Mixing Up Tactics and Strategy

This weekend I’m giving a short talk on "Big Picture Marketing and Irresistible Offers." It’s for my local business networking group. We meet twice a month, introduce ourselves, listen to someone talk, and talk shop.

Generally, the speaker will talk about the services they provide. The longer I go, the more I find that most people can’t tell you what copywriting is. They think I work for an attorney doing copyrights .

Rather than talk about the intricacies of a sales letter, NLP or statistical analysis, I’m going to hit the big picture. Most people have some understanding of the purpose of marketing and advertising.

Too often though, they mix up marketing as a strategy with a certain tactic of advertising. They may think that because they put a classified ad in the paper or phone book, they’ve tried advertising and it doesn’t work.

If you look at the big picture, here is a good outline you’ll find in Chet Meisner’s The Complete Guide to Direct Marketing .

  1. Company Objectives
  2. Marketing Objectives
  3. Marketing Goals
  4. Strategic Promotional Strategies
  5. Methodologies and Approaches
  6. Media

When someone "tries" advertising, what they’re really trying is a media. They’ve probably skipped steps 1-4 and have only a fuzzy notion of 5 which is about what you want to accomplish through a certain strategy.

Advertising, PR, Sales and Direct Marketing are what the 4th step is about. You can be trying any of those strategies in print. What you’d like to accomplish in that print media is the 5th step. That could be lead generation, getting orders or subscribers, branding, etc.

I specialize in direct marketing. More to the point, it’s direct response. That means when I write for a company, we’ll be expecting a percentage of prospects to take some course of action the client wants. It’s been called salesmanship in print.

That’s significantly different from someone who "tried" advertising and has convinced himself it doesn’t work.

Words Giving a Statistical Advantage to Marketing

James Brausch… or one of his interns… posted today on the statistical consequences of hype. The conclusion was that one man’s hype is another’s enthusiasm. It really depends on the words because people can’t hear your enthusiasm through the computer or paper.

The reason I found this notable is that several of the words that could be associated with hype were ranked with the statistical analysis software James created. A while back, I did the same thing. I took John Carlton’s list of "Power Words" and put them through the same tool. I was surprised by what I found.

If you Google "most powerful words" without the quotes you’ll find a few links to the list of words called the 12 Most Powerful Words in the English Language. One source attributes them to Duke. Another to Yale. I’ll show you what I mean.

You -6

Money 3

Save 16

New -7

Easy -9

Love -4

Discovery 51

Results 21

Health -28

Proven -53

Guarantee 51

Free -27

The numbers that follow these most powerful words are whether they correlate positively or negatively to persuasive sales copy. On that list we end up with only 2 real power words, 2 moderately powerful words, a few that aren’t so hot and 3 you want to avoid in your copy.

How did Carlton’s word list stand up? Out of about 600+ words that ended up being significantly positive or negative, almost 400 were positive and over 200 were negative. Who would have guessed? Before Glyphius, we all did.

Yes, I realize there was testing before Glyphius. How accurate were those test results? Were we testing one word at a time? How accurate would that be? And that’s a point in time result. After a couple of years of seeing ads on the web people probably started gravitating toward different words.

Who would have guessed that "free" would end up a loser?

Crystallized Words Resonating in the Heart

I’ve wondered why some words perform statistically better than others. Why is “know” statistically terrible but “realize” is okay and “be aware of” is outstanding?

One theory I have has to do with water crystals. Dr Emoto experimented with words attached to samples of water. He then froze the water and took pictures of the crystals. The results are amazing. You see that different words actually create different molecular patterns of crystals. Beautiful words create beautiful pictures and vise versa.

Somewhere deep in the psyche of man is an unconscious resonance with words, sounds and meanings. It only makes sense given the fact that we’re 100% energy. Why wouldn’t energy from other sources affect our personal energy?

