The Supreme Marketing Advantage (Copywriting Tip #6)

Copywriting Tip 6 Trust

Quick Copywriting Tip #6: Trust is EVERYTHING.

I got a bunch of hate mail a few weeks ago. Actually, the Vice President of one of my clients got hate mail…because of something I wrote.

Here’s one of the notes:

“I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE BUT YOU SENDING ME INSULTING EMAILS IS UNPROFESSIONAL AND I’M GLAD I DIDN’T GET INVOLVED WITH [ client name withheld] AND THANKS TO YOU NEVER WILL.” (Emphasis mine)

The sales reps were upset that they had to deal with a barrage of emails like these.

The VP, whose name was on the offending message, had mixed feelings. Sales were through the roof (relative to the norm)…on a product that’s somewhat difficult to sell. But “potential buyers” were upset with him.

As I said to the Mr. Vice President, “The people who complain are probably never going to become paying customers anyway. This kind of reaction is how you know you’re doing it right!

Direct response involves forcing people to pick a side and being willing to lose some people along the way — if you’re doing it right.

“I’m glad I didn’t get involved with you…”

Let’s focus for a moment on the angry, all caps email I shared above.

The final line brings a crucial issue to light: you need to get good at gaining people’s TRUST.

This guy suspected that he couldn’t trust my client – and the marketing message that pushed him over the edge proved (in his mind) his suspicion was correct.

We all face this obstacle. But we don’t always use trust as an opportunity.

In the copy I wrote, my client came across more as a salesperson (which he is) than an expert or leader (which is is). And it’s hard to trust salespeople.

Everything in the message was true. Honesty isn’t enough to make people trust you. It’s just the beginning!

Earning the kind of trust that makes it easy (or at least easier) for prospects to become clients takes work.

Pillars of Proof

At a conference in Denver earlier this month, Patrick Bove, Senior Copywriter at Stansberry Research described 5 Pillars of Proof you should be using to defeat skepticism and win trust from your should-be clients. Here’s a very quick overview from a mind-blowing session:

Financial Copywriter Patrick Bove Stansberry

Proof of Character

  • Who are you? Why should I believe you?
  • What’s your track record? What achievements can verify your expertise?

Proof of Story

  • How do I know you’re not making this stuff up?
  • Are there 3rd party sources that verify the point you’re making?

Proof of Catalyst

  • Why is your story important to me NOW

Proof of Product

  • Demonstration: Don’t just tell me about your product. Show me it works.
  • Who does it work for and when? Who is it not right for?

Social Proof

  • Testimonials, case studies, etc.

Notice how testimonials are great, but they’re just not enough to convince people anymore. If you want to make trust your supreme marketing advantage, you’ll have to go much further.

The good news is, your competitors aren’t doing any of this. Once you start implementing these ideas, you’ll probably be light-years ahead.

—–

Check out the other 13 Quick Copywriting Tips here.

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Desperate Times, Desperate Measures (Copywriting Tip #3)

copywriting tips

Quick Copywriting Tip #3: Force your reader to “pick a side.” Don’t allow him to sit comfortably on the fence.

They say “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

“They” are wrong. Desperate measures are always called for. More accurately, they’re almost always necessary.

Why? Because most of your should-be customers, the ones who desperately need your product or service, are sitting on the fence. I guarantee it.

A small percentage of prospects will buy with minimal effort on your part. Most of them take more work. It’s your job to lead them into making the smartest decision.

You can’t lead them anywhere while they’re sitting up there, can you? You’re going to have to push/pull them down.

Here’s an example you’re probably familiar with: Proactiv Solution. If you’ve seen the TV commercials, magazine inserts, online banner ads and who knows what else, you know they use every tool in the shed to make you choose:

  • up-close before and after photos that remind you of the pain you feel and offer relief
  • celebrity spokespeople to grab your attention and win your trust
  • clinical research for credibility
  • showing up in your face every day, in as many places as possible
  • storytelling which push emotional hot buttons like embarrassment, guilt, and even the shakiness of your romantic life (see below)

Proactiv emotional copywriting tip

Your message should repeatedly attempt to force your audience to pick a side.

Struggle with the problem, or choose the solution.”


Does Proactiv play dirty? Maybe. But they believe their cause is a righteous one. They believe they’re improving people’s lives — and providing jobs in the process.

The cost is too high to be soft-spoken.

