#12 How To Sell (and the chocolate-coated carrot!).


This is the episode where we dive deep in to selling. Not the formal type of selling that you read about in all those New York Times best sellers! Nope…nothing so theoretical.

Instead, we talk about how to maximise your selling potential, what makes for great sales copy and James lifts the lid on a tried and tested technique that he uses any time he needs to sell something.

Oh, and have you ever tried a chocolate coated carrot?
Duration: 52:37 min – 72.3 MB.

Links & Resources mentioned in the Freedom Ocean podcast episode 12:

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Tim: James Schramko, welcome back to the Ocean, and ain’t it sweet!

James: It’s a lovely Ocean!

Tim: Is it a lovely Ocean?

James: It’s good to be back live, too.

Tim: Yes, face-to-face. Last show was via Skype, and…

James: Technical challenges abound.

Tim: There’ll just be a little bit more warmth here, James, as if we’re sitting on each other’s lap.

James: But we’re not. (Laughs)

Tim: No, exactly, absolutely. No, no, no, no, there’s measures separating us. Welcome back listeners to Freedom Ocean. It’s a podcast about internet marketing where I’ve got a million questions, and James has got a million dollars thanks to immersing himself in the world of internet marketing over, over many years.

James, I just thought it would be worth reminding our listeners, if they are new, and we’ve got a lot of new listeners. The reason I know that is because we get lots of downloads of the show at an increasing rate, lots of people signing up at Freedomocean.com, and we constantly are riding high in iTunes. So, welcome to all the new listeners, and this show is what we would call an evergreen show, isn’t it?

James: Evergreen, as in, it will be around for a while.

Tim: Well, it will be around for a while and also the content that we have previously covered will continue to be relevant for weeks, months, years ahead. And, if you are a new-time listener, let’s just look back at some of the things we’ve covered. Last show we went deep on membership sites. The one before that we had a really good look at what a starter’s pack of search engine optimization tactics would include. We went behind the scenes of Freedom Ocean on another show and showed, well not showed, talked about how we brought this baby to life; how we got it off the runway. What do you do when you launch a ship?

James: Birth it. Start on a…

Tim: Better when you park it?

James: Is it?

Tim: (Laughing) Yes. Yes. Clearly we don’t know, we’re not sailors, we’re just people who like freedom.

James: I prefer to use other people’s ships.

Tim: Correct. We’ve covered product creation, Episode 5, one of my favorites, I did love it. It was interesting when we did product creation because when I used to think about Internet marketing, I just thought it was about product creation. I’ll go and build websites and create compelling, engaging information and via various product means and away we go.

James: Well, it seems to come in waves depending where people jump in onto the internet marketing bandwagon, if you like. Sometimes the craze is information products, then it’s search engine optimization.

Tim: Or affiliates, or…

James: Affiliate marketing, local business marketing was huge. So there’s always trends that get pushed to the top and, like sheep, everyone else jumps on it and that’s when a lot of people are introduced into that whole concept.

Tim: Yes, true.

James: And I think the overwhelming carrot for people is that they’re looking for a less hard work outlet for their activities that gives them a high profit.

Tim: Yes.

James: And that’s, that surrounds, there’s a bit of a myth around that with Internet marketing. The whole lifestyle thing I’m sure it’ll come up time and time again.

Tim: Time and time again.

James: Yes.

Tim: So, I mean that’s what brings us all together is that wish for a business and a lifestyle that is, you know, less demanding on maybe what the traditional types of businesses require. It seems to be the common link.

James: Well, and the funny thing is it’s in every other business and every other part of our life, but some people can’t draw a comparison. An example is the amount of weight loss tablets out in the marketplace. You would think with the amount of weight loss tablets and ab crunches and all the rest of it that 99% of the world’s population would be thin and toned but, sadly, they’re not. Probably, I think, half of the adult population is overweight. So, we know what the attractive outcome is and we still consume it, but not everybody’s living the reality in any part of life.

Tim: So, we got talking… interesting, this show in our preproduction of this show, we were going to head down –

James: That sounds very professional. (Laughs)

Tim: It does. It does. Well, we could have called it, you know, a bit of planning out of the coffee, which is really what it was, but we were going to talk about copy… C-O-P-Y, not coffee. And we probably will, I think there’s definitely… well, we get a lot of feedback via Facebook in the show notes about 20 people wanting us to talk about copy. But you sort of suggested we maybe pull back on that and talk about sales, because, and I wish I’d written down what you’d said, but it was basically, you know, if you’re no good at selling – and some people this is going to hurt, you know? Some people don’t want to hear this, and we have touched on it before. But, do you want to finish that quote? “If you’re no good at selling,…”

James: Well, if you can’t sell, then you’re not going to make a lot of profit with your online business or your offline business. You’re probably going to struggle in relationships, especially in a job, hard to get promotions. Really, I think the money out there in business and in life the rewards are going to the better sales people. Almost all of the top marketers that I can think of right now are excellent at selling. That’s how they became top marketers. That is the fundamental skill. And when you were talking about copy before, I even jokingly asked you do you mean agency copy or, you know, like direct-response copy? Because copy means different things to different people.

Tim: Yes, it does.

James: I think in the old ad land copy is someone who writes the words on the brochures and the pages, and then there’s that whole copywriting from a sales perspective when the code from the direct-response world where you’re selling with words. It’s just selling. It’s salesmanship in print. Somebody mentioned, I can’t remember the name of the person, but it’s all… it relates to getting your message out there and having people take the action that is going to be best for you and for them.

