To hyperlink or not to hyperlink?

That is the question today…

One interesting fact about the era we live in is how quickly the names of computer functions become verbs.

A point illustrated by my 7-year-old the other day when she misspoke and blurted out “Wait!  I need to backspace that” before correcting herself.

So in an attempt to remain cool in her eyes (although I’m reserving the right to make Dad jokes), we’re going to examine a question I got from a client about whether ‘tis nobler to ‘hyperlink’ your links vs. not hyperlinking.

If it’s not clear to you yet what I mean, here’s a conveniently self-promoting example.

A hyperlink would be if I were to ask you to:

Get Your Copy Of My Super-Cool, Outrageously Awesome Book Here.

(Which, ironically, is about selling with email by not using hype.  Ahem…)

VS.

Simply dropping in the real URL address, like so:

www.ConorKelly.com

Conventional wisdom would say that if you make your link a benefit-laden call-to-action, as in Get your free thingamajigger here, or Get the program at 96% off, or Double your sales with email, you’ve got a better shot at compelling the reader to take action.

Still others would argue that a plain old URL stands out.

It’s not congruent with the text of your email, and therefore weird or ugly or whatever other differentiating quality you’d like to ascribe to it.

Also, it’s possible that displaying the actual URL is reassuring.

If people know where you’re taking them, they might be more inclined to click.

However, IMHBMO (in my humble-but-muscular opinion) the point is somewhat moot.

It’s been my experience that once you’ve built trust with your list, neither one significantly affects clickthroughs.

See, if you have a healthy relationship with your list…and you have offers they want…you don’t need any fancy ‘tricks’.  They are clicking because you’re the one asking.  And part of building that relationship is consistently making sure what they see when they do click is what your email promises.

(That’s why I tend to lean toward not hyperlinking.)

Anyway, take such musings for what they’re worth.

If you’d like my help with an email campaign or sales letter, follow the yellow brick road below and add yourself to my email list to be notified when a client spot opens up:

https://conorkelly.com/from-leading-copywriter-conor-kelly/

Happy Linking,

Conor Kelly

Goofy’s entire family may be dead

It’s sad to think about…

But according to a reliable source, i.e. the internet, it’s entirely plausible that Goofy – yes that Goofy, Disney character – suffered the tragic loss of his wife and most of the members of his extended family.

Why do I bring this up?

My subject line is the title of an article I came across a while back.

And I thought it was clever.

(The rest of the article is pretty amusing too.  You can find it via “the” Google if you’re interested.  It seems in cartoons during the fifties Goofy had a wife, but when Disney rebooted the character in the nineties with Goof Troop, he was found to be raising his son alone.  No explanation offered.  This prompted speculation online about her fate, and the fate of other family members who, similarly, are hinted at but never make an appearance.)

Back to the article’s title.

It implies tongue-in-cheek humor, curiosity…even a pinch of dread.

I mean, how does a cartoon character, let alone a Disney one, wind up with a biography like that?

Titles, like email subject lines, are meant to entice you to read on.

The best ones evoke an emotional reaction of some kind, just like you probably smirked a little or went “wtf?” when you read the subject of my email just now.

Anyway, something to ponder as you dream up your own subject lines, titles, and headlines.

If you’d like to go a bit deeper, I’ve included a brief article below (only about 500 words) that deconstructs this further by peering into deceptive media headlines.

And if you’d like a few simple formulas  for how to write subject lines and headlines that are almost impossible to ignore, my book Stealth Email Secrets is filled with concrete examples that can make your life easier (and more profitable) when it comes to marketing.

Get your copy here:

–>The Simplest System Ever Created For Writing High-Converting Emails On Command.

Until next time…

Happy Enticing,

Conor Kelly

 

A Copywriter’s Rules To Avoid Being “Duped” By Headlines

If you’d like to know a professional copywriter’s insider secrets to avoid being misled by the media’s headlines, then you might find this brief article fascinating.

You see, copywriters, like journalists, spend a lot of time breaking down, analyzing and learning how to write compelling headlines. This puts us in a unique position to understand what makes them “tick”.

The first rule is simply to not be confused about a headline’s purpose. Just like direct-response copywriters need people to read our sales offers, journalism is a business first and foremost. Media outlets need eyeballs on their content.

The headline’s job is not to inform. Rather, the job of any headline is to capture attention with the goal of getting you to read, watch, or listen to the story or message, nothing more. For this reason, there must be some important context which is left out; otherwise, why would you need to go deeper?

When you remember that headlines deliberately leave out details which are explained in the body of the article, and that these details provide necessary context, you’ll read openers with a more critical eye. The problem is most people don’t read whole articles; instead, they scan headlines, which can only give you an incomplete picture.

