This might surprise you...
40% of direct response copywriting comes down to the ability to craft an irresistible offer or pitch
As I stated in my last post, the Architecture of Persuasion, I am going to break down two of my real pitches for a few reasons:
1) To show gradualization in effect
2) To explain my mindset behind making a pitch/sales letter
3)To kick off my new "copy critique" section. I'm going to start breaking down sales pitches and old sales letters to show you the various bits and pieces involved in making a successful sales pitch.
Are you ready? Let's get into it...
The first half of this post will be my breaking down my mindset when I create a pitch.
The second half will be the actual pitches I made for two different services. One selling Radio ads, and the other selling Google Adword Campaigns.
The first thing I do is think "Where are they now, and where do I want them to be"...I call this bridging the gap
For example, let's say I want somebody to move from Toronto to LA, immediately.
In order to bridge this gap, and to apply the theory of gradualization, I think "What will this person have to agree with in order to get where I want them to be?"
This includes answering any objections they might have in your pitch or story.
1) It is worth it for them to move from Toronto to LA
2) They are able to move from Toronto to LA
3) There is a reason for them to move now
It can be as simple as these three questions.
When you answer them and use the theory of gradualization, you can easily come up with the structure for your pitch.
If your prospect has the ability to buy what you're selling and the willingness, than all you need to do is remove the emotional obstacles for them to buy. In order to do this you need to intensify their desire, and give them believable reasons to buy your stuff.
The next step in my process is to put myself in their shoes using the instant empathy technique.
This basically involves you asking yourself " If I was this person, what would make me interested in doing what you're asking me to do?"
In other words, "what's in it for me?"
When you think of the best appeal that would be interesting to them, you can come up with your headline, your opening, and your irresistible offer.
The offer or the deal is nothing more than an agreement between you and your prospect where you get this, in exchange for that.
A great offer can make up for a lousy salesmen, but a great salesmen can hardly make up for a lousy offer.
There is an art to crafting amazing, irresistible offers and there have been entire books written on it. Here is a hint: the best offers have an element of risk reversal.
It should be a no brainer for the prospect. They should see that they are clearly winning on this deal, or it should at least be a win-win scenario.
Risk reversal as the name suggests, takes away all the risk for them. This can come in the form of money back guarantees, double your money back guarantees, and so on.
(You can get very creative with guarantees and in general, the more generous you are to the other person, the more persuasive your offer will be).
Now if you are writing a sales letter, most copywriters spend almost 90% of their time just coming up with the best headline and opener.
There's a good reason for it. The headline and opening paragraphs can literally make or break your letters.
I could write pages and pages just on headlines but here are a few basics.
The best headlines are:
1) News related
3) Specific with benefits
4) Involve curiosity
5) Self Interest (for the reader)
6) Quick and Easy
and they should be "telegraphic" in the sense that they are FOR some people and not for others.
They can also involve a "BIG IDEA".
Take this classic Headline Formula:
"Now you can learn the Piano in 1 hour a day, using this strange technique!"
"Discover the 10 secrets to closing 57% more sales"
"Free Report reveals 7 ways to retire up to 5 years earlier that your financial advisor doesn't want you to know about!"
The headlines job is only to get them to read the next line, and the next lines job is only to get the reader to read the next line. It doesn't even necessarily have to always include what your advertisement is about, you can answer that later in your letter.
Now the best person I've heard describe an "opener" is Dan Kennedy in his NO BS Sales Success book. His term is "getting permission to sell."
Let's say you are selling hybrid cars... Here is how you get permission to sell.
Did you buy a new car in the last 5-7 years?
(Once again you start off really broad/general.)
Do you consider yourself an open minded, environmentally conscious person?
Would you be interested in reducing your Carbon footprint and saving money at the same time?
Would you be interested in owning a brand new car, provided that it didn't cost you any more than the car you are driving now?
