[Quiz] Okay, So What’s Your NEXT Step?


Saturday, 8:42pm
Reno, NV
“Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over. (HAL to astronaut Dave in “2001”)


Okay, let’s do a quickie quiz, what d’ya say?

It’s Saturday evening, after all… and I just got my ass whupped by Michele at Scrabble (her first win, ever, in 10 years of trying) (and I don’t expect to ever hear the last of it anytime soon).

(What’s the time limit on doing the “Ass Whup” dance, mocking your partner, anyway?)

So, to keep my mind off the misery of such a wrenching loss (she accidentally used all 7 letters in her third turn, and that bonus 50 points is what beat me), I’m hiding in my office.

I’ve got maybe 10 minutes before I have to come out and face more taunting and jublilation.

Thus, a quick blog post.  (“Get out of here!  I gotta work…”)

I’m giving a prize away, of course.

Let’s se… how about a fresh copy of “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel” to the first right answer.

I’ve got a nice new one burning a hole on the shelf across from my desk.  It’s got your name on it, Mr/Ms Winner.  I’ll sign it, and have Diane ship it out asap.

Sound good?

Okay.  Here’s the quiz:

The most common question I get from entrepreneurs who are stuck on some part of their marketing…

… is “what do I do next?

Let’s break it down a bit first:  In the general flow of things, online, you generate leads either from pay-per-click or some mutual affiliate-back-scratching or cool social media blitzing…

… and then you bring those hot, nubile leads to the gateway of your world (which is usually a name-capture page, if you’re looking to build your list)…

… and you proceed to entice them with your evil skills of grabbing attention, and luring them hither…

… into whatever manner you choose to begin your sales process.

The basic structure of this “Hey, c’mere, I wanna show you something” approach hasn’t changed since Web marketing began in earnest.

It’s the part after the basics that get people all hung up and bothered.

Your options within this basic structure, it turns out, are numerous.  Couple of examples:  Straight-on sales page, free offer to dig deeper into your pile of wonder, trial membership…

… you have some choices to make to encourage further engagement with what you offer.

Still, it ain’t rocket science, folks.

If you have a product that your average warm-to-hot prospect should or does want…

… then your main job is to make the process of discovering who you are and what you offer…

… as easy and comfortable as possible.

Yes, there are a few proven steps to go through to ensure the highest possible probability of success (see: Simple Writing System)…

… but the main thing is this: There is no mystery to the “menu” of steps you need to take.

There are choices, sure.

And you gotta make some decisions.

For experienced marketers, this decision-making process is easy, however.

For rookies and entrepreneurs struggling with moving into the Big Leagues… not so much.

So here’s the Big Damn Question for today’s quiz:

What is your first — and only logical, reasonable, righteous and suggested — step to take when presented with a choice of what to do next?

When you’re looking at your pay-per-click campaign, wondering which path to take in cutting up bait for your target market… what do you do?

When you’re crafting a hook for your name-squeeze page, trying to corral as many visitors as possible and build your list to ungodly size… what do you do?

When you’re greasing up your “sales slide” on your main site, looking to bring in the maximum amount of moolah possible with a fast, direct sale… what do you do?


This is “one answer fits all”.

It is, in fact, a single word.  (Oh, I’m giving it away, aren’t I…)

This is, essentially, the most common question I run into… whether I’m doing bonus “question and answer” teleseminars with new subscribers, or cashing those huge consulting checks that folks pay me for a private hour.

And I sound like a freakin’ broken record answering it.

What do you do?

There IS a single, fabulous answer.

Do you know what it is?

Be the first to nail it in the comments section, and you win that signed copy of “Kick-Ass Copywriting Secrets”.

Okay… go.

Answer (and winner announced) first thing Monday.

Good luck.

Stay frosty,


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"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."

  • K says:


    Do something and see how it works. Dig?

  • Twitter says:


    • Twitter says:

      Yes, I am the WINNER.

      Check me out on Twitter @JonathanDune
      and @TWOCOMMACOPY.

      How did I answer so fast you ask?

      John posted the message also to his Twitter account @johncarlton007 . I just happened to be working for two clients doing some TESTING on Twitter when I came across John’s message about this Quiz #5. If you’re not on Twitter, keep reading and you can get in too.

      I quickly, well, as quick as click the link in John’s Tweet (as it’s called) and was here instantly.

      The question John asked for a specific word that summed up ‘What to do next…”. In my experience(now over 35 years writing in direct response), ALL of my clients have this problem. Great thing for me though, my mantra is TEST, TEST, and TEST some more. If all else fails, TEST it again.

