Plus an enormously powerful breakthrough within these pages!
It’s 10am on the Monday of a Public Holiday and I’m writing this newsletter out of sheer frustration and anger! You see I have just been critiquing some “work” sent in by some of my clients, most of whom claim to have studied my material at least once and to have “followed everything” I have told them to do. Well all I can say is judging by what I’m seeing, it doesn’t show!
It’s the same old same old; no bold headline, no guarantee, no testimonials, no benefits, no bullet points and would you believe it , NO OFFER! In some cases, there is no method of response provided. Now don’t think for a moment that I’m picking on you alone. The truth is, you know more about writing a money making ad than 95% of the population; thing is, 95% of the population have an excuse for being advertising victims, YOU DON’T!
Here, I have spotlighted a great, ugly, gaping hole in the $$$ buckets of many business owners. And most will not even miss the $$’s which fall through it because it was not even collected in the first place. And you can put it down to atrocious advertising before any other “$$$ leaking hole” in your business.
So I have decided ot fix it once and for all because I am sick to death of critiquing the same old mistakes year in, year out. After this Newsletter, I will simply refuse to critique any ads or sales letters which don’t follow my recipe for creating sales spitting $$$ ads! What I will do, is send the dismal, clearly uneducated failures back with a note saying “Re read sections on Ads and Sales letter writing and then do some WORK! Only then, send me your ads and material to be critiqued!
Now I can hear some of you bleating “But Mal, I just want you to do it all for me, I don’t actually want to do any work myself”. OK, here’s my list of charges for Sales letters. They start at $7,000 plus 1% royalty for 5 years! For me to write a sequence of ads, Sales Letters and Farming Letters, the charge would be $12,000 to $20,000 +2% royalty.
It’s not my intention to sound like a braggart in saying that if you were to hire me to write your ad material, it would probably be one of the best investments you ever make! I have written Sales Letters and ads which have generated hundreds of thousands of $$$, even millions of $$$, some 5 years after I first wrote them! So how do you put a price on that?? You can’t!
And the truth is, most of you can’t …… or won’t be prepared to part with the kind of $$ – and that’s fine. There is absolutely no point in me “doing it all for you” in your critique, because it’s critically important that you learn the simple skill yourself – so that you can literally “print money” legally, any time you like.
The reason I’m talking about how much money I’ve made from writing powerful sales copy, is to highlight the undeniable value there is in taking the time to learn the skill! You only have to learn it ONCE in order to apply the same formula to every ad or copy piece you write in the future.
You’ve probably heard me say it before and I’ll say it again. In business, you perform every task to your level of incompetence!
So if it improves your competency level in a marketing and sales sense, this simple skill will become the most valuable and highest money generating skill you possess. I guarantee it!
So listen up, because you’re going to love this. Why? Because it’s so SIMPLE a child could do it! I actually know a couple of kids who would take to the task with relish and I have no doubt, do the formula great justice within their range of vocabulary and life experience.
Here is my cash “spitting” secret formula:
- PROBLEM (Remind the reader – your target market, that they have a problem)
- AGGRAVATE the problem
- SOLVE the problem
- PROVE that your solution works
- CALL to ACTION – Offer.
Your headline must quickly attract the attention of a group of people with a particular problem. Remember, it’s the thing that keeps them awake at night that you are reminding them of – and it’s the first thing they think of when they wake up in the morning.
The reason you need to “flag” the problem is because every single buying decision is based on ‘pain to pleasure’, ‘problem to solution’. That’s also why a lot of Mail Order people get stuck on product – they’re looking for a product when in fact they ought to be looking for a problem to solve.
Let’s look at some “Problem” orientated headlines.
Corns Gone in 5 Days or it’s FREE Your Car Repaired Right the First Time or it’s Free Until it is! ATTENTION MEN – Do You Suffer from Sexual Dysfunction? Learn to Make Money Trading Options in 44 Days! Learn to Buy 7 Properties in 7 Years and Retire Rich in 10 Years How To Lose Weight and Reshape Your Body with Pilates ANNOUNCING – Immediate Relief for Toothache
The trick is to only sell SOLUTIONS and the more desperate your targeted client is for the solution, the more they will pay for it.
I’ll prove it to you. Take a man who has a very painful toothache that’s kept him up all night, depriving him of sleep. Put this sleep deprived fellow in a room full of Megan Gale look a likes – and he is unlikely to notice them! At least until his toothache begins to wear off!
Or maybe he’s dedicated Collingwood supporter and you offer him a FREE VIP ticket to watch his favorite team win the Grand Final and guess what – while he’s in extreme pain, he couldn’t care less – at least until the pain wears off. Offer him the Lotto numbers in next week’s draw and still he will struggle to get his head straight until he is pain free!
