Author Topic: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing  (Read 17852 times)

Offline Mark Austin

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The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« on: December 29, 2008, 04:09:11 PM »
The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing

Learning how to write sales letter copy is the single most important skill you can ever learn in marketing. You either learn to write it, or pay someone else dearly to write it for you. Personally… I’d rather keep that kind of money in my own pocket and just learn how to write it.

It doesn’t matter how fantastic your product is… if your sales copy is lousy then you’re not going to make very many sales!

You can actually have a lousy product, but if your sales copy screams a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow… Then it will sell.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this before… You find yourself so engrossed in a sales page, you can’t take your eyes off “what will be said next”… This is what you’re aiming for when you write your own copy!

Heck… doesn’t just apply to sales pages… Have you ever had an ad that comes on TV… and you cannot change the channel? You feel compelled to watch every part of it… You know you’re being “sold to” but you just can’t resist! You’ve got to watch every part of it!

Anyways, lets get to it…

Right now, I’m going to show you what system I use in order to pull an at LEAST 2% conversion. Most of my conversions sit around 2% to 3%.

Here is my formula…

Headers

They look pretty don’t they? In fact… it often gives the page a much more professional feel… Depending on my sales copy… I may or may not use one. Let me explain…

If I’m selling a product for under $20 and I’m planning on selling it to my subscriber list then I will usually create a banner for a slightly more professional feel. (Especially if I’m planning on only writing a small sales page for it…2 to 4 pages).

In order to use this feature though, you need to ensure it blends in with your page. You don’t want it to take away the focus of what you are selling.

If you are using a blue background then a red colored header is going to look inappropriate. Yes… it will stand out horribly!

Perhaps a good indicator of this is for you to reflect and think back before you begun marketing… How many websites did you buy from that had a header?

When I go back and think of what I bought when I first began buying online I can honestly say… most of it didn’t have a pretty header and these were $100 to $200 products I purchased.

It’s indicated by some of the world’s top copywriters that they noticed a marginal increase in sales when they took headers out.

I nearly cried when I took out my very first header… after all I had spent so much time making it look sooooo pretty…. But I have to agree with them… my sales increased when I did this.

Your Headline

This is acclaimed to be the most crucial part of your sales copy. And it really goes without saying doesn’t it?

How often have you been searching for something online, and because the first thing you saw didn’t grab you and drag you in to want to know more… you just clicked the site away and went in search for another website instead?

Or better yet… how often have you read a stunning headline that grabbed you by the eye sockets and there laid your eyes glued to the monitor to find out more!!!

This is the best time to “create” curiosity.

I’ve also found by using a “YOU” in my headline ALWAYS converts better. Speak to your visitor right away, that’s what they want. Isn’t that what you want when you visit a website?

Its human nature we all want to hear about ourselves, talk about ourselves, we all want to know what “you” the consumer can do for US. Not how we the “paying” customer can line your pocket with gold.

In fact… this can be your one calling card to throw in the “what’s in it for me” straight away.

Take for example…

“Finally… Now You Really Can Put an End to That Stray Cat Spraying on Your Front Porch”

Straight away the visitor knows he is about to find out how to stop that wandering tom cat from leaving that filthy smell on his front porch.

There seems to be this myth going around lately that your headline seems to need to read more as a “paragraph”. I’ve tested this theory… and I can honestly say I’ve pulled better results without the extra glam.

You can often use this (or what you might use in a full paragraph as your sub headline)

Another important factor when you create your headline is the color, font style and font size.

This should stand out more then any other part of your sales page. I find often a red or blue and/or combined of both to work well. I usually make this the largest size possible (depending on the entire length of my headline).

The font needs to be readable and bold. My favorite is “Verdana”… Here is an example:


“Finally… Now You Really Can Put an End to That Stray Cat Spraying on Your Front Porch”

It stands out so it will attract the reader visiting; it is also easy to read. Basically they’d stand a better chance of dodging a sumo wrestler standing a few feet away ready to rub tummies with them then miss this headline!

So many times I see headlines that blend in like a prey mantis does to a branch and most often then not their sales page is really quite good, but if your headline doesn’t stand out then your conversions WILL suffer for it.

It’s an easy fix!

I’ve heard many top copywriters say you should write out 100 headlines before choosing and testing.

To be completely honest with you, I have NEVER done this.

I usually write out and fiddle with 20 maximum of 30 headlines. I also do this by writing it out by hand first instead of typing them out on the computer.

I find it sticks better in my mind… plus I can’t do the simple “backspace” and often although you might come up with a headline that you think sucks… but there is often some words you want to take from that and add to another.

