A painful confession (Seriously) and a constructive case study.

43 replies
Dammit.

I hate having to admit to this.

Not so long ago, someone was kind enough to post a letter up that I’d written and say nice things about it. (irony of all ironies… it was MMA fan and tester-in-chief Dave Miz :-)

Well, turns out that letter was a foul flea-ridden dog.

I wrote it last November, and it took me probably 2 to 3 weeks to write. From there it took months for my client on the project to launch it as a WSO… thru no fault of his own. But when the numbers came in they curled my smile down into a frown.

So here is said flea-ridden dog in html format: (it’s not up as a WSO anymore because it sucked so hard.)

Kern Dethroned

So… my client and I put it down to experience (with no big lump sum lost from him because it was a project I volunteered to write for % of commissions) and we move onto other projects that are working just fine thank you.

Then… a few weeks ago we delve back in for another shot.

Never retreat! Never surrender!

And wrote the letter below while on one 3 hour consultation call with my client. (he’s added some testimonials and other stuff, but it’s pretty much intact the way I wrote it.)

http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...right-now.html

With no JV support as yet, it’s doing a very healthy 12%... (Factor in the caveat that the WF is a different beast in the conversion department.)

So… by a factor of around 12… this letter is beating the stuffing out of the other one.

Same product. Just different copy. Different hook.

Why the massive difference in conversions?

I have my theories, but would love to hear your thoughts first.

Looking at this as a chance for a warts ‘n’ all constructive thread people can learn a lot from. (including me.)

--- Ross
#case #confession #constructive #painful #study
  • Profile picture of the author shawnlebrun
    Hey Ross,

    I'll take time to check out the 2 letters in a bit, and give my 2 cents.

    But it's brave for a copywriter to admit, to anyone, that they wrote a dud.

    But the thing is, we ALL do.

    Gary B. said it took him 9 years to get good. Gary H. said that MOST of his letters bombed... but the ones that worked made him a fortune.

    If ANY copywriter says they haven't bombed several times... they're full of shit.

    Heck, pro baseball players can make millions by getting a hit just 3 out of 10 times.

    But the reason I'm writing this is because you mentioned that one thing that I feel is most important here.

    You went back to it.

    You tried a different hook.

    You didn't give up.

    I swear, that's REALLY the biggest key to success online... is try something
    and see how it worked. If it sucked, try a different approach (unless the product sucks, then you may want to call time of death)

    But shit, when people ask me how I've done well over the past 13 years, I simply say that I get knocked down... and get back up.

    Get knocked down... get back up... over and over again.

    And of course, use your experience to adjust what you're doing wrong.

    THAT separates the winners in this biz, or any biz... from those who quit and
    give up.

    So hats off, my friend, for putting this up for us to deconstruct.

    Hell, if I put up some of my duds, it would fill this forum... but again, you went back and made it better.

    This thread should give a lot of newer writers hope that, even if you write something that doesn't work as well as you wanted... life isn't over and you DO get another shot to make it better.

    And thanks for the Cardone book reference you posted recently... I've been devouring that book. That book alone helps instill that "never retreat, never surrender" attitude you mentioned.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Hey Ross,

      Here's my quick take on why the WSO is converting better right now.

      1. For the Kern dethroned piece, you're speaking from your POV about Igor's track record. In the current piece, Igor talking which most people will find more compelling.

      2. Kern dethroned piece assumes that everyone who reads it will know who Frank Kern is. That's no disrespect to Frank but if I'm buying Igor's brainpower then tell me about Igor... which is what you did in the current piece.

      3. Layout. Lot of white space and minimal graphics on the Kern dethroned one. The testimonials aren't off-set by borders/spacing/indenting to make them stand out. WSO piece has more use of graphics and layout.

      4. Testimonials. Print vs video testimonials. Need I say more?

      5. Tone/pacing. The Kern piece sounds like the way you personally talk (which is a good thing IMHO). The WSO is more aggressive and edgy which usually appeals more to the IM/make money niche markets.

      Hope that helps,

      Mike
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      • Profile picture of the author debml
        My 2 cents...

        Overall, the second letter is much tighter, targeted, succinct and overall is structured much better.

        I think the two biggest things contributing to the difference in conversion are the headline and how testimonials are used.

        Headline:

        Both headlines have an element of curiosity.

        I think it works much better in the second copy because not only does it garner the prospects attention, it also meets the prospect where they are and acknowledges what they are thinking.

        The headline in the first letter seemed more like curiosity for the sake of curiosity. It didn’t really give me a reason to continue reading.

        Use of testimonials:

        In the first copy, the subheads focus too much on the pain the prospect is currently experiencing. The subheads take the prospect too far into their pain without giving them the big promise that is needed to get them out of their funk soon enough.