BUT if I were to offer to immediately relieve his toothache – then I’ve GOT him! Don’t sell him something he wants – sell him something he HAS TO HAVE! (the solution to his problem!)
All Sales letters and ads must have a headline and the purpose of that headline is to get the attention of your prospect! A simple test of how good a headline is, would be to put it in an ad by itself , devoid of any other copy, except for the contact telephone number and see if you get any calls! The headline must be able to stand alone!
Your headline should leave nothing to chance. You see you have .07 of a second to get your prospect’s attention. That’s why trying to use humour or getting your prospect to ‘think’ generally doesn’t work, certainly not as well as the alternative.
2. AGGRAVATE the PROBLEM:
In your next paragraph after the headline, aggravate the problem even further!
Here are some examples of bolded subheads. For your information, the type of product being promoted has been added in capitals above each subhead:
BOOK PROMOTING FRUIT AND VEG FOR HEALTH
“Do you suffer from arthritis, headaches, insomnia, stress, hay fever, anxiety, high or low blood pressure, constipation or bowel disorders, hair loss, asthma, skin conditions or low libido? If you do you’re not in the best of health and need help!”
SEXUAL ENHANCEMENT PRODUCT
“Do you suffer from lack of libido? Do you have problems getting and maintaining erections? Are you struggling to satisfy your lover?”
“If you struggle to find an exercise that doesn’t demand hours in the gym and isn’t of a high impact nature, which can often result in serious long term stress injuries, ……….”
“Do you spend hundreds of dollars on an array of health related products for specific ailments, not to mention hundreds more a month for cleaning products, which research shows can damage our health anyway?”
Here you need to play on the emotions of the reader. Remember the 5 E (Emotional) factors? They are:
1. Love 2.Pride 3.Greed 4.Guilt 5. Fear
Out of these 5 factors, it is FEAR of loss, which evokes the most powerful emotion influencing us to buy.
Try to include some or ALL of these in your copy and the sale will be yours! Paragraphs such as the ones above could easily stand alone as a sub headline.
1. SOLVE the PROBLEM: Everybody is tuned to the same radio station WIIFM – What’s in it for ME? Tell your prospects right up front, what’s in it for them and you have a better chance of getting them to continue reading. Try to use short paragraphs, single sentences and bullet points making your copy easier to read. Think of the bullets as “little headlines” revealing BENEFITS to the reader in having your product or service. Remember, different people are motivated by different benefits and that’s why you must include “benefit packed” bullet points in your copy. If you have a full page of bullets, you may want to bold alternate bullet points. This will make them easier to read.
2. PROVE it WORKS: The greatest barrier to a sale that exists, is lack of trust. Let’s face it, we have justifiably become somewhat cynical, given the volume of lies we have been fed, seemingly on a daily basis. It’s little wonder we trust no-one today. Not only that, consumers are far more informed and have more choice than ever before. As a seller and who isn’t, you can choose to be a tactician and embrace people’s reasons for not buying. Instead of viewing their reticence to buy as a stumbling block, see it in a whole new light as a stepping stone to the sale! What your prospective client is really saying is
“Look I’m really interested, but you haven’t quite convinced me yet, to spend the money with you or someone else – or at all! Please tell me more.”
As a tactician, you have a wealth of “tools” at your disposal, to turn this situation right around. These are:
- Scientific data
- Before and after photos
TESTIMONIALS are the most under utilized marketing tools as I see it. And a testimonial provided by a satisfied customer is at least 1,000 times better than anything you can say about yourself.
By the way, I’m NOT talking about the kind of testimonial that goes something like this:
“I went to Mal Emery’s Boot Camp and it was great” D. B. Melbourne
Not only is the testimonial rather meaningless, whom among you would trust D.B. Melbourne?
“After Mal Emery’s Boot Camp, I sent out 28 letters that resulted in $30,000 in…… one week!”
Chris Bloor, Quality Business
Institute, Balcatta Ph: 0500 534 555
That is actually an authentic testimonial broken down into a precise headline and leaves nothing to the imagination. Make your testimonials meaningful and specific, not vague and general.
Testimonials can take different forms. At my Boot Camp, for example, I passed the microphone around to hear first hand what attendees had to say and recorded on both video and audio as it happened. It then became a simple process to have DVD, video, audio cassette and CD recordings made. I also chose sections of the recordings to be transcribed into print, thereby creating a whole manual of Boot Camp testimonials. Does that sound like powerful “proof”?
