… You can’t handle the truth.

Hey,

A few months ago, I’ve read a blog post on a self-development site. The theme of the post was how people are equal no matter their performance, lifestyle, power. Then I’ve checked the comments section. This post alone had more comments than the last three combined.

It wasn’t particularly useful. It did not present any kind of strategy or hint towards obtaining something. It was a simple validation of “I’m equal to a Fortune 500 CEO even if I earn 1000 times less”.

And this was one more time when I’ve realized that people don’t want to hear the truth. To quote from “A Few Good Men” …

… “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

Right now, there is more information for reaching the person you want to be than anytime in our history. Twelve years ago, if you wanted to learn a foreign language, you had to buy an expensive course that was about 10 times more than my monthly allowance. Now, it is free.

Instructions, inspiration, guides are available everywhere you look. You can go online, you can join groups on Facebook, you can buy books and so on. I’ve got over 70 books on my Kindle and I’ve read at least 50 of them. This is the equivalent of a college education for less than $1000.

But this is worthless. People don’t want to hear how to change. They want to hear something that validates their own ego. This is the sad part.

Recently, I’ve been contacted by someone to ask for my advice. This is a rather common thing and I usually reply as I enjoy it. This person was not after a solution. He was after a validation. A sanction. I tried to give him solutions but I’ve soon realized that no matter what I say, he’ll do none of them. So I gave up. I wish I could help him but I knew that I couldn’t. Not from a coaching perspective anyway.

So here’s the harsh truth …

It’s not that you don’t know what to do. Even if you don’t, there are ways to find out. There are ways to understand anything from dating to nuclear physics (however, don’t build a nuclear plant in your basement as that guy who appeared on the news. It’s illegal and you’ll get 24 angry special forces soldier knocking your door).

It is only about the fact that you don’t want to do it. You know, when it comes to ethics, I believe in only one advice. This is “don’t complain about something that you can change and you are doing nothing to make it better”. You have no right to complain about your failed marriage if you are not changing it. You have no right to complain about your job if you are not giving your best or looking for other opportunities.

And here’s the kicker …

Nobody cares about your excuses. You may have the perfect excuse or reason for anything you are not doing right now. Yes, you may be too old, too poor, too young, too rich, too married, too single, too smart or too dumb. And you can repeat this to yourself as long as you want it if it makes you feel better.

But your life will be the same if you don’t do anything. Having an excuse for not exercising won’t make you fit. Having an excuse for not working hard and smart won’t make you rich. Having an excuse for being temperamental won’t bring back the lost friendships.

Life is not about being a lawyer, in front of a jury and explaining why you’ve did or did not some things. Life is about creating your reality.

But this creative process is your choice. Only your choice. And there isn’t any middle road. It is either “I’m doing it” or “I’m not doing it”. Knowing how to do it but not doing it … finding reasons why you can’t do it … saying that you’ll do it later does not put you one inch above someone who doesn’t want to do it.

It is existence or non-existence. Life or death. Action or inaction. Pick action. It is the only way to change your life for the better. Your ego may hate you (since you’ll have to admit that you lied to yourself and that you actually suck at some things) but your self-esteem will love you (since action is the fastest way to build it).

And ego does not equal self-esteem. Ego is based on weakness. Self-esteem is based on strenght.

Take care,
Razvan

 

The future of advertising – biofeedback

Being the proud of owner of a FitBit Flex, an amazing piece of technology that tracks your movement and sleep patterns (it’s more than a glorified accelerometer since I’ve tried to trick it to track data artificially and I’ve failed), I’ve started to think more and more of passive wearable technology.

Technology evolved in an interesting way and I’m almost certain that this decade is all about technology we wear on our body (or it is integrated directly) and allows us to automate our life. It’s the next step of evolution. We’ve first had computers then laptops than PDAs. We’ve had fixed line phones, mobile phones, smart phones and now wearable computers running IOS or Android.

And now we are starting to use technology that requires less and less input from us. Instead of adding a task, we can use Google Now or Siri to simply mention it. Instead of opening the garage door, we have RFID chips that automatically open the door when we come close to it. Instead of entering a password, we use our fingerprint.

None of these technologies are new. RFID exists for a while now so do fingerprint scanners. But the way it is applied in our day to day life is relatively new.

