What you’ll learn from reading this:
- I’ll reveal my 2 highest (and cheapest) converting ads that I used to build an almost $400,000 copywriting business in just 15 months… (HINT: These are the 2 “winners” out of split-testing hundreds and hundreds of ads/targeting groups/etc. over a year long period)
- You’ll discover why implementing “the laugh test” when creating the ad copy/concept reduced my overall lead costs by almost 50%… and… brought in some of my favorite clients of all last year…
- How to marry food and ads to quadruple conversions… even if your business has nothing to do with the culinary world… (It’s the same reason the Porn Industry works…)
- Why all you anthropology majors have the upperhand when it comes to creating effective Facebook advertising… (Remember all those culture awareness classes you took… time to make those student loans work for you!)
- Discover why “Pattern Interrupting” under the influence of bad advice will both kill your conversions… and… cause a backlash/firestorm of hate comments on your next ad…
- “Formulaic Copywriting” vs “Risky Writing”... Which one actually works? You might be suprised when you see my results…
- And much, much more…
If you want to make fast money, all you need are a decent offer and a decent set of ads well targeted.
That’s it. That’s the secret to everything.
In this post I want to show you what a decent set of ads well-targeted looks like by breaking down the 2 ads I used to generate almost $400,000 in copywriting fees over the past 15 months.
I’ll try my best to ignore talking about “the offer” (we’ll save that for another post) and instead we’ll just talk about why these ad creatives worked.
The Basic Set Up
This was a really simple ad set up.
All we did was run ads direct (to cold eyeballs) straight to a sales page.
SIDENOTE: I use the term “Sales Page” loosely here. That’s one of the worst sales pages I’ve ever seen. Next week I’ll explain why it still worked (and worked really well). But for now, we’ll keep calling it a “Sales Page”.
For pixel tracking (to track conversions) all we did was place a “Checkout” conversion pixel on a “Contact Me” secondary page.
So in essence, this was our “funnel”:
Ads -> Sales Page -> Checkout Button.
Ryan Deiss would probably pee his pants if he saw how flat that funnel was.
Remember, this copywriting business was started on a whim to prove to my email list that you could generate enough client work in 24 hours to quit your day job.
It obviously worked, but let that be a lesson to you:
Ok, now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s check out those ads.
Ad #1. So Hip It Hurts!
How Acting Like A Hipster Landed Me My Best Clients
Here was one of my favorite ads that I ran for the copywriting service.
I like it for three reasons:
1. It Made Me Laugh When The Idea Came. If You Aren’t Having Fun Marketing Your Business, Then You Aren’t Really Marketing.
Here’s the truth about Facebook marketing that nobody wants to admit:
Your business might not work on Facebook.
Facebook isn’t a platform… it’s a culture. A culture with its own language, with its own set of rules etc.
Misunderstanding the culture of the Facebook user – not speaking the language they are using when logged into FB – is akin to trying to buy a used car in Siberia with a pocket full of American bills and a small English vocabulary.
You might make a lot of noise… but someone is going to get robbed…
That’s why I use the “laugh test” when advertising on FB.
People on FB want to be entertained. When I run ads for my business I want people to laugh. That’s the form of entertainment I am choosing to call on to promote my business through FB.
If it doesn’t make me laugh, I tend to shy away from it.
You could do it through “Shock & Awe” like policital advertisers do on FB… because that is entertainment. Maybe you would use the “Gasp Test”.
You could go the BuzzFeed route and use “Oh That’s Too Crazy…” type headlines/ads to get attention… because that is a form of entertainment. Maybe you would use the “Mouth-Hanging-Open-Test”.
But what you can’t do (not on your first cold traffic ad anyways) is go for the kill. There is no test for this. (except maybe the “F-you advertiser for clogging up my newsfeed with junk” test)
People aren’t on Facebook looking for 20% off your dog shampoo service.
They are there to watch videos of you shampooing Weiner dog puppies in a big sudsy bath.
THAT’S the culture of Facebook.
Pander to that crowd and you win the Internets.
