By Daniel Levis | December 21, 2012
Everyone on the interest list is getting a sneak peak into what goes on behind the scenes.
The case study campaign for www.MaxPersuasion.com starts January 4 and finishes January 13. I’ll be dissecting the emails and sharing the results when I officially release the Email Alchemy program, sometime in January or February …
…In the meantime, these weekly reports show the approach and prep work that goes into writing the campaign.
At this stage I’ve established a special offer and listened to most of the course material I will be selling. And I’ve decided what I’m going to do with the landing page.
I have a pretty good idea of whom I am selling to, their buying criteria and hot buttons. And I’ve extracted a healthy inventory of potential anecdotes to use in my storyline.
The target market is 45 plus, predominantly male. They’re largely salespeople of one type or another… plenty of realtors, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, and the like.
The underlying values that drive these people are POWER and CONTROL.
They don’t want to be dismissed by phrases like: “I need to think about it” or “I need to talk it over with my partner” or “I’m going to shop around” or “Thanks, but I can get it cheaper across town”. Willy Loman they’re not.
There are also other types of compliance professionals on this list, folks who recognize the importance of persuasion to their success — attorneys, copywriters, clergy, and so on. People who secretly get off on imposing their will on others.
Kenrick Cleveland’s Magical Objection Mastery course gives them powerful tools and strategies for inoculating against objections. And overcoming them should they arise.
At this stage it’s time to begin mapping out a good story to drive your promotion. What kind of a hook or theme can you use to captivate your prospects and glue them to your campaign?
For the case study I’m create a unique spin on my client’s origin story. I’ve got a nice little collection of persuasion exploits I was able to coax out of Kenrick Cleveland when I interviewed him…
…Stories of conflict with the NLP underworld and the dark side incident… Soviet mind control technology from behind the iron curtain… hard money Christians falling in love with yacht riding hedonists — to name a few.
I’ll begin each email with one of these captivating tales nested into an ongoing narrative thread that runs throughout the series.
Each little anecdote will pose an immediate problem and drive the prospect to the click for a solution.
Each email will also advance an ongoing problem, designed to drag prospects right through to the end of the series and the special offer deadline. Those that don’t buy early on, that is.
This is a bundle we’re selling, a common special offer strategy. The second component is Kenrick Cleveland’s Millionaire Mind Strategies.
The sub-text that’s going to unlock a flash flood of sales for us is this: Persuasion is a pre-requisite to WEALTH, POWER, INFLUENCE and CONTROL. You’re dead in the water without it.
But on it’s own, it’s not enough…
You also need a Millionaire Mind to become truly rich. You’ve got to be in alignment with universal law… tuned to abundance… not scarcity.
If you miss this crucial nuance, your influence and persuasion-driven successes are sabotaged and short lived. They’ll slip through your fingers.
So we’ll put Kenrick through a series of dramatic twists and turns on his path to power — three steps forward, two steps back, stakes rising as the series unfolds.
He’ll encounter mentors. Both true benefactors, and those who shift shape and lure him to the edge of doom…
…Always the consummate persuader, but thwarted by one nemesis after another, until he discovers universal law and the Millionaire Mind.
It’s typical hero’s journey stuff. Not rocket science. But don’t try it at home just yet.
Stay tuned and watch how the emails turn out.
By Daniel Levis | December 13, 2012
Welcome to week 2 of the Email Alchemy Challenge.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking you ever deeper down the rabbit hole of episodic email campaign creation.
It’s the MaxPersuasion.com case study that will kick off my all-new dual track Email Alchemy trainings.
Last week I laid out the recipe …
I explained how I’d worked with MaxPersuasion.com to piece together a killer time and quality limited offer. We’re bundling a couple of popular products at a special price, good for 10-days only. And adding a limited number of 30-minute consults.
My initial thought was to lead with one of these products, Magical Objection Mastery, and present the other items, Kenrick Cleveland’s Millionaire Mind Strategies and the 30-minute consult, as bonuses. I’d just tweak the sales letter a little bit, put a special offer banner at the top of the page, and that would be it.
But as I peeled back the onion this week it became clear to me this was not the best way to go …
For one, I discovered Millionaire Mind Strategies is a BIG course. I can pitch it in the emails, but I can’t properly dimentionalize its value on the Magical Objection Mastery sales page. A few words of copy about Millionaire Mind Strategies on a special offer banner at the top of the page just wouldn’t cut it. I’d be leaving money on the table.
