Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Direct Response Advertising

Direct Response Success!

Today’s Direct Response Copywriting Tip comes to you from under the desk (not the couch).  This is where my writing inspiration runs the highest (plus I get first option on any lunch scraps that happen to fall from the heavens). Today I want to tell you a short story that illustrates the importance of testing and tweaking in your marketing.

My Mom has been working with one of our private clients over the last 5 months developing a brand new niche for them (they’re pediatricians looking to move into the branded health food supplement market).

We developed a great little marketing system for them that included this very cool sales letter wrapped inside a miniature plastic trash can (my suggestion for the record, was to wrap the letter inside a rawhide bag but  that didn’t fly).

Anyhow, this one little sales letter was pulling about a 4% response rate (not too shabby when the industry average for direct mail is less than 0.5%.

But here’s the kicker.

By tweaking just one tiny thing in our letter (and I mean tiny) we got an additional 2% in response rate.  Two percent!!!

That’s like a lifetime supply of Milk Bones!

When you hear what we tweaked you’ll be stunned.

It really was tiny.

Ready to hear what it was?

On the outside of the envelope (remember this was a bulky mail item with the little trashcan inside), we used a big red stamp that had just 4 words written on it – FOR YOUR EYES ONLY!

Amazing, huh?

So there are the big lessons in all this for you:

1)    Always track your marketing so you know what’s working and what isn’t

2)    Always be testing to try and improve your marketing results

3)    When it comes to writing copy, little things really can make a BIG difference

4)    You humans are a weird unpredictable bunch – who would have known that one silly red stamp would get so many more of you to raise your hands!  No wonder copywriting can be so complex!

How to Super Charge Your Marketing By Going Against the Grain

"Brand is the 'f' word of marketing. People swear by it, no one quite understands its significance and everybody would like to think they do it more often than they do" - Mark di Soma, Audacity Group In marketing your business, if you’re like most solopreneurs, you’ve probably been lead to believe that the key to successful marketing is building a strong brand. The success of companies like Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart, branding giants of our time make this a very logical assumption to make.  Unfortunately this assumption is lethal for small business owners.

What is brand advertising anyway?

In its simplest form, brand advertising is image-based advertising.

You push an image, a tagline, a slogan out to the marketplace in the belief it will attract new people to your business.

Your competitive edge is building a stronger brand presence in your marketplace than the guy down the street.

The only problem with small business owners doing brand advertising is that you don’t have the mega million dollar marketing budget that’s required to even make a “brand splash" in your market place.  Nor do you likely have the 10, 15 or 25 years it takes to really build brand awareness.

The job of your marketing is actually very simple. It has only one objective. Get you sales today.

Brand advertising is an extremely inefficient and deadly slow way for you to make sales now. It places you at the mercy of your buyers buying schedule – they’ll only buy from you when they’re good and ready (if they ever are, assuming of course they remember you and your brand!).

Instead, the far more powerful and cost efficient way to advertise is direct response advertising.  Which is the exact opposite of brand advertising.  Direct response advertising compels your audience to take immediate action, today, now.  It’s the kind of advertising that’s been around for hundreds of years–ever since the traveling medicine man rolled his wagon into town and handed out flyers offering a special discount on his miracle cure for baldness elixir.

By using direct response advertising you also remove the guess work from your advertising because you know, down to the penny, how effective an ad is and how much money it brought you.  With brand advertising there is no way to measure effectiveness except by guessing (by the way, the lack of accountability is why ad agencies love brand advertising so much!).

So how do you stop brand advertising and switch to direct response?

I have a 32 point checklist I use when writing direct response ad copy, but here are two of the most important elements to include in a direct response ad.

1) Include a compelling offer in every piece of ad copy you write.

What carrot can you offer prospects that is so enticing, so bold, and so darn delicious that it will cause them to leap out of their La-Z-Boy arm chair, kick the cat out of the way, grab their coat, brave a sub zero snow storm, and drive with bald tires to go buy the thing you’re selling?

Remember, your offer shouldn’t be good.  It should be great.  Something like "Place an order by Noon and get free shipping," qualifies only as good because it's likely that your competitors offer the same thing!

2)  Use a strong headline that arouses curiosity and answers that age old marketing question: "What’s in it for me?"

