What every business owner and marketer ought to know about this powerfully persuasive 500-year-old letter by Leonardo Da Vinci

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By Matthew Oxborrow – Founder, Medici Marketing 

This letter (pictured below – translation at bottom of page) changed Leonardo Da Vinci’s life. The lessons within could change yours too, so read to the end.

Leonardo Da Vinci letter to Duke of Milan Ludovico Sforza writing to persuade how to get clients

The letter that changed Da Vinci’s life.

Imagine for a moment you’re Leonardo Da Vinci…

It’s the 1480s and Italy is at war with itself. You’re young, you’re bright, and you have many skills. But you need work and few people know who you are.

North of the rolling Tuscan hills of your birth lies Milan.

The Duke of Milan – Ludovico Sforza – has a violent reputation and an appetite for war.

He needs engineers in his service to build tools for defence and attack.

The job will give you the wealth, experience and contacts to set you up for life.

But every ambitious engineer is applying for the role.

You’re not well-known and, although you’re a competent engineer, you’re a specialist painter.

What do you do to beat your competition?

Well, if you’re anything like Leonardo Da Vinci, you send a letter of application.

That’s right. Just as you do to apply for a job or to prospect for clients.

The effort paid off. A decade letter, the Duke hired Da Vinci to paint one of the most famous paintings in the history of the world. The Last Supper.

It’s not ridiculous to claim that, without this letter, many of Da Vinci’s greatest works would never have existed.

If he hadn’t found willing employers and patrons, he would never have had the resources to create what he created. The world would have been poorer for it.

You see, you could have all the skills in the world… But if you don’t know how to communicate to people that need them, you’ll never get anywhere in life.

Here, concisely, are 7 things you can learn from this letter that could change your life forever.

  1. The letter is all about what he can do for the Duke, not why he wants the job. Never does he say “I want this job because..” Instead, he says “Here’s what I can do for you.”

    This is point 1 on the list and lesson number 1 in persuasive writing.


  2. He explains why he’s different. Often in life, you don’t need to be better, just different. In the opening paragraphs, Da Vinci shares that he’s emboldened by the fact the designs of other engineers are common. They’re copies of what already exists. Da Vinci can offer something different.

  3. The letter is personalised. He’s going for a big gig here. He’s not mass mailing his CV titled “To whom it may concern.” He knows who he’s writing to and it shows.

  4. He uses emotion. Good copywriters know emotion determines action. You use logic to back up and justify emotion. “Moreover, work could be undertaken on the bronze horse which will be to the immortal glory and eternal honour of the auspicious memory of His Lordship your father, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.” This is clever because he’s subtly saying: If you hire me, I won’t just do the job, your father will eternally honoured. He also uses flattery. That’s one of the most powerful emotions you can use.

  5. He overcomes objections by offering to prove what he says. He realises that humans are cynical. Why would the Duke believe what he has to say? So he offers to prove it. Pack your letters, emails, website copy and all communications with as much proof as you can find.

  6. He tailors the message to the Duke’s major needs but includes some useful bonuses. The list explains what he can do better than other engineers. At then end he adds “Also I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze and clay. Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible as well as any other.”  He’s giving every reason and benefit he can to the duke so that he’ll hire him.

  7. He hired a pro. The Duke of Milan didn’t know how to build war machines so he hired a pro. So he knew how to a hammer and nail, that didn’t make him an engineer. Da Vinci didn’t know how to write persuasively so he hired a pro. He knew how to read and write, but he didn’t know what to say and how to say it with proven principles of psychology.

Although he might not have realised it, this letter is a very early form of direct response marketing. The same principles still apply today because human persuasion hasn’t changed.

Maybe you write the with a keyboard rather than a quill and paper, but the principles are the same.

Few people realise that direct response marketing is the fastest and most affordable way to reliably grow a business. If you want to grow your business, then I strongly suggest you read this free report on direct response marketing: How to scientifically get more customers – risk-free.

 

Translation of the letter to English

My Most Illustrious Lord,

Having now sufficiently seen and considered the achievements of all those who count themselves masters and artificers of instruments of war, and having noted that the invention and performance of the said instruments is in no way different from that in common usage, I shall endeavour, while intending no discredit to anyone else, to make myself understood to Your Excellency for the purpose of unfolding to you my secrets, and thereafter offering them at your complete disposal, and when the time is right bringing into effective operation all those things which are in part briefly listed below:

1. I have plans for very light, strong and easily portable bridges with which to pursue and, on some occasions, flee the enemy, and others, sturdy and indestructible either by fire or in battle, easy and convenient to lift and place in position. Also means of burning and destroying those of the enemy.

2. I know how, in the course of the siege of a terrain, to remove water from the moats and how to make an infinite number of bridges, mantlets and scaling ladders and other instruments necessary to such an enterprise.

3. Also, if one cannot, when besieging a terrain, proceed by bombardment either because of the height of the glacis or the strength of its situation and location, I have methods for destroying every fortress or other stranglehold unless it has been founded upon a rock or so forth.

4. I have also types of cannon, most convenient and easily portable, with which to hurl small stones almost like a hail-storm; and the smoke from the cannon will instil a great fear in the enemy on account of the grave damage and confusion.

5. Also, I have means of arriving at a designated spot through mines and secret winding passages constructed completely without noise, even if it should be necessary to pass underneath moats or any river.

6. Also, I will make covered vehicles, safe and unassailable, which will penetrate the enemy and their artillery, and there is no host of armed men so great that they would not break through it. And behind these the infantry will be able to follow, quite uninjured and unimpeded.

7. Also, should the need arise, I will make cannon, mortar and light ordnance of very beautiful and functional design that are quite out of the ordinary.

8. Where the use of cannon is impracticable, I will assemble catapults, mangonels, trebuckets and other instruments of wonderful efficiency not in general use. In short, as the variety of circumstances dictate, I will make an infinite number of items for attack and defence.

9. And should a sea battle be occasioned, I have examples of many instruments which are highly suitable either in attack or defence, and craft which will resist the fire of all the heaviest cannon and powder and smoke.

10. In time of peace I believe I can give as complete satisfaction as any other in the field of architecture, and the construction of both public and private buildings, and in conducting water from one place to another.

Also I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze and clay. Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible as well as any other, whosoever he may be.

Moreover, work could be undertaken on the bronze horse which will be to the immortal glory and eternal honour of the auspicious memory of His Lordship your father, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

And if any of the above-mentioned things seem impossible or impracticable to anyone, I am most readily disposed to demonstrate them in your park or in whatsoever place shall please Your Excellency, to whom I commend myself with all possible humility.

If you’d like to learn more about persuasive writing and direct response marketing, then download this free report now. It could change your life, just as it did with Da Vinci.

For Business Owners Only

12:26pm from the desk of Medici Marketing founder, Matthew Oxborrow.

If you’re a business owner and you want a risk-free way to get more customers then this may be the most exciting message you’ll read all year. 

Medici Marketing is offering a small number of businesses the chance to work with us on a commission only basis. If you want more customers and an automated sales & marketing process you can scale to the limits of your ambition, then this could be for you.

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  • What is Direct Response Marketing?

  • How does Direct Response Marketing work?