2. It’s A Risky Ad. Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.
I wish more marketers took risks and trusted their own judgment instead of trying to find “the template” for success.
You ever see ads like this clogging up your newsfeed?
Now, I’m not picking on this person specifically. They are probably one of the nicest people on the planet – you get that vibe from them – but…
There isn’t a single thing about this ad that is unique.
How many “Ultimate List Building” whatevers already exist? 100? 1,000?
What about the image? Does that image look unique? (more importantly, does the image fall in line with the “lurking” culture of Facebook?)
The problem is that this person probably bought into the “template” copy idea. That there were “proven formulas” that when applied would generate the same results over, and over again…
The problem is that these “templates” and “formulas” only work for a very, very short time.
Once saturated, these “formulas” and “buzzwords” have the opposite effect. They become the MOST EASY to ignore.
They are easy to ignore because our brain HATES “sameness”.
Anything that is the same get’s the cold shoulder.
Never, never, never-ever-never underestimate the power of DIFFERENT.
Different = New.
“New” is the new “Free”.
(See how it works?)
Now, if only I could convince my clients to agree…
3. It Brought In My Favorite Clients To Date. The Power Of “You Do You” Is Real.
My favorite clients came directly from this ad.
It has everything to do with what I just talked about.
Clients who want to work with you are 10 times better than clients who just happened to pick you out of a long list of potential vendors.
If you are a writer, then the “you-ness” that clients are attracted to is your writing voice. Your personality. Your “Style”.
I don’t know if this ad is or isn’t my “Style” (because honestly… who the hell can tell what their own style is?) but this ad did make me laugh when I created it. It made my business partner Pete laugh too.
People who reacted positively to this ad have the same sense of humor as I do.
Most intimate relationships revolve around similar humor “Styles”.
It’s the reason why women like “funny” men. (More accurately… men whose humor profile fits theirs…)
And business is a really, really intimate relationship. Exchanging money forces a level of trust that is only rivaled by our personal, close relationships.
So, it’s not any wonder that the clients who thought that ad was funny enough to hire me… I ended up really liking.
The point is that ads with personality attract better clients.
Ad #2. Bacon Not Only Tastes Good… It Sells Product Too!
How To Be Controversial Without Being A Dick
This ad ended up on Reddit. It brought me free traffic and the comments were hilarious. It also taught me how to be controversial (aka polarize people) without being a dick (taking the easy way by simply bashing something…).
Here’s why this ad got me sub $10 conversions:
1. Food = Porn = Better Writing. Writing is either sensual or it sucks.
You ever seen an ad like this before?
At the surface, you might think this ad works because the big red arrow pointing to the boob.
And you’d be right, except…
The REAL reason this ad works ISN’T because the photo itself… but because of the READER REACTION to that photo.
That is a subtle but HUGE difference.
It’s not the photo that is important, but the reaction.
Specifically – in this case – it’s the PHYSICAL REACTION that causes the click. It’s the mechanism in the brain that controls impulse that is triggered. The “click” of the mouse is simply the physical extension of that signal in the brain reacting to the messages being sent.
It’s the blood rushing to certain parts of human anatomy and the reader/viewers ability to physically express the signals in the brain through a “click” that makes this ad work.
Let me explain it like this:
When you see a deliciously moist piece of chocolate cake in the window of a bakery, and the sweet smells of chocolate are filling your nose and your empty stomach starts growling… what happens?
Your mouth starts to water. Maybe not a lot, but just a little bit.
When you are out in public you are constrained by social pressure to not act out. You’ve trained your brain not to just reach behind the counter and steal the chocolate cake.
But people don’t have those same social constraints online.
The “click” is the socially acceptable way to act out “the fantasy”. Instead of stealing the chocolate cake, you just click on pictures of it all day long. Your brain is pumped full of dopamine and you didn’t have to steal the cake (calories you probably don’t need anyway).
It’s why Food Porn blogs are so popular.
It’s why Pinterest works.
It explains the entire online Porn Industry.
It’s also the key to good writing.