      But all testing aside, if you fail to make your writing measurable, you CANNOT validate your TEST. So code each TEST so that when it proves to be a winner by your set standards, you can reproduce that effect over and over again until it burns out.

      Don’t look for me on the internet, cause most of clients find me through other clients, often direct competitors. Yea, I can hear you saying to yourself, “From direct competitors? This guys blowing smoke up my…” To make a very long copy story shortened for those of you who believe short copy outsells long, it’s true.

      Because of the unique nature that’s YOU, YOUR idea, YOUR product, and YOUR service, YOU ARE UNIQUE. You just have to put that into your writing, your sales letter.

      So, thank you John for your prize. And for all of you rookies, newbies, and all of you who took the opportunity to throw your hat and comments into the fray, BRAVO! And as I say to those on Twitter: U ROCK!

      Jonathan Dune
      [San Diego CA USA & Sydney NSW Australia]

      P.S. Check me out on Twitter @JonathanDune
      and @TWOCOMMACOPY. And make sure you follow John @johncarlton007. Hey John, U SUPER ROCK!!!

      P.P.S. Not on Twitter Yet? Go here now and sign-up! http://www.twitter.com/

  • K says:

    Well if it’s obvious, I’d go with test.
    However you get ’em to pay attention, test and see what works best. Keep testing to see what works better.


  • Josh says:

    Great post John as this is exactly the battle I’m fighting right now with my boss about trying something new since what they’ve been doing doesn’t work. Only one way to find out what will work.
    My best,

  • John Thomas says:

    I have to go with test, as well.

  • Lee says:

    Test seems the best answer to me too.

  • arun says:


  • Hadds says:


    Find out what your market is and what it wants.

  • Joe says:


    in my case, with a personal phone call, since I have now made phone number a required field.
    Follow-up, personally.

    Hey, Its my birthday June 28, i’d like a prize for my birthday. Is that possible?

  • Peter says:

    Know your market inside out so whatever you tell them resonates with them and they know you understand them and their problems.


  • Phil Duprey says:

    Answer to tonight’s quiz:


  • Andy says:


    I was going to say test. But but its taken. So here it is – research.

  • Joe says:

    Second guess… Curiosity or intrigue…. Get them curious to learn more… Want more, crave more… Get the naughty tingles … 🙂

  • Joe says:

    Last Guess, since I’m going for the Gold…

    Congratulate them on the wise decision going down this path, acknowledge them for being so smart…
    and make them feel good about this, and doing EVEN MORE!!!

    I’m putting in a good effort, don’t you agree?


  • Farhad says:

    “Survey”. Use surveymonkey to find out what people want in your selected niche, and give it to them.

    That’s the essence of online marketing!

  • David Sharpe says:

    :sigh: just got the email notice about the quiz, and got beat to the draw!

    The phrase “one answer fits all” gives it away–I can only think of one answer that fits all in this game: TEST.

    Good job, guys.

  • Ian says:

    My answer is “Sell”.

    Sell them on moving deeper into your rat maze.
    Sell them a product.
    Sell them on the fact they made a good purchase.

  • Mikhail says:

    ?alculate the percentage of CONVERSION

  • Raahul says:

    “Ask” those who know what works, and use your own mind to determine if it will. Be open-minded, and try out things you’re not sure about.

  • Gaj says:

    Hi John,

    Doing surveys if you have your own list .
    If you they don’t have a list , do enough testing to find out some good converting offers in winning markets.

    hope this makes sense.

  • Mike Singer says:


    Ethically, of course. I recently listened to a teleseminar with David Garfinkel re his brilliant Copywriting Templates, and you teach the same concepts in different words in your courses, John. Why reinvent the wheel when you can just model proven copy and tactics? Testing is good, but if you can swipe what’s worked before (for you or someone else), you can move into the testing phase faster, and you have a better chance of positive results (with less effort).

  • Pete Bass says:

    You tweet because it is the fastest and cheapest way to get people to see what it is you have been doing. So tweet it to your list.

  • Geo. McCalip says:

    FREE always gets their attention and helps build a relationship.

  • Ruth Deutsch says:

    My one word is STRATEGIZE.

  • Faliq says:

    I’ll go with :

    Its the most logical, reasonable, righteous and suggested. Dont waste time on testing at this moment, just give that unresistable offers.