SCIENTIFIC DATA: I often use such information appropriate to the product. There is an abundance of information readily available these days, about virtually anything you would care to know. Of course the Internet is an amazing resource and so are libraries and government agencies. I continually scoured newspapers for relevant information. In today’s (Monday 29th Sept 2003) Western Australian, there is an interesting article on page 32, I would recommend you read, reprinted here for you (Example 1). Regardless of whether you are a business person or a politician, I think it is important.
GUARANTEES: Another under utilized marketing tactic! And here again, the more meaningful and specific your guarantee, the more powerful it will be.
Before I get into it, let me tell you a great story about how one man found a way to overcome a very tricky area relating to guarantees. You see he runs a dog shelter ; his business is actually a non profit organization, which precludes him from returning money to donors., in fact it would be illegal. This is how he overcame his problem in a fund raising appeal letter:
WHAT? A GUARANTEE FROM A CHARITY? YOU BETCHA!
Here’s something BRAND NEW and NEVER SEEN BEFORE in charity appeals – A GUARANTEE. Never in the history of non profits has a charity offered you a guarantee. Dedication & Everlasting Love to Animals is the first charity in America to go on record with this groundbreaking guarantee because we are so sure you won’t be able to call us on it! You have nothing to lose in donating to our animal shelter today. With our No-Risk Guarantee, you have upto a year to visit our Super shelter and see for yourself, it is everything I’ve said it is and more! If it isn’t, I’ll take the donation you send to our animals today and mail it to any other animal charity of your choice. That’s more than fair and that’s the proof you should be offered from every charity asking for your heartfelt contributions today. So please rush your life-saving gift to our animals now and come on a Member’s Tour to see for yourself how we spent it.
It isn’t hard to rub your peers up the wrong way; especially if they are involved in an industry which is notoriously “strung out”. The above guarantee certainly has the potential to do so, being in a usually “guarantee free” industry.
Another strategy is “buying the appointment”. By that I mean asking for a block of time on the phone or even in person, in which you make your offer, backed by a guarantee that states that if what you are offering does not work, you will pay for the block of time. See below…
“Give me ____ minutes. If I fail to show you at least # ___________________________ you did not know about – and that your ____________ had not told you about – and you honestly feel I wasted your time, just say the word and I will pay you $______________ as my penalty, right on the spot, cash on your desk. That’s how certain I am ………………”
As an example, this might read …
“Give me 19 minutes. If I fail to show you three strategies for improving response to your existent advertising or extracting more value from your leads that your ad agency has not told you about – and you honestly feel I wasted your time, I will pay you $500 …………….”
When a guarantee won’t help.
No matter how bold or powerfully put, if your message is delivered to a poorly selected, unresponsive market, or the proposition itself is bascially of no interest, no guarantee will help! And of course if you cannot deliver on your guarantee, you are playing with fire!
You may remember the story I tell about Warren Scobie-Smith of “Tippy’s Pizza”. For those of you who don’t, Warren bought a package of information from me some years ago and after going through it thoroughly, asked me to have lunch with him in Freo.
First, we met at Warren’s pizza shop and got down to tin tacks. Warren had been frustrated at not being able to get his turnover and more importantly profit up, despite the fact that his product was obviously of a high quality and had attracted a band of loyal customers. He was service orientated and although pizza shops involve late hours, Warren enjoyed his business. But still he struggled to make the business pay as well as he’d have liked and he couldn’t fail to notice that pizza chains close by seemed to enjoy far better patronage, even though their product was nowhere near the quality or value of his own.
As we sat sipping coffee, Warren pointed to an enormous stack of pizza trays with a sweep of his hand and said “See all those? I’m trashing them. I’m going to get smaller trays – the same size as the chains use and I’m going to reduce the amount of topping I put on the pizza to the quantity they use and see if I can get the margins up!”
I asked, “So your trays are bigger?” The answer was yes. “And you use more topping?” He affirmed he did.
I looked slowly around the bare walls of his shop and said “Well you’re keeping that a good secret, aren’t you Warren?”
Warren looked a bit miffed so I said, “Where are you telling that story? You’re making bigger, tastier pizzas with more toppings than the pizza chains, but you’re not telling anyone!”
“I put TWICE the toppings on my pizzas!”, he said.
That day I introduced Warren to a particular kind of guarantee – a UBA a Unique Buying Advantage. Those of you who have my material will know I have dedicated whole newsletters and chapters to this powerful strategy. A Unique Buying Advantage is a compelling benefit you offer, which sets it apart from all other businesses – only instead of hoping people will work it out for themselves, you ARTICULATE it where you KNOW they can’t miss it!