In a few years, I envision a future where our voice, gesture and passive devices will direct everything around us. Instead of using a key to open our door, we’ll use an RFID chip in our phone (or better said, NFC) or we’ll enter a keycode. Instead of tracking how much we walk daily, we’ll use smart devices like the FitBit (also Jawbone, Nike Fuel, etc) which will track every movement we take and provide us with huge bases of analytics.

Because in the end, the FitBit is nothing more than an information gathering device. Yes, it motivates you to exercise or walk more but beyond that, it is a device that tracks your movement and that’s something I find fascinating. Just as Peter Drucker said „you can’t improve what you can’t track”, these devices allows us to optimize our lives, find patterns into what we are doing and take more informed decisions.

I envision that in five years or less we’ll wear a bracelet that will track everything from our movement to our heart rate, blood sugar, stress levels and maybe even provide us a real time bio-feedback of our health. That’s the future. The 2010 – 2020 decade is not about communication but about analytics – about collecting the seen and the unseen and exporting it into a format that we can all understand.

In a few years we won’t have to go to the doctor for our yearly check-up because our smart devices will do these for us. They will either collect blood or use some non-invasive method to provide us with a real time bio feedback. We could have a device that based on the nutrients in our blood to suggest what we can eat next, a device that will tell you to relax and take a brake when you are too stressed or a device that could give you some kind of emotional metric regarding other people – giving you a better assessment on whom you should have around and who not.

Of course, this at an analogical level exists. It’s called journaling. But instead of journaling (and never reading our entries, I’ve journeled almost daily but I’ve never read any of the entries) we’ll get quantitative data. Instead of saying that „that person makes me happy” we’ll have a log that based on proximity and other factors will give a score between 1 and 10 of emotional arousement around another individual.

Instead of tracking how much water we are drinking (as many of us are, using Android or IOS apps) the app will log this automatically since it will have a direct connection with your organism. Input was first done by typing, on keyboards especially. Then it moved to touching, using touchscreens. Recently, it became popular and rather effective using gestures (like the Galaxy S4) or using voice (Siri on the IOS).

The next step of evolution is either mentally (we’re not there yet) or a direct connection with your organism through your skin, pulse, blood or any other valid indicator that can show us what we are experiencing directly.

And this has some interesting applications too from an advertising point of view. I’m almost sure that someone at Google already thought about this. If we are emotionally aroused in a sexual way, our feedback devices (as phone / glass / computer displays) could show us PPC based ads about condoms and hotels. If we are stressed our, about meditation and yoga. If we suffer from a particular problem, let’s say diabetes, it could show us treatments and doctors.

What better than is there to deliver contextual ads if not the one based on what we are actually feeling, not saying or expressing interest for. An ad for a coffee shop when our organisms show us that we are sleepy or for a cinema when we feel bored.
The applications are almost limitless. Now we are receiving ads based on behavioral patterns shown by our actual actions. These are accurate but not always spot on. For example, I already use a top notch to-do management program which I’m paying about $40/year for. I was curious about a competitor so I’ve visited their site. Now their banners follow me almost on every site even if I have no interest whatsoever in buying that subscription. Plus, computers are generally shared and it’s not like I’m signing out from my Google account every time someone borrows my phone or computer.

So even if the algorithm is good, it’s rather hit and miss but it’s the best that can be done at this time. But if Google for example would have an ecosystem of bio-collecting devices (devices, not apps, since a computer program can’t interact directly with our body, only an actual physical system can, an app can only manage and transform the feedback into something useful) it could deliver real time, contextual ads based on our deep, true needs.
It will be like showing up in a helicopter with a bottle of water for someone who is wondering in the desert lost or having that pizza delivered right in the moment you decide you would like to eat pizza tonight.

Therefore, a new dawn in marketing and advertising is upon us. Advertising was first about understanding human nature and leveraging this. Now it’s in a crude form about data collection and analysis so predictable trends can be found and leveraged. In the future it will be only about data collection and analysis, at a deep level, from our behavior to our bio-feedback so it will appeal not to our rational mind but to the deepest needs of our psyche and body.

Self-improvement and quantified self

A long time ago, I’ve played a game called Fallout 2. It presented an alternate universe where the world (or more precisely, the United States) leveraged atomic power & robotics to create an almost utopian world.