Secondly, I realized the Magical Objection Mastery sales page was a little long on concept and short on specifics about what the buyers would be getting. It’s a typical sales letter. It introduces a problem, agitates the problem and offers a solution.
The typical Internet marketing model would be to write short, teaser emails that drive the list to the letter, where most of the sales heavy lifting takes place. But Email Alchemy takes a different approach.
It moves concept and story and emotion into the emails, coming at these elements from multiple different angles in a way a sales letter just can’t.
This tends to make the whole top half of the existing sales letter redundant… a roadblock to the sale, because it stands in the way of the details of what the buyer is getting that appear further down the page.
I could live with this, if it weren’t for the other problem of not having a good way to properly dimensionalize the value of Millionaire Mind Strategies. Taken together, these two factors are too large to ignore.
I need a clearer value proposition and a straighter line to the sale. So I’m going to scrap the idea of using the existing landing page and create a new one. Not a full-blown sales page, but rather a simple presentation of the three-part offer.
The Email Alchemy strategy is story based. The idea is to create an episodic series of emails with a hook that pulls the reader right through to the end of the series. Each email poses a dilemma that gets solved, while at the same time advancing a larger dilemma that stays open and unresolved until the end of the series.
If you were to plot open, click through and conversion rates on a graph for one of these intensive 10-day campaigns, it looks somewhat like an X. Open and click through start high and drop. Conversion rates start low and rise over the course of the campaign.
A good series-long hook helps minimize the drop off in opens and clicks and can dramatically increase sales. More on this in next week’s report as the campaign continues to take shape.
Until then, Good Selling!
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By Daniel Levis | December 6, 2012
Since awarding the Email Alchemy Challenge CASH Infusion JACKPOT to MaxPersuasion.com, I’ve begun laying the groundwork for their promotion.
It’s happening in early January and you’ll be seeing the behind-the-scenes prep work in these weekly lab reports.
You’re about to become privy to the secret rites and rituals of The Great Work… as I harvest all of the necessary campaign elements and begin brewing them in the crucible of my brain.
It’s the free prelude to my upcoming suite of Email Alchemy trainings.
My goal is to help you re-ignite your list and profits.
So let’s get at ‘er!
If you follow along you get a FREE education…you get to look over my shoulder as I identify the strengths and weaknesses of a product, website, and offer…
…And how to maximize my favorite sound… “Cha-ching!”
MaxPersuasion.com is a partnership between Kenrick Cleveland and Jared Emin. Kenrick is the front man and Jared is the operations guy. And here’s the landing page we’ll be driving traffic to at MaxPersuasion.com.
It’s a $497 course called Magical Objection Mastery designed to help salespeople handle objections and close more sales.
Now, if you look at that page you’ll see it’s a direct response style sales page. The main thrust of the page is to sell a single offer. That’s what you want.
That’s not to say you won’t have to do a little nip and tuck here and there on your landing page and your offer. In most cases, you will.
In this case I got on the phone with Jared and we agreed to make the following changes:
>>> The menu bars at the top and side of the page will need to be taken out. (You don’t want any links on the page that could distract from the sale.)
>>> We’re going to center justify the copy and find a more readable font.
>>> I’m going to write a new headline and deck for the top of the page to better grab the reader’s attention and drag them into the pitch.
>>> Color will be used on the headlines and testimonial boxes to punch them out and add a little visual excitement. (The current monotone black and grey color scheme has an almost anesthetic effect.)
And I’ll go through the copy line by line and tighten it up a little here and there.
Next thing is the offer.
To maximize your sales, identify the best way to stimulate greed and bring maximum scarcity and urgency to bear on your prospects.
For urgency, we agree to bundle one of Kenrick’s other programs with Magical Objection Mastery and make the bundle available at a discounted price for the duration of the campaign — 10 days only.
There are a few key considerations when building your bonus package:
>>> How many units of the proposed bonus have already been sold? (You don’t want to kill your primary sale by offering bonuses that a significant number of prospects already own.)
In this case we determine that only about 40 copies of a relatively new product called Kenrick Cleveland’s Millionaire Mind Strategies have been sold.
>>> How does the bonus compliment the primary product? Mindset is a huge issue in sales. The title Millionaire Mind Strategies and just a few lines of juicy copy are enough to stimulate desire for the bundle. It’s a great fit.
For scarcity, I convince Jared to offer a limited number of 30-minute recorded consults with Kenrick. The first “x-number” of buyers will get a special one-on-one session where they can give Kenrick their toughest objection and he’ll hand them 5 different ways to break it.
