What is the #1 business skill needed to make money online?
That skill is copywriting.
In last week’s blog post, we dove into why copywriting is such a vital skill to have. Now we’re going to dive even deeper.
It is absolutely critical for anyone who wants to run a successful online business to develop their copywriting skills.
Copywriting is how we communicate with our customers online. On the internet, there is no face-to-face option. There is no brick and mortar store for customers to walk into. Communication through the written word is the key to success.
Effective copywriting allows online business owners to take full advantage of interactive marketing. This is the form of marketing that has replaced direct marketing. Direct marketing thrived in the pre-Internet days through things like:
- Direct mail
- Voicemail marketing
- Insert media
- Out-of-home marketing
But direct marketing is now dead.
It simply cannot stand up to interactive marketing. Interactive marketing allows the consumer to communicate directly with the seller.
Instead of simply receiving an offer they can either purchase or not, customers can ask questions. They can make micro-commitments. And they can make a purchase instantly.
And this is all possible when using my 5 steps to great copywriting…
The 5 Steps to Great Copywriting
Anyone can become a good copywriter.
It might seem intimidating, particularly for anyone who doesn’t think they can write well.
However, anyone can write persuasively if they follow my proven 5-step system. Those steps include:
The introduction is the most important step in copywriting. This is what hooks the reader and draws them in. If the introduction doesn’t succeed in doing this, the rest of the copy doesn’t matter.
In the introduction, be specific. Use numbers and make a BIG promise. Give the reader the “what,” not the “how.” This will ensure they are intrigued enough to keep reading.
Once the reader’s attention has been captured, it is time to tell a story. Stories are an integral part of the human experience. They have been told throughout history. Everyone can relate to a story.
Telling a story takes things to a more personal level. It builds connection and trust with the reader. They can see the person behind the product. But it isn’t the storyteller who is the hero. The hero is the offer itself. The key is to be Robin, not Batman.
When telling a story, make the offer or product the hero of the story. And use plenty of visual imagery to connect with the reader’s emotions.
This is where the sale is truly made. Once the reader has finished the content of the copy, they have already made the decision to buy or not to buy.
The key to making the sale is to provide value for the reader and to answer the question “Why?” Give the reader an aha moment. Tell them something they never knew, something that will blow them away.
And give them a very strong “what.” Do this by turning testimonials into content and breaking it down into lists and diagrams.
At this point, the reader can be brought from the content to the pitch. Remember, the sale is already made. In the transition, the key is to justify asking money for the product.
This justification comes by revealing the struggles and sacrifices made to bring the product to them. This has been a mission. Something so important it will change their lives.
It is here that the reader will give permission to pitch to them.
And since they are already excited, getting this permission is easy. Just be sure make the transition short and sweet and then move on to…
This is where the question “What’s in it for me?” is answered. Provide incredible value through bonuses and give the reader one STRONG reason why they must buy the product now.
If the offer is irresistible or too good to be true, the reader will feel they are taking advantage of the seller. People like that feeling. And after the pitch is delivered, STOP! This is the time to shut up and let the reader take action.
Applying Copywriting to Email Marketing
Good copywriting is the secret to success with email marketing. And email marketing is the most powerful form of online marketing there is. Email just keeps growing and growing, even in this age of social media.
What makes email marketing so powerful? Simple. It comes down to ownership, free marketing, and relationships.
An email list is the property of the seller. This list has tremendous value. The seller has complete control over the list, over marketing, and over sales. The list cannot be shut down. The terms of its use cannot be dictated.
This is not the case when advertising through Facebook or Google. They can shut down a marketing campaign at any moment. But with an email list, this will never happen.
When first building an email list, there are many ways to acquire subscribers. Some of the best options require an investment. However, once a subscriber is on the email list, they can be marketed to over and over again for FREE. The seller will never again have to pay to advertise to that subscriber.
This is perhaps the most important advantage to email marketing. Through email, it is easy to build strong and lasting relationships with each and every subscriber on the list.
And it is copywriting that makes email marketing lucrative.
Now, let’s be clear. I know how powerful email marketing is because I have used it for many years. There are three ways of selling I have used repeatedly. With the use of these three methods of copywriting, delivered to my subscribers via email, I have sold more than $100 million online!
Copywriting starts with the email. Good copywriting makes it possible for the email marketer to draw the subscriber in. In fact, the email marketer has just three jobs, all of which are accomplished through copywriting. These three jobs are to:
Get people excited!
The more excited they are, the more clicks the promotion will get.