  • Dear John,
    Damn it, that I did not see this earlier. Re-reading your question, “… step to take when presented with a choice of what to do next?”

    “TEST” seams to be the most obvious answer, maybe I can qualify for the prize with some clever variations: “split-test,” “optimize”; The goal is to “convert” as many as possible.

  • Rhen says:


  • Geraldine says:

    you have to make a decision on what action you now make, then make another and another.
    Sort of one step at a time, if one way doesn’t work make another decision.

  • Trevor John says:


    When you need to know what to do next…just keep on repeating the basics…

  • Karen says:

    Ha! Go Michele you good thing! I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall of the “Ass Whup” dance floor!

  • Yoav says:

    Hey John,

    I’d ASK my leads. I’d call several of them up and ask what I can give/say/write that’ll blow their mind.

    And then I’ll say it to them in the adwords ad. on the landing page and in the autoresponder sequence.

  • Teresa Blaes says:

    up sale. They’ve already shown themselves to be in a buying mood capitalise on it offer them more After this, then you can test to see how well said offer is working

  • Simon says:


    can be phrased as adding value, share, give the gold. The more value you give the greater the results every time. Sure you can test and experiment but above all the clever scheming the best relationships come when you give so much value that you become priceless

    Just look at how much frosty gives us all the time

  • Geraldine says:

    promote, promote, promote

  • Steve Ovens says:

    My answer:

    You gotta do something – heck, do ANYTHING. See how that works (test it) and then do something else to improve.
    Taking action to get your offer in front of prospective customers forces you to get unstuck with whatever you’re stuck on and will get you a result. (Might not be the result you hope for, but at least you’ll know if you’re on the right track or not)!



  • Karin says:

    Ok since lots of folks have said test which was my first choice i’ll go with Give

  • Joe says:

    So, you got me awake… How about “deliver”.
    If they opted in, you want to demonstrate high value, by delivering big.

    Deliver the goodies.

  • Veit Mehler says:

    A Good Day from Australia!

    Hi John,

    the answer is Close. Close the deal.

  • Joe says:

    Get a red hot branding iron, bend them over, and brand them in the ass. For real.

    REAL branding!

  • Toni says:

    Just SELL the thing!

  • Teresa Blaes says:

    this one’s for all the gold, because you have me salivating over that freaking course but then that’s what you do best isn’t it. Oh well, here goes
    ask as in ask them for a testimonial then use scial proof to givve credability to your productyou can

  • barbara says:


    – resubmitting as I gave you the wrong email

  • barbara says:

    fundamentals, basics, checklist

  • Scott Harvey says:

    I was going to say “something” or “anything” as well (being a long-time paralysis-by-analysis kind of guy myself), but I do think the answer is “ask” (your customer/market).


  • Lee says:

    “Split-test”, which is better than “test”. ‘Cept, that’s two words (unless it becomes one by virtue of the hyphen).

  • Arman Vakili says:

    I’d say… Serve.

    That should be the mentality behind every piece of marketing that you write and the actions that you take in your business.

    Verdict please.

  • Michael Schofield says:


  • Hi John,
    the answer is research. Understand what your markets buttons are and how to press them …and then…well you just press ’em.!



  • Me again,
    there’s also stuff like your USP but you can’t do that until you understand your market so I’m sticking with research…again !!!

  • Ron "The Juice" says:

    Bribe! … or incentivize. Either that or influence in some way, but hmm, the best way I know to influence is bribe.

    BTW, nice meeting you in Vegas.


  • The one “word” to rule them all is – “TEST”.

    • I hadn’t read all the comments, there are like a million “test” answers. It still seems to be the one “word” to “rule them all. Shucks. Where was I when the email hit…

  • Craig T says:

    OK John
    If it hasn’t been said yet, and it should have been, the singe word should be – Action!

  • I think someone may have already said this but I think the answer is action

  • James says:


    I’m playing mental tabletennis between what I think – and what I think you think…


    “copy” is my answer.

    I mean – in the examples you gave John, in kinda all starts with getting something written.

    I know that a lot of my early money-repulsing activities were killed by following some simple advice:

    Just Start Writing.




  • Make an Irresistable “OFFER”! I believe the “offer”is the next best thing to do.

  • Peter says:

    My answer is TEST your market

  • Wayne Pratt says:

    You need to take action.

  • Zach says:


    as in “give something away”

  • Dave says:


    I wrote a post about this on my new blog

  • Eric Rosen says:

    Find the HOOK.

  • Ola says:

    USP or Hook.

