Steps to having more happiness, exuding more charisma, and producing better content

Boost VSL conversion 83%; 3 steps to happiness

By Bob Bly

 Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter:
Resources, ideas, and tips for improving response to
business-to-business, high-tech, Internet, and direct
marketing.

December 4, 2017

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***Boosting VSL conversion rates***

On sales pages and VSLs, there should always be an order button
at the bottom of the page. But to improve VSL response,
split-test also having your “Add to Cart” button appear higher up
on the screen as the video progresses. Jeff Johnson says this one
tweak alone has increased his VSL conversion rates by as much as
83%.

Source: Jeff Johnson email, 9/21/17.

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***3 steps to greater happiness and joy***

1–Appreciate the “little things” such as friendships, pets, and
nature.

2–Use your strengths (e.g., creativity, curiosity, kindness) to
redefine work and relationships.

3–Use your unique assets (e.g., strengths, resources) for a
purpose beyond your individual means.

Source: Plain Talk newsletter, 9/17.

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***A common-sense but often-neglected secret of freelance writing
success***

Freelancers who don’t continue their education will become
shallow, ineffective, and very poor communicators.

You need to be curious. You need a zest for life. You need to
wonder why something is the way it is. If you’re going to be a
life-long freelancer, you must become a life-long learner.

Source: Beth Ann Erickson, Writing Etc., 9/20/17.

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***4 ways to produce content better and faster***

Top marketer MaryEllen Tribby says there are 4 ways she uses the
concept of “recycling” content in her own business, described by
the acronym F.A.S.T.:

–F – FIND appropriate excerpts.
–A – ADD to free materials.
–S – SWIPE other people’s content.
–T – TRANSCRIBE your rants.

Disclaimer: You must take pains to avoid copyright violations
when using F.A.S.T. or otherwise recycling or repurposing content
that you do not own the right to.

Source: MaryEllen Tribby, For Working Moms Only, 10/9/17.

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***PowerPoint presentation tip: the rule of 5+5***

The 5-and-5 rule says that a PowerPoint slide should have no more
than 5 bullet points with no more than 5 words per point on
average. Explains presentations expert Joel Schwartzberg: “Not
only will bullets keep your conveyances succinct, but they’ll
also ensure your audience spends more time looking at you and
less time reading your slides.”

Source: “Get to the Point” (Berrett-Koehler, 2017, p. 85).

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***5 ways you can exude greater charisma***

#1…Show other people you are genuinely glad to meet them.

#2…Show a little vulnerability — admit a minor weakness or small
failure.

#3…Search for agreement in discussion rather than contradiction.

#4…Ask others questions; listen to the answers.

#5…Remember names and other details about the people you meet.

Source: Tuff Talk newsletter, October 2017, p. 2.

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***Before you bash other people’s marketing, read this***

Before you criticize other people’s work or abilities, remember
that you don’t know the full story. Their website might not be
“good” because they’ve been burning the midnight oil to keep a
struggling business afloat. Their latest project might not
impress because it was eviscerated in the review process.

Freelancer Kathy Cowan says: “May I instead suggest the real
reason behind your critical thinking? You’re insecure. You’re
threatened by others. Or worse, you’re so over-confident that you
actually think you’re better than everyone else.”

Her advice? Have an honest word with your ego. And consider
whether your criticism is justified or pointlessly negative.

Source: ASJA Weekly, 10/17/17.

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***Have an attitude of gratitude***

Take a moment to let someone know that you appreciate them… a
spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend. Call them, write a
letter, send them a text, or whatever to let them know how much
they matter. Sometimes they need to hear this more than you know.
The benefits to expressing your thanks and gratitude will be
significant, both for them and for you.

Source: Jon Gordon’s Weekly Newsletter, 11/20/17.

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***Yet another reason to read more***

Read before bed, advises Al Sears, MD. Reason: According to Dr.
Sears, many people think it’s only your body that needs sleep.
But your brain does, too.

“Reading is relaxing for your body, but requires a fair amount of
thought,” says Dr. Sears. “Because you’re working your brain,
you’re more likely to grow tired enough to sleep soundly through
the night.”