Start enticing them right from the subject line. The subject line is responsible for 70% of the results. The goal behind the subject line is to get the subscriber to open the email. If they don’t, the content of the email doesn’t matter.
The subject line is the place to amplify the benefits of the product being promoted. And stay away from clichés. The subject line and email is precious space. Inject personality into it and make the most of it.
Edify and Create Expectation
Make the reader curious!
The more curious they are, the higher the chance they will click.
Raise curiosity by telling a story. The seller who can tell the story of what happened for them when they used the product will get more clicks.
This story will further build the trust between the seller and the reader. Be genuine and they will appreciate it. After all, the best recommendation is a personal recommendation.
If enough excitement is generated and the reader has high expectations and curiosity, they will click.
Just remember, the email is NOT where the product is sold. The only goal of an email is to get people to click on the link. So, entice them and make it easy to click.
The Email Lifeline
I have been successfully using email marketing for more than a decade. It was practically the digital stone age when I started out.
Back then, people believed that email lists had a finite life. These lists would dry up after just a few months. Then a new list would have to be built.
With this belief, email marketers worked hard to promote as many products as possible to their list before it died. And I was one of those email marketers. I would promote as many as 10 products per month!
And I did that up until just a couple years ago.
Then a good friend of mine, who is also a brilliant marketer, gave me some advice. And what he told me went against everything I had learned.
He told me to stop promoting so many products.
I disagreed. I argued with him. His response was to tell me, “I don’t promote more than two, maximum three products a month and my income from my email list has tripled.”
I was stunned. How could he sell fewer products and make three times what I was making?
In more than 10 years of friendship, this was the first time I doubted what he said.
Then he showed me his numbers…
I decided I should try it his way. But he also gave me another piece of advice. He told me he only focused on selling high-ticket items.
He said, “I focus on higher ticket products so my commissions are much bigger. Secondly, I really get in deep with the program. If I promote it, I really promote it. I don’t just send one or two lazy Emails. I get in there. I really qualify my leads and push the program hard—I even throw in my bonuses. I hold nothing back.”
Wow, he was spot on! What he did worked. But then I took it and I made it better—by making one simple adjustment.
3 Ways to Sell Your Offers
What I found when I promoted only high-ticket items to my list was that they lost interest. A lot of my subscribers were alienated from my offers. They simply couldn’t afford what I was promoting. So, they started leaving.
That was when I realized I needed to mix things up. I created a model I call the Email Lifeline. This model allows all of my subscribers to take advantage of my promotions. Now, I promote:
- Low-ticket offers
- Mid-ticket offers
- High-ticket offers
The results were amazing! I only promoted three offers per month. The key was to approach each offer in a different way and at a different price point. And each method of promotion takes full advantage of good copywriting. These methods of promotion include:
- Written sales letter
- Video Sales letter
Let’s take a look at each of them…
1. Written Sales Letter
The written sales letter is the ideal approach for low-ticket offers.
These are offers that cost between $1 and $97, although those numbers will be higher or lower in certain niches. The offer could be for a book, a piece of software, or a series of educational videos. It will be some type of digital product.
In the pre-Internet days, the equivalent of the written sales letter (WSL) was a physical sales letter. This letter was written, put into addressed envelopes, stamped, and sent through regular mail.
This form of direct marketing worked extremely well. And the modern version works even better with interactive marketing.
Remember, in the days of sending these letters through the mail, the content had to be generalized and perfect to attract as many people as possible. Now, we have the ability to target our audience. This means the content of the WSL can be much more specific. And specificity sells.
Applying the 5-Step System to Written Sales Letters
It is critical to apply each step of the 5-step system to the WSL. Do NOT skip steps and do each one thoroughly.
In the WSL, the headline serves as the introduction. If the headline is well-written, it will entice subscribers to read the entire WSL. It will keep the reader from clicking the back button.
Essentially, the headline must answer the question, “What will I get if I read this?” Examples of effective headlines include:
- The Seven Things You Need to Know To Lose 13 Pounds in 21 Days
- The Ten Ways to Master a New Language in Just 72 Hours
- The 11 Things You Must Have in Your Purse Before Ever Going on a Date!
- Three Lies about Getting Rich that You’ve Been Told since You Were 5
- The Five Hidden Secrets to Instantly Become 300% More Attractive
A seller should devote 90% of their time to writing the headline because it is worth 90% of the advertising dollar. Yes, the headline is that important!