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  • How Meryll-Lynch got 10,000 new leads from one DRM advert – overnight

  • How Rolls-Royce Positioned themselves as number 1 in the world using Direct Response Marketing principles

  • How Mercedes-Benz grew US sales 400% in a few short years with the same DRM techniques

  • How Schlitz beer went from 5th to 1st in market-share in just a few months

  • How to use Direct Response Marketing to grow your own business quickly – risk free

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At the end of the report, you’ll find the specifics of the commission only offer and the next steps to proceed. It’s a popular offer and, as we’re a small agency that works directly with our clients on a one-to-one basis, once we’re full, we’re full. So don’t delay.

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How to scientifically get more customers – risk free

Attention business owners:

If you want to discover the quickest, simplest and most affordable way to get more customers for your business, then you’ll want to read this…

It’s a FREE short report on Direct Response Marketing (DRM), with real-world examples, that any sensible business owner would be wise to read. Just click here to open.

Inside this free report, here’s what you’ll discover:

  • The number 1 mistake most business owners make with their marketing…

  • What is Direct Response Marketing?

  • How does Direct Response Marketing work?

  • How the Wall Street Journal made over $2bn with one letter using direct response marketing

  • How Meryll-Lynch got 10,000 new leads from one DRM advert – overnight

  • How Rolls-Royce Positioned themselves as number 1 in the world using Direct Response Marketing principles

  • How Mercedes-Benz grew US sales 400% in a few short years with the same DRM techniques

  • How Schlitz beer went from 5th to 1st in market-share in just a few months

  • How to use Direct Response Marketing to grow your own business quickly – risk free

  • PLUS, you can get a free copy of one of the best and most important advertising books ever written.


I know you’re busy, but the report is 100% free and all you have to do is click on the link and it opens automatically.

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It’ll only take a few minutes and the information inside could just explode your sales very quickly indeed. A change for the better justifies no delay so don’t let anything else get in the way.

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What Your Customers Really Want

Not 1 business in 100 understands what they’re truly selling to customers…

What Your Customers Really Want

The things we truly want always run deeper than we allow ourselves to admit. Our motive for action hides beneath the superficial. It’s true for me, it’s true for you and it’s true for your customers. Understand this and you can influence your customers on a level you’ve never known before.

I love stories. I really do. Books, movies, TV shows. To me a good story is never a waste of time because it makes you feel something. It connects you to something within yourself on a deep, emotional level.

When you connect emotions with ideas you make decisions.

How one movie reminded me of an important marketing truth

I watched a movie I enjoyed last night and immediately began to write down some ideas because the movie reminded of an important marketing lesson.

The movie was called The Way, written and directed by Emilio Estevez with his dad Martin Sheen the main character.

I won’t tell you what happens but the premise of the film is that Martin Sheen’s character Tom walks the 800km pilgrimage ‘el camino de Santiago’ from Southern France through the pyrenees to the Atlantic east coast of Spain in Galicia.

camino-shell-sign

These sign posts with the official shell of el camino lead the way throughout the 800km trek through Northern Spain

Along the way he meets three companions who are each walking ‘the way’ for their own unique reasons.

One wants to overcome writers block, another wants to lose weight and the last wants to give up smoking.

It wasn’t until the end of the movie though that the truth was revealed… a human truth valuable to any business owner trying to persuade new customers.

The greatest philosophers, influencers, leaders, kings, emperors and marketers of history have all known this one truth…

The true motive for action hides beneath the surface.

You see, humans make decisions with emotion first and try to back it up with logic. So we think our decisions are logical, but by the time logic kicks in we’ve already decided what we want.

And what we want is so personal that we feel too vulnerable admitting it even to ourselves. So we use the superficial, external, logic motive as the excuse we tell ourselves and the world.

We’ll buy a car we can’t afford and tell ourselves it’s economical, won’t break down, we deserve it and will make a good impression for the business but really it’s for status, social approval and a desire to feel worthy.

We care more about what the car says about us to other people than if it’s even a good idea to buy an expensive car in the first place.

So what does all this mean to your business and marketing?

It means that you’re probably failing to communicate to your customers properly and losing sales because of it.

If you dig deep enough into your product or service you’ll get to the real reason people buy what you sell. You’ll begin to understand what you really do for your customers.

I don’t care what business you’re in, you’re not selling what you think you are.

The landscape gardener isn’t selling beautiful gardens.

The clothes designer isn’t selling good looking clothes.

The artist isn’t selling a painting.

The restaurant isn’t selling tasty food.

What do I mean by this?

Look, every business solves the problem of a customer. But here’s where it gets difficult…

You see, there are two levels of the single same problem…


Every problem contains the superficial and the internal.

Here’s what I mean by this…

The superficial problem is what you think your business does for the customer. It’s the obvious. It’s the landscaper making the garden great, the designer designing great clothes, the artist painting on a canvas and the chef cooking through the heat.

But that’s not really why your customer is buying from you.

They’re buying from you to satisfy their deep-rooted internal problem.

People don’t buy your weight-loss product to lose weight. It’s rarely even to be healthier. They buy it to be loved. To feel worthy of love.

The house owner hires a landscape gardener not just to have beautiful grass, nice trees and an even surface to walk on. They hire a landscape gardner to create a place to enjoy, to feel at peace and gain the social approval of their friends and neighbours when hosting a summer barbecue.

The clothes designer isn’t just selling clothes, they’re selling status, power, confidence, sex appeal, attractiveness and the desire to feel worthy of romantic attention.

The artist sells more than a pretty picture, they’re selling a message that communicates to the buyer something they feel inside that they want to feel again and again.

The chef doesn’t just create tasty food, they create an environment the customer is happy to take a date or a client, a place they’re happy yo be associated with and to enjoy the experience of one of life’s most simple and rewarding pleasures.

There’s a Don Draper quote I love from Mad Men that tells you exactly what marketing truly is in one short paragraph…

draper

Here’s why this quote is so profound…

The ultimate goal of human existence is happiness. The goal of your business, just like every other business out there, should be to make you and your customers happier.

And happiness is an inside job. Owning a car might make you happy for a moment but it won’t last long. But the freedom to go where you please? To no longer feel constrained to one place? To be able to take your kids to sports practice or on weekends trips and not have to wait for the bus? Now that’s more likely to make you happy.

Being able to have friends over for a barbecue and not be ashamed of your garden and what it says about you, that will make you happier than nice grass and trees.

What you think you sell is not what you really sell. You’re selling the solution to an internal problem that will make your customers happier. 

How to use this to make your customers (and you) happy

It’s simple but not easy. Take some time and think to yourself “Why do my customers really buy from me? What deep-rooted internal problem do I help them solve?”

When you have the answers you can use them in your marketing messages. On your website, emails, brochures, you name it.

When your customers feel like you really understand them and you communicate your value as a business to them that resonates not only with their head but with their heart, you’ll make more sales and price will be less of an issue. You’ll also get more satisfaction from what you do, knowing there’s a greater meaning and purpose to it all.

Understanding your customer will move you from commodity to leader and you’ll be competing in a market of one, a position in which  every business wants to be.

What about the characters in the movie?

 What the characters in the movie were truly looking for

They were all looking to be okay with themselves, their pasts and their present so they could get on with living their future happily.

The writer was looking to write the novel he’d always wanted to write but never got round to because he was too busy earning a living. He wanted to spend his time doing what would make him happy.

Joost, the fat man from Amsterdam wasn’t looking to lose weight so he could fit into his old suit for his brother’s wedding. He was looking to feel good about himself and confident that his wife would find him attractive again.

And the smoker? She was looking to forgive herself for her abortion and escape her abusive past with a free conscience to move forward with her life with less anger and bitterness.

