by Raydal
32 replies
Just like any other type of writing, a sales letter must have a
STRUCTURE.
In fact, I would require my students to study famous direct
marketing pieces and determine what "persuasion architecture" the
copywriter follows. This gives the students practice through this
'reverse-engineering' process to appreciate that, beyond the
words and sentences, there must be a certain flow, plan, map, or
whatever other name you want to use, to great copywriting.

One of the courses I had to take in grad school was 'Research
Methods'. Apart from teaching you how to carry our academic
research, it also has a heavy writing component. The text used
for the class for the writing component of the course basically
covered things I already knew from copywriting, but with an
academic twist.

In fact, I got an "excellent" for my writing but the paper
mechanics (formatting) was a little lacking. (I just hate all
those footnote, bibliography, etc, 'rules' that go with academic
writing. I guess I'm so accustomed to the freedom of
copywriting!)

For example, if you are writing a paper based on a deductive
argument, then you must start with a thesis statement and "tell
the readers what you are going to tell them, then introduce the
general topic, narrow your claim, followed by supportive
arguments and after "telling them what you told them" you
conclude with the claims of the thesis statement and its
implications.

In other words, there is a pattern you must follow to make the
paper logically connected and lucid. Your readers are prepared
for what you are about to explain and after you have explained
this, summarizing what your paper is about.

As a copywriter, you must also think about the structure you are
going to use for your letter BEFORE you even start writing. This
would be your plan from which you will build your literary house
made up of words, sentences paragraphs and sections.
One of the most common mistakes I see rookie copywriters make is
that they concentrate so much on the "power words" and "sounding
like a copywriter" that the flow of the letter suffers. The main
reasons for this lack of flow arise because:

>>The headline does not logically connect with the opening
paragraph but addresses two different ideas
>>The topic sentence of each paragraph is not logically
supported by the following 'body' sentences.
>>The "transitions" from one paragraph to another is almost
ignored so there is an awkward disconnect.
>>The right information is given in the wrong places such as
the 'call to action' given before the list of benefits. (Think
AIDA.)
Too much real-estate is given to a minor selling point.

In order to maintain the "slippery slide" in my letters I always
try and write my letters in one sitting. This may sometimes mean
writing for 12 hours straight, but while I'm writing the last
sentence I still have the first sentence in my head. If I do
break off from writing I'll have to start reading from the very
beginning to make sure that I have the entire letter in mind.
Interestingly, one of the great techniques used by article
writers and which can work in sales letter writing is to bring
the article full circle by ending on the same idea, story, or
issue that you started with.

Now, it would not always be possible to write a long sales letter
in one sitting, but in the planning process (just like you
'outline' an essay) you can ensure that the letter will flow
smoothly from beginning to end. A disorganized sales letter is a
major hindrance to persuasion. It is often said that you sell the
sizzle but not the steak but even the sizzle must have some
rhythm and cadence to it.

When I first started writing my own sales letters for the
internet I took a letter written by a top copywriter and studied
the patterns he used and did the same for my letter. Did this
work? Like gangbusters. No, it wasn't a "swipe" because the
products were different and you will never be able to recognize
this as a "swipe" because I borrowed only the "plot" of his
letter.

Speaking of plots, (which is another word for the 'plan of the
story') just the other day I was telling my kids that the best
plots are used over and over again with different stories and its
no accident the top movies and stories use common plots.
So study those famous pieces in your swipe-file and determine the
plan or structure the writer used and borrow those 'persuasion
architecture' to build YOUR own persuasion masterpieces.

-Ray Edwards
#persuade #plan
  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

    Just like any other type of writing, a sales letter must have a
    STRUCTURE.
    In fact, I would require my students to study famous direct
    marketing pieces and determine what "persuasion architecture" the
    copywriter follows. This gives the students practice through this
    'reverse-engineering' process to appreciate that, beyond the
    words and sentences, there must be a certain flow, plan, map, or
    whatever other name you want to use, to great copywriting.

    One of the courses I had to take in grad school was 'Research
    Methods'. Apart from teaching you how to carry our academic
    research, it also has a heavy writing component. The text used
    for the class for the writing component of the course basically
    covered things I already knew from copywriting, but with an
    academic twist.

    In fact, I got an "excellent" for my writing but the paper
    mechanics (formatting) was a little lacking. (I just hate all
    those footnote, bibliography, etc, 'rules' that go with academic
    writing. I guess I'm so accustomed to the freedom of
    copywriting!)

    For example, if you are writing a paper based on a deductive
    argument, then you must start with a thesis statement and "tell
    the readers what you are going to tell them, then introduce the
    general topic, narrow your claim, followed by supportive
    arguments and after "telling them what you told them" you
    conclude with the claims of the thesis statement and its
    implications.

    In other words, there is a pattern you must follow to make the
    paper logically connected and lucid. Your readers are prepared
    for what you are about to explain and after you have explained
    this, summarizing what your paper is about.

    As a copywriter, you must also think about the structure you are
    going to use for your letter BEFORE you even start writing. This
    would be your plan from which you will build your literary house
    made up of words, sentences paragraphs and sections.
    One of the most common mistakes I see rookie copywriters make is
    that they concentrate so much on the "power words" and "sounding
    like a copywriter" that the flow of the letter suffers. The main
    reasons for this lack of flow arise because:

    >>The headline does not logically connect with the opening
    paragraph but addresses two different ideas
    >>The topic sentence of each paragraph is not logically
    supported by the following 'body' sentences.
    >>The "transitions" from one paragraph to another is almost
    ignored so there is an awkward disconnect.
    >>The right information is given in the wrong places such as
    the 'call to action' given before the list of benefits. (Think
    AIDA.)
    Too much real-estate is given to a minor selling point.

    In order to maintain the "slippery slide" in my letters I always
    try and write my letters in one sitting. This may sometimes mean
    writing for 12 hours straight, but while I'm writing the last
    sentence I still have the first sentence in my head. If I do
    break off from writing I'll have to start reading from the very
    beginning to make sure that I have the entire letter in mind.
    Interestingly, one of the great techniques used by article
    writers and which can work in sales letter writing is to bring
    the article full circle by ending on the same idea, story, or
    issue that you started with.

    Now, it would not always be possible to write a long sales letter
    in one sitting, but in the planning process (just like you
    'outline' an essay) you can ensure that the letter will flow
    smoothly from beginning to end. A disorganized sales letter is a
    major hindrance to persuasion. It is often said that you sell the
    sizzle but not the steak but even the sizzle must have some
    rhythm and cadence to it.

