What is the most important element of any marketing campaign?
1: The ability to drive traffic?
2: The ability to recruit top affiliates?
3: A product people desperately want to buy?
4: Or a terrific headline and opening to your sales message?
Believe it or not, it’s #4.
You can create the best offer ever known to humanity for a product or service people want to buy. But unless your headline and opening grab them, prospects aren’t going to pay attention.
And if prospects aren’t paying attention, it doesn’t matter how much traffic you drive or how many affiliates you recruit, either.
Marketing research shows that 80% of your marketing campaign’s success comes from your headline and the first 300 to 500 words of your message.
This means you’ve got to absolutely NAIL the headline AND the opening to your sales letter, a sales video, or any other marketing device you’re using.
Even an article, blog post, webinar, and so forth need an awesome headline and opening to get read.
Otherwise, you’re creating content and sales letter for the fun of it because no one will be reading, watching, or buying.
90% of your success depends on about 5 to 10% of the copy you write – the headline and the opening.
In addition, your headline and opening need to forge an instant connection with your prospect. Prospects should immediately feel that you understand them and their problem.
Time and again, I see new marketers spend a ton of time on product creation, affiliate recruitment, social media, and everything else they think they need for a big launch.
But their sales copy? It’s almost an after-thought.
“My product is so great, and my social media campaign is so awesome, my affiliates are so good, the sales copy almost doesn’t matter.”
Ideally, what happens in the first 3 minutes of a movie?
Hopefully, something GRABS you and compels you to keep watching. If not, you choose another movie on your service.
What should happen on the first page of a novel?
Something that makes you desperate to read the second page.
And so it goes.
The headline and opening of your copy – whether it’s sales copy, an email, an article, or anything else – must GRAB your reader/viewer and COMPEL them to consume your content.
How do you do that?
To start, use a headline with a Big, Fresh Promise or Hook, something that appeals to the prospect’s intellect and emotion. It’s something they’ve never heard before that immediately captures their attention and curiosity while getting them to engage.
“Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days” is a variation of something prospects have heard over and over again.
“Can You Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days by Eating Dessert First?” is going to be new for most people, and the promise is awesome. “You mean I can LOSE weight quickly by eating dessert?? Tell me more!”
Ideally, you’re making ONE big promise and delivering it uniquely. In the previous headline, losing 10 pounds in 10 days is the big promise, and eating dessert to LOSE weight is the unique method for delivering that promise.
Your big promise could be a single change, a complete transformation, a result, or a particular outcome. It’s what they get at the end of the journey, the big prize that makes them want to take that journey.
This should be something your prospect desperately wants that your product or service can provide.
Your unique element is how your product or service uniquely works. While others promise to teach weight loss, your program is the only one that does it by eating dessert.
Your product uses some system or process to deliver the big promise, right? Either that system or process needs to be like no other, or there must be a unique, key element that no one else can offer.
Maybe you teach investing. There are probably thousands of others out there teaching investing, but your system is different because ___.
If you find that you cannot fill in that blank, then work on your product or service to find its uniqueness before writing your copy.
(Claiming to be the best, most professional, highest quality, and all of those other cliches don’t count.)
Are you writing an article? Please don’t say, “To lose weight, just eat less and exercise more.” There is nothing unique about that premise. But if you write an article about how you used your anger at your ex to propel yourself to massive weight loss and to get into great shape, you’ve got something. Even if others have written something similar, NO ONE has written an article about what it was like for YOU to go through this process.
Because what you’re offering is unique, it gives the reader or prospect hope that this time is different, that this time it will work, which is THE time when they get the benefit they seek.
If you think whatever it is that you’re doing, selling, or writing isn’t unique in some way, I’d like to suggest that you haven’t dug deep enough to realize what makes you or your product different. Odds are a real difference, and you have to find it and bring it out.
Whatever it is that you’re doing, it’s got to be different from everything else your reader or prospect has seen. If it’s the same old thing, they will leave. But if it’s new, and especially if there is an element of curiosity, they will stay and continue to consume your content.
Next comes the opening, which sets the emotional hook. When you get your reader invested emotionally, they will continue to read and continue to pay attention.