Using great headlines in your ad are everything! One of the best headlines of all time is “A little mistake that cost a farmer $3,000 a year."  Imagine you were a farmer back in the 1930s and your annual income was only $9,000.  Wouldn’t this be an ad you’d want to read?

Direct response marketing is your own secret weapon to turbo charge your response rates, make more money and attract prospects to you like bees to a honey pot.  It’s a much smarter way to run a business than marketing by chasing your prospects and hoping that when they feel ready to buy, they’ll somehow remember your brand.

The Worst Marketing Mistake You Can Make In Your Business

When I made the switch from escaping my corporate job to becoming a freelance copywriter, one of the things I was most excited about was building my brand. I’d had come up with a snappy name for my business (Blazing Copy), created a cool tagline and I’d hired someone to create a logo.  Actually I agonized over the logo because I wanted it to be just perfect... it was after all going to be my brand which was what was going to attract clients to me.

Right?

Maybe you’ve thought the same thing in your business.  All you need to do to get more clients is to get your brand “out there” more.  Build a stronger, better brand than your competition so that way, anytime anyone thinks of needing what you sell – they think of you.

Sounds perfect in theory.  This is, after all, what big businesses all do to get big.  They advertise and build their brand.

Unfortunately as a marketing strategy for Solopreneurs, this brand-driven marketing strategy is fatally flawed, and is responsible for more business failures than any other one thing.

I’m about to shave about 10 years off your marketing learning curve and teach you something that I never learned getting a degree in marketing….

Using brand advertising or “position type” advertising is the single worst way for Solopreneurs to market their business.  It's ridiculously costly, inefficient and most importantly – IT DOESN’T WORK.

Why? Many reasons actually.  Here are the main ones:

1)    Building brand recognition is a marketing strategy used by big BIG companies who have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on their advertising.  It's taken companies like Apple, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton billions of dollars to build brand recognition and 30 - 100 years to get any kind of brand recognition.  You don’t have the luxury of having either millions of dollars or 30 years to start making real sales.

2)    Brand advertising is an extremely inefficient way to market a business which doesn’t necessarily result in an increase in sales.  It doesn’t even work for a lot of the BIG companies who do it (Ford was spending more than 20 million advertising on American Idol, meantime it was hemorrhaging red ink; Circuit City had a recognizable brand, so did Borders and Linens n’ Things).

3)    Brand advertising is NOT trackable.  If you’re putting brand ads out there, you have NO idea if they’re actually driving people to your business.  If they are working you don’t know, so how can you replicate the ads and get more out there?  And if they’re not working, then you’ve no idea either.  You might as well be flushing your hard earned marketing dollars down the toilet.  (Side note: this is why ad agencies are such BIG fans of brand advertising – as it's not trackable they can’t be held accountable for results either!  They’ll take the credit if sales go up (even though this is may very well be caused by something else, and they’ll point the finger elsewhere when their brand campaigns bomb).

4)    Brand advertising puts you at the mercy of your target market.  THEY get to decide when they’ll buy from you, which might be a month from now.  It might be a year from now.  This doesn’t help you any – you’ve got bills to pay, a family to feed and a business to run now.  You need sales NOW.  Today.

So let’s recap why doing brand based marketing for your business is a really bad idea.

Using your brand to try and market you business is a bad idea because it takes millions of dollars to make any impact in your market, it’s an extremely slow way to build a business (brand building takes decades), it's like playing blind archery with your marketing money because you’ve no idea if those ads are even working, and it doesn’t necessarily result in an increase in sales.  It also gives all the power to your target market, they get to decide when they’ll buy from you, instead of you being able to call the shots and compel them to take action, immediately.

So how then should you market your business?

Simply with one objective: to market in a way that enables you to make sales TODAY.  Right now.  Use marketing that is trackable so you can immediately measure ROI and know if it's a smart use of your marketing budget, AND market in such a way that compels your prospects to take immediate action.

This is what’s known as Direct Response Marketing.  It’s the ugly sister of advertising because it’s ridiculously effective, 100% trackable and it's only measure of effectiveness is how much money it brings in. Not how pretty, cool or creative the ad was.

Imagine that.  Marketing that really works to attract new clients and gets them to take action when you want them to act (and not when they feel like it).