Putting this information into practice

Imagine for a second you own a travel agency that organises trips for tourists to walk ‘el camino de Santiago’.

How much more powerful and effective would it be if, instead of selling beautiful scenery, health and exercise, you were to sell freedom from the past, the time to find yourself and the courage to live the life you’ve always wanted? You’d sell more, feel better about it and your customers would love you for it too.

It’s not grandiose to see the true value in what you do for a living. In fact, if you don’t realise what it is you truly do for your customers, you’re doing them and yourself a disservice.

What to do now

Take a look at your own business and think about what it is you really sell and how you can use that to improve how you communicate with your customers and prospects.

And let nothing, absolutely nothing, interfere with immediate action. A change for the better justifies no delay. Don’t watch your competitors win customers you could win. Take action now.

To your success however you define it,

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Founder, Medici Marketing

P.S. If you liked this post you’ll definitely love this…

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The 6 scientific elements of persuasion (infographic)

The 6 scientific elements of persuasion (infographic)

Written by Matthew Oxborrow, Founder, Medici Marketing.

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If you want to be successful in business and marketing you have no choice but to understand the keys to persuasion. Because good persuasion is key to good marketing. Without this skill you’ll never persuade a single customer to buy what you’re selling. And isn’t that the very purpose of marketing? That’s why it’s good to know what drives influence and persuasion so you can apply it to your own marketing for more sales and greater impact on the world. 

The art and science of persuasion is nothing new. The great philosopher Aristotle himself wrote the first classic book on the subject 2300 years ago.

What follows is a popular persuasion infographic written by UK based company Everreach based on Dr. Robert Cialdini PhD’s famously useful book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasionavailable on kindle and in paperback.

I recommend you take a regular look at the inforgraphic and think of ways to apply the lessons to your own sales, marketing and copywriting.

Enjoy,

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Founder, Medici Marketing

persuasion infographic

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A Simple Framework Anyone Can Use To Write Better Sales Copy – Immediately

A Simple Framework Anyone Can Use To Write Better Sales Copy – Immediately

Note: This post is an explanation of the “PASTOR” framework used by world famous copywriter Ray Edwards. 

If you want to sell more and grow your business online, you must learn at least the basics of the art and science of copywriting.

What Is Copywriting?

Copywriting is salesmanship in print. It’s understand what drives human behaviour so you can write words on a page that makes the reader take an action. This action could be buying your product or service, voting for your election campaign or signing up to your email list.

If you understand what drives human behaviour, you can make as much money as you like.

Now you’re interested, right?

Unfortunately, I’d bet that 99.9% of copy online is written by people who haven’t even the faintest idea of copywriting and its underlying principles.

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Copywriting fails when you ignore the principles

Did you know that there are universal triggers you can use to sell more effectively?

Because 99.9% of businesses and marketers don’t know them, this puts you at an enormous advantage. I just want to pause here for a second…

You see, it’s this understanding of psychological triggers that makes conmen and snake oil salesmen so effective. For that reason, some believe this information to manipulative.

But it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what I believe separates manipulative people from persuasive people…

If you use this framework to sell a false solution to a problem purely for your own game, you’re manipulative. And you don’t deserve success. If this is you, stop reading now.

If you use this framework to sell a true solution to a true problem in a fair exchange of value for money that leaves both parties of the transaction happy, then you’re simply persuasive. And you deserve every ounce of your success for the value you provide.

Are you persuasively minded? Great, I knew I could trust you. Let’s get to it…

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The P.A.S.T.O.R Framework Anyone Can Use To Write Better Sales Copy – Immediately

As Ray Edwards himself rightly points out…

“Most people associate the term “pastor” with the preacher at church. While this is certainly true in most cases, the original meaning of the word “pastor” was actually “to shepherd.” And what does the shepherd do? He or she cares for, feeds, and protects the flock.”

This is a useful way to remember the P.A.S.T.O.R acronym as you use it to ‘shepherd’ your customer into an action that it is in her best interests to take.

P is for PROBLEM

Begin by identifying the problem you’re solving for the customer. Show them you understand them and their problem and they’ll be hooked on to reading the rest of your copy and will begin to trust what you have to say.

This is one of the psychological principles I promised you. The more accurately you can describe your customer’s problem, the more instinctively they’ll feel you have the answer.

The trick here is to use the exact language your customer will use. Most people try to be too clever and sound ‘professional.’ Copywriting that sells doesn’t sound corporate or professional. It’s written how you speak so it’s simple and easy to understand, like you’re talking to a friend. You’re joining the conversation that is already happening in your customer’s mind.

Your customer has lots of problems she could solve. Even if your product or service would help her and be worth her time and money, if you don’t remind her of her problem well enough, something else will take her attention away. Don’t leave your customer to figure things out for herself, remind her in clear and uncertain terms how the problem is affecting her life.

Answer this…

Who are you talking to, what is their problem and how do they think about it? 

A is for AMPLIFY

Amplify the consequences of not solving the problem. This step is nearly always missed out and it’s one of the most important steps in making the sale NOW. That’s why I’ll take my time explaining this one. So bear with me, you’ll get through it and be happy you did, you’ll see…

Have you ever heard the story of the moaning, groaning dog? No? Listen up…

On a warm day in the American South, Billy Bob was sitting on his front porch drinking iced tea. His 4 year old golden retriever Spike was lying next to him. Every few minutes he would make a moan or a groan, disrupting Billy Bob’s peaceful afternoon on his rocking chair.

A few hours went by and Spike was still moaning and groaning so Billy Bob decided to get up and see what the matter was.

He touched Spike’s golden head and rolled him over slightly.

And what did he see?

Spike had been lying on a nail that was protruding about a quarter of an inch from the floorboard.

He thought to himself… “well that’s stupid, why didn’t he just move?” and he realised…

It must have been uncomfortable for Spike, but it just didn’t hurt enough to move.

How many niggling problems do you have in your life that you could fix easily enough, and are probably worth fixing, but you don’t because they just don’t hurt enough, yet?

Sometimes the pain isn’t enough just yet to make your product or service desirable or urgent. Does this mean you should give up? No, no my dear friend. Not at all. You just have to try a little harder. Here’s what you must do… If the problem isn’t painful enough to solve immediately, you must tell her what could happen to her down the line if she doesn’t solve the problem right now. You see,  It might not hurt much now, but things could always get worse.

For some reason, the human mind is far more powerful in moving us away from pain than it is in moving us towards an ideal vision. It does this automatically. This means, that amplifying the pain of indecision is a more powerful motivator to human action than showing the more positive outcome.

How might I do this with my marketing services? It could look a little something like this..

“I want you to write down your monthly business revenue for the past 12 months. Now write down what you’d like it to be. Let’s say your business turns over £10,000 a month but you’d really love to get to £20,000 per month. That’s a gap of £10,000 per month in revenue. By not improving your lead generation and conversion rates, it’s costing you £10,000 per month, every month. 

Tell your customer this…

What is it costing her NOT to buy your product or service? How could things get worse?

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S is for STORY (and) SOLUTION

You’ve described the Problem and amplified the consequences of not solving it. Your job is now to share a story about the solution.

If your product or service scratches your own itch, you might want to tell your own story from life with the problem to life with the solution. Or, it might be the story of how your solution improved the life of a client.

