Thu, 28 May 2015
When it comes to communicating the value of a product or service, Ray Edwards is a true legend in the industry. I met him way back in my corporate job days when my boss hired him to work his magic on a new sales letter for a product we were launching. That was when I saw the true power that words can have in generating sales and building a business. Since then, I decided to become a devoted student of copywriting, and a student of Ray’s, in particular.
Fortunately, Ray loves teaching, and he’s very generous with his expertise. You may remember him from way back in Episode 33, but I wanted to have him back to help you dive even deeper into the techniques of writing sales copy that gets results and comes from the heart.
What Counts as Copy?
Ray often encounters confusion about what constitutes “copy”…how is it different from simply writing?
"The first level is sales copywriting, which is the copy that is on the sales page—where we ask people to press a button and buy something from us.
"On the other level, though, I believe that all writing is meant to persuade people either that they can do something, or that they should do something."
Basically, if you’re writing something to either empower people so that they feel they can do something, or to persuade them that they ought to do something, you’re writing copy.
…I’d say that applies to just about everything I write for my business, wouldn’t you?
As our freebie for this week, Ray is graciously offering more than 100 email and headline templates that he uses for writing amazing copy every day. Click here to get them now!
Get 100+ Email and Headline Templates from Ray Edwards
Why Is Persuasion So Important?
In a perfect world, we could just say “Here’s what I have, it’s good, buy it if you want to,” and all the right people who need our product would click Purchase. But the thing is, we’ve all become really smart, and really skeptical.
Ray points out that even Apple isn’t immune to the need for writing sales copy—they’re just so good at how they present it that we don’t realize we’re consuming their copywriting!
Very few of us like thinking about “sales writing.” It makes us think of smarmy used car salesmen, trying to con hardworking people out of their money. Ray is familiar with this aversion to copywriting, and here’s how he explains the way to avoid sounding “sales-y”:
"I think people get confused about persuasion versus manipulation. I like to define the difference this way: persuasion results in you making a buying decision that you will celebrate later; manipulation leads to you making a buying decision that you will regret later.
"The key to guiding your clients toward a decision they will celebrate is—no surprise—knowing your clients really well! You think of the problem that you’re solving, and you write about it from the perspective of the person who has the problem, and you describe their pain. Someone once said that the more accurately you can describe the pain of the person you’re selling to, the more they feel as though you automatically have the solution to the problem.
"There’s plenty of brain science that tells us that almost all, if not all, of our decisions are made emotionally. All the rationale that we come up with is to support the emotional decision that we’ve already made. If you can just support the emotions that they’re feeling, and you can do it with integrity—you really do have the solution—then you don’t really ever have to sell hard, or even push to sell. You just give the persuasive story of why what you have is going to help them, and they’ll make a buying decision."
Whew. Great stuff, huh?
Get even more of Ray's insights on how genuine, emotionally persuasive copy can make selling a breeze. Click here to listen to the whole episode.
Okay, now let’s get into the nuts and bolts of writing great copy.
Ray has a couple of frameworks that he teaches anyone who is trying to improve their copywriting skills. The first one is called...
The "Pastor" Framework
This one gets its name from the original meaning of the word “pastor”—having to do with being a shepherd. (Kind of an old meaning of the word…look it up.) Not only does this word help you remember the purpose of your business—to help and take care of people with what you sell—but it also just happens to be a handy acronym for setting up the points of your sales page.
P — Problem
Recognize the pain that your client is experience. Describe it to them. Empathize.
A — Amplify
Specifically, amplify the consequences of not solving that problem. This is probably one of the biggest secrets of making a sale—that it’s less about telling people how cool your product is, and more about letting them understand the long-term cost of not getting a solution for it.
S — Story
Every solution has a story about how it was discovered. You’ve heard me tell how I discovered the solution to online marketing that became the sales funnel I teach in the Profit Lab. How did you go from being a person with a problem to being an expert with a solution? This is the “meat” of your sales page.
T — Testimonial
You follow up the story of your solution with the stories of people who have used your solution. The more variety your testimonials have, the better—it shows that your solution can work for anybody.
O — Offer
This is where you say, in plain English, what you’re offering to your clients. You want to focus mainly on the benefits, here—less about the deliverable and more about the results of owning that deliverable.
R — Response
Ask people to take action.
Get 100+ Email and Headline Templates from Ray Edwards
This last piece of the Pastor framework brings up an important point that should be present in your copy:
Any Decision Is Better Than No Decision
Ray says that he would always rather have a potential client say “No, that product is not for me” than have them not take action but constantly wondering if maybe they should.
Bad sales copy leaves people with a feeling of burden or pressure, that they should make a decision, but they’re not sure, but they’ve got to decide soon because the window is closing, maybe they should shop around more, etc.