Sub Headlines

This is almost as important as your headline. If your sub headline sucks then you lose the visitor just as fast. Keep creating more curiosity to your offer. Take for example, we already have the headline:


“Finally… Now You Really Can Put an End to That Stray Cat Spraying on Your Front Porch”

And NO! This method doesn’t include shooting the rotten tom cat, or setting harmful traps that will end in an enquiry from the SPCA!

In this sub headline I have answered some questions that might be looming in the visitors mind, yet still created curiosity.

I’ve also taken away the most obvious answers and leaving the visitors wanting to know “more” about this apparent “solution” I have to their problem.

You will notice in the example… I’ve made the sub headline still very large, but still smaller then the main headline. It is also a different color.

I find this to be important because you don’t want your sub headline to steal the attention of your main headline. You simply want to hold and maintain the interest of your visitor.

Opening Your Letter

This is usually where I place the:

From: Your Name Here
Tuesday 2.16PM EST


It just makes it more personalized. They know now right off the bat I’m writing to them and I am <Your name here>.

The first paragraph I ensure I get them to envision their dream. For example… we’ll stick to the same subject I’ve started on (by the way, I’ve made this up as a pure example, I truly have no idea how to stop tom cats from spraying on your front porch ;-) )

Dear Friend,

How many times have you wished you could wake up each morning to reach for the daily delivered newspaper from your front porch breathing in the fresh crisp morning air and smelling the soft sweet scent of your rose bushes without the competing sickening smell of cat spray… if you can relate to this, then you need to read this letter.


Now… by this stage you’ve answered the age old question “what’s in it for me” … You’ve told them what its NOT… You’ve created curiosity and now you got them dreaming!

Here is where you start your story of the troubles you experienced…

Example:

Just two years ago I was in your exact same shoes. I was ashamed and completely embarrassed to bring friends and family to the front door.

With the occasional comment of “Ewww… what’s that smell?” and of course some looked just as embarrassed as I did and said nothing, but you could tell by the looks on their faces they copped a big wiff of it too.


In these two paragraphs I have sympathized with the visitor. I understand their problem, I tell them the “obvious” of what they’re experiencing.

We all want someone to relate and sympathize with our problem!

Next paragraph I would begin to mention “what” I’ve tried in order to help the problem.

Likely just like you, I was out their on my front deck everyday scrubbing with powerful agents, and yeah this worked for a short amount of time… but that same cat came back the next day to leave his mark once again.

It felt hopeless… I would never resort to any type of cruelty to animals, I don’t believe in that. I even considered moving house to erect the issue but that was far too expensive.


Now your following paragraph should tell your visitor how you come about the solution to the problem without “actually” telling them what the solution is.

It was by chance I happened to stumble across the solution… etc… etc..

I could finally walk out onto my front porch without the horrible stench of etc… etc..


Now this is your chance to build your credibility… You’re going to answer why they should truly be listening to you…

Since I discovered this method I’ve been teaching thousands of others word wide…

Now is the time to back up your credibility with testimonials…

Don’t just take it from me… listen to what others have to say when they tried my method…

Testimonial goes here
Testimonial goes here
Testimonial goes here


Try to ensure you add a name and where they live. If you can, also try to get a photo of happy customers. Depending on what it is that you’re selling, perhaps you could even get photo proof of them using your product.

Using photos of yourself using your own product can be very effective also.

I heard a story of one guy who sells info products on how to get hot women… Apparently he would get hot women that he woed to hold a sign up saying “The something method worked on me” with his arms around the ladies.

Photos bring greater credibility… it paints a picture in the mind of the reader. Take Corey Rudl’s website for one… he actually goes all out and has actual video’s of his happy customers speak of the success they had using his product.

They do this exact same thing in the “infomercials”!!! In fact… something I’ve noticed from these type of commercials is most of their advertisement IS testimonials.

ANY documentation of proof you have… ADD it! It will only add to your credibility and ensure your reader your not just pulling their leg.

Features/Benefits

There has always been the great debate between some top copywriters screaming “State benefits not features” and others that say the complete opposite…

Well my simple solution was just state both!

This is where you really need to get creative and stick the meat in.

For example:

•   Using this one particular everyday household product will take that stench out and have your front porch smelling like roses instantly!

•   Once you use this little doozy NO stray cat will even dare set foot on your drive way let alone your front porch


You know the old saying… Curiosity killed the cat? Well using bullet points like this will drive your reader crazy with curiosity he probably won’t even think twice about ordering! He WILL want to know!

Oddly enough… I’ve even read sales pages where I’m not particularly interested in what they’re selling, but the bullet points have created so much curiosity I felt compelled to want to know the “great” hidden secret they had landed upon.