It doesn’t need to be a novel, but it needs to have some depth to it…

The story of a struggling business owner, Michael, who “re-mortgaged his house to fund a failing business and, with his family beginning to lose faith in him, no longer feeling like the man his wife fell in love with 5 years earlier, he decided to study the art and science of copywriting and successfully persuaded enough customers to pay off his mortgage in full and live a life of freedom, becoming a man of whom his family was proud” is more powerful than “Michael’s business was struggling until he bought my copywriting course and now he’s successful.”

This brings us back to the integrity of persuasion over the narcissistic nature of manipulation… Make sure the story you tell is true!

If you look hard enough, there’s always a story to be told.

T is for Transformation (and) Testimony

You’ve probably heard of the drill and hole analogy? Right? Sure, you have. You know then that people aren’t buying a drill, they’re buying something that helps them to make a hole they need. The transformation is the hole in the wall.

This is where the classic benefits > features comes in to play. Features only matter in that they help explain and rationalise the benefits. But it’s always the benefits the customer wants. 700 horse power means nothing if the car is slow.

When you’re selling something, people will be sceptical about what you say, so you want to back it up with as much proof as possible. This is why companies pay celebrities so much money, because we trust what they say more than we would an unknown actor.

It’s why informercials are 70% testimonials.

According to Ray Edwards, when people read your copy they’ll automatically ask themselves three things:

  • Has this person been able to do what they are describing for themselves?
  • Has this person been able to teach other people to achieve the results they are describing?
  • Will this person be able to teach me how to achieve these results?

Before and after photos, client testimonials, studies and statistics or borrowing authority from experts. These are all ways to…

Prove that the Transformation your product or service offers is for real.

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O is for OFFER

Problem defined and Amplified, Story of the Solution Told, Transformation proven with Testimonials: Your reader wants what you’re selling and they believe you, so now it’s time to make an offer.

You want to be clear and specific. The easiest way to do this is with bullet points following a subtitle saying “Here’s Exactly What You Get.”

Make sure the copy in this section still focusses on the transformation; the benefits more than the features.

You do have to mention the features, how many photos does the customer get for their money? How many pages are in the book? What is the dress made from? But this should only take up 20-25% of the copy.

A simple way to link features with benefits is to state the feature followed by SO or THAT…

“The dress is made of silk SO you’ll feel as good as you look.”

“This marketing course contains 8 modules THAT teach you everything you need to know to double your business in 60 days and live life on your own terms.”

Make the offer clear and tie it back to the Transformation.

R is for RESPONSE

The majority of business owners fail miserably here: asking for the sale. You’ve done the work, you’ve teed up the ball, now’s the time to drive.

You should not be shy about asking for the sale. Don’t wait for the prospect to ask you or go out of their way to figure out how they can buy. No. Tell the customer exactly what they need to do to buy from you. Remind them why it’s so important, and try not to give them a million options. TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO.

Inertia is easy. You need to jolt people into action. You can’t do that by being weak or fluffy. Get to the point. If you believe you have the solution to your customer’s problem, wouldn’t you be doing them harm by not sharing the conviction of your belief in a way that makes them want to make a positive change in their life?

Here’s an example you could copy and adapt for your own purposes…

“You’re at the crossroads. It’s time to decide. Either continue down the path of least resistance, as most people do, and have things stay the same (and possibly get worse) OR make a decision now that you’re going to change for the better. If you want something better to happen, you have to take the decision to make it happen. If you want to attract more customers to your business, you must make new marketing decisions. Make the choice now to grow your business and live with the freedom the extra money gives you.”

Fill in the contact form below to arrange a free marketing consultation that could change your business and life forever.

P. is for PROBLEM
A. is for AMPLIFY
S. is for STORY (and) SOLUTION
T. is for Transformation (and) Testimony
O. is for OFFER
R. is for RESPONSE
What You Can Do Now

Use this formula to write new sales copy, or to re-write existing copy so you can make more sales and encourage more people to take an action that will improve their life.

By following this framework you’re more likely to make more sales, more regularly. Take action, immediately.

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What Gladiator and Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” can teach us about Marketing

What Gladiator and Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” can teach us about Marketing

Written by Matthew Oxborrow, Founder, Medici Marketing.

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Thursday 16:50pm, my desk, Bogotá, Colombia.

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”

I love hero movies.

That’s why when I watched GLADIATOR again last night, for the fifteenth time, I got excited. But this time it was different…

This time I began analysing the story through a new lens… It’s what Joseph Campbell famously called “The Heroes Journey.”

Storytellers use this framework to hook the audience in and keep their attention. As marketers, attention is the most valuable and rare resource we can receive. And we’re all fighting for it, all the time.

So I think there’s something very valuable to be learned here that you can apply to your own marketing efforts to serve more people and grow your business.

  1. THE ORDINARY WORLD

In the beginning of the movie we see Maximum as a great general, victorious in battle, loved by his army and his emperor. This is known as “The Ordinary World” where the hero is introduced sympathetically to the audience.

  1. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE

Shortly after, the world as we see it in the introduction is changed and the hero must face up to this change. In this case, Marcus Aurelius is old and dying and Commodus will become emperor.

  1. REFUSAL OF THE CALL

If you’re anything like me, you watch this scene shouting at the screen “you idiot, Maximus!!”

Maximus refuses Marcus Aurelius’ request to become temporary emperor, instead of the evil Commodus, to restore Rome to a republic state.

  1. MEETING THE MENTOR

Maximus is injured and rides to Spain, his home. With Marcus dead, Commodus as emperor, and his family raped, murdered, and burned, a slave dealer finds Maximus. Here he becomes a gladiator and meets his mentor Proximo, the gladiator who won his freedom.

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  1. CROSSING THE THRESHOLD

This is the end of act one. The hero, Maximus commits to the new world with its new rules and he learns to be a gladiator, understanding that his freedom lies with winning the favour of the crowd.

  1. TESTS, ALLIES AND ENEMIES

The beginning of the middle of the story, here Maximums learns who he can trust, who he can’t and faces many tests. The tests are clear: battles in the arena. What about his allies and enemies? Can he trust the emperor’s sister? Will Proximo help him? Can he trust senator Gracchus?

  1. APPROACH

They prepare for a major challenge in the new world. Can Maximus and his allies survive the gladiatorial battles?

  1. THE ORDEAL

The battle of Carthage. The gladiators are expected to lose. But they win. Maximus faces both his greatest fear and possible death. His face is revealed to Commodus. What will Commodus do? Maximus has won the crowd. Commodus is helpless and this breathes new life and urgency into Maximus’ mission.

  1. THE REWARD

Having faced the ordeal, the hero takes possession of his reward. In this case, Maximus is rewarded with life, new allies and the possibility of fulfilling his hero’s mission. But all is not safe. He could lose his reward at any turn.

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  1. THE ROAD BACK

Three-quarters of the story is told. The hero is driven to leave the new world as he knows it in search of fulfilling his mission. Can Maximus return to his loyal army to avenge Marcus Aurelius’ death and restore Rome to its status as a republic of the people?

  1. THE RESURRECTION

At the climax, the hero is severely tested once more on the threshold of home.  He or she is purified by a last sacrifice, another moment of death and rebirth, but on a higher and more complete level.  By the hero’s action, the polarities that were in conflict at the beginning are finally resolved.

The plan is foiled, Maximus is caught in the middle of an army of archers and his loyal ally is killed. Maximus is in chains and at Commodus’ mercy. Commodus wounds Maximus but offers him a chance to fight in the arena.