Then, If I could show you how you could own a brand new hybrid car, pay less than your current car payments, and save thousands of dollars a year while helping the environment, would you be interested in knowing more?
So now that you have the structure of your pitch, the opener and the offer, you need to give them a reason to act now. You need to close the deal.
In other words you need to give them believable reasons for urgency. You need them to act now. This could come in the form of a discount with a deadline, limited quantity, added benefits for a limited amount of time, or an impending event.
As far as the close goes in sales letters and in person, you should simply give them options. Would you like this or that? one payment or multiple? Red or Black? Deliver today or tomorrow? Regular or Deluxe?
Here is an actual pitch I made for selling Radio Advertising to a restaurant.
I will point out various parts of my pitch to see these concepts in action.
First of all to sell radio ads, I reason that you need to answer these questions in your prospects mind. These are also called points of belief.
1) Why should I advertise?
2) Is it worth it to advertise?
3) Why should I pick radio over everything else?
4) Is it worth it to pick radio ads?
5) Why should I work with YOU
6) What's my benefit?
7) How does it work?
8) How much will it cost?
9) Is it worth it?
10) Why should I act now?
[Intro, Note there's no real "headline" here as I was already speaking to this person]
[ Curiosity: change business forever]
Hi (Name Removed), from our last discussion I wanted to present to you a very important offer that I believe will change your business forever.
[I help businesses grow through this mechanism of radio advertising]
As you know, I am working with the (Name Removed) in a very special role. You see, my job is to help businesses grow just like yours. The way we do that is through advertising on our two radio stations, (Radio Station 1), and (Radio Station 2).
[Gradualization question 1: Why are you here? Expectation: quick and easy. Big Idea: You should work with us]
By the end of this short presentation you should know exactly why you should work with us over every other possible option, including doing nothing.
[Gradualization question 2: Why Do I need Advertising?]
The only reason anybody spends money on advertising is to grow their business, and there is a very specific reason why radio advertising is your very best choice, which I will get to in a minute.
[Premise: based on your target demographics and rebranding, you want this type of customer]
As we have discussed from our last conversation, you are in the process of re-branding your restaurant to cater to a younger, slightly female and educated crowd. To put this another way, you want a customer that has more disposable income, enjoys fine foods, and is willing to pay for them.
[Gradualization question 3: Why should I pick radio advertising?]
Let’s start with why you should choose radio advertising, and more specifically, choose to work with our two stations. I’m a numbers guy and at the end of the day, I prefer to deal only with the facts, and I understand that for business owners like you, results matter the most. (IE:PROFIT)
[Answer/Claim: more profit]
Here are the facts about our radio stations taken from extensive surveys and polls.
[Proof of claim: Actual target demographic stats for both stations]
Radio Station 1's listeners are: 61% female, 76.4% of them make over $50,000 a year, and 85% have graduated from post secondary school. Here are the age demographic breakdowns for this station...18-24= 22.5%, 24-34= 29.6%, 35-49=26.2%
As you can see, the listeners for this station are primarily female, with higher income, educated, and slightly younger, which fits directly into your target market demographics.
For Radio Station 2, the listeners are more male dominated at 63% male to 37% female, but 80% of them make over $50,000, and a whopping 89.5% have graduated post secondary school. Our listeners tend to be a little older with the main age at 35-49=37.1% and 24-34=44.7%.
So both radio stations boast a highly educated, upper middle class income listener base.
[Gradualization question 4+5: How do I know radio ads work? Why should I pick radio over everything else? ]
So you might be thinking to yourself “Great, they have my target audience, but how do I know radio ads actually WORK, and more importantly, why should I give my money to you instead of the countless other options available to me like newspaper ads, SEO, Google Adwords, Direct Mail, Door to door, and Facebook?
This is a great question and I’ll start with the first part: How do I know if radio ads actually work.