It’s also important to note headlines that do their job well typically pack an emotional punch. This often requires drama, a hint of the sensational, curiosity, wrenching on powerful emotions like fear and outrage, or some combination of the above.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples in health reporting:

One is from The Toronto Star, Just 60 Seconds of Intense Exercise Can Boost Your Fitness Level. Why is this a solid appeal? The idea of getting fitter with such a small amount of exercise sounds counter intuitive, for one. That contrast serves up a little curiosity already baked in. It also speaks to the fantasy people have of getting fit more easily, or faster.

In the article, the study compared 10 minutes of interval training with 45 minutes of traditional cardio for its effects on V02 max. However, V02 max is only one small parameter of fitness. Even the study’s author said that “60 seconds is all you need” was not the right conclusion to draw, contrary to what the article’s headline implies.

The second is a press release entitled, Exercise, More Than Diet, Key To Preventing Obesity. The attention-grabbing features here are (i) “Key to preventing obesity” is a dramatic claim. Most people know obesity is a big problem. Also (ii) “Exercise vs. Diet” is an ongoing debate, so it’s topical.  But guess what?  The study wasn’t an even an obesity study. It examined metabolic indicators in rats to determine the impact of exercise on metabolism…independently of weight loss.

It’s also wise to inspect the source of the headline. Do they have an agenda? Truly objective reporting is an endangered species in today’s business and political ecosystem.

Bottom line: there’s an art to writing headlines that seduce people away from other stuff they could be doing and effectively “steal” their attention. With the tips in this article you’ll be better able to resist their subtle persuasion tactics.

When a headline hits you in the gut, let that be your cue to have a peak beneath the surface and scan the article or content. More often than not, you’ll discover some detail missing from the headline that can lessen its impact.

The New Zealand Web Conversion Secret

A while back, The Muscle got props from a client re: one of his website critiques.

This client went as far as to say, “I received more than 10X the amount of value from Conor’s 30-minute video than I did from 3 full days at the [insert guru name here] copywriting workshop.”

I remarked on how that wasn’t all that surprising given I’d had a similar experience.

Here’s how I described it:

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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.

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A big reason for that is having a set of trained eyes pick apart your webpage (and make suggestions you then have to figure out how to implement) is more concrete than broad strategies or tactics.

Which leads me to the punchline:

That copywriter’s name is…drum roll please…Bnonn Tennant.  Bnonn is also a copywriting coach and web designer who helps you convert more of your website’s visitors to customers.

And even though you’ve probably never heard of him, he’s 100% brilliant at what he does.

He’s quarantining currently in scenic New Zealand (about 30 minutes away from Hobbiton…no joke) where he resides with his wife Smokey The Magnificent (as he calls her) and his “indeterminate” number of kids.

Well, Bnonn and I recently reconnected.

See, I wanted to find a way to introduce you to his “attention-thievery”, if for no other reason than I think you’ll benefit from knowing him.

Here’s what we came up with:

http://attentionthievery.com/scour/giveaway/

When you travel to the web address over yonder, you’ll be prompted to type in your email address to be entered into a draw for a free SCOUR audit (A $299 Value).

This is the exact same lovely service that Bnonn performed for me all those many years ago, and that I subsequently raved about.

According to the man himself:

“The audit will work for any page: a homepage, a landing page, an opt-in page, a sales page, a product page—the framework is specifically designed to be flexible enough that it will work on whatever page represents the biggest potential lift for you.  Your audit will be 15–25 minutes of clear, concrete advice on changes you can make to the page’s layout, look, and content, to lift your conversion rate.”

(Side note: Bnonn has a gift for presenting his tips in a memorable way.  Plus, the charming accent doesn’t hurt.)

If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can watch an actual video of one such audit he did for a client.  Even if you don’t go for the draw I urge you to check it out; lots of marketing insights in that simple video.

Finally, when you enter you’ll also be added to Bnonn’s email list, which – listen to me now, believe me later – is a GOOD thing.

He’s one of the few marketers whose content I readily look forward to both ingesting and learning from.

Here’s that link once more:

http://attentionthievery.com/scour/giveaway/

You’re welcome. 😉

Happy Auditing,

Conor Kelly

Naked Baby Doll’s gastronomic adventure

All of this lately reminds me of a story.

At the time of the great Northeast blackout in ’03, I was renting a basement apartment from a Russian family in Richmond Hill.  They were sweet, red-cheeked little dumplings with much love for The Muscle.

Even had a pet name for me:

Pupsik.

It’s a Russian toy shaped like a naked baby.