Maximus wins. He kills Commodus and restores Rome to its Republic state.

  1. RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR

The hero returns home or continues the journey, bearing some element of the treasure that has the power to transform the world as the hero has been transformed.

Maximus continues his journey “home” to his family. At peace, having fulfilled his mission.

 How Does This Help You Improve Your Marketing?

For as long as humans have communicated, storytelling has existed. We use it to teach our children and we use it to understand the world and our place in it.

We’re hard wired to do this.

Each and every one of us is the hero of our own story. We all have our own enemies, our allies and mentors; we all have a mission to fulfil and challenges to overcome.

One of the most common mistakes a business makes in its marketing is it tries to position itself as the hero. This turns customers away as it doesn’t align with your customer’s narrative.

By being the hero you’re showing your customers that you don’t understand them or their problems. You’re more concerned with yourself than you are with helping them.

That’s not a winning strategy.

If you want to get customers on your side, be like Proximo.

When your customer buys from you, they are buying the solution to a problem. Not just an external problem, but also, more importantly, an internal one.

They’re entering a new world and you’re the guide.

Your job is to help them overcome obstacles and to show them what life on the other side of your product or service looks like.

Your job is to help your customer continue on their very own hero’s journey.

Let’s take a look at a simple example…

Maybe you’re a landscape gardener. You’re not just making your customer’s garden look nicer, you’re helping them to be proud of their home when they host guests. You’re making sure they don’t feel ashamed when their neighbours come over for a summer barbecue.

You’re helping reinforce your customer’s identity as a respectable homeowner and admirable host.

You’re customer might not be fighting to the death in the arena and restoring Rome to its former glory. But you are, in your own way, helping your customer continue their very own hero’s journey.

The sooner you understand the problems you solve for your customer and clarify that in your messaging, the sooner your business will grow.

The customer is the hero, you’re the mentor.

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How To Persuade Anyone Of Anything Using This Secret Discovered By Aristotle Nearly 2500 Years Ago. 

Written by Matthew Oxborrow, Founder, Medici Marketing.

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4th century BC, Athens, Greece.

What Plato considered “immoral, dangerous and unworthy of serious study”,  Aristotle considered  “a teachable skill that could be passed from one skilled performer on to others, who might thereby achieve successes in their practical life that would otherwise have eluded them.” 

This was a skill so powerful that success depends on it. 

But what was this skill and why did Plato consider it so dangerous?

The answer…

Rhetoric… more commonly known as… persuasion.

Let’s define Rhetoric:

“Rhetoric is the art or skill of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people.”

Philosophy is often considered academic, theoretical and having it’s head up it’s rear-end. 

But what Aristotle set out to reveal to the world is entirely practical and based in reality. What he taught his students is as relevant today as it was more than 2000 years ago. 

Considered by many to be “the single most important work on persuasion ever written” Aristotle’s ‘Rhetoric’ explains how politicians, marketers, businessmen and other leaders in society rise to such heights and convince others to follow their way of thinking; to vote them into power or to bless them with unimaginable wealth. 

But why is this so dangerous?

“Rhetoric is the art of ruling the minds of men” – Plato

Is there a greater power in the world than having the skills and knowledge to rule the minds of men?

It’s used by the powerful to get young men to lay down their lives in war for the wealth and ambitions of rulers. It’s used by the wealthy to get you to buy their products and services and lay down your working careers in servitude to them. They’re able to make us believe what they want us to believe.

Plato was right then to be scared. 

Because the truth is this…

With this skill you can become a king, a ruler, a leader, an emperor. If not of an entire country, then at least of your own private kingdom or empire. 

Without it you can never be more than a pawn on somebody else’s chessboard. Moved around at their will. And what do others tend to have in store for you? Not much.

Persuasion can be the difference between a lordship and serfdom.

Because the idea is so powerful, it can be used for good or evil. It’s important to understand what separates Plato’s thinking from Aristotle’s: What is the difference between persuasion and manipulation?

In this post, we’ll be focussing on how you can use the secrets uncovered by Aristotle to grow your business, make more money and live life on your own terms, ethically… without being manipulative.

Here are Aristotle’s ideas explained for the 21st century businessman and marketer… 

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The 3 Modes Of Persuasion: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

The timing of this post is good because we have a famous, recent example of Ethos, Pathos and Logos in action…

The UK’s decision whether or not to remain in the EU. 

We can use Aristotle’s idea to explain why the Brexit campaign was so much more effective than the Bremain campaign and how you can use this to grow your business.

I’ve always believed we need more philosophy in politics.

Anyway.

Like the Ancient Greeks, the Bremain campaign believed logic and facts was enough to persuade the public to remain in the EU. 

It wasn’t. It never is.

You see, there are 3 aspects to effective persuasion:

Ethos (Credibility)

Pathos (Emotion)

Logos (Logic)

Ethos (credibility) comes first. You can have the best ideas in the world but if no-one likes or trusts you, people won’t listen. This is why charisma is so valued in a leader.

Pathos (empathy/ emotion) is enormously powerful. We make decisions emotionally and then try to rationalise them afterwards with logic…

Logos (logic) is useful in proving your claims and allowing your customer, who is already emotionally involved, to rationalise their decision and take their card from their wallet.

Why Brexit Beat Bremain

The Bremain campaign had Logos’ covered. We heard from economists, politicians and business leaders who had the facts and figures to support their ideas. 

They also had ‘Ethos’ covered, although they suffered a little bit by the public’s current distrust in authority figures and experts. 

What they lacked was ‘Pathos’ and they lacked it in a big way. And this was where the Brexit campaign excelled. 

The Brexiters didn’t deal in a great deal of ‘Logos,’ and when they tried it was mostly demonstrably untrue. Instead they focussed on understanding their voter base and appealing to their emotions: their deepest fears and desires.  

In this way they managed to convince a majority – who otherwise may never have voted to leave – to believe it was in their best interest to vote for enormous political change. 

The Bremain campaign failed to understand this, and with all their facts and figures were unable to emotionally connect with a voter base to appease their fears and appeal to their desires.

We’ll see why facts and figures do matter, but why you must build off Ethos and Pathos first, so you can close the deal with Logos.

Let’s take a look at how you can apply Ethos, Pathos & Logos to your business…

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Learn more about our unique approach using ancient wisdom to grow our clients’ businesses.

First things first. 

ETHOS

No-one will listen to you if they don’t believe or trust you. 

If you lack ‘Ethos’ the other two won’t matter because your intended audience won’t pay any attention to what you have to say anyway. This is why charisma is so valued in a leader. 

To gain a level of credibility often requires proof of your capabilities to an audience. It also requires a great deal of confidence in yourself. To gain such credibility takes time, effort and results. 

Often, when making a critical purchasing decision, you’ll bypass all other factors and choose to work with a company based solely on one thing: 

“She wrote a best-selling book, so she must be a good author.”

“He was an accountant at KPMG so he must be a good accountant.”

“I’ve seen their adverts everywhere and everyone is talking about them, so they must be good!”

These are examples of Ethos in action.

You want to build this kind of credibility. You really do. But you also want to be persuasive in the meantime…

Fortunately, there’s an way effective you can gain almost instant credibility…

How?

By borrowing it. 

You can cite a renowned website like the Wall Street Journal in your advert or sales letter. You can reference a study. Or you can borrow from a well-known, trusted figure. That’s why companies pay so much for celebrity endorsements. If Beyoncé tells you how great this shampoo is you’re more likely to believe her and buy it. 

