Rating: 6 / 10
Great book on copy writing. The cover made me skeptical, but the contents convinced me. It does exactly what it promises.
The P.S is one of the most important parts of any sales letter, and it's often read first, before the body copy. Use it to restate your offer. Repeat contact information, and push your prospect to take action.
The Bottom Line: The Goal of Advertising Is to Get People to Act
The most important thing to do with this book? Put the principles into action.
Studying psychology to boost the effectiveness of your ads isn't evil. It simply teaches you:
And once you know this, you can:
People care about what your products will do for them; how they'll make their lives happier, more fulfilled, better.
Human beings are biologically programmed with the following eight desires:
Two strongest appeals: sex and self-improvement.
"People buy because of emotion and justify with logic. Force an emotional response by touching on a basic want or need." (p. 23)
These are strong, but don't come close to the LF8. There's nothing as powerful as tapping into a desire that you can't shake (LF8).
What is desire? It is a type of tension you feel when a need isn't met.
The simple formula for desire, and the result it sets in motion:
Tension → Desire → Action to Satisfy the Desire
When you appeal to people's LF8 desires, you create a drive that motivates them to take an action that will fulfill that desire as soon as possible.
Not only is it pleasant for us to satisfy our eight primary desires, but it is also pleasant for us to read about how others have satisfied them. (we imagine ourselves doing the same)
By using specific visual words, you can give your audience a sense of what it's like to actually interact with your product or enjoy the benefits of your service — to demonstrate its use inside their minds — long before they actually buy it. This is where the persuasion begins because the first use of any product is inside the consumers' minds.
IMAGINING THE USE OF SOMETHING THAT APPEALS TO YOU INCREASES YOUR DESIRE FOR IT.
The less imagery you convey, the less your message occupies consumers' brain, the less likely it is that you'll influence them.
Action words create moving pictures. (Go to the kitchen, open the oven, and get food).
Fear sells. It motivates. It urges. It moves people to take action. It drives them to spend money.
Why does it work? Fear causes stress. And stress causes the desire to do something.
You can use it to sell.. If you product offers the appropriate solution for a fearful situation. It's ethical if you are selling a truly effective solution.
If it's possible to use fear to effective sell a product or service, it means that inherent in that product or service is the possible resolution to that which is feared. If not, no matter how much fear you try to conjure up, your appeal will fail miserably.
The fear appeal is most effective when:
You need all four of these.
Too much fear can paralyze - inspire inaction. You need to make the consumer believe that they can change the situation. Your ad must contain specific, believeable recommendations for reducing the threat that are both credible and achieveable.
The fear appeal is more successful if the fears targeted are specific and widely recognized.
Your goal is not to create new fears, but to tap into existing fears, either those on the forefront of the consumers' minds, or those that require a little digging to uncover.
A common way fear is used to simulate action is via the use of deadlines and scarcity. Phrases and slogans such as limited offer, one-day-sale, and while supplies last have the effect of scaring consumers into believing that unless they act now, they'll miss a fantastic opportunity to save money (secondary want #9).
Fear is simply one way to motivate your prospects to investigate your product further. You still need to convince him that your product provides the solution to the fear you just instilled. You still need to persuade and motivate him to take action and grab his wallet, visit your website and place his order.
"By purchasing the 'right stuff', we [the consumer] enhance our own egos and rationalize away our inadequacies" (p. 34).
This technique allows you to create a certain image, or identity, for a product, in order to appeal to a particular section of the audience that feels that their personal image and ego either match it or could be improved by it.
Wow. Apple REALLY comes to mind here.
Your goal is to cause consumers to become so closely associated with the product's image that it almost becomes a part of their own identity; thus, you're "morphing" their ego to fit your product.
By representing your product through carefully chosen images and personalities, you can persuade your prospects that, by purchasing or using your wares, they'll immediately become associated with these images and attitudes.
Most high-end product-sellers do this. For example, the perfume business. 99.9% of the ad has NOTHING to do with the product being promoted. It's pure imagery. The man or woman in the picture might not even be wearing the perfume!
