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Archive for April 2010

Death of the Long Sales Letter?

Frank Kern sent me the latest video from Ryan Deiss, internet marketer extraordinaire.  Ryan is  proclaiming the death of the long form sales letter.  He talked about it in a video format.  (Full disclosure:  I didn't finish watching the video because it kept getting hung up every 8 - 12 seconds and because I couldn't tell  how long the video would be.) 

Oops.  Well, I think we just hit the first problem with video sales letters.  Videos get hung up.  They sometimes download slowly.  If they are the kind that you can't fast forward through (we are living in a TIVO world) then people aren't going to hang around to hear what you have to say.  As technology improves, this will be less of a problem.  But we are dealing with the here and now. 

Besides being cute as a button, Ryan is right that people nowadays don't like to read.  Except of course, for the people who like to read.  If your target demographic is over 50, they are probably more likely to read than watch a video.  The older they are, the more likely that is.  If your demographic is skewed more to females than males, they will probably be more likely to read.   If your product has anything to do with books, writing, reading, etc.  your prospects are probably readers.

If your target market is 12 - 22 year old males into extreme skateboarding, then yes.  They don't read.  Also, extreme skateboarding is a whole lot more fun to watch than a writer sitting there trying to figure out what to say. 

Is the long sales letter still appropriate in some cases?  Absolutely.   People skim long form sales letters, looking at the headlines and sub-headlines and stopping to read what catches their interest.  Very few people read the entirety of a long form sales letter.  (Full Disclosure Again:  I am not completely sure I have ever read all of any long form sales letter I have WRITTEN, much less stumbled onto online.)   If you are targeting - ahem - older people, we are readers. 

All that being said, there's one more important factor, whether you are using audio, video or the written word (I recommend all three).  People are more and more pressed for time.  The news cycle is faster, internet speeds are insane, the economy has people stressed and most people feel like they are rushing just to keep up.  So, no matter what medium you are using, make your point and be done with it.  Just as long form sales letters sometimes go on too long, so do videos and audios.  There's nothing worse than sitting through someone's INCREDIBLY LONG video that is a takeoff on the latest (FILL IN THE BLANK HERE:  JAMES BOND, BOURNE IDENTITY, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, etc., etc.)  movie.  They are always too long, the pacing is slow and the acting (since the marketers usually star - after all, it's their little fantasy) is enough to make you gouge your eyes out with an ice pick.  Doesn't matter if you are using the long form sales letter, audio or video, tedious is tedious.  Make your point.  Then shut up.

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Finding Balance

I have been working on web copy for a client who is a fairly new real estate investor.  His goal is to wholesale houses, helping people in foreclosure, work short sales and maybe doing some rehabs. 

I sent him the first draft of the website copy.  Now my goal, when I write branding site copy, is to put the person or company in the best light possible.  I want visitors to get a feel for the person, get comfortable and have confidence in their abilities.  In other words, I have been known to lay it on thick. 

I was so pleased to get an email back that said something to the effect of "I like it, but I'm not sure I am able to do all those things."  (Which ones?  Leap tall buildings in a single bound?  Slay foreclosure dragons?)  I had to laugh.  Most people have no problem stretching the truth a bit when it comes to advertising or marketing.  After all, "Everyone does it."  It is one of the points I ponder on a daily basis.  How far should you go to put yourself in a good light?  How much truth should be revealed?  And if you are competing against people who are flat out lying, what do you do?  How do you fight it?

I have said before that I think the average consumer is tired of the hype, tired of being promised the world.  They are looking for people who are real, who are sincere, who are trying their best to do what they say they will do.  I think my new client is going to do just fine in this new economic environment.  Cheers to him.  And to all of you out there who are struggling to bring integrity back to marketing.

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More Stupid Quotes

I know.... it is TOO easy. But someone has to take the low road.

"You are always a valuable, worthwhile human being, not because anybody says so, not because you're successful, not because you make a lot of money, but because you decide to believe it and for no other reason." - Dr Wayne Dyer

Really Wayne? Cuz I've never met ANYONE who has an undeservedly high opinion of himself.

It's time that you begin to tap into the beautiful truth that, if you can see it in your head, you can hold it in your hand.-Bob Proctor

OK Bob. I can see George Clooney naked in my head. Very clearly as a matter of fact. But I am holding NOTHIN.

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Stupid Quotes

In the spirit of trying to stop the spread of mass stupidity (If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem) this category is dedicated to all those stupid quotes that people tend to share on social networking sites that make no f***ing sense. I'll be adding to the list as I come across them. If we don't stop this, we will become a nation of sheep, parroting other people's ideas with no intellectual input of our own. Wait... Ah crap....

From Facebook: "My acronymn for TIME= To Invest Moments Thoughtfully
… you can quote me." Gee. No thanks.

This is a "retweet" from Twitter. As if it wasn't stupid enough the first time, someone had to pass it along: "RT @SkinnyThinking: If a thought or a story makes you feel bad, know that it's a lie and ignore it." WRONG. Just because something makes you feel bad, doesn't mean it's a lie and should be ignored. You know, like cancer.

"Everything happens for a reason." Not really. But if it makes you feel better to assign a reason to everything that happens, then go for it.

"How are you going to have the time to fix the problem if you don't have the time to do it right the first time?"
How about tomorrow when my schedule isn't so crowded???

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." WTF?

More to come.... stay tuned.

April 2010
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