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Clayton-palooza...Remembering the copywriting and direct response legend we lost in 2020 (Part 3)


As a tribute to the late Clayton Makepeace, who passed away last 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 Parts 1 and 2 of these "Clayton-palooza" teachings earlier today...so let's get rolling with Part 3. We'll kick off with...

Clayton's emotion-driven "power words"... Clayton’s style and copy were always easy to spot…and it helped make him truly a one-of-a-kind talent. One of the things I've always found most noticeable is this: in every one of Clayton's promos, you can't help but be struck by his emotionally powerful word choices. Take a look at the front cover of this financial newsletter tabloid-style magalog that Clayton wrote. It's from Summer 2005 (stocks weren't doing that great then).

As you can see, every single word and phrase Clayton uses taps directly into a specific frustration, fear, belief, or worry his target prospect has. And he's carefully chosen every word to pack as much raw emotional power as possible. The copy is completely written from the point of view of the frustrated, fed-up prospect who knew all along those stinkin' stockbrokers, CEOs, and Wall Street elite were lying to them and stealing them blind. It also, right from the very beginning, starts to serve up the solution that's going to finally put that prospect IN CONTROL (we're all selling control) and no longer be a sitting duck for those relentless rip-off artists. Plus it gives them an answer at last to how they can make money when the stock market is in the toilet. This kind of stuff doesn't just happen by accident or as the result of sheer talent. It requires doing upfront work that leads you directly to those dominant emotions that most resonate with your prospect and tie in with the solution you are offering. And that's the 5th step of the 5-step formula that brings your product's benefits to life. It's to... Connect each dimensionalized benefit with a dominant resident emotion...

There will always be specific emotions that tie in directly with the benefits your product's features offer to your prospects. You'll want to ferret out which ones you want to feature in your headline, lead, "future pacing" section of your close, or other copy. There are plenty of common dominant emotions to choose from. Let's start with 10 different FEARS just about every prospect or customer may experience... 1. Fear of the unknown... 2. Fear of embarrassment... 3. Fear of failure... 4. Fear of poverty and want... 5. Fear of loneliness... 6. Fear of dependence or loss of control... 7. Fear of betrayal... 8. Fear of illness or pain... 9. Fear of dying... 10. Fear of all of the above for people who we care about. Now let's look at 11 common FRUSTRATIONS that are likely driving our customers or prospects nuts...(maybe we should add, "Frustrated with being cooped up?") 1. Frustrated by feelings of inadequacy... 2. Frustrated by the feeling that we’re inconsequential or unimportant... 3. Frustrated when we feel unappreciated... 4. Frustrated when we feel powerless or trapped... 5. Frustrated when we feel used, lied to, or taken advantage of... 6. Frustrated when we feel oppressed... 7. Frustrated when we feel deprived of things that others enjoy... 8. Frustrated when we feel demeaned or taken for granted... 9. Frustrated by feelings of guilt imposed upon us by our upbringing, society, or our own expectations of ourselves... 10. Frustrated with the feeling that life is going by too fast and that we’re not getting all we could out of it... 11. Frustrated with things that shouldn’t be so difficult or time-consuming, but often seem to be. And here's a list of 8 universal WANTS that are likely shared by your prospect or customer... 1. To feel OK about our past and to find forgiveness for past mistakes... 2. To feel free and in control of our own lives... 3. To feel happy... 4. To feel alive, excited and exhilarated... 5. To feel physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually fulfilled... 6. To feel accepted, respected, admired, needed, desired, and loved... 7. To feel successful... 8. To feel optimistic, even excited about our futures. You may be able to come up with more emotions to play around with. In an in-depth interview I had back in 2006 with Clayton Makepeace (still so hard to believe he's gone), I talked about a certain philosopher I had studied in college. The philosopher was Spinoza, and he wrote about emotions being "confused ideas". Here's an actual excerpt from my interview with Clayton... Kim: When I get your stuff in the mail, and I don’t know if you’re even writing that much stuff anymore, but I have a file of stuff I’ve collected over the years that I know is from Clayton Makepeace.

Clayton Makepeace: (Laughter).

Kim: It’s written with pure, raw emotion. Let me just pull my file out. Here’s one headline…"There’s a Devil in the Dow!”

Clayton Makepeace: (Laughter).

Kim: There was one about “The Slaughter of the Lambs.”

Clayton Makepeace: Slaughter of the Stock Market Lambs.

Kim: You read that and you’re just like “Whoa!” You just feel the emotion right there. You don’t always have to pound somebody over the head like that, but on the other hand if you’re not tapping into some resident emotion, you’re not going to get them reading. And it’s funny, I just came across a book the other day that I had read in college for a philosophy class called The Rationalists and it’s got some writings from three different 17th Century philosophers. There’s one – Spinoza. Ever heard of Spinoza?

Clayton Makepeace: Yes.

Kim: He wrote this whole huge book on emotions, the whole theory of emotions and opposing emotions, and I remember reading this in college and being really fascinated with it. When I pulled it out the other day, I thought, this is something every copywriter should read. It’s got every possible human emotion explained, as well as the opposing emotion. Spinoza’s theory was that the stronger you feel a particular emotion, you’ll feel its opposing emotion just as intensely.

Clayton Makepeace: Yes.

Kim: The degree to which you might love somebody is the degree to which you have the capacity to hate them. (Laughter).

Clayton Makepeace: (Laughter).

Kim: Think about that if you’ve ever been through a divorce.

Clayton Makepeace: I actually had that experience.

Kim: It’s like man, I totally loved this person once, and now I hate them more than anybody. So you got these emotions and these opposing emotions, and he describes emotions as confused ideas. Now take that concept and apply it to your main headline or lead. The typical person’s mind is wired in some ways like a steel trap. There’s this steel door when it comes to facts. If somebody wants to challenge my mind by making some kind of claim about this supplement works 200% better than any other, then you’re going to be like yeah, sure, show me, prove it. It’s like this steel door is sealed tight and not letting anything come through because it wants the proof. But if you hit somebody with a really strong emotion that they can feel intensely and relate to, it’s like a confused idea. It’s like finding this hidden back door with a little cloth flap on it. You can get in a lot easier that way by tapping into that confused idea.

Clayton Makepeace: That’s the truth. (Man, I miss Clayton's laugh.) To wrap up, you've got a lot of useful tools as far as identifying the right dominant emotions. When you figure out how to do them as masterfully as Clayton did, you'll be amazed how they can make your sales messages grip your prospect by the eyeballs, hook them into reading, and make it almost impossible for them NOT to buy from you. Now go forth and use them profitably to break through those "steel traps" in your prospects' minds. 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.The clock is about to run out on this special offer, so don't wait!

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