A SIMPLE HACK FOR WRITING PERSUASIVE EMAILS

Here’s a simple hack for creating persuasive emails.

You see, if you’re writing an email…you may be stuck wondering what to actually write about.

What theme, subject, or idea do you base your email around?

Now, most people will simply default to writing about their product.

Alternatively, they might write about the problem their product solves…

…or some type of pain point the market is experiencing.

The problem is that this can get boring after a while.

Especially if you’ve said everything there is to say about your product or market.

But there is another topic you can use when everything else is exhausted.

What is this?

Quite simply, MOTIVATION.

Basically, if you have nothing left to write, write something motivating.

The reason why this works is simple:

Everyone needs motivation from time to time.

The fact is that achieving certain goals can be immensely difficult.

This is true, whether you’re starting a business or trying to lose weight.

But by providing motivation you can make people feel good.

Not only that, you can inspire them to change their life or reach new heights.

Naturally, this will mean taking some kind of action.

Which of course is where your product comes in…

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. This secret can be used when creating any type of copy. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing emails, sales letters, or articles. Simply weaving motivation into the mix maxes the whole thing more persuasive.

4 THINGS I LEARNT ABOUT WRITING FROM ANTHONY BOURDAIN

I recently read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.

IMHO this is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Not only that, it also contains dozens of lessons for writers.

For example, here are just a few of the things I picked up:

1. Be passionate and the best at what you do

Why was Anthony Bourdain able to rise to the top of the cut throat New York restaurant business? Simply because he was extremely good at what he did (as well as passionate). The point is simple: be excellent at what you do. While this may seem overly simplistic you’d be surprised at how many people simply don’t care.

2. Write conversationally

If you’ve ever watched one of his TV shows this book will really surprise you. The reason why is because it reads exactly the way he talks. There’s almost no distinction between the way he sounds on TV and the tone of this book. It’s really amazing. This is something you have to apply to your writing. It’s highly important that you write in a conversational tone and avoid sounding overly formal.

3. Work fast

The most important thing I learnt from this book is the importance of speed. In the restaurant business speed is paramount. No one wants to wait hours for their food. If this happens they will simply walk out. This is why restaurant kitchens operate like a production line. The only goal is getting orders out as quickly as possible…while still maintaining quality. This is something you absolutely have to apply to your writing. In my experience most clients are extremely impatient. They want the job done NOW.

4. Tell stories

Kitchen Confidential is basically a series of anecdotes involving Anthony Bourdain’s time in the restaurant business. One of the most famous of these is his, “why you shouldn’t order fish on a Monday” story. In this story he basically promises to reveal insider information. He does this throughout the book and this is what makes it so compelling and hard to put down.

Anyway, if you haven’t read this book yet it’s certainly worth picking up.

More tomorrow.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

P.S. The reason why you don’t want to order fish on Monday’s is because fish isn’t sold over the weekend…meaning any fish you order on Monday is old fish from the week before.

HOW POLITICIANS CAN PERSUADE PEOPLE TO TAKE THE COVID-19 VACCINE

Why are people so resistant to taking the COVID-19 vaccine?

There are a number of reasons for this…

…but the biggest is the inconsistent messages put out by authorities.

You see, I recently read an extremely interesting thread on Twitter.

The person who wrote this thread claims to be involved in high level political messaging.

According to them * this * is what politicians need to do:

1. Stop using guilt

Understand that guilt will never makeanyone take the vaccine. This is because guilt only works when people buy into your premises and moral frameworks. In fact, if people think you’re using guilt as a persuasion tool their views will only harden.

2. Respect people

Normal people are concerned that power will be used against them. If there’s no respect they will expect these abuses of power and they will naturally distrust you. At this point they become impossible to persuade.

3. Understand your audience

The powers that be seem to believe that it’s enough to announce their credentials and expertise. Instead you need to understand your audience and validate their concerns.

4. Build trust

Remember, if people don’t trust you nothing matters. Without trust they see you the same way they see a used car salesman. In this case all of your persuasion attempts will only serve to increase their skepticism of vaccines.

5. Avoid contradictions

The governments messaging has been contradictory, inconsistent, and cynical. A good example of this is politicians who go to restaurants and hair salons without masks…while ordinary people stayed inside and had their businesses shut down.

6. Admit to mistakes

These contradictions are the biggest reason why people are so skeptical. Politicians need to admit this skepticism is somewhat justified. They also need to admit that many mistakes were made.  

These points can be combined into a message which reads something like this.   

“We are sorry. We blew it at the start when we said masks don’t help. It turns out they do. We blew it when we said closing the border was racist. It was actually a good idea. We blew it with the vaccine roll out. We didn’t explain it well…”

Once this is done we move onto the meat of the message…

“We have earned your scorn and distrust. That is our fault. As a gesture of good will, we will not force you to take it…”

Doing this takes abuse of power off the table.

It also opens people up to hearing you out.

