Monthly Archives: October 2008

What happened to you? Tips on using bad news in your copywriting

One of my friends recently sent me a link to a sales page. This person (who shall remain completely nameless) was having a sale. The reason behind the sale? For the second time this year, they had experienced a natural disaster which had destroyed their living room. (Then even had photos of the destroyed room on their site.)

Now, I’m all for having a reason for a sale. I think having a reason for why you’re knocking the price down or adding an extra bonus makes it that much more compelling for people to actually buy.

But, there are good reasons and not-so-good reasons. This particular one falls under the category of not-so-good — and here’s why:

First off, people tend to shy away from people who seem to have a bad case of bad luck. Bad luck can be catching after all. Seriously, people want to hang around with winners. They want to hire or use products from people or businesses who are successful and lucky. Bad luck makes good television drama — after all, that’s why we watch the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy stumble through one unlucky situation to another, but in real life people want to hang around winners.

Telling people you were subject to not one but TWO natural disasters that basically destroyed the same room in less than a year is not smart marketing. Especially when in your sales letter you say “I did this sale last January, and made enough to pay for my new living room, but now eight months later, it’s destroyed again.” Is it even worth it to help pay for a new living room when, with this person’s luck, in another six months the whole house could be sucked up into a tornado?

Also, when you play the “woe is me” card, you run the risk of turning yourself into a charity. Bad luck happens. People will feel sorry for you. But do you really want people to give you money because they’re feeling sorry for you? Consider how that’s going to affect your brand down the line. Sure you might make a few bucks now, but what about a year from now?

So, is there a time to use the “woe is me” card? Well, there is, but not with you. I would use it to help someone else. For instance, maybe someone you know winds up with serious medical issues, and with it some serious financial issues. Perhaps you raise some money for them. Or maybe you raise money for a charity in their name. That would be acceptable.

But, I can hear you asking, what if something bad DOES happen to me, like I need that new living room?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with having a sale or a promotion to get some cash in the door, it’s just how you do it. Depending on what exactly happened to me, I may or may not use it. I might choose to have a different reason for a sale or promotion. And if I DID use it, I probably wouldn’t use another story like that for at least a good 10 years.

5 Secrets of a Successful Launch Campaign to Help You Sell More

Just wanted to give you a quick heads up that my last preview call, 5 Secrets of a Successful Launch Campaign to Help You Sell More, is this coming Wednesday, Oct 29, at 4 pm PST/7 pm EST.

Here’s the link to reserve your seat:

This is the call where I pull it all together. I started with getting the leads, then moved to converting the leads with psychological triggers and now I’m ending with how to put it all together and successfully launch your product or service.

You’ll learn:

* What a launch campaign is and why it’s so important when you’re introducing a new product or service to the marketplace

* What all successful launches have in common (so you know what you need to do to make yours a success)

* One BIG mistake entrepreneurs do when they create a launch plan, and how you can prevent it

* One BIG step that’s overlooked by many entrepreneurs (miss this and you could end up wasting a lot of time and have nothing to show for it)

* What you need to keep in mind during your launch so you get truly FABULOUS results


Here’s that link again to sign up:

If you’ve already signed up for either of my first 2 preview calls, you’re automatically signed up for this one as well. Watch your in-box for call-in info.

Should You Talk About the Economy In Your Marketing?

News Flash — the economy is bad.

Oh wait. You know that already? So, I’m not sharing anything new?

My good friend Nancy Marmolejo,, asked her social networking followers if people should be using the bad economy to market their products and services. The answers that came back were for the most part against doing that.

Well, that got me thinking. Is it a good idea to talk about the economy and get into the fear and negativity, or not?

The answer isn’t quite so straightforward. (Which you probably guessed.) But to explain, let me start by giving you some quick background.

First off, fear and negativity does sell. People will move away from pain more than they’ll move towards pleasure. And that makes sense, when you think about it from our cavemen days. We would have a need, maybe it was hunger, maybe we were cold, and that was what we focused on until it was satisfied (i.e. we looked for food or built a fire). But once we had that need satisfied, we didn’t keep focusing on it. We moved to the next pressing need, which maybe was running away from a saber tooth tiger or finding a mate.

We’re wired to deal with the pain first, until it’s solved, then we can tackle the next problem. We’re NOT programmed to keep focusing on something even after the pain has gone away.

Think of yourself right now. Let’s say your leg is NOT hurting right now. And it hasn’t hurt in a really long time. Are you doing anything right now to keep it from hurting in the future? (I’m guessing probably not.) And even if you do do things to keep your leg from hurting (i.e. exercise regularly) you would quit taking care of your leg that’s not bothering you in a heartbeat if, say, your arm started hurting.

Unfortunately, the economy right now is all about pain, so as a marketer you might decide to jump right up and start hitting the pain button.

Well…That may not be such a great idea either.

You see, most people are pretty savvy themselves when it comes to marketing. So if you blatantly get into that fear and negativity, especially if you then turn around and try and sell something, it will probably be a huge turn off.

But, there’s something else going on as well. You see, there’s another copywriting rule, which is whenever possible you should join the conversation in your prospects’ heads. What I mean by this, if your prospect is thinking at this moment about what he’s going to eat for dinner, your promotional piece should start out with some mouth-watering recipes. (By the way, this is why sending out promotional pieces that tie into the holidays work so well, because so you’re entering the conversation that’s already going on in your prospects’ heads.)

