Lately I’ve been totally rethinking the role of direct response copywriting. To the extent I believe that almost everyone is taking the long way to get to literally what’s directly in front of them, including myself, when it comes to targeting your audience in our sales copy.
You may ask, what do I mean? Before I go into detail, let’s do a little background talk first.
For most businesses, online and off, once we find a technique or strategy we tend to stick to it and even go as far as to animately defend it if ever questioned. The strange part is, if you ask most people the reason why they do what they do, they cannot give you a real answer. I would dare say I’ve asked thousands of people this reason why question over the years. Very few have any clue as to why they are doing it.
The most common answer I’ve received is, that is how they were taught or that’s the way it’s always been done.
My point is this, just because that is the way it’s always been done, does that mean it’s the right way to do it today?
When was the last time your really questioned the strategies you’ve been taught or have been using? If you’re like most people it probably hasn’t been in quite some time.
Several times throughout the year, I go into this questioning mode. I basically question every strategy I’ve been using. Every once in a while I realize, I’m a blind idiot. I too did it because someone told me to and when I test it against what I personally believe to be the right way, my results have been totally mindblowing.
Lately, I’ve been at it again and making simple observations about sales copy in particular.
Today when marketing online, we have less time to connect with our audience because there is more noise in most market places. Because of this, we need to be more direct in what we say and how we say it. We don’t have the luxury to continue to take prospects through a long drawn out courtship in order to get them to finally see what we are offering them.
Let me give you an example. Here’s a typical long form sales letter process
2.) Your Story
3.) The Problem
4.) Agitate The Problem
6.) Features and Benefits
9.) Why Buy Today
10.) Buy Button
Now almost everyone online is using some form of those 10 steps. Sure, you might have one or two other steps, but I’m sure that list looks pretty familiar to you.
Look closely at what I just wrote in those 10 steps. Look really hard. Do you see it?
Need a hint?
The person doesn’t even get to the price of the product until the 9th step!
Ok, I can hear everyone now. “But Armand, we need to establish credibility and build value before we give them the price.”
And to that I say… BULLSHIT!
There are only two questions people ask themselves when making a purchase, online or offline.
1.) How does this compare to other solutions? (competitors)
2.) How does this compare to me doing nothing? (is my pain big enough)
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
You may be thinking that I’m advocating shorter copy. No, not really. I’m advocating a reorganizing of your copy.
Lets look at this from another angle, journalism. Any 1st year journalism major is taught the value of the lead of the story. Basically, the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of the story. In fact, many journalists will spend up to 90% of their time working on this.
Journalists are also taught to put the MOST IMPORTANT information first and the least important last. Now that’s pretty interesting. In comparison to direct sales copy, we’ve been taught to do almost the exact opposite in our copy. You are taught to BUILD UP TO the most important information. I’ve personally used the analogy of classical music building up to the crescendo with a big bang.
Hmmmm…. journalists write to grab attention. Isn’t that what direct marketers are suppose to do? YES! So why are we ass-backwards in our copy? Oh yeah, that’s the way it’s always been done.
So what’s my point?
My point is to put the most important information first.
But I have a secondary observation that goes right a long with this.
There’s two types of people who will read our copy.
1.) The person already interested
2.) The person not really interested
What I find is that most copy is trying to sell the 2nd person rather than the first. Most copy is directed to try to convince a person that doesn’t want our product to buy it. Does that even make sense?
As a result, the person that was already interested, gets bored before they can get to the good stuff which is pertinent to them and they leave.
In other words, we are turning away the easy money in order to fight tooth and nail for the hard money. Do you see my point?
We are targeting the wrong audience!!!
To justify my point further. Think of how people get to your site. Through ads, ppc or otherwise, affiliate promotion, direct emails or maybe even search engine traffic. Anyway you look at it, with each one of these methods, the person has shown an interest in our solution and they want to know more.
Do I have to say it again? The people who are coming to our sites are already predisposed to BUY SOMETHING and we are penalizing them and making it difficult for them to give us money. Are we really that stupid? No, that’s right… THAT’S THE WAY IT’S ALWAYS BEEN DONE.
Sell to the people that want it and let go of the ones that don’t.
Here’s a quick conversation you can have with yourself as you’re writing your copy. Ask yourself this question. If a person who wants my product already reads my copy, will it push them over the edge to buy it? or would it bore them to death?
Think about what I’ve just said when you write your next copy.
I didn’t even get into video sales letters thats whole other story!!! 🙂
Remember, just because that’s the way it’s always been done, doesn’t mean it’ the right way.