    When I first started writing my own sales letters for the
    internet I took a letter written by a top copywriter and studied
    the patterns he used and did the same for my letter. Did this
    work? Like gangbusters. No, it wasn't a "swipe" because the
    products were different and you will never be able to recognize
    this as a "swipe" because I borrowed only the "plot" of his
    letter.

    Speaking of plots, (which is another word for the 'plan of the
    story') just the other day I was telling my kids that the best
    plots are used over and over again with different stories and its
    no accident the top movies and stories use common plots.
    So study those famous pieces in your swipe-file and determine the
    plan or structure the writer used and borrow those 'persuasion
    architecture' to build YOUR own persuasion masterpieces.

    -Ray Edwards
    Totally disagree with this post. Even within the post the OP says,

    The right information is given in the wrong places such as
    the 'call to action' given before the list of benefits. (Think
    AIDA.)


    To say that all MUST have this or that, just isn't true.

    gjabiz
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    I have to chime in. I also respectfully disagree, Ray and Gordon. But for a different reason.

    The moment the prospect senses a persuasion structure, they start skimming, yawning or bolting.

    Allow me to be precise with my language.

    Having the elements necessary (and you're right Gordon, you don't need "all" the elements) for persuasion is one thing. Having them in a predetermined, sequential, formulaic framework (which prospects are barraged with daily) is something which works against you today.

    ----

    First, let me say for instance, almost all long form sales letters have a guarantee. Working copywriters consider it essential to persuasion, yes?

    Of course.

    However, in my experience, not necessarily.

    I have proved time and again, if your offer and copy are impelling (notice I didn't say "compelling"--look up the difference), you don't necessarily need a guarantee.

    Copywriting heresy yes, but true.

    Time and again, I see heatmaps where my guarantee sections are ice cold. Deep sea blue.

    Implication? Nobody cares about my guarantee. They're actually skipping that section!

    Now when this first happened to me, I thought "Gee, I really want them to consume my guarantee! I want them to know about it." And I tried several things to draw attention to it.

    Result? Conversions went down.

    Then it hit me. They're not consuming my guarantee because THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT IT. They're already sold!

    So I did the unthinkable. I took out the guarantee and guess what? Shields went down. Conversions went up.

    -----

    Back to formulas and structure...

    One of the most popular directors is Quentin Tarantino. His movies often open in the middle of the story.

    To keep a prospect reading, with each sentence, your communication should implicitly convey a sense that anything can happen. (However, I am in no way advocating rambling.)

    Line by line, the copywriter's job is to build anticipation, the desire to know what will be said next.

    Persuasion structures work against the copywriter when the prospect is meta-aware of what is happening. And the moment they get that feeling this communication was premeditated with the intent of selling you something, their shields go up and consumption of the page declines.

    Your implicit job as a copywriter today is to create a conversation where the prospect doesn't feel sold. It's organic and natural communication.

    THAT'S what's working today.

    ----

    That stated, frameworks and structures are extremely useful for learning the fundamentals of copywriting, I encourage them--however, the sooner one learns how to break the rules, the sooner the formulaic copywriting, paint-by-numbers approach is abandoned, the better.

    Always keep them guessing.

    P.S. Take a page from Donald Trump. You never know what will come out of that man's mouth next. No two speeches are alike-in terms of content or structure. No teleprompter.

    P.P.S. I talked with a couple copywriters I mentor about this. One of them said "Rick, what you're saying is kind of like what Bruce Lee said. "Be like water."

    The light bulb went off for him.

    Bruce would fight tradition martial artists with his self-invented Jeet Kune Do. He would win because he had no rules, he knew the limitations of each martial art and he would use those limitations against his opponent.

    Copywriting Katas are great while learning. They instill muscle memory. However, when you get in a streetfight, your ass will get kicked with your well-executed Kata being used against you.

    P.P.P.S. Here's another one. Copywriting bullets.

    Every copywriting guru I know teaches the power of bullets.

    But today, bullets are a tip-off. A tip-off somebody is trying to sell.

    However, work your bullets copy into short concise paragraphs and watch consumption go up--ASSUMING your bullet copy is impelling.
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    • Profile picture of the author havplenty
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post


      Your implicit job as a copywriter today is to create a conversation where the prospect doesn't feel sold. It's organic and natural communication.

      THAT'S what's working today.
      The copywriter's job hasn't changed since the post was invented. And what's working "today" has always worked, best as I can see.

      People have never been hot about being sold and great copywriters have sort of known this intuitively.

      Here's Claude Hopkins doing organic and natural in 1913:

      Let’s Reason Together – about Price


      To you who are considering buying a motor car, we want to offer a few suggestions on the subject of price. Please do not think these are wholly selfish. Of course, we want to sell you a Chalmers car if possible. For the suggestions we make are based on the experience of thousands of buyers.

      And so we say to you, first of all: Buy a real car. Don’t economize too closely on the purchase price. Economy is not merely spending the least money; it is getting the most for your money. And buying an automobile at too low a price is the worst economy in the world...


      Bill Bernbach and his gang used organic and natural to build the VW brand in America in the 50s and 60s.

      Ray isn't right; nor is he wrong. The same sort of applies to your post, which by the way, has some excellent insights -- Ray's delivered some insights, too.
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      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        Originally Posted by havplenty View Post

        The copywriter's job hasn't changed since the post was invented. And what's working "today" has always worked, best as I can see.
        If that's true, why do older ads, even re-purposed ads from the past, fail to work?

        For instance, do you think this ad would work today?



        My opinion? Human nature has changed, society has changed. Ads like these may have converted in the past, but they will not convert now or ever again.

        I believe your premise that human nature hasn't changed is flawed. Yes, I realize gurus have spouted this for decades. Doesn't make it correct.

        Of course it's changed. And this ad is an example of a genre of what's no longer working.
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        • Profile picture of the author havplenty
          Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post




          My opinion? Human nature has changed, society has changed. Ads like these may have converted in the past, but they will not convert now or ever again.

          I believe your premise that human nature hasn't changed is flawed. Yes, I realize gurus have spouted this for decades. Doesn't make it correct.

          Of course it's changed. And this ad is an example of a genre of what's no longer working.
          Human nature and societal values are not the same things. The latter is more fluid.

          There is little value in debating the merits of that ad, especially given the fact that people sold coffee using completely polar copy devices back then.

          Besides, if you look at the essence of that ad it's all about fear. As an emotion fear works the same way it did 100 years ago. That's how you should look at it man.