(Don’t ask.)

Many stores were closed due to the power outage, so they insisted I come upstairs for a bite.   The family’s Babushka (Grandmother) brought forth a large crystal plate.  From what I could tell, it contained a gelatin substance with random floating chunks of mystery meat (which I later discovered is traditionally pig’s feet, cow’s feet, or chicken feet).

[Akwardly] Ah ha ha!  Yummy…

Being the Canadian paragon of politeness that I am, I powered through.  I took spoon to splotch, and went at it like a champ.  And with my eyes watering from suppressing the gag reflex, I politely asked for more bread, hoping to relieve some of the violent siege on my senses.

During this gustatory power struggle, I noticed the oldest son downing the meat-flavored jell-o like it was chocolate cake.  “What the…?  Is he enjoying this??”  I thought, as I nodded, forced a smile with high eyebrows, and flashed a thumbs up.

That experience drove home for me how varied taste can be.

Same basic DNA shared between us…but our amigos in other cultures will gladly shovel into their mouths forkfuls of fat which we’d normally discard AND vaporize with dish cleaners powerful enough to thin paint.

What does this have to do with you?

First, it’s just an entertaining story.

And we could all use more of those right now.

Second, the most common objection I get when encouraging business owners to up the frequency of their emails is,

“But I don’t want to annoy my customers.”

Here’s the thing:

It depends WHAT you’re sending them.

If you’re serving up the equivalent of ‘Mousse au animal-foot-fetish’ to North Americans, per above…then yes, more is not better.  But consider a different example:  Imagine your favorite food is chocolate chip cookies.  And every day I show up to your house in the afternoon with one freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, just how you like it.

How quickly are you going to love seeing me and hearing from me?

The point is to send them emails they like.

Then you almost can’t send them too many.

With that in mind, if you’d like a simple system for writing emails that your subscribers love reading AND buying from, then my new book Stealth Email Secrets might just keep you teetering on the edge of your seat.

It reveals no less than seven “magic” formulas to write emails that let you make more sales (and build more customer loyalty) at the push of a button. (HINT: I’m using one right now.)

And if you buy it now and turn to page 52, I show you a little-used secret that, if you do it correctly, can make your emails almost impossible to ignore.  In fact, if you’re not currently doing this, chances are good you are losing readers every time you hit ‘send’.

Grab your copy from Amazon to read about this secret today:

Click here to get your copy of Stealth Email Secrets.

Also, I just knocked 40% off the price of the paperback (Kindle is just $9.99).

Personally, I’d always rather have a physical book in my hands.

Call me old-fashioned.

I know you might prefer that too and understand many folks are tightening their purse strings right now so figured I’d help out.  I also know that for some this could be potentially business-saving information.  You can thank me by leaving an absolutely glowing review, should you feel so inclined. 😉

However, I won’t be keeping the price this low forever.

Don’t wait, get your copy now so you don’t miss out:

Order Stealth Email Secrets from Amazon.

And if you’re ever confronted with intestinal Russian roulette like I was, remember: loads of bread and water, minimal chewing, and SMILE…you can do this!

Happy Baking,

Conor “Naked Baby Doll” Kelly

Copywriters who cheat on book reports

Recently got this testimonial from leading coach, speaker, and podcaster Paul Reddick of Baseball Education Center:

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“I’ve worked with various copywriters over the course of 20 years of being in business.  Some were expensive, some highly recommended, others had sterling reputations, yet at every turn I was disappointed.  It looked like they applied whatever cookie cutter sales system they had, and it would end up being this big pile of marketing hype and words.

Working with Conor has been a breath of fresh air.  Not only has the entire process been professional from start to finish, but it quickly became obvious that he took the time to understand, I mean really understand our product, which caught me by surprise because I wasn’t used to it!

For anyone who is thinking about working with Conor, I suggest you get on the phone with him.  You’ll have a different experience of a copywriter.  I certainly did.  And we’ll continue our professional relationship into the foreseeable future.”

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This is interesting for a couple of reasons.

Paul said something in conversation after our first project together that stuck with me.  Not only was it obvious to him that I’d spent a lot of time on the product (in this case a video), but in his previous experiences of copywriters, when looking over their work, he was always waiting for that moment when you realize they didn’t watch the training.

That statement kind of blew me away.

You’re writing a sales page, how are you not going to study the product you’re selling?

It’s a bit like when we were back in school and had to do a book report.

You know there were always those who’d try to skip the reading part, get the crib’s notes – or ‘borrow’ a classmate’s notes.