(This is until WW3 came and ruined everything).

It was a world where robots and computers took care of most tasks and for all intents and purposes, it represented the 1950s era, an era where automation was the key word.

But today, I’m not going to talk about automation. Instead, I’m going to talk about a different concept called “quantified self”. You see, for years, decades, centuries, we’ve searched for methods to become more efficient using technology. Ranging from PDAs to Siri (IOS) we wanted a way to do things faster, easier, better.

However, the reverse happened. The paradox is that the more tools we’ve received and the more we’ve leveraged technology, the more things we’ve had to do. Computers now are tens or even hundred of times more powerful than 20 years ago and even so, I’m sure that there was more work done then than now.

With no Skype, no Facebook, no What’s Up, we actually had the flexibility to work on what was important and not being caught up in our email inbox or chat boxes. So no, technology made things harder for all intents and purposes, at least on a personal productivity level, not better.

What technology allowed though was the idea of quantified self.

To quote the father of modern management, Peter Drucker …

“What doesn’t get tracked, doesn’t get improvement” …

… and fortunately, we can now track a lot of things about ourselves. This is what quantified self means. It means using technology to track everything from our sleep patterns to how many steps we take, from our weight to our blood pressure.

It allows us to have clear metrics on where we move towards in our lives and I find this amazing. Let me explain you why. We are creatures of habits. We don’t know why we do what we do. Why some days we are amazingly productive and full of energy while other days we simply want to sleep and procrastinate?

We don’t know but in reality, it’s all because and effect. How you start your day determines how you’ll go through the day. How much sleep you get determines how much energy you’ll have the next day. Even intangible things like your willpower are linked to certain elements. Recent studies showed that our willpower is directly linked to our glucose level.

You know that exercising in the morning will give you about 20% more energy through the day or the fact that you journal can alleviate a lot of your anxieties.

And using the idea of quantified self, you can track those elements that determines these outcomes. Do you want to have more energy? Track those metrics that are directly leading to more energy (or the lack of it). To you want to have lower blood pressure? Track it and then test different approaches (like meditation or getting a massage) to see how it helps you.

Like it or not, you are in direct control of everything that happens in your life because you are in control of the causes. If you want more energy, eating the right foods can bring you tons of energy. If you want to get fitter, how much you walk daily or better said, how many calories you burn will change this. If you want to have more money, it’s as simple as tracking your efficiency – how much effort you put in and your effectiveness – how good that effort really is.

There is no good and bad day. There is only a day that is influenced in a good or bad manner. If you are feeling anxious now about something, go take 10.000 steps outside (about 6 km) and you’ll eliminate at least half of your anxiety. If you want to work more, divide how much you are earning with how much time you put in and you’ll get a direct ratio, a sum that shows your hourly income.

Then you can either put in more hours or you can study, take courses, exercise to become better and you’ll earn more money. If you want to sleep better and wake up refreshed, track your sleep patterns using many of the available tools on the market and understand what really happens when you sleep.

Having a direct line to what influences you and therefore, your behavior is the best way to improve yourself. Siri may not help you get a lot more done but knowing precisely that a massage every day helps you close two more sales per day as a salesman which is worth at least $250 in income. A massage costs $50 so by investing $50, you’ve got $250 in return.

However, you don’t know this unless you track it. I suggest that you start tracking the most important five elements of your life. For me this is work, fitness or physical activity, education, journaling and self-marketing. Maybe in the future I’ll have other metrics but for now, these tend to work for me.

What are your own metrics that you can track and therefore, improve your behavior?

Razvan

PS: Tools that can help you track and improve your life:
1. Fitbit.
2. Nike Fuel Band.
3. A blood pressure device.
4. Smart scales that connect via wi-fi.
5. Journals, digital or not.
6. A whiteboard so you can track there what you’ve done during the day and then move it to a electronic system.
7. Heart Rate indicators.
8. A good planner, to-do manager, digital or not.
9. Software like Rescue Time or Time Doctor that shows you how much time you are wasting surfing the net.

How to stay on track, every single day

Dear friend,

Today, we are going to talk about how important is to have a set of metrics and a plan for your professional and personal improvement. Ironically, I am writing this post thanks to this plan.

