Straight “turkey talk” about using guarantees in your advertising

Happy Thanksgiving!

(If you’re south of the border.)

And if you’re not already half-comatose from choking mass quantities of turkey down your gullet, here’s a bit of sloggin’ for your noggin.

I was recently asked by a client about guarantees.

And whether it makes sense to have a specific guarantee of ROI.

My dubious response?

Perhaps.

Few things:

First, if you’re selling to a warm list of people who know you (or have already bought from you in some way) it might make sense not to have a guarantee at all.  Depending on how it’s done, a guarantee can even sully your positioning with that customer.  I’ve also found existing customers are less likely to care or otherwise be swayed by a guarantee.

That said, I’m a believer in guarantees when appealing to a mass market or new peeps.

It could be a conditional guarantee like I had in the personal training biz.

E.g. If you can honestly say you followed the program, and you’re still not happy with the results, you’re entitled to a full refund.  I call it the “ice cream and beer” clause.  In other words, don’t presume you’re going to work out with me all week, then lapse into utter gluttony on the weekends and still lose fat.

That’s why I like conditional guarantees for coaching.

They help set up expectations on both sides.

In this case, I did not guarantee a specific result.  Because, as I’d explain, every ‘body’ is different.  I didn’t really test this, but my hunch is qualifying it in that way made it more believable.  Good customers know “results may vary”.  So I wasn’t saying anything they hadn’t already accepted that might cause them to raise an eyebrow.

Next there’s the unconditional money-back guarantee.

E.g. If you’re not thrilled for ANY reason, I’ll refund you no questions asked.

What I tell business owners who bristle at this is: let’s say you’ve got a customer who’s angry or dissatisfied for whatever reason, you’re probably going to give them their money back anyway.  Might as well get credit for being a swell human being, and float it out there up front.

Few will invoke it.

(Assuming your product is good.)

And often, this is a form of proof in that it demonstrates CONFIDENCE in what you’re selling.

Finally, I find it’s best to tailor the guarantee to the offer.

In some cases, if what you’re selling is highly valuable to your market, over-selling the guarantee comes across as suspicious and needy, and could hurt sales.  Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to know when that’s the case.  You’ve got to feel it.  Or at least think deeply about it.

(What’d I tell ya?  More sloggin’…)

Ergo…thus…therefore…in conclusion…in Memoriam (wait…) to make what could indeed have been a short story unreasonably long, what I’m saying in answer to “should you use a specific guarantee” is, again, depends on your offer.

If you’d like some help with the subtleties of this…

In creating offers, sales letters, and email campaigns….

You can’t hire me right now.

(I’m all booked up at the moment.)

But if you want to be one of the first to be notified when a spot opens up, click the link below and you’ll instantly be added to my distinguished and servile list of “clients-in-waiting”:

Click here to add yourself to The Muscle’s waiting list.

In the meantime, I’ve put together a brief consumer awareness guide I call How To Hire A Copywriter which shows you exactly what to look for to find the right copywriter for your business – even another, less muscular copywriter than me.

If you’d like a free digital copy, send me an email at conor@conorkelly.com, and I’ll get it to you post haste.

Alright, that’s enough shenanigans for today.

Until next time…

Happy Guaranteeing,

Conor Kelly

What an epic marketing fail looks like

Take a minute and look at the picture below.

IMG_1702

Now let me ask you a question:

If you needed teeth whitening, would you call?

Let’s pause and come back to that in a sec.

This was planted in the grass next to the road, en route to picking up my kid from school.  And each time I walked by I had to shake my head a little.  To be fair, I don’t know what kind of response this got.  But If I had to put my shekels on it, there were few, if any calls.

Ok, back to my question.

To call, or to walk on by?

What say you?

Seems a bit sketchy, don’t it?

For starters, it’s a low price from what I know of these sorts of procedures.  That in and of itself can inspire skepticism.  Something to think about when pricing yourself.  Next, it tells you nothing about WHO you are trusting with your precious pearly not-so-whites.

The fail?

Not leading with PROOF.

(a.k.a. Credibility.)