Tim: There’s a great quote from a very long… Dick had to go, an ad man, I think it might’ve been… what’s his name? Bernbeck? Someone Bernbeck from the big advertising agency BBDO. Well, it might even have been the guy from – goodness, me – Ogilvy, David Ogilvy. I’m sure he would’ve been referring to print advertising or print copy, but he said advertising is what you do when you can’t go see someone. And if I was to drill that down, it’s probably like, writing great copy is what you do when you can’t go see someone. Because in an ideal world you’d pick up your bags and you’d go and visit every prospect face-to-face and sell to them, and in a much more engaging, human way. Whereas great copy sort of replaces that because, obviously, we can’t go visit everyone.

James: Yes, and beyond copies now we have a lot of these other mediums that aren’t just text. For example, videos; we’re using a lot more video, or in audio to sell. So I think it’s a bigger topic than just copy. Really, what this episode might focus on is how do you actually get a message from one to many? Because that’s really the whole point of it. Face-to-face sales is number one in terms of conversion ratio. If you were going to sell one-to-one, which is what I used to do when I sold vehicles, you’ll get high conversions. When you sell through a one-to-many medium, it might drop off the conversions, but
you’ve – speaking to that many people, it doesn’t matter. I’ve spoken at live events where there’s 600 people in the audience, and I’ve had 100 of them buy something, so that’s considered fairly leveraged when you can say the same message to 600 people at the same time and 100 of them will buy. That’s pretty good. But what if you have a website where you can have 50,000 people view it and 2,000 of them buy, which is what happened to me in the last few months. That is even better leverage. And the best thing is you don’t even have to be there. So, I guess we could probably talk about some of the processes or thoughts I had around how you go about making that happen.

Tim: I think that’s important. Because it isn’t… and, you know, particularly in the online world it’s about holding people, you know? If you have got Google analytics attached to your website and you can see what the bounce rate is. I mean great copy, or great video, great copy, great audio, whatever it is it’s about getting that bounce right down so that you’re holding people’s attention and people being able to read, you know, if it is sales copy then short paragraph leading into another short paragraph leading into another… each time, almost… I think it was Gary Hobart in one of his newsletters taught me that, which was just the ability to – we’re getting into tactics here – but he talked about a particular little copywriting tactic which was about holding people at the end of a paragraph, so then they almost had to read the next paragraph.

James: Well, I think that’s Joe Sugarman’s method.

Tim: Is it?

James: The headline sells the sub-headline which sells the first paragraph, and so on. I’m pretty sure it was him, and, you know, I’ve read most of the books from all the people. I’m not one of those copywriting nuts who can quote you every copywriter and every… you know, there’s a lot of artists and writers who get off on all that stuff. I don’t care about all that stuff, I just consume the information, I get the idea behind it like that Claude Hopkins thing, the scientific advertising where you, you know, if you can’t measure advertising, don’t do it. So that eliminates 90% of those ad agencies. It’s one of the attractions for the internet thing is you can measure. Before I picked you up today at the airport, I got my split test results back for a test that was running on one of my sales pages. I was testing three separate things and one of them was more effective than the other two, so the test came up with a winner and now I’m using a more effective sales page than what I had yesterday. And so, everyone who visits the page from today on is giving me an increased conversion ratio compared to what I had before. And I love that about the internet. It’s so measurable and specific.

Tim: What were you testing, headlines? Or testing actual copy?

James: I was testing two separate headlines against no headline, and no headline beat the other two headlines.

Tim: Did it really?

James: So that could mean that my other two headlines suck, but in this case no headline increased the conversion of the product because I imagine, being on a predominantly video page, it just forces people to click play. There’s really nothing else to do except click play or read the page.

Tim: I’ve noticed, in fact, you’ve got a couple of products where it’s predominantly video. We’re going to digress here, but I think it’s worthwhile doing because…

James: Well, I think we’re ram on topic.

Tim: Are we?

James: Yes. Because, I mean, who sits there writing 30-page sales pages these days?

Tim: Yes, true.

James: I’m not going to.

Tim: Well, the topic’s sales.

James: But it’s sales, sales is taking a visitor and turning them into a buyer.

Tim: Yes.

James: Is that your understanding of it?

Tim: Yes. Spot-on.

James: Right. In fact, I think I’ve explained my understanding of what sales is, but it’s the process of change from one situation to a better alternative situation. So, in the case of someone coming to one of my websites, I want them to buy if it’s going to make them better off. If they’re better off, they’ll make a purchasing decision of their own accord. So I use less pressure than other people, but I don’t need to rely on hype, and I don’t need to rely on manipulation and pressure to the same extent as other marketers because I’ve got good value products and I have other devices that I’m able to use to help people arrive at the point where they know that’s a good decision to move forward. And in some cases it’s how they got to the page in the first place that is one of the crucial differences. They’ll be pre-sold before they even get there.

Tim: How?

James: They’ve come through one of my other media channels.

Tim: Okay.

James: They’ve come from my Facebook page where they know me. They’ve come from my email list where we have a relationship. They’ll come from an affiliate partner who has done some pre-selling on their page. So, a lot of the traffic that comes to my site is warm traffic, and my warm traffic conversions are double-digit conversions, which is unusual. For example, the Freedom Ocean audience is a double-digit conversion on my sales page. Because they already have a relationship with us, they know me, and they come from a podcast where we do have a massive value. We talk about products, when they go to the products they tend to convert at a very high rate compared to cold traffic from the internet.