[Proof of Claim: real statistics of buyers from radio ads]
We took a statistically significant poll of our listener base to ask them how many of them responded to radio advertising to visit various restaurants, I won’t bore you with all of the numbers, but specifically here are the ones that are highly relevant to YOU.
For both stations, a full 25% went to an ethnic restaurant once in the last month, and 12.8% went 2-4 times, with 2.7% going over 5 times.
12.5% went to a fine dining restaurant once in the last month from a radio ad, and 2.7% went to a fine dining restaurant 2-4 times in the last month.
An astounding 30.3% went to a pizza restaurant once last month, and 15.7% went 2-4 times a month. All from radio.
Let’s put some hard numbers to these percentages to give you an idea of exactly what the potential is here…
[Further proof supported by real numbers of listeners not percentages]
For (radio station 1), we have approximately 44,800 listeners.
That means 11,603 people went for ethnic food once, 5286 went 2-4 times, and 1210 went over 5 times!
5600 went for fine dining once, 1210 went 2-4 times.
13,575 people went for pizza once, 7033 went 2-4 times.
With Live 105’s average listener base of 36,900 people, those numbers add up to
9225 people for ethnic once last month, 4723 2-4 times
For fine dining, 4612 went once last month, and 996 2-4 times a month.
For Pizza? 11,180 once a month, and 5794 went 2-4 times a month.
As you can see, radio is a very effective medium for generating new business for these restaurants.
[Answer to question 4+5: These surveys prove radio ads work, and they should pick them because of high conversion rates]
In no other medium do you see conversion percentages as high as 30%. The typical numbers are more like 2-5% of them that will respond to your marketing message.
[Proof of claim of high conversion rates: typical conversion rates for other advertising mediums]
Newspapers like (local newspaper) are already crowded with other restaurants.
SEO can be gone the next day with a simple algorithm change at Google not to mention it can get very expensive to hire outsourcers.
The same goes for Adwords, it is a very competitive and Adwords bills can run very high. For a restaurant, it is very hard to track results as well.
Direct Mail is effective, but your bill can run very high, and while Facebook may seem very cheap, studies show that most restaurants generate around 5-15% of their business from Facebook ads, despite spending 85% of their budget on Facebook. The returns just aren’t there.
[Gradualization Question 6: Why should I work with YOU? Answer: we are going to work hard to make our ads work for you and go the extra mile]
The main difference with us is that we are going to work to make sure your radio campaigns are successful, and you see results similar, or better than these other restaurants.
[Proof: Market research and opportunities]
Here is the opportunity I see with YOUR RESTAURANT
After I finished my market research, I have uncovered a very profitable market segment for you to maximize your profits. My research shows that the majority of Italian and French restaurants in (City) are currently at either the low end or the high end in terms of price. There is a lot of competition in the 10-40$ range, and there is a fair amount of competition in the 100+ range.
That’s why I want to position your business in the 65-100$ range where you currently do not have as much competition. This is a sweet spot that is easily within your target markets price range if we position your food as “affordable fine dining” and using the flavors of the world campaign I have come up with.
For starters let’s assign some dollar values to those numbers to give you an idea of the potential amount of money you can make from our radio campaign…If we are to advertise italian and french food in the 65-100$ range, and gourmet pizza in the 18-40$, here are the numbers we can make on the LOW end judging from our previous results.
[Gradualization question 7: What's my benefit? Answer: ROI Calculation]
Radio Station 1
11,603*65=$754,195-a MONTH...granted, that adds up to 386 people a day, or 193 couples, or 16 couples an hour which seems pretty reasonable right?
5286*2*65=$687,180, these people are the ones who eat out a few times a month, and are very valuable to your restaurant.
For fine dining, let’s say you charge 100$ per meal on the high end.
5600*100=$560,000 a month.
(NOTE: NOBODY GOES TO FINE DINING ALONE!!) Expect TO DOUBLE THESE NUMBERS
For Gourmet Pizza,
At an average of 30$ per Pizza
As you can see, the profit potential is very high, and (Radio station 1) has very similar number potentials.