Next week I’ll share with you inside secrets as to how you can quickly and easily start transforming all your marketing into Direct Response marketing.

Stay tuned!

16 examples of irresistible offers to light your prospects pants on fire

The strength of a great sales letter really boils down to how irresistible your offer is.  Matching the right offer with your target market is often the one little hinge that can open BIG doors.  In my Client Stampede Ultimate Marketing Home Study Tool Kit I provide my exact magic formulas for how to craft an irresistible offer - here's 16  irresistible offers  out of my list of 47 in my Ultimate Marketing Toolkit you can easily "swipe and deploy" for use in your own business:

  1. Free information report, starter kit, demo, sample etc
  2. FREE with absolutely no strings attached
  3. Free trial converts to monthly billing or payment of product after X days – (Pay nothing now)
  4. Free Shipping
  5. Hold your check
  6. Time deadline
  7. Limited number of units available
  8. Bonus overload – stacked bonuses
  9. Early bird bonus tied to a specific response date
  10. Silly premium – mousepad, cartoon, t-shirt, coffee mug
  11. Mystery gift
  12. Basic/deluxe or good/better/best
  13. Accept payment on multiple credit cards
  14. Easy pay options (monthly payments)
  15. The more you buy the more you save – tiered discount based on amount purchased
  16. Different pricing based on customers promise of action (e.g. for testimonial or referral)

7 Easy Steps To Writing A Darn Good Sales Letter

You've gotta love the power of a great sales letter.  It's THE best leverage of your time and is like having your very own army-sized sales force, pounding the pavements for you, perfectly delivering your marketing message every time for less than a cup of coffee.  They never call in sick, never go on vacation, never ask for a pay raise and they'll work tirelessly around the clock for you 24/7, 365 days of the year. So here are 7 expert secrets to writing an extremely effective sales letter.

Secret #1  Create an attention driven headline that specifically speaks to your target market, arouses curiosity and answers the question in your prospects mind "what's in this for me?".  For example: "Using a Lawyer May Be Dangerous To Your Wealth" "For the Woman Who Looks Older Than She Is" "Former Hairdresser Earns $8000 a Month As A Real Estate Specialist" "How To Double Your Income in 60 Days Or Less"

Secret #2 Open your letter with a personalized salutation (the more PERSONAL you make your letter look and sound, the higher your response rate will be).  If you can't address it to the person directly (eg Dear John, or Dear Mrs McDonald), try using one of these salutations: Dear Friend Dear Neighbor Dear Fellow _______er <i.e. Golfer> Dear Colleague, Dear Reader Dear Frustrated Tax Payer Dear Valued Customer

Secret #3 Use a powerful "letter opener".  The first couple of sentences of your sales letter have to be really compelling to "hook" your prospects and get them to read the rest of the letter.  Consider these: Here’s you chance to... In looking over our records I noticed that you... Will do me a favor? Will you try this experiment? Here’s an amazing opportunity! I’m writing to.. Congratulations! Could you use an extra $500 a week? Frankly,I’m puzzled... I couldn’t wait to write to you.

Secret #4: Talk about Benefits, NOT just features in your sales copy.  Understanding the difference between benefits and features is critical for the success of your sales letter.  A feature is fact driven, a benefit is more of an emotional connection.  This difference is extremely important because people BUY ON EMOTION, THEN JUSTIFY WITH LOGIC!!!  For example a feature is this drill has 27 different drill speeds.  The benefit is that you can get your work done in half the time which means you get to spend more time relaxing on the couch, watching your favorite sport.

Secret #5 Use Subheadings, bold font, itallics, and underlining to create a "double readership path" Everyone reads sales letters differently.  Some people will read every word, others will skim read every paragraph, and still others will just read the headline, the opening paragraph and then maybe the PS at the end of the letter.  That's why you need to make sure the most persuasive and important messages in your sales letter are made to jump out at the reader and create a "double readership path"..