We settle on a $697 ticket for the bundle. And I agree to write a few additional emails to the 40 Millionaire Mind Strategy buyers offering a $100 off coupon code on Magical Objection Handling. Instead of paying $497, they’re in at just $397.
Jared agrees to give me all of the previous emails that he’s been using to sell these products and some survey data that he’s collected. I also put him to work looking for a successful Magical Objection Mastery student I can interview and build a story around.
And I’ve begun listening to the Magical Objection Mastery program while I drive here and there. No real cost in doing that.
As I listen, I’m hunting for potential themes and story lines that can be applied in the emails. I’ll be looking for an enemy I can vilify and rail against… learning about all of the important benefits of the product, the worldview of the ideal buyer, objections we’ll need to address, and so on.
By early next week I should have an outline for the email series to share with you. And probably a killer headline and deck for the sales page, too.
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By Daniel Levis | November 22, 2012
Imagine if every day was Thanksgiving, and gratitude was your permanent state of mind.
What would it mean?
I submit it would mean greater levels of wealth, health, and happiness all around.
Here’s why …
To be thankful for something means by definition we appreciate its value. We see the good in that thing. Conversely to be discontented with something means we see the bad and the useless in that thing, and discount its value.
But as the Bard of Avon wrote, “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” These 10 little words are much more than a clever little bit of iambic pentameter. They hold the keys to the kingdom, because the mind attracts that which it thinks about most.
Thoughts are things. An idea held in the mind consistently can’t help but manifest itself in the life of the thinker.
Is this the result of some kind of metaphysical magic? I prefer to think of it in more mundane terms …
John Smith and Jim Brown both work at the same mid-western manufacturing company. Both of them get downsized out of their jobs just two weeks before Thanksgiving.
John is indignant about it. It’s just not fair, he reasons, and although he hated his job anyway, he is very discontented with being unemployed. Fear of remaining so consumes his mind. Opportunities for advancement are all around him, but he can’t see them, because his mental antenna is attuned to joblessness.
Jim Brown on the other hand, sees unemployment as nothing more than an opportunity to spend some time looking for a better way to make a living. Because that’s what he’s looking for it, he soon finds it.
Success at anything in life isn’t really much more complicated than that. It’s just mental discipline: training your mind to be appreciative of the things you have and using them as stepping-stones to getting more of what you want. Everything happens for a reason, good, bad, or indifferent. Regardless, it’s your job to find value in the situation and use it to your advantage.
The power of your mind to think independently
is your greatest gift …
Isn’t it time you threw off the negative social conditioning that’s fooled you into accepting other people’s fears, anxieties, limitations and negative attitudes as your own?
Very few people have the wakefulness to do it. Instead, they sleepwalk through life, complaining about their circumstances, thinking about what they don’t want, and looking for someone to blame. And they’re miserable and unproductive as a result.
The only thing any of us has total power over is the meaning we ascribe to our life experience. Yet how frequently we fail to use that power. Instead we fume, fuss and worry about outcomes we can’t control.
Let me tell you a story that illustrates how powerful the human mind is at filtering experience …
Victor Frankl was a Viennese neurologist and psychiatrist. During WW2 he found himself on a train to Auschwitz, one of the infamous Nazi concentration camps where 6 million people were burned alive in gas ovens.
Upon arrival, he was one of the 5% who were spared immediate execution. These “lucky” individuals were taken aside and made ready for Nazi work camps in the German interior. Frankl was stripped naked, shaved from head to toe, and the number 119,104 (his new identity) was tattooed on his body.
The following dawn, just before leaving for the camp, he watched his best friend floating up to heaven in a cloud of smoke. Frankl’s wife, whom he’d been separated from earlier in the melee, was also incinerated. Luckily for him, he only found out after the war.
Conditions were so deplorable in the camps that prisoners usually lived for only a few months …
Imagine yourself going through what Frankl did:
- Having to dig trenches through the frozen topsoil in bitter sub-zero winds wearing nothing but filthy rags and ill-fitting wet shoes … hand-me-downs torn from the corpses of prisoners already succumbed …
- Subsisting on a cup of watery gruel, 5 ounces of bread and the occasional slice of poor quality sausage or cheese each day as your body slowly but surely devours itself …
What possible “spin” could you put on something like that? How could you possibly look on the bright side of such an experience, where such little hope exists … and where so little possibility of pleasure or escape from pain is possible – save death?
In Frankl’s own words: “The prisoner who had lost faith in the future – his future – was doomed. Without his belief in the future, he lost his spiritual hold: he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay.
