How to write better ads
(So you get more clicks)
Taught by Perry Marshall of 80/20 Sales and Marketing
Master Class: Ad Copywriting
Master Class Toolbox
Andrew: This session is about how to write better ads. It is led by the great Perry Marshall, founder of Perry S. Marshall and Associates, which consults both online and brick and mortar companies on generating sales leads, web traffic, and maximizing advertising results. He, of course, is the author of this great book that I hope many of you have read. If you haven’t, go grab it — “80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More.” Perry, welcome back. It’s good to have you here.Perry: It’s good to be here. When I was on before, I got such a great response. You have a very passionate audience which I love. There are some hosts of shows where their audience isn’t very passionate. I like it this way!Andrew: I want the fiery people! And I keep encouraging them to let guests know if something worked, helped, or touched them. So let’s give them something really good today.To help the audience understand what they can do with today’s topic, let’s start with these stats that came from a gentleman named Ben Garelick [SP], who was in one of your hot seats. What’s a hot seat and where was Ben when you started talking to him?
Perry: I do this thing called a four-man intensive. It’s two days, four people in a room, and everybody gets a half-day hot seat. That means it’s all about you, it’s all about your business, everybody in the room is focused on you. They’re all from completely different industries which helps the cross-pollination of ideas and it’s all about making your business better. In fact, we did this session a couple of different times and one of them is in our AdWords copywriting express product.
Andrew: So these stat examples are before you got started, right? He was basically doing 5% click rates.
Perry: Right. If you read the ads…Rock Climbing Courses, Develop Climbing Skills Rapidly, Schools in Europe, Spain, they’re pretty typical ads. Then look at what we came up with using our particular methodology. We got the 5% up to 10-12%. These new ads are burning with personality — Mountaineering School: Born-College-Job-Marry Spouse-Kids-Retire-Die. Want More?
This came from really digging into who comes to their mountain training school. When do they come? Why do they come? I found out these are typically guys that graduated from college. They’ve been working under buzzing fluorescent lights for the last three years and it’s killing them. They realize that if they don’t do something interesting, they’re going to be like their Dads. They’re going to be overweight, die of a heart attack, or die of boredom.
A whole story started to emerge and I came to understand there is this whole culture around mountaineering and this was really what Ben was selling. We dug out that message and had a clever way to just rotate through the combinations. There are enough boring companies, boring ads, boring people in the world, so let’s jack it up with some excitement. That’s what we did. In Google AdWords, if your average, it isn’t no fun. In Google, 2% of the advertisers get 50% of the traffic, that’s fact. What are you going to do to be in that top 2%? You’re not going to get there with a ho-hum message. AdWords is very competitive.
Andrew: That’s what we’re going to get into here. How to avoid that ho-hum, add emotion, and bring in people beyond the person you’re hoping to click and use them to help get more clicks.
I just want to read one more before we move on to the big board of ideas which we’ll be covering. I thought these were so creative and well written. Here’s the one that’s right smack in the middle. It says: Mountaineering School — that weak, sniveling voice in your head begs you to quit. Climb on. Here’s another, masochist spa is the headline, I don’t think I need to read anymore and let me see. Works sucks? I unzip my tent. What’s your commute?
So, really, full of emotion, full of heart, full of passion and that’s what we’re going for here. Let’s take a look at the big board and see how we’re going to get our audience here today there. The first big point that we’ll talk about is to use the little comma that could to boost click-through rates instantly and I think I’ve got an example of it here. Is this it?
Perry: Yes. It is. It is.
Andrew: What is the little comma?
Perry: All right so these six ads, if you could look inside of the google account, what you would see is that even though all these ads are pretty similar to each other, the worst one is about 1.3% and the best one is 4.3 and the second best is like 4.2 or something like that.
Perry: And it’s, so the best ads here are actually the upper left and the upper right. Actually no, it’s the upper left and then the second one down from the left.
Andrew: Ah, okay. Mm-hmm. Sorry, I’ll let you explain it.
Perry: Those were the best ones in the pack but the one on top, the only difference between these two ads, is that one comma in the first line. How to write a book fast versus how to write a book, fast. Now that one comma actually made an 8% difference in the performance of the ad, as far as how many clicks it got you, how much it cost to run the ad, is 8% better and I call it the little comma that could. Okay? And, what is that about? That is about the fact that human beings are extremely sensitive to copy.