          Fear, greed, jealousy and so on help to make the human being the complex creature that she is. If you show me how human nature, i.e. those emotions, work differently in 2016, then I will revisit my thinking on the matter. That ad proves nothing of the sort.
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          • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
            Originally Posted by havplenty View Post

            Human nature and societal values are not the same things. The latter is more fluid.

            There is little value in debating the merits of that ad, especially given the fact that people sold coffee using completely polar copy devices back then.

            Besides, if you look at the essence of that ad it's all about fear. As an emotion fear works the same way it did 100 years ago. That's how you should look at it man.

            Fear, greed, jealousy and so on help to make the human being the complex creature that she is. If you show me how human nature, i.e. those emotions, work differently in 2016, then I will revisit my thinking on the matter. That ad proves nothing of the sort.
            I see what you're saying. I don't agree, but I see what you're saying.

            Show that ad to a woman today and will you inspire fear?

            No.

            She'll be repulsed. She'll register disgust. That's the emotion.

            Good luck.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
            Originally Posted by havplenty View Post

            Human nature and societal values are not the same things. .
            When marketers say "human nature" what they really mean is "core buying drivers"... which don't change.

            The levels change. For example, instant gratification and skepticism are at a higher level today than they were in days gone by.

            "Human nature" means something different to a philosopher or a religionist than it does to a marketer.

            Alex
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            • Profile picture of the author Jennie Heckel
              Many excellent thoughts and comments... I enjoyed reading them.

              I have to agree with Rick Duris on many of his comments...

              Split testing and properly understanding your split test results and making adjustments to how you write your copy takes a much higher level of copywriting expertise - generally only the PRO Copywriters do this on a consistent basis.

              And here's why... Pro copywriters know adjusting to a customers's wants and needs - means changing your copywriting techniques and even your structures. This is all due to our customers getting smarter and smarter - all while their attention spans are getting shorter and shorter!

              It seems like the attention span of the average customer is about as long as a tiny gold fish's... (maybe that's not being nice to the gold fish... but you get my drift here.)

              Add to that... Customers can smell sales copy a mile away... sort of like a trash can of stinking rotting fish! (or at least it seems that way.) This is why article style sales letters are generally converting much higher to cold traffic now. This toned-down style sales letter doesn't LOOK like a sales letter and it doesn't seem like they are selling anything (but they are).

              Customers don't want to be SOLD to but they are willing to buy IF you know how to give them what they really want and need... and you do it without writing anything which turns them off or - bores them to death.

              The trick is to know for sure what converts now!

              That's what separates those copywriters who "get it" (and are paid highly for their expertise) because they have the split test results and net earnings per click from their sales copy to prove it SELLS.

              My experiences with a wide range of clients and niches have clearly shown me... the structure of the average sales copy from 5 or 6 years ago will not sell well now.

              This is due to the average customer being much more "buy savvy" than they used to be; they can see a sales pitch the second they hit the webpage (especially using the older long form sales letter style formatting).

              So this means as copywriters we need to be much more creative or impelling (as Rick would say) to get the lead or make the sale. Now with video scripts this can be a bit easier... but you still need to hook them in during the first 25 to 30 seconds or they click away -- (back to Facebook to watch videos of cute kittens or puppies!)

              Elite marketing clients with the big budgets only hire top quality copywriters who can SELL - they require conversion test results before they hire. This means as a copywriter you need to get those conversion stats from your past clients (or you will fail to be hired because elite clients will only hire a Pro Copywriter who has proof their copy makes money!)

              At the current high prices per click and impression of Facebook and PPC Ads - top paying clients demand results. If you are a Pro Copywriter with the proof you can write stuff that SELLS, the sky is the limit on what you can charge and get it.

              FACT: most customers don't NEED to buy something as much as they WANT to BUY SOMETHING. But only IF the copywriter can make the WANT IT BAD enough.

              The game has changed. If you are a copywriter who "gets it" you are rewarded with the best clients who are pounding a path to your door. So it pays to study EVERY POST in this thread AND UNDERSTAND IT IN DETAIL.

              Copywriters need to keep abreast of the changes in sales and marketing strategies as we need to EVOLVE right along with our customers.

              As far as the structure comments...

              On the web and especially with mobile ads... The relative attention spans of the average customer used to be listed as 7 to 8 seconds a few years ago... now it's down to 3 to 4 seconds at best (or so Frank Kern says).

              So if a customer visits your webpage and isn't "hooked in" with your headline/deck copy or the appearance of your web page they are primed and ready to click the back button - in a nanosecond.

              The higher bounce rates many clients are experiencing on sales pages and videos proves this across many niches.

              I have been mentored by many well known copywriters and marketing gurus and the only truism I believe in my heart is... "You don't know what's working (getting the lead or selling an offer or product ) - until you TEST it."

              And split testing is a whole other game in itself... this would be a great thread for someone to start.

              Good luck to all with your copywriting....

              Jennie Heckel
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              ******* WSO & JV ZOO COPYWRITER -- VLS & SALES LETTERS PROVEN TO CONVERT ******* Get Higher Profits From Launches That SELL! Proven Copywriter with 17 Years of Copywriting Experience. Contact Me Via Skype: seoexpertconsulting Copywriting Website: http://www.VideoScriptCopywriter.com

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        • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
          Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

          If that's true, why do older ads, even re-purposed ads from the past, fail to work?

          For instance, do you think this ad would work today?



          My opinion? Human nature has changed, society has changed. Ads like these may have converted in the past, but they will not convert now or ever again.

          I believe your premise that human nature hasn't changed is flawed. Yes, I realize gurus have spouted this for decades. Doesn't make it correct.

          Of course it's changed. And this ad is an example of a genre of what's no longer working.
          Do we know if the ad worked back then?

          Looks like a Madison Avenue type ad from a magazine.

          I'd put it in the same category as the VW, Alka Seltzer, and other ads that were intended to be humorous. It's certainly not a direct response ad that measured response.

          And what genre would you call it? Wives that want to please their husbands? That genre still exists admittedly as a lower percentage of the population due to societal changes.

          Alex
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          • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
            Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

            And what genre would you call it? Wives that want to please their husbands? That genre still exists admittedly as a lower percentage of the population due to societal changes.
            Insulting is the genre I would call it.

            Again, I only showed it to prove a point. It's irrelevant to the OP.
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    • Profile picture of the author Raydal
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      Persuasion structures work against the copywriter when the prospect is meta-aware of what is happening. And the moment they get that feeling this communication was premeditated with the intent of selling you something, their shields go up and consumption of the page declines.
      I don't think you disagree with me at all because if a persuasion structure works
      against the copywriter then that "broken persuasion structure" becomes the new
      structure. There MUST be a structure otherwise you have confusion.

