17 replies
I don't have a lot to say, so I'll just get to the point.

Start studying cults, cult leaders, and how they're formed and run.

Then, use that in your copy.

In fact, just read this: How to create a cult in five easy steps

It's an excerpt from the 48 Laws of Power (a MUST read...)
#cults #modeling
  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    More to the point of this section, study Cult Brands.

    Direct response angle is joining the inner circle. A decent way to improve your upsell offer(s).

    Also, study the smaller businesses. One place here has a gallery of nothing but customers who got the logo tattooed onto their body. Ninety-minute waits to be seated. That's money producing cult building.

    Not one in two hundred businesses or owners is up to the task of starting a cult brand. Most can't even develop a control piece -- they do hit and miss pogostick marketing. So forget anything more ambitious.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Chris Ramsey View Post

    I don't have a lot to say, so I'll just get to the point.

    Start studying cults, cult leaders, and how they're formed and run.

    Then, use that in your copy.

    In fact, just read this: How to create a cult in five easy steps

    It's an excerpt from the 48 Laws of Power (a MUST read...)
    Pete groans and rocks and forth holding his head in his hands.

    Not cults. Please! Not cults. Oh blimey!

    If anyone wants to start a cult get in touch. I'll teach you. It's my number one area of expertise.

    But it will definitely cost you at least a million dollars for the training.

    And no I'm not joking. I know the subject inside out. For real.

    I was born into a very well known one 3rd generation. Hated it. Can't stand the bloody things. Just don't want to go there. It upsets me too much. I've experienced first hand what goes on inside these cults. The number of deaths etc that they're responsible for. Not to mention everything else.

    They turn my stomach over. It's a subject which gets me absolutely hopping mad. A subject I know inside out.

    In the words of Los Albertos a band from Brighton in England...

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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Sigh....


    Embedding Disabled -- Click through to YouTube to see this video.

    Even more relevant are those companies who discourage cultlike (cult-like ...as in not really a cult) behaviors. Most businesses are in the habit of throwing cold water on anything resembling a cult.

    They don't know how to do it. They fail to recognize the value. They are simply too lazy to lead a cult.

    ...The story of the soda pop guy -- an obsessive -- is the basis for cult branding.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Galt
    Chris, I like that you're thinking outside of the box and all... but most of the "advice" given in this article is hogwash. Unless, of course, you're starting an actual cult. Examples:

    "Talk too vaguely and you have no credibility. But it is more dangerous to be specific. If you explain in detail the benefits people will gain by following your cult, you will be expected to satisfy them."

    "...ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf."

    "Had the charlatan spoken to them individually, they might have found him ridiculous, but lost in a crowd they got caught up in a communal mood of rapt attention."

    I could go on. The point is none of these things work when copywriting. You'd have better luck taking this advice and doing the exact opposite.
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Ramsey
      Hey John,

      I disagree.

      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      Chris, I like that you're thinking outside of the box and all... but most of the "advice" given in this article is hogwash. Unless, of course, you're starting an actual cult. Examples:

      "Talk too vaguely and you have no credibility. But it is more dangerous to be specific. If you explain in detail the benefits people will gain by following your cult, you will be expected to satisfy them."
      This is prefixed by talking vaguely. Look at almost any successful WSO and you'll see that there's blond copy to be seen everywhere. Bullets especially. The secrets that are held within a product are what sells it.

      "...ask them to make sacrifices on your behalf."
      In our line, this could be as simple as asking them to post something on Facebook, email their colleagues, or give up some extra cash for an upsell.

      "Had the charlatan spoken to them individually, they might have found him ridiculous, but lost in a crowd they got caught up in a communal mood of rapt attention."
      Social proof? I think so.

      I could go on. The point is none of these things work when copywriting. You'd have better luck taking this advice and doing the exact opposite.
      Again, I disagree

      But that's okay. This won't be for everyone.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Galt
        Chris -

        I think you're reading more into the article than is actually there...