Good sales copy, on the other hand, can be extremely passionate in expressing “I really think this is the right decision for you!” while still showing that you’re only interested in your client making a decision that serves them. And it doesn’t serve them to constantly be on the fence!
The "Buyer’s Journey" Framework
You’ve heard of the “hero’s journey,” the kind seen in epic movies or classic novels—this is basically the same, but seen through the lens of copywriting. As a copywriter, you’re leading your reader through this mental journey, step by step.
Step #1: The Existing Situation
You identify the pain that the buyer is in.
Step #2: The Dream Solution
You contrast how the client’s world is right now, and here’s how they wish it could be.
Step #3: Discovering the Trusted Guide
You bring in the reasons why they should trust you to lead them on their quest for this dream solution.
Step #4: Presenting the Unique Solution
You announce that there is a dream solution, and you’ve found it.
Step #5: Describe the Features
This is the more “physical” description—what’s actually contained in this solution.
Step #6: Describe the Benefits
Explain what each of the features does for the person who uses this solution.
Step #7: The Transformative Offer
Tell them what they have to do to access the solution. (Click a button, make a phone call, etc.)
Step #8: Present Proof
Bring in the stories of others that have used this solution.
Step #9: Justify the Value
Acknowledge the cost to your buyer of making this decision, and explain why it's valuable. You can draw comparisons to other similar products out there, to show how yours is more valuable for the cost.
Step #10: Eliminate Fear and Risk
A buyer’s biggest fear is not that you don't have the solution, but that you’ll rip them off. So frame your offer in a way that takes the risk on yourself, and relieves all the buyer’s fear.
Step #11: Offer Bonuses
These should offer value that relates directly to your product, and that enhances or magnifies the benefit of the product.
Step #12: Invite a Decision
Emphasize that you are genuinely interested in your client making a decision that serves them.
Make sure to listen to my full podcast interview with Ray Edwards--we covered so much more than I could fit into this blog post! And don't forget to sign up to receive more than 100 templates for writing your own persuasive headlines and emails. This is the stuff that Ray normally offers only to students of his copywriting course, so you're not going to want to miss it!
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_60.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am PDT
Thu, 21 May 2015
One of the business guides I return to again and again is the book Great Leads. This book tells you everything you need to understand about communicating with your audience in a way that cultivates the relationship and results in increasing sales.
No matter how many times I've read this book, I'm always blown away by the statistic they open with:
Did you know that? Because I sure didn’t!
The first few hundred words of your copy are known as “the lead.” And if those first hundred words are the entryway to a sale, your headline is the front door that every client has to walk through, in order to get to your product.
Of course, what you really want is for them to be stampeding through!
To get this, you need a killer headline for your sales page.
Four Essentials of a Killer Headline
#1: The Rule of One
Readers don’t want to hear everything you know about a topic. Instead, they are looking for just a single, useful suggestion. Something they can take action on and see results.
In advertising firms, they refer to this as the Rule of One--focusing on one powerful emotion within your reader.
Too many ideas sends the reader’s mind in too many directions. You can use any number of different stories, predictions, statements or promises, but they all have to support that one Big Idea that your reader will grasp immediately.
Here are a few classic examples of headlines that use the Rule of One:
When you stick with this Rule of One, it makes the copy stronger AND it makes writing the rest of the sales letter easier.
Learn how to use the Rule of One in our free guide--click here to download it now!
Get the Free Guide: "Quick Guide To Writing A Killer Sales Page Headline"
#2: You need to provoke emotion.
Strange but true fact: people respond to emotion before they respond to reason.
So you need to grab your readers' attention by appealing to their current emotions. Once you have their emotional attention, they'll give you their intellectual attention so that you can convince him with all the great reasons to become your client.
Here are some examples:
#3: Determine Which Lead to Use
Any advertising or marketing offer can be categorized as one of these six major types. The trick is to determine which type of lead is the best setting for your Big Idea.
The Offer Lead
The Promise Lead
The Problem-Solution Lead
The Big Secret Lead
The Proclamation Lead
The Story Lead
All these leads are super fun to play with. If you like getting creative, you’re going to love experimenting with all these.
Get more info on these lead types, including what type of audience responds best to each one--listen to the full episode on iTunes.
#4 Determine Your Reader's Awareness Level
Finally, to determine the most effective lead for your sales page, you need to know what your target market already knows about:.
The awareness of your target market can be divided up into 5 different levels of awareness, from completely unaware to well-informed and already raving about your brand.
Now here's where it gets fun: each awareness level fits best with a certain kind of lead. Once again, knowing your audience really well is the key to communicating your offer in a way they can't resist!
Want to learn how to practically put this all together? Click here to download our free guide.
Get the Free Guide: "Quick Guide To Writing A Killer Sales Page Headline"
Creating a Gateway for Your Ideal Customer
As you might remember from earlier episodes, there are a few different ways to determine your target market's awareness level. Go back and listen to Episodes 55 and 56 if you need a refresher.