      -Ray Edwards
      Signature
      The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        What if your structure is to not have a structure and to keep them guessing? Does that fit within your model?

        In other words for instance, in your definition of structure is it possible write copy that doesn't encourage a sale but people still buy?

        I hope so, but I'm asking to clarify.

        P.S. As I write this, I have "an ad", an article lander which has no offer, no call-to-action, yet sales have multiplied 10X since publishing it.

        Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

        I don't think you disagree with me at all because if a persuasion structure works
        against the copywriter then that "broken persuasion structure" becomes the new
        structure. There MUST be a structure otherwise you have confusion.

        -Ray Edwards
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        • Profile picture of the author max5ty
          Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

          What if your structure is to not have a structure and to keep them guessing? Does that fit within your model?

          In other words for instance, in your definition of structure is it possible write copy that doesn't encourage a sale but people still buy?

          I hope so, but I'm asking to clarify.

          P.S. As I write this, I have "an ad", an article lander which has no offer, no call-to-action, yet sales have multiplied 10X since publishing it.
          Good to see you around Rick.

          The whole non structure thing is as old as the hills. The no guarantee thing has been talked about to a great degree in the copywriting world among top copywriters for quite a while. Probably hasn't been mentioned among the "guru" internet copywriters...but in the real world it's been an old topic.

          Actually, the no talk about sale is and has been popular in the real world. I say "real world" because it's not the internet world of a few big names who are supposedly the final say on shit. By real world I mean copywriters who work for big companies and have turned them into power houses of business...not the one's on the net selling nonsense courses.

          You talk about movies. They're used quite often as a medium that doesn't usually scream sale...but having a product used in a movie has always been an indirect way of moving more crap. Blog posts, articles in magazines, blah, blah, blah, have been used to drive sales without asking for someone to hit a stupid buy button.

          Viral videos...on and on and on...are used to sell shit tons of shit without anyone ever mentioning the word "buy".

          I've said it many times, and guess I am again. If the only idea of copywriting that people have are the sales letters and other nonsense they see on the internet, they've really not got the idea of what copywriting is about.
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  • Profile picture of the author art72
    Clearly, you guys have a lot more experience in determining the art of persuasion in writing sales letters, but I noticed Rick mentions Quentin Tarantino's style, do you feel that this can work in list building strategies?

    For example, I just finished a free report (more of a book now 82 pages) - it begins with the problem (from my experiences) in a story format, then jumps through time (from the a distant past and carries through to the present) and then, concludes with an 'open' call to action to 'stay connected" - by joining the newsletter (a second list) of subscribers.

    I mean, the only product I have right now "is the writing" - aside some affiliate potential earnings. So, until I can condition them to 'prepare' for what's to come... my plan was to "persuade them to stay connected" as I am developing phase II - teachings, processes and systems that will enable them to use what they learned... but, it is vague as to what I am selling... no real push for money or sales yet. - Just seeing if I can "move people" in a direction I laid out?

    Given this 'freebie' is really a (82 page) sales-letter for the next "what's to come" or "what to expect"- it centers on 'warming up" the reader to 'feel' connected to the messages throughout, and simply asks them to "join my newsletter" - a second list to see if I've piqued curiosity?

    Call it my test to see if I can persuade through my writings.

    Now, I have no formal training with this... it's just how the context of my writings flowed in this piece... but from a perspective of building long-term trust to a cold audience, do you guys feel this is a good "plan to persuade" my readers?

    I really didn't want to self-promote it... so, I didn't include a link to the pdf here.. I am however (nervous) in considering seeing if people here would be willing to critique it?

    Another concern is that there maybe some "ramblings" that should be removed, as Rick refers to it, as I am working on developing a "personal style" for my copy (persuasive writings)... and it spanned 11,000 words in sowing the seed I am trying to plant in their minds... is that too much?

    I'm not here to bomb the thread, even Raydal's methodology seems to be silently inter-woven into the manner in which I write... and once I lock in on a target I feel the writing stays within the "contextual flow" and yet it happens without truly knowing... how does that happen?

    Maybe I'm just tired...

    Art

    [edit] removed link to the report - one in respect to the OP, and two... learned what I needed to know!
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    • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
      Originally Posted by art72 View Post

      Now, I have no formal training with this... it's just how the context of my writings flowed in this piece... but from a perspective of building long-term trust to a cold audience, do you guys feel this is a good "plan to persuade" my readers?
      After reading it I'm none the wiser as to who you are and how you can help me.

      I don't know your values, what you stand for and against, why I should trust you, and what I should have learned.

      And the writing comes across as incredibly self-indulgent and long-winded. You could easily cut it in half and not lose anything.
      Signature

      Andrew Gould

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      • Profile picture of the author art72
        Originally Posted by Andrew Gould View Post

        After reading it I'm none the wiser as to who you are and how you can help me.

        I don't know your values, what you stand for and against, why I should trust you, and what I should have learned.

        And the writing comes across as incredibly self-indulgent and long-winded. You could easily cut it in half and not lose anything.
        My apologies to Raydal, as I kind of made myself a guinea pig on his topic.

        Andrew,

        If by self-indulgent you mean lacking economical value... can't argue that, as I intentionally keep it vague 'as to the benefits" to come.

        As far as (the reader) not knowing who I am, my values, etc... I had intended on keeping it "about you" (or them: the readers) under the premise they may be 'curious' to know more about "flying cash" - not me!

        Which I would reveal over time. In truth, I wanted to "brand" the site into their minds...not me, for I may not always be there - if I move on to bigger visions later, and let the brand carry the glory... I don't want it to stifle in my absence.

        The whole project began rather innocently, as I just learned the history of 'paper money' and thought it could be a great way (or hook) to take a different perspective on how people look at money, and tried to drive home a deeper meaning, maybe get them to see 'value' from a different perspective.

        And use that as a means to filter new subscribers onto my email lists. That's all I was really looking to do, was offer something original to "build a list" upon. As opposed to just grabbing up a PLR report, slapping my name on it, and collecting names.

        I rarely ever remember 1/2 the crap I've read opting into someone's list, usually it's the sales page or an inciting offer that gets me to put my email in the form - which as best was a passing interest... but, money is universal topic.

