$800,000/yr Copywriter - What Do You Think of This Swipe?

35 replies
My Simple, No Bull
Honest-to-Goodness
Guarantee to you!


You must be completely satisfied

with your purchase. And you can take
a full 60 days to try it RISK FREE.

If you're not 100% delighted with your

purchase - I'll refund all your money.
No ifs, ands or buts about it!

I think that's fair, don't you?


....I like how this starts out as a command "you must be completely satisfied with your purchase..."

BTW, it's on of carline anglade cole's copywriting jewels....


I've been reading more of her stuff since being turned on to her by Makepeace and Warrior Collette
#$800 #copywriter #or yr #swipe
  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Dean
    I think it was Makepeace I got this tip from...

    Instead of saying...

    If you're not 100% satisfied with your purchase.

    say...

    If you're anything but thrilled with your purchase.

    That way you're not including the words "not satisfied" in your guarantee. I've never tested this and would guess if it did have an effect, it'd be small. But I use it all the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Originally Posted by moneykws View Post



    I think that's fair, don't you?

    I was good with it, right up until the line I quoted above. I absolutely HATE copy that uses this sort of tactic.

    It's demeaning, manipulative, and talks down to the reader. I think it's always a mistake to assume that your reader is an idiot.

    Life is a bell-shaped curve. Almost 90 percent of your readers are fairly intelligent or better. Why then, do so many marketers make the mistake of treating people like morons?

    Hence the paradox: "It's moronic to treat people like morons."

    -John
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    • Profile picture of the author Amanda Craven
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      I was good with it, right up until the line I quoted above. I absolutely HATE copy that uses this sort of tactic.

      It's demeaning, manipulative, and talks down to the reader. I think it's always a mistake to assume that your reader is an idiot.

      Life is a bell-shaped curve. Almost 90 percent of your readers are fairly intelligence or better. Why then, do so many marketers make the mistake of treating people like morons?

      Hence the paradox: "It's moronic to treat people like morons."

      -John
      I couldn't agree more. And I would bet a fair number of those intelligent people will look at it and react to the big, fat NO that enters their heads upon reading it...
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      • Profile picture of the author jennymcroland
        Originally Posted by Amanda Craven View Post

        I couldn't agree more. And I would bet a fair number of those intelligent people will look at it and react to the big, fat NO that enters their heads upon reading it...
        accurate thinking
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      I was good with it, right up until the line I quoted above. I absolutely HATE copy that uses this sort of tactic.

      It's demeaning, manipulative, and talks down to the reader. I think it's always a mistake to assume that your reader is an idiot.
      Sorry I don't agree. You aren't your target market. They have different hot buttons and different ways of conversing than the copywriter who is writing the copy.

      The line in question... In my opinion, it's conversational in tone and how many people talk to each other.

      Fair enough?
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    • Profile picture of the author Oxbloom
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      Life is a bell-shaped curve.

      ALMOST 90 PERCENT OF YOUR READERS ARE FAIRLY INTELLIGNECE OR BETTER.

      Why then, do so many marketers make the mistake of treating people like morons?
      I broke your paragraph down into three bits, because I thought it relevant to do so.

      The bolded part is absolutely true. Especially where intelligence is considered. All populations over a trivial size conform to a bell curve. A relatively small number of people will be well below average. A relatively small number will be well above average. And the vast majority will be lumped in unceremoniously with the great, mediocre mass of humanity.

      The CAPITALIZED part, therefore, is completely and utterly wrong. There's a reason you've been instructed your whole life to keep sentences and paragraphs short. To keep reading level at elementary-school levels. To use short words, and to play to emotions rather than logic, primarily. It's because not merely most of your readers, but the HUGE majority of your readers are simple read-and-react types of magnificently average intelligence. They're not dissecting whether they're being manipulated. If a copywriting trick is anything shy of grossly overt, it will go unnoticed by anyone but those at the very top of the curve, or those who've had special training. (Like you!)

