Issue #77—August 15, 2019
In this week's issue I'm going to share with you a classic headline approach AND an attention-getting word that worked together to make me stop and take a look. It's for an anti-aging supplement promo I'll be digging into in this week's edition of "What's in Kim's Mailbox?"
Getting my attention, or anyone's attention these days...including your prospect's...is harder than ever. We've all gotten immune to a lot of overused words we see all the time in headlines and email subject lines, such as "weird trick"..."breakthrough"..."new discovery"...yadda yadda yadda.
They just don't work the same magic they used to. They don't stand out. They sound like old news.
Which is why marketers and copywriters seem to be taking things to extreme levels at times...to the point of outright grossness. But even the constant parade of direct mail promos a few years back with disgusting digestive system images (I won't go any further) saw its shock value wear off.
That's why when I see a word that simply does the trick of triggering curiosity...without going to extreme measures that can risk turning a prospect off completely...I pay attention.
And that word is...drumroll, please...
What's in Kim's Mailbox?
Earlier this week I had this magalog show up in my mailbox from my old buddy Dr. Al Sears (I've actually never met him, but I get so much mail from him it's almost like I do)...
The main headline here is the first thing we'll discuss. It's using the tried-and-true "The Truth About..." headline formula that's worked since the beginning of time. These three little words convey instant authority and overcome skepticism about whatever is in that blank that follows.
They work particularly well here for two reasons. For one, what follows after them is "stem cells". Anti-aging supplement promos talking about stem cells have reached the fourth stage in terms of market sophistication. They're no longer "news". In fact, some prospects may feel more skeptical about the promise of stem cells if they've tried other products that failed to deliver on their promises.
However, since people are more aware of them, they're also more receptive to messages about stem cells...as long as you take a new way in and tell them something they haven't heard before. That's one reason why "The Truth About" works well here with stem cells. It's preparing the prospect to hear something that will overcome that skepticism while also expecting to hear something new.
But here's something else it's doing. It put in that powerful, curiosity-provoking word "Naked" into this tried-and-true headline formula. Why the heck is it the "naked" truth? I don't know. But it made me want to pick it up and read it to find out.
Read through the copy on the front page, and you'll see how it's employing the fourth stage market sophistication strategy Gene Schwartz recommends in his book Breakthrough Advertising. It's promising a new mechanism...one that overcomes previous limitations and allows it to solve more of the problem or provide increased or faster benefits.
It's doing so by bringing up a little-known problem or shortcoming with stem cells, setting the stage for offering a way to overcome it (the new mechanism). It's also bringing in the credibility big guns early on by mentioning various universities (though it would have been better if they could have named the specific "ivy league" university on the front cover, but that's likely just a legal concern).
Now let's take a look at the inside spread to see how this lead develops further. Here's page 2...
Now that the first page has primed us for it, the copy at the top and in this opening dives further into solving this until-now little-known problem and provides a new mechanism for delivering better results.
It's creating excitement, providing more credibility with the Columbia University mention, and painting a picture of what life can be like when you're enjoying the benefits of this new mechanism ("a young-again heart, brain, etc.") It's also got some testimonials at the bottom for providing social proof as well.
Let's read on to page 3, shall we? How could we not? (although I would have suggested breaking mid-sentence OR even mid-word at the bottom of page 2)...
Here we continue the story of the stem cell organ and hint at the new, exciting discovery of the new mechanism. This is an example of how the copywriter is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs throughout the lead copy to keep opening up loops...so the prospect is compelled to read further.
It also feels exclusive...like you're getting a "sneak peek" before anyone else, almost like the kind of "inside information" investment promotions hint at offering as a reward for reading their promos.
Then, combined with a nicely-done bio sidebar, they introduce the doctor and build up his authority. Wait too long to do this and you risk losing your prospect, especially when you're taking this kind of "truth about" or "problem with" or "why ____ doesn't work" or other similar approach. You need to answer the question early on: Why should I listen to or believe you?
That's as far as we're going to go here today. Like I said earlier, this promo arrived in my mailbox...I can't take credit for writing it. I'm presenting it here today because the headline and lead are a great example of showcasing a new mechanism.
Many supplements today (as well as other products) are in the fourth stage of market sophistication, so mastering this tactic is crucial to writing high-performing copy for the health and other niches.
Think about whether the products you're writing for are in the fourth stage of market awareness... and see if adding the word "naked" boosts your open rates or results.
Yours for naked -- oops, I mean smarter -- marketing,
P.S. I hope to see you in November at Jeff Walker's LaunchCon event. To grab those early bird savings at the lowest rate possible, be sure to go here and act by midnight Pacific time on Friday, August 16th. I get no affiliate commission if you buy a ticket at that link, but I will get the joy of hopefully seeing you there (and maybe even having a Copy Insiders meet-up!)