Is it possible to turn words into cold hard cash?
Is it possible to influence and persuade others to do what you want with “the right combination of words”?
Are you just 1 good sales letter away from making millions?
The answer to all of the above is… HELL YEAH!
I know because I’ve been doing it for over 19 years. I do it using a process called “copywriting”. I’m often asked (even by my friends and family), “What do you do? How do you do it?”
This article will give you a big overview of what copywriting is and give you a few solid techniques you can use to improve your sales.
First, a funny story of how I got started…
The National Enquirer Experiment
I was reading my aunt’s National Enquirer magazines and I saw a bunch of weight loss ads. I had been training for a few years and helped my best friend lost 191 lbs in 18 months. Plus I had just started my University education in the science of physical activity and kinesiology.
I partnered up with my good friend, Arthur (R.I.P. brother) and we decided to run an ad in the classified ads section of the National Enquirer.
The ad was as simple as it gets: “Lose 20 Lbs In The Next 30 Days. Call 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX”
We got OVER 120 CALLS! I whipped up a sales letter (had no idea what I was doing) and we mailed them out.
I got back ONE ORDER! I couldn’t believe it. Someone sent us a CHECK!
I deposited the check with pride and the bastard bounced.
Although we lost $200 with this experiment, I saw a lot of success in it.
First: we got over 120 calls! Second: someone sent us money (kind of).
Whipping People Up Into A Frenzy Of Fear
My next big marketing experiment was scaring the shit out of people…
I still remember this day like it was last week… I go to the mailbox and there’s a letter for me (written by my future copywriting mentor John Carlton). I rip it open and there’s an American nickel glued to the letter. I’m thinking “WTF is this about?” So, I start reading it…
It tells this wild story about a guy walking in a rave in Tulsa and rubbing the head of a neo-nazi skinhead and saying “Nice haircut buddy”.
Three neo-nazis stand up and corner him. He beats the living shit out of two of them so fast that the third guy ran.
The letter kept going and described this amazing system called “Combat JKD”. I took my newspaper savings and invested in the tapes.
A few weeks later, the tapes arrive and it’s like Christmas. I pop them in and I can’t get enough. I start training this stuff daily with Arthur and a few other friends. This was the REAL DEAL. I was HOOKED.
How To Finance A Broke Student’s Obsession
So I hit the internet in search of “Chris Clugston”, the creator of Combat JKD. I wanted to train with him badly.
He was based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I searched for flights… $2,000 USD! Plus the training fees… plus hotel… plus food… I was looking at over $3,000 USD ($4,000 Canadian dollars).
As a broke University student, it wasn’t in the cards.
I asked him “How much to bring you here and do a seminar?”
It was going to be around $3,000 all in if he stayed at my parent’s place.
“Let’s do it!” I reply.
Arthur and I partnered up and started hustling. I knew I needed to ACTIVATE FEAR to sell this event.
So I wrote the scariest sales letter possible. Rape stats… crime stats… After you read that, you couldn’t ignore the possibility that you would get attacked TONIGHT. LOL
It worked. We sold enough seats to break even.
We went on to do over 35 events over the next few years — primarily due to our fear-driven copy.
Training With The Masters
My next evolution was to get some proper training. I invested in Ted Nicholas’s training course and I saw Gary Halbert speak. I then went to several Halbert events and I even hired him. Flew out to Miami and spent a few days with him.
Then I got turned on to John Carlton. I hired John to rip apart my copy to shreds for a few years. It proved to be one of the wisest moves I ever made.
Then I attended the legendary Gary Bencivenga’s one and only event… Clayton Makepeace’s copywriting event… Dan Kennedy’s “last ever copywriting event”.
Profiting From My Skills
Using my sharpened copywriting skills, I was able to write 4 winning sales letters in 4 different markets: self-defense, skin care, self-help and bodybuilding. I was making more money than I ever made in my life. I retired from personal training… moved to Panama and the rest his history. You can read some of the madness that happened when I moved to Panama here.