      So then the last, unbolded, unCAPITALIZED sentence? The answer is copywriters AREN'T treating readers like morons. They're treating them like average readers. Average readers of average intelligence, and average capacity for detecting coercion. Readers who prefer mental pictures to logical prose styling. Readers who prefer conversational to academic in tone. Readers who will both IGNORE and REACT TO having their strings pulled by the merchants of manipulation.

      I've been copywriting long enough that just the mention of "WHO ELSE WANTS TO...?" in a headline makes me want to vomit.

      But on a baser level, I know it still works. Because the rock-simple premise that "Who else?" suggests pre-conditioned social proof DOES actually succeed in short-circuiting the logic processors that ought to be saying, "Wait a minute, who was first?"

      Or...it short-circuits them for the bulk of that bell curve, anyway.

      We ain't selling to Carlton, Makepeace, and Bencivenga. We're selling to Joe Average. Respect his intelligence enough to show him you get who he is. But not so much that you hurt your own efforts to convince.
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    • Profile picture of the author SergeyZ
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      I was good with it, right up until the line I quoted above. I absolutely HATE copy that uses this sort of tactic.

      It's demeaning, manipulative, and talks down to the reader. I think it's always a mistake to assume that your reader is an idiot.

      Life is a bell-shaped curve. Almost 90 percent of your readers are fairly intelligent or better. Why then, do so many marketers make the mistake of treating people like morons?

      Hence the paradox: "It's moronic to treat people like morons."

      -John
      Read the whole page and look at the context. The whole thing is written in a very informal tone. The portion of the page with that quote is on the bottom right next to a picture of the author who is looking right at you and smiling. When you read that phrase on the site odds are you'll be hearing it in an imagined female voice. It makes it personal. Context is what matters. That one little phrase makes the guarantee congruent with the rest of the page's content. It has nothing to do with the intelligence of the reader or any such b.s. It simply reflects the tone of the entire page.
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
        Originally Posted by SergeyZ View Post

        Read the whole page and look at the context. The whole thing is written in a very informal tone. The portion of the page with that quote is on the bottom right next to a picture of the author who is looking right at you and smiling. When you read that phrase on the site odds are you'll be hearing it in an imagined female voice. It makes it personal. Context is what matters. That one little phrase makes the guarantee congruent with the rest of the page's content. It has nothing to do with the intelligence of the reader or any such b.s. It simply reflects the tone of the entire page.

        SergeyZ,

        To continue to beat a dead horse...

        That's fine. You're certainly welcome to disagree. However, "smiling face" and "female voice," aside -- I still don't like it. Some people love it; others don't.

        I think some people (including myself) would perceive it as talking down to the reader and I see no value in that. Others think the tone is conversational.

        You're free to decide for yourself and choose your own path.

        -John
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        • Profile picture of the author SergeyZ
          I'm just curious though - have you gone to the actual page or are you basing your opinion solely on the posted quote? Just wondering.
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  • Profile picture of the author iSoftware
    Wow, we must be reading totally different copy here guys! First of all, I'm sure you've heard the term
    "you are not a representative sample"....

    I think it's always to make a mistake based on one's personal opinions rather than what's likely to be in t he mind of the consumer.....

    Carline coal was mentored by Makepeace and has written for O Magazine as well as a number of other really solid offline publications....

    Of course it's just a matter of opinion but I would bet she's tested the heck out of her guarantees and has a pretty nice tried and test swipe file...


    It reminds me of a David Olgivy quote, "If it doesn't sell, it's not creative...."
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Sanchez
    I'm with Ken on that one:

    As long the copy is leading in a conversational tone, that seems very much like something I would tell a friend.
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    • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
      Her guarantee is way better than most, that's for sure. I don't think
      it's swipe worthy... probably because that's the type of thing I do.

      I do like her controls, a lot.
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      • Profile picture of the author Hugh Thyer
        I like the idea of "you must be thrilled with..." instead of "if you are not thrilled".

