Thursday, July 1, 2010

ETR: Did I Terrify People?

Early to Rise
Home | Archives | Contact | Privacy Policy | Whitelist Us | Unsubscribe

Issue No. 3053 - $1.00

Thursday, July 1, 2010

-----------------------------------------------------Highly Recommended-----------------------------------------------------

Who Ever Heard of Burning Cancer Out of Your Body?

Can the cure for cancer really be as simple as heat? You'll be amazed by the simple but powerful health solutions discovered by our health research team:

  • A simple treatment for heart disease that could eliminate the need for anyone to ever have bypass surgery again

  • An amazing breakthrough that can make you look and feel up to 20 years younger

  • A way to eliminate your "emotional" cravings for food

But read on, because the craziest part is where they found them...

"Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read."

Leo Burnett

How to Evaluate Creative: A Checklist to Help You Produce Breakthrough Sales Copy
By Drayton Bird

I have always seen myself as a kindly, helpful soul -- but clearly my memory fails me.

Back in my Ogilvy & Mather Direct days, people quickly turned their computer screens blank whenever I materialized in the creative department. Seems I had the nasty habit of reading the sales copy they were writing out loud and making derisive comments.

I only recently found this out from Steve Harrison, who worked with me at Ogilvy & Mather (and ended up running his own agency, then selling it for a goodly sum).

Did I terrify people into producing great sales copy? I prefer to think the 30-point checklist I'm going to share with you today did the trick.

Here it is...

How to Evaluate Creative

The Big Four

1. Review against the objective.

What are you trying to achieve with the copy? Strong inquiry or weak? Firm sale or sale on approval? Big commitment or small? Copywriters often do either too little or too much to meet the objective.

2. Zero in on the big things -- not the trivia.

Never mind quibbles about grammar, punctuation, and illustrations. Decide whether your idea is right -- then turn to the execution. Big ideas are relevant but surprising -- and tend to make you a little nervous.

3. Is it right for the product and positioning?

Reject jokes about serious subjects, cheap treatments for expensive products -- and vice versa. Clever openings must be relevant or they will confuse, distract, or overpower your message.

4. Remember, you are not the prospect.

You are unlikely to be typical. Picture someone who is. Imagine their attitudes, interests, hopes, fears, prejudices. Constantly ask: Would this kind of person relate to what we are saying?

What's Your First Impression of the Copy?

5. Don't give it much thought -- your prospect won't.

Review the copy quickly, carelessly. Would something about it instantly catch your interest if you were the prospect?

6. Does a clear competitive advantage emerge?

Your benefit or combination of benefits must be better than alternatives -- not necessarily to all, but to a significant proportion of your prospects.

7. Do the incentive and benefit come through quickly and clearly?

If they don't, you are taking a big risk.

8. Is the main offer or incentive the best you can make?

It has to be strong enough to overcome disinterest and the fear of commitment. Would it motivate you (a) to read the entire promotion (b) to act?

9. Scrutinize each of the main elements of the promotion carefully.

Opening of sales letter or ad, envelope, headline/illustration combination, means of reply, testimonials, captions, P.S. -- are they all working hard?

10. Will each element communicate quickly, easily -- or will it obscure or confuse?

Check for good verbal and visual communication. Assuming there's a good idea and proposition in the first place, getting these details right makes an enormous difference.

11. Does the copy contain all the essential elements of persuasion?

AIDCA -- Gaining Attention, Getting Interest, Creating Desire, Instilling Conviction, and Going All Out for Action should all be there, preferably in that rough order. 

Gaining and Keeping Attention

12. Does the opening tell people "There's more to come"?

Don't give away the whole proposition. Beware of claims and boasts. They rarely make people want to know more.

13. Is the copy precise -- or vague?

Is the promise or claim quantified? Exactly how much does the prospect get or save, and how quickly? In numbers and cash -- preferably not in percentages.

14. Does it say why you're talking to them?

What's in it for them? Something new or better? Why should they be interested?

15. Is the relationship, if any, acknowledged?

If they've bought from you, or you've written to them, or it's been a year since their first purchase, or they're an important customer, say so. This establishes common ground.

16. Is possible news value exploited?

After benefit/offer, news has the most potent appeal. If it's new, or new to them, or even new from you, don't throw that away.

17. Is the visual element of the promotion working properly?

Does it demonstrate the benefit? Does it clarify what is being offered? Too much stuff conflicts, misleads, or is just unnecessary.

18. Does it follow on logically -- or stray?

Copy openings must deliver the promise implicit in the heading, subject line, or on the envelope. Is one strong idea carried through? Extraneous thoughts -- even good ones -- will confuse. 

Building a Persuasive Argument

19. Is it one person talking to another? Or a public address?

The best copy is me talking to you -- in direct mail, e-mails, and often in other media. Using "we" instead of "I" is often a warning sign of corporate drivel to come.

20. Does it take the reader's point of view -- or yours?

They don't care how wonderful you think you are. They want to know what you have for them.

21. Is it trying to satisfy everybody?

Don't waste money and persuasion on those unlikely to respond. Go hell for leather for the best prospects. You can't be all things to all men.

22. Is it believable?

Watch out for over-claim. (Is your product really that good?) And beware vague superlatives -- adjectives like "exciting," for example. The copy should start and follow up with an uninterrupted series of statements the reader can easily agree with. If you do make a very strong claim, explain why it's true.

23. Beware jargon and showy or pompous language.

Jargon works only with special groups that appreciate it. Anything written to please the writer is unlikely to please the reader. Good copy is usually conversational, written the way you would explain something to a friend.

