Copywriting Maven’s Creative Plan Marketing Makeover #1

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In developing this new Copywriting Maven Makeover Series, I wanted to make sure that I provided useful information to Copyblogger readers without giving too much of the proprietary information away. Therefore the format for my critiques will be somewhat different than the landing page series.

The simple “10 points” approach doesn’t work as neatly here. So, for now at least – and subject to change as we go along – I’ll provide a short background outline and then X number of points under What Works, What Needs Work, and Maven Mull-Overs.

  • Marketer: Lars Pind
  • Product Summary: Online Self-Actualization, Self-Training Course for Entrepreneurs
  • Promotion Medium: Affiliate programs with relevant sites, selected advertising, publicity on tech/entrepreneur blogs
  • Total Budget: Under $2,000
  • Creative Objectives: Get 250 participants at full price to begin, 250 subscribers per month thereafter
  • Offer: Free report for email address; $1 fee for module 1
  • Target Audience: English-speaking would-be/unfulfilled entrepreneurs, 18-40 years old
  • Product Price: $97

Let’s look at what works and what needs work.

WHAT WORKS:

Specificity of the Target Market – I like that, unlike so much of the self-help/self-discovery market out there, you’ve found a niche within a niche – budding/would-be entrepreneurs. You could sharpen this further, targeting gender, business-types, etc. Also, too, your market will be coming to you at different places in their entrepreneurial cycle. Some are tire-kicking the idea. Some are almost ready to make the move, but need a little more time and confidence. Others have already jumped in but are floundering and feel lost. Your copy needs to address these individual market segments or “personas” in ways that make sense.

Personal Experience/Expertise of the Developer – You have current experience in the field you’re providing for. I’d make sure you promote that experience upfront and other any tangibles that will lend credence and credibility to your offering. (No one cares about what you’ve read or think EXCEPT in terms of what you’ve already done.)

Product is Accessible to Subscriber 24/7 without Your Personal Input – An ideal situation which frees you up for other things, including brainstorming new product and promotional ideas.

Strong Satisfaction Guarantee – Even after finishing the course, subscriber gets full refund if not delighted. Right now it’s 30 days. Why not extend it? Strong guarantees move fence-sitters to yes. Few subscribers, unless your offering is truly awful, will ask for the refund.

WHAT NEEDS WORK:

Product Appears too Familiar – I don’t get a strong sense of something special and unique about your offering. I’d sharpen up the focus to make sure your content is all about building a great heart and mind to build great business. Your description seemed to read like every other self-help course I’ve seen promoted.

Product Deliverables Appear Ordinary – You’ve got a lot of competition in this market, so you need to be sure that what you deliver is unique. I don’t see anything really special about the “what I get” part of your program. We have self-contained, interactive modules and a forum. What else of perceived value can you offer upfront to make your product an irresistible buy? Ebooks? Reports? Your personal checklist of something wonderful? How about a weekly “Call with Lars” for your students to interact with you personally?

MAVEN MULL-OVERS:

Don’t confuse features with benefits, identify the ultimate promise you’re making – Features are the physical characteristics of your product/service. It’s the outer shell that people can see, smell, taste, etc. In your case, the features are the course and course components, how it’s delivered, and things like that. Benefits are what your prospects will get/enjoy by using your product/service. By taking your course, subscribers boost their chances for success, reduce their risk, ultimately save time, money and headaches faced by less-savvy budding business owners, and the like. Your ultimate promise – the deepest, most emotionally resonant part of your message – is the ability to live your life – fully, completely, and richly – on your own terms.

Rethink the “anti-sales” bias in your plan. Embrace your inner “salesman” with a full heart – Good marketing isn’t about screaming hype and hyperbole. At its honorable heart – yes, I said honorable – it’s about increasing the pleasure/alleviating the pain of your prospect with genuine products/services, ethically developed and delivered. You’re not looking to make a sale. You’re looking to begin a relationship built on mutual trust, need and loyalty.

Build Price and Offer Testing into Your Plan – Bottom-line, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. Price and offer tweaking, as well as creative testing, are all critical to your long-term success. Test low, medium and high price points. I like your free report for email, $1 for module 1. How could you make deadlines work, adding more urgency to the offer and rewarding the prospect for acting now rather than later?

Start planning the second product now rather than later – Dollars to find ‘em, pennies to keep ‘em – that’s an old marketing saw that still rings true. You’ve spent a lot of time, money and effort to get those first sales/customers in. They’ve taken your course, now what? How else can you deepen and further the relationship you’ve just opened? The real value of any customer is what they buy from you the second and subsequent times.

