Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Combining Creative and Effective Copywriting

It’s not often that I see a salesletter that not only moves me to immediate action, but also makes me laugh out loud.

Rob Toth’s letter at did just that.

First of all, Rob got me to his page by having a brief tip in Doug Hudiberg’s Daily Marketing Ace. I was so intrigued by the title of the free report: “Buy Now! How To Get Customers Ordering So Fast Your Bank Account May End Up With a Speeding Ticket” that I had to click on over.

Reaching the page I see the same headline and a cute cartoon that directly illustrates it.

After the cartoon and a couple of brief lines, he jumps right in with the zany, humorous tone that pokes fun at the whole genre of sales letters while pulling me further into the content:

Sorry if I seem a bit out of breath. I was just at the hospital and had to hurry back to be able to tell you about this. You definitely want to hear this.

Why was I at the hospital? I went to see a friend of mine. (I feel so bad for this). He was rushed in for surgery hours ago. Doctors say he damaged his jaw’s bone structure when it dropped to the floor hard after having read a sneak-peek copy of my new report that I sent over to him.

Like I said, I feel really bad about it. So let’s have a quick safety meeting you-and-I. Do me a favor and go grab a pillow (or one of those Costco sized bags of marshmallows should do the trick as well) … before you listen to anything more that I say (and definitely before you read my report), please place that pillow (or your baggy) under your jaw. This is for your own good.

Of course, I read all the way down.

And then he’s got a really short window to take action, with a visible, ticking clock counting the time–just a few minutes (warning, once you say yes, you have to get back to the confirmation email very quickly as well–something I think could easily backfire). Since it’s a free report and there’s nothing to lose, I took the bait. I haven’t read the report yet, but I signed up.

I understand why the back button doesn’t work, because he quite correctly wants the time limit to be real. But one thing I’d do differently if I were Rob is make it easier to share the webpage. After I said yes, I wanted to share it, but it wasn’t easy’ the back button didn’t take me there. I finally had to dig through my email trash can and find the Daily Marketing Ace that had the link.

I think this could go viral if it the you-signed-up, confirm-quickly page had some language like

“Did you have fun here? If you want to share the page with your friends, here’s the link.”

For more on great copywriting, BTW, my award-winning book Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World has a huge and informative section.


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