        The subheads in the first one would likely put the skimmer way too deep in their pain.

        In the second letter, the subheads did a much better job promising what the reader wants and giving them a reason to continue reading the letter.

        As proof elements, even though the first letter was much more detailed using testimonials, I felt like the way the testimonials were positioned in the second letter were more believable and more compelling (even though they’re the same stories...)

        Other observations:

        The second letter did a much better job identifying what the prospect wants and demonstrating that they could get what they want.

        It also did a much better job encouraging the reader to continue reading and giving them a reason to do so.

        The second letter also did a much better job building the value of the product - in a way that was believable. It wasn’t as believable in the first letter. Most people won’t see themselves shelling out $100,000 to Frank Kern, so it’s a stretch for the prospect to believe there is this much value in it.

        The second letter did a much better job identifying who the product is for and who it is not for.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    I personally enjoyed the Kern piece WAY more.

    I'd be curious as hell to see how the Kern piece would perform with the video testimonials. I also think the use of space is an issue. It's possible that by using the videos on the Kern piece, the pacing could be adjusted to make it more appealing. And yeah, video vs. text proof? No brainer.

    The 2nd letter is great... and I agree with Mike about the "voice." It makes more sense to NOT come from your perspective - even though it's so damn, fukcing good.

    Thanks for posting this. It takes big, hairy balls. There's a lot to be gleaned from going through both letters.

    Mark

    P.S. These letters demonstrate how important positioning is. As a writer, the Kern letter gave me a woody. It's so well written. The 2nd letter feels like more of what I'm accustomed to - in this market. But the hook (and perspective) in the 2nd letter obviously appealed to the end prospect more. Positioning is SO important. And sometimes, it's the far less creative hook that converts.

    Sometimes...

    It's just a matter of pressing record and transcribing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by shawnlebrun View Post


      But the reason I'm writing this is because you mentioned that one thing that I feel is most important here.

      You went back to it.

      You tried a different hook.

      You didn't give up.

      I swear, that's REALLY the biggest key to success online... is try something
      and see how it worked. If it sucked, try a different approach (unless the product sucks, then you may want to call time of death)

      But shit, when people ask me how I've done well over the past 13 years, I simply say that I get knocked down... and get back up.

      Get knocked down... get back up... over and over again.

      And of course, use your experience to adjust what you're doing wrong.

      THAT separates the winners in this biz, or any biz... from those who quit and
      give up.

      So hats off, my friend, for putting this up for us to deconstruct.

      Hell, if I put up some of my duds, it would fill this forum... but again, you went back and made it better.

      This thread should give a lot of newer writers hope that, even if you write something that doesn't work as well as you wanted... life isn't over and you DO get another shot to make it better.

      And thanks for the Cardone book reference you posted recently... I've been devouring that book. That book alone helps instill that "never retreat, never surrender" attitude you mentioned.
      Thanks Shawn...

      Grant Cardone and his enthusiasm accompanies me in the car everywhere I go.

      In terms of the stick-with-it-ness... clients who have been around the block appreciate that winning copy is a process.

      The problem we get on forums like this is that these issues are usually only covered behind the scenes. This being a "hiring forum" used to attract clients, best feet are put forward. Which then perpetuates unrealistic expectations from folk who expect immediate home runs regardless of product/offer/list quality.

      I've been lucky enough to attract clients who I can get big wins for very quickly. But one of the top-qualities I'd look for if I was on the hiring side of the fence would be creative tenacity, in acknowledgement that course-corrections are part of the game.

      Originally Posted by MikeHumphreys View Post

      Hey Ross,

      Here's my quick take on why the WSO is converting better right now.

      1. For the Kern dethroned piece, you're speaking from your POV about Igor's track record. In the current piece, Igor talking which most people will find more compelling.

      2. Kern dethroned piece assumes that everyone who reads it will know who Frank Kern is. That's no disrespect to Frank but if I'm buying Igor's brainpower then tell me about Igor... which is what you did in the current piece.

      3. Layout. Lot of white space and minimal graphics on the Kern dethroned one. The testimonials aren't off-set by borders/spacing/indenting to make them stand out. WSO piece has more use of graphics and layout.

      4. Testimonials. Print vs video testimonials. Need I say more?

      5. Tone/pacing. The Kern piece sounds like the way you personally talk (which is a good thing IMHO). The WSO is more aggressive and edgy which usually appeals more to the IM/make money niche markets.

      Hope that helps,

      Mike
      Hey Mike... good to talk to you the other day.