Perry: They are extremely sensitive to language and you only really fully realize this when you go out there and you start testing stuff and we did this and in this particular account, that comma is probably worth 500 bucks a year. On a not terribly, you know, high-traffic set of keywords. And so, like, yeah, one comma could be worth 500 bucks a year and so it pays to invest in your copyrighting education, right?
Perry: You know, why is that? I think it’s because of rhythm. You know, the ad has a little more pizazz.
Andrew: What should we be taking away from that? Is it that add a comma at the end of all of our, before the last word of every one of our copy or is it something else?
Perry: Well, actually, there’s two points. One is, it’s not about the commas per se, but it’s the fine touches. The little things really do make a difference.
Andrew: I see.
Perry: Okay. And we know it’s true when we listen to our favorite music. You know, you just love them, the exact way that guy did that little flourish on the guitar before, you know, they went to the second verse or whatever. These little things matter a lot but there’s actually a bigger point, which was that people actually get mired in the little stuff and they become unable to look at big stuff, which is the real point of the conversation I want to have with you today. Okay.
Perry: It’s not very hard to come up with a list of little things you could, well do we say tomato or do we do tomato. Do we spell the word nine or do I use the number nine and you know you can like do all these kinds of things but there’s a much larger point and here’s what it is. So…
Perry: You know, I taught hundreds of thousands of people how to write Google ads and you know you could buy our Google Ad Words book on Amazon and all of that but what I learned was that people almost always, they get an in ad-writing rut and what happens is they try some things and they find something that seems to work like “Write A Book Fast, 14 Days From Start To Finish.” Boy, people seem to click on that. Then they start optimizing it and they get it down to commas and then when they’re done with that everything else they try bombs out and they get stuck and they’re like boy I think there must be some way I could write a better ad than this, but I can’t come up with it and every time I try stuff it hurts my overall performance.
I’m scared of Google because of the mighty G, and then they just peak up. I had to find a way to get around this. So that’s why we came up with the Swiss army knife concept. We’re going to talk about that. Because you need a way to break out of a creative rut and come up with something completely new. Not only that, to be able to rotate through a whole range of completely new things that are all valid.
Andrew: I see. So what you’re saying is, those little flourishes will help you, but we want to go beyond that and have a Swiss army knife like tool that will allow us to make big dramatic changes with just a small tool. Those are some of the things that we’re going to be talking about today. The Swiss army knife is your way of expressing I think it’s 17 different approaches to change in copy. If someone is in a rut they can just go through that Swiss army knife and say, “All right. Let me try number one, number two or a collection of them.” We’ll talk about some of them here today.
Andrew: All right. Let’s move on to the next view point which is to write about people related to your customer. Here is the typical ad for a topic that’s kind of painful. There it is. This is what people will see when they search for divorce, or separation, or phrases like that here. I’m just going to slide it down so we can see the sponsored links. This is what we see on the right side of Google search results. This is not what you want us to do. Why not?
Perry: Well this is very typical. I typed bad marriage into Google and this is exactly what I got. This is very typical of any industry. We could have been looking for plumbers, we could have been looking for IT professionals. What we would usually get, we would get boring ads, they’re just the Internet version of been in business since 1993, family owned, commercial and residential, just really boring. I got inspired because I was writing ads, and I was typing in these key words and that one afternoon this friend came over and she was right in the middle of a divorce. My wife and I were like her shoulder to cry on. She’s a brand new single mom and you know the story.
So what does the single mom talk to you about? Oh, and he did this and he did that and guess why you’re sad. I’m like these ads are not speaking to the real stuff here. How do we get like. . . come on let’s call out the elephant in the room. We decided we needed a set of relationships in the customer’s life that would apply to any customer in any situation buying any product. We can up with Boyd One of the Swiss army knife.
Andrew: That related here. I think I’ve got a screen shot of it. This is available on your site.
Perry: Yeah. So this is the simplified version. We got the customer.
Andrew: And what they did in the ads we showed before was talk about the customer directly.