After stating what type of features it has… I would then progress into benefits…

Example:

•   Imagine never having to feel the embarrassment ever again of inviting friends and family over

•   Walking out onto your front porch to the smell of freshly mowed lawn etc… etc…


Bonuses

And if all that wasn’t enough ... then you sweeten the pot. You slam on the bonuses.

Now, a fatal error I made in the earlier days is I didn’t add a value to my bonuses. When I was pulled up on it, I was asked… “Don’t you value your bonuses? Because if you don’t value them then why should your customers?”

It was a poke between the eyes… but a good one none the less! ;-)

I usually bullet point some features/benefits of each bonus as well.

Next Step…

Guarantee

This is always a great debate… most say you “have” to give it a guarantee. I’ve tried both methods. I can clarify that a guarantee does pull more sales however I have also tested different methods of writing a guarantee to “lessen” the amount of refund requests that come through.

I’ve found that certain ways you put your guarantee can lessen the amount of refund requests.

But if you want the maximum possible amount of sales then tell them in your guarantee…

Example:

100% Unconditional No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee:
If you’re not completely happy with this product even if you so much as spot a cat hair within a 5 yard radius of your front porch then I want you to email me right away for a prompt and courteous full refund of your money!

I like to use these next paragraphs to let them know how much of a good deal they’re getting.

Usually comparing to what they might pay for this product else where and then ensure them they won’t have to pay that much from me for the solution.

Or another great line is initially making the price point higher eg. This is valued at $1,000 but today when you order you get all this including all bonuses for a measly $497.

This will usually give the reader a sigh of relief and excited that he is getting it at this bargain price.

Walk Your Customer through the Steps of Ordering

The first words I begin with in this process are:

Place Your Risk-Free Order Now using our Secure Server Provided

Straight off the bat I’m asking them to place their order at the same time soothing their doubts about ordering online by letting them know about the secure server used to process the payment.

This is also a good time to mention “how” they will receive the goods they’re ordering. i.e. Will it be posted? Is it downloadable?

Sign your letter off!

Sincerely,
<Your name here>


Set up your order button. You will want this to be outstanding. Not something they will skim past un-noticed. Placing an order here can easily be over-looked.

Then hit them with a strong P.S.

This is where you create the urgency and need to buy right now

Example:

P.S. This offer is time limited, I can’t guarantee if you come back tomorrow or the next day the price wouldn’t of risen

P.P.S. A great smelling porch is just minutes away, don’t delay


Etc.. etc..

More Tips

Tables – Use one! How horrible is it when you go to a website and you’ve got to read from one side of the page to the other without a neat and small table? Unpleasant isn’t it?

Backgrounds – They say that blue backgrounds are the tried and tested and pull the greater response. I also agree with going with a theme.

For example – if you’re selling something about love, then set the mood with a red background; if you’re selling golf tips then a green background would be a suitable theme.

Your main text should be on a white background with black text. Don’t use fancy and/or hard to read font styles. You want the page to be as “readable” as possible.

Add visuals to your products. If it’s a digital product you can still bring it to life with creating a digital 3D look and appearance.

Hi-lighting – This is effective providing you use it sparingly… It will lose its effect if over used. Make sure you only use this to hi-light dramatic important parts in your copy.

Getting effective testimonials

Honestly… everyone likes to run around and say you just have to “ask” to get testimonials… I can assure it’s rare that you actually receive a hum dinger of a one. Most of them will just be one liners “It was great, thanks heaps”.

Especially in niches that aren’t marketing orientated. The customer doesn’t realize the type of impact a testimonial can have on your business.

So here’s an idea you can utilize to increase the quality of your testimonials…

Send out an “unadvertised” bonus a few days later… Completely free of charge! On the page add a feedback form with a few questions.

Some example questions might be:

Could you tell us your story as to what’s brought about X problem?
What results have you received from using our product?
Would you recommend this product to others? If so, who do you think it would be most suited to?
Do you believe you got value for your money?

Then simply ask permission to correlate this into a testimonial you can use on your webpage.

Of course, within all this said… there is still one very big secret to writing killer copy that will hit your readers between the eyes. And this is writing with persuasion.


“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that,
but the really great makes you feel that you, too, can become great.”
~ Mark Twain

Offline KarenMcG

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 06:13:32 PM »
I see Mark has been busy again.  ;D

Thank you again, Mark, for a really great article.

Karen

Offline Jim Burney

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2008, 08:54:14 AM »
I see Mark has been busy again.  ;D

Thank you again, Mark, for a really great article.

Karen

Totally agree with Karen.