Then…

“The vaccines work. They do have side effects, and sometimes they can be severe. I want to say that first, so that you know and can make an informed decision. It is important that you have all the information. Even the downsides…”

This section is powerful because you’re not “fact checking” them.

You’re not treating their concerns as trivial, or acting pretentious, or as if you are a holier-than-thou smarty pants. Nor are you placing yourself above them or condemning them. You’re telling them that they do have concerns that must be addressed.

Next…

“The severe side effects are rare. They exist, but no more than with the flu shot or the malaria vaccine. The vaccine makes most people immune to Covid. About 95% of people who get vaccinated never get Covid. Most vaccines are like this…”

“There is always a small group of vaccinated people who get sick anyway. However, it still means that once you take it you really lower your risk for Covid. There are exceptions, again 95% is not 100%, and there will still be people who get it and pass it on, but it really lowers your risk of getting sick.”

What’s great about this section is that you’re not overselling the vaccine’s effectiveness.

What’s more, you’re not threatening people with another lockdown.

Finally…

“The vaccine isn’t perfect, and will not make Covid go extinct. What it will do is lower the odds of people getting Covid, and if enough people do that we can make most of the Covid go away, and we can lower the risks of Covid for people…”

“Given how prevalent Covid is and that the severe vaccine side effects are no more common that with other vaccines, this is the best and safest way to protect yourself from Covid…”

Again, notice that you’re not talking down to people, threatening them, or shaming them.

This type of messaging can be effective, but only if it’s done consistently…

…and even then it will take time to work.

Feeling convinced?

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

THE SECRET TO WRITING “BULLET PROOF” COPY

In recent years Bullet Proof Coffee has grown into one of the most successful online brands.

A while back it was all you heard about.

In case you don’t know “Bullet Proof” coffee is basically regular coffee that contains added ingredients such as butter, coconut oil and other things. Supposedly, drinking this coffee gives you all sorts of wondrous benefits. These include rapid weight loss, increased stamina, and improved mental functioning.

Whether or not this is true who knows.

Some people swear by this drink while others think it’s a sham.

The point I’m trying to make is that there’s a lot you can learn from this company.

You see, many years ago I worked for a guy in the self-help business.

This person was mostly a snake oil salesman but one thing he told me made a huge impact.

(Actually this was taken from one of his seminars).

What this guy mentioned was that, “people want to be enhanced.”

This is an extremely good point when it comes to writing copy.

Most people want to upgrade their lives as if they’re playing a video game.

They want “cool” futuristic techniques for doing things.

Little known insider secrets that can be implemented with no extra effort…

…but which accelerate their progress at light speed.

You need to convey this feeling in your copy…especially in your bullet points.

Do this wherever you can.

Make it sound as if what you’re selling is the equivalent to rocket boots, a jet pack, or life extension technology.

Basically make it sound as cool and futuristic as possible.

In fact, you want to make it seem as if your product is almost magical…

This is the secret to writing bullet proof copy.

More tomorrow:

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

WHAT NOVELISTS CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT
WRITING BETTER COPY

Over the years I’ve worked for several clients in the, “writing advice” niche.

In this capacity I mostly wrote copy but also worked on several courses.

This experience taught me a lot about writing.

You see, one of the first steps when planning your novel is coming up with a theme. In case you don’t know, the theme of a novel is the idea behind your story. You could also describe it as the meaning or overall feeling of your book. The theme provides an umbrella under which your characters operate and also a direction in which the plot moves. This is important because without a theme you have no story.

Themes are also useful when writing copy.

In fact, basing copy around a theme is critical if you’re writing things like sales letters.

You need to have some general overarching idea behind your copy.

Ideally this should relate to your markets wants, needs, desires, or problems.

The theme should be an idea which appeals to buyers and helps to sell them.

If you’re selling a trading course your theme could be escaping the rat race.

With diets it could be changing people’s perceptions of you.

A cryptocurrency product might have the idea of getting rich quickly.

The bottom line is that all copy should be based around some type of theme.

Your theme provides a framework for the copy, defines what you say…

…and also creates a general direction for the copy to move in.

Until next time.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

IS THIS THE MOST POWERFUL WORD IN MARKETING?

Copywriters know that language is powerful

The right combination of words can do anything.

They can change your life and make you rich.

Words can get you money, a new car, house, or anything else you want.

But is there one word to rule them all…

…one word that is more powerful than all of the others combined?

Believe it or not there is.

What is this word?

NEW.

You see, what people want most in this world is something new.

We’ve naturally programmed to seek out variety. People get bored easily which is why we crave the latest in everything. Whether it’s the latest music, products, fashion, or whatever. The word new is associated with all types of good things. New is seen as better, more exciting, and also more desirable. The bottom line is that you should work this into your copy as often as possible. Always describe things as being new.

Brand new weight loss technique could change your life…

Now announcing the latest weight loss miracle…

New method for weight loss stuns Doctors…

You get the point.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

HOW TO QUADRUPLE YOUR WRITING SPEED (WITHOUT DOING MORE WORK)

Want to quadruple your writing speed while doing less work?