This article itself is a good example. 

You probably don’t know me, so why should you trust me?

If the headline of this article was “What John down the pub taught me about the secret to marketing success…” or “Here’s my secret to success…” you probably wouldn’t pay any attention. Why should you? 

But you know Aristotle’s name. If he said it and other experts have backed him up for 2500 years, that lends weight to my words. You’re more likely to want to read them, to believe them and take action on them.

8 Specific ways to build your “Ethos”
  1. Use case studies to prove results of your work.
  2. Use social proof in the form of testimonials and reviews.
  3. Show renowned clients for whom you’ve worked.
  4. Become a published author in your area of expertise.
  5. Win industry awards.
  6. Appear in the media – Radio, TV, Newspapers etc
  7. Obtain a high level title (CEO, CTO etc) in your company.
  8. BORROW IT!
Example of ETHOS In Action
Kings Speech Academy Award Winner Poster

Wow, Academy Award Winning BEST PICTURE? It must be good. Shall we watch it this weekend?

Now we’ve covered Ethos, let’s move on…

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PATHOS

Emotions drive behaviour. That’s why this is the most powerful persuasion tool of all.

An apathetic person does not nothing, because they have nothing driving them.

The only way you’ll ever persuade anyone of anything is by using emotion. If your sales and marketing lacks emotional triggers, you will lose. 

This is true even in B2B situations where we think that business people are entirely rational, looking only at the numbers. We’re all wired the same. If you don’t believe me, read ‘Thinking Fast & Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman – noble prize winning behavioural economist and author. 

Pathos requires a deep understanding of your customer’s emotions. It’s often why those who scratch their own itch find a deeper connection with their customers and a higher level of success than they otherwise would.

This is because when they talk or write about their business they know the problem they solve for their customers. They know the true reasons why someone will buy from them. 

We all know that exercise is important and we should do it regularly because we’ll live longer and have more energy – and that should be enough to persuade us, but it isn’t. 

Instead, gym attendance spikes before summer when “Operation Bikini” is in full-swing because wanting to look your best and feel confident at the beach is a more urgent and powerful emotional driver than health, until your health fails you. 

So if you’re in the health and fitness industry, sex, vanity and highlighting common insecurities are more powerful weapons in your armoury than “live longer,” which would fall under the Logos part of persuasion (which we’ll come to shortly).

Warning: whilst you want to employ Pathos in all your efforts, it can backfire if you’re too overt with it.  

Famously controversial. The below ad was banned from the London underground. It created a public backlash from angry campaigners, but who’s to say it wasn’t ultimately successful in it’s goal of selling a product to an audience who were concerned with reaching an ideal body shape as the end target consumer perceived it?

Beach body ready tube underground ad weight loss advert backfire angry

Controversial ad on the London underground.

This is where you have to be careful and use your judgement. You should sell people what they want, but give them what they need.

Using our strong sexual impulse to sell can seem degrading, to both producer and consumer, but that’s just because we use it to sell lower consciousness products like cars, fashion or alcohol. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it works after all. 

But what if we used it for a more noble purpose?

Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino (reviver of Platonism and friend to Lorenzo De Medici) understood the importance of Pathos. He believed it was natural to be aware of our bodily desires, and to use them to sell. 

He didn’t believe it to be manipulative at all – if used it for noble purposes.

This is the key difference between manipulation and persuasion…

Do you have your audience’s best interests at heart? 

If you’re selling just to make money and your product doesn’t solve the problem you claim it does, you’re being manipulative. If that’s you, please stop reading now. You don’t deserve the powerful knowledge in this article.

However, if what you do genuinely makes people’s lives better, you’re being persuasive, and you deserve your success.

Ficino used powerful human emotions for a greater, more noble purpose. 

Renaissance art is full of beautiful, naked women who are depicted naturally. This was new to the art world. It was revolutionary.

Ficino, with Lorenzo de Medici and his money, became a patron of the arts with a single goal in mind: to use sex and beauty to attract attention to the more nobel messages within the works. Messages of compassion, love, kindness and wisdom.

Sandro Boticelli’s ‘Birth Of Venus’ is a good example of this. It was commissioned by Lorenzo de Medici to revive an interest in classical mythology and the ideas it represented.

The renaissance humanists were deeply interested in reviving the ideas and wisdom of Ancient Greece.

Boticelli's Birth Of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Boticelli’s Birth Of Venus at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. It was the first non-religious nude painting since classical antiquity.

 

Renaissance art was, in essence, a large scale Pathos ad campaign for the higher, more noble human values.

The leaders of renaissance Florence knew what all successful marketers know now:

If you fail to appeal to the emotions of your audience, you’ll fail to persuade them to buy what you’re selling.

But…

If you’re able to delve into their minds and offer your audience what they want, they’ll give you what you want in exchange.

The good news is that anyone, even you, can begin to employ ‘Pathos’ in your sales and marketing efforts immediately.

Here’s how…

5 Specific Action Steps To Improve Your ‘Pathos’
  1. Understand your audience. Ask yourself these 3 questions: Who is your audience? What do they want? What do they fear?
  2. Use this understanding in all of your marketing and sales communications. Lead with the emotional power driver (Pathos), back it up with Ethos so your audience believes you and tip your prospect over the edge with Logos so they feel smart for doing business with you.
  3. Tell a story. Human’s are storytelling creatures. We get emotionally involved with a story and become hooked. A good story turns off our “bullsh*t blockers” that have become strong through years of advertising. If you can tell an emotional story, you’ll bypass scepticism and your prospect will listen attentively to what you have to say.
  4. Make your audience feel important and valued. This should be easy. The people you serve should be important to you.
  5. Use visual aids. I’m telling you this as a copywriter. Words are powerful. But you can attract attention too using visual aids to elicit an emotion. Showing a picture of a fluffy cat will make your animal loving audience go “aawww” more than talking about a fluffy cat will. 

And finally, to allow your audience to feel smart about purchasing your offer, to explain the purchase to themselves, their spouse and their friends, you need to offer them some solid logic and reasoning. Here’s where Logos becomes your best friend…

LOGOS

Since you’ve proven some authority on the subject and you’ve appealed to your audience’s emotional desire, you have a flood of customers desperate to hand over their credit card details. 

You’ve done the hard work. The sales are yours to lose.

There’s just one more hurdle to overcome…

No-one likes to look stupid.

You need to prove that your not duping your audience into believing something that isn’t in their best interest.

If you can prove that you care and that what you say is true. You’re over the line. You’ve won.

Here are a 4 ways you can use Logos to turn prospects into paying customers:
  1. Highlight features AND benefits. You’ve probably heard this one a lot..state benefits over features. And it’s true. Benefits are powerful and fall under Pathos but features are still valuable. The fact the car is fast and exciting is a benefit that drives emotion, the fact it has 500 horsepower is a fact that proves just how fast it is.
  2. Use Scientific Studies. You can use almost any scientific research to prove your point as scientific research by its very definition has been proven and tested. You can combine Logos and Ethos if you use scientific research from a reputable institution such as Harvard, Cambridge or Oxford.
  3. Facts & Statistics. It’s illegal to lie in an advert. Besides that, we’re wired to believe in numbers. ‘9/10 dentists recommend Sensodyne toothpaste’. It’s simple but it works. 
  4. Comparisons. Comparing the features or benefits of your product against competitors is powerful Logos in action. Think of the supermarkets and their regular price-comparisons. They don’t just say they’re cheap, they show where they’re cheaper. Hard to argue with that. 
Example Of LOGOS In Action

Sensodyne 9 out of 10 dentists recommend

Conclusion

In a noisy world with limitless options, simplicity is valuable. We overcomplicate everything and wonder why we struggle to decide on the best course of action.