Usually this happened quite suddenly, in the form of a crisis, the symptoms of which were familiar to the experienced camp inmates.
It began with the prisoner refusing one morning to get dressed and washed or to go out on the parade grounds. No entreaties, no blow, no threats had any effect. He just lay there, hardly moving. He simply gave up. There he remained, lying in his own excreta, and nothing bothered him anymore.”
How Frankl Survived …
Frankl avoided this fate by finding meaning in his experiences. He imagined himself standing at the podium of a warm and well-lit lecture room, addressing an appreciative audience seated in comfortably upholstered chairs. He was giving a lecture on the psychology of the concentration camp.
He used the power of his mind to become an objective observer, watching the proceedings from the remote viewpoint of science – as though they had already happened.
He, and his troubles, became an interesting psycho scientific study. Using this “frame” he survived for three long years while hundreds of prisoners – one by one – gave up and died all around him in abject misery.
Now I ask you, if Frankl could turn them lemons into lemonade, what about you? Do you think you can find a way to be grateful for all of the crap in your life? Do you think you might be able to turn it your advantage?
After the war, Victor Frankl spent 9 days writing the narrative that outlined his findings, and published the book, “Man’s Search For Meaning”. This little one-sitting book has been published in 19 languages, and is now in its 73rd English printing, having sold almost two and a half million copies in English alone.
Frankl’s experiences in the Nazi death camps laid the foundation for a whole new branch of psychotherapy that he developed upon his release called Logotherapy. This bold new approach has helped millions of people to lead more meaningful and rewarding lives.
In short, the premise behind logotherapy is this: Where traditional psychotherapy focuses on the past, attempting to dredge up repressed memories that are causing the patient suffering, and attempting to resolve them, logotherapy encourages the patient to focus on the meaning of their future life.
Frankl believed man’s search for meaning is his strongest motivation, exceeding all other instinctual and ego-based drives. The big reframe that saved his life was the realization that it doesn’t really matter what we expect from life. What matters is what life expects from us … and that when man finds that it is in his destiny to suffer, he will have to accept his suffering as his task, and be grateful in his ability to find meaning in it.
Victor Frankl died in 1997, at the ripe old age of 92.
Is there a marketing lesson here?
In fact there is. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, on which most marketing motivational theory is based, takes a bottom up approach. It says that our motivations are the result of ascension from physiological needs … to safety needs … to love and belonging needs … to self esteem needs … and finally to self-actualization needs.
Maslow’s central premise is that human need moves in an orderly procession up the hierarchy. Until a person’s physiological needs (such things as food, water, sleep, the avoidance of pain etc) are met, he or she will be unmotivated to pursue safety needs (order, structure, freedom from fear and anxiety etc.), and even less so for belonging needs (affectionate relationships, friends, social contact) and so on up the hierarchy.
Likewise, once a lower need is largely met, the next one up automatically becomes a dominant motivational force in the person’s life. Obviously, there is some truth in this.
But Frankl’s theory turns the model on its head. He says that man’s primary motivational force is a search for meaning, which corresponds to the self-actualization needs at the very top of Maslow’s pyramid.
Frankl even goes on to say that there exists in society today an existential vacuum – a widespread and growing emptiness in people’s lives, characterized by boredom, and a deep longing to derive more meaning from both work and leisure.
These self-actualization needs are largely overlooked and untapped by most advertisers, because it’s assumed that only a small portion of the population can be motivated by them.
Frankl’s research indicates the contrary may be true. After studying his book, I decided to test self-actualization appeals in my sales copy. The results are astonishingly positive.
Have a safe, happy, and meaningful Thanksgiving.
By Daniel Levis | August 13, 2012
So this week I figured I’d dig a little deeper into the story to draw some valuable parallels between Clint’s approach to movie making and marketing in general.
First off, there is the careful crafting of an enduring archetypal character that underpins so many of the various roles Clint played.
You may wonder what character and marketing have in common …
The first rule of direct response marketing is that people buy from people. It never ceases to amaze me how often marketers forget this.
At the most basic level, we trust individuals much more readily than we trust nameless, faceless business entities.
We relate with flesh and blood human beings. We can see the whites of their eyes and instinctively judge if they’re telling us the truth.
We relate still more with people who appear to be cut from the same cloth we are … who share the same ideals, beliefs and values we do. We feel comfortable with such people. We enjoy their company and their ideas. We want to be closer to them. And we want them to win.
