#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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Former U.S. Navy nuclear sub commander enjoys record-high engagement

Got this the other day from former U.S. Naval Officer and leadership author Jon S. Rennie:

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“I gave Conor a tough assignment to help kickstart both my business and personal email campaigns. I was stuck and I needed professional help. He hit a home run with both assignments. He took the time and learned as much as he could about my businesses. His focused messaging with punchy copy was exactly what I needed to bring my engagement levels to record highs. I would strongly recommend Conor!”

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Thank you, Sir.

Jon’s an interesting client.

Having both commanded a nuclear sub, and led multiple manufacturing businesses since leaving The Navy, this delightful cocktail of military and corporate experience lets him distill leadership lessons in a unique and powerful way for any business owner, manager, or exec.  And one thing I can say with conviction is that Jon preaches what he practices.

He lives it.

Also, his book I Have The Watch: Becoming A Leader Worth Following is excellent.  I recommend you get on his email list here. (I don’t currently have any projects with Jon, so there’s no real benefit to me in saying this other than perhaps some good will.  I just think his emails are worth following.  Also, he sends one per week so no need to worry about being bombarded).

Jon sought my help to reengage a lukewarm list.

First, a caveat:

If your list hasn’t heard from you in more than a year or two, or ever, be forewarned that if you attempt to reanimate it, out of the dark of night zombie subscribers will emerge, long dead, lurching at you, and feening for their pound of your living flesh.  Not saying it can’t be done.  Just prepare yourself you may need to navigate a graveyard of high spam complaints and angry replies to get there.

Luckily Jon’s case wasn’t anywhere near that serious.

He’s got a great relationship with his subscribers.

We just needed to:

  1. Reintroduce some consistency – a big key to keeping folks engaged with how fast all forms of marketing and content are flying at us these days and how quickly yours can be forgotten.
  2. Shorten his emails a bit and make them punchier, as Jon says.
  3. Use more variety and contrast (story one day, Q&A the next, list of ‘what not to do’ the one after that, etc.)
  4. Tweak subject lines a bit to get attention – topic for another dispatch.
  5. Do something which is the very first thing I do whenever I take over a new list. If you do this correctly, you almost can’t help but engender a bunch of interest, reaction, replies, and appreciation right off the bat.

I’ve done this in many markets now.

It’s almost always the shot between the eyes your readers need to wake them up…in a good way, and a way they’ll thank you for.  And I’ve never seen this discussed anywhere, in any of the multitude of email marketing trainings I possess in my muscular library.

What is this venerable re-engagement “trick”?

Alas, I save such things for clients only.

But there is a silver lining.

I have a spot open for 1 new client next month.  If we jump on a call next week, and we discover we have a fit to work together, not only will I tell you this trick, but I’ll implement it for you.

Heck of a thing, ain’t it?

Take a look at my calendar and book your Free Brainstorm Call here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

It’s one small step for you, but it could be one giant leap toward keeping the zombies at bay.

Happy Engaging,

Conor Kelly

Use this ancient martial arts secret for writing persuasive copy

True story:

Fourteen years ago I was a bouncer at the largest night club in Toronto.

Because of the sheer numbers of people we dealt with, the club had a reputation for hiring giant men to do security.  Which makes perfect sense; if most of your bouncers look like ‘The Mountain’ from Game of Thrones, you’ve got yourself a compelling deterrent against would-be troublemakers.

Interestingly, our head of security was a relatively small Korean guy called Jung Ho.

At 5’8” and I’d guess 165 pounds, Jung was not very physically imposing…

But he could single-handedly clear out a room of roided-up college football players.

He generally didn’t get involved, but if he did, you understood pretty quickly why he was in charge.

You see, Jung had his own dojo.  He was a master of a martial art called Hapkido.  Hapkido is based on foot work, leverage, pressure points, and uses its opponent’s strength against him.  In this way, Jung overcame his size disadvantage.  In fact, the more you struggled, the more Jung was in control.