Secret #6 Make sure your sales letter contains an irresistible offer and a deadline to respond by (remember this offer should be bold, it should be different to anything your competition offers, and compelling enough to light your prospects' pants on fire).  Here are some examples of irresistible offers:

  1. FREE with absolutely no strings attached
  2. Free trial converts to monthly billing or payment of product after X days – (Pay nothing now)
  3. Free Shipping
  4. Hold your check
  5. Bonus overload – stacked bonuses
  6. Early bird bonus tied to a specific response date
  7. Silly premium – mousepad, cartoon, t-shirt, coffee mug
  8. Mystery gift
  9. Easy pay options (monthly payments)
  10. The more you buy the more you save – tiered discount based on amount purchased

Secret # 6 Include a bold reverse risk guarantee.  This is a very powerful copywriting technique to make it easier for your prospects to say YES than no.  Here's an example:

"You’re fully protected by our iron-clad money-back guarantee: If you decide that your <name> membership and <publication> aren’t for you, just let us know at any time during your membership period. We’ll send you a prompt 100% refund – every penny you paid. That’s a full refund, not partial or pro-rated. All the issues and the bonuses are yours to keep – even if you cancel. Could any offer be fairer than that?"

Secret #7  Use a powerful close to make your prospects whip out their credit cards

The way you close your sales letter is very important - it will determine whether your prospect puts your sales letter down to "think about it" or is moved to tale immediate action.  Here are some great examples:

"The next move is up to you. I’ve shown you that the <name of your product> is as risk-free as an offer can come. You and I both know that if you’ve read this far in the letter, you’re seriously interested in improving your business and personal income. All that’s left to do now is take action and call the number below to place your order".

"You really can’t afford not to invest in this course! Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to move on this incredible opportunity?  So what are you waiting for? Drop the enclosed card in the mail today."

That's it!  Follow these 7 simple steps and your sales letter will be MILES ahead of anything your competition is using!!!!

 

Got QR Code Fever Or Wondering How You Can Use QR Codes In Your Marketing?

QR Codes have lovers and haters.  The haters say its just another fad.  The lovers are using QR codes and laughing all the way to the bank. You be the judge.

Here's my view - it's new technology, it's a fast-growing technology, and if your target market has smart phones and are somewhat tech savvy then I think its great to find another media to connect with them that's low or no cost. Plus QR codes are a great customer involvement device and provide another call to action you can use in your marketing to get prospects to buy.

Here’s my favorite QR Code creator (some elements are free, others cost a bit): http://www.QRStuff.com

Here's a list of QR Code readers / decoders / scanning apps for iPhones, Androids and more: http://www.qrstuff.com/qr_phone_software.html

And most importantly, here are some examples of how you can use QR codes in your marketing to make more sales

  1. Business Cards Put a code on your business card containing all of your contact information and give them an irresistible offer
  2. Put a QR code On A T-Shirt Send them to a great landing page with a free introductory offer or low cost offer with big savings
  3. Use a QR Code as a "get more info" option If you have a physical store, put a QR code on products which when they scan it gives them additional info.  If you don't then you can use QR codes in your service menu or product menu to keep it uncluttered.  List just the main points of each product and service offering in your menu and then give them a QR code they can scan to get more info
  4. Put It On Your Website's "Contact Us Page" People take a picture of your page on the screen, put you in their contact list
  5. Put It On Your Instruction Sheet People scan it to get step-by-step instructions on how to use a product or service, or get directed to a video where you give them step by step instructions
  6. Use QR codes In Print Ads People scan to be taken to a specific landing page on your website
  7. Put It On A Campaign Sign, or a Poster Take people directly to your website - preferably a squeeze page so you can incentivize them to "opt in" and give you their info
  8. Put It On A For-Sale Sign Take them to a website with video and information about the item being sold - for example a house, a car, a boat.  You could even post this on a bulletin board.
  9. Use a QR code to Put It On Your Luggage Ok so it won't get you customers but it'll save you a lot of grief if your luggage ever gets lost…
  10. Send a Tweet Scanning it sends out a tweet
  11. Do A Location Login Put on every table and the walls of your restaurant, does a foursquare login or a Facebook location login
  12. Add To Your LinkedIn Page Passes your contact information or website
  13. Call Us To Place Your Order Scan dials their phone
  14. Send a Teaser Postcard Send a QR code to a potential client, which takes them to your website
  15. Put It On Your Conference NameTag Contact information or website
  16. Put A Backsell On Your Invoice Taking them to a landing page making a special offer to upsell them
  17. Paypal Buy Link Scanning takes them to Paypal to buy your item
  18. Promote An Event Scanning the QR code puts it on their calendar
  19. Announce Your Free Wifi Scanning logs them into your wifi account
  20. Put It In Your Powerpoint Presentation Build your list by sending them to a special bonus offer if they sign up!