        In that light, I really just wanted to put something together that the reader cannot forget - (as I have have to imagine) a lot of people don't know the history of paper money... So, it seemed a good place to start... maybe, I need to position it from a different "look and feel" - for I do honestly believe... there is a potential with this project.- even though, this nearly consumed 3 weeks of my life - I do feel it's lacking that "oh snap" I was looking to create.

        If I have to spend 6 months perfecting the Brand... and it develops into years of recurring income, that's a trade-off I am willing to make, even at the sacrifice of having to tear it back down several times, to rebuilt it better each time.

        Starting with the fact... the first web link I wrote [.com] instead of [.net] - and still didn't catch it after reading it 3-4 x straight through.

        Thanks Andrew... off to process some new ideas...

        Art

        PS- Just for the record it is a "Free Report" - not something I was selling as a product.
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        • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
          Thanks for coming back, Art. I thought I might have been a touch too blunt.

          Originally Posted by art72 View Post

          If by self-indulgent you mean lacking economical value... can't argue that, as I intentionally keep it vague 'as to the benefits" to come.
          No. I mean you wrote it for yourself, not your reader.

          In truth, I wanted to "brand" the site into their minds...not me, for I may not always be there - if I move on to bigger visions later, and let the brand carry the glory... I don't want it to stifle in my absence.
          In that case, let me re-write:

          I don't know your brand's values, what it stands for and against, why I should trust it, and what I should have learned.

          And more than that, I don't know what your brand is or what it's about beyond a vague new-age, slightly hippy-ish, make money theme. Whether that's what you want it be or not, I don't know.

          Here's a simple and effective (and far shorter) way of getting across your brand.


          So, it seemed a good place to start... maybe, I need to position it from a different "look and feel" - for I do honestly believe... there is a potential with this project.- even though, this nearly consumed 3 weeks of my life - I do feel it's lacking that "oh snap" I was looking to create.
          If you want to tell a story like that, you either need to make it so impelling by itself your prospects can't help but read on, which isn't easy. Or you need to link it to something relevant to your prospects, something like "How a twelve hundred year-old Chinese invention can make you money".

          If I have to spend 6 months perfecting the Brand...
          You can't steer a parked car. Get something out there, keep what works, scrap what doesn't, and keep moving forward.

          Good luck.
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          Andrew Gould

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          • Profile picture of the author art72
            Originally Posted by Andrew Gould View Post

            Thanks for coming back, Art. I thought I might have been a touch too blunt.
            Actually, I prefer the truth...and blunt is best served with honesty!



            No. I mean you wrote it for yourself, not your reader.
            After re-visiting it, I think that's where I lost the "snap factor" I was aiming for, as it does seem to carry a "me" tone throughout the story... bad attempt at being transparent I guess.



            In that case, let me re-write:

            I don't know your brand's values, what it stands for and against, why I should trust it, and what I should have learned.

            And more than that, I don't know what your brand is or what it's about beyond a vague new-age, slightly hippy-ish, make money theme. Whether that's what you want it be or not, I don't know.
            No... that's the exacting opposite of what I want, although it did seem to work well for Frank Kern back in the day.

            After reading the sales-page below, I was blown away as all the same 'key factors' are in my message, just not formatted, structured, or delivered from the proper perspective... it's like reading the short version of my book - written properly to the audience.

            Thank-you for that insight!

            Here's a simple and effective (and far shorter) way of getting across your brand.




            If you want to tell a story like that, you either need to make it so impelling by itself your prospects can't help but read on, which isn't easy. Or you need to link it to something relevant to your prospects, something like "How a twelve hundred year-old Chinese invention can make you money".
            I think I'm going to move this piece back into the garage, until I can afford to give it a full over haul.



            You can't steer a parked car. Get something out there, keep what works, scrap what doesn't, and keep moving forward.

            Good luck.
            Thanks, it a painful truth (and lesson) no doubt as I cannot afford, not to be 'stomping on it' and start gaining some mileage from my writing... work in progress.


            Appreciate it!

            Art
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    I believe Art, by the length and muscle you put into your writing, you will be acknowledged favorably for it.

    Whether those attributes are enough to overcome its initial "hypey internet marketing" look and feel, I am not sure.

    I encourage you to try giving it a more authoritative, more reserved look and feel.

    I hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author art72
    Rick,

    Thanks, I appreciate your insight, and take "the length and muscle" as being a welcomed compliment.

    I have been struggling as to the direction the message "invites" as there are many paths I can take the reader from here, and I am feeling "exactly" as you said; "it does come off as a hypey internet marketing" look and feel... and I have been giving great consideration as to how to "present it and package" in a more befitting manner to reach a broader audience.

    Thanks.. I do appreciate you taking a look at it.

    Art
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Thanks, Max. I appreciate.

    In posting my comments, I am genuinely not trying to be contrarian, disruptive or argumentative.

    There's enough of that on this forum, let alone the world.

    What I'm hoping people take away from my opinion(s) is that the majority of what you read in the copywriting books should not be taken as Gospel.

    The word "FREE" can suppress results. The Belcher button doesn't always convert best. Offering bonuses can cheapen an offer. A headline can tip off a reader you want his money. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    Unlike others who struggle for work, as a workaholic working behind my desktop upwards of 80 hours a week for the past 35 years, I AM FLOODED with writing from multiple avenues.

    I see what's working up close and personal. All cold traffic.

    I say that not to impress anyone, but to reveal a small glimpse of what my life is like. I am forever in the trenches writing and TESTING.

    And most of what you read out in the wild is BS. Designed only to tickle your ears, fill your head and empty your wallet.

    A possible additional bonus? Your FB or Adwords account gets banned.

    I am not saying anybody is wrong unless their advice is righteously absolute in nature. In other words, certain copywriting devices and strategies work in certain contexts and on certain advertising platforms.

    So bottom line, I encourage everyone to use Ray's or mine or anybody else's advice as grist for the mill, as inspiration of what to try.

    But don't be too surprised or upset if it doesn't work. Nothing is certain to convert in copywriting today regardless of the source.

    I hope this clarifies.

    Thanks again, Max.
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  • …and while we're dispersing a shedfull of myths.

    You don't always have to write a 107 page (give or take) sales pitch.

    Because many of the most profitable "pitches" were a mere 1 or 2 pages long.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author splitTest
    Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

    One of the most common mistakes I see rookie copywriters make is
    that they concentrate so much on the “power words” and “sounding
    like a copywriter” that the flow of the letter suffers. The main
    reasons for this lack of flow arise because:

    >>The headline does not logically connect with the opening
    paragraph but addresses two different ideas
    >>The topic sentence of each paragraph is not logically
    supported by the following ‘body’ sentences.
    >>The “transitions” from one paragraph to another is almost
    ignored so there is an awkward disconnect.
    >>The right information is given in the wrong places such as
    the ‘call to action’ given before the list of benefits. (Think
    AIDA.)
    Too much real-estate is given to a minor selling point.
    ^ This is absolutely true about rookie writers. You see it all the time right here on the forum.