And remember to keep the headline above the fold. It should be visible when a person reaches the WSL page, without them having to scroll down.
To make a connection with the audience, use story. And make that story powerful. This will increase the credibility of the seller and the product. Not only that, stories are relatable and great for establishing connection.
For example, when selling a weight loss product, the seller should discuss their own experience with the product. They should also talk about their credentials, such as awards, speaking engagements, and books. Scientific evidence or the endorsement of an expert is also ideal.
Include multimedia aspects when possible. This might be a video, images, or an infographic.
This is where the sale is made.
This is where the reader has aha moments, learning something that blows them away.
But remember, most people will just skim the content. It is vital they are turned from skimmers into readers.
To do this, create controversy. For instance, if people read that the #1 food making us fat is bananas, that will make the reader stop in their tracks. They will want to know how that claim is justified.
This is the “what.” But don’t divulge the “how.” Remember, Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak.
And deliver all the content in a linear fashion. This will leave people wanting more. This will entice them to keep reading to the very end.
Keep this short and sweet. After all, most prospects will scroll past the transition.
A short statement of the struggle and sacrifices made by the seller. Then move on. Remember, they already know they will be pitched.
Now is the time to talk about money. A strong pitch will have skimmers going back to read the story and content. And a strong pitch includes bonuses and scarcity.
Bonuses will make the reader feel they are taking advantage of the seller. They are getting a lot for their money.
Scarcity will make the reader feel that if they don’t take advantage of the offer now they will NEVER get the chance again. This is incredibly powerful!
2. Video Sales Letter
The video sales letter is the ideal approach for mid-ticket offers.
Mid-ticket offers range between $97 and $700. The reader is being asked to part with more money so the delivery of the copy has to be more powerful. The WSL just isn’t powerful enough.
One of the advantages of the video sales letter (VSL) is that it is great when selling to a cold market. These are people with whom the seller has no relationship. The multimedia element of the VSL makes it easier to connect with the audience.
Think of the VSL as the equivalent of the infomercial. Except the infomercial took a lot of time, effort, and money. This would require months of work for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In contrast, the VSL is free to create and takes about 90 minutes to film and post.
There are three kinds of VSL:
Applying the 5-Step System to Video Sales Letters
Applying the 5-step system to VSLs is very similar to what we do for WSLs. Let’s take a look at what is unique to the VSL.
The introduction has the same function as in the VSL—to get the audience hooked. However, since the seller is speaking, rather than writing, the key here is to set up a narrative with the audience.
Think of the introduction to the VSL as a trailer in which the seller catches attention. Oftentimes, shock and awe is used to do this. For example:
“This silent killer wreaks havoc on 6 out of 10 homes.”
The alternative is to pose a question that brings up the primary obstacle the audience is dealing with. Here is an example:
“Are you tired of trying different diets and being told you’ll lose weight, only to fail miserably? What if I told you there’s a way to avoid diets and change your DNA to make you lose weight without changing anything about your life?”
No matter what type of VSL is created, story will be a part of it. This is what creates the connection between the seller and the audience.
One of the primary benefits of the VSL is it is easy to use visuals to tell a story. Take advantage of that! The seller should also show that they have been where the audience is now. The seller is just like the people in the audience! That way, the audience can relate better to what the seller has to say.
Again, content will be a part of any type of VSL. Since this is a visual media, it is easy to SHOW the value of the product. Think of it as a sort of test drive for the audience. Blow the audience away with the value of the product. Provide them with an aha moment.
Just remember NOT to teach the audience exactly how. Show them the “what,” not the “how.” And presenting in a linear fashion is still critical. Keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Make them part of the content. Use visuals, such as diagrams!
Again, this is super short. But at this point, the seller can be the hero—just for the moment. The seller is the one who has sacrificed to bring this product to the masses. The audience needs to know about these sacrifices.
As the hero, be honest and upfront with the audience. They’ll appreciate it. On a subconscious level, the audience knows the pitch is coming. The subconscious mind is ready to buy.
Just as with the WSL, this is where the value is pitted against the ask. Make sure there is tremendous value, so much value that the audience feels they are taking advantage of the seller. Get the subconscious mind to convince the conscious mind to buy.
Again, use bonuses and scarcity to increase the value. This will give them a reason to buy NOW and they will feel the value is worth it.
Webinars are best used for high-ticket items. I love webinars!
High-ticket items include anything over $700. And honestly, webinars offer the absolute best way to build a relationship with the audience. They are with you LIVE for the duration of the webinar. This can be as long as 3 hours. That’s a lot of time to connect with the audience.