Check out all 13 Quick Copywriting Tips

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Foolproof Attention-Getting Tactics of Great Copywriters

attention-getting copywriting secrets

How do you break through the hullabaloo that your “should-be” customers are immersed in and get YOUR message across?

Well, it starts with attention. “Have I got your attention? Good.” **Queue scene from Glengarry Glen Ross**

I got the chance to spill some of what I’ve learned about getting attention online, in print and in person on The Small Business Marketing Report podcast (now called the Click and Convert Podcast) with Robert Tyson.

In 56 minutes, we discussed:

  • How to use hidden dangers and unexpected consequences to draw people to your message like moths to a flame
  • Why certain kinds of statistics get shared on social media
  • Why picking a fight is often great for business (and how to benefit even if you don’t do the fight-picking)
  • How to use personality… and how much personality is too much?
  • How to use secrets and codes for almost guaranteed attention

Check out “The Psychology of Attention: 5 Foolproof Ways to Grab ‘Em by the Eyeballs”

Or, if you prefer, you can listen on iTunes or Stitcher.

Honestly, I’ve been fiending to be a guest on The Small Business Marketing Report podcast for quite some time, and I’m a big fan of Robert and his co-host Sean Clark, so I’m excited about this.

Enjoy!

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Science of Copywriting: Blab with Lamar Tyler

Copywriting Blab with Lamar Tyler

For me, Lamar Tyler is one of my top answers to the question “If you could spend an hour with one person/celebrity, who would it be?” I have a TON of respect and admiration for Lamar’s business acumen, leadership and brilliance. Plus, he’s one of the coolest guys you’d ever want to meet.

Last weekend, I got my hour with the man.

Lamar hosted the inaugural Traffic, Sales and Profit Lunch and Learn on Blab, and I had the honor of being his first guest. We discussed a lot of topics close to my heart, like:

  • What is a unique selling proposition (USP)?
  • How do I make people want what I sell?
  • The differences in writing emails, landing pages, general web copy, etc.
  • The most painful mistakes people make when writing copy
  • When it’s time to hire a professional copywriter
  • “Why can’t I find a good copywriter?”
  • and plenty more.

I also revealed the most powerful characteristics of email copywriting — and why some people should NOT hire a copywriter to write their emails for them. (I’ve told potential clients on multiple occasions I couldn’t do better than what they’re doing.)

Check it out: The Science of Copy Lunch & Learn

An Important Point I Didn’t Make in the Interview

I realized after the Blab that I forgot an significant point when we talked about why it’s sometimes difficult to find a good copywriter. If you’re expecting a stranger to instantly create a miraculous transformation of your business, you might be expecting too much.

Your copywriter isn’t (necessarily) weak just because he can’t make your boring offer exciting…or make a dead mailing list suddenly spring to life.

I’ve often quipped that I do work miracles, just not on demand. (Yes, I’ve said it to potential clients.) Even copy that seems brilliant doesn’t work 100% of the time. Believe me, I know from embarrassing experience. All of the pros have. For optimal results, you have to make the right offer to the right audience at the right time.

On the other hand, a great offer or a hot list can make even a pedestrian copywriter look like a superstar…

Resources mentioned during the conversation:

Lamar’s Traffic, Sales and Profits private Facebook Group

Bencivenga Bullets

The Gary Halbert Letter

 

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Big Mistakes Small Businesses Make: Podcast

copywriting mistakes small businesses make

What’s are the biggest mistakes small business owners and solopreneurs make?

Well, I can name a handful of major ones — and I dealt with a couple of them during my guest appearances on the Rhino Daily Podcast with Steve Sipress.

Steve is a well-respected, well-connected guy in the direct marketing world. He gets excited about big marketing ideas that help small businesses make big money.

Naturally, we get along very well.

He brought me on the show to talk about some of the most painful mistakes entrepreneurs make when sitting down to write sales copy…and how to fix them. In the short time I had, I gave a few specific tips:

  • Make your message about your customer, not so much about yourself. Even your “About Me” page should really not be about you
  • Never forget to appeal to the emotion. I gave one tip that even the least exciting industries can use to crank up the emotional volume of their messages
  • Boring = marketing death. How do you make a boring business interesting? What are the only two things your prospects are guaranteed to be interested in? You’ll have to listen to find out my prescription
  • “3 strikes and you’re out” is bad way to think about marketing, but it’s better than the “one and done” approach. Strangers rarely turn into paying customers the first time they see your marketing material. Don’t give up! Build follow-up and multiple touches (in multiple media, if possible) into your strategy

Check out Episodes 171 through 174 of the Rhino Daily Podcast on iTunes or on the Rhino Daily website. All 4 are less than 14 minutes long for your listening convenience and enjoyment.

