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.

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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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The Belief-Based USP

What is the real power behind powerful USPs? How can you harness that power to craft a monster USP of your own?

Most entrepreneurs and marketers have a serious misunderstanding about USPs. Frankly, most teachers on the subject haven’t taught it correctly. But then again, most of them don’t understand what makes USPs really work, either.

Unique. Selling. Proposition.

As with so many other things in society, we’ve tried to make USPs tangible and mechanical. Scientific, even.

A+B=C

Target Audience + Problem + Solution = USP

“Hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less – or it’s free.” (Am I the only one who’s tired of this example?)

In the process of making USP formulas, we’ve missed the point.

Despite the name, a USP isn’t good simply because it is unique. Customers don’t buy a product just because it’s different. They buy because it’s uniquely suited to fulfill a desire.

“Consumers have access to a multiplied and multiplying range of choices, so classic brand loyalty has been replaced by search for and expectation of the thing that is precisely, perfectly appropriate. The market for all manner of goods and services is greater than ever before. The attraction of wealth in this environment has little to do with somehow “locking up” a limited portion of a limited market and everything do with directly connecting with individuals and meeting their needs and interests.

~ Dan Kennedy

A USP’s magnetic attraction comes from within the would-be buyer himself and from the product, service or company.

“We see people and things not as they are, but as we are.” ~ Anthony de Mello

Customers see your products as THEY are. Their desires and beliefs dictate how they perceive your business and your USP.

Now, I don’t want this to become some scholarly dissertation. I know you don’t want, that either. So let’s make this clear and practical. News you can use.

This article is entitled The Belief-Based USP because belief is an essential element in getting people to take action, but the power of belief rarely makes it into discussions about what makes a strong selling proposition.

(Again, most people don’t understand this. That doesn’t mean no one ever stumbles into a compelling USP. Understanding what makes people do what they do gives you an immense advantage over you competitors, no matter how big and well-established they are.)

What You Need to Know

1) USP is a reality, not a goal or dream, not a clever-sounding statement. It is the underlying core of your offering.

For example, Tim Ferriss is the 4-Hour guy. He’s obsessed with finding shortcuts and productivity “hacks” to help his audience get better results quickly in various area of their lives. Regardless of the flack he gets, he’s world famous and known specifically for this personal USP.

When you think about Tim Ferriss, one thought automatically precedes all others: 4-Hours. He’s helped countless people (or so I’m told) improve their business and personal lives

The big question is, how did he get such a large group of people to believe his USP?

2) USP is a decision – or at least it should be. Decide what you’re going to do and who you’ll do it for/with. Then resolve to be world-class in that area.

“You must work extremely hard on what comes easy to you.” ~Jeffrey J. Fox

Harry Houdini dedicated his life to becoming the greatest escape artist and showman on the planet.

Domino’s decided to deliver pizza in 30 minutes – and they put their profits at risk if they couldn’t keep that promise.

3M really put their money where their proverbial mouth was when it came to their security glass. (Supposedly) $3 million dollars’ worth…

UVP USPImage from 3m

The point? Your USP isn’t about what you say. It’s about what you do for your customers.

3) In conjunction with Point 2, you must decide who your ideal customer is in order to make a meaningful claims. No single feature or benefit appeals to everyone. When you have clarity about who you’re serving, you can

  • get very clear about the most profitable use of your time and resources
  • determine what products and services will be most valuable to them (and lucrative for you) and
  • how and where to promote your offerings to be most effective.

If you don’t pick your audience, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin and working on things that don’t matter much to anyone.

Why Negativity is Essential

What your business does is important. What it doesn’t do is probably just as important.

Peter Drucker once said that “Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission.” Monomania is a crazed focus on ONE THING and the ruthless exclusion of anything else that would compete with or dilute that focus.

What are you maniacal about?

I think this is truly the most difficult lesson when it comes to finding your USP. Why? Because it takes clarity to know what you should focus on, courage to dedicate yourself to mastering that thing and conviction that you’ve chosen the right path. Any distraction is dangerous.

Examples:

Strategic Coach – you cannot become a member if you don’t have a person income of $100K per year. Their organization works exclusively with high-achievers (defined by dollars earned).

FarmersOnly.com – the name says it all.