      1. I think so also, but my voice on the Kern piece does carry somewhat of a third-party endorsement.

      2. Yeah, I made a judgement call that the market would know Kern.

      4. The WSO for the Kern piece did use video testimonials + text.

      5. Tone is different. Although I personally think the Kern one is edgier.


      Originally Posted by debml View Post

      My 2 cents...

      Overall, the second letter is much tighter, targeted, succinct and overall is structured much better.

      I think the two biggest things contributing to the difference in conversion are the headline and how testimonials are used.

      Headline:

      Both headlines have an element of curiosity.

      I think it works much better in the second copy because not only does it garner the prospects attention, it also meets the prospect where they are and acknowledges what they are thinking.

      The headline in the first letter seemed more like curiosity for the sake of curiosity. It didn't really give me a reason to continue reading.

      Use of testimonials:

      In the first copy, the subheads focus too much on the pain the prospect is currently experiencing. The subheads take the prospect too far into their pain without given them the big promise that is needed to get them out of their funk soon enough.

      The subheads in the first one would likely put the skimmer way too deep in their pain.

      In the second letter, the subheads did a much better job promising what the reader wants and giving them a reason to continue reading the letter.

      As proof elements, even though the first letter was much more detailed using testimonials, I felt like the way the testimonials were positioned in the second letter were more believable and more compelling (even though they're the same stories...)

      Other observations:

      The second letter did a much better job identifying what the prospect wants and demonstrating that they could get what they want.

      It also did a much better job encouraging the reader to continue reading and giving them a reason to do so.

      The second letter also did a much better job building the value of the product - in a way that was believable. It wasn't as believable in the first letter. Most people won't see themselves shelling out $100,000 to Frank Kern, so it's a stretch for the prospect to believe there is this much value in it.

      The second letter did a much better job identifying who the product is for and who it is not for.
      Deb, I really like what you had to say about the testimonials driving people into too much pain. They do focus on that in the headline for each, although they do take the reader thru the arc of their transformation. Maybe lead with the transformation then segue into how things used to be.

      Overall... the succinctness of the second letter hits a sweeter spot. And it gets immediately to the point about why the reader should care.

      With the benefit of a year of growth behind me... I also think there may just be too many testimonials. And the law of diminishing returns applies that can steals the power the more you use.

      Originally Posted by Mark Pescetti View Post

      I personally enjoyed the Kern piece WAY more.

      I'd be curious as hell to see how the Kern piece would perform with the video testimonials. I also think the use of space is an issue. It's possible that by using the videos on the Kern piece, the pacing could be adjusted to make it more appealing. And yeah, video vs. text proof? No brainer.

      The 2nd letter is great... and I agree with Mike about the "voice." It makes more sense to NOT come from your perspective - even though it's so damn, fukcing good.

      Thanks for posting this. It takes big, hairy balls. There's a lot to be gleaned from going through both letters.

      Mark

      P.S. These letters demonstrate how important positioning is. As a writer, the Kern letter gave me a woody. It's so well written. The 2nd letter feels like more of what I'm accustomed to - in this market. But the hook (and perspective) in the 2nd letter obviously appealed to the end prospect more. Positioning is SO important. And sometimes, it's the far less creative hook that converts.

      Sometimes...

      It's just a matter of pressing record and transcribing.
      Thanks Mark...

      Positioning was front of mind for me. And hence what brought me to the lead I used.

      Re: the video testimonials. The Kern WSO did use video testimonials but didn't seem to help much.

      I also find that sometimes the not-so-creative hook wins out. And I've learned to tame myself and not push too far towards being "creative". Not every letter needs to lead with a story about a one-legged golfer.

      --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
    Thanks for everyone's comments so far. When I figure out how to use the multiquote thing, I'll reply in detail to all points raised. Anyone able to help me on that front? :-)

    --- Ross
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Ross, as fate would have it,
      I didn't run with a Kern opener we talked about.

      Some new information came to me about
      why the project would get very little traction
      in the market place.

      I refunded the client partnership their money.

      I had my suspicions your Kern one wasn't working as well
      as other Igor ones, as it has gone off the banner.

      Thanks for the results.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Ross, as fate would have it,
        I didn't run with a Kern opener we talked about.

        Some new information came to me about
        why the project would get very little traction
        in the market place.

        I refunded the client partnership their money.

        I had my suspicions your Kern one wasn't working as well
        as other Igor ones, as it has gone off the banner.

        Thanks for the results.

        Best,
        Ewen
        Good spot Ewen, you can usually tell what we're up to by clicking on the banners :-)

        --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Hi Ross,

    I didn't go through either piece in great detail but still, I think I spotted the differences almost right off. The first one smacks of the old school guru bashing letters that used to dominate the marketplace. Another thing, and this is no "scientific" observation but the first one doesn't "look" like a WSO pitch. On the one hand you're sort of dismissing guru wisdom while your presentation appears to be formatted like a guru's would. I think you managed to create some subtle confusion there. And a confused mind always says NO. I could be way off on this but that's my initial impression.

