Category Archives: Copywriting

Video Sales Pages Gone Wild

TV-234x300aI’ve seen many debates lately about video sales pages, and whether they’re effective or not. Coincidentally, as I began writing this post, a blog announcement showed up in my inbox from Terry Dean regarding this same subject! D’oh!…

We’ll Terry did a great post, so instead of getting over detailed, I’ll simply elaborate and add to it. One thing that I’ve seen around the net lately are people debating on whether ‘video only’ sales pages vs long / short copy are more effective.

I’ve seen responses that video chases away customers, and that written copy is the only way to go. Others feel that ‘video only’ is the way to go, and to heck with writing copy.

In one of my recent posts, I talked about videos with no control functions, and how some people were irritated by them while others claimed getting great conversions off of them. I also mentioned that ultimately, my own testing has shown that I do best with a combination of both on my sales pages.

Here’s my take on it. In my case, I mostly get new prospects across my sales pages. My testing is based on these types of prospects. I think that new prospects probably are more receptive to having an option whether to view either the video, or to simply skim over the hard copy.

Some of these other marketers who are using video only to promote a product, from my observation, are getting the bulk of their traffic from email lists, including JVs & affiliates. I haven’t actually tested yet using a list / JV against other types of traffic to a video sales page, but at this point, I have a hunch that the best conversions from these ‘video only’ sales pages are coming from people who are already fans of the list owner, or were pre-sold somewhere else before being directed there.

These types of visitors are already “warm” to the idea of checking you out. A visitor who clicked on your PPC ad on the other hand, might see the video and run. Most people who don’t know you want to quickly see who you are, and what you have. If you can’t convince them why they need your product within that first critical minute, you’re toast.

For all my main sales pages, I have moved to the combination of written copy with video. This is what works best for me with my particular traffic. The only real way to know what works for you is to test it. I’ve noticed that many who tout their points of view on the subject are biased either for or against video for various reasons, without ever testing one way or another themselves.

If you want to read more about what Terry Dean has uncovered in his own test results, simply click the link below:

Terry Dean has been successfully marketing online for years, and he is definitely one of the good guys. He is one of the few that I would highly recommend.

5 Ways To Milk Your Articles To The Max

Milk Your articles for all they're worthWhen most marketers write articles, the typical scenerio is to submit them to their favorite article directories.  Many article marketers also invest in article submission software to help speed up to process and to get their articles out to hundreds & even thousands of article & ezine directories.

After that, they’re finished.  On to the next one… But why stop there?  Why not milk that article for all it’s worth?

You might be thinking, “well what the heck else can I do with it?  I’ve already submitted it to a zillion article sites, c’mon Jack!”

Well, don’t just stop at the article directories, here are 5 quick tips to super charge the pulling power of your articles.

1. Stick your article on your blog and convert it to a podcast using  Now submit the podcast to itunes and other podcast directories.  Don’t have a blog?  Not to worry.  You can use to create a podcast from your article instead. will even covert .pdf files and other documents.

2. Now format your article into a press release and submit it to PRWeb for premium exposure.  If you prefer the free route, try some of these links:

3. Modify your article into a step by step tutorial format.  Now you can submit your tutorial to and  If this is a really good article, you could also use it as a bonus incentive to include when marketing your own product, or an affiliate product.

4. Now that you got a snappy tutorial created, why not convert it into a PowerPoint presentation?  Remember to add your link to the first & last slides so that people can click through to your site. You can now submit it to & to name a couple.  Give this an extra kick by breaking it up into a couple parts & link part 2 back to your website.  This is sure to get them clicking through.

5. Finally, convert your tutorial into a .pdf file & upload it to sites like, or yudu.  Sites like these get tons of exposure & the .pdf files tend to rank pretty decently in the search engines as well.  I recommend using OpenOffice Writer has a button right in the toolbar to convert to .pdf.  OpenOffice is a free office suite and just as good, if not better than Microsoft Office.

As you can see, by using your imagination, you can stretch out a simple article into a whole host of things that can drive traffic and revenue to your online business.  You can even turn a well written article/tutorial into an info product, especially if you took your PowerPoint & used Camtasia studio to step through your PowerPoint while elaborating on each point in your slide.  Voila, instant info product!

All this from one article.  Just imagine if you made this a regular practice when writing articles.  You will discover that a little extra effort goes a long way.