I’ve also contributed a few articles to the Rhino Daily blog in the past, just in case you were wondering. You can read here if you like.

 

 

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Love + Active Verbs = The Start of Strong Copy

Donnie Bryant on direct response copywriting

“Make the verbs do the work.”

Writing “The new sales letter pummeled the previous version,” paints a more vivid picture than “the new sales letter is better than the previous version.”

“Pummel” paints a powerful picture. That’s what verbs do for writers.

I adore adjectives, but overusing them usually ends up sounding like hype. Hyperbole causes allergic reactions for many would-be buyers.

Anyway…

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being Adam Franklin’s guest on the Web Marketing that Works podcast. I’ve come to admire Adam quite a bit over the past few months, and I was honored to be on his show.

We talked for about half an hour, discussing what I believe are the most important elements of direct response copywriting and marketing:

  • a desire to understand, empathize with and provide value for your customers (which I refer to as “falling in love” with them)
  • communicating clearly and directly, rather than trying to be cute or clever
  • watching out for hype, without undercutting the strength of your promises and big ideas
  • etc.

It was a lot of fun. Have a listen over on the Bluewire Media site.

While you’re over there, check out all the other helpful resources and information Adam and his partner Toby give away. They give away 33 marketing templates from their book Web Marketing that Works. I highly recommend that you pick them up (opt-in required) and put them to use.

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The Business Growth Question I Can’t Get Out of My Mind

Robert said something a few weeks ago that has been ringing in my ears ever since it rolled off his lips. He has no idea it’s had such a lasting –almost haunting– effect on me. Maybe I should call him and let him know.

“Have you ever offered anything crazy get people onto your buyer’s list?”

He posed the question to about a dozen bright entrepreneurial minds during our mastermind group call. As I recall, only one or two of us came up with a response.

For the record, Robert Michon is a very smart marketer, so his inquiry comes loaded with knowledge, experience and an ever-present curiosity.

This is an idea we all understand, but most of us don’t do it. Or we don’t take it as far as we should. For whatever reason, we never cross the border into “crazy.”

When You Understand This, You Understand How Direct Marketing Really Works

You hear a lot of talk these days about building your email list, and that’s a good thing. But there is a fundamental difference between people who subscribed to your list to get something for free and paying customers. Understanding the difference and focusing on it appropriately will virtually guarantee increased conversion rates, sales and profits.

The best new customer is a satisfied old customer. The second best customer is one referred by a satisfied old customer. The best prospects to buy your higher-end product or service are satisfied buyers of your less expensive offers (all things being equal).

This idea reminds me of a lesson I learned from Richard Armstrong, direct marketing veteran and AWAI Copywriter of the Year for 2012. In chapter 11 of his book My First 40 Years in Junk Mail, he shares the story of his time working with the legendary Dick Benson. The takeaways are golden. Stealing from pages 56-57:

“Oh, let me tell you one other little secret I learned from Dick Benson. Now that he’s passed away, I can share this with you. Dick was never in the publishing business. He was in the list-building business!”He sold subscriptions to those newsletters for just ten dollars a year! In the process, they became the most widely-circulated newsletters in America… But Dick didn’t really give a damn about the newsletters… All Dick cared about was the lists. In other words, he literally gave away the newsletters in order to build up gigantic mailing lists of subscribers…

“When you understand why he did that, you understand how direct marketing really works.”

I can’t recommend Richard’s book strongly enough. Grab a free copy here.

How Does That Impact Your Business?

A significant psychological shift takes place when someone gives you money. If you’ve been in business, either as an owner or an employee, you know there’s a huge difference between a customer and a tire-kicker. Rather than being passive about the process, be proactive. Don’t sit and wait for prospects turn into buyers. Consider making a “crazy” offer, one that’s harder to turn down than to buy. You’ll jumpstart that psychological shift in those individuals, and that begins what will hopefully be a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.

Either that or you’ll find out that those 1) prospects aren’t as hot as you thought they were, 2) your offer wasn’t crazy enough or 3) your potential buyers don’t see your product as solving their problems or enhancing their lives. No matter what, you’re learning something that you can use to make improvements.