He was adept at steering natural forces.

That’s how I view copywriting.

Your prospects already have certain ways of thinking about their problems.

And specific words they’d use to describe them.

It’s the research you do that lets you hone in on and spotlight those key ideas, phrases, and emotions.  As email marketing grand poobah Ben Settle says about the market intel  you dig up: “Realize it’s energy coming at you.”  The trick then, is to reflect back this energy in a way that causes them to perk up, listen, and understand their own problem (and hopefully your solution) so clearly they’re compelled to do something about it.

When they do, the sales dynamic is entirely different.

You’re in the driver’s seat, baby.

They’re putty in your hands, like drunk sophomores are to Jung Ho.

You can have great punches, kicks, or throws (i.e. great at what you do), but as long as you’re the aggressor (out there “pitching”, bleh), you’re working too hard, and you’re not seeing enough new greenbacks marching through the door each month.

If you’d like my help with becoming the black belt that skillfully parries market demand into new prospects or customers, you may enter The Muscle’s dojo by requesting your Free Brainstorm Call here:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

Spot open for only 1 new client only this month – so if you’re interested, make haste.

Until then…

Happy Redirecting,

Conor Kelly

Kobe Bryant’s most underrated success secret

Still processing this news.

My main reaction is shock.

Kobe was one of those larger-than-life entities that seemed to be almost omni-present.  At least to me.  It’s surreal to think that he won’t be around anymore.  Then there’s sadness.  We’re the same age.  I have a daughter.  That his is gone – so young – is heartbreaking.  I feel for his family, and the families of the other victims that have been devastated by this tragedy.

Honestly, I don’t know where to file this one.

It’s like the circuitry in my brain is missing the connections to make sense of something like this.

At the same time it’s so fascinating to hear all the stories about him.

Many reflect his kindness, his sense of humor, his curiosity, his intelligence.  Most exalt his work ethic.  And this is just my observation, but few reflect what I think was perhaps his most important quality that we all can learn from: his confidence.

In some of the stories this was even a knock on him when he first came in the league, because he kept saying what he was going to do, and people around him didn’t like that.

Our culture praises humility.

Until you do what you say you’re going to do, you’re cocky.

Once you’ve done it…well, now you’re confident.

But here’s the thing:

From everything I’ve heard, he just had this enduring faith in the process.  Without it, those 4:30am workouts of legend wouldn’t have been possible.  Trusting the process is the root of confidence.  It’s in the process that we develop skill and mastery.

It would do us all well to remember that.

(This is a “note to self” for me as much as I offer it to you.)

Harv Ecker once said:

If a hundred-foot oak tree had the mind of a human, it would only grow to be ten feet tall!

Small thinking is a disease.

Kobe was one of the lucky ones born without it.  That, together with his intuitive understanding that time and encouraging the natural process of GROWTH to work its magic can win championships (and do many other great things) led him to have an unshakeable belief in what’s possible.

What an example to follow.

R.I.P.

Remember, great athletes don’t have a lock on this.

There’s no reason you can’t use this “secret” too.

I’ll leave you with what Kobe said to a young female sports reporter when she interviewed him at the outset of his career.  No one knew him yet.  And she wasn’t well known either and struggling for respect in an industry dominated by men.

He said to her:

“We’re gonna be ok.  And they have no idea what’s coming.”

To Your Greatness,

Conor Kelly

Never show a prospect your naked rear end

There’s a small Catholic Church in Murtosa in Northern Portugal.

What’s interesting about it is it’s the only Catholic Church where it’s acceptable to drop your trousers so everyone can see your naked rear end.  The reason?  The local saint, St. Gonacalo has a reputation for curing hemorrhoids.  All you have to do is show up at the church, show his statue where it hurts, say a prayer and according to the locals, the pain disappears.

Now I’m not saying it doesn’t work.

