Vitale’s “Hypnotic Writing” Chapter 20-21

In Chapter 20, Joe makes the point that repetition is hypnotic.

He uses one example of Robin Williams in the movie, “Good Will Hunting.” At the end of the movie, Williams tells Matt Damon that it’s not his fault. Of course it almost gets him assaulted too but it’s just a movie, right?

Another example that comes to mind is a Derren Brown’s Subway Amnesia trick. You’ll notice it didn’t work every time and once he didn’t really use repetition. The phrase he’s using is an embedded command… “What STOP, thinking about it now…”


Chapter 21 is “The Inner Game Of Hypnotic Writing.” Of course I don’t recall what each chapter is about before I reread it for this review series so I was excited when I saw Joe mentioning the book series on inner game. That’s how I learned to ski- I read “The Inner Game of Skiing”, watched an instructional DVD on it and then rehearsed in my head. The first day I went skiing for real, I managed to make it safely down a blue-black hill.

Inner game topics also relate closely to NLP modeling. In fact, I created a model of direct response copywriting. It’s free to anyone who opts into my mailing list here.

So I’m expecting big things when I start into this chapter. First Joe talks about the critic voice and the master writer voice and tells us to turn off the critic while writing at the beginning. Sure, no problem. I like to think of them as the researcher, writer and editor but critic and master work fine too.

Then he talks about 3 steps to basically do stream of consciousness writing.

  1. Set a goal
  2. Be aware of the moment
  3. Trust what happens

Uh, really? That’s the inner game of hypnotic writing? Writing in trance? I was hoping for more than that. I’m all for stream of consciousness and sometimes do it that way too. Or maybe it’s just that hypnosis sometimes seems haphazard when measured against an NLP model.

Whatever the case, if you want inner game stuff check out my copywriting model. And feel free to write in stream of consciousness too when you get to the writing stage of the process.

A Competitive Advantage Is Essential

In doing research for a client this week, I found something strange is going on.

I called a number of debt settlement companies and found that they’re basically all doing the exact same thing.

I called 5 of the largest companies and asked them all what their fees were and what made them better or different than the other companies in their industry. I selected these 5 because they have the largest numbers of International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators.

Most of them charge 15% and a couple charge a monthly fee on top of that.

When asked what they do better, they all pointed to their size and how much debt they’d settled recently. One had stats on customer satisfaction and another said they exclusively used attorneys for negotiations. I’m not sure whether credit card companies care that they’re talking to an attorney or not. A settlement is a settlement and my understanding is they look at the past history of the account, the person’s ability to pay and what kinds of quotas they need settled.

Another company bragged that they were the most expensive and the Mercedes of the debt settlement industry. When pressed, they didn’t have a good answer as to why they were charging more though.

One company even told me they settle 80% of all the consumer debts that get settled. I clarified to make sure he wasn’t meaning they settle for 20 cents on the dollar. No, he meant they settle 80% of the debts. He said they settled $30 million last month. I said I’d just spoken to a company that claimed to have settled $27 million and so $30 million couldn’t possibly be 80%. He didn’t have a response for that.

How do you become the top 5 companies in an exploding industry without a clear competitive advantage? I supposed there’s so much business out there right now that they’re getting by just fine without one.

One of these days some company is going to come up with something that’s going to obliterate the competition once consumers start shopping around. It’s not always going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

For now, being able to document a high customer satisfaction and be friendly on the phone make you the clear winner.

PS. If you’re looking for debt settlement services, the company that had the high customer satisfaction rating was also the only company to not try hard sales tactics on me. If I were in the market for debt settlement, I’d call Marty at Freedom Debt Relief. His direct line is 1-800-544-7211 x16277.

Vitale’s “Hypnotic Writing” Chapter 18-19

In chapter 18, Joe throws his two cents into the long copy versus short copy debate. His answer is that as a general rule of thumb, you need more words for a higher price and that you can write as much as you want as long as it’s interesting.

This may not exactly be a hypnotic writing topic per se but it’s one that every writer wonders about. Just because people read books doesn’t mean you can turn a sales letter into a book no matter how interesting it is. And then there are plenty of catalog sites that sell just fine with a single paragraph.

I’m a fan of stepping back and looking at the big picture. Each sales letter needs to fit into the larger conversation that may be happening through other media than just the single sales letter. If the person has already read a review about your product elsewhere, they may not need a long sales letter. If I spoke to someone over the phone, I may not need anything at all other than an email address to PayPal them some money.

There are two competing philosphies here. There’s “the more you tell, the more you sell,” competing with the idea that many salespeople talk themselves out of too many sales. Oftentimes silence is golden.

So the real answer is to test. And test against nothing too. If you have 10 paragraphs plus a headline, you ought to test not including each of those paragraphs and not having a headline. The only thing you wouldn’t want to test not having is the order link. Everything else is fair game.