If there is something I’ve learnt so far is that life gets into the way of things. You want to do something and you soon realize that you don’t have the time, money or flexibility to do it. You want to go to the gym every day but after a week that overdue project, that commitment or simply the fact that you lack any kind of energy gets into the way.

You want to write your book, your first book. You’ll buy a nice laptop or typewriter, an office and promise to yourself to write a 100.000 words book by the end of the year. After writing the introduction (if you’ve actually got that far), you’ll fall into the so called “writers block” and soon after, you’ll have abandoned your project all together.

You make a commitment to yourself to read, as often as possible. You start with a great degree of energy, reading half a book in one sitting. Then you read a bit less the second day and even less the third day. By the fourth day you realize that you don’t have time for reading.

And this is why NY resolutions fail. This is why most goals fail. You don’t commit long term. You come with a great spirit and energy in the start but soon after, that energy starts to wane and you give your goal up.

We all have ambitions and big dreams. What separates those who achieves them vs. those who don’t is the fact that the first are willing to put in the effort day by day, week by week, until it’s done. They realize that achieving any goal is like putting one brick at a time on a wall. This takes patience, a lot of it and especially determination.

It doesn’t take so much competence (however, being smart, rich and handsome surely helps in whatever you want to do, so does having hair on your head if you think about it) as it takes persistence. That’s what most people lack, persistence. They start strong and they wane soon enough.

I’ve got a solution for that, at least a solution that worked for me.

Instead of setting huge goals that you won’t accomplish, set small goals each day that you can accomplish. Let’s say that you want to earn $5000 this month. If your hourly rate whatever you are doing (this assumes that you are not being paid a salary but rather you can actually monetize your time) is $50, this means 100 hours of work. In order to get to $5000, you need to put in only 25 hours per week or five per day and you can get the weekends free.

Does it always work? Actually, yes. I don’t know why or how but the law of averages work. Miracles happens when you put in the effort and you have past reference points that your effort will compound towards some results.

The same with books. I have a goal to read 52 books this year. I’ve finished my first (Robert Greene – Mastery) and now I’ve almost finished the second (Your Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman). How have I’ve done that? By having a daily goal of reading for 60 minutes. I admit that this is week two and I’m a bit overdue with my book (about 75% completed) but it’s about 33% bigger than the first one so my daily goal of 60 minutes was not really enough. However, I’m going to finish it tomorrow and the third book which is only around 112 pages will be completed in three days, keeping the average accurate.

And this is how each one of my days looks like. I have a set of goals or metrics I need to accomplish and I set to work on them. Do I ever accomplish all of them? No, in the 14 days of this year, there was no 100% day but that’s alright. It’s far better than working without a plan or having a very strict goal that allows me to do nothing but work on it’s milestones. It provides me with flexibility and even if things are a bit chaotic right now, it keeps me on track.

Here are my three suggestions for you if you want to use a similar system:

1. Start small. Start with goals, metrics that you could keep in any given day, not only in your best day. Set 30 minutes of reading daily. Set running one mile, not ten. Set writing on your book 100 words, not 1000. The idea is to keep doing it, not to start big and wane down the road.

2. Invest in good tools. If a certain type of laptop allows you to work 10% more per day, this means that in just ten days, you’ve doubled your productivity. I’m not really good at math but you’ve got the point. If you want to run, buy running shoes that will allow you to do so. If you want to eat healthy, buy healthy food and ways to prepare it.

3. Eliminate any obstacle to your goal. The key to getting what you want in life is to eliminate as many of the obstacles as possible and adding as many useful and helping tools as possible. This is your perfect excuse to invest in gadgets or in new clothes if you want, but for all intents and purposes, just make things as easy for yourself as possible. There’s no purpose in actually making things harder. Avoid drama, avoid adding artificial obstacles. Life is challenging as it is, you don’t need to make it harder.

Or to quote John Wayne …

“Life’s hard. It’s harder if you are stupid”.

Now it’s time to implement it. Ask yourself what you should be doing each day and set a daily goal in a spreadsheet to do it. Then start doing it. You may not seem as making a lot of progress in the start but soon, you’ll be flying towards accomplishing your goal. Everything good in life requires patience and persistence. Show these two skills and it’s amazing what you can accomplish.