    The second piece looks like a hot WSO. It's formatted like one. The language is speaking to WSO buyers and not your garden variety IM denizens found in the mainstream. There is a big difference. I've seen many kickass copywriters fall flat writing WSO copy because they didn't familiarize themselves enough with the WSO marketplace. It's almost like writing fantasy stories for kids. :p

    I didn't have significant success with WSOs until I partnered with MissLaura who has intrinsic radar for this market. She took my existing page (which for all of it's fleas and cooties does very well with targeted traffic outside this place) and peppered it with a handful of phrases and a bit of lingo common to the skateboard gen and we had a WSO/day. I'd guess she's had close to 10 by now.

    That's the difference. WF is a weird market. It's totally unique and very different than say, people who typically buy Clickbank products. Looks like you've got a handle on it. Good for you. It's a goldmine if you can stand the nonsense that goes with it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      Hi Ross,

      I didn't go through either piece in great detail but still, I think I spotted the differences almost right off. The first one smacks of the old school guru bashing letters that used to dominate the marketplace. Another thing, and this is no "scientific" observation but the first one doesn't "look" like a WSO pitch. On the one hand you're sort of dismissing guru wisdom while your presentation appears to be formatted like a guru's would. I think you managed to create some subtle confusion there. And a confused mind always says NO. I could be way off on this but that's my initial impression.

      The second piece looks like a hot WSO. It's formatted like one. The language is speaking to WSO buyers and not your garden variety IM denizens found in the mainstream. There is a big difference. I've seen many kickass copywriters fall flat writing WSO copy because they didn't familiarize themselves enough with the WSO marketplace. It's almost like writing fantasy stories for kids. :p

      I didn't have significant success with WSOs until I partnered with MissLaura who has intrinsic radar for this market. She took my existing page (which for all of it's fleas and cooties does very well with targeted traffic outside this place) and peppered it with a handful of phrases and a bit of lingo common to the skateboard gen and we had a WSO/day. I'd guess she's had close to 10 by now.

      That's the difference. WF is a weird market. It's totally unique and very different than say, people who typically buy Clickbank products. Looks like you've got a handle on it. Good for you. It's a goldmine if you can stand the nonsense that goes with it.
      Thanks for the input...

      I actually went out of my way to be gracious to Kern. Because the goal was to elevate my man into that rarefied air. As I remember, not too much guru bashing in there if you look close.

      --- Ross
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      • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
        Originally Posted by Ross Bowring View Post

        Thanks for the input...

        I actually went out of my way to be gracious to Kern. Because the goal was to elevate my man into that rarefied air. As I remember, not too much guru bashing in there if you look close.

        --- Ross
        I realize that, Ross. And that brings us back to this particular market. They're not likely to read into it that much. I think the headline was enough.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
          Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

          I realize that, Ross. And that brings us back to this particular market. They're not likely to read into it that much. I think the headline was enough.
          Okay, I getcha. Thanks.

          --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Frank who? And who are you anyway? Who really cares about Frank?

    In other words, you may have presumed too much. Plus, it took too long and was too much work for the prospect to turn the corner and get to the point you're trying to make. And when you did make the connection, it was weak.

    - Rick Duris

    PS: You may have an interesting premise with Frank, but every 3 lines or so (minimally) I would tie it back to what those lines mean to the reader. Tie them back hard. Make the benefit connection strong. I've got to read a fair bit to get to the first reference to the reader regarding the thing that matters most...

    "It will affect the amount of money you get to enjoy in your bank account each month."

    And that's a weak sentence in terms of stating a benefit, agreed? Especially for WF folks.

    PSS: I'm not beating you up at all, Ross. It's obvious you gave best efforts. It's all anyone could ask.

    Good job on the other one as well.

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

      Frank who? And who are you anyway? Who really cares about Frank?

      In other words, you may have presumed too much. Plus, it took too long and was too much work for the prospect to turn the corner and get to the point you're trying to make. And when you did make the connection, it was weak.

      PS: You may have an interesting premise with Frank, but every 3 lines or so (minimally) I would tie it back to what those lines mean to the reader. Tie them back hard. Make the benefit connection strong. I've got to read a fair bit to get to the first reference to the reader regarding the thing that matters most...

      "It will affect the amount of money you get to enjoy in your bank account each month."

      And that's a weak sentence in terms of stating a benefit, agreed? Especially for WF folks.

      PSS: I'm not beating you up at all, Ross. It's obvious you gave best efforts. It's all anyone could ask.