That’s my theory. The energy of words interacts with the energy of human consciousness. Statistical analysis based on thousands of profitable and unprofitable ads helps us detect this pattern.

Beyond the marketing, each person is made up of 70% water. If words near water make such a huge difference in their molecular makeup, how much more so does our attitude affect our well being?

NLP Seminar Update

I returned from Las Vegas Saturday night fairly sleep deprived. You see, I ended up staying at a hostel which was a good change of pace from the conference but that pace excluded much sleep.

The seminar was truly amazing. I’ll be incorporating what I learned into my portfolio in the future and a sales letter for potential clients sooner than later.

The best way I can describe the difference NLP makes is to compare modern commercials to older ones. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7qVFyVfDy8 .

In this first clip, the actor is talking about the features of this beer. From the look of it he doesn’t like it. Watch his face when he actually drinks it. Makes you want some, huh?

Fast forward to modern times: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEVa2swtC10.

Remember anything about the beer from this commercial? Nope. You only get images… some funny… some sexy. Your brain gets a message directly bypassing your conscious filtering. If you’re in the target market, you can’t help but associate fun with the product. The only issue may be that you can’t remember which beer the commercial was for. But you admire the wing man.

NLP copywriting is as different from traditional benefit oriented copywriting as those commercials. It allows you to slip through people’s resistance to a product unnoticed. Of course you can’t violate someone’s core values. If they might have bought it before, they’ll be much more inclined.

Upcoming Seminars and Competitive Advantages

Some interesting news…

I signed up to attend Harlan Kilstein’s first NLP Writing Certification seminar. Harlan is the only one who’s mastered the art of applying NLP to copywriting. He says it doesn’t work the same at all as the spoken mainstream variety. It should be fascinating material.

When I get back, I’ll begin an 8 week intensive headline and lead course put on by Accelerated Training Services . Many copywriters try to get good at all things and end up missing the boat. This course is aimed at launching you into the ranks of A+ writers when it comes to headlines and leads. That factor alone accounts for 80% of the success of a promotion.

That brings me to the concept of a competitive advantage. So often I hear talk of specializing. Of course you want to narrow the field and excel in a particular market. What’s often missing is the fact that there has to be something that differentiates you from the other guy. Some call it a unique selling proposition, others an irresistible offer. The latter is something entirely different according to Mark Joyner .

Top copywriters say that powerful copywriting is the limiting factor in the growth of many companies and so there will always be lots of work for copywriters. Be that as it may, many top writers and organizations like AWAI are helping more and more copywriters get started… myself included. Some day copywriters may have to compete for work. At the least, we’ll have to compete for the biggest publishers like Agora, Rodale, Boardroom, and Phillips.

Specializing isn’t the same thing as having a competitive advantage. Specializing is choosing the market you want to work in. A competitive advantage is why a client should hire you instead of someone else. Someday the distinctions might matter for writers. We’ll have to begin practicing what we preach. More than a magical personality, we’ll have to be competitive writers.

After these seminars, I’ll be one of a handful of copywriters who are NLP Writing Certified as well as expert in headlines and leads. Pair that with appreciation of statistical analysis and that’s quite a competitive advantage.

Welcome and Good Morning

Why welcome AND good morning?

This blog is dedicated toward better copywriting and life.

There’s a tool that I’ll tell you about later describe in an upcoming post that can tell you with a high degree of certainty whether the words you choose are statistically profitable or not. You can change things like I just did words like those previous ones to see what works better (don’t worry, I won’t keep doing that). In upcoming posts, I’ll review other examples of copywriting and show you what’s working or ways to improve.

Welcome and good morning are equally profitable. The default title, "Hello World" is slightly less profitable. Good afternoon is marginally profitable and hi, dear, and good evening are all unprofitable. That means that you’d be better off with blank space than saying "Dear so-in-so" in print. John Carlton stresses that using a person’s name can increase response by 30% so there’s some offset there.

How else could you begin a letter?

Good morning So-in-so.

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