The webinar is the online version of the door-to-door sales presentation. Traditionally, the sales person would go to the prospect’s home and conduct the presentation there. With the webinar, the seller can present in hundreds or thousands of homes at a time, rather than one.
Another way to think of the webinar is that it is like delivering a seminar online. The reason webinars are ideal for high-ticket items is that the audience is being asked to part with a large sum of money. Sometimes thousands of dollars. A deeper connection is needed for this.
And webinars take a lot more planning and work to present. This amount of time and effort is too much for a low-ticket or even mid-ticket item.
There are a few minor differences in the 5 steps when presenting a webinar. Let’s take a look…
Applying the 5-Step System to Webinars
In the webinar, the main goal of the introduction is to convince the audience to stick around. They need to stay tuned for the ENTIRE webinar.
This is where the seller identifies the key drivers of the webinar. Outline what will happen during the session. Make it sound so valuable and exciting, the audience will not want to leave.
In the webinar, the story is the same as in the VSL. The only difference is there is a lot more time. Take advantage of this and really make a strong connection with the audience. The deeper the connection, the more they will be willing to spend.
Again, the content is the same as in the VSL, but more. BIGGER. The more the audience is asked to spend, the more they need to be wowed. Create a few major aha moments. The seller must set themselves apart and appear unique.
The webinar is not for teaching. This is the same as the VSL and WSL, but it is harder to pull off. Being live with the audience, it feels natural to teach. Plus, the audience can type in questions at any time. Answering these questions can lead to teaching so watch out for this.
Again, show them the “what,” not the “how.”
In the webinar, it is critical to set the audience up with the expectation that the price will be very high. In fact, scare them into thinking the price is too much for them to afford. Talk about the struggles, the money that went into the journey. Say what it’s worth. Make this figure high.
But don’t give the audience time to think. Create scarcity so incredible it will make them forget about the money. Make them feel they don’t want to be left out.
This transition will still be short, but it needs to be POWERFUL!
The key difference between the webinar and the WSL and VSL is the seller is LIVE. This means they can really build up the excitement. They can go all out with bonuses, scarcity and any other strategies to convince the audience.
Then deliver the price. This will be much lower than what was mentioned in the transition, it will sound like the best deal in the world.
Another benefit to the pitch in the webinar is the live response from the audience. As people take action and buy, tell the audience. Let everyone know that Marcy, Jake, Susan and whoever else just took action.
Answer questions. Keep it going as long as you can. I keep mine going until there is five minutes without a sale. Just be prepared. This could take a long time. But it’s so worth it.
One last thing about webinars is the promotional schedule to use. The webinar should be promoted for three days prior to the date it takes place. Then there are other emails to send out after the webinar. It is critical to stick with the following schedule:
Sunday to Tuesday: Promote the Registration Page of the webinar. Keep these emails short and build excitement. We want subscribers to click through to the registration page.
Wednesday: Send this email out early in the morning, ideally at 7:00 AM EST. This email can be longer and more edifying. Here is where to encourage anyone who hasn’t already registered to do so. It also makes people feel accountable to attend the entire webinar.
Thursday to Friday: After the webinar has run, it is time to promote it as if it was a VSL. Have the replay and sales page ready. Then send out an email that will get the subscriber excited enough to commit to watching the entire webinar replay.
Send this out the day after the webinar airs, while it is still fresh in the minds of the people who missed it. Then send it out again the following day.
Saturday: Send nothing out to give the list a break.
Sunday: Send out two emails on Sunday to promote bonuses and scarcity in the offer. But only do this if the promotion is going well. If the promotion has not been going well, then end the campaign on Thursday and send out content on Sunday. This will help nurture the health of the list.
Copywriting is the Key
I know that has been a lot to digest. But at the core of it all is copywriting. These methods of selling will only work with good copywriting.
Last week I told you that copywriting is not about selling or persuading. Copywriting is about relating. Copywriting is at the heart of each method of promotion. Even though the VSL and webinar requires speaking to the audience, the copywriting that goes into the script is invaluable.
And when the magic of copywriting is brought together with email marketing and the 3 ways to sell offers, there is no limit to what can be accomplished. I have made more than $50 million in sales by combining copywriting, email marketing, and these three methods of selling. They work!
And it’s not only me. Anyone who applies this can find success!
You can discover more copywriting secrets, along with additional free training to take your online marketing success to the next level, be sure to sign up for Success Weekly.
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