How To Set Goals & Resolutions For 2014

Today is the 4th of January. Most folks got over their hangover and are ready to kick start this new year in force.

And how do you start the year in force? Clearly by following the old tradition of setting resolutions and more recently, goals. Most of these resolutions tend to be a bit predictable – lose (more) weight, sleep less, spend more time with your family, make more money, change your job, etc. They are feel good wishes that do not really lead anywhere because they are almost impossible to quantify.

That’s why I’d like to show you a new method for setting resolutions and goals. A method that at least for me, actually works.

The first step is to determine five specific things you want to achieve in 2014. I know that five goals for an entire year may seem a bit thin but the truth is that the more goals you set, the less you’ll be able to focus on any one of them. If it would be realistic, I would even set one goal.

So determine exactly what you want. Do you want more money? Specify how much. Do you want to lose weight? Determine how much weight. Do you want to read more? Determine how many books.

For example, if you want to make $100.000 this year, write a goa like “Earn $100.000 by the end of 2014”. Now that you’ve done this, it’s time to break it down per month. While this may not be 100% realistic as you will make less in the beginning and more in the end, it can at least give you some structure.

$100.000 divided by 12 equals around $8300. This means that in order to reach your goal, you must make $8300 each month. If you are in a position where you have a direct control over your income (like sales) you can divide this by week. You should make $2000 per week and based on your previous experience, you can know how many phones you need to make or what other metrics you need to impose to get to that $2000/week, $8300/month, $100.000/year goal.

Do this for all your goals. Do you want to read 25 books this year? This means about one book every two weeks or two books per month. Create a goal to read two books per month, for each month of the year and simply follow that plan. Reading 25 books is an intimidating thought but ready a book in the next two weeks is not.

Finally, you want some metrics to track your progress. Let’s take the two above examples.

If you are self-employed, you will achieve your goal based on how many billable hours you put in. For example, I have a daily goal to put in four productive hours into what I do (with or without weekends) because I’ve calculated that this can help me achieve my goal. Maybe you have to make 100 calls a day or develop five websites per month. I don’t know. You need to set a metric that you can track on a daily basis (usually hours invested or Pomodoros invested, a Pomodoro being a 25 minute unit) and then each day, accomplish it.

When it comes to the book example, I have the goal to read for 60 minutes each day, in as many sessions as I need. To do this I set a goal to read until page xyz and when I’ve reached that page, I’ve accomplished my goal.

I have other metrics too for marketing, health, fitness, journaling, etc and I’m sure I’m going to add a few new ones in the future too.

This is my method for setting goals and making sure I’m going to accomplish them. It’s based on being specific, spreading the workload in units I can manage and tracking how I’m getting closer to my goal on a daily basis.

What are your NY resolutions and how have you’ve decided to plan them in order to be sure that you’ll accomplish them?

Best regards,
Razvan Rogoz

Will Copywriting As We Know It Cease To Exist?

The answer is no.

Many posts online say that the copywriting is dead. You can find this on forums, blogs and even in books.

Copywriting is not dead. It is transforming. Yes, sales page formats may tend to change, to adapt to this new economy. Old long sales letters are not as effective as they were years ago because people tend to have a shorter attention span.

However, for all intents and purposes, they still work. When you are selling, you still need to counter objections, give reason why, build momentum, create desire through the benefits of your product and so on.

It does not really matter if it’s in a VSL or a 300 word copy or a 3000 word copy. It’s the same principle. Why? Because while the Internet may have changed a lot of things, we haven’t. The only major change is that we are fractionating information, that we are focusing more on small bits than on the big picture.

This is due to services like Twitter or YouTube. However, we still need to be persuaded and seduced into buying something. Forget consultative selling. Forget selling without selling.

Sales in essence are the same as they were three decades ago. So if you are wondering if you should use a sales copy, the answer is yes. It works and it will still work for a few years from now on.

Best regards,
Razvan Rogoz

The #1 Most Overlooked Emotional Appeal

I don’t know about you, but here in Europe there is a major factor that impacts how people behave, and therefore can be used in sales copy.

This is what other people will think of them. Europe is a lot more social and conformist in nature (at least parts of it, France would be the opposite) compared to the United States. Here “what other people think of me” ranks high on the list of emotional needs.

