In my last post, I referred to a sales letter that was making a blatant mistake of trying to do in writing what only works (if at all) spoken. I’m going to show you the whole thing now so you can see for yourself.
The reason I didn’t go into depth last time was that I was also using that post for article marketing. I wanted to give you, my dear blog reader, a more exclusive look.
Also, as a disclaimer, let me say I haven’t reviewed the actual course. My comments here are based on the sales letter and his “Confessions of a Hypnotist” book.
The page I referenced is here:
Jonathan Royle’s NLP Master Practioner Course
The paragraph I was referring to came about 1/4th of the way down the page after the subhead:
HOW BAD DO YOU FEEL FOR MISSING THIS COURSE?
You can look and see the rest of the blatant attempt at manipulation there. I want to point out a couple of other observations I had in reading his sales letter.
Hypnotic writing aside, there are a few basic copywriting issues with this letter. Namely, 1) poor headline, 2) fonts are all the wrong shapes and sizes and 3) unconvincing testimonials.
Here’s the headline:
YOU ARE ABOUT TO SAVE MANY THOUSANDS OF ££££ – $$$$ ON OTHER INFERIOR – LONG WINDED AND OVERPRICED NLP MASTER PRACTITIONER COURSES AND YOU’LL SAVE A FORTUNE ON TRAVEL & ACCOMODATION COSTS WHILST ALSO LEARNING SECRETS NEVER BEFORE TAUGHT ON ANY OTHER NLP MASTER PRACTITIONER COURSE – SO FOR YOUR FUTURE HAPPINESS AND SUCCESS YOU WOULD BE WISE TO READ ON…
First off, the headline is too long. It’s a paragraph rather than a headline. One marketer who did extensive testing said the outer length of a headline can’t be past 131 characters and this one is 353. Ironically, he’s comparing his product to the others by calling them “long winded.”
Secondly, never put your whole headline in all caps. Caps mean you’re shouting. You can put individual words or phrases in caps for emphasis (or maybe to embed a command) but not whole sentences and definitely not for a whole paragraph.
Finally, the benefit statement is weak. To sum it up, he’s saying save money and my course is better and save money and I’ll tell you secrets you won’t hear anywhere else and you better buy it because you won’t be happy if you don’t. Hmm… really? Some questions then come to mind:
- People know you typically get what you pay for. Why is he selling something that you might expect to pay thousands for for 150 pounds?
- How did he compress weeks into a weekend? (Not answered in the sales letter either)
- What kind of secrets could only he know? (Turns out, probably nothing he didn’t repackage and/or rename himself)
- How does this compare to a legitimate master practitioner course?
Now typically, you want to generate curiosity with a headline. This one though generates questions all right… but the skeptical kind, not the interestingly curious kind.
People who have tested fonts will tell you the bigger, the better for headlines. In my Firefox browser, the headline looks the same size as the body copy.
Typically, you’ll want your subheads to be smaller than your headline but larger than your body copy. Again, in my browser, the subheads look bigger than both.
For readability, you usually don’t want paragraphs to be longer than 4 lines. One line is okay here and there especially if that line is a complete idea. I count one paragraph with 11 lines in it. Scanning through the letter you see that about half the paragraphs are more than 4 lines.
Also, you want to use a san-serif font for headlines and subheads and serif font for body copy. The default on Microsoft Word is the opposite of that and that’s what this letter did as well. Serif fonts are what you see in books and newspapers and what we’re used to seeing in paragraphs. San-serif is slightly faster to read because there are less shapes involved for your eye to identify. That’s probably why they’re for headlines.
When I first read this letter, there was one thing I wanted to see in the sales letter AND backed up by a testimonial… how does this course compare to accredited NLP practitioner courses? While the letter talks about a regional UK accreditation (which I wasn’t able to locate in Google), no one in a testimonial says it’s better than real NLP courses.
Here’s what the sales letter says to that effect:
Some of the delegates were already ANLPTA and ANLP approved & certified NLP Practitioners, Master Practitioners and Trainers, and even many of them made comments such as “Blimey I would never have thought it would be possible to learn NLP & Hypnotherapy to this level in just two days if I had not seen it with my own eyes, what’s even more amazing is that I learnt more from Royle in the past two days than I ever did on my original “Approved” NLP course which took Seven days for the first level of training alone!”
No one is quoted. None of the testimonials are from anyone with an NLP designation following their name. In fact, they’re many if not all the same testimonials he uses for all of his products.
He uses the argument that even NLP Trainers attended his seminar. What that’s an argument for is that NLP Trainers understand the value of continuing their education, not that his course was better than accredited versions.
A final piece of evidence I have was that I read his way too long book, “Confessions of a Hypnotist.” While the personal anecdotes are entertaining, I was left feeling he has a limited understanding of NLP. His forte is as a stage hypnotist. His only reference for learning NLP was to read Tony Robbins. Tony’s stuff is good but it’s far from the gold standard for NLP.
Overall, I’d say Jonathan Royal may be one of the closest things we have to a modern day PT Barnum. He does crazy stuff for public relations which was Barnum’s most well known attribute. No doubt he’s a good stage hypnotist. I have serious doubts though that his master practitioner course reviewed here is worth the money you’d pay.
And if you’re thinking of taking NLP courses to buff up on your marketing, look no further. My “Be A Hypnotic Writer” home study course includes all of that for a marketing context. To get the first lesson free, go to: