sales copy

The “invisible” reason why sales copy thrives or dies

  What makes the difference between a piece of copywriting that stirs a deeply positive emotional reaction in the reader… and one that has them trashing it immediately. Or worse… forwarding it to a government agency as a potential scam? Very different reactions, clearly.  And yes, the stakes really are that high.  The difference comes …

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[Story Sells] How a “Ticking Time Bomb” Helps Capture Attention

Nothing motivates action like a time limit. It’s why sales and coupons don’t last forever. Deadlines seem to be hard-wired into our brains. It goes back to caveman days: “We get home before sun goes down, Thog. That when monster attack.” And when it comes to closing a sale, time limits create urgency to act. …

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[Story Sells] The Booster Rocket Tactic to launching a product’s Big Idea

  We live in the “golden age of television”, we are told. First premium cable, and now streaming, unshackled us from the constraints of storytelling dominated by commercial breaks. Now we can enjoy long, satisfying story arcs. The Sopranos. Breaking Bad. Game of Thrones. Westworld. Etc. All well and good. But don’t throw out traditional …

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Ep 149: Jon Stoltzfus – The Most In-Demand Copywriter On The Planet Right Now

   In This Episode Jon Stoltzfus is currently the most in-demand copywriter in the industry. He’s an engineer who loves his work and makes a very comfortable living. He’s also a damn good copywriter. He’s been creating super strong controls in his part-time. He’s about to make the leap into full time copywriting, because when …

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[Story Sells] Boring Story? Play This Silly Kid’s Game

Now Christmas is a distant memory, how sad does winter look without the pretty lights and decoration?  At the height of the holidays, you barely notice the inclement weather. Now, without the festive cheer masking the reality, we yearn for the return of those ornaments that stir our excitement and lift our mood. You crave …

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[Story Sells] Use this Spider-Man ‘Twist’ to Make Your Sales Story Unforgettable

There’s one story principle that’s tough to execute, but very valuable if you do it right. This principle gives a story added depth. What does that mean? Simply, the tale penetrates deeper into the audience. The story stays with them, echoes in their minds in the days after they first see it. Instead of dissolving …

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[Story Sells] “Ice-Breakers” in Ads: How To Gradually Introduce a Radical Idea

J.R.R. Tolkien had a big problem. He loved the ancient, epic tales. He began writing his own (see The Silmarillion). But he quickly discovered that these ancient worlds of honor and vengeance, with black and white heroes with little characterization, were almost totally inaccessible to a modern audience. All that oath-swearing. And listing of lineage. …

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[Story Sells] How to Name Your Products So They Stick

Han Solo. Gilderoy Lockhart. Benjamin Grimm. These names of fictional characters are easy to remember. Why? For one thing, they are all examples of “sympathetic naming”. That’s where you name a character after a trait they possess. So Han faces life pretty much “solo,” a lone-wolf. (Except for Chewbacca, who’s kind of like a dog.) …

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[Story Sells] How to Answer Customer Objections with the “Death Star” Solution

As I write this, San Diego’s Comic Con just wrapped up. Fans were served tasty selections of their favorite fictional universes. Predictably, some offerings unleashed a flurry of geek-citement. But others ignited a firestorm of critiques. Cause few folks are as argumentative as fanboys. As a market, they’re sophisticated and very vocal. That’s why storytellers …

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The 1-Sentence “RAD” Trick That Transforms a Commodity into a Brand

We live in the age of Branded Characters. Leave no lunchbox unclaimed by a caped crusader or a spiffy cartoon. Thank goodness. Who wants a boring blue box when you can have a universe of possibilities unfold every time you reach for a PB&J? And every single character has a little “TM” next to it. …

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How to use the “Doctors Dumbfounded” effect to Build Credibility & Desire: From Shyamalan to Schwartz

There’s a simple story technique you can use to quickly build credibility and desire for your product. The best novelists and filmmakers use it, as so do the best ad-slingers. In fact, Eugene Schwartz lists it as the 7th (out of 13) way to “strengthen desire for your product.” I recently saw this storytelling tool …

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[Story Sells] How to win the war against wandering attention with the “John Ford Maneuver”

You know when you’re sitting in a movie theater and hear all the noise before the film begins? The flash of phone screens, the chatter, the rustling in seats, the unwrapping of a big box of Red Vines licorice? But then when the movie begins with a strong scene – like the “rolling boulder” sequence …

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How to tell your story like Tolkien (and stop losing prospects to your competitors)

If you had to tell me your story right this second, would you be able to do it … or would you choke? You’d think it’s easy explaining who you are and why people should care. But if this were true, nobody would need copywriters. Bad storytelling means we risk confusing or boring people … …

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[Story Sells] The Joy of Bob Ross: the hidden selling technique used by this mild-mannered painter in nearly every episode

When I feel stressed out at the end of the day, and I need to relax, I’ve got something better than single malt scotch. I tune in to an artist with a big ‘fro named Bob Ross, and step in his world of Happy Little Trees, in the Joy of Painting Series. (How’d he get …

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[Story Sells] The Harry Potter trick to easier storytelling

Got a “productivity hack” for you today. Especially for all you procrastinators out there, as you sit down in consternation at your vintage Corona-Smith typewriter. (If you’re a hipster or an oldster, that is.) If you don’t know how to start your story, use a trick from Harry Potter-author J.K. Rowling. To explain: You remember …