This drove me to the fact that too few people use this in a sales material. Yes, they use appeals like “get a good deal” or “sleep better at night” but way too few people focus on this primordial need to get accepted, to be liked and not to be judged.

So here’s a piece of advice: in every sales copy you write, focus on the social aspect too. Show how they risk nothing and they gain a lot, socially, by investing in this product and there is no risk of shame or “loss of face” in the process. It is a small tweak but for most people, caring what other people think is just up there close to sex and eating.

For your success,
Razvan Rogoz

The Three Entrepreneurial Personalities

I am not only Razvan Rogoz. I have actually three personalities. Now, don’t be scared. I’m not crazy.

I’ll explain in a second.

Every entrepreneur or business owner has three personalities. If you don’t believe me, ask Michael Gerber in “The E-Myth Revisited”, one of the best books on system thinking ever wrote.

  • I’m Razvan the technician – writing the copy, writing this article, putting in the work.
  • I’m Razvan the manager – creating plans, updating Basecamp, managing my time, writing goals, allocating resources, finding help and so on.
  • I’m Razvan the entrepreneur – dreaming, finding opportunities, creating systems, looking for ways to grow and evolve.

Three personalities in one. And what I’ve discovered, what I’ve understood recently is that the more these three personalities are balanced in a manner of 33.3%, 33.3%, 33.3%, the more competent that person will be.

Some people are technicians by nature. They like to get the work done, whatever that work is and don’t really concern themselves with management or entrepreneurship. Others are managers or entrepreneurs, focusing on order and opportunities. The idea is to balance these three.

The idea is that if you have three hours available …

  • Use one to plan and keep everything in order.
  • Use one to do your work.
  • Use one to find opportunities for your work to value more in the future.

In other words – execution, management, vision. 

Is it easy to keep such a balance in place? No, it’s not. But life is about balance. You can’t go 90% A and zero B if you need both. If you want to be productive you need both work and rest. If you want to grow a successful business you need to be the technician, manager and entrepreneur, all in one package.

For your profits,
Razvan Rogoz

How To Be Productive While Writing Copy

Sales copy is not the most productive activity in the world.

Why?

Because as copywriters, we want everything to go perfect. We want every word, phrase, paragraph to fit in and look like a piece of modern art.

And this is the biggest obstacle to writing good copy. Writing good copy is a process of research, putting your thoughts down on paper and refining. It is about approaching every possible way to get into the minds and hearts of the client and only then pick up the best one.

How do you do that?

I have three methods.

The first one is to auto-write. The process of auto-writing is when you set a timer for 30 – 60 minutes and in that time you write without stopping. You don’t edit. You don’t think. You don’t brainstorm. You just write. You pour down everything that comes out knowing that you’ll need it in some form or another later.

Auto-writing is a very useful process in copywriting, journaling, ghostwriting and possibly every other creative field. It allows you to get some rough gems on paper, gems you would need think about if you would edit every word and punctuation sign.

The second one is to discuss personally with your prospects. Keyword research, blogs, forums, project briefs, are all useful but only to a point. You may get the general picture about whom you are selling but you are still going to make a lot of assumptions about how that person should behave.

People are anything but rational (me included) so it may be useful to stop assuming that they’ll buy because of rational reasons or that they are interested in the same aspects of the product as you are. Sometimes, the most counter-intuitive thing out of all, a small benefit, a bullet may actually lead to a sale while other times, pages of benefits may not move him even one inch.

So find your prospect and carry a normal conversation with him. Try to understand how he thinks, acts, sees the world. Pay him if you need to, just to understand his mindset as close as possible.

The third method is to use strategic breaks. We are all emotional creatures. Emotions can make us or break us. One bad news and our entire day can be a mess and one good news and you can write the best copy of your life at lighting speeds.

It is hard to write good copy when you are upset or depressed. It is hired to write good copy when you are uncertain if it will work or not. A good concept from NLP is “beliefs are possibility filters”. In other words, if you believe that it will not work, you are actually restraining yourself from writing copy that may work.

It seems strange but the only way to access your true potential in any given situation is to believe in it’s certain success, in victory.

Of course, there are many other ways to be productive while writing copy but these are the main three principles I consider you should follow. They usually eliminate writer’s block and will give you that momentum that you need to get from start to finish.