Within a few short minutes, I had Warren’s UBA guarantee.
“Bigger, fresher, better tasting pizza with twice the toppings of the pizza chains or it’s FREE”
That single strategy was responsible for not only increasing his turnover by $4000 per week within four weeks, it enabled him to save $600 per week by cutting out institutionalized advertising in his local paper. But think bigger picture! When Warren finally sold his business, he did so for $80,000 more than the first offer he received for it some six months before! Just to further support my stance on UBA’s, I have reprinted an article in which the reasons why this UBA was so outrageously successful, are explained. (see Example 2)
So now, how about this guarantee?
“I guarantee great pizzas”
Well it’s better than nothing, but only just! For those of you who’ve read this far, I want to make it really worth your while in terms of $$$.
What about TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!
“Oh my God, you couldn’t possibly do that, you’d go broke!”
WRONG! Well, you might, but only if your product is crap – and I don’t see too much crap out there. But I do see businesses struggling, despite the fact that they sell great products. SO it should be clear that product alone won’t save you – but your guarantee might!
So let’s talk about TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!
Here’s how it works. OK, I am selling a “How to Make Serious Money on the Internet” product. It’s price is $267 + $12. First I run an ad and sell 12% of inquires over 3 mailings. So that 12 sales per 100 @ $267 + $12 total = $279 x 12 = $3348, if I mailed the lot three times. It would cost about $2 per mailing each time x 100 x 3 = $600. Cost of goods is $40 x 12 = $480. So my profit is $3348 -$600 -$480 = $2268Then I get 6% returns 2 x 267 = $534. So my final figure is $2268 -$534 = $1734.
Not bad for a day’s work! But have a look here! If I offered it “Try before you buy”, it’s quite probable that my ‘sales’ would increase 100%, 200%, even 500%! But let’s say it’s only 60%, that’s fair. Now I have 19 sales x $279 = $5301 less cost of goods (10 x $40) = $760, except this time we are only going to mail them once, so $5301 -$760 -$200 = $4341.
OK, let’s say, worst case scenario, my returns double! Now my “Try before you buy” scenario becomes $4341 – (4 x 267)= $1068 = $3273, instead of $1734. That’s $1539 you’re up in total, or 89% increase in sales!
Anyone interested in increases of that percentage? Folks, what did I really give away? NOTHING! I just took a bit longer to collect my money because I promised I wouldn’t swipe any cards until after 21 days!
I tested this tactic recently at an evening seminar held at the University of WA. I simply offered the attendees the opportunity to “Try before they Buy” on a $997 product; of course they had to place an order on the night and agree to pay postage and handling costs. I validated the orders by signing them there and then. The end result was heaps of sales and a stampede to get the orders to me. At this point no orders have been returned. I shall keep you posted in future newsletters!
To prove how confident I am about this, you can buy anything I sell (* provided I control the selling process) and all you have to do is give me a valid credit card number for the next 21 days, pay the postage, handling and insurance price up front, or in the case of a seminar, a registration fee and you can try before you buy it. All you have to do is say to my staff, “I want to try before I buy” your ………..”
We will charge your credit card for the postage, handling and insurance or registration only and post the product to you immediately. If you nominate a seminar as the product you want to ‘try before you buy’, simply tell us at the end of the seminar if you do not want to pay for it – and you won’t. There, I can’t be fairer than that.
BEFORE and AFTER PHOTOS: These are very powerful and used widely in the weight loss industry. I have also seen them used recently and with reported great success, in a “renovation” video.
Joe Gerarde, a man who has sold more cars per year than any other car salesman, for the past fifteen years or so according to the Guinness Book of Records, uses before and after photos showing happy clients taking delivery of their new cars – in sequence! Every couple of years when it’s time to trade or upgrade the car, another photos is taken to add to the collection. These are displayed strategically around the walls of his office. There are even family photos showing Joe selling cars to the siblings of the original buyers. I’m told Joe has five assistants he’s so busy!
Finally … Call to Action: I have covered this ad nauseam too, but sadly and incredulously, it still gets missed! So here is a snippet from a previous newsletter to refresh your memory.
If you don’t have a call to action, you’ve wasted your time and money. To paraphrase Zig Ziglar, is your Free Report a “sales professional” or a “professional visitor”? Tell the prospect exactly what to do, when, why, and what will happen when he does. It’s helpful to offer an immediate-gratification incentive for that requested action, too.
So there it is, the simplest formula for writing great copy, that you will ever find! Following are some samples I have scribbled on where appropriate, to help you identify the use of this formula.