Perry: Right. They would talk about the customer or they would talk about the advertiser like, Rhonda Callaway, LCSW. The ad was usually about the advertiser. Well that’s the most boring thing that the advertiser can talk about because that doesn’t involve all the dramas in their life and so this is the simplified one. So a thing that your customer loves. Come up with a list. A person with a bad marriage. What do they love? Well maybe he would really love a weekend in a spa and a Jacuzzi, and spend some time together and make love and everything except they’re fighting too much so they can’t do that. You put a thing your customer hates while I hate going on a weekend trip and fighting with my spouse all weekend, your customer’s worst enemy.
Well, how about the other woman? I heard a bunch of stories about that when my friend was going through a divorce, you know. Who’s her best friend? Maybe it’s her kids, right? Maybe on some days the customer’s best friend is her husband. Maybe on other days, he’s her worst enemy, and we start writing these things down. And so the whole idea of the Swiss army knife is that we’re going to connect things together, almost like at random, and we’re going to write an ad about it.
Andrew: Let’s take a look, here’s what it looks like when we do that.
Perry: Bad marriage is constant fights. That was one of the things they put on the hate list. Don’t go to bed angry. Fourteen minute video will calm your mind. Or the best friend was your husband and the enemy was his lover. Who is your husband with? Is he sleeping with her right now? Get revenge and a smile on your face. Right? Well, now did we not call out the elephant in the room?
Perry: Are we not truth telling? Now I want to be careful. I’m not guaranteeing you that if you write these in-your-face ads, which are really fun to write and really funny to read, I’m not guaranteeing you that this is the exact right approach. You may need to take that 10 and dial it down to a three or a four. You may need to use innuendo instead of being so direct. You can shade it all kinds of different ways, but the point is we’re getting the issues all out on the table so that we can then very easily write a whole bunch of completely different ads. They’re all guaranteed to punch the emotional button that is making them search in the first place. Because why are they searching?
What time is it? It’s 11:21 or it’s 1:00 o’clock in the morning or whatever, and they’re in pain. Why are they in pain? Do they want to hear about someone’s LCSW? Oh, you’re a licensed clinical social worker. Well!
Andrew: Now when you bring that up, I’m taking a look at this, and yeah it does look ridiculous! No one cares about Rhonda Calloway at that point.
Perry: And God bless her!
Andrew: Yeah, nothing wrong with Rhonda, but you’re right, that’s not what someone is thinking about. Here is what they are thinking about. Look here are two more examples. Nasty fight, the other woman sick of being compared to her, change the game free report. Or here’s another one. The other woman: stepmom. How will you feel when your children call her “mommy?” These are examples that are really 10. They’re really hitting you in the face. You may have to dial it down, but the point is still absolutely relevant which is to say, think about the other people in the person’s life, and you gave us this chart as a way of thinking about and prodding us.
And this is just a screenshot from your site. Most people will think about – here let me do this, use my handy teletrainer. Most people will do, yes themselves, or their customer. You are giving us so many others to think about that are more interesting. And I think I should put away the teletrainer. Oh, one more! Here we go.
Perry: And then all we have to do is draw a line from one of those circles to another one, and pick two things and write an ad, right? Now this is just the crude first step, but that’s all we got to do. And it’s like, well, alright, so I wrote an ad about that, so now move the line and pick another circle and then combine those two things and write an ad and all the sudden, now, you’re on your way of never running out of things to test. And you know, we’re not testing commas anymore. We’re testing entire dramas that have gone on in the person’s life and which one really resonates. And that’s what we did with Ben. With his mount training school.
Andrew: Yeah, let’s look at that with fresh eyes.
Perry: Tell me about your customer. What do they love? What do they hate? Now if you look at these ads and you go, “Well, you know they probably love their spouse and maybe they hate their job and maybe their commute. “Well Ben, when people get out on the mountain with you, what do they complain about there?” “Oh, you know, hanging on the edge of a cliff. They complain about that. Sleeping in a tent for six weeks. Living on a glacier. And it’s also like the most exhilarating thing they’ve ever done in their life and they come back a changed person.” He tells me they usually come face to face with their manhood, their womanhood, their mortality, they’re probably sobbing on the edge of a mountain somewhere for a little while and they hold themselves together, you know and he’s telling me all this.