I’m a happily married man, but when I heard the jingle for FarmersOnly.com, I couldn’t help myself. I had to check out the website. The uniqueness of their angle took me by surprise. Competing in a very crowded space dominated by a few major players, FarmersOnly has a singular focus. The name itself tells you who their customers are – and who they absolutely will not help. The tagline (“City Folks Just Don’t Get It”) excludes a huge segment of the potential market. Just the way they like it.

The in-crowd psychology is powerful. When someone in the target audience sees their marketing materials, he instantly knows “this is the place for me.”

If there’s nothing you won’t do, and no one you won’t work with, what does that say about your business?

Belief and Your Ideal Customer

“We choose what we choose because we believe in it…

“Who we think we are is why we do what we do.

“We live in our stories, and we live according to them. We wear clothing and drive vehicles, which are consistent with who we believe we are and who we are trying to become. We chose relationships and information as ways of subconsciously validating our beliefs, to make us feel good about our points of view. Our treasured books and music embody us. Our closest friends are our kind of people.

“Ultimately, we expect to find meaning in our lives by editing our stories, by freely mixing and matching our decisions to create an authentic narrative that represents who we believe we are, to ourselves and to others.
~Tom Asacker, The Business of Belief

People buy products, join memberships, read emails, etc., because of their beliefs. What does your potential client believe about

  • himself – What kind of person does he see himself as? How does he want the world to see him? What does he aspire to be?
  • you and/or your business – What kind of experiences has he had with you up until now. How have you positioned yourself in the marketplace? What kind of reputation do you have?
  • your industry in general – Does he trust doctors implicitly or fear Big Pharma has tainted everything? Does he think all coaches are quacks?
  • similar products/services – Is this his first experience with a product in this category? Has he been burned by previous purchases? Has he been frustrated about NOT being able to find a solution? Have you created a brand new category? What is he already familiar with that he will associate you with?
  • what’s possible and impossible – What ideas have been drilled into their brains by education, society and the media? If you’re making unique claims, you’ll need some proof to substantiate them.

How does working with you fit into his “story”? Do the values you represent resonate with his values and beliefs? Do your claims inspire the desire to believe?

You can see why it’s easier and more convincing to choose a well-defined target market! According to The Business of Belief (quoted above):

“We hunger for direction and inspiration. We want what’s important to us to get better – our bodies, work, home and relationships. We want to imagine ourselves transforming our lives and the lives of others. We want to feel good about our evolving narratives. It’s why we read books, scan the Internet, and flip through magazines. We’re looking for the before and after stories. We want to feel the pull of possibility, of moving beyond our existing reality…People are drawn across the bridge of belief by their anticipation of a better experience and a better life. Effective leaders ignite people’s imaginations by painting vivid, compelling, and personally relevant pictures – ones that move them.” ~ Tom Asacker

Does your USP do that? Does your favorite USP formula show you how to do that?

Practical Path to a Belief-Inspiring USP

A great USP makes an ideal prospect want to believe. It connects with a specific desire and offers a glimmer of hope that he’ll get it.

To put it simply and succinctly, a powerful belief-based USP promises to produce a specific result your ideal customer really wants, then offers evidence to make it easy and safe to believe.

Here’s how you get started:

Stay focused on your ideal customer’s desires, not so much on your own “uniqueness.” Of course, you have to offer something valuable. But you might be surprised how often products with no real uniqueness perform remarkably well in the marketplace.

Example: Beats Audio devices. Marketed as the handiwork of legendary hip hop producer Dr. Dre (the proof element), these headphones and speakers promise to let you hear music the way the artists intended for it to be heard.

Are they the best headphones available? That’s arguable. But many music lovers have paid between 2 and 10x more than they would for other headphones with the hope of experiencing the difference.

Beats devices have since become a status symbol and fashion accessory, broadcasting to the world how much the wearer loves music.

Have the courage to stand for something meaningful to your target audience. Be an advocate and champion for that cause.

“Music deserves to be heard this way! If you care about music and the artists that create it, how can you settle for hearing a distorted version through those ‘other’ headphones?”

Or in the case of Evernote:

“You’re busy, always on the move. Capture everything, organize your thoughts, ideas and notes beautifully and securely (much better than scribbling on crumpled napkins) and keep on moving. You’re smarter and more productive that way.”