    And you guys are missing Ray's point about structure. The ad with the chick getting the spanking is a real non sequitur.

    That ad wouldn't work because values have changed. Has nothing to do with structure (the topic at hand). The anecdote about the copy working better without a guarantee? Same deal, non-sequitur (and not such a valuable insight. Should we market based on your anecdote or the TONS of research that show that strong guarantees, ie. "risk reversal" work?).

    Keep them guessing? Naaaah. Obvious not. Keep them reading -- and that has a lot to do with Ray's point about transitions, keeping the promise in the headline, etc. If they dive into your ad or letter or whatever and don't find what they're looking for toute d'suite, you've lost them.

    Ray's post is spot on -- copywriting 101. Plan it out and make sure it fits together well and flows well, depending on the challenge at hand.

    Slippery slope, whether it's a letter or a facebook ad.

    That being said, of course you don't want your ad (or letter or whatever) to read like advertising. I'm a huge fan of the "soft-sell" (which is the hardest kind of copy to write). Still, you gotta plan it out beforehand (or rearrange it later) into an optimal "slippery slope", ie. structure.

    In fact, I would require my students to study famous direct
    marketing pieces and determine what “persuasion architecture” the
    copywriter follows. This gives the students practice through this
    ‘reverse-engineering’ process to appreciate that, beyond the
    words and sentences, there must be a certain flow, plan, map, or
    whatever other name you want to use, to great copywriting.
    Hope you're giving them samples of "soft sell" to reverse-engineer too.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Jennie, thanks.

    It's so nice of you to respond. It's starting to feel like homecoming weekend on this thread with all the oldtimers chiming in.

    You said the magic words.

    "The trick is to know what works now."

    The emphasis is on the word "now."

    Word on the street is, being one of the top ClickBank and supplement copywriters, YOU are one of the ones to know.

    (As an aside, most here don't know that Jennie is one of the top VSL copywriters on ClickBank. She also has multiple controls selling supplements. Plus she was one of the top 3 Elance copywriters until it got bought out by upwork.)

    It really IS all about what's working now.

    Books are outdated, and increasingly irrelevant.

    My advice? Spend every minute sharpening the saw, studying your market instead.

    Because the best copy being written today is not getting 2% conversions. Although it was more than acceptable in the old days to cover adspend and offer a nice profit.

    Today's converting copy must get better conversions, better EPCs. You've got to squeeze as much profit out of a piece as you can, especially if it's on the frontend of a funnel.

    The great thing is that analytical tools like hotjar.com and crazyegg.com and clicktale.com plus others can give you insights you couldn't get in the past.

    For instance, I have been fine tuning a particular ClickBank piece in a large, rabid market on FB for six months.

    Six months is a long time. I have a three hundred hours into it as least.

    It's gone through multiple versions. Quizzes, surveys, articles landers, landing page changes, changing up the offer... it was always on the cusp of profitability on Facebook.

    We didn't give up. We kept at it.

    Then I tried something new, something different.

    It immediately gave us a 400% ROI. Finally, a well-earned breakthrough.

    Will that last? Well, obviously we're scaling as fast as possible right now, so we'll see.

    But given I treat my copywriting efforts as a business and not just a one-time promotion or even a freelance service, I'm sure we'll continue to optimize.

    The point is you can't be rigid in your thinking. You can't be righteous about formulas and tactics that worked in the past.

    I believe "structures" lull you into a false sense of confidence. "It worked then, it should work now, right?"

    Not necessarily. In fact, I say probably not. Not without some significant modification.

    That's why I encourage people I mentor to instead spend their time being a student of THE MARKET. Here are 6 of the things I do...
    • Buy the products you see being promoted over and over again. Follow AND DOCUMENT the funnel. Analyze that. Feels like a waste of money, but I'll do that before I buy a generic copywriting course. It's cheaper, too.
    • Don't just read, but participate on the forums of your prospects. You want to develop a sixth sense about your prospect.
    • Build out a comprehensive avatar and buyer persona. Keep a running list of words and phrases your market uses. Not just words you swipe from competitors. They'll come in handy.
    • When you do get a new customer, develop a real relationship with them. Survey them. Record and transcribe them.
    • Collaborate with other copywriters. I realize copywriters are lone wolfs, but I encourage you share the work, split the fees with people you trust. Share the daily insights and breakthroughs. $25K masterminds are overpriced and overrated.
    • Invest in tools that allow you to analyze your work. And then spend the time optimizing. It's never ending but the insights you'll get will give you a competitive edge.
    Jennie, with your experience, you know all this implicitly. I was kinda saying it for those who don't have your expertise and focus.
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    • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post


      "The trick is to know what works now."

      It really IS all about what's working now.

      The point is you can't be rigid in your thinking.
      You can't be righteous about formulas and tactics that worked in the past.

      I believe "structures" lull you into a false sense of confidence. "It worked then, it should work now, right?"

      Not necessarily. In fact, I say probably not. Not without some significant modification.
      Thanks Rick,

      And there we see what may be the current state of copywriting instruction...

      Too many... way, way, way too many teachers who are

      rigid and righteous

      with their formulas, structures, and instruction.

      Most don't even know what Breakthrough means, let alone attempt to find it.

      It has become an anal retentive herd of dogma, guru pablum and same old same old...

      When what works...Is what works.

      And positioning and posturing as a preeminent persuader by charging higher prices...well, that's what gives us the lamentations of
      the guys who have spent $8,000.00

      on a "trained by"________ (guru)

      which doesn't produce results.

      Results.

      And it takes hard work to get them.
      Not a formula nor a structure but...

      finding what WORKS. Hard work.

      gjabiz
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      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        Gordon, I *know* you have some secrets.

        How do *you* mentor copywriters?

        As a master copywriter (notice I didn't say guru), you probably have more direct response copywriting experience than anyone I know. And I see you've opened the doors to having people mentor with you.

        So how do you do it?

        P.S. Just because you don't have 10,000 people following you on FB, doesn't mean one wit to me.

        Because to me, a master is not judged by the number of students, but by the number of masters he has created.

        And I know you've created a few.



        Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

        Thanks Rick,

        And there we see what may be the current state of copywriting instruction...