I’m like dude. He’s not making this up, all right. He is totally sincere. In fact the problem is his ads did not reflect his real passion. I mean, if you meet this guy, oh my goodness, you know. Andrew, I’m warning you. If you go meet Ben, he might talk you into quitting Mixergy and like being in Patagonia for six months.
Andrew: Living in mud and actually or snow in Patagonia out of a tent. That’s not such a bad idea actually. I love Patagonia.
Perry: So yes, it’s like what’s the real story? There’s always a story. It’s always more interesting than the boring ad that some assistant came up with.
Andrew: All right. On to the next big point which touches on something you mentioned a moment ago. The next one is to write emotionally and you said earlier that this friend of yours was going through a divorce didn’t just talk about it in logical bullet point ways but she talked about it in emotional ways. She talked about it from a very personal point of view and you’re saying we should match it. What is the mistake most people make when they go over or below and how should we match?
Perry: Well, long ago a guy named Robert Collier said enter the conversation that is going on inside your customer’s head, okay and you actually want to match it in content and in tone, okay. So what is she thinking about? If she is thinking about her children’s new step mom and hey got more toys for Christmas than they got from me. Okay, if that’s what she is thinking about you need to talk to her about that and you need to talk to her about that the way that she talks to herself or the way that she talks to her friends about that and so that means you do need to match the intensity. Andrew Goodman, he’s one of the other great ad words guys, he said it’s the Goldilocks principle. Not too hot, not too cold. Just right is what you actually want. Totally right about that and so you can dial that down.
You can go, well okay. Let’s talk not as blatantly about this but let’s still get the message across and also about emotion. So by training I’m an engineer and honestly, maybe this is a confessional. When I write ads, I tend to … when I write in general, I tend to start with logic and I tend to lay out a logical structure but what I personally have to do is, I have to flip it around so I’ll write something and I’ll go . . . well, he did this and she did that and I kind of sound like a newspaper reporter and then she burst into tears. And I’ll eventually get to the emotion and what I have to do is when I’m done I have to turn it upside down and I have to go … so she burst into tears, right?
Andrew: I see. Yes. And then she . . .
Perry: And then I tell why she burst into tears and eventually we find out the whole story but I’m going to start with the vase shattering and the flowers smearing all over the couch and the water dripping onto the floor and she’s screaming at him and he is defending himself and he’s checking his cell phone, right. And then we’re going to find out why and again, as an engineer, I just have to do that backwards. Some people naturally, they’ll start with the emotion first but it just depends. But I can tell you this. People buy based on emotion and they back it up with logic later and frankly it’s true when people buy a Starbucks in the morning and it’s also true when a venture capitalist gives you three million dollars. I mean, I’m telling you, this is how human beings are. Sometimes the logic is a bigger part of it and sometimes it really is spreadsheets and stuff but not usually.
Perry: Not usually.
Andrew: I like that upside down approach. I’m trying to think of it for my own audience too. That what did they do and what happens next? What happens after that and where does that smash in the wall happen that I need to bring up and that’s where I should be starting. You gave Jeremy in the pre-interview a list of these emotions. How do we use these?
Perry: Okay. So there’s an amateur way to use them and there’s a pro way to use them.
Perry: The amateur way is anger, joy, disgust, blah blah, anticipation and then they would just put those words in the ad. Are you angry about . . . okay that would be the amateur way and it could work but the real professional way . . . tell me a story or give me a snip of dialogue that expresses anger so like one of the best copyrighting books ever is ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. Okay. Should be a surprise; not exactly a copyrighting book but a great book about writing and he explains that when you write fiction almost everything, almost all the action of the whole entire book is in the dialogue.
What does the clown that eats children for dinner say to Billy when he meets him in the Stephen King book, right? It’s the words that come out of his mouth so if you’re real pro, give me even half a sentence that the angry woman says to her husband, right, and if you don’t know, call up one of your divorced friends and ask and be prepared for a 45 minute conversation in which you will get years of material.
Andrew: So I’m thinking about someone in the audience who might have an app that allows designers to create better proposals. He is there to solve a problem of a designer just wants to design and not create proposals. What he should be thinking of is the pain of a customer who doesn’t send a proposal and then maybe the internal dialogue I could image of why didn’t I send it out and I allowed that guy who is the worst designer to take my job and start with that and include that phrase instead of you’ll be angry if you don’t send out proposals right. Use the statement of someone who is that angry. Show them. Don’t tell them.
