Copywriting Masterclass

Am here in Brisbane just preparing to head off this morning to day 1 of Pete Godfrey’s last ever copywriting masterclass.

It’s partly a “refresher” for me and some new content, plus this time my wife Mel is also doing the masterclass: it’s really her first time getting into copywriting other than seeing the stuff I usually do! I think it will be a good combination having both of us skilled in direct response copywriting.

Of course it’s really MORE than just a refresher because immersion means I get to focus again and pick up even more nuances, especially having used Pete’s stuff now for the last 12 months, not just the other copywriting I’ve been doing for the 15 years prior. Pete’s “emotional direct response” techniques are fantastic additions to my “weapons of influence” and every time I hear him live (several times this last 18 months) there’s always something new to pick up and use.

And I’m looking forward of course to catching up with Pete — he really is a Wizard at our craft — as well as a great bunch of “graduates” and friends who are here too.

Will check in and let you know how it goes over the next three days!

Recognising Inbox Insanity

I was checking out the free traffic booster and backlink software called Comment Kahuna today and noticed this message on their opt-in page:

Why must you opt-in? We have several free upgrades planned soon. You will be notified about them via email. We respect your privacy and inbox sanity. You will not be hammered with a million emails or promotions. We promise.

If you’re on multiple mailing lists, and don’t manage your inbox — you very well might find yourself suffering from inbox insanity.

I recently heard an internet marketer explain how they use a different email address for EVERY list they’re on (more than 500). Personally, I don’t have the time or inclination to track my incoming traffic that ruthlessly.

Instead, I use Google mail to manage my lists. Google’s labels and filters do a great job of sorting out the mail, and also filters can be setup to ensure messages never make it into the spam box (when some marketers fail to test if the words they use will trigger spam filters).

I leave it up to Google’s experts to identify and track spam.

And I happily accept Google’s offer of more than 7Gb of free space in exchange for some ads down the right hand side (no, I don’t use a Firefox script to hide the ads — as a marketer and copywriter, I enjoy looking at Google ads to see what gets my attention).

I think the “inbox sanity” message will resonate with a lot of people. They feel overwhelmed at times, especially around product launches or event countdowns where several of the people they get mail from are all promoting the same thing.

I don’t condemn frequent emails — actually it frustrates me to see people with very powerful lists under-utilise its potential. For example, I’m on one huge list (worldwide I would guess the numbers are in the hundreds of thousands or millions) — yet I get email from that source only a few times per year.

But back to the example above.

In this case, I think it’s a great example of keeping your antenna tuned in to the ongoing feelings of the marketplace. It’s just like watching the news or reading all of the regular magazines — if you don’t know what’s going on, you won’t know what your market is thinking!

Creating Curiosity

I noticed a great example today of a story teaser that was deliberately designed to get you to click through and read more.

It was for one of entertainment stories in the Herald Sun, the online version of Melbourne’s largest circulating metropolitan daily newspaper (and claimed to be Australia’s most popular daily paper with more than 1.5 million readers).

Here it is:

Here's the snippet on the home page designed to get you to read the story

As you can see from the last sentence, it’s deliberately incomplete and of course being an unfinished sentence it is designed to pique your curiosity … to get you to click and read the full article to find out what he really does think of his brother.

Having this type of “cliffhanger” is quite popular as a “plot device” in television series … keeping you glued to the screen over ad breaks or making sure you watch the next episode. You want to find out how the situation is resolved!

As creatures of ‘completion’, we want to complete what is incomplete.

Equally, this tactic can work in other mediums — like it has been used here in this example on the Herald Sun home page. For example, you could use it in blog post excerpts, on the outside of a direct mail envelope, within an email message that prompts you to click through to a website … in a printed newsletter so readers will be keen to read the next edition.

Keep the cliffhanger in mind to see if you can incorporate it into your own communication.