Getting your reader emotionally involved does something peculiar, too. It causes them to root for you, hoping that you can build your case, be on your side, and lose many of their natural defenses.
You already know that when you’re trying to sell something to someone, their defenses go up. It’s like an invisible wall is immediately erected, and you cannot make the sale until you break that wall down.
But by hooking them emotionally, there is no wall. There is simply a short distance between you and them, and they are hoping you can close that ground and convince them of your case.
Speak to the heart first, get them emotionally excited about what your solution can do for them, and then (and only then) present the facts of why your product is what they’ve been seeking.
This means you do not start with the traditional, “Hello, my name is Joe Smith, and I know a lot of stuff, and I can help you.”
No one cares who you are until they understand you can give them what they want. That’s why you start with the big promise, the unique twist, and the emotionally driven opening. Only after you do those things do you want to jump in then and say, “Hi, my name is Sue Jones and….”
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say it’s early December 2020, and you’ve been tasked with writing copy to promote the new Covid Vaccines in the US. Your opening might be something like this, and keep in mind I’m being a little cheeky here and not as serious as the occasion called for, but you will get the idea:
There’s a brand new way for you to be safe from Covid and to prevent spreading Covid to your loved ones, coworkers, friends, and strangers.
It’s called the Covid vaccine.
And it’s different from wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing because it gives you as much as 95% protection from Covid by enabling your body to build its own immunity to the virus.
As you’ll see, it’s easy to get the vaccine, and you’ll start building immunity within just days of getting your first dose.
Best of all, you won’t have to see a doctor or pay anything to get the vaccine because it’s free.
And just 2 weeks after your second vaccine dosage, you’ll have as much as 95% immunity from Covid regardless of whether you believe in vaccines or not.
So, if you want to avoid spending weeks on a ventilator in the intensive care unit, if you don’t want to endure months of long-term Covid symptoms such as memory loss and extreme fatigue, and if you prefer not to die of Covid, then you’ll want to pay close attention to what I’m about to share with you.
Hello, my name is Dr. Fauci. I am the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director and the chief medical advisor to the President of the US.
And I’m passionate about saving your life and the lives of your loved ones.
Now you start bringing in facts to back up what you’re saying, and you close with an offer they cannot refuse.
But what if you’re writing an article and not a sales letter?
I’d use very nearly the same method. I’d lead with emotion, laying it on even thicker than my off-the-cuff example above.
As you know, death by Covid is not what anyone would call a “good” death. Passing Covid on to a loved one who gets sick, hospitalized, and perhaps dies is even worse.
We could build passion into this letter or article with people crying – literally crying – by introducing a real person and giving their story. It might be the story of how they didn’t think Covid was a big deal. They thought the flu was worse than Covid, things were being blown out of proportion… and then their wife got sick. She used to be a brilliant nurse who loved helping others, but now six months after her diagnosis, she can’t remember something said to her a minute ago, she doesn’t have the strength to climb a staircase, and she will probably never work again. But maybe she has it good because Uncle Frank got Covid, and after struggling to breathe for a month, he was hospitalized, put on a ventilator, and died nearly three months after his diagnosis.
Work the emotion in. State how much you don’t want your reader to endure the same fate. Use the science to show how they’ve been working on this vaccine technology for a decade. In the sidebar, show past examples of how smallpox and polio were eliminated thanks to vaccines.
Spend as much time working on your headline and the first 300 to 500 words as you do for the entire rest of your campaign. If you don’t, you’ll lose your readers.
Lead with something DIFFERENT from anything else out there, coupled with EMOTION.
Save the personal introduction (Hi, I’m Joe Smith!) and the technical stuff for AFTER you hook them with curiosity, emotion, and the big benefit.
One last thing: If you’re writing a sales letter, sales video, or selling anything, make them an offer they cannot refuse. For example, a product that sells for $47 a month but puts $500 a month into their pocket, guaranteed, is an offer no sane person would refuse, as long as you’ve made your case.
Do these things, and people will eagerly read your sales copy, articles, and anything else you write.
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