THIS GUY WROTE FOR 17 YEARS BEFORE EARNING A PENNY (HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM HIM))

Steven Pressfield is an American author of historical fiction.

Like most writers, success did not come easy. In fact, it was 17 years before he earned a penny from writing and another 27 before his first novel got published (The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was later turned into a movie starring Will Smith and Matt Damon.)

But his real break-through came when he wrote a book called “The War of Art.”

Maybe you’ve heard of it?

To give you a brief summary, this book is basically a guide to pressing through the barriers which hold you back from doing creative work. It’s sold well over a million copies and even after all these years, is still incredibly popular.

But there’s a good reason for this.

First of all, the title – which is basically a play on the “Art of War” – is brilliant.

Second, this book is primarily aimed at people in the creative field – writers, artists etc.

(More specifically, it’s aimed at people who want to write or make art.)

And this is really why the book is so popular.

You see, these kinds of products are a dime a dozen. There are literally hundreds on goal setting, motivation, success, and spirituality. Unfortunately, 99% of these books sink without a trace. But the reason why the War of Art succeeds – and continues to succeed – is because if differentiates itself.

Instead of being aimed at the general public, this book targets people in the creative field.

And this is why it continues to sell…year after year after year.

Moral of the story?

Whether you’re writing a book, creating a course, or designing a new product, it’s critical that you do something different. Whether it’s targeting a subset of the market (like The War of Art does) your packaging, or what the product does, you have to find a way to make yourself different and stand out.

Do this and you’ll drastically increase your chances of success.

Alastair Walton  

6 WAYS TO REVEAL YOUR PRICE (AND DO IT WITHOUT PUTTING CUSTOMERS OFF)

My buddy collects knives.

So one morning we go to a knife show. Eventually something catches his eye. We walk over to look at the piece and within a minute or two, a salesman arrives and tries to sell us on buying it. Everything’s going well until Mr. Salesman mentions the price. I can’t remember the exact cost, but it was extremely expensive…and…the instant this happened, my friend lost interest completely.

This story illustrates an important point.

Basically, the way you present your price is critical.

Doing this incorrectly could result in something known as “sticker shock.”

(i.e. your price shocks people and they are immediately put off buying.)

Now, while price is not always the determining factor, it does play a major role.

The point is that presenting your price the wrong way could destroy the sale.

To help you out here are some of my favorite strategies for avoiding this:

1. Compare apples to oranges

The easiest way to bring up your price is simply by comparing your product to something else. Let’s say you’re selling a get-better-at-golf DVD. What you could do is compare the product to the cost of hiring a PGA pro (in this case you’d also want to mention things like the cost of travelling to lessons etc.)

2. Sell the size

People associate size with value. Mention how much your product weights, the volume, or amount of space it takes up. If you’re selling information products, then talk about how many tips, techniques, and so on are in the product (i.e. “this course contains 99+ tips for improving your golf swing.”)

3. Talk about the cost of development

Go into detail discussing the amount of people it took to create the product. Mention their qualifications and experience, the amount of money you spent, the quality of the components, how difficult it was to build this product, and the rigorous testing it went through.

4. Make the parts worth more than the whole

This is a classic technique used when selling information products. You simply mention everything they get when buying the product. This includes things like bonuses, and other additional components.

5. Use installments

This strategy is often used in television commercials. Rather than presenting the price you say something like: “Just three small monthly installments of $11.95 charged to your credit card.”

6. The cup of coffee technique

This technique works well if you’re selling a subscription based product. What you do is break your price down into a daily cost and then compare that to something else. You could, for example, be selling a product which costs $99 per month. In this case you’d say “costs only $3.20 per day. Less than a cup of coffee!”

Anyway, using these techniques makes your price a little easier to swallow…

….which should, in the long run, help to increase conversions.

Stay tuned for more,

Alastair Walton

MONROE’S MOTIVATED SEQUENCE: HAVE YOU TRIED THIS ONE OF A KIND PERSUASION FORMULA?

Looking for a simple way to create persuasive sales copy?

Alan H. Monroe was an American psychologist and lecturer at Purdue University.

He’s most famous for creating a persuasive framework he called Monroe’s Motivated Sequence.

This sequence consists of the following steps.

  • Attention
  • Need
  • Satisfaction
  • Visualization
  • Action

Let’s go over these:

1. Get the reader’s attention

The most basic way of doing this is by bringing up a problem the audience wants to solve. You may also want to open up with a dramatic story. This story could involve someone overcoming the problem you just mentioned. Rhetorical questions also work well, so do shocking statistics (statistics also demonstrate you’re an authority on the subject.)