Tim: And I guess, if anyone listening wants to see this process at work, then go to the products page of Freedomocean.com and you’re going to see it at work. What I was going to ask you about was those video-only pages that you have. I find that interesting. I mean, video is great because it’s very personal and engaging, but people have got to make a decision, you know what I will click this, and whether some people are going oh, I don’t have time to watch this video or I don’t want to download 100 meg of video and all that type of stuff. What are you finding in terms of less copy and just video?

James: Well, I’m multi-variant testing it. I’ve been testing, letting them download it versus not download it. I’ve been testing giving them the .pdf version of all the sales videos in transcription format with pictures, and I’ve been testing having no options, but just to watch the videos. One thing I’ve also tested is not forcing an opt-in and giving them full player control so they can stop, start, see how long it goes for in advance and move through up to four videos for nearly two hours worth of content without any manipulation devices, without any email follow up. And I’ve got some crazy stats coming back that have blown me away, and it was a massive risk to try it because most people would be greedy and they’d say, well I’m going to get 50,000 visits to my site, I’ll put a name squeeze up, I’ll build a list of 25,000 subscribers if I could convert half of them, and then I’ll hammer that list until I end up with my 3,000 or 4,000, you know, 5,000 potential end customers. Then I’ll remarket to the people who don’t buy I’ll just keep promoting and promoting and promoting until they buy or die. That’s the ethos in their industry. I don’t care about that. I only care about the buyers. I want the buyers. The rest of them can come and visit and then go away. The fact is, they’re going to keep bumping into my product over and over again because they’ll keep seeing it everywhere that I am, and that’s if they’re not being followed around the internet with my ad-words ads, or my Facebook banners. But the average traffic to my site now, more than half of it, have already been to my site before. And I’ve got an average visit time of 17 minutes to my sales page, which is unheard of. I mean, most people will click away straight away and never come back, but not with my marketing because I’m putting more effort into the pre-marketing and that is an essential differentiation. And I’m also making the product as evergreen as possible. I’m not going for the one-time launch, I’m going for you’re going to probably buy this product at some point. If you don’t want to
buy it today, that’s fine. Just have a look, come back another time, there’s no pressure to buy.

Tim: You know how you say the average hold time on your site is 17 minutes, how does Google analytics or any other analytics know? Because, like, what if I go to a site and I stay on that page and then go and grab a coffee and that’s the page that I’m on. Is it about mouse movement, or… how do they know that you’re still actually…?

James: No, I think that would probably count as a visit. But you’d have to say no matter what is actually happening it’s probably reasonably standard across the majority of visits.

Tim: Right. Average it out.

James: So, it’s just our metric… yes, so even if you take, you know, even if ‘x’ amount of visitors on a standard basis go and get coffee and leave a page open, still some of my other sites I might have the average visit of two minutes.

Tim: Yes.

James: So, I’m just saying that it’s a way of comparing one site to another.

Tim: Yes.

James: Because, all things being equal, it probably averages out.

Tim: Let’s get back on topic. So, sales. Sales copy. Holding people, engaging people. What do you… where do you start with this topic, really? Because it’s just, it’s so important.

James: It’s a huge topic, and I think let’s just start with the fact that to arrive at a distilled formula or template or method of doing this you’re probably going to have a journey of consuming and understanding a lot about this. It’s a topic you can’t learn too much about. I have a bookshelf stuffed full of marketing in sales and psychology and every type of book you can imagine. From influence, persuasion, hypnosis, NLP, all the Seth Godin type books, the Dan Kennedy books, every copywriter that ever lived and walked the planet. I’ve got as many books as I can find on the subject, and a lot of them are saying the same things over and over again. It always comes down to a basic thing of grabbing attention or being engaging enough when people arrive, relating to them and understanding their problem, being able to help them translate that. Give them a few comparisons and some facts and build your authority and offer some outcomes that are attractive for them, and then you’ve got to tell them what to do, like ask them to buy and then try to reduce the amount of risk that they’re taking if you can, whether you’re doing that via proof or some sort of guarantee. People like Jay Abraham really go into these topics on a deeper level.

Tim: You mentioned a few writers there. Who would you put right up there as people who are really worth…

James: Investigating?

Tim: Yes.

James: Seth Godin, Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy, Claude Hopkins.

Tim: You mentioned Seth Godin in context of a writer? Or as a marketing person who really engages people?

James: No, I don’t care about the writing side of it at all. I couldn’t care less about it. I’m not a book author or a writer. I don’t get into that whole thing. Some of the really good writers like David Deutsch have amazing material, so I just read it and try to get what they’re getting to. But it’s all too academic for me. I know lots of really poor copywriters, which fascinates me. They struggle, they’re running around like blue-ass flies, always working for clients, and deadlines, and putting out their great copy that goes off to direct-response companies and makes millions for other people, but they market themselves so poorly. I find that really interesting.

Tim: I’d love to put a challenge out right now, and this challenge will obviously be out there now for however long these podcasts are out. But, if there are writers out there listening who really think they are – I’m just going to say strong sales oriented writers – then please contact us via Facebook or, what email address are we using at the moment? Is it, is it questions@freedomocean.com? Or, actually, no, just go to contact on Freedomocean.com and contact us through the inquiry form. Because I have few and far between, James; I’ve met many writers in my 23, 24 years in marketing communications. I think many of them are beautiful writers, but beauty doesn’t sell always. You know, they’re real craftsmen, they really – in fact, some are… I’ve even said to the odd writer, you know, if you want to go, if you want to write for us, you know, then become an author. Go and write a book. I find very few writers that are just really strong in sales.