Your biggest problem isn’t going to be lack of customers, it’s going to be serving them all!
[Gradualization question 8: How does it work?]
So how are we going to implement this? Here’s my plan:
There are two types of ad campaigns that we run, one are branded ads, and call to action ads. What I want to do is use a mixture of both to hit the highest percentage of potential customers.
My plan of attack is to utilize a series of 3 branded advertisements, one will be about your french cuisine, the other will be about your italian, and the other about your gourmet pizza. The idea of these ads is to really get their mouth watering by painting a picture of why your restaurant is the best and to generate an air of exclusivity.
We will use the best time for these ad placements which is either before lunch or before supper as the most amount of people are A) listening to the radio, and B) Hungry!
I also plan on including a response mechanism for these ads in the form of a phone line they can call to set up a reservation on the official grand reopening of your restaurant, and a free bottle of wine for the first 10 who phone in.
The next step is to set up a formal launch date and build hype around it.
To accomplish this, I am proposing that we run a contest where we randomly pick one couple who reserved a table, and setting up an amazing date night for them, including getting picked up by a limo, free dinner and wine, candlelight dinner, and a coupon to a local spa for a couples full body massage. We will advertise this ultimate date night as a tour of the Culinary Capitals of the World- Paris and Rome
We also follow up with a second prize to everyone else who reserved with a coupon for their next visit to generate repeat business, this we do not publically announce.
[Build value compared to potential ROI]
Now if you could get these kind of dollar figures, how much would you expect to pay? 50,000$? 30,000$?
Would you pay $20,000 to get $400,000 in business? (granted after expenses that number is cut in half to around $200,000-still a 1000% return on your investment.)
[Gradualization question 9: Why should I act now?, Reason for acting now: prime advertiser temporarily dropped out, we need to fill that time slot therefore there is a special low price]
Now our primetime advertising slots are usually booked solid, but because one of our clients had to temporarily cancel their advertising schedule, we have an opening to fill that we can offer you for a huge discount.
[Gradualization question 10: How much will it cost? + offer]
Your total investment for this launch package today is only $5000, or 4 payments of $1500 which you pay 30 days after the campaign ends. That way the advertising will literally pay for itself!
[Build value, make price look like a steal]
That fee includes the cost of paying our copywriters to create your ad, the stations profits, my modest commission, testing of ad copy and offers, and the price of running your ads during our peak airtime. ( that cost alone is usually much higher than 5000 for this many ads).
[Comparable discount to other stations]
The same launch deal at any other station easily runs into the 5 figures.
[slight takeaway + reason for low price: we want your future business]
The only thing we want in return for this amazing deal is your promise that you will think of us first for all of your future advertising needs once you see how successful this launch is.
The fact is, we rely on repeat business from our extremely satisfied customers for the growth of our organization, and the past has shown that those businesses who advertise with us experience tremendous growth almost overnight.
[Irresistible Offer: double your money back guarantee on a certain condition]
So here is my “Godfather offer”. Not only do we GUARANTEE that you will have a successful return on your investment, if your door isn’t swarming with customers and you don’t make 10 times your investment over the next 2 months, we will give you $10,000 worth of advertising credits- COMPLETELY FREE!
That sounds like a pretty fair deal for you, right?
[Clear expectations for next steps]
So now that I have made an “offer you can’t refuse”, the next step is this: we will send you all the drafts of our ads for you to check over and approve. When you do, all you have to do is sign the check post dated 30 days from LAUNCH DATE for $5000 and we will get started on creating the ads, and plan a launch date for your newly rebranded store.
Do you have any questions?
Great-is there any reason why you can’t go ahead with us today?
Okay why don’t we get started?
Notice how both pitches make it seem like what I'm selling is the best choice, if not the only choice, and try to find the specifics I pointed out in the last pitch.