Be specific. Generalized statements don’t move anyone.

Be bold. Under-promising is marketplace suicide.

Tom Morkes’s website homepage says this: “In the past 12 months, I’ve launched 6 books to bestseller, generated over 48,000 in first week book sales, and tens of thousands in book launch revenue. Want to see how I did it?”

For any author who’d like a successful book launch, this promise seems irresistible – especially when he finds out Morkes also offers a free e-course on the same topic.

Share your “reason why.”

“Given our goal of achieving a strong relationship with the prospect, it’s vital to know what the inner layer is…shared values are the foundation of strong relationships. ~ Jim Signorelli, StoryBranding

Why do you care about the work you do? Why do you want to work with your target audience? What makes you think you’re “their kind of people?”

Offer “proof.”

Back up your claims with evidence. With Beats Audio, Dr. Dre is the proof element. He’s a well-known and respected music producers and cultural icon.

Testimonials, endorsements, reviews, media appearances, certifications, awards, etc., make it easy for the brain to rationalize the desire and strengthen the hope that the promised results are forthcoming.

Remember, these are supporting elements. You’re not bragging, but reassuring your buyers.

“The desire to believe is a little-understood, extremely powerful force that, when consciously and deliberately harnessed, can lift an ordinary man or woman to great heights of influence, fame and fortune, and fuel the growth of a business like nothing else.

“…providing reasons to believe is a rather ordinary, commonly understood exercise in persuasion, but it is ‘low power’ unless and until it is paired with an inspired desire to believe.” ~ Dan Kennedy

–Postscipt–

“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.

“…Here’s what’s missing: YOU.

“There isn’t a word about your wants, your needs, your hopes or your concerns. There isn’t a word about your offer or proposal. There isn’t a word about what you think. It is all about the other person.

“…People write books about how to frame your ideas, how to present yourself, how to ‘put your best foot forward.’ And yet, all that people really care about is themselves. Can you imagine how much energy you will free up if you stop focusing on yourself and put your attention on other people? Can you even imagine how much more charismatic you will become when you come to be seen as the one who can fulfill some of their most basic emotional needs?

“… there is one thing you can count on: your family, friends, customers, clients and even everyone you have yet to meet will have these needs met by someone. The only question is, will it be by you?” ~ Blair Warren

 

Don’t forget to check out the flipside of this coin, the Disbelief-Based USP.

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4 Steps to No-Brainer Status

If your target market had to make an instant decision, without thinking, would they would still pick you?

The mind is always doing something, always focusing on something. We even dream while we’re sleeping. Your brain never really stops working.

My fellow Chicagoan James Ford taught me a very interesting lesson (inadvertently, through the radio). He pointed out that we often look for distractions to give our minds a break. We call that amusement. A-muse-ment is, literally, the act or state of not-thinking.

While I generally discourage the use of funny marketing messages, you should consider being appropriately amusing.

With that in mind, here are some amusing marketing ideas:

1) Make your offer a “no-brainer.” If your offer is just right, the prospect literally doesn’t have to think about it.,
It’s not good enough to have the best product on the market or to be the most logical choice as a service provider. Plenty of outstanding businesses struggle while waiting for the world to beat a path to their door to buy their better “mousetrap.” Marketing is still critically important, and the message it conveys must still engage the motivational drives and desires of the target audience.

There are several factors involved here. No matter how much a prospect wants what you sell, there are obstacles to overcome:

a) You have to be trustworthy. No doubt you’ve heard a lot of talk about getting potential clients to “know, like and trust” you. This is not only because we like to do business with people we like, but because we have a hard time doing business with people we don’t trust.

  • This is part of the reason marketers are enamored with social media, and it’s definitely the driving force behind Facebook Sponsored Stories and Google’s social search. You trust your friends, so when they “like” something, that something inherits some of that trust.

b) Your offer itself has to be credible. I imagine if you got a letter in the mail offering “Buy 1 Mercedes, Get 2 FREE.” It might grab your attention, but you’d dismiss the idea pretty quickly. We instinctively believe the saying, “if it’s too good to be true…” By all means, make the strongest offer possible, but make sure it’s believable.

c) Eliminate as much risk as possible. The plumbing in my house is not great. At one point, we had to call a plumber every few weeks. When we finally found a guy we liked, one of the biggest reasons he got repeat business from us was because his 90-day guarantee. If the toilets clogged up in that time frame, he’d come out and fix it for free.