2. Highlight their need for the solution

Talk about the potential consequences of ignoring the issue. For example, a weight problem may lead to heart disease or diabetes. Be specific and try to put a sense of urgency into your writing. They need to act now before the problem becomes irreversible. You want them in a highly emotional state. Also backup everything you say with evidence.

3. Provide the solution

Here you present the solution and explain how it works. Mention how this satisfies their desires or fulfills a specific need. In this part it’s also important to prove your solution works. You can do this by providing testimonials and case studies. Also anticipate any objections the audience may have. Finally summarize the information you’ve presented.

4. Visualize the future

Paint a compelling picture of a future without their problem. What will life be like? How will things improve? You can also use the compare and contrast method. For example, what will happen if they don’t take action?

5. Ask for action

Mention the specific steps they need to take. This could include calling a number, visiting your website, or clicking the add to cart button. Taking action could also mean starting a new habit, or living life in a different way. Whatever you do, keep things simple. It’s also important that you create a sense of urgency and need. Motivate them into taking immediate action.

This sequence works for any type of copy you’re writing.

This includes sales letters, emails, landing pages, and books.

You can even use it to write effective speeches.

Alastair Walton

HOW TO BUILD YOUR LIST WITH A STRATEGY USED BY THE WORLD’S BIGGEST RETAILERS

A “loss leader” is essentially an item sold at or below cost.

These products are primarily used to attract new customers.

Their purpose is simply to get you through the door in the hope that you’ll buy more products.

(This is also why they’re known as “door busters.”)

This strategy is widely used in the retail industry and has worked for decades.

It’s also a strategy which online entrepreneurs can use with equal success. More importantly, it’s a fantastic way to build your list. Remember, the bigger your list, the more money you’ll make. Not only that, people who have already purchased something are more likely to purchase something else. Another benefit of this idea is that it’s cheaper than advertising on Google, Facebook, or Twitter.

If you’re interested in using this strategy, then here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Find affiliates and joint venture partners

Look for people with big lists who sell similar products to yours. Get in contact with these people and let them know what you have on offer (just note that it’s best to establish a relationship before you launch into the business side of things.)

2. Create your product

At this point you should already have a product to sell. Price this product at $39 (I’ll explain why in minute.) If you don’t have a product then it’s time to create one. The most important thing is that your book is highly valuable and appeals to the market. Creating a quality product also increases the chance that affiliates will choose to promote it.

3. Offer affiliates 100% commission

Approach affiliates and suggest they sell your $39 book to their subscribers for only $19. This way they can give their subscribers a $20 discount. Doing this greatly increases the appeal of your product. Also tell these affiliates that you’re not going to offer the usual 50% commission. Instead you’ll give them 100% commission. This also greatly increases your chances of recruiting affiliates.

4. Provide email swipes

Most affiliates are lazy and don’t want to write their own emails. This why it’s a good idea to provide them with email swipes. Writing these also increases your chances of making sales. After all, as the product creator you’re the person most familiar with your product…and can therefore write the best copy.

At this point you’re set.

If everything goes according to plan, affiliates will send out your emails, make sales…

…and you’ll add hundreds of names to your list.

(With almost no effort.)

What’s more, you can then market additional products to these subscribers…

…and actually start making some real money.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton  

VERNON GOD LITTLE AND THE 17 YEAR SALES CYCLE

I recently read the 2003, Booker Prize Winning novel, Vernon God Little.

To cut a long story short, this book is basically about a teenager falsely accused of murder… and the lengths he goes to clear his name (and while that might sound serious this book is actually incredibly funny.) What’s interesting is that I first heard about this novel more than 17 years ago. Since then I’ve always meant to read it and this year I finally got around to doing that.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, there’s an important lesson here for marketers.

(More specifically email marketers.)

You see, over the years I’ve subscribed to 100s of marketing newsletters. I’ve learnt a lot from reading their messages. In addition to this, I’ve also bought dozens of books, courses, and products from these people. Something I’ve noticed over the years is that most people will eventually stop emailing you. It could be a month, 6 months, a year, or even two years later, but at some point you’ll stop receiving emails.

What you have to realize is that this is one of the most stupidest things you could do.

In fact, according to experts, around 85% of people only convert after about 90 days.

If you’re only sending out a weeks-worth or month of emails, you’ll never sell to these people.

You also have to understand that subscribers circumstances change.

The broke loser might be financially successful a year or two later…

…and ready to buy your product.

But you’ll never sell to this person if you take them off your list after 6 weeks.

The bottom line is this:

Some products have an extremely long sales cycle and it could be years before someone buys the product. This is why it’s critical that you continue emailing – give up too soon and could miss out a significant amount of buyers.

Bye for now,

Alastair Walton