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#486: A Sweet, Dark History of the Promise Lead

When writing a Promise-Driven Lead, where should you start? The default for most marketers is to study the product and just figure out what it can do best. We’ve all heard, after all, the lesson about “features” versus “benefits.” First… Continue Reading

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10 Proven Ways To Make Your Message “Go Viral”

First, can I confess something? I hate talking about “content” like this. It’s the word itself. So cold, so academic. It sounds like we’re talking dispassionately about fuel grades at a gas pump. “Content,” of course, just means the stuff… Continue Reading

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Which Sells Best, Stories or Stats?

Carnegie-Mellon, says the book “Made to Stick,” did a study. They invited participants in to take a survey. The topic wasn’t important — something about tech products — but what mattered was the small payout. Each participant got paid with five… Continue Reading

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The Dark Side of Testimonial-Driven Sales Copy

It’s always a great idea to throw lots of testimonials into your copy. Except when it isn’t. Here are some times when you might not want to run a testimonial past your audience… When it’s emotionally unsatisfying and vague: “I found… Continue Reading

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How One Big Idea Beats Lots of Small Ones

“Shut up and listen,” I said. I was talking to Michael Masterson, the great copywriter, publisher, and best-selling author. Had I lost my mind? Not at all.

Rather, I was summing up the core idea behind one of the best-selling books of all time, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” That, in my opinion, is the key idea behind that book. And the fact that it’s so easily defined has a lot to do with its success.

Michael came back with another example… I delivered a third… and the volley went back and forth, until we ran out of ready examples. It wasn’t a game. See, Michael and I — along with another brilliant copywriter, Bill Bonner — had just finished running four straight days of an intensive, private copywriting bootcamp…

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Read this NOW, or the Puppy Gets It!

Years ago, I think it was National Lampoon sent out a mail campaign trying to get subscribers… or maybe it was renewals… with a picture of a man holding an adorable puppy draped over his left arm. In his right hand, he held what looked like Dirty Harry’s revolver. The headline read (I’m paraphrasing): “Subscribe now or the puppy gets it!” Depending on how you feel about puppies, that qualifies as an “urgency” pitch. Of course, there are other ways to create urgency. Continue Reading