Source: Doctor’s House Call, 10/24/17.

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***Quotation of the month***

“The painful part of life … of hard work … is the part that most
often lets us know we’re alive. Sybarites face empty lives simply
because the nerve ending of pleasure dull so quickly.”
–John Jerome, “On Turning Sixty-Five,” Random House.

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***Our 60-second commercial***

Bob Bly is available on a limited basis for copywriting of
landing pages, direct mail packages, video sales letters,
brochures, white papers, ads, email marketing campaigns, PR
materials, and webpages. We recommend you call for a FREE copy
of our updated Copywriting Information Kit. Just let us know
your industry and the type of copy you’re interested in seeing
(ads, landing pages, etc.) and if Bob is available to take on
your assignment, we’ll tailor a package of recent samples to fit
your requirements. Call Bob Bly at 973-263-0562 or e-mail
rwbly@bly.com.

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This article appears courtesy of Bob Bly’s Direct Response Letter.
Visit http://www.bly.com/reports to learn more.

Adopting a Writing Discipline With Minimal Pain and Maximal Pleasure

“Do your writing first thing in the morning.” How many times have you heard this advice?

I first heard it in my MFA program from a guest lecturer, who encouraged us to always work on our writing before checking our email, Facebook, etc. As he explained, once you expose yourself to other voices, it’s much harder to find your inner voice amidst the noise.

At the time, it made sense. But that doesn’t mean I followed his advice. Should be and want to are two entirely different things, as anyone starting a new diet will tell you.

The thing is, I’m not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. So one motivation for dragging myself out of bed is the lure of unopened emails waiting in my inbox.

But after a series of unproductive mornings, I decided to compromise — I’d read my email for the 20 minutes it took to drink my coffee and protein shake and then begin my writing. Well, you can guess how that went.

“Just one more email…” An hour and a half would pass, often with me hitting the “refresh” button multiple times! Before I knew it, it was time to get ready for work.

Last week, I finally decided to end this cycle. For over a year I’d had an app to block Internet distractions, but I decided to take it up a notch. Instead of turning it on when I felt like it (which had mixed results), I would schedule my sessions the night before so that as soon as I sat at my computer, my coveted email access would be shut off.

After a week of this experiment, I’ve discovered that not only is giving up my morning email routine a painless sacrifice, but it actually makes the writing experience — and my morning as a whole — so much more pleasurable. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1) Instead of my mornings being plagued by a nagging sense of guilt (“okay, I finished my coffee 45 minutes ago, I really should be writing”), I address my obligations right away and give myself something to look forward to. Often by the time I’m finished, the desire for my “email fix” has vanished!

2) While before I viewed writing as a chore awaiting me after the “fun stuff,” I now associate it with pleasure since it’s accompanied by my beloved coffee and protein shake.

3) Even 30 minutes makes a difference in your energy level and willpower depletion. By tackling my writing immediately, I am at my peak performance and have so much more stamina, focus, and creative flow.

4) We all know things seldom go as planned. Even when I was on my best behavior, sometimes an “urgent” email from work would divert my attention and before I knew it, the morning was gone. Throughout the day, the frequency of distractions grows, decreasing the probability you’ll write anything at all.

5) Like my favorite sugary snacks, email provides a temporary jolt of pleasure but no lasting sustenance. As most of us have experienced with social media, we have a compulsive urge to check it, yet the time spent rarely leads to life-changing epiphanies. Writing, by contrast, lacks that dopamine rush. It can be grueling and frustrating. However, it delivers long-lasting satisfaction, knowing you’re carrying out your higher purpose and not merely consuming things.

Make no mistake: deadlines plus money=motivation. But for long-term goals, the finish line is hazier, forcing me to become a tougher taskmaster for myself.

This experiment has taught me that by developing daily disciplines, conjuring up motivation grows easier and easier until the act (like my former habit of morning email checking) becomes second nature.

What disciplines have you adopted to make your writing a top priority? How did you overcome initial resistance?

Anatomy of an Ad: Using Eugene Schwartz Techniques to Compete in a Crowded Marketplace

The good news: When it comes to building a home business, the barrier to entry is lower than ever.