James: Well, I’ve found some who have been quite good influences. I’ve been fortunate enough to know… I personally know people like John Carlton and Bond Halbert and Dave Deutsch, and Howard Kilstein. Howard’s got a philosophy; he says you should write one for the customer and one for you. I think that’s a great thing for any writer to start doing. Start building your own sales messages and make your own products. John’s thing is he says that there’s no better copywriter than you for your own product, and I pretty much stick to that one. When you think about it, the best marketers in most industries are able to talk copy, are able to write their own sales things or get close to it before they have to outsource it.

Tim: I find that I’m going through this process at the moment. In fact, the writer I use I think might well listen to the show, and it’s for a mastermind group that I’m putting together and it’s a product that I really want to get to market but it’s taking me a while to get it to market. But I briefed the writer, got some beautiful copy back, and I’ve now taken that copy and it gave me the inspiration to then reword it and get the copy right. I’ve spent hours rewording that copy and I’m, you know, I’m 90% there, but that last 10% is just so important to me and I can’t get over that hump and I’m not sure that the answer is to send it back to my writer to fix because, exactly what you said, it is like the best writer of your copy is yourself. But it’s just like, and also because it’s just so important, I feel as though if I get it wrong then the whole thing is just going to not take off, which is not true because the sales process for this mastermind group I’m putting together is not just reliant on the website copy. But you can spend some time on it and I’d hate to think our listeners are all sitting out there right now thinking, you know, are you saying that you’ve got to be a great writer?

James: No. I’m saying I’m not a great writer. I’m not a great copywriter. I’ve just got a basic understanding of salesmanship, and I warm up my audience enough that I don’t have to hit them over the head or force them to make a decision. So, I get away with a lot of sales for someone who can’t really write copy. I don’t sit there writing sales copy. I don’t do it at all. I’d rather make a slide show in Keynote using a template that I have and I can put together a sales letter in about an hour on a slide show and be ready to record it. In fact, it’s so formulaic now that I’ve given it to my team. I’ve actually just put down my thoughts, lined it up into a structure, given it to my team, and they make sales videos now without any input from me.

Tim: Now let me understand that. So are you saying you use Keynote in order to plan the writing of a sales letter? Or is your sales letter… a deck of slides with audio?

James: It’s a sales video. Yes, and it’s been a format… that’s right. And I use that from stage, I use it from webinars, I use it for sales letters online. It’s the same basic formula and I have sold millions of dollars using that formula. And this is the best part. I gave it to my mastermind students as a draft and some of them have gone off, used it to sell workshops and I want them to just had a [sonet] workshop in a nom- Internet marketing niche using the template. He sent me a testimonial. He said it was amazing. It basically takes people from not knowing anything about it at all to just following a bouncing ball. And I know that that sounds too simplistic, and it is too simplistic. I think it’s the bare minimum that people should have but I can give it to my team members in a foreign country who don’t speak English as their first language, and they can make sales videos that sell using this. And we use it for affiliate websites, we use it to sell services, and they even record over with their own voice.

Tim: Right at this point in time, you can just hear a couple of listeners who picked up their iPods and are screaming down, not the speaker down the screen side, “Give me the template!” Well, that will appear on our product’s page in months to come. It’s not available just yet. But do you just want to whet the appetite of the listeners to some of the component parts of that.

James: Sure! Yup. It’s a short story that I had catered out. I’m constantly putting out new sales pages for events, masterminds, forums, whatever, so I decided to template it for myself. That’s how almost all of my product start is for me. And I’ve been using this formula casually for the last couple of years and I decided to document it for myself at the end of last year. So I put it into Keynote’s slideshow as like step, step, step. So I could literally book a plane to London, hop on the plane, and in business class, I can put together, it would take me about five or six hours to make an amazing 90-minute live presentation using this formula.

Tim: What if we were in Economy would it take a bit longer?

James: I don’t use the computer in Economy.

Tim: (Laughter)

James: Generally, you won’t get a charger.

Tim: Correct!

James: For me, the economy is about the minimum where you get a power supply.

Tim: Yeah.

James: And it’s such a miserable trip, you’re better off just to watch movies.

Tim: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

James: But you can do it in your hotel room the night before if you need to.

Tim: Okay.

James: But anyway, I know it’s only for myself because I like to do things at the last minute while I’m fresh and thinking about just that thing.

Tim: Yeah, how do you do?

James: Yeah. If I’m presenting to an audience, I want to get into the mindset of the audience just prior, I want to case the room if I can in the morning, and then I want to prepare the last parts of the slide, not because I don’t respect them or respect their time, or haven’t prepared because I’m lazy.

Tim: Quite, quite the opposite.

James: It’s because I care so much about them that I want it to be relevant and real and fresh, so I get into that mind space. And for the last time I did a live presentation, I used my template and the people said that they were mesmerized or spellbound, and I think you saw that presentation.

Tim: Yup, I did.

James: So that was using the template. It is, for the most part, it’s invisible. You wouldn’t know that I’m using a template because it’s all natural once you make– once you personalize it and make it your own. So some of the elements of it, firstly, it comes from the approach that we’re making a chocolate coated carrot and this is an expression that I’ve come up with. I was very frustrated with people who want to buy things that are no good for them and will kill those chances of success but they just go nuts for them. They’re always up these– do you see those sexy sales letters–

Tim: Yup.

James: – that promise you– a subject line I saw the other day. It was a $160,000 in 1.4 minutes. And I’m like, “Okay, the market that sense that is a douche bag.” But the person who believes it–

Tim: Double douche bag.

James: Sad! That’s just sad that people fall for that because you know it’s not right. Why would the person spend the 1.4 minutes writing an email instead of just making a $160,000?