Being Proactive is Hard

By magnusmagnus on Flickr

Did you know that nearly everyone that jumps into the “make money online” arena spend tons of cash on how to do this, and how to do that?  Perhaps they’ll shoot out of the gate running and register a web domain & get hosting.  They might even go so far as to put up a web page with a few affiliate links (but not likely).

It’s sad, but true.  I would estimate that a good 98% out there never take any action whatsoever on the information that they purchase.  You might be thinking “well maybe that’s true, but I’m an exception.  One of these days I’m going to get moving and get myself online and making some serious bank, just as soon as I find the right system.”

Hmmm, I hope that everyone reading this blog succeeds.  That’s the point of being here, right?  The keys to success is based on two major factors.  Learning to market online, of course, but it must be followed through with taking decisive action.

This means stepping outside of the comfort zone.  This is unexplored territory, which is a scary place to be if you are to venture out into changing your future.

This is why 98% never actually follow through.  It’s more comfortable to keep ‘working on building a business’.  As long as you are ‘working on it’, you are not failing.  The down side of always ‘working on it’ is that you’re not getting anywhere either.  Before you know it, another year is shot and it’s time to make that new year’s resolution that THIS time, you are going to really do something.

If you fall in this category, do yourself a favor.  Don’t make a resolution this year.  Instead, stop what your doing right now and get that domain that you’ve been thinking about all this time.  Really!  I’m serious!  Go get it right now… I’ll just wait here until you return…

Got it?  Great….  What?  No we’re not finished yet!  Now let’s monetize it.  No matter what you heard, you need to DO something to make money.  Yes, everybody who is making anything off of the internet is selling something.

It could be affiliate marketing, or maybe you like to write and you created an ebook, report, or audio/video CD.  Ok, now let’s find a decent sales page with a similar product from another site and study it.  What is it that makes you want to buy their product?  Nothing?  Find another sales page.  Ok, now what is it?

Write out that sales page by hand to train your mind how to write decent copy and to be persuasive to your visitors.  This is a great way to improve your copywriting skills.

If you are into affiliate marketing instead, go out to some good affiliate review sites and do the same thing.  By the way, you can learn the ropes of affiliate marketing here.

Now download a copy of Kompozer and create your sales page.  Sign up for a Clickbank account and put your product into the affiliate system.  The cost to register your product is $49.  If you’re broke right now, get a PayDotCom account instead… Your first product is free to sell through them.

Paste your payment link into your sales page and viola! you’re in business!  See?  That wasn’t so hard.  Now you can drive traffic to your site.  That will be the subject of my next post.

Staying in a reactive cycle of broke and searching for opportunities is much easier than being proactive, getting out of your comfort zone, and going for it.

Remember what I’ve said before; being broke is a direct result of inaction.  Inaction to build your business.  Inaction to spend your money wisely, etc… etc.

Act on getting your online business started and you will quickly see that actually DOING is a lot easier than you think!

The New Aweber 2 – The Sequel

In my previous post, I was ranting about the steep price increase and asking if you feel the new features are worth the difference in price.  I received a very detailed response from Justin Premick from AWeber.  As promised to Justin I am writing a follow up to his comment.  His points were very well stated and I would like to share them with you here, along with my response.

Here are some excerpts from his comment that I would like to address:

I’d like to state here that we’re not trying to “stuff” you or sneak anything “in through the back door.” AWeber users who joined before May 20th will not be upgraded to the new features and pricing unless they ask us to do so. That’s the reason there was no email about a price increase… because for existing customers, there isn’t an increase. You don’t have to pay any more today for the same AWeber service and features than you did last month. We saw this as a non-issue, and felt that sending an email out about pricing “changes,” when in fact no customer’s pricing has changed, would just serve to confuse and cause undue panic.

I can see the logic in this, but I think the end result was the opposite effect.  It caused an undue panic with many customers because of the surprise.

After receiving Justin’s response, I donned my hip-boots and went trudging into the forum cesspool to see what others had to say about it.  Most of the “panic” that I saw from other subscribers was a result of this not knowing until after the fact.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that missed the email.