Great post

Jim

JasonWhite

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2009, 06:59:13 AM »
Great report Mark. Copywriting is without a doubt a great skill to have in internet marketing. It's hard to find the fine line between "selling" and "hype" for me though. Still learning ...  :::ww :::ww :::ww

Jason


mj

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2009, 05:31:45 AM »
Mark

Another great article.

Good copywriters get paid good bucks!

Mark

exousia

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2011, 04:22:40 PM »
This article has a lot of good content to consider. Food for thought in some areas of copy writing. Thank Mark for your labor on this one.

anandkumar

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2011, 04:55:54 AM »
Thanks for your post! Copywriting technique is that technique which must be learned by beginners and advanced online marketers to become expert because this is the only skill that can help them earn money and to promote their online business.

Offline Donald

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2011, 08:28:14 AM »
Great article by Mark as usual.You must wish you had 36 hours in the day.

Karen, yes, the GOLD section is full of info articles videos and the like. My problem is I don'tuse it often enough. I'll have to change that. The e book I started I have decided not to go ahead with. Anyway, the first chapter disappeared in my HDD crash a few weeks ago.I'm hoping I can recover the HDD, it's away to get fixed. I'm going to look at another niche.

Good luck to everyone in their quest for success.

Donald

Javeton5

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2011, 04:16:58 PM »
The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing is an excellent article Mark. You hit on all the important points that I recognized in the many sales letters I've come across. Thanks for putting this together.

Javeton5

picus

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2011, 07:34:58 PM »
Hey, Mark,

Thanks for the post. I have read several paid products and this free post competes with them in quality, juicy content. Specially since you have included an example (how to get rid of that cat!). By the way I need the same product but for dogs, (Anyone who sells that?)

My two cents... Some of my clients have said that they like the honesty of my sales letter, they don't feel over-hypped or hard-pressed to buy.

Blessings to all!




~Karen

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2011, 01:08:24 PM »
A comparison of original sales copy, and a different approach.

Which one do you think would be more effective, and why?

Original: http://reach4success.com/PublishEbooksOnKindle/site/indexkindle.html


Quote
"Writers Wanted"

You see it everywhere.

But, all they want to pay you is peanuts compared to the

MASSIVE amounts of Residual Income YOU can make as a PUBLISHED AUTHOR!

Leave the circus behind,

and allow yourself to

reap the FANTASTIC REWARDS that a REAL WRITER deserves!

Rewards that YOU DESERVE!!!

You'll be absolutely AMAZED at just how
EASY & FAST it is to be selling YOUR books on Amazon.

...literally within HOURS!

Just in case you're thinking,

"No way! It takes years of submitting manuscripts to publishers only to be turned down time and time again"...

THINK AGAIN!

YOU can be a HUGE SUCCESS too, in no time at all just like Amanda Hocking.

She used to think it was impossible...

...until she began to TAKE CONTROL of her own writing career.

Now, she's a MILLIONAIRE

...and it didn't take long at all!

How did she do it?

KINDLE

And this in-depth, tell-ALL guide will take you step-by-step into how it's done.

So that YOU can quickly be on your way to YOUR first MILLION!

Maybe you're now thinking: "Well, that's just one lady's luck"

WRONG AGAIN!

Success--it's happening to a LOT of people JUST LIKE YOU!

Every day someone is publishing their new ebook on Amazon for the Kindle Reader,
and every day a new BEST SELLING AUTHOR is discovered by the masses of voracious readers.

You may not know this, but ebook sales have jumped well beyond those of physical books.
Readers are shouting out loud and clear that they PREFER EBOOKS over printed books.

And the best part about this?

It opens those previously locked doors wide open for YOU to waltz right in & grab

YOUR share of the MONEY - the PRESTIGE - the FAME

Take your line straight to success as a best selling author off hold,

and get this

COMPLETE Guide to Instant Kindle Publishing on Amazon

RIGHT NOW!!!


Here's how to order...



Remember, you're not selling them.

You're painting their dream in vivid color!

You're not asking them to buy.
 
You're EXPECTING them to buy
& so, you just lead them to the buy now button.  :::tu


valpubs

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2011, 03:11:43 PM »
In reference to the 2 sales letters mentioned in Content Writer's post above.

Mark Vidales' page is tuned to the Internet Marketer while the sample above is tuned to the Writer - 2 valid marketplaces but with wildly different members.

A couple of things I would change/add to each letter.

To Mark's sales letter I would:

  • 1. Change the bonuses to ones that complement the product that's being sold such as:
    • How To Write Your 1st Novel
    • How To Obliterate Writer's Block
  • 2. Ensure that the testimonials have working links to the user's domains or articles or Kindle site
  • 3. If you include an image of a face or faces then say why they are there - I assume that the guy is Mark - but who is the lady? A successful user? Mark's S.O.? The image arouses curiosity - satisfy that curiosity by creating a backstory.


