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Clayton-palooza...Remembering the copywriting and direct response legend we lost in 2020 (Part 2)


As a tribute to the late ClaytonMakepeace, who passed away this past March far too soon, I'm re-running some excerpts from a series of emails I sent out earlier this year. There's lots of copywriting "gold" and some examples pulled from some of Clayton's many successful promos. I sent out Part 1 of these "Clayton-palooza" teachings this morning...so now let's get rolling with Part 2. We'll get going with...

Visualize THIS and you'll make your copy write itself... Let's say you've finished an exhaustive inventory of your product or service's features. And you've flushed out as many "why" statements as you can for each of these individual features. You've probably already started visualizing how these features improve your prospect's life and make him or her better off in some way they desire. That means you're ready for step 3 of the 5-step formula that makes your product's benefits "sing" and tap into the most relevant dominant emotions of your prospect. And here it is...(drumroll). Step #3: turn those features into benefits. Okay, so maybe that's no huge surprise. Maybe even a let down. But as I mentioned in my email last night, many copywriters complete steps 1 and 2, and think they're done. (Or mix up step #2 for this crucial next step.) Sadly, they're leaving oodles of profits and orders on the table if they commit this common and costly error. If you're a copywriter, your promo may NOT beat the control, simply due to this mistake. Your headline may be too tepid and halfhearted...your lead too limp and lukewarm...and your message may FAIL to hit the right emotional hot buttons. That's because turning your features into benefits goes beyond figuring out the reason "why"...the "so you can control the flow of air" or "stay updated on fast-moving opportunities" or, for crying out loud, "get off the hormone rollercoaster". Doing step #3 RIGHT forces you to look at these features and reasons "why" from the perspective of your target prospect. And why they're important to him or her. This is when you ask the following question, from your prospect's perspective, about each of those features and reasons why: "What's in it for me?" How does each one of these features your product or service offers directly improve your prospect's life? So go back to that exhaustive list you've painstakingly flushed out, and take the next step... Pinpoint which problems or frustrations each feature solves...which desires or wants it satisfies...what future disasters it helps avoid...and any other ways it provides value to the prospect? Think about how it saves time...saves money...avoids hassles...provides freedom from worry...or helps them feel more "in control". Don't just stop at the surface want or worry. Go deeper below the surface. What are the true underlying emotional motivators at work? A business owner may not just want to succeed so he can feed his family. He may want to prove to the "nay-sayers" that he wasn't stupid or crazy to take a risk. An older woman with thinning bones doesn't just want to increase her bone density so she can avoid dangerous drugs. She wants to avoid breaking a hip and going into a nursing home or becoming a burden to her children. That investor doesn't just want to rack up big profits in stocks or build up their retirement kitty. They want to take care of loved ones and leave a legacy--and live their life on their terms. It's why it's important to think about both the immediate benefits your product provides, as well as the longer-term ones. Also important: write each benefit as a "you" statement...as if you're saying it face to face with your prospect. Once you've put together your list of benefits, look at each one and dig out any other additional benefits or improvements to your prospect's life each benefit brings. Keep drilling down until you've identified all the benefits that can bring the most value to your prospect. That's how you eventually get to writing a headline or lead like this...it's from one of the late, great Clayton Makepeace's most successful supplement promos ever:

There's some amazing storytelling going on here. It's got a great hook and villain, and right off the bat it's making the product the hero without revealing it yet. But to get to this massively successful copy, you have to first go through all the steps that I've been sharing with you. Taking the time to VISUALIZE all the ways your product's features provide a benefit or improvement to your prospect...and looking at them from your prospect's perspective...will help your copy practically write itself! Now let's move on to step 4 of this 5-step formula. It's based on a word you may have heard me use before or heard elsewhere. It's a step all the top A-level copywriters take with their copy. And when you take this extra step, it'll make your copy as compelling and response-getting as possible. DIMENSIONALIZE your copy to make it show, not tell... Step #4 is when you take that "what's in it for me" benefit you came up with in the past step and give it added dimension. It's like an artist at their canvas who uses brush strokes to fill in details that make a flower petal jump out into the foreground, or uses perspective to make objects look 3-dimensional. You need to do this with your words. Paint word pictures that demonstrate all the ways your prospect will enjoy that benefit or how it will enrich the prospect's life. Here's an example... Feature: Email alerts in-between issues of a monthly investment newsletter Why: Stocks move fast; opportunities could be lost if you're not kept up to date Benefit: You’ll never be left wondering when it's the ideal time to unload a stock or what to do when major events break Dimensionalize: You’ll lock in your gains and enjoy even greater profit potential by staying one step ahead of other investors and getting in on the ground floor Here's another one... Feature: Contains strontium (a mineral in a bone health supplement) Why: Strontium works better than calcium to build strong bones and studies show it cuts your risk of fracture by more than half Benefit: You can increase your bone density naturally without relying on dangerous drugs and slash your odds of a debilitating bone break Dimensionalize: You can stay active and enjoy life, without living in fear of ending up in a wheelchair or nursing home and being a burden to your children In many ways, "dimensionalizing" benefits is very similar to something called "future pacing". It's painting a word picture of how much better life can be when your prospect uses your product or service. The more you do this "pre-work" of dimensionalizing your benefits before you start writing your copy, the easier it'll be to work these vivid word pictures into your headlines, emails, leads, closes, and elsewhere...and the greater the response your copy will generate. Keep an eye out for the third and last part of my "Clayton-palooza" series this evening. It's got some great lessons on identifying the key dominant emotions of your prospect, so you can tap into them with your copy. You won't want to miss it!

Yours for smarter marketing, Kim P.S. Clayton Makepeace's widow, Wendy (a.k.a. "the Redhead") has worked with the folks at AWAI to make a priceless collection of his past Mastermind sessions and other copywriting training available. It's called the Makepeace Mastermind Alliance and when it was first released, people gladly ponied upwards of $3k just for the series of in-depth sessions Clayton did with a slew of top copywriters and marketers. Now, as part of this special collection, you can not only get access to all 35 Mastermind sessions, but also Clayton's key checklists for copywriters...a 500-page swipe file of Clayton's "greatest hits"...his $20 Million Sales Letter Masterclass...plus the Makepeace Mastermind Alliance newsletters and Clayton's personal "video shorts" packed with his copywriting and marketing insights. And you can get all of this for HALF what folks forked over for Clayton's mastermind sessions alone. But these 50% savings end at midnight Pacific time tonight. Yes, it's still a bit of a splurge, but it's an amazing investment you may not be able to get again at this special price. Get all the details here while you still can.

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