With that said, I was shocked to find out how many people dumped AWeber because of it.  Why?!  AWeber didn’t force this on anyone with an existing account.  I, as a current AWeber customer am free to keep my account just the way it is.  This is a good example of that “forum junkie” mentality, which is the very reason I don’t let myself get caught up in these pointless debates.  It must have been a great month for GetResponse though. 😉

“The price increase is pretty steep. When you average out the cost per lead verses the benefits that you get with the analytics package, is it justifiable? These factors may depend on the size & quality of your list, plus the range of products that you have to offer.”

Well said, though I think it has more to do with quality than size, and with how you use the tools available to you – in other words, how much more effective and profitable can you make your email marketing using these tools?

We feel the answer to that is “a lot” (which is why we developed these tools). One example: you’ll know who did and did not respond which emails, and you can segment and deliver appropriate emails to subscribers based on that knowledge. This alone has great potential to increase your sales and profits far beyond the additional cost for these tools.

I have to say that the power of these tools would have to be impressive.  You can compensate for having a small list with the ability to target and test your list with surgical precision.  You can also segment by time zones!

Until now, analytic tools like these were only available to high dollar businesses with the budgets to pay the big fees to their ESPs.  AWeber has now made these available to everyone.  It seems that the segmentation ability alone would more than pay for itself.  After all, quality will outshine quantity.  In terms of traffic conversions, 5,000 untargeted visitors isn’t nearly as good as having 500 highly targeted visitors.  The same applies to your list – quality vs. quantity.

You can now even get rid of those ugly AWeber tracking links from within your emails.  By using a simple javascript on your website, you can put a clean natural link into your emails which look much less threatening to the paranoid.

Justin also pointed out that for those with lists under 500 leads, the monthly price is actually lower.  $19 per month as opposed to $19.95 per month.

Justin also included a link to AWeber’s analytics info page which gives a great explanation of the benefits you can receive after upgrading.

The only flaw that I see at this point is that the tracking features seem to rely on javascript.  This could skew the analytics leaving out the subscribers who have javascript disabled in their browser.  The tracking links in your email messages are also accompanied by an invisible graphic that “talks” to the javascript on your target website.  Many of my own webmail accounts disable the “unsafe” images by default when I view them.  That probably disables this invisible graphic popup as well, thus not allowing the tracking info to get passed along to your stats.

Taking this into consideration, the overall results are still going to give you a pretty accurate assessment of your subscribers, especially as your list gets larger.  If we estimated a very high figure of 10% of your list having javascript disabled or email images blocked, You’d still have about 90% accuracy to work with.

In summary, I think that AWeber’s intention is to offer the very best marketing features possible to their subscribers.  Testing and targeting your campaigns are a must if you want to be successful with your email marketing.  It not only benefits you, but your list members as well.

AWeber has practically dropped this essential element of success right into our laps with this analytics package.  Now there’s simply no excuse not to test and target.  I believe that those who see the value and apply these tools, will be riding the new wave of success using email marketing 2.0.  I plan to catch this wave… how about you? Land lubber, or surfer?

I Can Sell You Anything

Vintage Advertising

I was reading an excellent post yesterday while getting my James Brausch fix on his blog. I started out reading an excellent set of posts. The first one is entitled “That Doesn’t Make any Sense”. This was a follow up post from the previous day called “Thinking About Words Used“. I went on to read the original post which involved a word replacement game, where you would replace emotional trigger words in a sentence with another one. The general idea is to open your mind beyond the conditioning that we regularly receive from TV, family, peers, etc. and seeing things from other perspectives.

This post made me think back to a book I read as a teenager called “I Can Sell You Anything” by Paul Stevens. In one chapter of the book, he elaborates on the use of “weasel words” such as helps, virtually, up to, as much as, etc. For example, “Virtually spot free”. Most people would think of a clean surface with no spots. Let’s check out the definition of virtual from a dictionary.

virtual adj. Existing or resulting in essence or effect though not in actual fact, form, or name: the virtual extinction of the buffalo.

OK, so another way of saying “virtually” could be “almost” or “not really”. Almost spot freeNot really spot free. Hmmm, paints a different picture, eh? Of course, technically, weasel words are necessary in advertising to protect the maker of the product. There are no absolutes with a pain reliever for example. For Novartis to claim that you will be free of pain in 15 minutes after popping two Excedrin would be marketing suicide.

After reading that book way back then, I started word replacing all the weasel words that I would pick up on in the commercials I would see on TV, or in printed Ads. This really helped me to become more aware of exactly what the product was really about, & not what you are led to believe. I started seeing advertisements in a whole new light and I was suddenly much less vulnerable to being snowed.