How strong is your guarantee? Do you provide excellent customer service after the sale? Do you share additional information or resources to ensure customers enjoy every possible benefit from their purchase?

  • Make testimonials prominent. This form of social proof can be effective at communicating the fact that lots of people just like the prospect has had a wonderful experience doing business with you. What more is there to think about?

2) Get to know your audience so well that you can describe their needs better than they can, using words they’d use themselves. When people feel like you know them, trust comes naturally. Add to that a comprehensive understanding of the challenges they’re facing and the dreams they have, there’s no need for them to look to anyone else when they’re ready to buy. Choosing you is a “no-brainer” decision.

3) Find a way to make buying from you habitual, or attach your offering to the habits of your target audience. That which people do habitually, they do unthinkingly. Here are two terrific articles explaining the power of habits and how they apply to marketing and buying decisions:

The Power of Habit
How Companies Learn Your Secrets

4) Your offer must be obviously valuable. The more clearly you describe what the customer will get after he buys, how wonderful his experience will be, the less he has to justify the purchase to himself. The less internal negotiations have to take place.
The longer he argues, the less likely he is to buy. He’s also more likely he is to either ask for a refund or suffer from buyer’s remorse – a serious problem for repeat business and referrals.

Your Action Steps

1) Get to know what you really sell. Builders don’t sell structures; they provide safety, security, a feeling of family, the American dream, etc. Authors don’t sell ink on paper, but wild adventures and escapes from reality in packages that fit in the palm of your hand.

2) Get to know your prospects better than ever. Always remember, marketing is not about you – it’s about your would-be customers.

3) Speak to the soul. Go beyond having rebuttals for objections and answers for questions.

4) Work on ways to clearly communicate that the solution to your prospects innermost drives and desires is within their grasp – if they enter the door you show them. Help them see it.

5) Find effective ways to deliver that message.

This will take some work, but I can guarantee it will pay off in big ways.

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Henry Ford: Misunderstood Marketing Genius

Henry Ford is widely regarded as one of the greatest entrepreneurs in history. When you hear his name, you automatically think about how he innovated the use of assembly line techniques to revolutionize the automobile industry.  Listen to what Harvard Business school professor Theodore Levitt wrote about Ford:

We habitually celebrate him for the wrong reason, his production genius. His real genius was marketing. We think he was able to cut his selling price and therefore sell millions of $500 cars because his invention of the assembly line reduced the costs. Actually he invented the assembly line because he had concluded that at $500 he could sell millions of cars. Mass production was the result, not the cause, of his low prices...He was brilliant because he fashioned a production system designed to fit market needs.” (Author’s emphasis)

Ford understood an indispensable key to successful marketing: the needs and desires of your target market must dictate the products and/or services you provide. That should be obvious. Unfortunately, many businesses work hard to sell what they want to sell (their latest invention or a gadget they think is really cool) instead of what the market wants or needs to buy. Those businesses fail.

Now, let’s look at this point from another angle. What did Henry Ford himself say about his market? “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” Doesn’t that negate what we’ve said thus far? Far from it.

Nobody wanted cars, it’s true. But they did want to travel more quickly. So Ford did manufacture and sell what people already wanted; it just came in a different package than they expected.

I think there’s an important lesson here. According to another Harvard professor, Paul R. Lawrence, all the decisions we make are based on 4 basic drives: to 1) acquire/achieve, 2) bond, 3) learn/comprehend and 4) defend. If you think about it, everything you purchase satisfies at least one of these motivations. For example, I may buy a Rolex watch to acquire the admiration of my peers. Or, maybe I’ll get the Timex to defend my bank account.

Of course, these drives are unique for everyone. That’s why you have to dig deep and really get to know your ideal clients. What drives are dominant in their decision-making process? What shape do those drives take? What stimulates those drives?

Creating your ideal customer profile is great, but make sure it’s rooted in reality, not your imagination.