  • Christoffer says:

    Question yourself with: WHO are you writing for?

  • Chris says:


    I think it’s always about offering enough value to keep them interested – I know it’s not typical ‘affiliate thinking’ but I do think it’s what makes successful affiliate (and of course other sites). They need to win out of the process too – when your prospect is winning, they’ll help you win (if you let them).

  • Imagine and create a perfect prospect, give the benefits more than features of your product.

    Focus on what will bring you the most beneficts, and forget all the hype than is coming towards you.

    Discover the tools you need to implement your core strategy and lrearn to use them.

    Action. Do something is better than learning alone.


  • Cyndi says:

    (Just logged on and see I wasn’t first with this, but wanted to add my voice to baying pack).

    • John Carlton says:

      Ah, the baying pack, God love ’em. I’m proud to be a member.
      Some smart dogs in this pack, Cyndi. Thanks for writing… even though, you know…

  • seano says:

    target your market and choose your keywords to match, test competitor sites keywords and use them and more, define the keyword match to your product or offering and use your adcopy to do the rest, ok you can also affiliate with other sites for commission offerings generally google will do the job of bringing customers to your site just by defining your keyword search specifically and maybe some more. this is what i do and it works for me.


  • Elsa says:


    (written without looking)

    though I’m sure it’s somewhere above

  • Jason says:

    (you are already acting by crafting your hook and greasing up your sales slide.)
    Definitely, confidently… TEST!

  • Joe says:

    I never wanted to be original anyway – just right. So I’ll join the crowd.


  • Tom says:


    • Tom says:

      I just noticed someone already said Swipe… So my answer is…


      You tell them you know how they feel and that you’re just like them.

  • Jonathan says:

    “BUILD” credibility, likeability, anticipation and reciprocity. Could be through additional social proof, high value content, steps in the solution process or teasers about a solution soon to roll out.

    Slow burn the build and people will begin begging for the sale when the time comes.

  • Alex says:

    Is the answer “decide” John?


  • Bruce says:


  • Shaun says:


  • mischa says:

    copy what’s already been proven to work.

  • Greg Johansson says:

    Hi John, my response would be, a very convincing list of …’Testimonials’. (One word 🙂 You have done all the hard work of pulling them in, kept them reading, sold them on the result, this really adds that final touch of credibility.
    I really enjoyed meeting you in Brisbane…awesome presentation, I hope you will continue teaching long enough, so I can learn half what you know!

  • Lamide says:

    Copy/ salespage

  • Allan says:


    Much easier to make decisions when you are relaxed.

  • Bill Sadick says:

    Yes I know there are three words, but I didn’t want to loose the scrabble game.

    Bill Sadick

  • Paul Campbell says:

    Hello John, guys.

    My answer is you “ASK”. You ask your customers what they want. That becomes your great hook and headline. Then you “GIVE” them what they want.


    Paul Campbell

  • Marc V. says:


  • I’m gonna say…RESEARCH

    You def. have to research the market before doing ANYTHING!

    It’s gotta be that….right?

    Jeremy Reeves

  • Steve Foste says:

    I’ll go with “Trust”
    Test has been the favorite.

  • If it’s only one word, and I haven’t seen this listed I would say:


  • USP = Unique Selling Proposition
    Write = Compelling Offers, Just start writing
    Irressitible Offer = add so much value
    FREE = free trial, risk reversal
    Action = you need to act on your thoughts
    Test = split test everything
    Persuasion = Win the trust to overcome barriers

  • “Information” to meet the needs of your optins

  • Jeff Smith says:

    Geez, I blew it. The word is THINK! As in — think like you are your customer and what it is that THEY need!

    • Jeff Smith says:

      Let me clarify that just a bit, not only think, but think BENEFITS, not features. In other words, determine how your product will effect your target market, not just what it does.

  • Ron says:


  • Rod says:


  • jd says:

    Answer to question:


  • Achu says:



  • anna says:

    Lead. Become a leader and teacher. Give clear instructions, valuable info, be personable and people will follow.


    This underpins action, aim, deciding, love, inspiration, courage and more. It is what people seek to understand when they test. In a state of trust … it feels great…. heals aches and transmits through your eyes and voice and face and feel. Who knows ….there’s prolly a smell of trust like there’s a smell of fear… maybe it’s even the antithesis of fear.


  • Rich says:

    Given the visual clue, I am going to go with


    • Rich says:

      To qualify that, as in ‘LEAP’ ie: leap into action, any action that start’s the process.