Now, if there are two things that are dominating many American’s thoughts right now, it’s the coming presidential election and the economy. The presidential election is a bit harder to work into promotional copy (besides you don’t necessarily want to turn off your prospects by getting into a debate about who you think should be the next president) but the economy is perfect. It’s got the fear/pain and you can’t get away from it.

In fact, it’s SO prevalent if you don’t talk about the economy at all, that doesn’t feel right either. Like you’re completely out of touch with the problems your prospects are going through right now.

So what do you do?

First off, make sure you understand where your prospect is coming from. And what I mean by that is HOW is the economy affecting your prospect right now? For instance, are you targeting a lower income prospect who is extremely worried about money, so that’s all their thinking about, or are you targeting a more affluent prospect where the economy is something to talk about, but it’s going to have to get pretty darn bad before it even starts to affect them? Are you targeting people who don’t want to focus on the bad but are making a pact to thrive no matter what the economy is doing? Are you targeting people sick to death of hearing about the economy and may strangle the next person who brings it up to them?

Once you know how it’s affecting them and how they’re thinking about it, then you can decide if and how much to address the economy in your marketing. Or if it even has a place in your campaigns. If you own a high end spa catering to a very affluent prospect, I probably wouldn’t say much (if anything) about the economy. And I certainly wouldn’t say something like “Bad economy sale — stretch your spa dollars for a limited time.” That is NOT the conversation your prospect is having in their head right now.

If you’re going to do it, make sure you do it smart. Otherwise all you’re doing is turning your prospects off.

Turn prospects into clients

Hi there,

Just wanted to send you a quick reminder that my second preview call, 5 Psychological Triggers to Turn Prospects Into Clients, is Wednesday at 4 pm PST/7 pm EST.

Here’s the link to reserve your seat:

If you’ve already signed up for my first preview call, 5 Secrets to Getting All The Leads You Can Handle, you’re automatically signed up for this call as well. Watch your in-box for call-in info.

On the call, 5 Psychological Triggers to Turn Prospects Into Clients, you’ll learn:

* What to do to get people to listen (and believe) what you say.
* How to harness the same power that makes word of mouth marketing so successful.
* How to seamlessly transform lookers into buyers.
* What you need to do to “seal the deal.”

Note: these are pretty powerful, so you should make sure you always use them in an honest and ethical manner.

Here’s that link again to sign up:

“See” you on the call!

How Do You Feel Right Now?

How are you doing right now? Are you nervous about what’s going on? Or are you focusing on your own business and moving forward?

Let me tell you how I’m doing. I fluctuate between feeling nervous to feeling strong and confident.

Why am I nervous? Because this feeling of negativity is so pervasive. You’re bumping into it every time you turn around. To be honest, it’s an uphill battle to NOT let it affect you. The closest I’ve ever experienced anything like this in my 10 years of business ownership was after 9-11 when my business imploded for 4 months. In retrospect, that actually worked out okay for me because in December both my beloved grandma and my beloved first dog, Amber, died 2 weeks apart, and I was a mess for two months. (Because Amber died I ended up getting Nick the following February, so maybe it was all supposed to happen that way.) But I digress.

Why do I feel strong and confident? Because I know I’ll get through this just fine. I got through what happened in 2001 and I’ll get through this. Also, I continue to have a substantial number of leads trotting through the door, even right this second. I actually had 3 calls today with prospective clients.

Really, it’s been business as usual for me (which is why I’ve been focusing on keeping the news off).

But, it wasn’t always this way. In the 10 years I’ve been in business, I’ve experienced two periods where leads dried up. Those were terrifying periods (well, the second time was. The first time after 9-11 I was so deep in grief I couldn’t concern myself with what was or wasn’t happening with my business). So if you are worried or afraid of leads drying up, or maybe they already are, or maybe you want to make sure that never happens to you — I know what you’re going through because I’ve been there.

And I know how to get out of it. I’m the first to say I’ve made my share of mistakes in my business, but I’ve also learned from those mistakes. And I learned from those periods where the leads dried up — I’ve put together a plan so that would never happen to me again.

That’s what I’m going to share in my upcoming telelcass on Wed, Oct 15, at 4 pm Pacific — 5 Secrets To Getting All The Leads You Can Handle.

This is my first of 3 preview calls I’m doing this month, so keep an eye on your in-box. (Plus I’ll be sharing on the call how you can get Sales Letter Secrets for free as well, so that’s another good reason to get on the call).

Here’s the link to sign up

I’ve also set up a page to find out what your biggest question is about getting leads in your business.

Here’s the link for that

“See” you on the call!

PW and the Badger

That’s me with Bucky Badger, the mascot for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. We were getting ready to cheer the Badgers on to victory against the Fresno State Bulldogs.

That was our last win so far of the season.

It’s been a disappointing season so far for Wisconsin football, as both the Badgers and Packers are on losing streaks. Hopefully they’ll get themselves turned around this weekend.

And that leads me to a small business tip for the day – never lose hope. Things can turn around for you on a dime. You see this in sports all the time – one good play can turn around a losing game, one good game can turn around a season. But you also see it in business. So many people stop a few steps shy of actually seeing all their hard work pay off and success to start coming in. And many successful people are that way only because of years and years of perseverance (Thomas Edison had 10,000 failures trying to invent that light bulb before he got it right.)

Do you have any stories about how you almost gave up and success stepped in? I’d love to hear your stories.