[Specific headline+ benefit+question= pattern interrupt]
“Are you a small business owner looking to get more leads for your business?”
[Meet them where they're at: It is hard to get new clients as a small biz owner]
Believe me, I know how hard it can be to find new clients. If you have tried using traditional advertising routes such as newspapers, commercials, bench ads, billboards, radio ads, or anything else to generate new business, but were frustrated with your results, this message is for you.
Hey there, my names Ben, I’m a direct response marketing and digital media specialist, and I have something very important to share with you.
[Specific benefit+ future pacing]
I have a way to reliably provide as many highly qualified leads per month as your business can handle. Can you imagine what that would do for your business?
For example, we have partnered with a chiropractor who was able to consistently pay up to 35 dollars to acquire a new customer that is easily worth $500+ for their practice.
Here’s how it works…
You know those little ads that pop up when you search for either businesses, or issues like toothache or car repair on Google?
That's called Google Adwords.
My team and I are experts at creating Google Adword campaigns. We work with clients worldwide and have developed a great system for reliably generating high quality leads for any service business, extremely fast.
[Objection: Why Google Adwords?]
We can show you exactly what it costs for every single new lead we bring to your business. How many traditional advertisers can promise that?
What’s more, if you’re already running Google Adword campaigns, we can perform a free audit on your account to find out exactly if you have any wasted ad-spend, or any technical details that are causing you to lose customers.
Here’s why Google Adwords is different than any other form of advertising:
Traditional advertising is based on interruption marketing, in other words you put your message in front of a potential client, and hope that they see it and come into your business. ( this includes Facebook Ads)
Google adwords is a different animal because the people who search back pain for example are looking for solutions now. They are in pain and they need it fixed immediately, and that’s where you come in.
Is Google Adwords suitable for your business?
The simply fact is, Google Adwords is not for everyone, in fact we have to turn away 50% of our potential clients because they are not a good fit for our services. To get an idea if Google is right for you, refer to our list of Pro’s and Con’s below.
[notice how both pro's and con's sell adwords and further qualify them, specifically working with us on their Adwords campaigns]
Here are the Pros and Con’s of using Google Adwords.
- Prompt Results- Done correctly, with the right budget and right market research, Adword campaigns are profitable in a consistent and immediate way. Buying patterns and behaviours are very predictable. Studies show that 65% of all clicks on commercial keywords are used on ads, this is an important distinction because it means that buyers click on ads, while casual browsers click on organic links.
- Consistent Results- Because buying patterns are predictable, we can promise a consistent level of success on campaigns that work.
- Campaigns can be built and live within two days- This makes adwords campaigns unique over all other traffic sources, Adwords can be live and testing data within a week.
- No Contracts- Google contracts don’t require long term investments. If there is an emergency in your business or you want to take a vacation, owners can rely on the flexibility that Adwords provides to pause their advertising whenever they choose.
- Adword Campaigns are measurable- There’s no other medium that can track advertising activity so accurately. From phone calls to clicks, to getting directions to your brick and mortar store, you get quantifiable and measurable results from your hard earned money.
- Adwords is complex- There is no faster way to waste money than by running an adwords campaign not knowing what you’re doing. Professionals can cut the expensive and time consuming learn curve for you and allow you to focus on what you do best.
- It takes money to make money- Because Google will not optimize your ad if your budget is too small, we simply cannot promise the reliable results for those clients with budgets under $1000. We prefer to work with clients who know that it takes money to acquire new customers.
- You must know your lifetime value of a customer- What I mean is that you must know exactly how much every new client your business brings in is worth on average. Do you know exactly how much you can spend to profitably acquire a new customer?
- Websites that don’t convert prospects into leads-This is another big mistake we see with many prospects that currently run Adwords campaigns. They run campaigns that lead drive leads to their homepage of their website. This is a major problem because most websites do not have the specific purpose of lead generation. This results in the prospect leaving the page without taking action. The solution is to have a landing page which has the sole purpose of getting the prospect to call you, schedule an appointment, or come to your store. There needs to be no navigational distractions, a strong offer and a compelling call to action.