Gary Bencivenga, often referred to as The Greatest Living Copywriter says this:

“Join proof to your promise in your headline.”

In other words, give ‘em your qualifications up front.

Tooth whitening is often done in dentists’ offices.  Is this a dentist’s ad?  Who knows.  But if it is, simply adding the dentist’s name and logo would likely get a bump in response.  And while we’re on that subject, dentists, doctors, and chiropractors have got this down.  They give you their calling card before even their name.

It’s two little letters.

D and R.

Lot of marketing juice packed into that 7.6% of the alphabet.

Yet, so many businesses I encounter are guilty of skirting, hiding, or treating their best features like they belong in the fine print.

(There are reasons for that other than ignorance.  Topic for later.)

To combat this scourge, there’s a technique I use with my copywriting clients that I hardly see anyone else using.

And, to be honest, it’s a bit uncomfortable for some.

Yet this one simple “trick” (that takes less than 10 minutes) can work magic for your conversions if used correctly.

AND can prevent prospects from merely moseying on by your ad without giving it a second glance.

Unfortunately, I reserve such secrets for my clients.

And, you can’t hire me right now.

(All booked up for the next few months.)

But if you’d like, click the link below to instantly add your lovely self to The Muscle’s waiting list and be one of the first to be notified as soon as a spot opens up:

Click here to add your name to the list.

Until then…

When it comes to marketing and sales…

Remember:

Be thee not stingy with the tooting of thy own righteous horn.

Happy Proving,

Conor Kelly

A hideously profitable Halloween tip

Behold:

The Muscle’s House Of Email Horrors

Inspired by the great Ben Settle, I penned charming Halloween themed emails for each of my clients that exposed several of their market’s “monsters” to being staked, burned or exorcised…with my client cast as the Van Helsing of their industry.

In the health industry you had the ever-present Sugar-Feeding Succubus.

“This seductive creature derails even the most disciplined eater with the constant contribution of cakes, candies, and other sugary menaces to the office environment. Trouble is, as soon as you trap one, another one springs up in its place.”

In the fitness niche,

We featured the terrifying CrossFit Kobold.

“This awful demon is very aggressive and is part of a bizarre cult.  Beware, he uses strange expressions like ‘brah’ and ‘swole’ a lot, so you may not understand him.”

Computers?

We warned of the encroaching Hacking Hellhounds.

“These vicious dogs are dripping with blood and foaming at the mouth, looking for their next victim.  They worm their way into your computer by infecting it with their virus-ridden bite…then they steal or corrupt your data!  No fair!”

Heck, we even dropped “supply chain monsters” on electric utilities across America.

Check out the Phantom Supplier:

“This apparition only looks reliable.  In reality, it’s almost never there when you need it.  It’s called a phantom because when you question it, almost all of its credibility disappears behind a white sheet of excuses.”

Some other faves included…

*The Creature From The Couch Lagoon (Health)

*Fake Virus-Alert Vampire (Computers)

*The Zumba Zombie (Fitness)

*The Misinformation Mummy (Chiropractic)

Two things:

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this is about constantly finding new and engaging ways to get your point across.

Boredom is death to a sale.

Second, while in this case we’re dramatizing and having a little fun, each one of these monsters is a real problem my clients’ respective markets have.  When you’re focused on your prospect’s problems, you can do almost everything else wrong, and you still won’t lose them.  Add to the mix teasing your solution like the reader’s stuffing dollar bills in your g-string…

And you’ve got yourself a recipe for profits that are just plain spooky.

Well, that does it for this particularly creepy foray into the blogosphere.

I’m not currently taking on new clients (all booked up for now).

But if you’d like, click the link below to add your name to The Muscle’s wicked waiting list, and you’ll be one of the first to be notified when ghoulish spot opens up:

Add your name to the list.

Happy Halloween!

Conor “Hellspawn” Kelly

“The internet RUINED my business!”