        I don't find the question "I think that's fair, don't you?" a problem. I use it. Lots of very good copywriters use it. It's conversational and keeps the pace rolling. The reader keeps interjecting with 'yes' throughout the copy.
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  • Profile picture of the author GuerrillaIM
    It's also sailing way above my head why that term is so demeaning. I guess I must fit into the low IQ sucker group
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
      The phrase in question is: "I think that's fair, don't you?"

      The problem is those last two words. It's the kind of dumbed-down phrasing you would use to persuade a 5-year-old...

      "You want to grow up to be big and strong, don't you? Then you had better drink your milk."

      It's condescending and the intent of those extra two words is manipulate the reader. The problem is it's so transparent, that it's laughable.

      The point of my post is very simple -- it's that you would be better off taking your reader's side by helping to guide them, than making a thinly veiled attempt at coercion.

      But, if you really think that's grade "A" copy, then run with it...

      -John
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      • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
        Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

        The phrase in question is: "I think that's fair, don't you?"

        The problem is those last two words. It's the kind of dumbed-down phrasing you would use to persuade a 5-year-old...

        "You want to grow up to be big and strong, don't you? Then you had better drink your milk."

        It's condescending and the intent of those extra two words is manipulate the reader. The problem is it's so transparent, that it's laughable.

        The point of my post is very simple -- it's that you would be better off taking your reader's side by helping to guide them, than making a thinly veiled attempt at coercion.

        But, if you really think that's grade "A" copy, then run with it...

        -John
        Well, we are over-analyzing and overreacting, to nothing. I'm
        sure she did not intend to anger you so much, John.

        Somehow she has managed to be very successful using these
        sorts of 'dumb' tactics. How successful have your smart tactics
        made you?

        There is NOTHING wrong with her use of 'don't you'

        The only thing dumb on this thread is the focus on this silliness.
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        • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
          The only thing dumb on this thread is the focus on this silliness.
          I could not disagree more.

          The way you get to become a better copywriter (or a better writer of any sort) is by noticing details, pondering small distinctions and wondering whether they make a difference - then testing them yourself.

          If you do not notice the kind of details people are commenting on here - such as the difference between "I think that's fair, don't you?" and "That's fair, don't you think?" or "That's fair, isn't it?" - then I don't see how you can possibly improve your copywriting.

          Assuming that even someone who makes $800,000/yr has mastered every such detail is really silly, to me.

          I have had my (non-copywriting) work edited by some of the best people in the wordsmithing business, and these masters are sensitive to such small things as the placement of a comma, use of "the" rather than "an", an unusual sentence structure, an overabundance of "triples" (my own weakness), the regionalism of "on line" versus "in line," and much, much more.

          Becoming a master of tiny linguistic details is as important as getting an overall persuasive structure right.

          Marcia Yudkin
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  • Profile picture of the author richard_s_smith
    Everyone's points are understandable. My question is do we over analyze copy or not enough? Are conversion rates testimony enough to good copy or no? I'm fairly new to this arena but have seen a launch with incredible returns that had copy with grammatical errors galore and some juvenile phraseology but otherwise great content and converted like crazy. Where does one draw the line between too much or not enough analysis?
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
      Originally Posted by richard_s_smith View Post

      Are conversion rates testimony enough to good copy or no?
      Not usually. When the iPad launched, you could have sold a TON of them with a sales letter that said little more than... "Buy This!" That's because the traffic was heavily presold.

      There are a large number of other factors involved. The sales letter is extremely important, of course, but it's not the only factor.

      -John
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      • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
        It's not bad as far as examples go, but I earned over 100k in 2010 and although I'm a damn good copywriter, it had MUCH more to do with my negotiation skills. How well you write is just the first part of the equation...not nearly the most important part though.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    ARE FAIRLY INTELLIGNECE
    Yes, this is where I fell off my chair laughing as well.

    90 PERCENT
    American schooling, where 90 percent are above average, 'cepting for th'other 90 who are ******* geniuses.

    We're advising on swipes now? Is that what we're doing, "helping" people who can't be bothered to figure out what to swipe?? Fiverr, here we come.
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    • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      Yes, this is where I fell off my chair laughing as well.

      American schooling, where 90 percent are above average, 'cepting for th'other 90 who are ******* geniuses.