Perry: That’s right. Start with the agony and work backwards. Start with the ecstasy and work backwards. Whichever way it is that’s what you want to do.
Andrew: All right. Let’s go on to the next big point here that we wanted to bring up which is to use proof to write high click through rate advertising. I’m looking here in my notes. Everyone you say has some kind of proof and you have the story from a Belgium chocolate company. Belgium chocolate story.
Perry: Okay. So I had this guy at one of my intensives and he had this website. It was “We’ve got the best Belgium chocolate” and I’m like, well that doesn’t really demonstrate anything. So here’s what I am looking for. I want you to tell me how you took your entire vacation and you drove all over Belgium until you found this one guy and he goes oh, oh, oh, that’s what happened and I’m like, okay, so what happened? He goes, well I did take my whole vacation, or holiday, because he was from Great Britain actually and I took my whole holiday and I drove all over Belgium and I found this one town and I walked into this chocolate shop and I bought some chocolates. I ate the chocolates.
And oh my goodness it was oh man these were so good and by the way they were because he brought some samples and he shared them with us and my whole family devoured them in about a day and a half. He goes I asked the owner and the owner comes and I go these are great chocolates. What do you do for marketing and that guy goes marketing? I don’t do marketing. I am an artist and I make the chocolates and I put them in the window and some people come in and buy them and some people don’t and I don’t care. Get out. Don’t talk to me about marketing. The guy literally kicked him out. He keeps coming back like the next day and the next day, he keeps coming back. Finally, okay. I will let you buy these and we can ship them to England.
Well, that story, all by itself, is a form of proof that all of the adjectives in the world can’t replace because don’t tell me, show me. You can still show through a story.
Now, maybe another kind of proof might be I remember when I was a kid, I had a Tonka truck. I got this little Tonka truck brochure and it had a picture of a car parked on the top of the Tonka dump truck. It’s like, this holds the weight of a Gran Torino. I still remember that, even though I probably was five years old when I saw that. That’s proof.
So many times, people, they don’t have any. The usually have some, but they don’t use it. I think as much as possible you should start with it. Why not right a Belgian chocolate ad that says I spent my entire six week holiday scouring Belgium, and this is the oddball character I met. Now, that’s an ad. Really, tell me about that.
Andrew: I tend to think of proof as statistics as data. You’re saying a story is proof too.
Perry: Well, yeah. I absolutely believe in statistics, and data, and case studies. Our Swiss Army knife product has a whole list. But you got to demonstrate. However you can, you need to demonstrate to me the truth of what you’re saying.
Andrew: You know what? That’s the way we start these programs. I specifically asked you for the story of the guy who sold training on mountain climbing. That’s how we started because I do think the audience says, “Who is this guy? I know Perry Marshall, but I don’t know that he really has the stuff.” By showing an example, by telling a story of how you fix someone’s business or someone’s ads, we get to convince the audience that they should trust and pay attention.
Perry: Right. Isn’t that more interesting and more persuasive than saying I wrote the number one Google AdWords book?
Andrew: Yes. Strangely, writing the number one Google AdWords book is much more meaningful, but people don’t pay as much attention to it, and they don’t remember it, and they don’t go back later on, thinking about the specific ads.
Perry: Right, because in the Swiss Army knife blade one, that story’s about me. They want a story that’s either about them or somebody just like them. Well, I don’t run a mountain training school, but I do run a hypnosis thing. My ads are boring and I’m not sure how to write exciting ones. Well, okay. Let’s go down the rabbit hole and we’ll teach you how.
Andrew: What if someone’s new and just getting started, and they don’t have that kind of proof? They don’t have that story yet.
Perry: If your product is worth selling, there must be some way that you know that it’s worth selling. 90% of the time, there is a story. If you go, well, all right. I don’t have these case studies, and I don’t have this poof, and we just developed this product, and it’s brand new and I haven’t even sold it to one person yet, there’s still a story of why did you spend the last nine months of your life pursuing this? What convinced you? Why did you spend three days walking the trade show in Hong Kong until you found this one crazy little widget that does this super special thing? Why did you eat bad dim sum and whatever else, and then fly 13 hours to get there?