This is easier than you think.

You see, it might sound stupid, but the best way to write faster (and work less) is to get long term clients.

The reason for this is simple.

Starting a new job is hard.

You have to get to grips with the subject you’re writing about.

There’s research to do, things to learn, and other stuff you’ll be unsure of.

But here’s the thing:

Work gets faster the second time.

And the more you write about a  topic the faster you’ll get.

In fact, once you’ve been with a client for a year or two, your work speed increases exponentially.

For example, let’s say you’re writing blog posts.

The first post might take 2,3 even 4 hours to write.

A year later that same work will take about 20 minutes.

I’ve experienced this dozens of times.

This also happens with any type of work you’re doing.

The more you do it the faster you get.

The bottom line is that you should aim to get as many long term clients as you can.

This way you can work faster, do more work, and ultimately make more money.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

6 TIPS FOR IMPROVING READABILITY

Did you know that 50% of adults cannot read a book written at an 8th grade level.

50% of people can’t read well enough to read prescription drug labels.

775 million people are illiterate worldwide.

And that 45 million of these people live in America!

The fact is that today most of us can’t read anything more complicated that a Tweet.

The addictive nature of the internet has left us with the attention spans of goldfish.

This means your copy needs to be extremely easy to read.

There a few things you can do to achieve this.

1. Avoid large blocks of text.

Break your writing up into dozens of bite sized paragraphs.

2. Use headlines and sub headlines.

These should be bolded so they stick out. Also keep them short. No more than one line and only a few words.

3. The font you use is also important.

Sans serif fonts are best because they are easiest to read. Your font should also be bigger than 9 points. Anything smaller is too difficult to read.

4. Keep your paragraphs short.

Especially your opening paragraphs. They should be a maximum of eleven words. You can help readers into paragraphs by using arrowheads and asterisks. Also use bullet points and lists where you can.

5. Break up the monotony of long copy by using boldface and italic.

Illustrations, pictures, and text boxes are also great for breaking up copy.

6. The number of words in your sentences is also important. Here’s a quote I once saw.

“Tests have shown that a sentence of eight words is very easy to read; of 11 words, easy; of 14 words, fairly easy; of 17 words, standard; of 21 words, fairly difficult; of 25 words, difficult; of 29 or more words, very difficult; so this sentence with 54 words, counting numbers, is ranked impossible.”

Any sentence longer than 29 words should be split up.

The basic rule of thumb is this:

Use short words…

Short sentences…

…and short paragraphs.

These are the keys to improving readability…

Increasing response…

…and getting people to actually read what you write.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton

PERSUASION TIPS FROM THE MAN WHO INVENTED CLIMATE CHANGE

Frank Luntz is a political communications consultant, pollster and pundit.

He describes his speciality as, “testing language and finding words that help clients sell their product or turn public opinion on an issue or candidate”. This guy is a great example of the power of language. For example, he’s the man behind famous phrases like deathtax, climatechange and energyexploration. He’s known for using these to replace other phrases like estate tax, global warming and oil drilling.

What’s funny is that he doesn’t come up with this stuff by himself.

Instead he uses focus groups and interviews.

During these events he simply feeds the audience phrases and watches for how they react.

It’s all about looking for the specific words that trigger emotion.

In fact, he’s quoted as saying, “80% of our life is emotion and only 20% is intellect. I am much more interested in how you feel than how you think…”

This is absolutely true.

Emotional language is the most important skill you have to master as a copywriter.

You need to learn how to appeal to the markets emotions and not their logical or critical thinking ability. This is how you develop marketing messages which resonate with people and…most importantly…get them to ACT on those messages.

Until next time,

Cheers

Alastair Walton

4 TIPS FOR WRITING KILLER OPENINGS

The first few lines of copy are critically important.

You need to pull prospects in and hook their attention immediately.

If you cannot do this they will simply stop reading.

What you also need to realize is this:

The first sentence gets them to read the second…

The second sentence gets them to read the third…

The third sentence gets them to read the fourth…

And so on and so on all way to the end where (hopefully) they buy your product.

Now, without further delay here are 4 things you need to do when opening.

1. Explain the headline

Start by expanding on your headline. Remember, the headline needs to be as short as possible. This means you’ll have lots to explain. Your opening is where you do this.

2. Arouse curiosity

You need to make the reader curious enough to finish your message. The way to do this is by promising to reveal something. This should be something they desperately want to know the answer to.

3. List your benefits

Benefits pull them into the letter. List the benefits they will gain from using your product or reading the copy. What is it going to do for them?

4. Make it easy to read

Keep sentences short and simple. Use bullet points and paragraphs of no more than three lines. Reading your copy should be effortless.

Combine these elements and you’ll pull in more readers.

(And ultimately increase your sales).

Drop me a line if you’ve got any questions about this.

Cheers,

Alastair Walton