My thanks to Lars for sharing his creative plan with me and Copyblogger, and for his donation to Heifer International.

Here’s your chance to be the Copywriting Maven’s next Creative Plan Makeover!

If you’ve got a product/service ready to launch but think it wouldn’t hurt to get an expert review … AND you’re willing to share the results with Copyblogger readers … AND you’re willing to spend a little coin with a great charity — then follow your click to Maven’s Creative Plan Makeover for all the details. (Please note that I’m booked for new gratis reviews until 5/1. If you’re interested in a private critique/makeover of your marketing plan or current landing page, please email me directly.)

About the Author: Roberta Rosenberg is The Copywriting Maven at MGP Direct, Inc.

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Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading your insight on this new venture that Lars is taking on. I agree 100% with what you said. ..especially about testing the price points. That will be very important in the long-run.

  2. I like this format Roberta, well done! It has definitely made me think about your points in a broader sense, making them more useful to my projects.

    I especially agree with your point about starting on the next product now, it is easy to sit and wait without being productive and time quickly races by.

  3. @ Terra … while not quite as fun, fast and furious as tagline creation, the plan behind the promotion is where the seeds for success or failure is first sown. Thanks for your virtual tip ‘o the hat in agreement.

  4. Just a bit of unbiased praise, Roberta: I’m amazed of how much good value advice you can get cramped into your posts. Well done. For me as a European you and Copyblogger in general incarnates all the virtues of that special American marketing tradition; common sense with a wise and creative twist. America was the place where marketing was born and I especially like your point about “honourable marketing”. It is a fine point to make in a business that can be rather cynical and calculating. I also admire your style of providing very concrete “hands on” advice which I continue to let me be inspired of. Thanks.

  5. I found the following sentence, “Your copy needs to address these individual market segments or “personas” in ways that make sense.”, offers validation for the work we are doing in the Semantic Marketing space. However, there is a question that I am looking to fellow marketers and copy writers to answer.

    Our technology enables marketers to welcome market segments differently upon arrival to their websites. Sometimes, we are met with – Wow so we would have to create content for each market segment that we choose to detect! We are always bewildered by that comment because the winning formula seems to be “Increased Relevance = Increased Conversion”.

    However, we do recognize that diminishing marginal returns occur as you continue to add personas to the mix. For example, our oldest implementation (about 9 months) only has two personas, but they impact the majority of interactions (62%). So, by adding another Semantic Persona, we might move to 75% of interactions. With each addition impacting a progressively smaller percentage of visitors.

    Here is my question:

    If you’ve read “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson, do we stand to have even greater gains in conversion by welcoming the smaller, niche groups with meaningful (more relevant) content? Are they likely to appreciate it even more than the more mainstream visitors?

    Here is an illustrative example – Let’s say we own a computer products company with thousands of products available online. We might recognize that Apple is becoming a larger share of the market – so we create a Semantic Persona, Apple Enthusiasts. And, it is triggered when we see that a visitor has been visiting Apple.com, checking out Apple related blogs and is using an Apple computer. We welcome them with Apple products – iPhones, memory, external monitors, etc. That’s pretty relevant, and it saves them time (convenient). But what if they were using a G3 iBook? Obviously, it can’t take advantage of many of the more current peripherals, upgrades or software. But what if we welcomed people matching the G3 iBook Persona with G3 compatible products? Would catering to this smaller market pay off with an even bigger conversion rate? As a baseline, we are experiencing a 26% increase in conversion with our Semanticator technology today.

    Interested in your thoughts as to whether “The Long Tail” approach would be worth the additional investment in content development.

  6. I agree with starting to plan for the second product rather than later. Time flies by so fast, and you must have additional products, and best is you already have a plan about what your porduct maybe.
    -W3G

  7. @ Luke, Kristian, W3G – thank you!

    @ John-Scott – excellent question! My initial reaction is that you need to test additional personas until you’re at the point where the cost of investment exceeds value received. Having said that, my gut reaction is that the more specific the need of the prospect, the more likely they are to buy if you site has what they’re looking for. Folks with a specific need aren’t ‘tire-kicking’, they want what they want and they’ll get it from who’ll deliver. Overall, we will be talking smaller numbers, but the % of those numbers who convert to customers will be higher.

    But like I said, you really have to run and test the numbers to see what works best for you.