      Good job on the other one as well.

      Thanks Rick... please, beat me up, man.

      It didn't convert for a reason(s). And I'm interested in you take.

      Your questions were loud in my mind too. Just chose to take a chance that didn't work out.

      And the segue sentence you identified could have been stronger, 100% agreed.

      --- Ross
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  • Ross,

    It may have been the initial perception that Frank was being "bashed" (because he is such an amiable guy people may have reacted badly). But I do understand the positioning.

    btw - I also listen to Cardone's stuff in the car. I'm not sure which book(s) you mentioned - but the "Closers Survival Guide" is top notch.


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

      Ross,

      It may have been the initial perception that Frank was being "bashed" (because he is such an amiable guy people may have reacted badly). But I do understand the positioning.

      btw - I also listen to Cardone's stuff in the car. I'm not sure which book(s) you mentioned - but the "Closers Survival Guide" is top notch.


      Steve
      Thanks Steve, re: Kern, yeah... I can see how that might have happened.

      My Cardone drink of choice is The 10X Rule.

      --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author rockawesome
    Just want to say thank for posting these. Since copywriters tend to be a little insecure about our old copy (I know I'm not the only one who HATES reading old work), I haven't seen a lot of before/after letters like these. It's VERY useful.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by rockawesome View Post

      Just want to say thank for posting these. Since copywriters tend to be a little insecure about our old copy (I know I'm not the only one who HATES reading old work), I haven't seen a lot of before/after letters like these. It's VERY useful.
      My pleasure.

      It's far less painful to post these than it might look. I'm secure in the results I get my clients and partners, so posting this is actually fun. It might not be so much fun if I was just posting the BEFORE but hopefully showing that AFTERS are possible is helpful and constructive.

      --- Ross
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Ross, did you have any ideas as to why it bombed
      before posting this here?

      Understanding why one's screw-up's happened
      get's you back in the saddle faster, with less carnage.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Ross, did you have any ideas as to why it bombed
        before posting this here?

        Understanding why one's screw-up's happened
        get's you back in the saddle faster, with less carnage.

        Best,
        Ewen
        Yeah... I have my ideas and it's some of what has been mentioned already.

        I'm always open to feedback from anyone. But I'm posting more out of wanting to contribute a useful post that people can genuinely learn from and engage with.

        I should post more and saw this as an opportunity to contribute at a higher level than just giving a thought piece on some subject. I always like to see practical examples of what's working and what's not, and I hope others do too.

        --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    Ross, as you know, I dig your writing.

    The first bombed because it failed the "does anyone give a shit?" test to the hook - "Frank Kern Uncrowned". And obviously, if you don't know of Frank Kern or aren't a fan...you have a problem already - there goes maybe half your audience.

    The rewrite is pulling better because you addressed the #1 PRIMAL URGE OR NEED - the "what's in it for me?"

    Come closer... wanna give a Nitrous boost to it now?

    Follow up the video testimonials. Nobody does that. Show failures as well as winners. Don't bullshit - it will come back and bite you in the ass (arse).

    All I wanna know Dude is..."I have X amount of money to spend on a "make money online" product. Will this work for me?"

    (BTW you seen that stuff Tim Atkinson is putting out on Clicksure? Holy crap. Talk about wind the clock back and FTC be damned. "$10,000 a day".)
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      The rewrite is pulling better because you addressed the #1 PRIMAL URGE OR NEED - the "what's in it for me?"
      Mal... agreed!

      Took too long to get there in letter one.

      --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
    Ross,

    I enjoyed the Kern letter. It was entertaining.

    I also like the clean, simple layout of the page. Nice.

    However, I think the problem is that it was VERY slow to get around to the benefits for the customer. In other words... "WIIFM." (This is something Drew Eric Whitman talks about -- eliminating the intro fluff.)

    I also didn't believe that Frank Kern had actually been "dethroned." (Frank is a MONSTER.)

    Finally, I would also mention that the new FTC rules prohibit mentioning specific results unless those results are "typical." (The catch is that it's virtually impossible to do that... unless you track EVERYONE who buys.)

    Yet, your letter lists specific results for 9 people -- all making BIG money. Aside from violating the FTC rules (which is a SERIOUS issue), I just didn't believe the stated results. It raised red flags in my mind.

    Thank You for the interesting case study.

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by Johnny12345 View Post

      However, I think the problem is that it was VERY slow to get around to the benefits for the customer. In other words... "WIIFM." (This is something Drew Eric Whitman talks about -- eliminating the intro fluff.)
      Thanks John... good stuff.

      These days I've 100% dumped longer intros for getting immediately to the crux of the matter. And just being ultra-tough with my internal editor to make sure I'm not spending any paragraphs "warming up."