No matter how wonderful your ad, brochure, sales letter, Web page, e-mail, or radio or TV commercial, if your prospects don't believe you, you've flushed your ad money down the toilet. Your offer must be credible.
Transfer is a strategy that involves using symbols, images, or ideas — cues, if you will — commonly associated with people, groups, or institutions of authority or respect, in order to persuade your prospect that your product or service is in some way acceptably endorsed.
Ideal strategy = Get a respected institution to provide its official endorsement. Doing so instantly transfers their authority, sanction, and prestige to your product or service.
If you can't get a full endorsement — a testimonial, for example — you can achieve similar success by spotlighting readily recognized symbols that carry the weight of endorsement.
For example, if you are in some organisation (ADD for fitness-centers in DK), you can add their logo and therefore gain credibility.
This is the same as when products show "Featured in" and they show logos of NYT or WSJ etc.
Here's what happens. Your prospects:
Also for example when products or services uses people in lab-jackets. That can also do well.
According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs, the need to belong is third only to our physiological needs (food, clothing, and shelter) and our safety needs (security, stability, and freedom from fear).
By linking products and services to any of these three reference groups, you can persuade your prospects to make decisions upon the group with which they identify, or want to identify.
Bandwagon effect = if a large enough group holds a favorable opinion about a product, then that opinion must be correct.
If seeking aspirational group influence — people your prospects aspire to be similar to — you must make sure your prospects can easily identify with them.
Gaining associative group influence requires that you link your product to a certain societal group, while often alienating others. Two ways to do this:
Does your product lend itself to using the human need to belong appeal? If it does, don't just think about ways to describe its features and benefits. Put at least equal effort into telling your prospects how buying your product makes them (aspirational), keeps them (associative), or helps them show the world that they're not a part of a particular group (dissociative).
"Don't buy my product for what it does for you today — buy it for what it will do for you tomorrow!"
That's what this principle says.
Strategy is based upon the theory that many consumer decisions are taken not to satisfy an immediate need, but for some future objective.
The strategy is to persuade your prospects that your product — although desirable in its own right — will prove additional secondary benefits to them or their family.
Using the Means-End Chain, you simply do it by shifting the consumer's focus to your product's ultimate value or benefit. The benefit of the benefit.
Formula for activating Means-End Chain mindset:
Your copy and images should always represent the positive end results.
In this way, your prospect is less likely to critically analyse the pros and cons of the actual product, and base their purchase decision on the ultimate benefit it will provide them.
I just realized that this is important to use for making thumbnails as well. Currently, I'm using the title of the video/post - which is shown anyway - in the image. I should be showing the benefits of doing what I say!
For most products, it's not the product itself that people want, it's the bottom-line benefit they're buying.
The Transtheoretical Model (TTM) divides consumer knowledge and behavior into five stages, and it provides the guidelines for persuading your prospect so they move from complete ignorance of your product ("What the heck is this?"), to making it a regular purchase or an integral part of their lifestyles ("Doesn't everyone buy this?"). When you're aware of these stages, you'll better understand how and where to begin your sales message.
The aim for advertisers who use this technique is to move the consumer through the stages one at a time, until using your product becomes a habit. The challenge? Dealing successfully with consumer groups at different stages of the process. Two options to tackle this:
Used to reinforce a consumer's existing attitudes toward a product or service by presenting a "weak" argument that tricks the consumer into defending his position and therefore strengthening his attitude. The three steps are:
Example of the process on page 48 and on 49.
You can warn of an attack, present what ANOTHER (competitor) would say (weak attack), and then present a strong defense (in favor of you / your product).
The key is to make your prospects process your competitors' claims through your filters.
Most people don't like change. Even their belief - and even if they know that it's wrong.
In order to influence beliefs, advertisers use images and statistics that appeal either to emotions, such as fear, humor, or guilt (affecting the right-hemisphere, creative brain), or to the consumer's intellect, through factual evidence and examples (affecting the left-hemisphere, logical brain).