Look at what I wrote in my ad:
“crispy, salty, soaked in butter stuff…”
That wasn’t an accident.
That was a conscious choice to tap into the SAME MECHANISM that gets people to click on “boob ads” without completely decimating my brand. I wanted people to have a physical reaction to the writing (mouth watering) so they would have the physical impulse to “click”.
The image of the bacon only reinforces the concept of the ad.
And it’s all wrapped up in… comedy. It’s lighthearted. (see the above ad why this works)
Pretty cool, right?
2. A True Pattern Interrupt… Actually Interrupts. Concepts Interrupt Better Than Words Ever Will.
Most newbie copywriters will use words like:
“I Show You How To Build An Email List.”
Something like this:
You know that what this ad is trying to accomplish is the “Pattern Interrupt” move from DM/Hypnosis etc.
But it’s a pretty big miss.
Here’s why this doesn’t work:
True interruptions occur at the conceptual level… NOT in the presentation.
In other words, if you were walking down the street – lost in your own thoughts – and someone stepped right in front of you and said, “Will you smash this banana with me?” and then held up a bright yellow banana in front of your face with a big smile, you’d probably freeze (like a deer in headlights). The hair on the back of your neck might stand up. You might get into “fight or flight” body stance. Maybe even blood would be forced from your heart to your extremities.
Your brain would go blank. Why? To help you survive by putting all your attention on this one thing that had interrupted you.
Your thought pattern would have been interrupted completely. You were probably thinking about your laundry list of to-do items, or you were listening to your favorite song on your iPhone etc.
But now… all you can think about is the Banana Smasher. You have given him/her 100% of your attention.
Contrast this with another random person on the street who tries to get your attention:
When the sun comes out in Portland these guys are on every street corner.
How do they work?
They stick out their hand to shake yours as you try and run away OR they converge at the busiest intersections in town shoving their clipboards into your face.
And the reason their pattern interrupts don’t work is the same reason most newbie writer interrupts don’t work:
You can see them coming from a mile away.
Canvassers are holding a clipboard and sometimes wear blue vests. If you’ve lived in the area long enough, you know how to spot them and how to avoid them (crossing the street almost never works…).
The same is true with offers.
If your customers have been in the niche long (the best ones have) then they can spot your:
Interrupt attempts from a mile away.
This is why my ad is about bacon.
It’s the concept that offers the interrupt.
Here you are looking at pictures of friends then…
Nobody saw it coming.
The comments were hilarious and proved that the concept worked:
3. “I Don’t Care What You Think About Me” Is A Position. Positions Polarize. Polarizing Generates Sales.
“You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything” – Old Country Song About ‘Merica.
People either love you, or they hate you.
You aren’t successful.
^^ This is probably the most common experience of business owners.
It is impossible to please everyone. Impossible.
You know this. I know this.
Yet, it appears that the only tools for polarizing an audience are “icky”.
- Call someone out via a blog post and disagree with everything they’ve ever said in an attempt to establish your own position in the eyes of your audience
- Say something that you don’t actually believe (100%) just to get a rise out of people…
- Make claims that you are “exposing” something to great fanfare and praise… (like this guy did really, really successfully even though none of his claims have ever been substantiated…)
- And more…
You can take the position of:
“I Don’t Care What You Think About Me.”
This isn’t the same as saying “Fu** You”, but instead it’s to say:
“Listen, I don’t follow convention. Either you love me or hate me, but I’m going to keep on doing this.”
People love this.
It’s the position that everyone wishes that they could take. When they see someone else doing it… they fall in love.
If you think the comments from this ad were good… you should see the emails I got.
When prospects send their first email filled with praises because they saw one ad and a sales page… you know it’s gonna be good.
But in order to get to that point you MUST take the stand “I Don’t Care What You Think About Me.”
And in order to communicate this “Stand” to your prospects is to be unique. Shirk the “Templates” and “Formulas” and do something different.
Like run an ad about Bacon… or… Hipsters.
Remember, this “Stand” is contrived. Designed. Done purposefully.
I did it with the ad. I’m doing it right now with this post.