When it comes to generating profits, your offer — and how you present it — matters more than your headline…
Let that sink in.
As someone who has made a pretty penny in these last few years by putting words on paper, you might think this scares me.
But in reality, it’s my secret weapon against other “copywriters” who actually let “putting words on page” define their total job role.
Because I think beyond the words on page — into markets and offers — I’m at a distinct advantage over copywriters who write to assignment.
In fact, it’s often by throwing something new into the offer — such as a new premium or bonus of my choosing — that I’m able to immediately distinguish myself from other writers.
It’s by tweaking the offer that I’m able to get the new control, or create a new response breakthrough for clients.
Here’s how this is used at the upper echelons of the direct response business…
Let’s say you’re a copywriter writing for one of the top financial publishers in the industry.
They have a publication that’s selling well. Of course it’s selling well, because the client had one of the world’s best copywriters write the ad for it.
Now, you’ve been tasked with “beating the control.” That is, writing an ad that generates a higher response or ROI than the previous ad.
And as you think about this task, you start to wonder what the heck it is you’re going to do to beat this unbeatable copy.
You’ve even made matters worse. You decided to read the copy that this A-lister wrote. You found yourself moved by it. And you don’t know what the heck you’re going to do to write anything better.
Here’s the wrong road to take…
If you consider yourself to be a “creative” or copywriter, you’re going to focus on that element of generating response.
That is, you’re going to look at the headline, the big idea, the sales argument, how objections are answered, the proof points, the product explanation, the price presentation, the risk-reversal, the close, and all those other elements throughout. You’re going to look at the words on the page, and how they’re presented.
And you’re going to look for a better idea for how you will pitch the very same thing.
What this means is that the better writer will win.
And if you’re competing against an A-lister, you better hope they were having a bad day or a bad month and they missed something obvious you can identify.
So you can grab your prospect’s attention better, or build their interest and desire better, or inspire action better. (Basically all the important stuff I cover in High-Velocity Copywriting.)
And as important as it is to master the skill of copywriting, why would you stop there? Why would you not give yourself every ethical advantage possible in winning the test — so you can enjoy all the newfound riches your new control will generate through royalties?
Here’s a different approach you can take…
Let’s imagine for a minute that your client has a “control” offer. That is, they have base pricing that works best. Most sophisticated marketers, even if (or especially if) they are willing to test pricing, still start from their control offer.
But, they are willing to test new bonuses or premiums in addition to the core product.
So, for example, a financial newsletter publisher may know exactly what they want to sell their newsletter for. They have a one-year price, a two-year price, a three-month downsell price, and a lifetime membership price.
You can’t change those terms.
But, if you want to make specific promises or talk about specific investments that go beyond the core product (but that are simpatico), they’ll be flexible. In fact, they even have a team of junior editorial writers who can put together these reports for you.
And so, for example, you might have a publication talking about tech stocks. Well, selling tech stocks by itself hasn’t been all that titillating since about 1999, but there are a lot of new and interesting technologies.
So you work with the editor of this publication, and you uncover a story of a new technology that would be both interesting to write a promotion about, and that is tied to a logical case for investment they are happy to stand behind.
So, rather than writing to sell the newsletter, the subscription, or anything that came before…
Suddenly you’re selling something completely new and different from what the current control was selling. Your big idea is different, your sales narrative is different, everything is different.
So you dive into that. You tell that story. You make that pitch. And only once you have the prospect fully convinced that this is an investment they want to learn more about do you tie it to the client’s original offer. You offer the report about investing in this new technology as a free bonus when they agree to try out the publication — where they will also get ongoing coverage of this investment opportunity.
Now, you’re not competing on copywriting skills. Now, you’re competing on the strength of this idea — with an offer that has been updated to match the idea.
This isn’t a guarantee you’ll win.
But I’ll tell you something. Two similarly-qualified writers, writing about the same thing, will likely generate a similar result. The more different the messages are, the more likely you are to get a drastically-different result. That can be a swing and a miss. Or, it can be a grand slam home run. If you want to create breakthroughs, doing something different can be an incredibly powerful way of doing it.
But that’s just one way to twist an offer…
Let’s say you’re working with a client whose offers are not quite as refined. Who can be much more flexible.
You realize that the client is selling just one price point in their ads. But you’ve heard that packaging can increase average order value. And so you suggest that in your ad, you’d like to test a silver, gold, and platinum package. Or a basic, plus, and complete package. Or whatever. The lowest-level offer matches what they’re doing. And you find a way to combine products for the higher-level packages.
(Or, in the subscription business, this could be testing 2-year, 5-year, and lifetime options. Or BOGO — buy one, get one free. Or, anything your creativity can come up with!)
Or, you could take it the other way. If your client has an expensive package that they sell, perhaps you could break out one component into a low-priced entry offer.
Whatever it is, the key is to come at it from new angles, and new perspectives.
If they haven’t been featuring their guarantee, maybe you make it a core part of the sales message. Or maybe you encourage them to test a longer guarantee. Or a performance guarantee alongside their current satisfaction guarantee.
Or, you get them to test sampling. Or payment options. Or, whatever!
The biggest limit here is your imagination.
What you’ll find is that the offer plays an inordinate role in the response rate!
That is, tweaking your offer can often be as impactful as tweaking the copy.
Or even more so.
The old 40/40/20 rule applies. 40% of the success of a promotion is the audience, 40% is the offer, and 20% is the creative.
All of them must be good for a promotion to do well.
But improving your audience or improving your offer can be even more impactful than writing better copy, when it comes to creating true breakthroughs.
Let’s say you take the same copy, and add a deadline to the offer. That will likely boost response rates.
Let’s say you take the same copy, and use it to front-end a continuity/membership program instead of a single sale. That will likely increase ROI.
Let’s say you let your prospects split their investment over multiple payments, especially if the investment is more than $100. You’ll probably get more customers.
This is just scratching the surface.
And all of the above is subject to testing.
But when you understand and practice what I’m preaching here, you’re suddenly running with the big boys and girls. You suddenly bring tremendous power to a situation where, if you’d just focused on copy, you had very little power before.
Heck, before I ever sold $1 million worth of backup solar generators, I helped my client double his profits per sale by encouraging him to test a significantly higher price. I was a hero twice, first when that test worked, then when my promo using that new offer worked even better!
In fact, I’d argue that if you don’t understand everything I just shared, you’ll never be a great copywriter. Once you do understand it, proven skills like you’ll find in High-Velocity Copywriting will only become even more powerful.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,