Hey, Jimmy Curley here. Glad you could make it.
I set up this blog to provide you with some oh-so clever “Street Marketing” tips that’ll help you become a more skilled copywriter, direct marketer, and business person.
You may need this more than you think.
Because effective copy that can persuade and overcome objections means… well…
…it means MORE.
More sales, more opt-ins, more affiliates, more successful job interviews, more moola… more hot dates…
… more, more, more.
You want more, don’t you?
Good. Then this’ll be a perfect resource for you, especially if you’re a direct marketer… selling product using sales copy, (and it’s ALL sales copy) in direct mail, video letters, autoresponders, broadcast emails…
…or simply looking to tap into more persuasive methods to get people to do what you want them to do.
Alright… so who am I to teach you about all this?
Well that’s a fair question… for which I have a ready answer.
For over two decades I’ve been lurking behind the scenes writing copy for some of the biggest direct marketers on the planet…
… including “big-shots” like Brian Tracy, Dan Sullivan, John Carlton, Rich Schefren, Doc O’Leary, Bob Pierce…
… and lots and lots of “little-shots” you probably have never heard of.
While my ads may have generated millions in sales, (and continue to do so), my friends John Carlton and Kevin Rogers have lovingly tagged me as the “best copywriter you’ve NEVER heard of”.
I kinda like the sound of that.
And frankly, I was completely happy to go on hiding anonymously behind my keyboard, writing killer ads and earning fat paychecks…
…until Carlton convinced me to “give a little back” and actually DO something to help other writers, marketers and business folks… just like he had helped me.
So here I am… giving back. John’s right (damn him)… it’s been long overdue.
Which all segues neatly into my first “Street Marketing” lesson I call…
“Who the hell are YOU?”
It’s designed to get you thinking about how you’re presenting your credentials and your background “story” (or that of your client) to targeted prospects.
First, let’s clear-up some of the smoke around this subject.
With direct response copywriting, you’re always playing a little guessing game, trying to anticipate the prospects’ natural questions and objectives that crop-up as they move through the copy.
When you’re selling face-to-face, it’s two-way communication. Prospects can actually raise questions and voice objections out-loud if need be (although if your presentation is tight, that shouldn’t be necessary).
However, written copy — and that includes video scripts and emails and such — is a one-way street. Which means you must have a clear idea of the prospect’s questions and objections beforehand… and then address them head-on in your copy.
So a sales letter typically kicks off with a big promise to a specific prospect… then jumps into some quick info on what you’ve got… and why that’s important to the prospect.
And guess what happens next?
You got it… the prospect grumbles skeptically “who the hell are YOU?”
And they ask this question:
- Not because they’re infatuated with you…
- Or because they’re deeply interested in your life story…
- Or because they have plenty of time on their hands.
Nope. Reality is that they’re busy people interested in THEMSELVES.
You have managed to get their attention, and now, quite suddenly, the defensive wall shoots up and they ask “who are you? Why should I listen to YOU?”
Your job is to get over that wall quickly… or have boiling oil poured on your head.
After analyzing hundreds, if not thousands of direct response letters and sales videos, this is the critical juncture where I see the wheels start to come off of so many sales pitches.
The two big mistakes are:
- Telling the prospect too much about yourself... or…
- Telling the prospect too little about yourself.
Now stay with me. This is important stuff. I’m giving you pearls here.
Let’s start with the first, telling the prospect too much. It’s really not about “too much copy” as it is about “too much unfocused copy”.
It’s critical to keep in mind that your prospect only wants to know enough to satisfy that “who the hell are you” question…
… as it pertains to what initially prompted his or her interest.
Yes, story IS important… but NOT if it drifts-off into some chatty, self-indulgent no-man’s land.
Here’s a quick example: Let’s say you’re walking down the street and you see a rumpled homeless dude shuffling along. You’re in a generous mood and so hand the guy a sawbuck (that’s a $10 bill).
He’s stunned. He looks at the bill then back to you… stares you square in the eye…
…and then thrusts the bill back into your hand.
“I don’t need this anymore,” he smiles (no teeth). “I just found out my small investment earned me over a hundred grand this morning. By the end of next week, it should be up to a half million.”
Whoa… what the…?
Let’s stop things right there for a second.
I ask you: Has this guy gained your attention? You bet he has.
But that doesn’t mean you’re about to pour your life savings into whatever “investment” he’s mumbling about… until you have some answers to a few burning questions.