At some point, it’s going to tumble out. Any good copywriter knows this, that there is this point at which the real story starts to come out. It’s like you’re an excavator. It’s like you’re an archaeologist. You’re digging. Oh, no. There, see? There’s the tile floor in the temple from 2,700 years ago.
Andrew: We do that all the time with guests who we interview about how they built their businesses. It’s amazing how they forget the reason why they did it and the importance of it, and that’s a big reason why someone is going to even pay attention to the interview.
I just did an interview with this woman who built a $2+ million a year business selling capes for children and, you know, all the related things that go along with it. But apparently this is a big business because kids love capes and they love tutus and so on. And her origin story was she made these capes at home for her son’s birthday party so that her son’s friends can play with the capes and then take them home and remember they had this great thing.
And other parents saw it and said we would like it too. And then she started literally sewing at home and so on. How do you not pay attention to a housewife who comes up with this idea that way and builds up her business all the way to the top? I get it. So that’s exactly what more of us need to think about when we’re marketing and frankly I would even say as entrepreneurs and business people we’re not doing enough of it. And great point.
Perry: Right. How did you prove yourself? There’s another thing about that story you just told. That is the way that the best products organically come into existence is somebody just needed a way. So, wow, let’s give the capes for the birthday party, and then they accidentally find out, “You know Billy has been like, you know, jumping around in the backyard with that cape for the last two months? It’s like his favorite toy.” She’s like, “Well, I’ll be darn. It’s great” as opposed to, you know, some of us get all cerebral and like, you know what? I have this invention. I think . . .
Perry: You know, right? And in those deals, there isn’t a story, like it doesn’t exist and like probably you should run the other way.
Andrew: [laughs] Even in those situations then, what I would think of now that I’ve learned this approach from you, I would think, “Do they have a customer who had this kind of issue, a customer whose family was just expecting another boring party and they bought 10 capes for the 10 friends who were coming over. They gave them out, and the next day everyone who came to the party was flying around with the cape around the school. That’s the kind of thing you’re talking about.
Perry: Yeah. Right.
Andrew: All right. Let’s go on to the big board here. And the next one is to use direct marketing offers and . . . I think it’s been a while since we put this together. I’m actually reading the notes myself here. One of the things here is we do a lot of prep beforehand, and we have this big outline that we’re going through. And I read it before we start, but now let me read it right here because I forgot this one.
I change the offer on the landing page that increased the click rate. It was my control ad for selling my Google ad course. We changed it to an ad cheat sheet on the landing page, and the click rate went up 33% overnight. What’s the page exactly?
Perry: So this is a little old, but it’s still completely relevant to anybody. So this was our “Five Days to Success” Google AdWords free email course. And for a long time we were just saying, you know, “Sign up for this email course and every day for five days we’ll give you a really great tip for AdWords. And so, you know, we did what I was describing earlier. You know, we come up with all of these different wordings and everything. We finally come up with an ad. We just can’t improve it to save our life. It’s really good, but surely we could have made this better.
And then finally, you know what? Let’s change what they get. And so we added a cheat sheet. We added this one page cheat sheet on the landing page, and then we said we just changed the ads to promise they get a cheat sheet. And like instantly everything went up 33%. The cost of customer acquisition went down like what, by a quarter or something like that.
All of a sudden it’s basically we’re at 125% or 130% of where we were, and here’s the point, okay? This is not about cheat sheets or like any one particular thins, okay? Here’s what I’m really trained to drive at. What I’m trying to drive at is that whatever the person gets from you for engaging with taking the next little baby step after they click on the ad.
So I don’t care if it’s a quotation or a free consultation or a free sample or a video or a software tool or some way of grading yourself or whatever. I don’t care what it is. But can you up the ante on whatever that is because, you know, what people will, people demand more in exchange for their email address this year than…
Perry: …they did last year. Okay? And you’re, if what you’re giving away is good and appealing, you should be able to describe it in a Google ad in such a way that it makes a person salivate and so that’s what I mean direct-marketing offers like, you know, there’s a lot of classic things that people do…
Andrew: It gives a list of them. Here are some of uh, here they are. All right, guarantee free sample, no obligation, given them software, add a deadline, OK, disqualification, percentage discount. I’m just reading some of them, percent to charity, given them membership, reports, white papers, audio/video and accompanying offer. That’s the kind of stuff that you want us to think about. Think of it as a menu that we can go to and pick something to add to our audience, to give to our customers.