Or, if you're ready to take a deep dive into the strategies for finding your ideal audience, you can sign up now for the Profit Lab--but hurry! Registration is closing soon, and today is the last day to get a massive "early bird" discount on this course.
Finally, click here to download this week's free guide--it will walk you through each of these four essentials to create a killer sales page headline of your very own.
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episdoe-59.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51am PDT
Thu, 14 May 2015
Last week, I put out an invitation on my Facebook page. I invited you to throw all your questions about online marketing at me! What do you want to know? Where are you stuck? What are you confused about?
Well, the overwhelming majority of the questions people posted on my Facebook page were about--surprise!--Facebook. And the questions showed me that it's time for a major reframing of how we think about Facebook. Most people are just not looking at Facebook in a way that's going to serve them.
And since my mission is to help you get results with your online marketing, including your Facebook marketing, we’ve got to address that...stat!
The Facebook System that Changes Everything!
"How do I increase my FB followers? It seems I have hit a plateau. Also, I don’t want to spend copious amounts of money with FB ads…I feel they keep changing the algorithm to line their pockets by making you pay for advertising through them, and no one will see your post."
This is where we need a reframe. I want to help you see FB as a place where putting in a little bit of money will result in bringing back a lot of money.
The first thing to realize is that Facebook ads cannot work on their own. You have to incorporate them into a social media sales funnel--a system that turns your fans and followers into subscribers to your email list, and turn those names into paying clients.
I know lots of people who make money every week from Facebook ads, but they aren't just using that ad to send people to their sales page. They're using those ads as part of their sales funnel system. That’s the key to getting the Facebook marketing results you’re looking for.
Showing Your Value to Your Fans
"We have a children’s clothing website. We have 4000 likes. But only 700 people have signed up for our newsletter. What is the best way to get Facebook “likes” to sign up"
This causes a lot of people frustration—why should I have to pay to get my fans to see my posts? I won't sugarcoat it--these changes to Facebook's algorithm do kind of suck for people who have worked hard to build their Facebook following.
You could get frustrated and abandon ship...or you could start to look at Facebook differently.
Paying will get your posts seen by more people...so you want to make sure that they're seeing something that makes them want more.
To get your fans to engage—sign up, respond, make a purchase, take any kind of action—you have to make sure you're offering them something they see as valuable.
In Toni’s case, it might be a discount, free shipping, an add-on product. If you sell information or education, you want to give away some of your valuable information for free.
I did one recently called the Product Maximizer—it was a report that I gave away offering four strategies to make more sales online. I knew my audience needed more sales, so I knew it would valuable to them. And it just happens to be a little piece of exactly what I offer for sale!
Remember, the number one area where Facebook is most valuable is in turning fans into email subscribers. The email list is where you can really cultivate the relationship with your customers.
Take a minute right now to brainstorm a valuable, irresistible giveaway that you could offer and try a Facebook ad built around this freebie—say you spend $10 a day for three or four days—and see how many people sign up for your newsletter (or email list) when there’s a free giveaway at the end of it!
Get even more of Amy's answers to your Facebook questions! Click here to listen to the whole episode on iTunes.
Boosting vs. Paid Ads
"I’m gradually realizing that organic reach has been pitiful in my recent posts. I 'boosted' a post for the first time yesterday. I got more likes and engagement, and it was seen by 2500 people. Is this the way forward? Is there any point in not boosting a post anymore, and relying on people seeing it organically?"
Remember, people “liking” your post does not translate to a real customer relationship! Email marketing does that.
How to Make Your Business Bloom
"I would love to see a visual of how your business blossomed. I mean, there are so many things we’d like to do in our business, but how did you prioritize the tasks over the years, and most of all, what makes sense to do what when?"
We all talk a lot about freedom when building our businesses, but there’s not really freedom when you’re not generating revenue!
2012 is when I hit upon the importance of this sales funnel system. With a product to sell and a lead magnet to capture interest, I fell in love with Facebook ads, because I realized how to make them work!
The secret to my business blossoming is all in using this system.
I don’t want you going to bed each night worrying about where the next dollar is going to come from! All that does is squash your creativity and confidence.
Instead, I want you to wake up excited to build your business each day, enjoying the freedom to work on all the projects that help your business grow, and taking time for the rest of your life.
What Would $5000 Mean for You?
Before closing, I want to ask you this question:
If you had a social media sales funnel running on autopilot in your business, making you $5000/month for you, what does that mean for you? What does that free you up to create, to dive into, step out of?
*The masterclass registration has passed but to be sure to stay on the list for future webinars! Subscribe to my list or checkout one of my free cheat sheets here.
Direct download: Online_Marketing_Made_Easy_Podcast_Episode_58_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00am PDT