So How’s That Working Out For You?

I tell rookies to never, ever assume anything about anything. Ever.

Especially about your target audience. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is to assume your prospect knows as much as youdo about whatever it is you’re selling.

And it’s almost never true. You’re dealing with your product day in and day out, and you’ve dealt with the details so often, it’s all second-nature to you.

But your prospect isn’t working in your office. Even if he’s in the same business as you, he has other priorities. He may desperately need what you offer… but that doesn’t mean he’s researched you and your product as thoroughly as you might have, in his shoes.

If you assume he understands all the technical jargon and insider terms you’re laying on thick, you stand a good chance of losing him. Even when I’m dealing with rabid markets — like golf or guitar playing or cigar smoking — I use jargon sparingly, for emphasis. Like adding spice for flavor — don’t overdo it.

That’s why it’s important to “translate” everything into plain English in your copy… even if you would swear on a stack of Bibles that “everyone knows what this means”. This is especially true when you’re slinging slang around.

I have to watch the assumption thing, myself. Constantly.

For example, when someone books an hour’s phone consultation with me, I assume they prepare. At least a little, teeny-tiny bit.

My hour’s aren’t cheap, and often it’s tough to squeeze the consultations into my schedule. It’s not like a friendly chat with the guy down the hall. When your hour’s up, it’s up.

And it goes by fast.

So, I’m always baffled when the guy on the other end of the line starts arguing with me about something basic.

Especially the stuff I assume he must know, or he wouldn’t be asking me for advice.

I assume, for example, that he would have at least glanced at the “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets” course first. You know, to sort of get an idea of where I’d be coming from.

Silly me.

The last consultation I had started out fine… but five minutes into it, I found myself in a heated argument about whether long copy really works in online ads or not.

I thought, okay… you wanna waste half the call going over one of the very FIRST and most OBVIOUS parts of what I discuss in my materials… and what EVERY top marketer knows, from experience and testing… fine.


It’s good practice for me to go over the argument. Again.

Look — just in case you’re one of those guys who looks at top-grossing entrepreneurial sites, and wonders “if people really read all that copy”… stop and think for a second.

We don’t use long copy for our sales pitches because we enjoy slaving over the keyboard.

No, we use it… because that’s what WORKS.

In essence, your copy is your salesman. Face-to-face, he has to cover the entire sales message to make the cash register go ka-ching — cover all the benefits, explain all the features, establish credibility, and make a case for money trading hands, right now while the iron’s hot.

You wouldn’t tell your salesman to only use 100 words, and then clam up, would you? (Go back to the end of the line if you said “why not?”)

Your copy is your sales pitch. It’s long, because great sales pitches are long. You’re asking someone to part with money… and online, they can’t see your product, can’t hold it, can’t smell it… in fact, they have to take your word for everything.

Or rather, your words. And your words must convince, persuade, influence and close the deal… or you don’t make the sale.

That’s why the top marketers all use long copy.

“But,” says this guy on the horn, “There are a lot of people out there who insist that short copy is better.”

Oh, really? Like who?

“Lots of people.”

Nobody who’s making any money, I tell him. Does your competition use long copy?


And how are your ads pulling, compared to theirs?

“They’re creaming us.”

Soooooooo… how’s short copy working out for you, then?

That line is a favorite of folksy therapists. Someone explains how they’re sleeping with their brother’s wife, cooking up crank in the bathroom for extra cash, and getting in bar fights as a hobby.

And the therapist sighs and says: So, how’s that working out for you?

Humans are a stubborn bunch. All of us. We all have huge blind spots about certain things we do.

In marketing, it’s pretty simple, though, to know when your beligerence is unjustified. Look at your results.

If your bottom line isn’t what you know it should be… then you’re doing something wrong.

It ain’t working so hot for you.

You cannot argue your way to wealth in the open marketplace.

You gotta make your case, and do a good sales job. Everything else is just pissing in the wind.

Do what works. Get hip, to get rich.

And now, I’m off to Los Angeles to speak at Armand Morin’s excellent Big Seminar. Wish me luck.

And stay frosty.

John Carlton

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