Perry: …yep. Sweeten the deal and then that automatically makes, I mean, when you have a really sweet deal, it’s easier to write an ad.
Perry: And if you’re having a hard time writing an ad if you’re like staring at Microsoft Word blank screen trying to write an ad, it probably means that your offer is really milk toast.
Perry: I learned this a long time ago. I was trying to write an ad for this laundry detergent and like there wasn’t anything to say about it. It was like, and this mentor of mine, he’s like nobody’s lying awake at night thinking about this. Like go find something to sell that people are worried about.
Perry: Like, oh. You know and there’s a lot of boring things out there. Don’t sell boring things. Like the world doesn’t need another boring thing.
Andrew: That makes sense. The world does not need another boring thing. Um, on to the next one. And you know what, though, I think about that from a distance and say our world doesn’t need another boring thing, but when it’s time for me to actually act, too many times I think, let’s play it safe or I don’t say let’s play it safe, I say you know what? I like Perry Marshall. I want him to like me. I want us to do, I want this to do well. Let’s just be really nice about and it and instead I should not be especially nice. I shouldn’t let go like before we started, I said I like my audience I don’t want them to think that I’m peeing on camera. So I’m going to pour my water [??] camera like this. I should have just done that on camera. I should have told them, hey guys I’m not going to the bathroom right now. I’m actually just pouring water and take that dangerous road.
Andrew: It’s been that dangerous. [??] On to the next big point. Squeeze multiple ad elements into an ad. Yes, you give us the Swiss Army knife full of different ideas but you’re also saying pack them in together. You can talk about both relationships and create a disqualification or talk about relationships and have a deadline.
Perry: Mm-hmm. Yeah. The best copywriting, the best writing, I mean I don’t care if we’re talking about Stephen King or John Carlton or, you know, whoever the famous copywriter is. The very best writers pack a lot of emotion and a lot of content into few words.
Perry: Okay? And so the thing about Swiss Army knife is like well, you know, you’re looking at all these little elements and ingredients and I’ve got this ad and it’s alright. Its, you know 120 characters long. Without adding any more characters, can I pack some more emotional punch into this? Can I pack some more elements into this? And you almost always can because, you know, that density of communication, I mean, that’s what’s going to get people’s attention. It’s what makes ads leap off the page. It gives them that slight edge. You know, you’re looking for that slight edge against everybody else.
Andrew: I’m trying to think of, has there ever been a business where you just couldn’t make it interesting? Where you just, and then, I’m trying to think of like a tough example that you still found a way to pull through. I guess divorce is, for some reason divorce now seems really easy. Oh yeah, of course, that’s got a ton of emotion but that would’ve scared me away.
Perry: Okay, let me take that one since we’re on that subject. I was actually at, I was speaking at one of Sandi Krakowski’s conferences and she had this woman who does marriage counseling. Like that’s her business and we were having this whole conversation about okay, how do you charge more? How do you raise your fees? How, you know, and I’m actually making the woman a little uncomfortable. It was like well she really does want to make more money,” but whenever it’s like, “Well, I’m going to charge YOU, for advice.” Like if a marriage counselor is comfortable at $65 an hour, then raising it to $120, will make them squirm.
Perry: Right? And I said, “So, so try this on for size.” I go, “All your other therapist friends, they all just charge by the hour, right? Right?” And I said, “Isn’t it true most of- they’re all afraid they’re going to offend the client, so they just sit there and play patty cake and they kind of, they pussyfoot around the issues and it takes three weeks to like, get into anything serious. Right?” And she goes, “Yes.”
Perry: Yeah! She said yeah, that’s normal. You know, like, it’s like their letting the clutch out, right? [??] Well, I said try this on for size: you sit down with a couple and you have an initial consultation, and you say, I don’t work the same way everybody else does.