        Originally Posted by Chris Ramsey View Post


        This is prefixed by talking vaguely. Look at almost any successful WSO and you'll see that there's blond copy to be seen everywhere. Bullets especially. The secrets that are held within a product are what sells it.
        The wording might be vague. But the benefits mentioned are as clear as day. You can be specific about The What without discussing The How.

        How many things have you bought when you didn't know exactly what you were getting? Selling a dream is just as specific as citing concrete features.

        Originally Posted by Chris Ramsey View Post

        In our line, this could be as simple as asking them to post something on Facebook, email their colleagues, or give up some extra cash for an upsell.
        It isn't a sacrifice if they gain something by taking the actions you mentioned. Prestige, being part of "the in-group", gaining a benefit. They aren't doing it for the sake of sacrifice. They are taking action because they have something to GAIN.

        Originally Posted by Chris Ramsey View Post

        Social proof? I think so.
        Garnering social proof is not the same as selling to the nebulous blob that is The Crowd. I've yet to write a winning letter that wasn't directed firmly at individual needs. Pitch to everybody and sell to nobody.

        But maybe you're right and it just "isn't for me". You might have figured out some new ways of selling that I'm just not privy to yet.

        The article (and the idea behind it) is quite sensational, though. Who wouldn't be intrigued by the idea of flirting with dark arts to sell better. It's a great discussion starter. Good job on that.
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  • Profile picture of the author Wilding
    People are really quick to use the word cult these days. Especially when they don't understand a product/service or why it is so successful. Often they've never used it before and are creating this opinion with the limited, judgemental part of their mind. Apple being a perfect example.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      Chris, I used to help people with cult mind deprogramming for many years based on my own personal experience within them from birth.

      My wife, son, mother, father, sister, extended family and a huge number, hundreds of friends I'd known all my life instantly were forbidden from even extending a greeting towards me when I left them over 16 years ago. Let alone talk to me normally as a human being.

      A situation I live with to this day daily.

      Instantly on leaving them, none of them have spoken to me since. In their view, I have handed myself over to Satan the Devil. Or to put it more bluntly in their precise language, 'the dog has returned to it's vomit'. You do NOT question the organization. Period.

      You can only begin to imagine how that line of reasoning went down with me. I questioned them at length, every question you're not allowed to ask in their eye's.

      If you think I'm exaggerating... myself and several other researchers on the subject we directly got this particular organization officially kicked out of the united Nations back in the late 1990's.

      If you want the last word on cults and how they operate you need to buy this book...

      Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steve Hassan...

      Combatting Cult Mind Control

      It's not a subject matter though to be taken lightly.

      And suggesting that we can all as copywriters and marketers learn a lot from cults is just plain daft talk. No disrespect. You seriously do not know unless you've had the personal experience, the damage cult thinking can do to a persons mind.

      I've personally lost several friends through suicide who couldn't cope with the emotional weight and burden of trying to exit themselves from cult mind control.

      This is a subject if I felt so inclined, I could write a very lengthy book upon the subject. Just a few weeks ago I met up with another author with whom I enjoyed an excellent conversation who had been involved in the same field of research for many years.

      She was encouraging me to write more about my personal experiences. The proposition doesn't attract me in the slightest these days.

      The further your mind moves away from this kind of dangerous thinking the better one feels. To write a book about the subject would only resurface all of the emotional pain which I've tried for so many years to move away from.

      I feel like a whole different person these days, able to think for myself on my terms, something which a lot of naive people on this subject take for granted.

      You cannot even begin to imagine the emotional hurt cult mind thinking can have on your emotional makeup. Many former cult members refer to it as a sprititual raping of the mind.

      Buy and read the above mentioned book on the subject for further information.


      Pete
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      • Profile picture of the author Saito
        I completely agree with Pete Walker. DO NOT go there.

        Yes, I understand that copywriting involves some persuasive psychology and pushing people's drives to get them to take action...sure. And I'm sure you used the cult analogy because it gets attention or whatever.