It depends on the product and how much content is in there, but if it’s an info product and I’m writing the copy, I usually go through it MULTIPLE times.  And in various formats if I can (e.g. if it’s a book I try to get the audio version too).  It’s the only way to know the material.  It also lets me dig up a wealth of sales hooks and write dozens of badass bullet points that stomp all over a prospect’s indifference and get them leaning in, watering at the mouth and wanting to read more.

If you don’t put in this kind of effort, all that’s left is to follow a paint-by-numbers template or throw so much hype in there the ad becomes embarrassing to run.

Not saying I’m perfect.

But at least you can count on me bringing my A-game.

If you want copy that converts, there’s no two ways about it; you’ve got to shut the door to your room, turn up the Baroque classical music, and study your gluteus assimus off.

Them’s the breaks.

Or, you can legally and ethically “cheat”, and hire an honor roll student like me to geek out and write your book report for you. 🙂

Step 1 is booking your 15-minute no-fuss Free Brainstorm Call to see if we’re a fit.

Meet me after class here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

I’m booking projects three weeks out at the moment so best hurry if you’re interested.

Alright, that’s enough shenanigans for one day.

Muscle out.

Happy Studies,

Conor Kelly

#1 most common web copy mistake 90% of businesses make

Here’s one you can really sink your teeth into.

When I first started my personal training business back in ’08 my tagline was The Most Complete Personal Training Program In Toronto.  I dropped this bad boy in the header on my website, on my business cards, and in my brochures.

It was also the theme of my “elevator pitch” if I cornered you face to face.

See I wanted prospects to know I’m not like other trainers.  I wasn’t just going to put you through a workout, I was going to coach you on everything you need to reach your fitness goals; weight training, cardio, nutrition, supplementation, flexibility work.

It was a valid sentiment.

That IS what most people need to get results, after all.

Trouble was, nobody cared how “complete” or “comprehensive” my program was.  They just wanted their clothes to fit better, to not break into a profuse sweat from climbing two flights of stairs, to not feel so lethargic all the time, etc.

All the other stuff I could do was nice.

But it didn’t speak to them (much).

Any time I lobbed across my humdinger of a tagline the most reaction I’d get would be a blank stare, a nod, or an “ok”.

Later, after I’d educated myself a bit more, I went this instead:

“Transform Your Body In 16 Weeks”

At the time I was doing a lot of google ads so I split-tested this one against “most complete”.  “Transform” more than doubled my conversions.  In conversation, it was night and day too.  When I’d hand someone a business card they’d read it and go, “Transform in 16 weeks…ooh, that’s what I need, tell me more about that.”

To my lovely point:

My tale today is a fine illustration of using BENEFITS vs. FEATURES in your marketing.

The ‘completeness’ of my program is a feature.

The transformation of your body (in 16 weeks no less)…that’s a benefit.

And it’s ultimately the benefit that your prospects are after.

Remember…

People buy outcomes.

They don’t care what fancy new laser technique you’re using…they want to know you can get rid of their plantar fasciitis.  It’s not all the different traffic sources you can teach them about…it’s getting more new customers.  They’re not thinking about how many ‘functional training’ courses you’ve taken, they want to lose body fat and feel more confident.

Now they may appreciate those other things later.

But they’re not generally walking around with them in their heads or staring holes in the ceiling at night thinking about them.

In all the website critiques I do this is probably the #1 most common mistake I see.  You can’t glance at the homepage without getting an eyeful of “what’s IN the product” but you’ve got to scroll through endless drop down menus before you find out “what it DOES for you”.

Let that percolate a little.

And if you’d like The Muscle to perform one of my Mini Power Critiques on your website (or your sales letter, or your email campaign) here’s what’s involved:

I spend a couple of hours on your website, and research your market.

Then I send you detailed notes – along with a screen capture video – that outline every last one of my muscular recommendations to help you (note these benefits) improve your web conversions, get more new leads and customers, and boost the ROI you get from any advertising you currently do.  This includes a few suggestions for taglines, headlines, bullets, or other hooks that inevitably occur to me in the process.

And the cost for all this making your life easier and more fun?

Just $275USD.

To make her even more of a peach, here’s what I’ll do:

If you book (and pay for) your website critique before Friday March 6th at 6PM, and you end up hiring me to do a re-write, I’ll credit this amount toward my fee for the rewrite.

In that sense, you will have gotten to drink of the fruit of my knowledge for FREE.

If you’re interested, saddle up and trot along to the enticing link below to explore my calendar and book some time to tell me a little about your business, your current situation, and the item you’d like reviewed:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

We’ll take it from there.

Happy Benefit-Highlighting,

Conor Kelly

P.S. Here’s what one client had to say about my Mini Power Critiques:

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“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.” -Matt Morse

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