Tim: And it’s those– it’s those headlines and it’s those approaches to marketing that I actually think limit the audience that listen to Freedom Ocean, and that disappoints me because I think there’s a lot of people out there who may see this Freedom Ocean, an Internet training podcast or an Internet business podcast or whatever it is and quickly push it aside because it’s another one of those million bucks in 1.4 minute talk shows. It’s not, but then I think it’s really sad and they really type the industry with a very large brush.

James: It’s amazing how much– so the extent like I get some incredibly hostile support tickets and unsubscribe from people–

Tim: Yeah.

James: – who have been just so burnt and not by the marketers that they want to attack you before they even ask you anything. So it’s quite fascinating. But anyway, my frustration was that people, for some reason, are attracted to the wrong thing. It’s like– it’s just like candy. It’s like they really– they just want a chocolate. If it was up to them, they would like chocolate for three meals a day and then they’ll die from malnutrition because they’re not getting vegetables or meat or protein, so I can’t resist chocolate-coated carrot. I’ll put a little bit of what they are attracted to on the outside to get them interested but I’ll give them what they need. As soon as they bite through that chocolate, they’re getting the carrot which is good for them. So I’ve tried to incorporate some exciting elements to the package but it’s actually good for them and it’s going to help them. So my last product was like that. It was really amazing, quality information that will help people, so I had to put some elements on the [rapa] that make it interesting enough for people to buy.

Tim: It’s the classic marketing concept of give them what they want and not what they need.

James: Yup.

Tim: Because if it gives them what they need upfront which is the carrot–

James: That’s very boring.

Tim: It’s very boring and people go [all down] on the veggies and they’ll go off looking for chocolate. So yeah, I love that. I love–

James: Yeah.

Tim: It gives them what they want upfront but then very quickly–

James: switch to what they need. Yeah.

Tim: – switch, yeah, and they you got a customer for life.

James: Yeah, because they appreciate it and as your point, I switched to the carrot before the purchase button. (Laughter)

Tim: (Laughter) Yeah, yeah.

James: So it’s not bait and switch. It’s just the very, very– I think, who was it, somebody called at the monkey’s fist, and it was very famous copywriter.

Tim: What’s the concept on the monkey’s fist?

James: Those big boats that come into the dock, they have these huge ropes.

Tim: Yeah.

James: Like if they threw that over the side, they’d kill the guy down below. So they get this little brass ball and tied to string.

Tim: All right.

James: This is called a monkey’s fist. And they throw that over first and the guy cathces the ball.

Tim: It’s killed by the monkey fist instead.

James: It pulls the little string and that throws into the thick rope.

Tim: Right.

James: And I really want to credit the guy that came up with that because he was an awesome writer.

Tim: Well if you keep telling us about some of the structure of this wonderful template, it will come to you.

James: Yeah, it will come. So anyway, just use it as a monkey’s fist to get the thing going, and then you go to the thick rope which is the carrot.

Tim: Yup.

James: Always think about the target person in mind. Who really is the right person for this product because that’s this whole short sales letter, long sales letter thing. It’s been around forever. People say or people get bored, they won’t read a long letter, blah, blah, blah but you’re only after a certain person, and everyone can get lost because they’re not the right person for the offer. So be clear about who it’s for in the first place and whether use a Eban Pagan method of having an avatar or whatever, think about, you can picture who the perfect customer is and you can frame yourself around that. So that’s one of the elements.

Tim: Just on that, just so we’re really clear there is the Eban Pagan method of avatar is not the film. It’s the actual concept of actually picturing in your mind as an avatar your perfect customer, and what they look like, what they think, what problem do they have, what’s their view on ten category in which you’re selling, all these questions that take you flabby on the demographic kind of all the eighteen-year old males to something much more emotional and meaningful that if you get it– so you’re getting sort ahead.

James: Yup.

Tim: Yup. Okay, next
James: By the way, it was Gary Bencivenga

Tim: There is.

James: – who was one of the credit, probably the best ever.

Tim: The monkey’s fist man.

James: The only guy that Gary Albert gave any sort of threat to water.

Tim: Wow, okay.

James: He’s the best.

Tim: Okay.

James: Okay. So moving on, we’ve got the avatar – and well before I ever heard of that concept, I was always doing that anyway, thinking about trying to place yourself on the customer’s shoes. I think it was Zig Ziegler talking about walking a mile in a man’s shoes. Well you basically hone in on where someone’s at right now, so if you’re marketing a fat loss pill, then you’re honing in on the fat person where what frustrations are they feeling right now. How is it when they’re lumbering out onto the aeroplane and they have to take up three seats, and that really relating to them right, and that’s how you get attention or curiosity or whatever. So you come up with themes and thinking and stories around that right now. “Sick and tired of taking up three seats on the aeroplane or you wish to stretch a leg and not hit the seat in front of you?”, that sort of stuff.

Tim: Head-nodding questions.

James: Yes.

Tim: Yeah?

James: Yeah, that’s a good way of putting it. So I work on who is this for. We really start to zooming on who it’s for. We try and grab that attention and get some curiosity, and then you’ve got to make it– you got to actually connect why is it actually important for them. I think this sort of comes from Mark Joiners’ formula. Why is this important for somebody? What’s in it for them? Why should they care less? How you get to overcome this, so what? You’ve really got to make this relevant for them because as soon as they’re not, they’re away. They’re switched off. That’s what I think one of my friends said be very careful about asking a question in your headline because if your answer is not the same, you’ve lost a lot there.

Tim: Yup.

James: We go through there in to–

Tim: I just want to understand that last one a bit more? So you got some head nodding questions happening, and then you’re launching into explaining why, what you have for them is important to them.