      In these times of constant Facebook "beeps" and other smartphone distractions there's no time for beating around the bush.

      --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author davemiz
    the kern one was cool cuz it was SO DIFFERENT than anything else on here.

    thats what to me, made it stand out.

    this new one has a cool, interesting hook in the beginning.

    congrats man.

    I wish all my copy killed it.

    if i had a dollar for every vsl that didnt go well, i'd be rich(er).
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  • Profile picture of the author DanSharp
    Well, I remembered seeing the Kern letter when it was live... so you did something right!

    Also, like everyone else has said -- serious respect for being man enough to post this.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Ross, thanks for the interesting post.

    Nobody had a choice as to what body they would carry around for their whole life. Nobody had a choice as to what skin color they would have...what color hair, eyes...how tall they'd be.

    What people have learned to do is make the best of what they were handed.

    By nature, people are insecure with at least a couple things about their body. Too short, too fat, too skinny, big nose, bald, etc.

    If you were to walk up to somebody and start talking to them, there's always a wall that is put up from the get go. It's a wall that keeps you away from their private thoughts. Most will hide behind the wall because they don't want you to confirm the negative things about them that they've confirmed about themselves. They want you to know them as they portray themselves to the world.

    Most friendships develop once all the negative images people have are made to seem "OK" because the other person starts to let you in on their worries and fears...you begin to seem the same as them.

    Most people don't have the ability to realize they're not abnormal with their thoughts. They still think they're unique...for some reason they always think they're the only ones with their thoughts and problems.

    As a copywriter/marketer, we have a special ability to hit them where it hurts. Even though they think they are, they're not unique...it's a secret we know...and we use it to the fullest extent.

    We've all seen someone driving down the road looking in their rear view mirror to see how their sunglasses looked on them. Usually always when a good song came on the radio or the CD they had in...

    Seen a good movie? Chances are after the movie you were still placing yourself in the shoes of your favorite character. For a while after, everything you said or did was "in character".

    A good salesletter, video, etc., always has the reader/watcher placing themselves in the situation.

    Now, when I first saw Dave post your initial sales letter, I thought it was a dud.

    How is the reader going to place themselves into that?

    I'm not a big fan of the second letter either. If it's doing 12%, great. WSO's are different.

    We always hear people say...test, test, test. Usually I get the feeling they're really saying, "Throw enough shit against the wall and see what sticks."

    When I read something, I'm gonna place myself in the story. I'm gonna look in the rear view mirror to see how cool I look when I'm in the moment.

    Now to my second thought...

    Your sales letter is trying to do two different things.

    1. You're trying to sell a product.

    2. You're trying to sell Igor.

    Trying to do 2 things is confusing to most. You have readers going back and forth between whether they think Igor is a great person, or whether they think what he's offering is great for them.

    I sense your goal is to sell based on the person.

    You're trying to sell a personality to sell a product.

    Not good...

    You need to decide if you're selling Igor, or if you're selling his product.

    Look back over your sales letter and determine what you're giving the most weight to. Igor or the product.

    In marketing, if you're trying to sell the person, you do it through articles. strategic press releases, negative/positive social feeds.

    Don't use your sales letter to sell the person selling the product...

    of course you need to give reasons why Igor is selling a good product...but you need to learn to draw the line between Igor and the product.

    Anyways, that's my quick (and in full disclosure, ramblings) on your post.

    Best wishes.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post


      Nobody had a choice as to what body they would carry around for their whole life. Nobody had a choice as to what skin color they would have...what color hair, eyes...how tall they'd be.

      What people have learned to do is make the best of what they were handed.

      By nature, people are insecure with at least a couple things about their body. Too short, too fat, too skinny, big nose, bald, etc.

      If you were to walk up to somebody and start talking to them, there's always a wall that is put up from the get go. It's a wall that keeps you away from their private thoughts. Most will hide behind the wall because they don't want you to confirm the negative things about them that they've confirmed about themselves. They want you to know them as they portray themselves to the world.

      Most friendships develop once all the negative images people have are made to seem "OK" because the other person starts to let you in on their worries and fears...you begin to seem the same as them.

      Most people don't have the ability to realize they're not abnormal with their thoughts. They still think they're unique...for some reason they always think they're the only ones with their thoughts and problems.

      As a copywriter/marketer, we have a special ability to hit them where it hurts. Even though they think they are, they're not unique...it's a secret we know...and we use it to the fullest extent.

      We've all seen someone driving down the road looking in their rear view mirror to see how their sunglasses looked on them. Usually always when a good song came on the radio or the CD they had in...