To the sales page in the above post I would add:
  • Where it says: "and every day a new BEST SELLING AUTHOR is discovered by the masses of voracious readers" Give examples - people love examples
  • Where it says: "You may not know this, but ebook sales have jumped well beyond those of physical books. " Give statistics - people love measurements

If I was a struggling author I'd buy from the sales page above, if I was a newbie I'Mer, I'd buy from Mark's page.

~Karen

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2011, 06:56:41 PM »
In reference to the 2 sales letters mentioned in Content Writer's post above.

Mark Vidales' page is tuned to the Internet Marketer while the sample above is tuned to the Writer - 2 valid marketplaces but with wildly different members.

A couple of things I would change/add to each letter.

To Mark's sales letter I would:

  • 1. Change the bonuses to ones that complement the product that's being sold such as:
    • How To Write Your 1st Novel
    • How To Obliterate Writer's Block
  • 2. Ensure that the testimonials have working links to the user's domains or articles or Kindle site
  • 3. If you include an image of a face or faces then say why they are there - I assume that the guy is Mark - but who is the lady? A successful user? Mark's S.O.? The image arouses curiosity - satisfy that curiosity by creating a backstory.


To the sales page in the above post I would add:
  • Where it says: "and every day a new BEST SELLING AUTHOR is discovered by the masses of voracious readers" Give examples - people love examples
  • Where it says: "You may not know this, but ebook sales have jumped well beyond those of physical books. " Give statistics - people love measurements

If I was a struggling author I'd buy from the sales page above, if I was a newbie I'Mer, I'd buy from Mark's page.



Now, that's exactly the information I requested!

Quote
Which one do you think would be more effective, and why?

You DO have an uncanny knack for paying attention to the important details; looking beyond what the average Joe or Jane might conclude.

        How is it you're able to discern that I posted this in order to learn something?

I took a chance in spite of the fear that most would interpret it as some narcissistic neck-stretching for an ego stroke.
Sadly, I really think that's a common misinterpretation of intentions.


                ...and, your evaluations are worth my weight in gold (trust me, that's an expression of immense gratitude LOL).

Now, let me ask you this D: Why is it you haven't established a Writing Evaluation Service?


Hint, hint ;)

Have you looked around at the numbers of registered writers at places like Constant-Content?
Quote
Over 60500 Content Writers waiting to write articles for you

or iWriter
Quote
11,681
Writers

...just two of the many sites out there where the "top writers" get the most jobs and higher pay?

Don't you think that at least some of those people would also be grateful for your insight and advice, like I am?
Even enough to be willing to pay you to help them stand out?

I think they would.

Just a little food for thought there my dear friend ;)

~Karen


~Karen

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2011, 08:44:17 PM »
D, may ask another question? Or, any one else as well, please pipe in.

Quote
Sadly, I really think that's a common misinterpretation of intentions.

What would you recommend for this?

This is really frustrating! When it comes to marketing skills, there are the basics of course.
Once the basics are learned, then comes the fine tuning.

This is the stage where I'm stumbling. If I am, no doubt somebody else has, or is too.

What began as forward progress seems to have morphed into something wholly counter-productive.

It's probably as obvious as a neon sign in a pub to a thirsty sailor to everyone else, but somehow
escaping my ability to pin it down; short of completely tossing out my personality that is. If that's
the case, then I may as well hang it up.

Either I'm being overly analytical, or on the verge of a breakthrough that just needs a bit of
clarification for things to start turning back around.

~Karen



valpubs

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Re: The Single Most Important Skill You Can Learn In Marketing
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2011, 03:15:08 PM »
Hey - I'm always up for some narcowotsit neck-stretching (something deeply disturbing about that - lol)!

Question 1:
The 'common misinterpretation' may simply be down to:
  • 1. A lack of good 'signs'. If you had wanted a thorough critique then it may have been a better idea to have put the post in the Product/Service Reviews section togther with, perhaps, a poll asking which was the 'better' salespage.
  • 2.Quite a few people don't enjoy doing critiques because they're basically nice; whereas I'm a complete sh*t and love ripping writing apart to see what makes it tick and how, if it can, it can be improved  >:D o:)



Question 2:
Why haven't I set up a writing evaluation service?
  • 1. Because I've never thought of doing so
  • 2. Because with only having 4-5 hours a day I'm trying to concentrate on 1 business at a time

Simple really.

Hope that helps

Cheers