What Is Copywriting?
My definition is…
It’s the art and science of activating human nature with persuasion, influence and harmonization to move people into action.
Another definition I love is from John E Kennedy, “Salesmanship in print”. A good sales letter is a tireless salesmen who delivers a great pitch every single time.
The Science Of Copywriting
Copywriting is a LEARNABLE SCIENCE. There are many levels to copywriting and it comes down to understanding human nature.
Copywriting is MORE than just applied psychology… copywriting is about activating HUMAN NATURE.
Human nature includes: the lizard brain, the emotions, the logical mind and the spirit. Each one of these 4 components of human nature break down into sub areas.
Feeding The Lizard Brain
The 4 “Fs” of the lizard brain are: Fighting, Fleeing, Fucking And Feeding.
Anything that appeals to those survival instincts is talking to the lizard brain. Depending on what you’re selling, talking to lizard man can be very effective. A good example is dating products.
Lizard man deserves his own full blown article in the future.
Appealing The Emotional Brain
As human beings, we’re all driven by emotions. Avoiding bad emotions and chasing good ones. One of the most effective classic copywriting methods is to AGGRAVATE the pain (by hitting painful emotions) and then showing a way out (your solution).
There are many powerful emotions that can be tapped to activate a response: shame, guilt, sadness, fear, desire, anger, pride, love and more. Choosing the right emotions to appeal to your audience is a very important part of a great sales message.
Another classic definition for copywriting is “applied psychology”. In other words, we’re applying our understanding of psychology to get people to take action.
Here are two of the best methods:
Psychological Triggers: Activating Cognitive Biases In Your Favor
There are over 100 different documented cognitive biases. Here’s the definition from wikipedia: A cognitive bias refers to a systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment…
When we apply cognitive biases in our marketing they become PSYCHOLOGICAL SALES TRIGGERS: Sales promotions… exclusive offers… Limited supply… Social proof… Celebrities… are all marketing applications of cognitive biases.
By learning them and the techniques, you can activate these psychological sales triggers in your potential clients and increase sales.
Reasoning With The Intellectual Brain
The other core mental copywriting strategy is to use logic and reason.
As the saying goes… “people buy on emotion, and justify with logic.”
Here are two proven tactics:
a.) Strong Logic Flow
If you’re aiming to prove your point or share your point of view, it’s important to create a bullet proof logic flow. Here’s a simple example: if the US currency crashes, gold’s price will explode because investors will seek refuge.
Being able to back up everything that you say with researched facts, studies and other forms of proof is the key to this process.
b.) List of reasons
Another simple technique is to create a list of “The X reasons why…”
“Here’s 10 reasons why you should buy my copywriting course…”
“Here’s 5 reasons why you should invest in this program…”
Connecting To The Spirit
Another part of human nature is Spirit. VERY few copywriters even think of appealing to people’s Spirit with their copy — yet if you’re able to do that… it’s possibly the strongest motivator on Earth.
Only use this method if you’re speaking to spiritual people… and selling something that will help them become a better human being.
Keep in mind that only a very small percentage of the world is spiritual.
Speak To Their Ambitions
One of the best methods is to speak to their ambition. Brendon Burchard is one of the best examples of this. Tony Robbins is another master of this technique.
They don’t talk to who you are now… They talk to who you want to become. And they are going to show you how to get there.
The Next Level
This article was a very brief overview of some of the concepts and strategies that are behind great copywriting.
In September, I will be launching a new marketing and copywriting program called “Level 5 Marketing”. Level 5 Marketing course will show you to create clean, effective compliant copy and marketing in today’s world. It’s going to be the most thorough, cutting-edge copywriting course ever put together.
Many of the old copywriting techniques I learned are now obsolete because of Google Adwords and Facebook’s new rules. I’m excited to share with you the NEW RULES of marketing.
If this is something you’re interesting in — enter your name and email below to get updates and we’ll send you some awesome copywriting material in the upcoming months.