      Seen a good movie? Chances are after the movie you were still placing yourself in the shoes of your favorite character. For a while after, everything you said or did was "in character".

      A good salesletter, video, etc., always has the reader/watcher placing themselves in the situation.
      I'm with you.

      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post


      Now, when I first saw Dave post your initial sales letter, I thought it was a dud.
      You were right. Good call.

      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post


      I'm not a big fan of the second letter either. If it's doing 12%, great. WSO's are different.
      My client is a fan :-)

      WSO's are different. Absolutely. I acknowledge this in my post up top.

      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post


      Look back over your sales letter and determine what you're giving the most weight to. Igor or the product.

      In marketing, if you're trying to sell the person, you do it through articles. strategic press releases, negative/positive social feeds.
      Get your point. However I've been part of successful promotions where people and products have been sold in sales letters and videos by a third party. Didn't work in this instance though.

      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post


      Best wishes.
      Thanks for the solid feedback. You certainly identified some of the core reasons it didn't work.

      --- Ross
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      • Profile picture of the author max5ty
        Originally Posted by Ross Bowring View Post


        Get your point. However I've been part of successful promotions where people and products have been sold in sales letters and videos by a third party. Didn't work in this instance though.
        Ross, I typed my response very quickly while in the middle of a long boring conference call.

        I know it's important to give evidence of the persons qualifications...meant to say I thought the letter was too much of a "hey, look at me" thing, and less focus on the product.

        I know you're one of the top copywriters, and know what you're doing. I'm glad you took the time to share some results.

        Read once where a top copywriter (Sugarman?) was saying he usually hits a home run 1 out of 10 times. Don't know how accurate that statistic is, but it's sounds like an honest assessment.
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    This morning, I just finished writing 67 fresh PPC ads. I've already written a couple of thousand for the same project in the last 6 months.

    I write knowing the majority will be duds, some will break even and a small percentage will be money makers.

    I've abandoned trying to second guess my work.

    Throwing spaghetti against the refrigerator and seeing what sticks is an essential and unavoidable part of the winning formula for marketing success, at strategic and tactical levels.

    If you're not failing the majority of the time, you're not taking enough chances. Simple as that.

    There's absolutely no need for embarrassment. I say flaunt your failures. Folks in the know understand finding out what doesn't work is more important than finding out what does.

    At least to me, the lessons seem to stick better.

    - Rick Duris

    PS: It's what makes hitting one out of the park occasionally so special.
    Signature
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post


      If you're not failing the majority of the time, you're not taking enough chances. Simple as that.

      There's absolutely no need for embarrassment. I say flaunt your failures. Folks in the know understand it's part of the game.
      I'm with ya Rick. Hence this thread.

      --- Ross
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      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        Originally Posted by Ross Bowring View Post

        I'm with ya Rick. Hence this thread.

        --- Ross
        I admire you for it, Ross. I wish I could do the same, but I've been sworn to secrecy. For both strikeouts, as well as homeruns.

        Kinda sucks, because I've got some doosies on both ends of the spectrum. Stuff that would make for some pretty interesting conversation.

        Also, you may find comfort in this quote:

        "The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may be starting to get it right." - Neil Gaiman, University of the Arts Commencement Speech

        You also may find inspiration in Tim Ferriss' recent blog post:

        “Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me)

        As you'll discover, Tim's been wrestling with similar thoughts lately. Except, I think he crossed the line into TMIland.

        - Rick Duris
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        • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
          Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

          I admire you for it, Ross. I wish I could do the same, but I've been sworn to secrecy. For both strikeouts, as well as homeruns.

          Kinda sucks, because I've got some doosies on both ends of the spectrum. Stuff that would make for some pretty interesting conversation.
          Thanks Rick, it's a shame we'll never collectively benefit from those conversations.

          Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

          Also, you may find comfort in this quote:

          "The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may be starting to get it right." - Neil Gaiman, University of the Arts Commencement Speech
          That is a nice quote, however, no deep introspection going on over here. :-)

          I've learned to NEVER fall in love with any of my work, so I'm always open to constructive feedback.

          As an instructive case study, I think we've covered some really good ground, where people can take lessons learned and apply it to their own work.

          --- Ross
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      I've abandoned trying to second guess my work.

      Throwing spaghetti against the refrigerator and seeing what sticks is an essential and unavoidable part of the winning formula for marketing success, at strategic and tactical levels.

      If you're not failing the majority of the time, you're not taking enough chances. Simple as that.
      Amen. Between this post (and the thread in general,) I'm happy to see so much transparency here. It's refreshing (to say the very least.)

      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      PS: It's what makes hitting one out of the park occasionally so special.
      Forgive me...

      But who needs porn?

      Just whip it out to a converting letter you just wrote.