        But PLEASE...do not go there by even indirectly suggesting that we learn and incorporate any cults' tactics. Even if they work. It is just plain evil and wrong...ask anyone who has been in one and is recovering.

        Biz opps, MLM's, and the IM/Personal Development/Real Estate niches are cultish enough as it is. Please don't make it worse. There are very powerful methods of influence and control that, while effective, are simply unethical. We don't need more people using them for personal gain at the expense of others.

        Just stop now.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Apple being a perfect example.
    Possibly because loyal enthusiastic customers are so rare. It's not just that they haven't tried the product, but that they have little or no experience of being excited by a product or service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Chris Ramsey View Post

    I don't have a lot to say, so I'll just get to the point.

    Start studying cults, cult leaders, and how they're formed and run.

    Then, use that in your copy.

    In fact, just read this: How to create a cult in five easy steps

    It's an excerpt from the 48 Laws of Power (a MUST read...)
    Okay I just read half of the above quoted article, enough for me to glean the bigger picture presented here.

    It's nothing but a way to be deceptive. To manipulate people. To get them into your way of thinking. Thinking emotionally as a collective group being controlled by the cult leader rather than individually rationalizing or thinking independently for themselves.

    This article is basically about how to control a group of people, keeping them on your side, lauding you as the cult figure. Which in Internet marketing, yes, we do see often. The techniques themselves are as old as the hills. Nothing new here. Move along folks...

    But what the article doesn't mention is the negative downside to controlling people's collective thinking like this. It presents only the argument in a positive light, not a balanced opinion which gives potential ownership to others to decide what's best for them armed with ALL of the facts.

    It's nothing but smokescreens and mirrors. A technique to mislead. And in todays very heavily saturated world of over hyped advertising and marketing messages, the skepticism for this model of selling can only grow.

    Hence Ewen's thread a couple of days ago on the subject of selling without hype. Gary Bencivenga in that extraordinarily long sales letter left the hype at the door. He didn't need to deceive others or attempt to do so. He didn't need to create any kind of new cult following to re/create his brand awareness.

    He was able to present the balanced facts exactly as they are, based on his decades of direct knowledge within the industry of selling via the written word. Leaving the prospect the ability to make their own informed decision about whether or not to buy into his model of thinking for the product on offer.

    This is the more respectful and right way in today's world to create brand awareness for the small time online marketer.

    Suggesting that these same marketers could learn from this article (from what I've seen and read of it so far) is just plain bad advice. Yes, I can see what you're getting at but it doesn't hold water.

    Best,


    Pete
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  • Profile picture of the author SergeyZ
    By the way, the best visual guide for starting your own cult is the Fight Club film. I haven't read the book yet but I assume it's a pretty good guide as well. For those who haven't seen it, watch it once normally and then, once you know all the intricacies of the story, watch it again and this time take notes.
    Signature

    Enter witty signature here.

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  • Profile picture of the author RobCopywriter
    That's really interesting. It can be really difficult to get to the tipping point, as Malcolm Gladwell says!
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  • Profile picture of the author zoya12
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      I could go on. The point is none of these things work when copywriting. You'd have better luck taking this advice and doing the exact opposite.
      As a copywriter, I disagree wholeheartedly. The thing to keep in mind is that the mechanisms you use to create a self-homogenizing group within your market aren't done on the salesletter. They're done in the list messaging and communications to product owners. The examples Chris gave are good ones as far as how they can be applied.

      Originally Posted by Pete Walker View Post

      And suggesting that we can all as copywriters and marketers learn a lot from cults is just plain daft talk. No disrespect. You seriously do not know unless you've had the personal experience, the damage cult thinking can do to a persons mind.
      I think perhaps you should realize that "cult" can have several meanings, and that only one has to do with damaging pseudo-religious organizations. But even within that framework, there are things that can be learned to be used for positive ends.