Your beliefs about a product can change if you are given new ways to think about it.
The most successful method is to strengthen your prospects' current beliefs either by supporting them with factual evidence (pouring on the stats, reports, studies, testimonials), or by using everyday examples (success stories from other users, for example) with which your prospects can identify.
Can take this one step further and reinforce additional beliefs, which are unlikely to meet resistance because they don't conflict with existing beliefs.
The strategy of manipulating current beliefs, either through reinforcement or undermining, is far easier and more likely to succeed than attempting a wholesale change of basic beliefs.
Avoid consumers' becoming defensive:
You want to change their belief without causing a negative, defensive reaction.
You want your prospect to think that they've made their own decision.
Done by removing your prospects' need for cognitive (critical) thinking. Helpful principle:
The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) suggests that there are two routes to attitude change: the central route and the peripheral route.
Which method to use depends on product.
If your product requires central route processing, then do this:
Pour on the facts, stats, evidence, testimonials, studies, reports, and case histories. WEave them into your most persuasive sales argument.
If you product requires peripheral route processing, then do this:
Load your ads full of colorful, pleasant images, humorous or popular subject matter, or the sponsorship of celebrities.
Attitudes developed using central route processing will last longer than those formed by the peripheral route.
These cues are mental shortcuts, and are effective in many different situations — especially when your prospect isn't using careful, "considered" thought. Use these cues when writing an ad using the peripheral route to persuasion, but don't if your product requires lots of thought, reasoning etc (fx. its a luxury item, high-cost anything).
Known by the mnemonic CLARCCS:
Comparison: The power of your peers.
Liking: The Balance Theory. "I like you...take my money!"
The better they look, the more others like.
Authority: Cracking the code of credibility.
Reciprocation: What goes around comes around...profitably!
You want to give something of value, something that makes them "wow, that was thoughtful". Free samples, gift certificates etc. If you are a consultant, give 30 min of your time with no obligation.
Commitment/consistency: The "Four Walls" technique.
You create an ad that poses four questions to your prospect, with each answer leading logically to the next, until, at the end of your ad, your prospect is all but committed to making the purchase.
Example on page 63.
When using written copy: The Idea is to elicit a string of "yes" responses from your prospect, each successive answer adding momentum, creating a snowball of interest and desire, and presenting your product as the path to fulfillment.
Scarcity: Get 'em while they last!
If your ads are disorganized or poorly structured, your cash register ain't gonna ring.
Simplicity is important — but not always easy.
Examples are king because emotions are the key to sales.
Until you can get your prospects to imagine themselves using your product or service, they're not going to take the next step and buy it.
Featuring colorful examples causes "self-demonstration" and boosts your prospects desire to own and motivation to buy.
Depending on your product, it could be a great idea to INCLUDE statistics. But examples sell.
You can present your side or your side AND you competitors side in a head-to-head product comparison.
Can be more persuasive, but only if they stick to the format of defending their own position while also attacking their competition.
Present both but only advocate your own. How? By making your two-sided message appear to the reader as fair-minded and balanced.
You can also do comparison chart — but make sure yours is best.
Don't ever be afraid to tell people why they shouldn't buy what you're selling. Not only does it boost your credibility, but if they're true prospects, it'll also add fire to their desire.
Repetition (so that people see your ad repeatedly) is good, but there is a limit. If you go over, you'll breed contempt.
Run different versions of the same ad.
Multiple sources and multiple argument: The more different sources that expose a subject to the same message, the more convinced the subject will become.
The idea is, if consumers aren't thinking carefully about an advertiser's message, slipping in a rhetorical question grabs their attention and encourages them to fire up some brain cells and think about the message.
The use of rhetorical questions may be beneficial for increasing message retention.
The more you think about something, the more brain cells you devote to it, and the more likely you are to remember it.
People buy from you when they believe what you are selling is of greater value than the dollars they need to exchange for it.
People always think WIIFM: "What's in it for me?"
