The Difference Between Salad and Garbage

image of carrots

There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman? ~Woody Allen

You’ve got to feel for insurance salesmen.

They actually rank below used-car salesmen and bloggers on the list of people no one wants to hang out with. With only a slight edge over politicians . . . maybe.

Pushy pitches, cheesy glad-handing, clumsy attempts to build rapport. And all those lame rehearsed messages to move the sale forward. The worst, right?

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The Sales Boosting Logic of the P.S.

image of the written word P.S.

The P.S is one of those clichés of copywriting. It seems like every sales page has one.

Maybe you think it’s outdated. Maybe you think it’s unnecessary.

Until you learn the logic of why it works.

So before we get into that, do me a favor. Say the following words quickly, and then look away from the screen for a moment when you’re done reading the list.

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Why The New FTC Guidelines
May Become Your Best Friend

image of shaking hands

If you’ve read the Federal Trade Commission’s new 81-page Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising, you might think the FTC is a really nice bunch of guys trying to do the right thing by consumers — which, for the most part, is true.

And yet, I just don’t think they give most consumers enough credit.

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The Ancient Persuasion Tactic Behind
“But Wait, There’s More!”

image of a sign saying confidence

You’re watching late night TV when you encounter the inevitable infomercial. The pitchman is asking you how much you’d be willing to pay for the super-new-thingamabob, and then it comes…

But wait, there’s more!

Then you discover you’re getting not one, not two, but three super-new-thingamabobs for only $19.95, plus a mechanized back scratcher and a wearable blanket that also makes great fries.

This technique keeps getting used because it keeps working.

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Landing Page Makeover Clinic #23:
BabyNapsWell.com

Landing Page Makeover

This is another addition to our ongoing series of tutorials and case studies on landing pages that work.

Nicole Johnson wants to get babies and their moms some much-needed rest. She’s packed napping plans, schedules, and strategies into her $37 ebook/consultation package. She’s tried different pricing, Google Adwords, different offers, freemiums, and more to pop conversion, but her results still ping between a snoozy 0.5 to 3%.

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Why You Should Always Write Your Headline Last

image of newspaper headline

When you write a post for your blog, your headline is the last thing you should be thinking about.

OK, I realize this is Copyblogger heresy.

There’s a lot of emphasis on writing a good headline. Hell, I’ve written posts about how to write an eye-grabbing title myself. Brian wrote an entire series on headlines (including a post on why you should always write your headline first), and he’s been known to come up with some pretty catchy ones.

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The Secret Ingredient to an Irresistible Blog

image of hamburger

Things were going pretty well until I bit into my hamburger.

Ow.

Something was really wrong.

“Are you okay?” asked my date.

My eyes started watering. I was so confused, but I nodded.

I bit down harder and suddenly the hamburger flew out of my hands. I’ve never been so bewildered in my life. Only when I held my hand up did the sorry truth stare us in the face.

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What Avatar Can Teach You About
Repurposing Your Content

image from the movie Avatar

The entertainment and CGI world has been fawning over the movie Avatar for months, and it seems you can’t watch any entertainment news program without hearing about James Cameron’s groundbreaking 3D epic.

And even if Cameron went home last week without the armful of Oscars he expected, directing the highest-grossing movie of all time probably takes the sting out.

But despite the movie’s brilliant effects and the unique world it creates, you’ll likely feel as if you’ve heard its underlying story before. In fact, you may very well predict the ending about an hour into the film.

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How to Win in Las Vegas,
And in Online Business

image of las vegas sign

I’ve written a few contrarian things lately.

Specifically, I ranted a bit about why I think the most common “make money online” technique doesn’t work for most people, and about how, really, the most important ingredients of success are persistence and grit.

Then, on my own blog, I ranted about why “systems” for achieving specific results don’t work.

I got a lot of comments, emails, and tweets agreeing — too many people are looking for a quick fix, and we need to remember the basics: hard work, and good old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness.

But believe it or not, there’s actually a problem with taking that train of thought too far.

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Blogging Lessons from
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

image from movie poster

A 40 year-old unsolved murder mystery. Strange cryptic codes in a bible. Sweden, sandwiches, and many, many cigarettes. The badass-est female protagonist since . . . forever. And an author who has, posthumously, caused quite a ruckus in the book world and in the minds of conspiracy theorists everywhere.

Yes, I’m talking about The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. If you haven’t heard of it, the rest of us are inviting you to come out from under your rock. Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) is topping bestseller lists as we speak and the theatrical release of Dragon Tattoo hits the U.S. next week.

I had the good fortune of screening an advanced copy and, of course, my mind went blog, blog, blog. Because that’s what blog obsessed people like us do. So here are the blogging lessons I learned from this tattooed ‘girl’ . . .

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