Chapter 19 is a reminder to always write to your reader’s insterest rather than your own. Joe encourages us to consider that our readers will be asking, “So what?”, “Who cares?” and “What’s in it for me?” True that.

Upgrading Saga Completed at 2.8.4

I’d mentioned before that I’ve been having issues with WordPress upgrades. My last fix I detailed in a previous blog but I’d still had one hold out until now.

When I’d used InstantUpgrade on the rest of my blogs, everything had worked out fine. This blog is my oldest one though and after the most recent upgrade, wouldn’t display the “Edit Posts” page nor the “Export” page. Fortunately I could still backup though I probably wouldn’t know what to do with it if everything crashed.

I think the issue with this blog was that I was still using the first version of InstantUpgrade instead of the new beta version. When I deleted the old one, the new one installed just fine. When I upgraded though, I was still on WP 2.8.2 instead of 2.8.4. I tried it again and got the same result. When I tried it a 3rd time, I manually typed in the version I wanted to upgrade it to and everything finally worked.

I’ve reactivated and upgraded all my plugins and everything seems to be working now for the first time in quite a while. That’s a relief. I noticed I’d let some spam build up and most of them were for pharamcueticals. Hmm. I wonder what happened to all the porn spam. Not that I miss it of course. It was just a surprise to see that the industries have shifted their spamming activities.

Write When You Are Feeling Good- Never When You’re Tired

The tone of any particular piece of writing comes across as clearly as the nose on your face. Many times that I read a CV that has been written by someone who is fearful, I can tell immediately. The tone of writing comes across very quickly and turns off the reader so quickly that the CV gets rejected almost immediately even though nothing else is actually wrong with the document

You cannot help the way you feel about an event that is going on in your life. Feelings of desperation, despair, loneliness, etc. find a way of getting in to your subconscious mind and this definitely transmits through to the things you say and write about. One of the first things to do to resolve this issue is to understand it in the first place. Once you understand that your feelings definitely transmit into writing, you can start to do something about it

Just the simple fact of understanding that your feelings affect the way you come across in writing can help you get the results that you desire from your writing. For example, if you are at your best first thing in the morning, clearly it makes sense to write then. We all have some degree of flexibility in our schedule and choosing to write at the time when we are at our best and perhaps just planning when we are not so good

Feeling great about yourself is bond to come over in your writing. When you feel the most positive, drop everything (if that is possible for you) and get down to writing that important sales letter, job application, resume, etc. Be aware of your feelings and moods and monitor your writing for positivity. Get someone else to read through your work and make sure that you are projecting the message that you are trying to achieve

Never write when you are feeling tired. If you want to be sure to turn off your reader, make sure you write when tired. You will end up using language that turns the reader off, not on and you may as well not bother in the first place.

The best writers in the world put something of themselves into their writing. They are not scared to give everything of themselves and they connect with their audience as a result. Emotion, particularly strong emotion makes a massive difference for us- if you want to be sure that you connect with your reader, you have to take a little risk sometimes.

Taking risks in a positive way with your writing will produce incredible results. If you cannot connect with your reader, you might as well not bother. Selling yourself through an important document like a CV is so vital to the success of your life that you need to be sure that your language connects with the reader in a positive, emotionally captivating way

About the Author:

Top 5 Reasons Why Marketing Integration Specialists Trump Web Designers In Making A Website Work

Marketing Specialists are more effective on websites than actual web designers.

Setting up an internet company? Not sure on how to start your online business? Then this article is for you! This article seeks to aid internet businessmen looking to start an online enterprise in choosing people to help and introduce them to the world of email marketing. It focuses on keeping substance over style in creating a website when hiring a professional to do it for you.

Let’s get started then! First up – DON’T HIRE A WEB DESIGNER. HIRE A MARKETING INTEGRATION SPECIALIST INSTEAD. A lot of starting up companies make the mistake of leaving their websites at the hands of web designers. Not to undermine the capabilities of web designers, but their sole concern is in creating a great image for the company. Their jobs are focused on creating a respectable and professional company face. Although a lot of web designers do great jobs at this, just as it is pointless and disappointing to suit up and have nowhere to go, a good-looking website is nothing without visitors. Here are some reasons a good copy writer or marketing integration specialist would do a better job than a web designer.

Cheaper Cost: Most web designers charge tens of thousands of US dollars to create a visual treat of a website, not to mention design a logo for your company. Whereas a marketing integration specialist would only charge a reasonable fee for the actual website design, and have the logo design outsourced to their partners.

Writers are less Flashy: In creating a visual treat of a website, most web designers use flash for a more intricate feel on the site. Flash loads very slowly on internet browsers, causing readers to search for some other site. Search Engines also tend to leave out pages with flash in their search results. Marketing integration specialists or copy writers use flash only for advertisements and customer testimonials. This keeps the page high in search engine results, and assures the fast loading of the web site in browsers.