      "What are you doing in there? Why's the door locked?" My wife asked.

      "I just wrote a winning letter." I replied.

      "Oh..." she think to herself - as she walks away from the door with a grin on her face.

      Mark
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      Do You Want To Make 5 and 6-Figures A Month As A Freelance Copywriter? My Copywriting System Has Made Over 600 Million Dollars. Discover More

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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    Hi Ross, I'm really familiar with the WSO market and the crazy minds of people that buy from within it.

    When I write my WSO salespages I consider the mindset of the common WSO buyer. The person who's down to their last dollar looking for something shiny, something proven, something that might whisk them away to success in a heartbeat.

    I don't get that from the kern page when I skim through it (like a wso buyer would).

    It's not WSO-y enough.

    But I can skim through the new page quick and see all those video testimonials with powerful quotes. All those video testimonials with awesome captions and the wso friendly price is what I believe did it for you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

      Hi Ross, I'm really familiar with the WSO market and the crazy minds of people that buy from within it.

      When I write my WSO salespages I consider the mindset of the common WSO buyer. The person who's down to their last dollar looking for something shiny, something proven, something that might whisk them away to success in a heartbeat.

      I don't get that from the kern page when I skim through it (like a wso buyer would).

      It's not WSO-y enough.

      But I can skim through the new page quick and see all those video testimonials with powerful quotes. All those video testimonials with awesome captions and the wso friendly price is what I believe did it for you.
      Thanks Bob,

      The Kern letter was a departure from what had worked before for me in the WSO section.

      What had worked before was more what you describe.

      Took a chance that didn't work out... and felt comfortable to do that since it was on my own dime.

      --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    "Fall down six times, get up seven."

    My initial reaction to just reading "Kern dethroned" was "Yuck. He's bashing
    the competition." Also, the parts about his appearance change and charging
    $100,000 I take as bashing.

    Perhaps because I know Frank's work, and I think most internet marketers do,
    my reaction was also "Yeah, right you're going to replace Frank Kern? I think
    not. Next."

    The current piece was much more, "This guy has experience and can help me
    grow my business..."

    When I was reading the Kern piece, I did not think of this point. It just now
    popped into my head. But, maybe positioning to dethrone Kern might make
    people think, "Oh, I can't afford a $1997.00 product."

    Dan
    Signature

    "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by bizgrower View Post

      "Fall down six times, get up seven."

      My initial reaction to just reading "Kern dethroned" was "Yuck. He's bashing
      the competition." Also, the parts about his appearance change and charging
      $100,000 I take as bashing.

      Perhaps because I know Frank's work, and I think most internet marketers do,
      my reaction was also "Yeah, right you're going to replace Frank Kern? I think
      not. Next."

      The current piece was much more, "This guy has experience and can help me
      grow my business..."

      When I was reading the Kern piece, I did not think of this point. It just now
      popped into my head. But, maybe positioning to dethrone Kern might make
      people think, "Oh, I can't afford a $1997.00 product."
      Dan, you raise good points. Especially about the guru bashing. There's a time and a place for a good guru bash. But it didn't work here. Thanks for the feedback on both letters.

      --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    You're welcome, Ross.
    Signature

    "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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  • Profile picture of the author DanSharp
    Two more thoughts on this.
    When I read the Frank Kern headline, my reaction is more or less,
    "I Don't Give a Rat's Ass."
    How is knowing which guru is at the top of somebody's subjective heap going to help me make more money? And besides, for every big-name bigwig hawking coaching, there's two or three black knights in the background making twice what they do quietly selling **** and green tea to lists the size of China.

    On the other hand...

    You start talking about hooking up one of these shady, fast-talking gurus to a lie detector test?
    "Why didn't someone think of this earlier?!"
    Now I gotta know more. Finally! Hallelujah! An offer where I can buy and not feel like I'm playing roulette.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
      Originally Posted by DanSharp View Post

      Two more thoughts on this.
      When I read the Frank Kern headline, my reaction is more or less,
      [B]"I Don't Give a Rat's Ass."
      That's a common reaction to that headline package. :-)

      Originally Posted by DanSharp View Post


      On the other hand...

      You start talking about hooking up one of these shady, fast-talking gurus to a lie detector test?
      "Why didn't someone think of this earlier?!"
      Now I gotta know more. Finally! Hallelujah! An offer where I can buy and not feel like I'm playing roulette.
      That's a common reaction to that headline package ;-)

      --- Ross
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  • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
    I just made a quick Camtasia video with some expanded thoughts on the comments in this thread.

    Apologies for all my "ums", my public speaking teachers would be appalled. Guess I'm cut out to be a copywriter and not a radio host after all. :-)


    --- Ross
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