      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      I think you're reading more into the article than is actually there...
      Sure he is, because it isn't an article about marketing at all. Are you saying there's something wrong with learning new stuff from another field and finding ways to apply it to your own work?

      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      The wording might be vague. But the benefits mentioned are as clear as day. You can be specific about The What without discussing The How.
      That's not how blind copy works. In blind copy, you state what the product ISN'T and NEVER tell what it actually is. As far as benefit, all it does is promise a result.

      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      How many things have you bought when you didn't know exactly what you were getting? Selling a dream is just as specific as citing concrete features.
      Blind copy products sell very, very well when marketed correctly. Retaining those customers is a whole different story, but despite what you claim LOTS of people buy things without knowing exactly what they're getting.

      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      It isn't a sacrifice if they gain something by taking the actions you mentioned. Prestige, being part of "the in-group", gaining a benefit. They aren't doing it for the sake of sacrifice. They are taking action because they have something to GAIN.
      It operates on the same psychological principles. Give yourself to this. Once you do, you are now a part of it, and I can leverage your inner sense of consistency to elicit further behavior from you. It's a sacrifice that happens to have benefits, too. They feel okay about making the sacrifice because of what they get. But it's true for religious sacrifices too. They're all done to earn favor of some kind.

      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      Garnering social proof is not the same as selling to the nebulous blob that is The Crowd. I've yet to write a winning letter that wasn't directed firmly at individual needs. Pitch to everybody and sell to nobody.
      We are all chimpanzees. Even though you may write to a particular need, you are still writing to a group, or else you would only ever sell to one person. What we do relies on the illusion that you can feel like I am talking specifically to you and your personal needs, but I am in fact addressing a huge audience of people just like you.

      Originally Posted by John Galt View Post

      But maybe you're right and it just "isn't for me". You might have figured out some new ways of selling that I'm just not privy to yet.

      The article (and the idea behind it) is quite sensational, though. Who wouldn't be intrigued by the idea of flirting with dark arts to sell better. It's a great discussion starter. Good job on that.
      I agree with these last two statements of yours, though.

      Originally Posted by Saito View Post

      I completely agree with Pete Walker. DO NOT go there.
      If you don't learn all the ways to use the weapons you wield you'll never master them.

      Originally Posted by Saito View Post

      Yes, I understand that copywriting involves some persuasive psychology and pushing people's drives to get them to take action...sure. And I'm sure you used the cult analogy because it gets attention or whatever.

      But PLEASE...do not go there by even indirectly suggesting that we learn and incorporate any cults' tactics. Even if they work. It is just plain evil and wrong...ask anyone who has been in one and is recovering.
      No tactic is evil in and of itself. It depends on intent and result.

      Originally Posted by Saito View Post

      Biz opps, MLM's, and the IM/Personal Development/Real Estate niches are cultish enough as it is. Please don't make it worse. There are very powerful methods of influence and control that, while effective, are simply unethical. We don't need more people using them for personal gain at the expense of others.
      These methods are already at work around us in millions of ways. If you learn them, you can spot them. Ignorance is not bliss. These mechanisms work because of the unfortified nature of the mind. Even when you are aware of the ways you can be manipulated doesn't mean you are immune.

      But regardless, it all depends on what you provide past the sale. If I use what I know of group psychology to manipulate your behavior, but yet you are happier and more well off than you would be otherwise, there IS no harm.

      Lots of beneficial organizations operate on the same cult-like principles to keep people engaged and involved. Sometimes these mechanisms even evolve organically. But if you can learn how to do them on purpose, you don't have to wait and hope for it to happen. You can MAKE it happen.

      But hey, don't use it if it gives you the heebie jeebies.
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      Fair warning: It's possible I'm arguing with you because I have nothing better to do.
      Join my free copywriting group on Facebook: http://CultOfCopy.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Jake Gray
    I actually remember reading this in Frank Kern's "?" book.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vincenzo Oliva
    I read that, are you sure they're not talking about "Network Marketing?" :-)
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