Today, I’m going to share with you one of the greatest secrets of A-list copywriters, in many of the most competitive industries on the planet…
I’m going to introduce you to a concept we’ll call Selling Alchemy. In fact, I’m going to pull back the curtain, and totally reveal it. What it is, and how to use it to create tremendous sales breakthroughs.
First, a big challenge we face today…
And, I’ll note, this challenge is doubly-difficult in the most competitive markets, where we have world-class copywriters all fighting for the attention of the same prospects, with ever-more-persuasive selling messages.
Your prospect has seen everything under the sun!
Every product. Every offer. Every bold promise that can be made!
In a sophisticated, mature market, your prospect has seen them all.
And here I especially refer to the health and wealth markets. Although this plague of the ultra-aware prospect stretches much further than this.
Copywriting and marketing training are as good, prevalent, accessible, and widespread as ever before. There are more great copywriters, testing more great selling messages in more markets, than at any time in the history of direct response.
Your prospect has been bombarded with thousands of selling messages already today (even a decade or so ago it was measured that we see 5,000 marketing messages per day — that’s only increased).
Not only that, alternative solutions to their problems — in just about any industry — are a Google search away. They don’t need your advertising to find a solution. Once they identify a problem, they can find it on their own, thank you very much.
Your prospect’s anti-advertising filter is turned all the way — to block nearly everything.
They don’t believe you. Not only that, they don’t care enough about your selling message to even pay attention.
No matter how well-intentioned you are. No matter how good your product or service is.
Filtering the noise is a matter of survival.
And it’s completely natural.
And yet, somehow, some copywriters are able to cut through…
How do they do it? How do they create multi-million-dollar windfalls, selling to prospects who don’t want to pay attention?
The secret? It’s Selling Alchemy…
Are you familiar with the traditional study of alchemy? It was long-thought that there was some method, some trick, some spell that could be used to turn lead into gold.
That is, with the right material, the alchemist could take a piece of lead, and in their workshop, they’d work their magic, and that lead would become gold.
Now, we’ll leave out the actual science of that. And the mysticism-influenced interpretation I have for ya. (Save it for over a beer, okay?)
Today, we’re just going to talk about how the world’s best copywriters apply the same idea to their selling messages…
How to transform lead into gold… In your selling messages! (And perhaps make $1 billion.)
Mark Ford (under his pen name Michael Masterson) and John Forde share, in their book Great Leads, a concept that they once called “neologizing.” That’s a fancy way to say, “giving a new name to something.”
Today, this is best known as a secret lead (lead, like th beginning of copy, not lead, the metal) — and it’s led to some of the most fascinating money-sucking promotions in recent history.
A classic, from that book, was the “Chaffee Royalty Program” that “turned every $1 into $50.”
Another classic from the hallowed halls of Agora’s direct response copywriting departments was the “801(k)” retirement account.
Today, Money Morning is all over the internets with a promotion that’s clearly doing well under the heading of “Big Tobacco Must Pay” — that reveals an opportunity in “Master Settlement Payments” from the big tobacco companies, offering income streams of as much as $2,400 per month.
Here’s what you need to know about ALL of these, as a copywriter: they are all new names for old opportunities, presented in this way to make them feel new and overcome the attention filters that the market has set on high.
Because of my work in the industry, it’s easiest for me to pull all these examples from financial publishing. Other markets have them too.
And, in fact, these secret leads that use neologizing or Selling Alchemy? They’ve been one of the biggest drivers to the success of the conglomerate I lovingly refer to as “The Agora Empire” — which has, according to one promotion they put out, made their founder possibly the first billionaire copywriter, and driven their annual sales well into the 9-figure and perhaps close to the 10-figure range.
In order to be successful, you have to believably, compellingly, and convincingly present the known (lead, the metal) as the unknown (gold), the familiar as the new…
Why does this work so well?
When it all comes down to it, there’s one thing that will earn us, as marketers and salespeople, more than passing attention…
Imagine an alchemist’s pot that must include all the right ingredients to create the magical transformation…
In getting attention, those magical ingredients are benefit, value, and curiosity…
Your prospect, going about their day, is briefly drawn to some ad, and in a fraction of a second, their subconscious asks…
— Will this benefit me to pay attention?
— Is this valuable enough to be worth my time?
— Does this feel new, does it spark my curiosity?
So much novice and professional copywriting really nails the first two points. Benefits? Check. Valuable content? Check. But it doesn’t feel new, unique, curiosity-provoking.
And so that filter never lets it through. It never makes it a priority for our conscious awareness.
And it’s only getting harder…
We’re addicted to the new…
Every time we come across something that feels new, we get a little dopamine spike in our brain. It makes us feel good.
In fact, the search-and-find feedback system in our brains stimulates the exact same neurotransmitter loop as addictive drugs like cocaine and meth.
Just think of that next time you’re scrolling down Facebook’s bottomless news feed.
Every time you find something new and interesting, it’s like taking a little bump of cocaine straight up the snuffer.
But what happens when you abuse these drugs, and regularly flood your brain with dopamine?
Well, your brain adjusts. It attenuates. You get less response from the same amount of stimulus.
You need more, to get the same high.
That’s why dope fiends go off the deep end, into spiraling depths of abuse.
On a lesser level, that’s what’s happening to our brains. As we get hit with clickbait headlines and ever-better marketing, our brains are demanding things feel even more new, exciting, and curiosity-provoking just to afford our attention.
We’re totally addicted.
And those benefit-value promotions? Even if they’d be good for us to pay attention to, we don’t get the bump from them, and we don’t give ‘em the light of day.
As a human being, this is a little worrisome. As a marketer though, I can’t ignore the trend…
(Hence my giving it a new name for this essay, rather than the better-known “secret leads” or “neologizing” that you may have recognized!)
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,