Joe Sugarman, Headlines and Online Sales Copy

Someone asked me about a comment in one of Joe Sugarman's books...

"...all elements (the picture, the caption, the headline,etc.....) should make the prospect want to read the first line of copy.

Do you agree with Joe's ideas Andrew?"

There's some truth to this but it's an oversimplification.

When in doubt always go back to fundamentals.

Fundamental 1: The most valuable asset you have in a business is the trust you've built with your clients.

Fundamental 2: Advertising is salesmanship in print.

There are plenty of ways you can get people to read the next line of your copy.

You could put up a headline like...
"Read the next line on this page and I'll GIVE you $500 cash immediately."

But that's not going to work really well for you when your prospect realizes you're NOT giving him $500 cash immediately.

So building trust and credibility - especially online - is essential.

That's why online promotions are so effective.

You're usually referred to a product launch by a third party then you're exposed to a series of educational sales messages before you have a chance to buy the product.

It's a bit like having a friend coming over to your home with one of his friends every 3 or 4 days for 2 weeks.

They don't try to sell you anything they just tell about this great new adjustment you can make to your car that increases gas mileage by 30%.

First you see your friends car with this new gas mileage widget.

Then you see your new guests car with his "super-widget" and he lets you take his car for a drive.

Then they show you how much money they're saving on gas and help you work out how much money you would save in just 3 months (you'd save twice what the widget costs).

Then after a couple of weeks your friend tells you that mechanic who installs the gas widgets has spot free if you want one put in your car.

The other key is understanding that you are making a sale - advertising is salesmanship in print - so really getting to know your prospect intimately makes a huge difference.

Talk to real live prospects and see what process you have to go through to persuade them to get to the point where they want to buy your product.

That's the same kind of process you have to go through on your sales page.

So you have to be aware that everything links to everything.

Most poor copy is not because of a stinky headline or the wrong color font.

It runs deeper than that.

It's usually because you haven't done your homework getting to know the product you're selling and the prospect you're selling to.

When you understand where your prospect is at THEN you can create a headline a story and an opening line to a story that will stop him dead in his tracks.

Kindest regards,
Andrew Cavanagh

P.S. Just as an aside I think Joe Sugarman's books are excellent.

You do have to keep in mind though that while fundamentals stay the same the technology changes the way we apply them.

One of the key points I'm trying to get across in the post about opening lines in sales copy is that you have to work harder and harder to get surfers to stop and read your sales copy online.

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