James: Yeah.

Tim: So give me an example of that.

James: Well, I say you got a very, very large person and they don’t fit in a plane, then you could talk about how there’s been a new way of traveling that allows large people comfort space or there’s a new supplement that will allow them to halve their body size within a month, and so they can travel in comfort or whatever like– it’s basically getting them interested in the outcome, making them stakeholder and whatever the benefit is.

Tim: Okay, got you.

James: You got to have the hook. John Carlton talks about the hook in detail. And his simple writing system is probably the best systemized thing that I’ve seen.

Tim: Yeah, great. I agree. We’ll put a link in the show notes to John’s– he’s got a number of different products but even if–

James: He’s got a lot of them, [and the office] names too. I think he’s probably the– well, he’s the widest ripped off copywriter.

Tim: Okay, got you.

James: (Laughter) They don’t pay him royalties, they just take it.

Tim: Well I’ll tell you what. From my experience and I’ve got John’s product, “The Simple Writing System,” and I also– but even if you would have just signed up to his series of– to his email response thing, the first ten tips that you get are bloody get. They really are.

James: Yeah. He’s been a– he worked with Gary Halbert and with Jay Abraham.

Tim: He’s a grumpy old bugger.

James: Yeah. Well, he like to pretend he is.

Tim: Okay.

James: He’s actually a soft marshmallow.

Tim: Soft underneath.

James: Yeah.

Tim: Okay.

James: But yup, he got a good system, so he develops the hook well but that’s really the thing that makes it all work. I think he describes it that he learned from Gary Albert– if people aren’t interested in the way that where can I get it, when you talk about the hook, then it’s not good enough.

Tim: So what’s an example of a hook?

James: The hook would be– in a serious way, I’m not one of those copy writing technical things.

Tim: Yeah.

James: The hook is that thing that gets them in.

Tim: Yeah.

James: That’s the one-legged golfer who can shove yards of this, go swing it off.

Tim: How could you not want it?

James: Yeah, that’s like that, “Really? Tell me more.”

Tim: Yeah, yeah.

James: Yes, so that’s the hook. So you got to get the hook– got to make it pretty attractive things. So whatever it is, whatever it is that you’re selling, you want to make it– frame it in a way that makes people very compelled. So in Freedom Ocean, the hook is that you might actually be able to escape that hard job one day and run your own business and have better lifestyle. So when we put freedom in the name, we were talking about lifestyle, and I think it really was around that. How do you get out of this prison cell of work and start doing things on your own terms. So that’s the hook.

Tim: And then often– then often, the hook’s benefit. Any great copywriter will talk about benefit, benefit, benefit.

James: Yeah, we’d have to talk to a great copywriter about that.

Tim: Well, I can– my learnings from that is that as business owners, we so often wanted just go with the features, now we got this and this and this. When you list a feature, there’s a nice little tip that I got and I don’t know who it is from, but it is, like the feature of– a feature of Freedom Ocean is that we put as a weekly podcast about some aspect of Internet marketing, yeah, which is kind of like, now that you know it. But the benefit is, we put our weekly podcast about some aspect of Internet marketing which means that you’ll get to your dream business quicker and it’s that– those two words which means to turn a feature into a benefit, just a nice little [too much] like a tool, just two words which means, and all of a sudden you got a benefit, and we love benefits because it’s about being– or it’s about us as customers.

James: The “what’s in it for me.”

Tim: The “what’s in it for me,” correct! There are some pretty good– you don’t want to give the whole template away James, because I know that it is something that will appear in the Freedom Ocean product’s page down the track but I can already see where that’s going. I mean you really– from the moment, like as you say, you’ve entered that room to get a sense of who’s your audience, you’re building a story.

James: It’s relevant to the right person. It’s– yeah, so even though if we’ve covered maybe a third of it at best, we got the right person paying attention to the message and they’re interested in more. That’s really the good foundation and then it just goes on to basically the point where you tell them what to do.

Tim: Yup.

James: Don’t forget that. Tim: The call to action.

James: Yeah. Do this now or blah, blah, blah.

Tim: Yup.

James: Whatever you want them to do, whether it’s opt in or buy something. You must tell them clearly what to do.

Tim: Extraordinarily, and in fact, a great example of that is in the emails that we send out to the people who are registered freedomocean.com to receive an update or an alert that there’s a new show out. And the second paragraph says, I can’t think of an exact words here, but it says, “Go to Episode 12,” then we have a little bit more copy and maybe a paragraph or two at the most, then it says “Click here to go to Episode 12.” And they’re the calls to action. That’s what we want people to do. We want people to click on that to go to our website, to download the episode.

James: For their own benefit.

Tim: For their own benefit, and the rest of the copy is exactly explaining that. And it’s amazing, with the call to action, you think of people know what to do or they want. Make it crystal clear, pretty overt, and silly about–

James: And they can ask in different ways.

Tim: Yeah.

James: Which we asked about three different ways. I think we even carried in the P.S.

Tim: We do, yeah. So it’s “Go to Episode 12. Click here to go to Episode 12 P.S.–

James: That’s a way you get the transcription.

Tim: There’s a way you get the transcription.

James: And that’s why our click-through rate is quite good.

Tim: Our click-through rate is phenomenal. Our click-through exceeds a hundred percent often which means that lots of people are opening it up more than once which is fantastic.

James: Yeah.