But it strikes me as being eeeeerily similar to the kind of blind faith many businesses display in their marketing.  Often, their copy is based on uninformed guesses made while drunk on personal projections and everything the owner wants to say vs. what their market needs to hear.

Again, it’s not that it never turns out ok.

Just keep in mind that getting inside your market’s head to a point where it’s downright creepy is much more profitable than playing the marketing version of pin the tail on the donkey, which is what you’d be doing in the first scenario.

If you want my help with your marketing plan for world domination in 2020 (you do have a plan, don’t you?)…or in profitably profiling your prospect…make the neither long nor perilous journey via the link below to be notified when a client spot opens up:

Instantly add yourself to The Muscle’s waiting list.

Best part?

You get to keep your clothes on.

(Although I mostly do consultations over the phone, so really…clothing optional.)

Happy 2020,

Conor Kelly

P.S. I’m so sorry.

I’ve neglected you.  Truth be told, my schedule is almost always full, so I haven’t kept up the muscular writings as well as I should.

No excuses.

And, no more…

I have some new additions to my vaunted “weapons of mass persuasion” planned for 2020 that – if put to acceptable use – will indeed help you grow your sales and profits.  I’m eager to share these with you.  Stay tuned.

I’ll also be letting you in on some things that have been inspiring me lately.

What can I say…

I’m just a really inspirational guy. 😉

2020 – here we come.

Andale!

 

 

Good copy pumps up The Muscle’s already insanely jacked baby finger

Meet Manfred Hoeberl.

In the mid-nineties, Manfred was one of the top strongmen on the circuit, and a contender for the title of World’s Strongest Man.  He was Austrian (form the same town as Arnie in fact), six foot five, and 325 pounds of solid muscle – not an ounce of fat.

At the time he was said to possess the largest muscular arms in the world at twenty six inches in circumference!

Dayum.

For my dineros, Manfred’s best feature was his interviews.

About half of them sounded like they were taken verbatim from an SNL Hans and Franz sketch.  On one notable occasion, in ’93, Ol’ Manny was having a hard time recovering from a vehicle pull, and the show’s coverage took a statement from an onsite doctor, who described his condition as a symptom of *sheer size*.

Hehe.

Then, cameras panned to a hunched over and out of breath Manfred who commented (remember, same Arnie accent)…“I’m suffering from …the buildup of lactic acid…in my huuuge mah-scles.”

Don’t think Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey could have scripted it any better.

And they had some zingers…

“I’ve got more mah-scle in my baby finga then you have in your whole bah-dy.”

“Better not open your belt, you might cause a flaaabalanche.”

Anyway, the point of such ramblings?

One of their best (and most apt) slogans is hear me now, believe me late-ah.

In it is contained the essence of what I call *coachability*.  Unless you’re coachable, you’re not a candidate for transformation – business, or otherwise.

Being coachable is suspending disbelief, doubt, or judgement long enough to implement what your coach or consultant recommends, and find out for yourself if it’s on point.  Listen now, believe when you’ve done it…and experienced the RESULTS.

Anytime I find myself resisting coaching/mentoring/professional advice, I ask (1) how much do I trust the source of the information, and (2) am I being coachable?  If the person is good to listen to on the subject in question (i.e. has a proven track record), I think ‘what have I got to lose’ and give it a whirl.  This built in truth meter has allowed me to make leaps that would never have occurred otherwise.

A great mentor once told me, “Success is easy. Find someone who’s already successful at what you want to do, and learn from them.”

The Muscle likes.

Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Chew on that one a bit more as you steady yourself to pounce on those 2020 big goals.

And if you’d like my help with any copywriting of email campaigns or sales pages (or critiquing thereof), lather yourself in baby oil and pump your way to my muscular waiting list to be notified as soon as a spot opens up:

Instantly join The Muscle’s waiting list by clicking here.

I’ll give you fair warning:

I might not have the accent, but I am prone to obsessive flexing.

Happy Hearing and Delayed Believing,

Conor Kelly


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