The bad news: With a crowded marketplace, it’s hard to get your voice heard.

So how do you, the entrepreneur, break through the clutter and convince your prospects to:

1) listen to your message and
2) trust that your product/service is as life-altering as you claim it is?

You learn from the masters–for starters, Eugene Schwartz, author of Breakthrough Advertising.

But aren’t their methods outdated? Too “sales-y” for today’s sophisticated audience?

Not in the least. From the masters you learn the foundations–creating intrigue, supporting your claims with facts, and holding your prospect captive with compelling copy.

Hand-copying ads is often touted as a technique for grasping the fundamentals of marketing.

Taking this one step farther, analyzing what the author is doing and why it works will enable us to learn a repeatable structure until the act of copywriting becomes second nature.

In this anatomy series, I’ll be breaking down what works in a promotion, starting with this one from Schwartz:

 

First, the headline works because it gives us precise instructions.  It also presents us with a one-two punch, delivering the problem (wrinkles) and the solution all at once.

The word “stroke” is carefully chosen to indicate the solution’s simplicity and gentleness (notice he didn’t say “pull” or “yank”). Additionally, “stroke” is a sensual term and we all know sex sells.

The accompanying graphic gives further evidence of its ease.

Next, he immediately offers expert testimonials to win over the skeptics. With any sort of “natural remedy,” our first question is always, “Does it work?” The “noted physicians” assure us it does.

The “About Jessica Krane” insert further cements our trust, showing us why we should invest in this woman’s product and offering social proof of her authority (she appeared on the Johnny Carson Show).

Schwartz then solidifies our trust with a brief “discovery narrative” for this wrinkle-removing method. It also piques our curiosity, teasing us just enough to buy the book so we can get the whole story.

The intimate, conversational tone gets inside the head of even the most skeptical prospects, anticipating potential objections so shrewdly, it’s almost as if he’s reading their mind.

He instructs the prospect, “When the book arrives, turn immediately to page 123 and read two pages–nothing more. Here you will learn how a pair of wrinkled white leather gloves lead to one of the most amazing discoveries ever made about the skin of the human face.”

At this point, those on the fence will think, “Okay, I just have to read two pages to figure out if the book is worth keeping or I can get my money back.” This shows that he empathizes with the reader’s concerns–if the product doesn’t work, not only are they wasting their money, they’re also wasting their time.

Of course, he’s betting they’ll love the product so much (or are too lazy to go to the post office) that 99% of them will never return the book.

He guides us through experience of receiving the book step by step, first satiating our curiosity about this miracle wrinkle cure and then discovering additional benefits as we “begin to explore the book more deeply.” This way, we form a vivid impression of the role the book will play in our lives.

The simplicity of his instructions assures us that this is a book we will actually benefit from and can put to practical use, that it won’t just gather dust on a shelf.

Schwartz offers more evidence of this product’s reliability by describing how its inventor tested her techniques to great success on “hundreds of private students.” This further quiets the reader’s inner voice of skepticism while also lending an air of exclusivity to the product–readers will have access to secrets which were once only accessible to those who attended these private sessions.

It is only after evoking our curiosity that Schwartz makes a persuasive case for why we need this product–even if getting rid of wrinkles had never occurred to us. He writes, “Nothing makes a previously-beautiful face more ugly than the deep furrows that begin to engrave themselves between nose and mouth.”

This line alarms us while simultaneously offering a token of hope. These wrinkles are obscuring our true beauty, but all we have to do is remove them to recover our beauty!

Finally, the call-to-action expertly bypasses the reader’s objections. Instead of just a simple “yes” or “no,” he writes, “Is it worth a half hour of my time, and no risk, to try this new method on my face tomorrow?” Who could say no to that?

To summarize, these are the elements of Schwartz’s ad contributing to its success:

  1. Intrigue
  2. Expert proof
  3. Addressing the prospect’s potential objections
  4. Painting a clear picture of the product
  5. Making the reader an active participant in the ad
  6. Stimulating a need and offering the product as a solution
  7. Giving the skeptic an immediate chance to test out the product
  8. An offer you can’t say no to

Pick your favorite product–ideally something not super well-known–and try these methods today!