What other ideas do you have for using QR codes?  Share them by posting a comment...

What to do with your customers who’ve gone MIA

Guess the top 4 reasons customers don’t return to a business (hint: price isn’t one of them). #4 Bad service #3 Bad product #2 They found someone else

And #1 They FORGOT!

That’s right, the number 1 reason people don’t return to your business is because you just weren’t top of mind when it was time for them to purchase again.  Are you shocked that price doesn’t even feature in the top 4 reasons?  Most of us automatically think that if customers don’t return it must have been because we were too expensive, when actually it’s just because we didn’t do a great job with our marketing by reminding them that we’re here.  The great news is that it can be easily fixed!

Here are 2 key questions for you:

In your business how often do you want customers to buy from you again?

When do you consider a customer to be lost?

If you’re a real estate agent, you might want repeat business every 5 years.  If you own a grocery store it might be once every 7 days.  Figure this out and then set up a lost customer sequence to trigger as soon as they don’t return. The most effective is a 3-step sequential direct mail campaign that’s highly personalized. A very distant second is the same via email campaign (but anything is better than nothing).

Here’s the secret to getting them back: unless you specifically invite your lost customers to return to you, most won’t because they’re too embarrassed!  You need to warmly invite them back.  Remember that a customer who’s already done business with you is at least 5 times easier for you to sell to than a new customer.  So make every customer count! Woo the lost sheep back with an irresistible offer and a deadline. Make them feel they’ve been greatly missed and welcome them back to the fold with open arms! If they don’t respond to the first campaign, schedule another in 3 months with a different offer!

The BIGGEST Pulling Sales Letter Of All Time

This sales letter, written by one of the greatest yet least known copywriters of all time (Martin Conroy), was first launched for the Wall Street Journal in 1974. It's known in insider expert copywriter circles as the "Two Young Men" letter and still today is the single largest pulling sales letter of all time (it's raked in more than 1 billion in subscription revenues for the WSJ).

This sales letter has been successfully used as WSJ's control piece for the last 18 years, combining a compelling offer, a reverse risk guarantee,  and very well crafted sales copy that tells a story.  This sales letter can be mailed just about anytime to a qualified list and it's a sure winner to pull in response profitably year after year.

Your DIRECT RESPONSE “MUST HAVE” Laundry Checklist For ALL Your Marketing

In the last post I discussed the vital importance of scrapping traditional/brand based advertising for your business.  Instead, I talked about the importance of shifting all your marketing and advertising to direct response marketing. What’s direct response marketing again?

In its simplest form, direct response marketing is advertising that ALWAYS contains a special offer with a deadline.  It’s advertising that has the objective of motivating prospects to take action immediately.  Direct response marketing directly sells a product or service by containing an irresistible offer – it doesn’t just talk about what you sell with no reason to take action now.

Using direct response marketing, you can tell within a day or a week of running an ad exactly how effective it was. You can tweak successful ads to try and make them more successful, and scrap the dud ads that aren’t pulling a response. No more guesswork. This way, every one of your marketing dollars can be ruthlessly tracked and held accountable.

For examples of direct response marketing think of home shopping channels like QVC, or catalog marketers like J Peterman, and Cabela’s.  It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in – whether you offer legal services or sell tires for a living – direct response marketing WILL work for your business.  In fact it’s the missing ingredient required for a major marketing break through.

As promised in the last post, here are the essential ingredients you must include in your marketing to ensure it’s a direct response advert, not a brand/traditional advert:

An irresistible offer or offers

  1. A deadline for response
  2. Clear instructions on what they need to do to respond (e.g. To place your order call our customer service department at xxx-xxx-xxxx or fax your order to...etc.)
  3. A bold guarantee that reverses the risk for your prospects
  4. Strong sales copy that talks about benefits, not features (e.g. Feature: This drill has 21 different speeds.  Benefit: You can get your work done in half the time)
  5. Testimonials from customers that overcome your prospect’s main objections
  6. Follow up.  Don’t just mail one piece or send out one letter – use ideally a three-step follow up process

I go into more detail about each of these steps in the Client Stampede Ultimate Home Study Kit and show you exactly how to apply these to your business, including done-for-you templates that you can “swipe and deploy” to use in your own business.