- You have to have a system for converting cold traffic to paying customers- Most service businesses rely on referrals and therefore do not get most of their business from cold traffic. This is one of the biggest reasons we see customers complaining that Adwords doesn’t work. Because we track and record every call that our campaigns generate for your business, we can assist you with developing an inbound sales script to turn these cold leads into customers.
- You need to constantly track and measure results- A business that doesn’t have conversion tracking is working blind. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see with businesses who are currently running Adwords campaigns. If you don’t currently have it in place, how can you know which keywords are working best, or really understand the traffic that you are driving to your business. You must constantly stay on top of your campaigns to ensure you’re not wasting money.
What I want to offer you now.
To determine if a Google Adword campaign would be a good fit for your business, I’d like to offer as an absolutely free, no obligation market analysis. We will analyze your target market, spy on your competitors, and play “mystery shopper” by going through your sales process as if we were a potential client.
On the other hand, if you are already an Adwords user, we can provide a free traffic audit to determine if your campaign can be improved. This includes going over your landing page with our 38 point checklist to discover if you’re leaving any money on the table.
Now If you’re wondering…
“What’s the catch?”
In the interest of full transparency, this is how we get our clients. A good percentage of the people whom we help end up asking us to create and run their Adwords campaigns for them. Our rates start at $1500 per month. When you become our client...
Here’s What You Get
My team and I actually do all the “tech stuff” for you. We build a custom campaign including landing pages ( if you need them), testing of offers, ad copy, and more to make sure you are paying the lowest amount possible for each lead. All you have to do is sit back and watch the customers come in. In fact, you will get a message from us every time a prospect sees your ad and calls you. So that’s my “hidden motivation” for doing this.
[countering sales resistance]
With that said, please understand that I’m not offering a sales pitch in disguise. Far from it. I promise not to pressure you or pester you in any way at all.
Trust me, the power a successful campaign has to transform your business.
I guarantee it.
But hey, anyone can say that right?
Listen, if you feel like I’ve wasted even one second of your time during this whole process, let me know and I’ll immediately write you a cheque for $50.
Who can we help best?
Now before you go any further, you need to know that weI can’t help everybody. We can only be of benefit to people with high value leads such as chiropractors, dentists, lawyers, realtors, plumbers, etc. Due to the nature of our business, we can also only work with one of these businesses per city. ( this isn’t a sales tactic, it’s a matter of ethics- we wouldn’t make a campaign for you and copy it for your competitor across the street)
[further qualify client]
Our dream clients are the ones who:
- Know the value of their customers ( how much is each new customer worth to your business)
- Understand that it takes money to acquire new ones. That means you should have an advertising budget already.
If that is you...
Here’s what you do next.
If you want to schedule a planning session with me, simply click the link below. When you click it, you’ll see a form with a few questions about your business such as your current revenue, your goals for growing your business, and your budget. Once I have that information, I’ll do some market research for you and we’ll set up the time to go over it together.
CMO of (Secret business).
[Always add a P.S!]
P.S. If you’re anything like me and you tend to skip long letters until the very end, here’s what this letter is all about.
I want to create and manage a Google Adword campaign specifically designed for your business.
This may include: creating a lead generating landing page and an inbound sales script if need be.
Why? Adword’s is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to get new qualified leads and ultimately more customers, even if you already tried it before and didn’t achieve the results you were looking for.
Click the link below to be taken to a short survey to see if we can help you, and then schedule a planning session with me.
Okay there you have one of my first sales letters and a pitch for a similar but different service.
You may have noticed that in the Adwords letter I made the gradualization questions bold and specifically asked them and answered them throughout the whole letter.
I'll let you guess what the success rate of both of those were.
Until next time,