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How Eugene Schwartz’s Branding Secret Ignites Direct Response Sales

Before I became a copywriter, I spent 29 years working with brands. The power of those brands allowed me to create multi-million dollar businesses around the globe. That’s a nice piece of change. It worked because each brand had a clear identity that resonated with certain consumers. In fact, the product itself was often secondary. …

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[Story Sells] Establish Authority by Copying This Novelist Trick

  Can you establish credibility while lying your ass off? Yep. Novelists and other storytellers do it all the time. And when you tell true stories as a marketer, you can copy their technique to build trust. (Bonus: when you pull from real life, you don’t have to work as hard as professional liars.) Here’s …

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[Story Sells] How Bush beats Obama in your sales stories

  I loved watching SNL as a kid. My favorite player? Dana Carvey. You might remember some of his best characters … The very special Church Lady. The dependable Garth. And, of course, the fake George Herbert Walker Bush. Carvey’s impression of President Bush became so widespread, that the former president himself once did a …

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The Conscious Consumer: Who they are and why you need to know about them

  I’ve been watching this for a while and wondering if others have noticed it too. The modern-day consumer is more aware and conscious than ever before. For us as marketers, copywriters and business owners, we need to be more aware of what we do when we sell to them. You may be thinking… “what …

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[Story Sells] Plunder this storytelling jewel from the British Royal Family

I’m watching The Crown on Netflix. The show follows the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in the 1950s. If you’re into period dramas and stuffy British manners, it might be your kind of thing. But for me, it looked like a bit of a snooze fest. Nonetheless, I’d heard it was good, so I …

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The Voice Mistakes That Are Costing You Money (And How To Fix Them)

How do you measure whether your voice is a success? Here’s a quick test. Try reading this out loud: It’s impossible not to read it in Liam Neeson’s voice. If you’ve nailed voice, that’s exactly what you should be looking for when someone reads your copy. They need to hear you. On Copy Chief, we’ve …

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[Story Sells] How to Capture Drifting Attention with the Captain “Hook” Rule

You will lose sales unless you hook your customer’s attention with the very first sentence. But what do you say? Well, to figure that out, let’s look at what not to do. And then just do the opposite. Captain Hook and his pals at Jake and the Neverland Pirates hold the treasure we seek. If …

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[Story Sells] The “Mother Rule” for Keeping Faith with your Prospect

Sell on emotion, justify with logic? Yes, but … Stories teach us that emotions have a logic of their own. We may be irrational, unknowable creatures … But at least in stories, emotions must make sense. If they don’t, then we the audience won’t believe what’s happening in the story. Like when characters do dumb …

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Here’s The Secret To Copy That Keeps Your Prospects Coming Back For More

Recently a writer wanted her copy critiqued for an email lead generation campaign. It was for a watch targeted to bodybuilders. The writing style was “upbeat and cheerful.” Hey, wait a minute. That feels off to me… I looked at the company name and wasn’t familiar with the brand. But “upbeat and cheerful” wasn’t what …

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[Story Sells] How To Make Your “AHA!” Moment Believable with this “Dr. Strange” Magic Trick

The latest Marvel blockbuster ‘Dr. Strange’ makes you believe in magic. To the tune of $653 million and counting. And one of the secrets of the believability is a little storytelling magic trick you may use in your next promotion. We live in the Golden Age of Fantasy Movies. From epic fantasies like Game of …

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The #1 Way You’re Accidentally Killing Your Own Sales… And How To Fix It

As an entrepreneur in the self-improvement world, you’re pouring a ton of blood, sweat and tears into your business on a daily basis… You’re creating life-changing products and services and putting beaming smiles on people’s faces without them needing to gorge on an entire chocolate cake. You’d figure your work is done right there, and …

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How to 2X the value of your case studies (follow these 4 steps)

You already know case studies inspire hope, prove you’re credible, and give your reader that “If they can do it, so can I!” feeling that makes them take action. But done right, they can do a whole lot more. They can uncover objections and fears you didn’t realize your audience had. And ensure you write …

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[Story Sells] Rip This Part of Your Sales Letter from Star Trek

It’s easy to bore your reader when you shift into science mode. Yeah, you often need some technical explanation to prove why your product works. But, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds of jargon and research. That’s when you lose your prospect. So how do you keep it interesting? Without your techno-babble landing …

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[Story Sells] Sell On Emotion, Justify With This …

My nephew recently asked me how The Flash got his super-speed powers. My answer: “Barry Allen was struck by lightning while standing in front of a shelf of chemicals. The combination of the chemicals and the lightning gave him super speed. Lightning is very fast, after all.”* This story made sense my nephew. Lightning is fast, …

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5 Steps to Transform Your Personal Stories Into Sales Machines

“Story sells…” “Your customers connect with stories, not features and benefits…” “Thou shalt not bore thy customers…” If you study sales copy, you’ve no doubt heard variations of the above…that you should be telling stories. Stories are what people remember, and the way to your audience’s heart. And you can probably name at least two …

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The amazing two-sentence answer to “what do you do?”

Have you ever noticed that the companies we love the most are usually rooted in rebellion? For instance… Apple started in the garage after Jobs and Wozniak left college, fed up by the slow pace of technology. Virgin Airlines was born out of Richard Branson’s frustration with crappy airline travel. Dollar Shave Club started when …

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