Tim: Absolutely fantastic. But that’s interesting. The call to action is something that often we forget. In fact driving to the airport this morning, I still look at billboards. I can’t help myself and all the advertising guide. And I look at the billboard on the way to the airport knowing that that billboard right there– and I won’t say what the brand was but it’s a big brand right there, it would be about 40 to 50 grand a month to have that pleasure of that space on that freeway, and I know that the marketing manager, it’s all about branding, but there was no call to action at all. There wasn’t website or a phone number. What I will say was it was for– it was for tire company and I would have thought, you know what, I’m driving to the airport, I’m going, “Yeah, my tires do need replacing. What a great opportunity to get on the phone and I just find it amazing, even in our media where the cost of the placement is so high, surely, surely, you’d want someone to pick the phone up or get online and actually act on the message.

James: I don’t really get that whole airport tire thing. I wouldn’t ask the people be from another country and then they’re in a bus or a taxi, or the hire car.

Tim: No, it wasn’t actually at the airport. It was on the way to the airport, okay. They’re good mate, I could exactly see how you can build up a really compelling story.

James: So here’s my– here’s really my [harm] work–

Tim: Here we go, all right.

James: – for the audience is workout a formula that you’re happy with and just make yourself a little template. It can be ten lines in a Word doc.

Tim: Yup.

James: It’s just a little prompt, or a chit chat, or a checklist. I’ve got my one. You should have your own one but if you knew nothing else, just remember that you’re really zooming in on the customer and their problem and you’re there to solve it and show them why your solution is clearly the best thing and tell them how they can take advantage of it. That’s the bottom line.

Tim: We could wrap it out there but I’m not going to because there’s a question that came to me while you’re talking before which is this concept of the long sales letter which is almost like it’s inherent in the Internet marketing. So you list all them or maybe I’ve just unsubscribed to every Internet marketer to write them. Now what you said before is for 90% of the people that see that long sales letter on that sales page, they’re going to click off but then, the marketer themselves only wants the 10% that they’re going to stay. But boy, over the time of subscribing to lots of different things have I seen some long, long, long sales letters with bolded, yellow-highlighted copy, and arrows pointing and flashing and boy, I don’t know if I bought too many– even I have bought from them, I’ve just skim down and go now, well.

James: I think anyone has been around the Internet marketing spaces over that style of cheesy, red headline, bolded things.

Tim: You think it’s over?

James: Not the long sales letter. I mean go to Amazon.com and have a look how long those pages are.

Tim: Amazon, well, it’s a little bit different. Amazon, they are long pages but they– I don’t see them a sales letters.

James: Come on! They’re long and it’s–

Tim: But you got searched from the book, you have got–

James: Yeah. You got “All the people who bought that book liked this book.” These are the most common–

Tim: But that’s not a sales letter. That’s a sales page. I think there’s a difference. You know what I’m talking about from–

James: It’s a long sales page.

Tim: Dear friend, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They have to buy now.

James: But it’s the same process. They’re trying to take that the inquiry and turn them into an order.

Tim: Yup.

James: Like you didn’t buy the book here so now we’re going to say what other books people bought. And now we’re going to say here are the notes from the book and then down here is like three other books that are similar. Down there is like if you didn’t buy any of that, then try for like– it really just goes on and on and on.

Tim: Well, what I do like about Amazon, I’ve never thought of it as a sales letter, and maybe that’s what I love about it is because you know what, they’re actually feeding the information that I actually really like. I like the fact that, “Ah, so people who bought this book actually went and bought this, this, and this.” And I know it seems relevant to me, whereas the long sales letter just seems a little bit disrespectful.

James: It is disrespectful; same as forcing people to give you their name upfront with no content is disrespectful.

Tim: So back to the question of the long sales letter with the yellow highlights and the red arrows and everything, there’s still a roll for it?

James: I don’t think so. I think that went out in the 80’s with the Ferrari Testa Rossa, whatever what that was around. That’s just cheesy.

Tim: Right.

James: I’m over it. I think most our audience is over it.

Tim: Okay.

James: I think the modern approach now, sorry for the [tell] told you there, the modern approach is an Optimized Press page with a nice 16” by 9” aspect video. That’s the modern approach.

Tim: Okay. A lot of our listeners–

James: You’re going engaged and entertained and put high quality design and the message together.

Tim: Yup. So a lot of our listeners want to know what an Optimize Press page is. Now Optimize press is a WordPress theme.

James: Yup.

Tim: That is– it is a beautifully structured thing which basically allows for–

James: You can just go and drop in a video and it will play it for you. You drop in a “.m4v” format video, it will play on a Windows or an Apple device.

Tim: Man, you are [kicking] to that, a .m4v.

James: I’ve been listening to the business podcast. (Laughter)

Tim: There’s a very good small business marketing podcast that I could put you on to which we’ve really, really go into that technical speak. Tell me, it’s bigger than that. An Optimize Press, yes, it allows– what’s the structure of it? It’s headline, video?

James: Okay. The history of this– the history of it is the guy that made that product, James Dyson, not the vacuum cleaning guy. He’s a graphic designer and he did all the graphic designs for a lot of the big businesses that were doing 10 or more million dollars a year in sales and he took all the winning split test and graphic design elements from that and put them into a template. And all you do as an Optimize Press user is you put in, you just in your video and is just select the arrows you want, all the call to action you want and you put in your name capture list that you want. And we’re using Optimize Press for all our sales pages. It doesn’t get any easier that that.

Tim: Yeah.

James: Traffic Grabber is an Optimize Press site.

Tim: It’s interesting that he was a graphic designer because that makes a lot of sense. I didn’t know James was a graphic designer.

James: That’s how he started.

Tim: He knows how people’s – way people’s lives go to and the flow of the message.