Here’s what I do: I take on your complete marriage for- I said pick a time period- for six months, for a year, and I say we’re going to work together for the next 12 months and it’s going to cost you guys $5,000. And we’re actually going to put half the money in escrow. And if you do all the homework assignments that I give you then, you know, Mrs. Jones, if he isn’t treating you like a lady, you know, if this isn’t happening, that isn’t happening, then you know, I’ll return half that money to you. Mr. Jones, you know, if you guys aren’t making love, and if she’s not- you know, if this hasn’t happened, you know. But I’m going to expect you to do your part and that’s how I work.
And I’m not going to sit here and just do this hourly thing and, you know. Like, you already know if you like me or not so you can decide, but I’m not going to just, like, have you come in four times and then disappear and me never have any idea where you went. We get together, we get results. Now, I just applied that to marriage counseling. You realize how many, how many service companies, how many products, they don’t actually guarantee any kind of actual end result, they don’t have any skin in the game. Do you realize that if you change the deal that way, you might be able to charge three times more money than everybody else? Why? Because you deliver certainty and all they do is play patty cake with you for one hour at a time.
Andrew: I see. And that’s just one tip from earlier that we talked about. Which model- that was in the used direct marketing offers.
Andrew: So bring in that guarantee to a place where other people aren’t offering guarantee and you can increase your prices dramatically, but also be that much more valuable to people.
Perry: That’s right. And I almost always find guarantees end up needing to be 2-way streets. The customer almost always has to do something in order to be sure, you know…
Andrew: I was going to say because if not for that, then the clients will come in every week and just wait to get their money back, and not- and feel almost like they’re going to be rewarded if they don’t do anything, rewarded if they don’t get back together, because if they don’t, they get back $2500.
Perry: Right, right.
Andrew: So you’re saying, it has to be both ways. Both people have to have skin in the game.
Perry: Yeah, and it’s like, Mr. Jones, Mrs. Jones, you BOTH have to want this. Okay, I’m not going to counsel if one of you wants a good marriage and the other one wants your $2500 back.
Perry: It’s like, you’ve got to sign in blood. No, I do not actually want my $2500 back. I want a good relationship. I don’t know how to get there. I need your help. Right? And so that means you’re putting pressure on the customer to perform. You know, if you sell software how many software companies, like- well, their IT department’s a bunch of clowns, like no wonder they can’t get our stuff to work. Right?
Andrew: I see. Use our software to enter your customers in every day and just keep contacting the way that our software tells you to. If you don’t make more money, we’ll give you back your money, or we’ll give you back half of what you paid. Frankly, give you back all your money if you don’t- if you use it and you don’t get the results.
Andrew: Those are great tips, great advice. If somebody wants to follow up with you, I know there are two places: one is, we’re going to talk about 80/20 book, the other is: where can they go if they want to see all of the ideas in the Swiss army knife?
Perry: [laughs] Yeah, if you can type a search box in my website, PerryMarshall.com, and…
Andrew: Let’s go to the site right now.
Perry: Yeah, you can go to PerryMarshall.com and type in ‘Swiss army knife’ and we have a product, and we guarantee- yeah that’s it. We guarantee that if you do this process, you’ll be able to beat your best [??]. I don’t care who wrote it, okay? I don’t care if you hired the most expensive copywriter you could find, you’ll always be able to do better. And so yeah, you know, go take a look at that and…
Andrew: I also say, about the book, “80/20 Sales and Marketing”, here it is up on everyone’s screen. Perry, thank you so much for doing this.
Perry: Hey, thank you! It’s really great to be on Mixergy. I think you have a very cool show, a very cool format. You ask great questions and it’s fun. So, thanks for having…
Andrew: I can tell you, entrepreneurs, if someone did a sight search on Mixergy and typed in your name, Perry Marshall, that you will come up with multiple entrepreneurs who have said, “and then I got Perry Marshall’s tips book, or signed up for something, and as a result I figured out how to do ad sales, as a result, we increased.” And it’s impressive what you’ve helped other people do. Thank you so much for being here. Thank you all for- and hang on for a second, I want to talk to you offline for a moment [laughs].
Andrew: And thank you all for being a part of it. Again if you’ve got anything of value, don’t forget to let them know.