Understand that your responsibility as a business owner and marketer is to provide a valuable product or service and to ethically persuade your audience to benefit from it.

However you choose to market your business, frame every message, every blog post, every advert, every conversation, every video with ETHOS, PATHOS & LOGOS. 

Ask yourself if you’ve proven credibility, if you’ve appealed to emotions and if you’ve backed up your message with logic and reason. 

If so, all that’s left for you to do is to make it easy for your prospects to purchase with a strong call to action.

The art of rhetoric hasn’t changed in thousands of years. It’s not going to change any time soon. Apply it to your own marketing practices and you’ll have the upper-hand forever.

If you’d like help successfully applying Ethos, Pathos and Logos to your marketing communications on or offline, contact me here.

Be persuasive, not manipulative.

The best of luck to your deserved success,

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Matthew Oxborrow

Founder, Medici Marketing

P.S… For a short time only COPYWRITING SERVICES ARE HALF-PRICE. But be warned, I only work with businesses I like and believe in. Learn more about our copywriting services here.

P.P.S… Huge companies have been built on copywriting expertise. Copywriting can be, and often is, the difference between success and failure. Especially online. Find out why here.

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What Is Copywriting?

Many successful experts consider this to be the hidden secret of their online sales success.

Copywriting is sales in written form… a web page, a letter or email that can reach a million potential customers… It’s a salesman that never sleeps and never stops working.

A copywriter uses psychology and a knowledge of human behaviour to persuade your customers to take action: to buy from you, to opt-in to your email list, or anything else you want your reader to do.

The Competitive Advantage Of Copywriting

Even in the marketing profession, many people don’t really understand what a copywriter does. You can be at a dinner or networking event and five minutes into the conversation you’re met with..

I’m sorry, I hope you don’t mind.. but..what is it that a copywriter really does?”

At first guess people usually assume it involves copyright law. It doesn’t.

Then they believe it means you’re a content creator. Which is only partly true.

The fact that so few people understand the benefits of copywriting mean that you have an enormous competitive advantage… In a world of a billion crappy websites, yours can be the one that sells.

The Difference Between A Copywriter And A Content Creator

A content creator creates content, blog posts for example, with the goal of informing the reader about something.

A copywriter must inform the reader too but the true job is to persuade the reader to take action.

So what does a copywriter write?
  • Website copy. Writing for the web is a little different but a good copywriter should know how to write and format a post for websites.
  • EmailsA linchpin of online marketing, your email list is something you own and control. It’s a direct way to reach people who have shown an interest in you and your business. A good copywriter can maximise that asset, making sure your emails get read and lead to sales.
  • Blog posts. Unlike normal content, a copywriter will write to inform the reader AND include a covert agenda of building the reader’s desire in taking an action. An action you as a client want your readers to take.
  • White papers. Long form educational and informative documents mostly used in B2B selling environments. As with the blog posts, a copywriter will write about a common industry problem and end with showing your your product or service solves that problem, encouraging the reader to buy what you sell.
  • Social media posts. Social media requires copywriting too. How do you make your social posts resonate with the audience or maximising the clicks through to your page? A copywriter will know how.
  • Case studiesA short webpage or article that provides a specific example of how your business helped a customer. This offers proof of your capabilities and something for the reader to relate to and trust.
Who Do We Write For?

Copywriters are generally mercenaries. Guns for hire. Sales soldiers who write for organisations willing to pay their fees.

The term ‘mercenary’ though often implies a lack of ethics. As in any field, you’ll find copywriters without ethics…copywriters who will sell anything for anyone so long as the pay is right.

But that’s not us. You can successfully sell snake oil for a day, but you can’t make it a career. It’s not worth it. We choose our clients carefully and like to work for clients who have a product or service that solves the problem it claims to solve..

That doesn’t mean your product has to be revolutionary or particularly unique, it just has to do what you say it does. Everyone sleeps better at night that way.

How Copywriting Can Fuel Your Business Growth

Do you remember what I said at the beginning of the article?

Not quite? Let’s take another look…

Copywriting is sales in the written form. It’s a web page, a letter or an email that can reach a million potential customers. It’s a salesman that never sleeps and never stops working.

A copywriter uses psychology and a knowledge of human behaviour to persuade your customers to take action: to buy from you, to opt-in to your email list, or anything else you want your read to do.

Household names have used copywriting and direct response marketing to grow their businesses from baby businesses to money-making-mega-machines.

For example..

A copywriter – paid just once for his work – wrote a letter for the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal sent this letter millions of people over nearly 30 years. This sales letter never changed…

Want to know how much revenue this one single letter generated?

More than $2bn!

How’s that for a return on investment?

They didn’t have an army of sales people knocking doors or picking up the phone one by one. They didn’t have the huge monthly salary that accompanies an expensive sales force. None of that stress and worry. No… They had a well-written letter.

And we have a copy of that letter. And we use it to help our clients. (Want a copy? email me at matthew@medicimarketing.com)

In this day and age, you don’t even need to send letters. Snail mail done successfully can be a great way to stand out, so I wouldn’t discount it as an option, but it’s no longer a necessity for success… No more envelopes, no more licking stamps… It’s expensive and takes time.

Instead, you can have a sales letter written for your web page. A letter written to speak to a specific type of person – your target customer. All you need then is a good Facebook or google advert targeted to that customer and to measure the results.

You see, that’s why the people in the know love direct response marketing.. you can measure your investment to the penny.

With a sales letter and an advert that makes money, you increase the scale of it. And it runs automatically! No phone calls. No expensive monthly magazine adverts. No cold emails. 

You write the sales letter, you set the advert and you measure the results. 

There are enormous companies making hundreds of millions a year based on adverts directing targeting traffic to lead capture pages and sales letters.

And when it works, it really works. All you have to do is keep your customers happy while watching the money flow into your bank account. 

Success is never guaranteed, but the relationship between effort and reward here is huge and the risk is miniscule. You can’t expect more than that. It’s worth a try don’t you think? 

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Want expert copywriting for your own business?

It’d be foolish not to apply copywriting principles to your marketing materials.

You can learn copywriting for yourself which will take years of study and practice, or you can hire someone to help.

We can help. 

We write copy for clients that gets results. Everything we do is based on best practice copywriting principles so you know it’s filled to the brim with persuasion techniques that get customer’s cards out of their wallets.

We don’t promise to make you a millionaire, that would be grandiose of us because there are other factors outside our control (like traffic and your offer) but what we do promise is to give you the best possible chance of success.

And we don’t stop there…

If you were to hire a copywriting service, you’d want some kind of assurance right? You don’t want to feel like you’re left in the dark with some copy that you’re not even sure is great. We understand.

That’s why with our copywriting service you get ongoing support. If the copy doesn’t convert, we’ll analyse why. If the copy is at fault, we’ll re-write it for you at no cost. If there’s a problem with the product offer or a lack of suitable traffic, we’ll diagnose it for you so you know where to focus your energy for maximum success.

So while we can’t guarantee your business success, we can make sure that your website and marketing communications are based on tried and tested consumer psychology so you know it’s persuasive.