James: Yeah, he’s like a genius designer about five years ago. He met an up and coming Internet marketer who took him under his wing and coached him in how to build a real business around it. That Internet marketer invited into a live event where he spoke as an expert and the crowd wants a package all pre-done and that Internet marketer suggested he turn it into Optimize Press which is an incredibly successful business.

Tim: Brilliant!

James: And James Dyson is also going to be speaking at my next live event.

Tim: He is. He is and that is a good place to finish because– well, depending when people listen to this, if they go to freedomocean.com, they will see the old banner promoting an upcoming live event that James is running in, what month of this year 2011?

James: October.

Tim: October, on the Sunshine Coast where else? It’s not a Freedom Ocean event but what a great place.

James: That’s a good [holiday]. A lot of people are taking their whole family.

Tim: Absolutely!

James: But if you are listening to this, I’ll see you then. Then you should grab the recordings.

Tim: Yup, very true. So go to freedomocean.com and click on the product’s page. But if it’s before then, you amazed me at how many people have pre-registered, at least registered their interest in coming, so we expect to see quite a lot of people there and looking forward to that, big time, [I might say, I might be a listener.]

James: I think you will. You might even get some stage time.

Tim: No, not that

James: Guest appearance.

Tim: You know I don’t like talking. (Laughter)

James: (Laughter)

Tim: All right, James. That’s it, mate! Episode 12, or can we put that one down to being complete? Going forward, we’re going to be talking outsourcing which I know, everyone wants to hear a little bit more about, learn a little bit more about. We have got a listener questions show coming up. I have got so many questions from so many different sources. It’s not funny. So in fact, there’ll be more than one listener question show coming up, and we’ve got a whole lot of other topics to cover – list building and even talking about, what we haven’t done which is kind of surprising but we’ll do a show coming up on the website. Hey, imagine that!

James: Right.

Tim: Internet marketing in website?

James: Yeah.

Tim: Funny stuff. So all right guys, that is it for another episode of Freedom Ocean. James, been an absolute pleasure. Where do you off to doing now, mate?

James: I’m going to probably going try my hand making a decent coffee. It’s a work in progress.

Tim: (Laughter) I might join you for that. All right guys!

James: And remember to leave comments.

Tim: Leave comments and go and join us on Facebook. “Like” freedomocean.com because there’s a real community going up there.

James: There is, good people.

Tim: I might go check the comments.

James: Good people.

Tim: See you mate!

James: Ba-bye!


  1. Love the content as usual guys!!!

  2. Peter Miller says

    Your transcript for Episode 12 is not showing on the page concerned !!!!! bugger – I’m sure you’ll fix it soon. Regards, PM.

  3. Guys, just got to say… I run a small Handyman business in the UK and have really found it excellent how your easy going, no BS approach (on all episodes) has really allowed me to think out the box and find a way to apply your methods and approach to my service. I have big ‘ol competitors here in London and the odds have (until now) been stacked against me – but, unfortunately for them I am striding down the beach and looking forward to dipping the first toe into the freedom ocean!!

    Thank you. You may just have made all the difference to the future success or failure of my little company.


    p.s. yours is the only podcast that I am able to listen to time and time again. Each time I find a “pearl of wisdom” that I previously missed.

    • Nice work Sean. Thanks for your kind words. It make what we do all worthwhile. Send us through the link to anything you create…we’d love to see it.

    • thats Awesome Sean. They dont stand a change – go get em!

  4. What goes around . . . turns into affiliate sales.
    I got a lovely email saying I had some commission from James and it made me smile – thank you so much – I guess this means I am out of the blocks.
    I have been doing online marketing consulting for a couple of years and after listening to these podcasts I was delighted to be able your professional SEO & Web Design packages that I trust to my clients. I have started a SEO campaign and the team have been fantastic – process really smooth. Implementing SEO to sell more SEO packages – WoW !
    I have lots more quotes out there so looking forward to many more emails from James in the future – thanks again guys – yes it is working and making a difference.
    Cheers guys.

  5. Love the show as usual though the left and right channel mixing plays havoc with my earphones at the gym!
    Came to find the show notes for the author you mention with the sales writing – can’t find it? Will listen to the show again (maybe it’ll drum the info in anyway).

  6. I just want to say just how much I love listening to these podcasts. Every one is gold.
    This one is one of my favorites. I enjoy my weekly FO fix and I appreciate the time that you take to make these available. I listen to these on my way to the nuthouse called “work” each day.
    I get so inspired that I hit my computer as soon as I can when I get home. I usually have enough motivation available to hit my next campaign fast. You guys are great. Thank you.

  7. Still enjoying your podcasts. Thank you so much. I am trying to find somthing to get me out of my factory work as I am injured now and they don’t want me. I get very dishearted in my busy household. But keep coming back. I will conquor it. Good on you boys.

    • Be strong Kay – Internet Marketing is easier on the body than factory work!

    • Kay, stick at it. Keep absorbing the knowledge, but at some point, make the hard decision take action. To choose one business model that resonates with you. Of all the ones James and I have discussed so far, the local video marketing method is by far the one that I see as having the opportunity for a decent return in a reasoanble amount of time. It really is a business in a box. Thanks for your kind words.

  8. Thanks for the great podcasts – lots of really valuable stuff in every show.

    The video sales page just clicked for me. I was stuck for some time on the copy for some business accounting packages that we are putting together specifically for online business and those wanting to go online. Video is the obvious solution to explain the benefits like I am talking to one of my clients.

    Spent the weekend putting together the script and should do the screencast tonight.

    any thanks and please don’t stop with the podcasts.

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