An entirely new perspective was opened up to me that I never saw before. Kind of like the movie “Dead Poet’s Society” with Robin Williams, where he played a college professor who, in one scene, had his students stand on top of their desks so that they could see their every day surroundings from a different perspective. That was the same kind of “ding” moment for me way back then.

This same “ding” moment can come about in any aspect of communication if you play along as James Points out in his post. I apply this concept pretty much unconsciously all the time. I never really gave it much thought before reading James’s post. TV really is a dangerous medium for conditioning because we simply absorb what is being spoon fed into our brains. This is why TV is such an effective advertising medium, because you can insert “where’s the beef?” directly into the brains of the public and suddenly, millions of people know that Wendys is the place for big juicy hamburgers.

When you think about it, everything the average person really knows about world affairs, politics, government, etc is by what they are fed by the media. Whether true or not, people then regurgitate that info back to their peers as if it was absolute fact, just because they were told it was so by the media, without any “real” first hand proof to back it up.

Check out Jame’s post in the link above and play the word exchange game the next time you watch or read the news, an advertisement, or are copywriting your next sales letter. If you apply this to key facets of your internet business, you will tap into a new level of creativity that you never knew you had.

Writing Killer Headlines

OK, so you finally got off the sofa and created your first product. Perhaps its an information video on how to use Adobe Flash, or that recipe book that you finally decided to write, betraying generations of secret family recipes. Now that you’ve got your great aunt Emma flipping over in her grave, you need to start promoting your product. The next logical step is to create a sales page. What? You don’t need one because you’re starting with eBay? A well done sales page will skyrocket your eBay sales just as it would on your own website. Now that I’ve eliminated that excuse, let get down to business.

The first thing that your visitor sees and the most vital to keeping your visitor from clicking the back button is the headline. Obviously, the headline occupies the space above the fold on your web page. For you newbies “above the fold” refers to the area on the webpage that is visible when you first arrive, before you scroll down to read the rest. Typically, what visitors see within the first 5 seconds will determine whether they stay and read on or hit the back button and continue elsewhere.

This is what makes the headline so important. The first thing you want to avoid is to let your headline sound like an ad. Something like “Buy Aunt Emma’s Secret Recipies Now For Only $29.95” is a sure fire back button trigger. Creating a captivating headline can increase your conversions by at least a ten fold.

There’s many ways that you can approach your headlines. Depending on your product, you can phrase it by offering a compelling promise of how this will benefit them. Remember the “What’s in it for me” mindset of your visitor. Something like “Become an Instant Master of Traditional Pasta Dishes. 7 Generations of Closely Guarded Family Secrets Revealed!” Right away the visitor is offered the opportunity to impress their family and friends with some original pasta dishes that they never could have come up with on their own. Who can fight 7 generations of experience, right?

You could also phrase it as a question. “Is it Worth 5 Minutes to Learn 200 Years of Family Secrets?” Whenever a visitor is faced with a question in what they read, the natural response of the mind to to answer the question. Most typically, one would respond with “sure, why not?” and read on. Arousing the visitor’s curiosity is another fantastic way to keep your page “sticky”. Something like “I Have Been Branded by My Family as a Traitor!” The reader will think “huh?… why?” and read on.

There are many approaches that you can take on a headline to make it interesting. Never make your visitor feel like that you’re the shark and they’re your chum. 😛 Sounding “hypie” and wreaking of the honest john used car sales pitch isn’t going to cut it. This is a common mistake that many people starting out make. If you can avoid this, you will have a huge advantage.

Studying other successful product sales pages and making a swipe file of the best ones is a great way to hone your own skills. You can find the most popular products on Clickbank’s product search and check out the headlines of the big sellers. How did they grab your attention? How large were the fonts? What colors were used?

You’ll soon discover that headlines are actually fun to come up with. They can set the tone for inspiration as you write the rest of your sales letter. We’ll cover more in future posts. This should get you off to a good start in your quest for writing great sales letters. A tool I would highly recommend is Glyphius. This is one of the best tools on the market for crafting the most effective phrases for your headlines and sales copy. Check out James Brausch’s website to find a reseller.

Now go check out some popular product sales pages and get familiar with their headline styles. Try to improve their headline by writing your own, as if it was your own product. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. Who knows, you might even impress yourself, and after that, impress others!