Give ‘Em a Reason

Having a product people want usually isn’t enough to make you successful. We see companies with great products or services fail all the time.

Think about the multimillion dollar ad campaigns we see during major political elections. Candidates don’t settle for “getting their name out there.” They beat up the other guys and present specific “evidence” to demonstrate that they are the best choice. (Whether or not their statements were true is another conversation.)

Remember Paul Lawrence’s 4 Drives theory. Your sales and marketing messages should communicate the specific ways your offer will address these deep-seated drives in your audience. How does your product satisfy their desire to acquire something they badly want? How will they come to learn something they desperately need to know by working with you?

Just being the better choice won’t get a candidate elected; it certainly won’t convince people to buy from you. You have to give them a compelling reason why they should buy. Paint an accurate picture of life as they know it, then paint one showing what their experience will be like after they get their hands on your product. The more vivid the image, the more compelling it will be.

Back up your claims with proof: scientific or clinical evidence, testimonials, case studies, awards, etc. Make it real for them.

Once a prospect sees himself enjoying their new life, making the purchase is the next natural step. This usually takes work (research, writing, rewriting, testing). So does filing bankruptcy.

Oh, and One More Thing

People generally won’t buy from someone they don’t trust. It is of the utmost importance for entrepreneurs, marketers and sales people to gain the trust of their prospects and customers.

Allow me to refer you to an interview I did with a third Harvard man, best-selling author Charlie Green. During our 30-minute interview, Charlie talked about

  • why trust is critical to you success in business
  • specific ways you can build more trust in your relationships
  • mistakes you might be making which can sabotage your efforts to gain the trust of your prospects
  • common myths about trust
  • how long it really takes to start building (or rebuilding) trust
  • and more.

Check out the “30 Minutes to More Trust” interview here. I learned quite a bit and I think you will, too.

 

 

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30 Minutes to More Trust: An Interview with Charlie Green

Warren Buffet famously said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” But is that really true?

Earlier this week, I had the distinct privilege of speaking with one of the world’s foremost experts on building trust, best-selling author Charles Green. Boy, did I learn a lot!

During our 30-minute interview, Charles talked about

  • why trust is absolutely essential to your success in business
  • specific ways you can create more trust in your relationships
  • specific ways you might be sabotaging your efforts to gain the trust of your prospects and customers
  • popular myths about trust
  • how long it really takes to start building (or rebuilding) trust
  • and more

I was blown away by simple, yet profound truths Charles shared. I think you will be, too.

Building Trust in Business with Charles Green

Don’t forget to visit TrustedAdvisor.com to further develop your ability be the trusted provider in your industry.

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7 Email Marketing Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make

Nowadays, I don’t spend very much time on LinkedIn Answers, but the other day I saw a question that I could help out with.

The questionWhat should never be included in an email marketing campaign?

My (slightly modified) response: 
1) Don’t make claims without proof. Skepticism is at an all time high. Everyone is scared of getting burned. If you make claims that you don’t back up in the body of the email, you’re setting your campaign up to fail.

2) Never use deception.

3) Generic language is a bad idea. Craft your message so that you’re talking to ONE PERSON. Be as specific & vivid as possible.

4) Don’t use untintelligible language. Overly technical terminology can kill a sales message especially in B2C campaigns. Refrain from using jargon unless you know for sure your audience will understand.

Confused customers don’t buy.

Use the language that your readers use in their own conversations.

5) Avoid links to unrelated sites. If the body of the email is about consumer electronics, don’t insert links to a Viagra vendor.

5.1) Don’t use any links or make any reference whatsoever to Viagra.

6) The copy should not focus on YOU (the sender). It really shouldn’t even be about your product or service. Rather, speak about the recipient and his/her needs/wants and how your offering can satisfy those desires.

7) Each email should try to accomplish ONE objective. You lose readership when you go off in too many directions.

Direct mail legend Dick Benson once said that “you cannot sell two things at once.” Choose one thing.

That’s what autoresponder sequences are for. Multiple emails allow you to focus on or sell more than one product or service

P.S. If at all possible, the emails should come from a recognizable sender. Even non-spam messages look like spam if they’re sent from strangers.

If you’re emailing cold, attach/associate yourself with someone your list knows and trusts/

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