        Too many... way, way, way too many teachers who are

        rigid and righteous

        with their formulas, structures, and instruction.

        Most don't even know what Breakthrough means, let alone attempt to find it.

        It has become an anal retentive herd of dogma, guru pablum and same old same old...

        When what works...Is what works.

        And positioning and posturing as a preeminent persuader by charging higher prices...well, that's what gives us the lamentations of
        the guys who have spent $8,000.00

        on a "trained by"________ (guru)

        which doesn't produce results.

        Results.

        And it takes hard work to get them.
        Not a formula nor a structure but...

        finding what WORKS. Hard work.

        gjabiz
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        • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
          Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

          Gordon, I *know* you have some secrets.

          How do *you* mentor copywriters?

          As a master copywriter (notice I didn't say guru), you probably have more direct response copywriting experience than anyone I know. And I see you've opened the doors to having people mentor with you.

          So how do you do it?

          P.S. Just because you don't have 10,000 people following you on FB, doesn't mean one wit to me.

          Because to me, a master is not judged by the number of students, but by the number of masters he has created.

          And I know you've created a few.
          Thanks Rick, I really don't mentor "copywriters", but usually include that in with marketing.

          When I have dealt with copy writing wannabees, I start with a Maslow Pyramid, and then match the niche, if they have one, and use the PictoGrigm of Persuasion to teach them how to create...

          the most important part...

          the INTERSECTION. As you have reported, your spending many months on the tweaking of your copy is akin to perfecting that meeting point at the place and time where the Prospect meets your Promotion. Once a control is in place, economies dictate how much tweaking is done, it has to be statistically significant and maintain. So, a 15% increase, for example, would have to stay there for a set period of time to become the new control. But I come from a background of analytics so it is second nature to me, not easy to teach that stuff.

          An example. Currently working with a few people on the very lucrative (especially for creative copywriters) field of Commemorative Products.

          So, I first send them to EXISTING companies, Franklin Mint, Bradford Exchange, Commemorative Arts, etc., etc. to see what the promotions look like and then a stop at SRDS/Nextmark.etc. to look for lists...

          I'm currently working by myself and as a JV with a group, on LUNAR LANDING commemorative...3 years out. But, we know it will be a big opportunity, and there is time in the tank to study and learn markets and have things ready to roll.

          Again, my OPINION is, Copy is a piece. It is rarely a stand alone thing, it needs a product, prospects and media...and they have equal weight, and each has a rating on its own depending...but all are important.

          OK, OK. On the rare occasion I do actually work with just a copywriter we begin with a fully fleshed out "Avatar" of the prospect, a complete detailed RESPONSE...

          WHAT do you want the prospect to do.

          Backward chain THAT EVENT to the beginning of the copy, Then, FORWARD project from the entry level Buy Button through the Life Time Value...

          Then apply the initial STIMULUS and continue with the continuous "voltages" for as long as can be done.

          The end result, which could be a few years (a newsletter or magazine perhaps)...gives you an idea of HOW MUCH you can spend to get a customer, the breakeven point...the profit point and the gravy train.

          Take HIGHLIGHTS for Children, they use to lose money for over two years (cost of customer acquisition) and maybe in year 3-4...reach profitability and then have 3-5 years of "gravy train" income.

          Since I come at Remote Direct Marketing from an analytical view, and crunch a lot of numbers...my methods are, for the most part, NOT suited to a person who just wants to become a six figure copywriter...plenty of people available here and elsewhere to teach them that.

          Now, aren't you tickled pink you asked? HA!

          gjabiz

          PS. My simple formula is: Attention. Get it. Keep it. Maintain it for LTV. A focus on only THAT, is often the only thing you need...and all structure, format and formula is geared to "holding" their ATTENTION.
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          • Profile picture of the author art72
            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post


            When I have dealt with copy writing wannabees, I start with a Maslow Pyramid
            Thanks to you posting this in another thread, I've dug deep into what 'most people' consider a need, or as you put it - preoccupation. Definitely insightful.

            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            and then match the niche, if they have one, and use the PictoGrigm of Persuasion to teach them how to create...
            While I Thank-you for this... it lead me to your 4-part YouTube series "Lessons of a Lifetime - Stimulus Response" - finding those videos was some serious mentoring! -PRICELESS!!!

            ...and although the link to the image was broken, a quick Google search gave me the image! - Thank-You!!!

            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            the most important part...

            the INTERSECTION. As you have reported, your spending many months on the tweaking of your copy is akin to perfecting that meeting point at the place and time where the Prospect meets your Promotion.
            This will NEVER leave my mind! - literally, "Oh my!"

            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            Once a control is in place, economies dictate how much tweaking is done, it has to be statistically significant and maintain. So, a 15% increase, for example, would have to stay there for a set period of time to become the new control. But I come from a background of analytics so it is second nature to me, not easy to teach that stuff.
            Mission... CONTROL! - This was the void in my understanding, and often had the negative effects I was having in writing decent copy. I had no control in place... whereby, no real known direction as to how to establish that right from the rip! - this is an area I obviously lack any experience, as I've yet to fully test the markets...

            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            Again, my OPINION is, Copy is a piece. It is rarely a stand alone thing, it needs a product, prospects and media...and they have equal weight, and each has a rating on its own depending...but all are important.
            Obviously, I had pieces, no the whole collective picture... and I now understand why nothing I wrote felt finished in the sense, the copy could not sustain over time, as it was 'broken' from the first step. Which is the last step wasn't there...

            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            begin with a fully fleshed out "Avatar" of the prospect, a complete detailed RESPONSE...
            OK... now I know exactly what happened in our brief conversation

            When you asked me those few simple questions.... I was stuttering to give you a truthful and accurate answer, respectively. (INTERSECTION...Oh My!)

            ...and what has since transpired (in 30 days) did exactly what you teach in the 4 videos, it made me want to get better and to want a more articulate approach, and to gain more knowledge.

            Not only better ( as a wannabe copy writer,) but in all areas of my life (Maslow... Self-Actualization)

            I revisited my responses, and realized; "Many of my answers were more compulsory than accurate, or incomplete would better describe it perhaps." - and, now I want more!

            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            WHAT do you want the prospect to do.

            Backward chain THAT EVENT to the beginning of the copy, Then, FORWARD project from the entry level Buy Button through the Life Time Value...

            Then apply the initial STIMULUS and continue with the continuous "voltages" for as long as can be done.

            The end result, which could be a few years
            The first half made sense to me for a long time now... the second part of applying a stimulus (that sticks) that part would not have made sense without the vids and creating control.