The information contained in this blog post is pure gold!  Many, many fortunes have been made based on applying just these 7 principals! These principals will work for you too!

Print out this blog post and pin it to the wall so you can refer to this information often!

Why Doing Brand Advertising/Traditional Advertising is Certain Death for Small Business Owners

One of the biggest mistakes a small business can make in their marketing is to copy the way big businesses advertise. I remember when I started my first business at 17 – the part I was most excited about was coming up with the logo, the tagline and the “brand” of my business, thinking that was what was going to get me sales.

I figured that if I built enough brand awareness in my market then people would be persuaded to purchase my products when they were ready to buy.   After all, that’s how Nike, Coca Cola, Farmers Insurance, and Wal-Mart advertised…

There was just one small problem with my grand plan.  The difference between these big guys and my small business was…a couple of (hundred) million dollars in advertising budget!

In my experience, copying big business brand advertising is the #1 reason so many small businesses end up going belly up.  Not only do small businesses not have the marketing budget to build brand, but the marketing agenda of a small business owner is far different than that of a big business owner.

Here’s the marketing & advertising agenda that most big businesses follow:

  1. Appease the Board of Directors
  2. Look good to Wall Street
  3. Look good in the media
  4. Build brand
  5. Intimidate the competition
  6. Win some advertising awards
  7. Sell something

As a small business, your marketing and advertising agenda is much more simple:

  1. Sell something.  NOW.

The whole point of spending money on marketing is to make money.  Ideally for every dollar you spend on your marketing you want at least two dollars back.

If you do brand advertising you have no way to measure if your advertising is effective.  You hope it’s effective, you pray it’ll bring you sales, but ultimately, it’s a wild stab in the dark because you really don’t know which advertising is really bringing in customers.

Using guesswork for your marketing is no way to run a business.

You need to scrap brand advertising (I also call it traditional advertising) for good.  Instead you need to get your business on a strict diet of direct response advertising.  

Building brand should be a nice by-product of making sales – it should never be the objective of your marketing.  Making sales is.

What is direct response advertising?

In its simplest form, direct response advertising is advertising that ALWAYS contains a special offer with a deadline.  It’s advertising that has the objective of motivating prospects to take action immediately so you can tell within a day or a week of running an ad exactly how effective it was.  You can then tweak successful ads to try and make them more successful and scrap the dud ads that aren’t pulling a response. No more guesswork.

The best book I’ve found on direct response advertising is: No BS Direct Marketing by Dan Kennedy.  I highly recommend you grab a copy and immerse yourself in it.  It’s an easy and entertaining read and will be worth many, many thousands of dollars to your business.

So how can you shift from traditional, brand based advertising to direct response advertising?  

At the very minimum, include an irresistible offer to your prospects, impose a deadline for them to respond, and tell them clearly how to respond (e.g. To order your copy just call us at xxx-xxx-xxxx).  Make sure NO advertising leaves your office without containing these three essential ingredients.

In the next post I’ll be giving you a laundry “checklist” of the other essential ingredients your direct response marketing must contain for maximum effectiveness. But by adding an irresistible offer, a deadline, and clear instructions on how to respond to all of your marketing – you’ll be off to a great start!

Three secret copywriting formulas to make price irrelevant

As price is usually the #1 objection to overcome when composing a sales letter, so it helps to have an arsenal of time tested tools at your disposal to get your prospects fixated on something other than price! Here are 3 very powerful copywriting formulas that will help you to achieve just that.  These formulas are easy to understand and they’re very adaptable to any business.

1.    The Problem-Agitate-Solve formula

This is one of my favorite copywriting formulas of all time because it focuses on our extreme need as humans to move away from pain.  It's also one of the copywriting formulas that I use most often and may be the most surefire one ever invented. The first step is to define your customer’s problem.  You may be writing about a problem they know they have, or one they don’t know they have.  Either way it doesn’t matter because a great sales letter avoids assuming knowledge on the part of their prospect.  So you set forth the problem in clear, straight forward terms.  E.g. if you were writing about a tax reduction course for small business owners you could write:

As a small business owner, you're already the government's #1 target.  Just when you feel you're starting to get ahead the government intervenes and slams you with a new form to fill out, a new regulation to follow. It's one thing after another. And now you're going to have to pay higher taxes with their new tax reform bill. Just what you needed - unless you discover a few secrets used by some of the “big players” to escape through little known loopholes that are 100% legal.