They provide your content for you: Upon completion of a website, web designers would ask for the web content from you. Then all they have to do is copy and paste the information you sent them, on your home page, about page, contact page, etc. Marketing Integration Specialists have copy writer capabilities to provide you with your site content based on your company’s policies and principles. This allows for them to maximize your website responses.

Work Wonders with Web Traffic: Web Designers are great at layouting but suffer from disregard for search engine optimization. Whereas marketing integration specialists create search-engine-friendly sites to ensure that your website comes out in the top searches.

Constant Website Management: Web designers ultimately make you a site that’s pure eye candy and leave you to it. Letting you figure out your website and how you’re supposed to make money with it, on your own. A marketing writer provides constant checkups and management to ensure that your website gets the best results.

Beside this, consultation and proposals from a marketing integration specialist is free. So it clearly shows that when starting a web site, we shouldn’t hire a web designer, but a marketing integration specialist. This could be the first step to your future in cyberspace.

About the Author:

Upgrading to WordPress 2.8.2

I’d been having issues upgrading the version and some plugins on this and other of my blogs. The automatic upgrade tool hadn’t been working. If you’re having the same issue and contemplating a manual upgrade, I have shortcut for you.

Turns out, there’s a plugin called InstantUpgrade. I’d been using it before WordPress started including that feature in their new versions. My experience has been that feature doesn’t always work. I’ve been several versions behind because I didn’t want to face the prospect of a manual install.

Here’s the way I finally upgraded automatically without using the WP tool. I can’t guarantee it will work for you. It worked on 7 blogs with different WP versions flawlessly and one more almost flawlessly (I can’t seem to access the Edit Posts page anymore):

  1. Make sure you back everything up first.
  2. Install the InstantUpgrade plugin.
  3. Deactivate all your plugins except InstantUpgrade.
  4. Go to the InstantUpgrade admin page.
  5. Select your preference for HTTP or FTP install (HTTP worked fine for me and doesn’t require entering additional info)
  6. Upgrade to the latest version.
  7. Log back in.
  8. Reactivate your plugins.
  9. Check to make sure you can still access everything.

Also, I found that some plugins won’t automatically upgrade. What I figured out it that just about all of them upgrade just fine if you deactivate them first.

Hope that helps. Use these directions at your own risk. They didn’t work perfectly for me and might not for you either.

Types of Testing and Software

Many people in the marketing world are familiar with split testing. It’s the stuff Claude Hopkins wrote about in his book “Scientific Advertising” way back in 1923. Not as many are familiar with multivariate testing.

Split testing is testing version A versus version B. That’s about all you could do before the age of computers and the internet. You ran two different ads in similar periodicals to see which one did better. Of course back then, there were way to many variables to give you perfect results if it got close.

Now, one of the most perfect split testing operations is Google AdWords. Not only can you rotate A vs B, but you can test A vs B vs C… as far out as you care to write copy for.

So what’s multivariate testing? If you’re only writing a headline and two lines of copy, you can probably do without it. On the other hand, if you have much more than that, you need to know which headlines work best with which leads with which calls to action. If you introduce multiple variations for every variable you want to test, the possible combinations are practically impossible to sort out.

Even so, sorting out and pre-planning is what Taguchi testing is all about. Think of Taguchi testing as advanced split testing with many different combinations pre-planned. It was originally designed to test factory production lines.

What Taguchi can’t tell you is what relationship all of the variables have to each other outside those preplanned combinations. So essentially, it’s split testing with more versions.

For a tangible example, consider the following:

You have an email you’d like to test. You want to test 3 different headlines, greetings, opening paragraphs, body copy and closing. That’s 3 to the 5th power or 243 variations. If you had just two versions of 15 different variables, you’re talking over 32,000 total variations. Are you really going to try to split test that? No, that’s not possible. Taguchi testing would try to pick several of the best ones and split test them. Multivariate testing would test them all until it found the best combinations.

If you’d like more detail about why multivariate testing kicks butt over split or Taguchi testing, check out the white paper below. It was written by a Google Authorized Consultant who uses Google’s solution, Google Website Optimizer.