For your business success,
Razvan Rogoz

 

Are You Making These Five Copywriting Mistakes?

Dear entrepreneur,

There are a lot of posts & courses online on how to make your promotion work. There are countless book on how to write good copy and how to improve your conversion through the process of split-testing.

What I have almost never found are posts about why a sales letter may fail. You see, copywriting is both an science and an art, exactly in this order. It is based on fixed principles but it is hard to pinpoint them with mathematical precision. There is an amount of guessing inherent in every promotion you write or is written for you.

Below are the ten reasons why I consider a copywriting promotion usually fails.

Too many assumptions regarding the customer.

When you are researching, your main focus should be on the person you are actually selling. This may as a given but you would be surprised how many people ignore this step. They focus on the product, on the market, which are good advice, but they forget that people buy for emotional reasons and justify with logic.

One good method I’ve been using lately in order to create customer avatars is to pay potential clients to talk with me. I will look for clients who bought a similar product and spend 60 – 120 minutes discussing their buying motivations for $10 – $20 per hour.

This is a lot more useful than a focus group since there you will hear generally what you want to hear. When you are talking one on one with a customer, he’ll bust almost all your assumptions wide open and explain to you the real reasons why he bought something.

You will discover that these reasons are far from sophisticated and generally relate to our fundamental human nature – vanity, fear, love.

The copy is difficult to read.

I am not saying here about English vs. non-English copywriters. For all intents and purposes, a read-proffer and editor is cheap enough to invest in. Instead, I am suggesting that you format your copy in such a manner that it is as easy to read as possible.

Use short sentences instead of long ones. Break paragraphs after one or two sentences. Make the design easy to follow with as little distracting elements as possible. Use sub-heads to break up the copy and make it easier to read. Use a font that works for them, Ariel or Tahoma. Use a blueish background image since it’s proven to increase trust.

All these element taken individually do not account for much but together will increase the readership of your sales copy dramatically.

The headline does not pull the prospect in.

The job of the headline is to get the prospect to read the first sentence. The job of the first sentence is to get him to read the second sentence. This process goes on and on until you’ve pulled him into the copy and you’ve started the “desire” process. Until the moment you can present him the benefits that may make him want to buy, you want to build your copy as a slippery slope where the only purpose of every word mentioned there is to get him to read forward.

The true purpose of any sales letter is to get read, not to sell. The sell should come as a consequence of building enough desire, but if it doesn’t get read, then it’s all for nothing.

The offer is not attractive enough.

One of the first thoughts that we have when we want to buy something is “can I get this somewhere else cheaper?” It doesn’t matter if it’s a $200.000 sports car or a $19 eBook, we are always looking for a better deal.

Most online entrepreneurs act like there is no competition, like their product is the only one on the market and the only solution for any given purpose. The truth is that maybe a small percentage will buy instantly, because this is the first choice they’ve seen but the bulk of your market researched several products before voting with their wallets.

Acknowledge the competition. Explain how you are superior to them. This may be in terms of price, bonuses, insight, experience, customer support. Don’t simply act as there is no competition as the prospect is far from stupid.

The objections are not answered.

Regardless what some people may think, copywriters are not editors. They are sales people in print. This means that we need to think like a sales people and the primary objective in sales is to get over objections.

In a interaction, there will always be a sale. You can either sale the other person on why your choice is the best one or the other person can sell you why it’s not. A sale is always made.

When it comes to copywriting, the prospect will bring a lot of objections. These may include but are not limited to:

  • I am special, this will not work for me.
  • I have tried something similar and it failed.
  • It is too expensive.
  • I do not have the time required.
  • I am afraid what my family will think after I purchase this.
  • I do not know if I can handle the challenge of applying everything.
  • I’m not ready to buy now.

… and so on. There are tens of objections found in every product and market and your job is to answer them, as persuasive as possible. Do not ignore an objection. If you ignore it, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there and every objection ignored is like a huge “STOP” sign your prospect can’t wait to find, stop, and return to his cozy, homeostatic state.

These are the main obstacles to a sale. There are more, of course, including a bad product (it’s hard to sell a inferior product) but for all intents and purposes, please try to avoid everything I’ve wrote above.

For more sales,
Razvan Rogoz