Now what’s the most common dilemma I hear from my copywriting students?
Is it that it’s hard to nail down a compelling story? Nope.
Is it that coming up with a curiosity generating headline is hard? Nope.
Is it that writing the close is difficult and feels icky, perhaps? Again, nope.
So what is it?
Sometimes they say it aloud, sometimes it’s just obvious from their approach… which is all over the place:
Marketing is just too dang complex, confusing and uncertain to tackle!
I hear ya.
I remember a specific moment in 2010 when I’d bee tasked with coming up with not just the copy for a product launch… but the whole hook, serialization and launch strategy.
And I was gloriously stuck.
Couldn’t think my way out of a paper bag.
Trying to shove this product, this promotion.. into some tired old formula and it just wasn’t working.
And I’ll be damned if I’ll ever deliver anything I don’t know will work with – if not 100% certainty – pretty damn high up there.
Making Sense of Marketing Chaos
So what I did was… dig back into the treasure troves of my swipe files, newsletters, archives upon archives of “good stuff for later”.
It didn’t take long until my gaze stopped.
It was a print newsletter from Clayton Makepeace, which at the time came with a CD attached to each issue.
I don’t actually remember now if it was the CD or the print newsletter that parted the skies for me… but here’s what I found.
In Clayton Makepeace’s Screaming Eagle newsletter, I saw this formula that instantly put my mind at ease about the massive task at hand.
It helped me put together the whole package for the product launch in something like 72 hours (I’d done a lot of the groundwork by thenm luckily).
And it went on to produce a very healthy six figure launch – which was quite respectable at the time.
So okay – here’s the actual formula.
It explains the three things your prospect needs to know before they can make a decision:
1. “What It Is”
Meaning, before you ramble on and on TOO long about the context, what your credentials may be, what shiny car you last bought and whatnot…
Don’t take TOO long before you actually reveal WHAT it is you’re selling.
I swear, I just read a sales letter from someone who asked my help to make it work, and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me WHAT it was they were selling.
They mentioned a course in passing somewhere… then something about training… then something about a workshop… so their reader’s mind was all over the place!
It’s really difficult to set expectations when you’re not making clear what you’re offering.
And I don’t mean just what the FORMAT of the product on offer is.
‘What it is’ has to do with what this thing being offered is in terms of:
- positioning in the marketplace,
- how it’s different from what others are currently offering, and
- how it answers the call of the prospect’s core desire
Juicy stuff, right?
Now let’s move along to the next step…
2. “Why You Want It”
At this stage, all you need to do is give your prospects a strong enough WHY.
WHY this product?
WHY not something else?
WHY buy this now?
And again, nothing that complicated, just:
- What specific benefits using your product will give them
- How their life will change as the result of gaining those benefits
In other words, what’s the transformational value of it all… to THEM!
Alright, that should be clear enough so all we need now is…
3. “How You Can Actually Get It”
Strange as it may sound, this tends to be the step most people underdevelop – or even omit!
It should be pretty easy to tell people what’s in store for them now, right?
YES, it should! 🙂
This is all about expectations management.
Sometimes marketers are so caught up in their own pitch that they forget to relate to their prospect where they currently are, and actually tell them what’s expected of them now.
- Is there some condition to getting the product (time, quantity, eligibility, etc.)
- How long do they have to wait to get the product
- How they should apply themselves to get the promised results
…and so on.
Again, it’s all about expectatios management (which, in the case of product launches is multiplied several times over, by the way…).
That’s All, She Wrote!
So these three things are all you REALLY need to tell your prospects!
You may still need to flesh out that full length sales letter or VSL, but if you make sure these three things clearly stand out…
It’ll make things a LOT easier for you as the marketer – and equally for your prospect to take the leap and buy.
CLARITY TRUMPS PERSUASION.
Yup, still rings true and IS true.
Now go forth and make some sales!
PS. If you’ve been in this online marketing game for a while, you probably know a similar story about Frank Kern being anxious about a piece of launch copy he was putting together, and John Carlton helped him out with a similar clarifying formula.
I actually happened to be in the room when this exchange happened, wondered what they were going on about at the back of the room… Turns out history was being made. Kind of. Certainly a legend of sorts. The formula? Essentially the same, worded a little differently. I believe it was ‘1. Here’s what I’ve got. 2. Here’s what it will do for you. 3. Here’s what I want you to do next.’
What it all means to you I suppose is, success in this marketing game isn’t always about some super fancy and complex funnel-launch-thingamagic laced with magic mushrooms or what have you. Often times, it’s just good old clarity of vision, applying a model that works, and knowing your customer well enough to know it’ll appeal to them. So go forth and simplify! 🙂