      We're advising on swipes now? Is that what we're doing, "helping" people who can't be bothered to figure out what to swipe?? Fiverr, here we come.
      I too joined in with a giggle....

      This is a great lesson for those out there who think they know the
      marketplace. It's not the IQ of the reader that is an issue, it's
      the time they will give our ads. More effort equals less engagement.

      To think we know what they think is crazy (without thorough research)...
      totally insane thinking 90% are to your thinking/rationality.

      Look at you Johnny, your bad spelling just divorced you from your
      90% group (in our minds). Careful when trying to look smart (while
      your at it try using a basic copywriting technique known as proof-reading)
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
        Originally Posted by IM Viper View Post

        totally insane thinking 90% are to your thinking/rationality.
        I didn't say that. I said 90 percent are "fairly intelligent or better."

        Look at you Johnny, your bad spelling just divorced you from your
        90% group (in our minds). Careful when trying to look smart (while
        your at it try using a basic copywriting technique known as proof-reading)
        It's disappointing to see that you've decided to stoop to personal attacks over the discussion of a simple, little copywriting tactic. Sheesh. I just stated my opinion. (Is that still allowed here?) You're welcome to disagree. The difference is that I didn't attack anyone's character.

        So, your position is that if a person makes one typo, all credibility is lost?

        -John
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      • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
        Banned
        Originally Posted by IM Viper View Post

        Careful when trying to look smart (while
        your at it try using a basic copywriting technique known as proof-reading)
        Should read "While you're at it...".
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        • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
          Originally Posted by Metronicity View Post

          Should read "While you're at it...".
          I never claimed to be intelligent, Mal... I fall in the 10% of leftovers :p
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          • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
            Banned
            Originally Posted by IM Viper View Post

            I never claimed to be intelligent, Mal... I fall in the 10% of leftovers :p
            No no...it's "INTELLIGNECE " doncha know.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Mike:

    Opinions vary. But I disagree with your... um... disagreement.

    Here's my point in a nutshell...

    When people read your copy, they don't know if they can trust you. And most people (90 percent?) aren't completely stupid -- they'll tend to pick up on the tone of the copy and other subtle cues.

    Adding in that little "don't you?" seems manipulative to me. And I think a lot of people -- BUT NOT EVERYONE -- would pick up on it and a little red flag might start waving in their mind.

    Are those two little words really so persuasive? If I just add them into everything I write will conversion rates soar? I don't think so. And I don't think it's worth using the sort of language that your prospects MIGHT view as being dumbed-down.

    It's like Tom Peters once said... "Stains in the tray tables, mean you're not doing your engine maintenance."

    And I agree.

    If your prospect catches you doing ANYTHING that they perceive as being devious or manipulative -- EVEN ONCE -- they'll tend to be suspicious of EVERYTHING you say.

    And it's not JUST those two words that I'm talking about -- it's all language that is of similar tone.


    IM Viper:

    Angry? Who's angry? We're simply discussing a copywriting tactic -- not serious world issues.

    Copywriters are an opinionated bunch. I gave my take on it. You're welcome to disagree. You're free to use whatever copywriting methods you choose.


    Marcia:

    My point was actually intended to be a small one -- but you got it. Thanks.


    Oxbloom:

    Would you feel better if I said "lots of people" instead of 90 percent? Is 80 percent better?

    I had stats in college and don't think it's totally out of line to say that 90 pecent of people are "fairly intelligent or better." Of course, we could argue over the semantics of the word "fairly" ad infinitum -- but you get the gist.

    Respect his intelligence <snip> But not so much that you hurt your own efforts to convince.
    See my comments to Mike.


    John S:

    See my comments to Oxbloom above.

    Frankly, I just KNEW someone would jump on that 90 percent statement -- I was just curious who it would be. You didn't disappoint.

    And thanks for pointing out my typo. Guess I'll have to sharpen my typing skills. Now, where did I put that copy of Mavis Beacon...