If you already have a website that isn’t converting like you expected then you’ll want to take advantage of our FREE WEBSITE REVIEW where we analyse your website and make expert recommendations – free of charge.

Or, if you want us to write a sales letter, email campaign, advert, whitepaper or entire website for you, get in touch with us here. We’d love to help you win.

P.S… If you Contact us today you’ll save 50% off our usual copywriting prices. 

 

 

Lessons In Business & War – Why Good People Often Fail

suntzu2Why do so many good people go into battle unarmed?

When I was a child I would dream up stories of a world where we fought wars with only swords.

No cannons. No planes. No bombs. Nothing that a coward could use to kill you from a safe distance. 

If you were the best swordsman, you would win.

A perfect meritocracy. 

What a shame it was that the great Achilles fell to an arrow from the coward Paris.

This world of fair and honourable battles is a lovely vision. A nice story.

But it’s not reality.

For the first part of the 100 years war between England and France, England dominated.

The French armies were large. And made up wholly of noblemen and aristocrats: French knights. The English forces were small and consisted of peasants.

The English one three decisive battles at Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt.  

How were such small peasant forces able to destroy the aristocracy that outnumbered them?

The longbow. 

The English were able to fire arrow after arrow in quick succession at their enemy. The peasants destroyed the French knights before they could get close.

The honourable French knights hated the archers. They believed it broke the code of chivalry and fair combat. 

The English didn’t care. They laughed at the helpless French knights as they walked through their country. 

The English peasant archers held their two fingers in the air and waved at the French, taunting them.  

If you’re familiar with the two finger ‘f*ck you’ that’s so popular in England, you’ll know what I mean. It’s the same as the peace sign but your palm faces towards you, not away from you.

This is the origin of it.. these were the two fingers that held the arrow and drew the string. The two fingers that almost wiped out the French nobility.

As a result, the English took and held Calais for more than two centuries. Thanks to the longbow. 

And this is common throughout history. Damascus steel, cannons, guns, planes, ships, submarines, drones. They all shaped the outcome of wars. Shaping history in the process. 

The trebuchet that changed siege warfare.

The cannon that helped the moors conquer Spain.

The gun that conquered the new world. 

The Luftwaffe that proved so deadly in aerial bombings.

The English ships that out-ranged the Argentine weaponry in the battle for the Falklands. 

The French knights fought with a strict code of chivalry and they lost. 

Victory isn’t won with honour. Life isn’t a fair duel where the fastest hand wins. Life isn’t a western or a Russian romance novel.

No, Life is real. And so often in warfare the victors are those with the best weapons. 

Those that win battles aren’t the most noble but the most well-equipped.

How this all relates to business..

Too many good, honourable business owners enter the battlefield of business unarmed and outgunned. 

You think it’s enough to build a great product or have a brilliant idea?

It’s not. 

The best products don’t usually win. McDonalds don’t make the best burgers. Proctor & Gamble don’t make the best shampoos. 

But they know what you want and they execute on it.

Your business is competing for every pound, dollar or euro your customer has to spend.

You might be better at what you do, make a better burger or create a healthier shampoo. You might have a world-changing idea and a noble desire to serve the world. 

But if you’re unarmed or unwilling to bear arms, you’ll struggle and lose. Meanwhile the world fills with useless, consumerist crap with no purpose other than profit. 

In business, as in battle, victory so often goes to the team with the best weapon. 

But what is the best weapon a business can wield? 

Sales. Sounds obvious I know. But stay with me..I’m getting to something.

No business survives without sales. No sales, no money. No money you can’t pay your bills. You’re stressed, worried, anxious and preoccupied. Instead of enjoying life you’re worried about making rent, feeding family or paying bills.  

And what’s the best way to sell?

To use human emotion. 

Im serious. 

Human emotion is the secret weapon of sales & marketing.

Purchasing your product or service is a decision the customer has to make. 

Anyone who studies human behavioural economics will tell you the same thing:

Almost all decisions we make are emotional. We try to rationalise them with logic after.

Have you ever seen an Apple advert that talks about their hard drives or what their products do? Never. They sell you on the brand, making you choose Apple on an emotional level. They do this before you ever get to the specifics of the product. 

By the time you’re on the apple website choosing between the 4gb or 8gb ram you’ve already decided you want one.

System 1 Vs System 2 Thinking

Nobel prize winning behavioural economist Daniel Kahneman wrote about this.

He shows that system 1 thinking is fast and automatic. It’s an emotional or unconscious decision making process. This governs 99% of our lives.

System 2 thinking is slow, conscious and requires great effort. 

We don’t have the mental capacity to use this all decisions. We reserve it only for large decisions. 

Often though, we think we’re making a system 2 decision when we’re not. You may already have decided you want to buy that Audi on a payment plan, you’re just trying to justify it. 

So purchasing your product or service is a decision. And nearly all our decisions are emotional. It’d be a powerful weapon if you knew what you’re customer’s felt and used that to sell, don’t you think?

You want to work out who your customers are. To learn what they think, what they fear, what they desire and what they’re ashamed of.

Armed with this powerful information, you’ll know how to solve their problem. You’ll know exactly how to position your product or service to meet their needs. They’ll want to pay your for your product.

You need to understand why your customers buy your product, and you need to use that.

Shame, fear, greed, laziness, lust. 

These emotions drive buying decisions. 

This is reality.

To believe otherwise – or believe you’ll succeed without using them – is ignorance. 

It’s to live with your head in the clouds. That’s dangerous.

While your head is in the clouds your expose your neck And you’re on a battlefield. You’re at the mercy of those who’d watch you bleed.

You need to come back to earth, grab some dirt and get your hands dirty. Or hire someone to do it for you.

You deserve to succeed. You’re one of the good ones. The world needs you to win. 

If you’re heart is in your business and you believe in the value you provide to your clients, we need you to compete. 

We need you to put your chivalry aside and pick up the longbow. 

The French didn’t stay chivalrous for long when the English wiped out their armies. And stole their land. 

They adapted.

They wore Milanese plate armour – the only armour that could prevent certain death. They relied less on heavy cavalry and encouraged the use of the canon.  

Had they not adapted, England may well have conquered France. They would have had English rulers. This would have changed the face of Europe forever. 

In business, as in battle, people will win and people lose. 

We want people to win who help the world. People who offer valuable services that solve their client’s needs. 

We want you to win. 

You can use human emotion for good!

You can use what makes people buy to increase the spread of your valuable, worth services to the world.

The winners are already doing it. 

Stop struggling, start succeeding and let’s make the world better in the process.

If you want to provide what the world needs, you must sell them what they want. 

The goal of these posts is to help you grow your business in a way that’s both entertaining and informative. It should be both a joy to read AND provide insights that help you sell your product or service.

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P.S. To some, using human emotion to sell seems manipulative and unethical. It’s reality. It’s using the study of human behavioural economics and psychology to influence buyer behaviour. This is as powerful as it is dangerous. That’s why we choose our clients with great care. If you’re a snake oil salesman looking to maximise profit but lack scruples, we won’t work with you. If you’d like us to help you succeed, you can enquire about our copywriting services.

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P.P.S. It’s OK to win. It’s OK to charge money for your product and services so long as you care for the quality who provide. And to whom you provide it. The greater the service you provide, the more you deserve to prosper. Go good, be good and get to work.

Sell them what they want, give them what they need. 

For examples of this in action, click here.