But most of all, we relate to people who embody the ideals, beliefs and values we aspire to, but have not yet attained. This is the magical allure of Clint’s fearless, independent, take-matters-into-your-own hands persona. It resonates strongly with the extreme alpha-male lurking in our DNA.
The character you craft as the spokesperson for your company should resonate with the specific target customer you wish to influence on each of these levels.
1) Your character must be imminently human, genuine, and real. 2) You must be seen as being one of them. And 3) you must be seen as a leader among them.
Whether you characterize yourself as a ruggedly independent take-no-prisoners renegade, or a kind and nurturing consensus maker – or anything in between – the important thing is that your prospects identify strongly with your character.
What else can we learn about copywriting and
marketing from an Eastwood flick?
Both movies and sales copy must seize and maintain attention from beginning to end if they are to be successful.
A great movie trailer can entice people into the theater, but once inside, they need compelling reasons to stay involved.
Similarly your sales copy must not only capture interest. But hold it, unswervingly. A movie rewards that interest with an emotional climax. Your sales copy with a satisfying exchange of value for value.
Both tasks are next to impossible without the creative stimulation of both the head and the heart.
As you watch the exploits of Harry Callahan on the silver screen, you’re energized by fear, anger, compassion, suspense, surprise, and other emotions. They arise not just through empathy… but also in response to your intellectual need to answer questions and resolve problems posed by the plot.
The same is true of storytelling in sales copy.
Each twist of the tale stimulates your
prospect’s whole brain …
Like a moviegoer, projecting himself into Eastwood’s heroic shoes, your prospect wants to know: What’s going to happen next? How will it turn out?
A great movie makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes your heart race with breathless excitement, but above all – it makes you wait.
How many bad movies have you sat through because you had to know the nagging answer to these questions?
The same eternal teasing from beginning to the end will hook your prospects on reading every word of your sales copy, especially if the questions you raise and the problems you pose deal with primal human motivations.
Revenge … survival … sex … the desire to protect one’s family … and the powerful feelings these motivations inspire are what make us feel alive. They are addictive, intoxicating … ever more so in our increasingly sanitized, anti-septic world.
If you want to maximize your response, look for ways to reduce your appeals down to one or more of these lowest common denominators.
And conflict is crucial.
When conflict engages our thoughts and emotions, our awareness of time disappears. We become absorbed in the action.
The essence of life is conflict – an endless competition for esteem … resources … sexual partners … safety … freedom. A world filled with peace and brotherly love and endless abundance might be a nice thought, but it makes a lousy story.
There can be no satisfaction without conflict. Once housed, dressed, fed, and medicated, the inner wars begin. Boredom, self-loathing, loneliness, there is no escape. The endless wounds of life are ever waiting the soothing balm of your product or service.
As your sales story unfolds, as you reveal conflict between good and evil, your prospects always unconsciously identify with the positive.
Each of us believes deep down in our hearts that we are good and that we are right. We know we are flawed, full of bestial, selfish, and base thoughts that are far from heroic, but at the same time we rationalize our behavior.
The worst criminals on Earth believed themselves to be fundamentally good people.
John Dillinger fancied himself somewhat of a modern day Robin Hood. Al Capone believed he was one of the good guys. “I’m just a businessman, giving the people what they want.”
Even Hitler considered himself the savior of Europe.
It’s human nature to identify with
the good and the just …
Your prospects will always empathize with these qualities in your character. But realize they are relative values.
“Good” is a judgment made in relationship to a backdrop of conflict. That’s why every satisfying sales story needs a villain – the more villainous the better.
Eastwood’s Dirty Harry is a cold-blooded killer. He’s an equal opportunity bigot. He hates every ethnicity equally – hardly a positive role model.
But in comparison to his nemesis, Scorpio – a homicidal maniac who buries 14-year-old girls alive – Harry is positively warm and cuddly.
We accept his shortcomings and imperfections and his violent vigilante tendencies because we see them in ourselves. We are forgiven for harboring them because in the face of evil incarnate, they are necessary. The end justifies the means. We only wish we had his courage.
In the same way, the character you play on the sales stage need not be perfect either. Who among us is?
As long as you’re involved in mortal combat against a brutal, cold-blooded, corrupt and immoral common adversary, your prospects will willingly embrace your less-than-perfect past. They’ll admire your unorthodox, politically-incorrect approach to solving problems.
And they’ll bond with you like super-glue.
If it worked for Dirty Harry, maybe it’ll work for you too.
Until next time, Good Selling!