Once the problem is clearly established then it’s time to agitate.  We want to whip them into a frenzy and make the problem larger than life.

Here’s an example from a sales letter promoting a pair of shoes:

“ if you insist on wearing just any old pair of ordinary shoes, here’s what you can look forward to in your golden years…sunken arches…extraordinary backpain…terrible discomfort in golf shoes…pain lifting grandchildren…you’ll be asking your friends to slow down just so you can catch up!”

Then once your prospect has broken into a sweat, pacing the room thinking “this pain has got to stop”, you present them with the solution – your product or service!

2.    Telling The Future

Everyone is fascinated with predictions of the future.   Give your prospects your predictions for the future, and relate these to your product or service. It's a great distraction from price and makes your sales letter very memorable and "news worthy".

Faith Popcorn has built her entire business using this copywriting formula.

 3.    The Winners/Losers comparison

This basic sales pitch goes something like this (from Earl Nightingale's "the Strangest Secret"):

“take any 100 people in America today at the age of 25 and follow them until they’re 65.  Here’s what you’ll find – only 1 will be rich, 4 will be financially independent and the other 95 will be broke – dependent on the government, social security, friends and relative to provide them with life’s basic necessities.  That’s 5% successful, 95% unsuccessful”.

This same basic comparison has been used to sell everything from insurance to dental plans, to multi-level marketing. Whatever it is you’re selling – it’s the path that the 5% successful choose, not the 95% the unsuccessful choose!

These 3 copywriting formulas can be used or their own or combined, even in the same sales letter or presentation. They work great in print and sales copy and work equally as well in face-to-face-selling. One or all 3 of them will work great for your business - go ahead and try it!

How to use “Power Phrases” to effortlessly sell your prospects without sounding like a used car salesman.

Words are the most powerful weapons we have.  Your ability to write copy that connects, resonates and persuades your prospects to buy from you, will ultimately determine the size of your bank account. As Mark Twain says “The difference between the right word and almost the right word, is the difference between lightning and lightning bug”.

Now of course you can hire a copywriter to write your sales copy for you.  You may decide that’s the fastest path to get where you’re going.  Or you may decide to write it yourself. Either way I strongly urge you to study and learn how to write great copy.  It’s one of the 3 smartest investments you can make in your business.

In the meantime, here is a quick short cut or what I call “power phrases”.

Here are some examples of power phrases – these are ones to enhance your company’s image:

Who you buy from can be just as important as what you buy

We offer the most comprehensive _________ in the industry

We make life easier …

We offer practical, low cost solutions…

We’re familiar with every nuance of …..

Day after day we …..

Our total commitment to ….

We recognize the realities of ….

We don’t play games with …..

Despite what you may have heard ….

What’s our formula for success?

It’s our job to …

We offer the added advantage of ….

Here are some power phrases to justify a high price:

The ____ you receive will be worth many times the price

Treat yourself to a ______

Why pay $ ____ for a _____ when for a few dollars more you could have a ______

Allow yourself a little indulgence

Not as expensive as you think

A practical luxury

The Rolls Royce of _____

The Harvard of _________

Flagrantly expensive and worth every penny, ______ identifies you as ________

Here are some power phrases that convey security and peace of mind:

You’ll never have to take chances with …

Rest easy.

Never again will you have to …..

You won’t lose any more sleep over …..

Protects your valuable ……

Avoid embarrassing mistakes….

Gives you the assurance of …...

Incorporate some of these power phrases into your marketing and see what a difference it makes!

How to get the WHO right

You might have heard me say this before.  The WHO of who you're marketing to is actually far more important than the WHAT or the HOW. By WHO I mean who exactly is your target market?

Great marketing hinges on the successful marriage of three things - your market (the Who). Your message (the What).  And your media (the How).

By far the most important of the 3 is WHO you choose to sell to. Why? Because the tighter you can define your target your market, the better you can tailor your message, and the more effective it will be.

For example the way that you sell to men and women is very different.  Men are fact and experience driven.  Women are story driven.