Any type of business can put this idea into practice. A little creative thinking and some courage can make this experiment wildly successful.

I’ve talked before about how Gillette sent me a Mach 3 razor in the mail for my 18th birthday.  Some businesses would be too scared to go that far. It’s crazy, especially since the only thing they knew about me was that I turned 18 on November 2. But their small investment (probably no more than $5) secured my loyalty as a customer for over a decade. I’m in my 30s and I still use the very same razor they sent me. When I need replacement blades, there’s no question who gets my money.

Do you see how this could change the way you do business?

Your Action Steps

1) If you’re not already doing it, start collecting a customer database. Be as detailed as you can. This is a separate list from your general mailing lists.

2) Come up with a hard-to-resist introductory offer and give your prospects compelling reasons to buy. Not just opt-in, but actually send you money. You might be surprised by the difference between $1 customers and free newsletter subscribers.

3) No matter what price point you pick, over-deliver. Give more value than the customer expected.

4) Create back-end offers. Dream up ways to offer targeted products and services (your own and those of other providers you trust) to your customer lists. This is the Dick Benson secret.

5) Test different offers to convert the prospects who didn’t respond to previous offers. Measure results.
———-

I hope Robert’s “crazy offer” question is burning in your mind the ways it burns in mine. One of the reasons it affects me so much is that I know I could go much further into “crazy” in my own business. But more than that, I know this concept can have a huge impact on your business.

I hope this article provides the spark that gets you to take action on this idea.

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Struggles and Success as a Marketing Copywriter

Michael Zipursky interviewed me the other day about the struggles and successes I’ve experienced as a copywriter and consultant for his Business Consulting Buzz podcast.

We talked about:

  • the power of guest posting to build credibility and find an audience (instead of having to build one from scratch)
  • the crucial mindset you must have to sell anything, in any medium — it’s a simple switch, but human nature makes it a perpetual struggle
  • some of my early inspirations as a copywriter (I still love all of ’em)
  • how I got my first clients
  • one thing anyone can do to automatically boost the persuasiveness of their sales copy.

Listen to Direct Response Copywriter and Consultant: Interview with Donnie Bryant.

Thanks for listening!

 

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In Case You Missed It

Yesterday, I had the distinct privilege and wonderful pleasure of being interviewed by Yasmin Razaq for her Explode Biz Profits event.

We talked about:
– how recessions are good and USPs are bad
– possibly the dumbest advertising sign I’ve ever seen
– two foundational principles for writing copy that people will respond to, and
– how to keep your messages out of email jail.

I also shared how you can get my ebook Stealth Selling gratis.

Go check out the replay at http://businessmarketinggirl.com/explodebizprofitsreplays/. I’m not sure how long Yasmin will keep this page open, so if you have any interest at all, don’t wait too long.

Update: If you’re interested in hearing the recording of this hour-long interview, I’ve got it right here. If you’re interested in getting a copy of my book, send me an email and we might be able to arrange something.

A note on Unique Selling Propositions
Theodore Levitt said that selling focuses on satisfying the needs of the business, whereas marketing works to satisfy the needs of the customer.

With that in mind, the USP is inherently focused on the company, product or service itself. Even a benefit-rich USP can be off-base.

Feature-focused USP: “Our product is awesome. It’s made from the strongest steel ever produced.
Benefit-focused USP: “Our product is awesome. It’s more durable than other products, so they don’t have to be replaced as frequently, saving time and money.”

Sounds good, right? But even the benefit-driven USP can be improved upon. These are selling points, rooted in the needs of the one who needs to make the sale. What if you moved into the realm of marketing defined by Levitt?

Unique Value Proposition: “Our customers are awesome. They save time, money and headache by using with the most durable product available. It works more reliably, for longer periods of time and with fewer replacements needed.

The wording is purposefully corny, but you see the difference, don’t you? It may seem like a tiny distinction, but even the tiniest change in perception and approach can create a big change in results. A slight edge makes all the difference in the world.

Don’t make your audience dig for the value they’ll get from you. Sure, they might be able to figure it out by your statements about how great your product is. But why not make what’s in it for them obvious?

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Why You’re Not Making Any Money Online

Ryan Healy listed 12 reasons why most people don’t make any money in their internet “businesses.”

If you’re experiencing difficulty getting money flowing online, this will help. You might see yourself here.

Check out 12 Reasons You Can’t Make Your First $50 Online.

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