Few years ago when I was in the in the Google Ads for attorneys niche, one personal injury attorney opened up during his consultation:

“I was doing a million a year up until 2009.  Then, my business took a major dip.  I’m down 40%, and it’s all because of this internet thing.  Having my picture on the back of the phone book isn’t doing squat for me anymore.”

No big mystery there.

That’s because it’s not 1995.

(Somewhere, a millennial was heard to say, “Tell me more of this phone book you speak of”.)

Believe it or not, in that particular niche I heard this A LOT.  So many competent 45-65 year old lawyers are mystified by Google’s new world order.  They sit around the clubhouse sipping Rob Roy’s and reminisce about the ‘good old days’ before the internet.

Let’s face it…

The times, they are a changing.

These were highly successful professionals whose businesses tanked because they didn’t change with them.

To my point:

If your ads/emails/sales pages aren’t converting like they used to, there’s a reason.  Copy that worked 10 years ago might not have the same appeal today.  Heck, ads that crushed in 2018 might not make the grade in 2020.  In today’s click-baited, hyper-marketed, content-cluttered climate, your prospect is looking for reasons to quickly dismiss your offers.

This is a physiological response.

It’s the brain’s way of filtering out overload.

So if it’s not framed as new or unique in some way…well…

Next.

That’s where Yours Muscularly comes in.

What I do as a copywriter is tirelessly research everything about your product, put in into a stew, and let it boil until what emerges is both true AND fascinating – to paraphrase the original Mad Man and advertising legend David Ogilvie – so your offers get read and (hopefully) acted upon.

Unfortunately, you can’t hire me right now.

I’m all booked up for the next couple of months.

However, if you’d like to be one of the first to be notified when a spot opens up, enter your email at the top right to join my mailing list.

Bottom line, don’t hate the internet.

Instead, when the time comes…

Let’s have a Rob Roy, and chat about how you can use it to grow your business.

Happy Modernizing,

Conor Kelly

Canadian Strengthsgiving

_MG_0079

Ten years ago this very day…

Yours Muscularly pulled a 28,000-pound school bus in Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto (like Toronto’s ‘Times Square’) to raise money and awareness for TFSS, an organization dedicated to feeding hungry students in Toronto schools.

At the time I was running a personal training biz.

Some high-school kids found me online and invited to be a part of a presentation on nutrition they we’re doing for their class.

I accepted.

What I wasn’t prepared for was their statistics on malnourished youth, poverty, and hunger in Toronto schools.  I know how important the right nutrition is for health and brain power.  And didn’t think these kids were getting a fair shake.  So I decided to do something about it.

I found the charity and approached them with this crazy idea.

To my surprise, they loved it.

It was going to be ideal as part of Feeding Hungry Students Week, their big fundraiser and publicity push each year, which was about 11 weeks away.

Now I’d done vehicle pulls during my competitive career as a strongman.  But since retiring from the sport five years prior I’d hadn’t approached anything that resembled that level of training.  I was 170 pounds (compared with my competition weight of 220).  I’d have 11 weeks to train for it (I ended up gaining over 20 pounds during that stretch)…all while planning and organizing the event.

What followed was one of the craziest and most rewarding journeys of my life.

(I’ve been thinking I should write a book about it.)

Why do I bring this up?

Well, first it’s my 10-year Strengthaversary.

So it’s been on my mind.

And second, it was perhaps the most successful marketing campaign (and certainly the most successful from a media coverage standpoint) I’ve ever produced.  There wasn’t a single major media outlet in Toronto that didn’t cover it.  I was on TV, Radio, and in newspapers.  Sometimes all three at once…or at least that’s how it felt.  All wearing gear branded to my business, and all referring to me as ‘the owner of Evolution Fitness in Toronto’.  And that night, we we’re on the 6 o’clock news on EVERY channel.

For the charity, the figure was something like $20,000 raised.  Plus, they’d never had that kind of media attention for their programs.  They were thrilled.

Here’s the point:

It was unique hook (with a sensationalist twist).

Even cold-calling the busiest and most jaded editors and producers…with their phones ringing, their inboxes full and deadlines dropping…when I told them what I was up to they’d stop and say:

“I’m listening…”

I might well share a few marketing lessons from this experience over the next little while.