If they don't know, they'll be reluctant to make the deal.
How do we make them believe? We can use persuasive evidence.
Facts, figures, testimonials, endorsements, research, charts, videos and so on. As long as you didn't create it yourself.
A product or service is more likely to be viewed favorable if the ad is long and contains numerous, credible facts and figures.
Loading your ads with testimonials is one way to tune your prospects' brains to "Heuristic Channel #1".
Another is to write long, engaging copy.
Whenever you study someone who was successful at a task you're preparing to attempt, you pave yourself an incredible shortcut to success.
This is the FOUNDATION.
The goal of advertising is to get people to act. To do that, we use words. So to be effective at making people act, we need to be effective at using our words. The audience must understand what we're saying.
The #1 key to all effective written communication: Write so people can understand.
How to you write so that people understand? Use the
The result is your readability score.
The best sentence length is of approximately 11 words.
You should also refer to people (Bob, Eileen, he, him, she, her, and so on) at least 14 times every 100 words.
Longer sentences mean longer thoughts, which requires more mental effort to follow them. The more you ask people to think, the more likely you'll lose them.
Rule of thumb: Express only one thought in a sentence, no more.
Limit your opening paragraph to a maximum of eleven words. Write like this:
Would you like to know a secret way of making money simply watching TV?
I thought so.
Now let me explain...
Load your copy with pronouns such as you, me, I, he, she, him, they, and them. Especially you and I.
To be successful with your advertisements, be aware of how people might not understand you. Write shorter sentences, use smaller words, and smaller paragraphs. Don't write like you would in college. Use questions to draw people into your copy and keep them reading. Use pronouns. Use the Flesch formula to test your readability.
Paragraph leaders are a powerful way to increase reading speed and establish an upbeat tempo in ads. Repetition increases the reader's perception of volume (Length-Implies-Strength says that this boost credibility).
You need to write the benefits to the user.
Benefits = those things that offer your prospects value. Benefits ≠ features.
Features = attributes. Benefits = what you GET from those attributes.
Remember WIIFM: What's in it for me?
Always on your customers mind.
Loading your advertising with benefits is the key to add successful advertising.
"Unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money." — David Ogilvy.
NEVER ignore #1, but only keep #2 in mind.
You want people to act NOW. You want a deadline in your copy.
Two critical things that your headline needs to do:
It needs to do both.
"There are four important qualities that a good headline may possess. They are:
— John Caples
To appeal to a consumer's self interest, simply write a headline that promises a personal benefit: whiter teeth, higher income, healthier body, better relationships, and any others. (especially if they tap into LF8).
22 good headline starters:
Examples in chapter. p. 101-103.
You can differentiate yourself with graphic design.
Instead of a square, maybe use a circle.
Reverse = black background with white text.
When describing your products or services, be extreme specific.
What interesting story can you tell people about your product or service? How can you educate them about what you do or how you do it?
Ask yourself: "What can I say about my product or service that may be obvious to me, but my market knows little about? Can I tell them about the processes used, the time, money, and effort expended? How can I point out the major advantages of my product and make people begin to question the quality of my competition?"
Called the Two-Thirds/One-Third Principle. The top two thirds of the ad is one big photograph. The remaining third of the ad consists of the headline (directly under the photo) and the sales copy beneath the headline, often starting with a large "drop cap". Your company logo tucks neatly into the lower-right corner.
Theres also the reverse-Ogilvy. Same as above but reverse.
"Don't run pictures without putting captions under them. Put a brief selling message or human interest message under every illustration you use" — John Caples.
Serif fonts make words easier to read. Fx: Times New Roman, Palatino, Schoolbook, Georgia, Courier, Cheltenham, Bookman, and Garamond.
Sans serif make reading more difficult and uncomfortable.
Set Headlines in Initial Caps
For Online reading arial and verdana fonts are good. also use 10 or 12 points. (size).
Arial for 12 point and larger - verdana for smaller than 12. But rarely go smaller than 10 point. Also for a more formal look, use Georgia.