    -John
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    • Profile picture of the author Oxbloom
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      Oxbloom:

      Would you feel better if I said "lots of people" instead of 90 percent? Is 80 percent better?

      I had stats in college and don't think it's totally out of line to say that 90 pecent of people are "fairly intelligent or better." Of course, we could argue over the semantics of the word "fairly" ad infinitum -- but you get the gist.
      No, I wouldn't "feel better." On the one hand, because I don't feel badly about it to begin with.

      But on the other, significantly more important hand, because either number shows that there's mathematical flaw in the way you're perceiving the universe. It's not a bad flaw. In fact, it's probably an emotionally healthy one. You're overestimating the average person.

      In truth, it's probably a nice, optimistic way to go through life.

      But where it comes to writing copy, you're hamstringing yourself unnecessarily. What you're perceiving as "talking down" to people...insulting their intelligence and sales-acumen...is tried, tested, and true sales mechanics. Sales is a bag of tricks, and you can draw the line where you want, trickiness-wise. But don't fool yourself into thinking you're doing otherwise.

      When you offer a headline meant to grab somebody's attention for no more altruistic reason than that you intend to offer them a solution to their problems that will also line your pockets, you're tricking them into lowering their defenses.

      When you offer up social proof through testimonial or endorsement, you're tricking them into lowering their defenses.

      When you tell them a compelling story about yourself or whoever, and get them engaged and trusting you, you're tricking them into lowering their defenses.

      And when the guy above says, "...don't you think?" by way of coercing the prospect into silent agreement, he's tricking them into lowering their defenses.

      If one particular trick or another doesn't suit your code of ethics or whatever, toss it out of your bag.

      But recognize that those tricks you've seen around for ever and ever have been there that long for a reason. It's not because most people are too savvy to fall for them, and see them as condescending and cheap.

      It's because they help move product. And they don't do that unless the lion's share of that bell curve you're fond of is gobbling them up, hook...line...sinker.
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
        Originally Posted by Oxbloom View Post

        You're overestimating the average person.
        I didn't say 90 percent are average. That, obviously, cannot be the case.

        I used the phrase "fairly intelligent or better." I meant for that to encompass the largest part of the bell curve.

        In other words, a group that includes those who are somewhat below average, average, and everyone above average. It wasn't intended to be an "exact" statistic.

        The real point was that "a large group of people" MAY pick up on the tone of those words and construe them as being manipulative. Therefore, unless those words are so powerful that they're essential to the persuasion process, why take the chance of turning a (potentially) substantial group of people off?


        Sales is a bag of tricks, and you can draw the line where you want, trickiness-wise. But don't fool yourself into thinking you're doing otherwise.
        On this point, I disagree completely. I don't try to trick people, I try to help them.

        I have empathy for my reader and try to show them how buying the product can help them. That way, they want to buy -- no "tricks" required.

        -John
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  • Profile picture of the author iSoftware
    Well truth be told it's THE OFFER that makes or breaks the copy.

    I mean if I told you I had an all expense paid trip around the world available for $100, how much persuasion would it take? Esp. if it included proof (ex. you saw it in the NY Times, or in the WSJ)
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  • Profile picture of the author Rezbi
    Regardless of what ANYONE thinks, it's RESULTS that matter. If I was making $800,000 a year I wouldn't give a hoot what anyone else thinks of my work.
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  • Profile picture of the author smartdoctor
    The internet is full of so much hype about the copy writing stuffs I hope this is not like the other
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  • Profile picture of the author Tuddy
    Now the best part...
    You Can Put it All on me with our
    Honest to Goodness
    Satisfaction
    Guarantee to you! (( Highlight this in yellow))
    (H2 bold ) That Is … ((color this blue or something))
    You must be completely satisfied
    with your purchase. And you can take
    a full 60 days to try it RISK FREE.

    If you're not 100% delighted with your
    Purchase - I'll refund all your money.
    No ifs, ands or buts about it!

    Now that's fair, what do you say? ((Get them involved, feeling good about the buy))
    Sounds like a bit softer but yet still on the Get-er-done side
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    Offline marketing SMS text marketing

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