            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            Since I come at Remote Direct Marketing from an analytical view, and crunch a lot of numbers...my methods are, for the most part, NOT suited to a person who just wants to become a six figure copywriter...plenty of people available here and elsewhere to teach them that.
            I can't say to know all your methods Gordon, and just what I've learned from you in a month... is mind altering (for the better of course.)

            To anyone who does find the benefits I found in this thread... if someone ever asks you what your "PLAN" is... (might I only suggest it encompasses your entire being!) and be well-equipped to answer that question...like a vision painted in your head!

            Since having been asked that simple... yet direct question, I'll tell ya, I plan to quit smoking, cut down or quit caffeine, start exercising (getting lazy doing all this brain work, lol) ...and that just scratches the underlying business plan that still developing everyday.

            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            Now, aren't you tickled pink you asked? HA!
            Thanks Rick... I'm glad somebody asked him!


            Originally Posted by gjabiz View Post

            PS. My simple formula is: Attention. Get it. Keep it. Maintain it for LTV. A focus on only THAT, is often the only thing you need...and all structure, format and formula is geared to "holding" their ATTENTION.
            All I can say, is 'when' my "plan to pursuade" comes together as I envision it... Gordon, you'll be one of the first people I thank!

            Lastly, as simple as what gjabiz just shared may seem, this thread just reminds me... the slightest and simplest things in life... can mean a world of difference to the right person at the right time... all the more reason I need to master this craft.

            Thank-You Raydal for starting this thread!

            Art
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    • Profile picture of the author Whitney Segura
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      My advice? Spend every minute sharpening the saw, studying your market instead.

      Because the best copy being written today is not getting 2% conversions. Although it was more than acceptable in the old days to cover adspend and offer a nice profit.

      Today's converting copy must get better conversions, better EPCs. You've got to squeeze as much profit out of a piece as you can, especially if it's on the frontend of a funnel.
      I completely agree with Rick on squeezing every last drop of value from each piece of content you have, I have a pretty good method in which I do so, and I am sure that I could improve upon it a good bit, but here is my strategy:

      1. Publish the original article on the best/highest quality website possible, let it get indexed by the search engines.

      2. Take that article and turn it into a PDF file (Usually using Power Point), perhaps add a few images & spice it up a little bit, then take the PDF and distribute it accross the top PDF distribution channels such as Scribd.com, SlideShare.net, DocStoc.com, Issuu.com, and many others.

      3. I run the article through a program called Natural Reader, which turns it into an audio file. Now, I have a podcast in which I distribute throughout a number of podcast sharing websites, using unique titles & descriptions for each upload.

      4. Then, I take the content PDF file throw it in Power Point, add some images & create a slide show. Next, I take the audio file I created before, and put it onto the video. Now, I have a fully functional video to distribute accross the top video marketing channels, such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

      5. If you wish to take things even further, you can use that piece of content and throw it into an eBook, which you can either sell for money, give away for free/with a product purchase, or for an email address.

      That's my plan, on how I get the absolute most of out my content, without spending a whole lot of time, money, or resources to get it done. Everything I just listed can be done very quickly, and yields surprisingly great results.

      Signature
      Whitney Segura - "Things will come to those who wait, but only things left behind by those who hustle."

      Learn how to make money selling online with Amazon and FBA, at my companies blog: Amazon Seller Help Blog - brought to you by: FeedtheBeastAlways.com
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Jennie wrote, among other things:

    Customers can smell sales copy a mile away... sort of like a trash can of stinking rotting fish! (or at least it seems that way.) This is why article style sales letters are generally converting much higher to cold traffic now. This toned-down style sales letter doesn't LOOK like a sales letter and it doesn't seem like they are selling anything (but they are).
    I'm a little confused about the context of Jennie's comments. It seems like she is talking about a selling environment where people are coming from search engines and expecting non-selling information and therefore you now need to sell in a manner that doesn't look like a traditional sales letter.

    However, some of us sell in contexts where the customer does expect and want a sales page that looks like a sales page and where anything else would be confusing. For example, if I am reading my alumni magazine and see mention of a tour to Turkey and want to know more about it, I am expecting to see a sales pitch about the tour, not general information about visiting Turkey. Likewise, if my weekly newsletter gets someone thinking about a certain theme and then there's a blurb about a new course on this topic, someone clicking to read about the course is going to expect a sales letter-type writeup about the course. If they get something else, they're going to be confused and the possible sale will be lost.

    Now maybe the reply is that we shouldn't be selling in such ways any more, that that's not where the money is, but if there's already been trust built up, I don't see what is outmoded or wrong about selling in these ways. I do understand the appeal of advertorial-style selling approaches, but that's been around for 20+ years, and that only fits certain situations.

    Could Jennie or Rick or anyone else who understands their side of this discussion please comment, because I am rather confused.

    Thanks,
    Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Marcia, what I think you're asking is why not sell straight up if the prospect is open to the opportunity of buying?

    The prospect has been previously educated. They're trusting. They're ready, willing and able.

    Just light up the benefits, address possible objections, maybe add some scarcity and urgency and show them the order form.

    If that's the situation, I would agree.

    Don't make it harder than it needs to be, right?

    PS: Here's a pretty good assessment of what's happening today:

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/05/09...pe-shifts.html
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  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    How refreshing to have a thread that engages the readers and contributors with intelligent insights and observations.

    It seems in any business there are levels people reach where their effectiveness, productivity, output and results produce the best outcomes for themselves or their employers.

    Structures can be built and then built upon to produce new and improved systems that can deliver more predictable results.

    Not that I'm saying predictable is good but predictable concepts in face to face selling are good fallbacks for when things are not progressing with a client.

    Revert to the control.

    In copywriting perhaps having some fall back structures to use and refer to is not a bad thing.

    It is a bit like rote learning in school where the repetition or memory of particular facts, systems or ideas is embedded into the students brain.

    When copywriting you have the luxury of producing material out of view of the client and you can modify and edit as you see fit.

    When face to face or one on one the seller can modify their responses according to the feedback they are "hopefully" receiving from the prospect.

    Analytics tools like Clicktale or numerous other split-testing and tracking tools should help copywriters improve results but do these tools really help the inexperienced practitioner?

    I think it still takes experience and understanding of what these tools produce to successfully modify copy to deliver a better result.

    It is always nice to quote examples where there has been huge success or differences but you would expect as you got better the differences might only be marginal and as Rick mentioned it was only after extended testing there was one significant breakthrough that produced better results.

    Best regards,

    Ozi
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