For starters, how can you model this idea for your business?  Let’s consider the possibility that you can’t pull a bus.  Totally ok.  Could you put on your own charity fundraiser and add to it an element of the extraordinary?  Could you make an offer that no one else in your industry is willing to make?  Could you be the ‘whistle-blower’ who calls out the nefarious practices of big companies in your industry?

(That last strategy landed me my first interview on national television when I promised to expose the big gyms dirty, dirty ways.)

Point is:

Yes, you need people to care…

But first you need their attention.

This is a rule not only of marketing, but of all forms of persuasive communication.

Alright, that’s enough for now.

I’m shipping off soon as it’s Thanksgiving Weekend here North of the border.

In honor of that day ten years ago, random acts of kindness, and all things strength and/or marketing I do hereby dub this day Strengthsgiving.  May yours be full of high-quality proteins…

With a delicious side-helping of creamy, fluffy generosity.

Hungry yet?

🙂

Happy Strengthsgiving,

Conor Kelly

P.S.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any footage of the event of I’d share it with you.  I’m working on getting some archival footage from one of the various media outlets.  Stay tuned.

 

Let me show you what my middle finger does

My soon-to-be 7-year-old the other day…

In reference to her cross-country meet – which took place on a very cold, very wet October day here in Toronto – had this to say:

“It was so freezing yesterday…I kept thinking ‘I’ll show this wind my middle finger!’”

I rather like it.

It’s got a certain wisdom and youthful defiance to it.

(Cue the Twisted Sister, “We’re not gonna take it…”)

So I’ve decided I’m going to show more of the things that challenge me a Muscular middle finger.

I invite you to do the same.

It’s simple advice, but it applies almost anywhere.

(Key word: almost.  Use your own discretion on that one.)

Just a little Tuesday inspiration for ya.

And if you have a sales letter that’s not converting…or your emails aren’t getting as many opens and clicks as you’d like…or you’ve got a copywriter who prefers grandstanding on Facebook to turning in projects on time…

Then let’s join forces and show them four middle fingers, way up:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

Happy Defying,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a The Muscle

Disrupting the copywriting guru hype machine

Got this note (unsolicited) from top business coach and client Matt Morse in response to a recent ‘copy critique’ I did for him:

====

“I recently attended a 3-day ‘copywriting workshop’ with one of the industry leading copywriters… not long after, I had Conor do one of his signature 30-minute copywriting evaluations for one of our clients and I can tell you with absolute certainty that I received more than 10X the amount of value from Conor’s 30-minute video than I did from 3 full days at the copywriting workshop.”

====

Here’s why I believe this is NOT an exaggeration.

First, I’ve sat in seminar rooms like this one that were all sizzle and no steak….

And ridden these gurus’ high-priced hype-train to nowhere.

Second, about ten years back I hired a copywriter/web conversions expert to critique my website.  Unless I’m mistaken, I paid him all of $275USD.  And it was honestly some of the best marketing training I’ve ever received.

Many of its lessons have stuck with me ever since.

One theory I have is this sort of critique is not mere theory.  This is someone picking apart and breaking down the specifics of your ad or offer (even your layout and other visual aspects, all things I cover as well), showing you how it can be better, and providing a detailed explanation for why.  In that sense, it’s more concrete and relevant – and thus easier to apply and remember.

Word to the wise:

This is not always true of course, but most courses or products that deign to promise you can walk in with the proverbial “blank page” and walk out with…

*A business

*A product you can sell

*A sales letter

*An email campaign

*A sales presentation

*Etc.

…Ignore the fact that there is a process to any of the above that usually involves more than a day, a weekend, a few fill-in-the-blanks templates, and goes beyond the limits of a group format.

You may not know this but I’m somewhat of a guru-whisperer.

I’m even able to interpret their mysterious speak.

What they really mean when they promise such things is “you’ll have even more work to do on Monday and will most likely STILL be confused about what to do”.

Alright, that’s enough fun for one day.