If you realize how much better multivariate testing is, how can you take advantage of it? Here are some of the different solutions so far:

  • Google Website Optimizer: a free solution. It’s great if you can write code or pay someone to.
  • MuVar or now TestiVar: a former product of James Brausch. It’s written in php so you also need to know code. It’s a one time fee for the software and you can install it on as many websites as you have. The reason it’s better than Google’s solution is that it “watches” the results and over time favors the winning combinations. If you give it some time, you’ll end up with a fully optimized website. Otherwise, you have to have someone constantly setting up tests and analyzing the results.
  • These guys SAY they multivariate test email and web pages but they don’t have enough info on their website (which doesn’t look like they optimized it either) to know. There’s no 3rd party credibility so I can’t say whether they could deliver or how they work.
  • These guys look reputable from their website. Unfortunately, they only do Taguchi testing. The good thing though is that it looks like it only requires a small amount of coding (good if you know how) and then it’s an easy user interface.
  • They also look like a reputable company. They do full multivariate testing. They require someone to do coding and ongoing technical support.
  • This looks like the easiest solution out there so far. They don’t require you to make any changes to your website but instead act as a filter for your site. When people go to your site, they intercept the traffic and send out the variations you wanted to test. Of course you have ongoing fees to support it but unless something easier comes along, it’s probably well worth it depending on your business.

All of these solutions required some amount of coding at one time or another. Personally, I’ve been challenged with MuVar because I’m not a programmer and realize that to get the most out of it (and be able to test the nuances of NLP language patterns in different formats), I probably need to go learn CSS.

What is NO ONE doing? Easy, multivariate software for marketing people… your typical business owner can barely manage a website IF there’s no coding involved. They aren’t going to figure out Google Website Optimizer or any of these other solutions aside from maybe Sitespect if they can afford it.

What would be the ideal solution? Drag and drop interface. You click, highlight and insert different variables to test. You can test depending on different sources of traffic. Your test results automatically favor the winners and let you know when those winners have been decided with a certain degree of certainty.

There needs to be one click installation or a technical support rep available to walk you through it (needs to be even easier than installing WordPress). And it ought to have the option of being a web app so you can log in from anywhere and add more variables.

There aren’t many companies out there positioned to take advantage of this. Partially that’s because the market has been driven by IT department purchases. That’s changing now as web tools become more accessible to marketers. As marketers start driving software infrastructure purchases, they’re going to start asking for essential modern marketing tools like multivariate testing.

And what about email? I don’t know of anyone multivariate testing email. Conversion Multiplier claims to but their website has no proof so maybe they are, maybe they aren’t.

Here’s how an email multivariate testing program could work:

Instead of the typical split testing approach (testing 2 or more emails on a small percentage of your list), a multivariate tester could return results in real time.

Typically, you’re wanting to measure a number of different actions: bounce rate (or if the servers think it’s spam), open rate, click through rate, unsubscribe rate, and purchases once they click through. Almost no one measures customer longevity but that would be a good metric too.

What if you multivariate test by trickling out emails to a percentage of your list? Your email program would send out versions generated from your different variables and rank them according to however you weighted the different action metrics. The whole setup would need to be an easy interface, drag and drop, and point and click too.

If you had optimizing capabilities (the program favored winners), you could send it once and be done. By the time you were halfway through the list, the program would be sending out only a few different variations that were all close winners.

How do you think that would affect your conversion rates or future copywriting? It would change everything.

And if the barrier between programmers and marketers were removed… everyone would be doing this and we’d all be seeing much better marketing messages.

Any company out there want to make this happen? We’re all waiting.

Vitale’s “Hypnotic Writing” Chapter 16-17

Chapter 16 is about the two ways to motivate people. Joe says you can either use pleasure or pain and that most marketers use pain.

He does note that he prefers to avoid putting more pain into the marketplace as his contribution to humanity. Even so, he gives us a couple of fairly well known sales models:

AIDA: Attention, interest, desire and action.

Problem, promise, proof and price.

So how do you do that without focusing on the problem? Joe reprints an article on the subject that you can find here:

The Greatest Motivator Isn’t What You Think—
or, What I Learned From Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler on Valentine’s Day

Then Joe says he’s stepped back from that position a little. Now he thinks it’s okay to at least mention the problem in case the person is in denial about it. Alternately you could be entering the conversation going on inside their head that way.

One example he gives is that someone who has sore feet would probably pay attention to a headline “Sore Feet?” But then he says he’d want to test that against solution oriented headlines like “Want Foot Relief?

Joe quotes Eugene Schwartz as having said, “You are literally the script writer for your prospect’s dreams.”

Based on that, Joe sets out to make up a new formula: Promise, proof and price.

Interestingly enough, that formula is only missing one of the elements copywriters often teach: Picture. So the 4 P’s as they’re called are picture, promise, proof and push (or price).

I think Joe is headed in the right direction here. It coincides with what we’re learning about generative NLP (aka NOTNLP). In NOTNLP, there’s no concern for any problems. You simply find out what the person wants and help them create that in a future context.

The difference between that and “Picture” is that you take them there to that future and help them experience what it would be like if they already had it and knew they did. That’s a little more thorough than simply imagining something.

On to Chapter 17…

Here Joe talks about expanding his 3 step formula into a full online landing page. He uses an example which is no longer live. I can’t tell for sure whether it’s a domain parking page or an affiliate site. In any event, he’s just showing us an example of promise, proof and price.

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