out aggressive marketing emails or a free demo of a software program that your company sells. Since customers buy things from people they know and companies they trust, the idea was to first build the relationship with customers at the start of the process or sales funnel.

Small Purchases Make Customers

Ryan Deiss recommends that companies and marketers offer smaller things for customers to purchase instead of immediately trying to sell people your main product. The reasoning is simple. A small purchase is still a purchase and people are more likely to buy items from companies they already know.

It’s a very basic but often overlooked logic: a small purchase is impulsive in a way that a larger purchase is not. With big purchases, for example, customers need to research whether they want to spend $1,000 on new marketing software. On the other hand, the $10 Lite version is probably worth the purchase to see for yourself, right?

Offer an Upsell

After your initial purchase, too few companies think about what’s next for their relationship with customers. However, to maximize the profitability of each customer relationship, customers must be sold again. This can (and should) include an upsell. For instance, if a customer pays for a visit from a pest control company, the technician can offer the customer a yearly service plan, too.

In addition to the Napkin Project by Ryan Deiss, there are many other valuable training resources available to writers on the Digital Marketer website. While many of the pieces of training cost money, some of the key principles outlined in the training are available on the website’s expensive blog collection. Be sure to periodically peruse new posts to see if there’s anything else that you can learn.


The Napkin Project developed by Ryan Deiss has some valuable lessons for marketers. First, you should be able to explain your business strategy in a concise manner. Second, "dating" your customers and building a relationship increases your chances that the prospect will buy. Third, be aware that small purchases can lead to larger ones. And finally, offer an upsell. A customer who has made a small purchase is more likely to buy again.

Want to start building a relationship with your prospects? We can help get you started on your next marketing campaign. Book a call with us today.

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