My decidedly un-hyped offer:

If you’d like me to perform one of my signature Instant Copy Upgrade reviews on your sales letter, website, or email campaign, let us begin the journey by booking your “no fuss” Free Brainstorm Call here:

http://www.calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

You’ll be getting very specific, very detailed secrets I’ve used to help clients like Matt as much as double their web conversions.

Two things:

1. I make no guarantees about this.

I know my stuff.  You’ll see.  But much of this has to do with the dynamics of your market and your offer, none of which is within my control.

AND

2. If you don’t currently have a list…or buyers…or leads coming in…you’ll learn a lot, but it probably won’t help you much in the short term.  The best candidate for this is someone who is already doing marketing, getting traffic of some kind, and has at least some sales.

With that I bid you…

Forsake the guru hype-train.

Ride The Musclemobile instead.

See you on board.

Happy Discerning,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a. The Muscle

Drink thee of this profitable smoothie

“The more you read, the more you will know.  The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss

I hate to burst your bubble…

But for anyone who thinks losing weight is hard, gaining weight is much harder.

(That’s if you’re trying to add the right kind of weight.)

I don’t care what anybody says, force feeding yourself copious quantities of plain chicken breast and rice seven times a day…sucks.   Back in my strongman days it got to the point where I almost couldn’t stand the sight of food.

I went to all kinds of extremes.

Eating by the clock.

(Instead of when hungry – which I almost never was.)

Calculating calories.  (Not counting; this was before My Fitness Pal and other smart phone apps that make tracking your cals a cinch nowadays…back then I literally used an almanac and a calculator).

Taking digestive enzymes.

Drinking flax seed oil.

I could go on.

As a trainer I’ve also had many clients whose goal was to build muscle.  One point I’d consistently drive home is you have to put in the building blocks.  Your body doesn’t synthesize muscle out of thin air.  Protein and calories are the raw materials it needs.  That’s why you’ve got to have a caloric surplus.

What’s this all have to do with you?

Writing, producing content, copywriting, and finding marketing hooks is the same.  You need an idea surplus.  You’ve got to regularly feed your brain plenty of building blocks from which those are created.

How do you do that?

By reading.  A lot.

I try to make it a point to read at least two hours per day.

If I’m being honest, it usually ends up being closer to one hour.  What do I read?  Primarily, anything having to do with marketing, copywriting, or persuasion.  But I also “supplement” with a variety of subjects from magazine articles (I love The Economist), history books, books on science, biographies, and literature and fiction too.

What this does is give me a vast pool of data, facts, stories and ideas to pull from when in a creative mode.  All these healthy ingredients go into the blender of my subconscious and emerge as a green smoothie of knowledge.  I use this to connect two or more ideas in ways that form “hooks” useful in teaching, influencing, and selling (as I’ve done with the calorie surplus thing here).

What I’ve discovered:

I have two main types of readers.

The first type is interested in getting better at doing email, copywriting, etc. so they can do it themselves.  If that’s you, I just handed you what has been a BIG ingredient in my success (and the success of many others) on a vibranium-plated platter.

The second type is grinning, rubbing their hands together…

…And simply biding their time until they get me to do all this shebang for them.

If you’re the second type, and doing that volume of reading sounds both prohibitive and unappealing – never fear.

I attack such tasks with fanatical zeal so you don’t have to.

Get your vitamin boost and request your Free Brainstorm Call here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

And if not…

Happy Reading,

Conor Kelly

Are you making this GRAVE marketing mistake?

Once upon a time…

I was tasked to write a JV email for a client.

If you don’t know, JV stands for “joint venture”.  It’s a sort mutual email admiration society where two complementary but non-competitive businesses essentially pimp each other out to their respective lists.  Back to regularly scheduled programming…

The JV partner was a women’s fitness expert.

As I looked at her promo page, I discovered something interesting.  She was a former fitness competitor who’d suffered a stroke while still in her thirties.  This opened her eyes to how years of extreme diets and hard core working out was destroying her health.

So she went back to school to become a holistic nutritionist.