Equally a baby boomer age 50-60 is a very different market from a mature baby boomer-approaching senior age 60-70.  Very different markets, and therefore very different messages are needed to reach them in order to sell to them.

Let me use an example of a company you'll be familiar with to illustrate the .  Home Depot.  Many people would say their target market is anyone looking for home improvement products and services.

That's far too wide.  Here would be a much better definition:

"Do-It-Yourself Homeowners - typically married couples between the ages of 25-55 who live within a geographic radius of 10 miles of a Home Depot store, with a combined household income of between $50,000-$200,000/year."

By using this definition instead, the Home depot now exactly who they're going after, what messages to use and what forms of media will best reach them.  Eg their messages are going to be about creating the ultimate happy, harmonious family life  which having a beautiful home is part of.

If you're not sure who your target market is, then here are 2 strategies I can suggest:

1)    Review your existing customer list - look for patterns as to gender, age, geographic location, earnings, buying habits etc. to help you better understand WHO your market really is, or

2)    Build a profile of your IDEAL customer, and go after them.  This is where the REAL hidden gold is sitting in your business!

Beware Image Over Substance

One of the biggest misconceptions in marketing is that "pretty sells".  All those glossy brochures, slick looking websites with amazing flash graphics and fancy do-hicky things.  All very impressive looking but the bottom line is that if they don't actually do their job of delivering a compelling direct response message that'll get your prospects to take action and buy something - then they're a monumental waste of your money. How many glossy brochures have you seen that look drop dead gorgeous but contain no compelling offer, or reason for anyone to pick up the phone and call?  This kind of pretty but wimpy advertising is exactly what you should be eliminating in your business altogether.  Also known as "brand advertising" it's the #1 biggest waste of your marketing dollars and it's the #1 offender for small businesses getting dismal or zero responses from their advertising.

Instead, think of your marketing tools as being "salesmanship in media" rather than advertising.

Always, always always copy is king.  Yes the wrong presentation for a particular market can sabotage even the best message, but the more common mistake is a beautiful presentation of nothing.

It Takes 12 Miles of Cotton To Make This Lands' End Shirt ...

State just the facts but make it extraordinary by telling a story.  Begin with your headline (12 miles), continue with the weave and yarn (you can't quite recall what the short makers call it but you're impressed).  Tell about just a few of the steps (not all 69), about the "super durable buttons" (only 62 in the whole world - you're also creating scarcity), and the 120 lock stitched buttonholes.  Tell your story with about 12 steps in all, plus the promise of a great price, a better than money back guarantee, a free catalog.  Throw in multiple calls to action.  Put the headline under the picture...sit back and watch the sales flood in.

Direct Mail - Even Google's Doing It & Why You Should Be Too

I recently stumbled upon a blog posting made by HubSpot that made me very angry.  In case you haven't heard of HubSpot,  they're a relatively new comer to the digital marketing game and have carved out a pretty nice niche for themselves as the go-to folks for everything social media. Note their entire business is DIGITAL MARKETING.  Anyhow, this blog posting absolutely slammed direct mail as being a dying media - and they accused anyone of using direct mail in their marketing as being antiquated, not "hip" and very much behind the times. First of all that's total crap.  Way more businesses, small and large, acquire new customers using targeted direct mail than any other form of media.  I write more about the vital importance of using Direct Mail in this month's Marketing Dynamite newsletter - delivered incidentally by direct mail to my clients, future clients and colleagues in the marketing industry. (If you're not currently a subscriber, subscription is currently FREE - which I know is a bit ridiculous given the enormous value it delivers, and won't be for long - go to www.BlazingCopy.com to sign up).

In 2010, the federal government alone spent a total of $41,534,848 on Direct Mail Advertising.  Direct mail is a multi-billion dollar industry and growing.  And if you're not using targeted direct mail in your marketing, you're missing out on a mega-sized opportunity.

So, just in case you haven't figured out why Hub Spot is so anti-direct mail, I'll connect the dots.  It isn't their business.  They're 100% online marketers.  Instead of advising their clients on what actually works in marketing 9and finding a way to offer those services within their own company, even if it means doing (gasp) traditional marketing - they're sending their clients down a rabbit warren, giving them misguided advice, and costing their clients millions in lost revenue.

So - be very careful who you listen to....