All the best copywriters I know follow the LEGO method…
That’s what I call it, at least.
I was listening to A-list copywriter (and Titan of Direct Response) Parris Lampropoulos, on The Truth About Marketing with Kevin Rogers. You should listen to both parts of the two-part interview: Part 1, Part 2.
Parris talked about using the LEGO method — even though he didn’t use that name for it. I also know that just about every other really great copywriter I’ve ever spoken with about this topic has revealed they use the LEGO method, too.
It’s a proven process for coming up with breakthrough big ideas for your next ad or sales letter.
First: an important point about context…
The LEGO method is primarily useful when creating very indirect leads — where you’re getting attention with a big narrative, before you start to dive into the product or the offer.
If you’re selling something like toilet paper that everybody knows they need, and they know why they need it, this is completely unnecessary.
But if you, like most good direct response marketers, are addressing a problem that your prospect is familiar with, but with a solution and offer they don’t know (and thus require more copy and more explanation), this is a perfect fit.
Now, we’ll get to the specifics of the method in a moment, but first I need to make sure you really understand why it’s so important.
The challenge: Put a NEW message in front of your prospect that they can’t ignore…
One of the most important elements in getting your prospect’s attention is curiosity. If someone isn’t curious about your message, they’re unlikely to read, watch, or listen to it.
The way the human mind works, we’re naturally curious about and attracted to new things — to novelty.
And so if you want a strong likelihood of your prospect paying attention to you, you want to have an idea that feels like it’s new and something they’ve never seen before.
Do this right, and they will feel like they’re discovering something in your sales message, and will be naturally drawn into and through it.
Added difficulty: Your prospects are constantly bombarded with “new”…
What makes this even harder is that we are now constantly bombarded with things pitched as new and interesting.
Spend 10 minutes scrolling through your Facebook feed, and you’ll find dozens of articles and other content that’s incredibly effective at stimulating your desire for novelty.
Most people online today are in a constant state of arousal as a result of all this content.
It’s very similar to drugs. When you get high of a new drug for the first time, it’s this powerful, new, novel experience. But your body and mind get to know that experience, and adapt to it. You develop a tolerance. And it takes ever-more of the drug to get anywhere near the same high.
Here’s something scary. When you’re scrolling through Facebook, every time you feel good about finding something new and exciting enough to click, it’s hitting the same pleasure and reward centers in your brain as the world’s most dangerous drugs.
And so if you’re like the average internet user, you develop a tolerance for novel headlines and promises. It takes something even more novel to get you excited in the same way.
Your prospect is that average internet user. They read, watch, and listen to ever-more content developed by people just like you and me, who are pros at grabbing their limited attention with ever-greater novelty.
If you want to compete in this environment, you have to have to bring that one big idea that feels totally new, unique, novel, and interesting. And the way you do that is with the LEGO method…
The good news: there are infinite new ideas out there…
The one constant in life is change. The world is constantly in flux, life is in flux, politics is in flux, society is in flux, technology is in flux, business is in flux, the marketplace is in flux… EVERYTHING IS IN FLUX… And so there is always opportunities to come up with new and unique big ideas that will capture your prospect’s attention.
The bad news is that you probably can’t just swipe an old headline. Especially if you’re in a sophisticated market that sees a lot of copy from B-level copywriters or above.
If you’re in a market where people are used to reading really interesting and novel marketing, you’re going to fail if you try to stimulate the drive for novelty with “Who else wants another me-too promise?”
But with a bit more effort put into it, you can follow the process Parris revealed in his Truth About Marketing interview and that I’ve heard over and over again from every great copywriter I know…
The solution: the LEGO method…
Have you ever built with LEGO blocks, without following the directions? I mean, sat down with a huge box of bricks, and created something NEW?
There are pretty much infinite possibilities beyond a very small number of blocks…
— If you have two 8-stud (2×4) LEGO bricks, you can combine them in 24 different ways.
— Three 8-stud bricks can be combined in 1,060 ways.
— And with just six 8-stud LEGO bricks of the same color, there are 915 MILLION different combinations. (Add different colors and you multiply the possibilities!)
With just a tiny set of LEGO bricks, you have an effectively infinite variety of new, novel combinations.
Have you connected the dots… I mean… bricks yet?
Let’s say you have a product you want to sell. Let’s say it’s a backup solar generator. You start to look at all the possibilities for how to sell this.
There’s the whole “backup power” route, and that’s one brick.
But then you ask yourself what situations might create the need for backup power. And you ask your client for more on this, and they tell you they built the generator inside an EMP-resistant case.
So, add “EMP-caused power outage” as another brick.
Then you wonder what causes an EMP. And you discover that EMPs can be caused by the sun, but they can also be caused by a nuclear weapon detonated in the stratosphere.
“High-altitude nuclear detonation” is another brick.
Then, you’re reading the news, and you see a bunch of headlines about a piece of supposed space junk that turned out to be a Russian satellite, being run covertly and without a clear purpose.
“Covert Russian satellite” becomes another brick.
Then, you think you might be able to build something.
What if you speculated that the covert Russian satellite could be used to carry a nuclear weapon, that if detonated over a target would be the kind of high-altitude detonation needed to trigger an EMP, and everyone below would benefit from having an EMP-resistant backup solar generator?
That’s certainly one way to build those bricks.
And when I put together that mix of bricks, in that way, no major media had even discussed the possibility of satellite-launched EMP attacks.
It certain captured the attention and interest of my target market — and sold over $1 million worth of backup solar generators.
How to do this for yourself…
If you create persuasive messages that need to attract your prospects and satisfy their desire for novelty, you need to become a LEGO collector. In other words, you need to constantly be collecting interesting tidbits, facts, and ideas for later use.
And then, you need to practice building, and play with connecting ideas.
For example, I saw the LEGO documentary on Netflix months or even more than year ago. It’s been a while. But I still remembered the image of the LEGO bricks being connected together, and that I was wowed by the number of combinations you could create with so little bricks.
So when I heard Parris talking about building ideas together to create headlines, and I knew that was something I’d done in the past, it triggered my memory of those brick combos.
I thought about connecting ideas. I thought about connecting LEGO bricks. And gave me a nice combination for presenting this process in a new and unique way.
A quick Google search later, and I even had those wow-you stats about how many combinations you can create, with how few bricks.
And you get a second example, on the fly, about how this method can be used.
In this context, it would be valuable to you to re-read my article about Feedly boards from a couple weeks ago, and realize that is a great tool for collecting bricks about a topic that you can later combine in novel and interesting ways!
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,