Now, she uses this knowledge (and her experience) to help women regain control of their bodies…the healthy way.   She teaches them a balanced, fun, and wellbeing-enhancing way to lose weight while leaving behind the crash diets and other foolishness.

Now if you were a woman who’d struggled with her weight and ridden the highs and lows that go along with yo-yo dieting, wouldn’t that get your attention?  Wouldn’t you want to read more?

That’s a heck of a story.

Yet if I hadn’t scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page, I would’ve missed it.

It was practically a footnote.

The grave marketing mistake I alluded to in my subject?  Not leading with stories in your marketing.  This could be stories of clients you’ve helped, stories about the business, stories about your industry, or a story about you.

Stories create DESIRE for your product or service.

That’s because they provide vision and context.

As such, they’re valuable marketing assets.

Throughout the 8 years or so that I ran my personal training business, my own story of transformation (and ditching my fat suit) was at the heart of any marketing we did.  It was front and center on my website and I’d lead with it in all my public speeches.  My “before and after” pics graced our brochures and postcards.  And I’d often meet people as much as five or even ten years later who’d tell me, “I never forgot your story.”

If you have a good one too (or even a plain one you can soup up) you’d have to be either a fool or not batting on a full wicket to not to use it at every opportunity.  It’s in our DNA to be persuaded by stories.  Stories form the core of how we’ve communicated as a species since scratching on the walls of prehistoric caves.

Entire fortunes have been built off the back of one good story.

And if you’ve really been paying attention, you may have noticed I started all this pontificating with…yep, a story.

Have I made my point yet? 🙂

One of the first questions I ask any new client is:

Why did you start the business? 

The reason is I’m looking for the client’s “origin story”.  I want to know how it is they became the superhero they are today that wears a cape and beats the crap out of bad guys to help their clients…so I can spin it to their profit.   And this type of story naturally invites curiosity.

What’s your origin story?

And could you be leveraging it more?

Good one to chew on.

If you’d rather I chew on it for you…and translate such mastication into done-for-you emails and sales pages that entice and sell your best prospects on doing business with you…then you can look forward to a truly exciting conclusion to today’s tale by going here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

Happy Story-Time,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a The Muscle @ Marketing Muscle

 

“The most engaging marketing email I ever received.”

A client just forwarded me this reply from one of his subscribers (in response to our latest broadcast email):

====

“Hands down, this is the most clever and engaging marketing email that I have ever received. With the concise provision of useful free advice and the great humorous theme, it bespeaks a business that is competent and ready to help.”

====

I’ve been trying to tell you…

This stuff ain’t just fake news.

If you do emails the way I teach you’ll get responses like this too.  And before you go “but this wouldn’t work in MY industry”, I’ve done something similar in about 12 different industries now.  This particular client does computer repair.

Now let’s say for the sake of argument he got zero sales from this email.

Even if that were the case, a very small percentage of people ever reply to broadcasts.  That means if this gentleman felt that way, you can bet others liked it too.  There’s enormous marketing capital in that.  It’s a deposit into the “bank balance” of the relationship.

Always remember:

Marketing is a process, not an event.

Just because they didn’t buy today doesn’t mean we should assume they won’t buy later.  In fact, I’d go as far as to say if they haven’t unsubscribed it is your duty as a marketer to follow up, follow up, follow up until they “buy or die”.

You don’t know what’s going on in their life right now.

They could buy in six months.

Two years even.

Funny enough, the same client did a run of similarly “clever and engaging” ads in local movie theaters a while back.  The ads no longer run but new customers still mention them today as their reason for coming in.  All of the above is why it’s risky to spurn this kind of feedback and also a sure fire way to discount your future bank balance.

Bottom line:

Be anything you want to be.

Just be memorable.

Anyway, such are my ravings for today.

If you’d like done-for-you emails that entertain, engage, and sell your product or service, catch a dope cyber wave and surf here to get your no-fuss Free Brainstorm Call:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

I’m booking projects for mid-September now.

As a first step, find out if yours is a fit.

Happy Engaging,

Conor Kelly

a.k.a. The Muscle @ Marketing Muscle