Don't design your own sales materials. People try to be a graphic designer themselves — but often, it looks horrible.
"What does it do?"
"So what happens?"
"Want an example?"
"Do you want to know one simple technique that will ...?"
Ask questions - it makes the monologue feel more like a two-way conversation.
Act as if your salesletter was a person. You wouldn't talk like a robot.
The best way to write any advertising is to start by making a list of all the benefits your product or service offers. Then rank them in the order of importance — to your customer — so your #1 is now the strongest selling point. Now you have the key selling points of your product.
Take that #1 benefit and work that benefit into the opening of your letter.
People want ease and speed. We live in a quick-fix society. Appeal to that.
Don't start with "Dear friend" or "Dear reader". Start with "Dear Weekend Warrior" or "Dear Soon-to-Be-Millionaire".
Start your letter with a question. It's an extremely effective device for getting people to read deeper.
Especially: "Do you want?"
The purpose of your first sentence and paragraph is to get people to read your second sentence an paragraph — and so on.
AIDA: Attention, interest, desire, action.
Make things personal.
People believe testimonials.
If you want people to respond to your offer, you have to make it as easy as possible for them! Don't you be the lazy one.
A head or face is the best attention-getter. Put a photo of someone's head in your ad. Smiling is preferable - depending on the product.
PVAs = Powerful visual adjectives.
Don't say: Make lots of money!
Do say: Rake in $2,750 cash weekly!
All experience is made up of only these five factors: V-A-K-O-G.
We have these internal representations - any time we experience something, a blend of all these elements is present. These elements are the internal representations, because they represent our experience of the world around us internally, in our heads. A memory is just a blend of these elements.
When you are advertising, what you need to do is you nee to increase the strength of the representations in your prospects' brains.
You need to ramp up the intensity of all five elements so that you create a concentrated internal experience with sufficient power to affect his or her behavior. This is how you get people to take action.
Stop being afraid to use your own brain. Forge your own path and leave your own mark. You don't need permission from anybody to do things your way. You be the leader. You be the one people copy because what you're doing is so unique. Shake people up in your industry. Why be just another person in your industry who does nothing new, nothing worth noting, nothing that gets people talking and buying?
Getting action requires two steps:
People want more ease in their lives. Tell them how easy it is to buy from you.
When people can't distinguish you from your competition, they have no reason to prefer you. And your goal in business is to have people prefer your product, to choose you over everyone else offering the same or similar thing.
Be proactive. Tell people why you're great. Be more than just your impressive tag line — be what you say you are.
If you want your ad to stand out from the crows, say something different.
Ask yourself "what's unique about what I'm offering? Am I the only one offering this plan, product, or service? What's unique about me that I can exploit?"
Book suggestion: "Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind"
How to market yourself as an authority in your field.
Make what you know available to the public in as many forms as possible.
What do you do with these free reports? Advertise them in your ads. Give them to anyone for free. (I can do this on my Twitter etc).
Make sure to include contact information on them. Give seminars, hold workshops, create educational products, write a book, do radio and TV interviews, blog your expertise.
Put a sales letter at the bottom of a survey.
Pictures are good.
Pictures of the product are good. Pictures of the product in use is better.
Grabbers = putting something special at the top of your letters.
Long copy is best.
Just as you should test different headlines, it's vitally important to test different offers.
Try to make your ad look more like an article / editorial.
Disguise your ads as coupons. Coupons are good.
Emails once a week is fine.
HTML emails are better than text emails.
Offer a great guarantee. As long as you can. 6 months or more are way better than those 1 month or 60 days etc.
All that matters: The strength of its offer, the execution of the copy and design.
Most liked color combos
Most liked → least liked.
xx.99 suggests low quality but xx.00 suggest high quality.
Color can affect how we think about thinks.
Have white space around your ad.
In advertising, it's not clever to be clever.
USE THESE CHECKLISTS TO ENSURE EVERYTHING YOU POST HAS GOOD COPY!!