24. Is the promotion convincing?

Does it include proof? Testimonials? Media comment? Technical data (if you are selling that kind of product)? A sample, if appropriate?

25. Is it complete?

Is every sensible reason for responding given -- and every reason for not doing so demolished?

26. Does it conjure up a vision?

The best messages make you feel almost as if you're experiencing what is being offered. They convey an emotional conviction that is usually far more persuasive than logic.  

Going for Action

27. Have the benefit and offer been restated?

Before you ask for action, remind people what they get and how little is being asked. In direct mail, it usually pays to restate the offer in the P.S. In any medium, repeat the benefits before you ask for the response.

28. Have you made it easy for them to reply?

Stickers, check marks, YES/NO options are okay. Emphasize easy payment, free telephone ordering, etc. A spacious, easy-to-fill-in response device must restate the deal.

29. Does the offer breathe urgency?

Does it really go for action? Or is it a perfunctory request? Do they lose something if they don't reply quickly? Do they get something if they do? Tell them.

30. The big question.

Put yourself in the shoes of your prospect. Set aside your prejudices. Would you reply to your promotion? Show it to somebody who isn't connected with the job -- preferably a likely prospect. Do they understand everything clearly? Do they think it's worth it?

That's it -- the 30-point checklist I wrote as a guide for my colleagues at Ogilvy & Mather. I made everyone stick it up next to their desks, so they could refer to it. Eventually, I sent it to all our offices -- and someone in India recently sent me a copy. I was surprised to see how relevant it still is, 20 odd years later.

[Ed. Note: Veteran copywriter and direct-marketing strategist Drayton Bird has worked with American Express, Ford, Microsoft, Visa, Procter & Gamble, and scores of other clients during his five-decade career, which included a stint as international vice-chairman and creative director with Ogilvy & Mather. In 2003, he was named by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today's marketing.

Ready for more marketing insights from Drayton Bird? For 101 ideas, free case studies, and articles on topics like the one you just read, and a 28-day free trial of Drayton's Commonsense Marketing Series, go here.]

-----------------------------------------------------Highly Recommended -----------------------------------------------------

The Tables Have Turned

Right now, corporate America is getting filthy rich off of you. And they do it every time you shell out money for almost any item -- large or small. These profits come from their massive mark-ups on imports from places like China, where a widget may cost a buck or two but sells for $19.95.

But now the tables have turned on the corporations -- thanks to the Internet and our global economy. And you can be the one reaping windfall profits from the import business. Best part: You can easily run the entire business online, with no employees, no previous experience or knowledge, and with as little as $50 in start-up costs.

Okay, so let's get going -- learn how you can get started right now!

"Thanks for presenting Dr Rao and his work. The bonus videos are awesome, and already having a profound effect on my daily life."

Andrew Joy

-----------------------------------------------------Highly Recommended-----------------------------------------------------

The "Breakfast Club Bandits" Ride Again

Learn a small group of market outlaws had the opportunity to grab a fast $350, $525, $850, even $1,600 all while sipping their morning cup of coffee!   

If you have 3 minutes tomorrow morning, you could join them.  Starting with your FREE play ready now.   

Click here for all the details.

The Language Perfectionist: Eschew Ambiguity

By Don Hauptman

Here are four passages I encountered in newspapers. Observe how, in each case, poor wording creates an ambiguity that can lead the reader astray.

  • "He found himself wondering how much time he spent doing one of his roommates' dishes."

And I found myself wondering why washing a single dish would take so long -- until I realized that one referred to the roommate, not to the tableware.

  • "These companies have used the sharp downturn as an opportunity to cull their payrolls for good...."

The phrase for good here means "permanently," but might be misconstrued as meaning beneficial.

  • "A regulation now in the works will require the operators of printing and photocopying shops [in Tibet]... to take down identifying information about their clients and the specific documents printed or copied...."

The phrase to take down means "record" but also "remove."

  • "American forces blew up a captured Japanese I-401 aircraft carrier submarine... which was designed during the war to execute air strikes on land from the sea."

A submarine that operates on land? Once again, bad phrasing made me do a double take until I realized what the writer intended to say.

The lesson: Always review your writing to ensure that nothing is likely to puzzle or mislead the reader.

[Ed Note: For more than three decades, Don Hauptman was an award-winning independent direct-response copywriter and creative consultant. He is author of The Versatile Freelancer, an e-book that shows writers and other creative professionals how to diversify their careers into speaking, consulting, training, and critiquing.]

We want your feedback! Let us know your thoughts on today's issue. Email us at:

Whitelist Our Email | Click Here to Unsubscribe | Customer Service | Feed Back

Copyright © 2010 Early to Rise, LLC.

NOTE: If URLs do not appear as live links in your e-mail program, please cut and paste the full URL into the location or address field of your browser. Disclaimer: Early to Rise only recommends products that we've either personally checked out ourselves, or that come from people we know and trust. For doing so, we receive a commission. We will never recommend any product that does not have a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Nothing in this e-mail should be considered personalized Financial Advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized Financial Advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended in this letter should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

To unsubscribe from Early to Rise and any associated external offers, Click here.

To contact us, please visit... To cancel or for any other subscription issues, write us at: Order Processing Center

Attn: Customer Service
PO Box 7835
Delray Beach, Florida 33482

1 comment:

  1. You can earn $20 for each 20 minute survey!

    Guess what? This is exactly what big companies are paying me for. They need to know what their average customer needs and wants. So big companies pay $1,000,000's of dollars each month to the average person. In return, the average person, myself included, answers some questions and gives them their opinion.