The first one is, of course, who the hell is he? And here’s where the mind launches into overdrive:
- Is he a savvy stock broker out on a wicked month-long bender?…
- Did he sink his meager savings into some distressed real estate?…
- Is he some misunderstood genius who stumbled upon a money-making loophole secret that nobody else figured out yet?
What’s the story here? Who the hell is this guy?
We need to know because, let’s face it, we secretly (or maybe not so secretly), hope to get in on the action. (Recall more, more, more.)
And here’s the big payoff. The place where I get to drive home my stunning point.
The guy’s personal story MUST be tied very tightly to the issue at hand.
Anything else – a rambling story about how his wife went to prison… or how his dog ran off with a worthless Collie… or his travels around the country on box cars – will simply not hold our attention, no matter HOW interesting.
He damn-well better start spilling his guts about the amazing but believable tale of how a toothless panhandler managed to scrape together a small amount of money and turn it into a fortune…
… or we’re outta there — walking away under the assumption that he’s either invented the stupid “rags to riches” story, or that he’s hammered out of his mind, or perhaps just plain nuts. Maybe all three.
It’s the same with YOUR story, (minus all the dental problems). Whatever mechanism you used to “hook” the prospect must be directly reflected in answering the oh-so critical “who are you” question.
Which brings to the second problem — telling too little.
Weirdly enough, I’ve found this to be a more common problem than “telling too much”.
Quick example: Some years back I reviewed a sales letter for an investment expert (I won’t tell you who), who wanted to mail an invitation for his new coaching program to an outside list.
I had a nice chat with him before looking over the letter, and he told me an impressive story about how he had built his company from the ground up, and then proceeded to help earn his clients a boatload of money through his hardwork and vast knowledge and in the field.
He now wanted to show others how to shortcut the investment minefield so THEY could have a shot at some serious money too… minus all the hassles.
Great story. Problem was, he never mentioned a word of it in the letter.
Instead, his copy read something like: “Here at XYZ Investment Corp…” (NOT the real name), “…we are proud to serve the investment community and are dedicated to assisting our clients achieve a better portfolio balance…”
Blah, blah, blah, blah.
My suggestion was simple. Throw away the letter. Start over.
Write one that opened with a big promise and his credentials. His REAL credentials. The ones that outside prospects actually wanted to hear about.
I suggested, for example, he could open with an invitation to coach a small group of hand-picked prospects on how to expertly navigate their way through the shark pool of xyz financing so that they could enter into an elite class of successful and powerful investors.
And who is he? Well, he’s the man who built XYZ financial company from scratch. Made a pile of money over the last 15 years and earned his clients a respectable $15.4 million last quarter alone.
While he may have learned his craft in the tough and rumble school of hard knocks… that kind of struggle would be unnecessary for the few lucky souls he’d choose to take under his wing, and to whom he’d reveal his most treasured secrets.
His response was, unfortunately, an all-too common one.
He grinned that constipated grin, wrung his hands and said that… well… it all sounded too much like bragging.
Hell, it was almost verbatim to what he’d just told me.
Okay… I’ll stop it right there. I’m really not interested in beating this guy up.
He’s a decent man. A respectable man.
But my point is that he needed to step up and boldly spell out why people should pay attention to him.
I see this a lot. Hard working folks who’ve toiled for years building and honing serious credentials… only to kick them to the curb because they’re afraid of what friends, family, or (amazingly) what competitors will think if they happen to mention them.
Geez… gotta get over that. You can’t expect fresh prospects to just know about you through osmosis.
And with all due respect, you are NOT creating sales copy for the enjoyment of friends, family or competitors.
Of course it goes without saying that you never (never) want to lie or make up credentials you haven’t earned. THAT is definitely a bad idea.
But if you’ve got the goods, and you can honestly say you’re uniquely qualified to deliver those goods, then by all means you should be openly bragging about it.
In the words of John Lennon:
“Who the hell you think you are?
“Well right you are.”
We’re all superstars at something.
For Pete’s sake don’t hide it under a basket…
… especially at that critical moment when people need to hear about it.
When it’s your time to shine.
For Better Direct Marketing…
P.S. Hey… do me a huge favor and POST A COMMENT HERE. I want to know your thoughts, seriously.
P.P.S. Oh… and if you care to choose a subject that interests you (from the list below), I’ll go ahead and write future posts about it.
See… YOU are in control.