      In Stephen Kings book, ‘On Writing’ he talks about how often people say to him that they would love to write a book, but they just do not know where to start.

      He say’s, it’s no more complicated that this; Just sit down and start writing.

  • ACTION – you must take action.

  • Akihiro says:


    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Lawton.
      The “pack” here has laying the correct answer all night long. There is wisdom in crowds.
      These other answers — even the one-word ones like you have here — are good, though. Everyone is thinking hard, outside the box when they can, and focusing on fundamental parts of being a Conscious Dude — able to consider a perplexing puzzle, and come up with brainstormed answers that may not be the exact right answer, but are good attempts anyway.
      So, nice try.
      But the right answer has been given, many, many times now.
      I’ll expand on it tomorrow.
      Thanks for writing, Lawton.

  • Peter says:

    You must “FOCUS”.

  • Akihiro says:

    My second guess is CONVINCE.

  • Miles says:

    Since my first answer has already been said, which is “action”, my second answer would be “outsource”.

  • Gail says:

    Test would be my answer…. but the other word that kept coming to mind was “punt” 🙂

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Gail. You’re cracking me up.
      Punting is definitely a tool in your Bag of Tricks… but not what you’d use here.
      Still, you’ve given an idea for a future post… thanks.

  • Greetings John,

    As usual I’m chiming in on the tale end. But my answer is:

    DELIVER . . .the goods you promised. Simply put do what you say you’re going to do. This sets you apart of most “newbie” marketers these days. Underpromise and over deliver keeps you heads above of everyone else.

    Great contest by the way!

    Emette Massey

  • Kat Caverly says:

    There are THREE things to do next:

    Test, test, test!

  • Marjan says:

    Ask the marketplace (visitors), find where the hot button is.

  • Peter says:


  • bruce says:


    Using what proven, thus it’s already had much test and verify.

  • janet says:

    emotion – illiciting emotional response to a word, phrase or statement. Can be positive or negative.

  • Jake Steingart says:


  • Bruce says:

    I’ve found you have to find a word that triggers a emotional response.
    Take that which has a proven track record, test it, and adjust as necessary.
    copy, test, adjust

  • Simon says:


    (this is a one word answer-all that covers everything whether it’s doing your research, writing your hooks, headlines, or copy, getting inside your prospects head & their internal dialogue, and crafting them that offer, compelling them to act.. or seeking out joint-ventures and the like to boost your ‘moolah’ as you put it)

    If I was selling myself to a client, this is the only single word I’d use John, because very simply it’s the only thing that separates me from everyone else *uniquely*.. unless you’re going to get creative and rise above the crowd, how else are you going to go after (and get) what it is you seek – by satisfying what others want.. better than any other ‘also ran’?

    It also happens to be the only word I don’t see listed above… and is my ‘creative’ answer to your question (seeing that I’ve only just logged in & picked up your email two minutes ago).


  • Brendan says:

    TESTING is the one and only reasonable thing to do.
    Therefore when faced with a decision, pause then ACT.

  • DB says:

    Testing is for suckers – Think

  • Brian says:

    Hey John,

    How’s this for a generic answer?


    I figure I have the right answer even if I’m wrong 🙂

    Thanks dude,

    • John Carlton says:

      Actually, Brian, you’ve discovered the true value of this kind of quiz: The right answer is almost always hinted at or given early… but the thinking (especially out of the box thinking) you do trying to sneak in around the “obvious” is GREAT MENTAL EXERCISE.
      So, yeah, I’m gonna count you as a “secondary” winner here. You weren’t first with the right answer, but you definitely nailed a deeper reason to participate.
      Good job.

  • kelly says:

    Write…write to them with a goal in mind. Close the sale, make the offer, give them a free gift, whatever it is…just write to them.

  • Kyle says:

    You do what needs to be done.

  • Randal says:

    Three words really…test, test, test. I figure that testing something three times is a great way to make a semi-clear picture very clear. How can you be sure of something you only test once?

  • Mark Duin says:

    Great posts, great points. Here’s my contribution…
    “Determine” then “Focus” then “Action”
    Don’t get paralyzed, just turn on that magnificent brain, determine your next move, get focused on it, and get up off a that thing and take action! It’s about forward motion, even when it’s 2 steps forward and 1 step back, keep pushing forward! Determination always wins a prize!

    This wisdom took me from a former street addict and a 9th grade drop out till age 27, to earning 6 figures in the corporate world hiring and managing people who have masters degrees. I figure it will work for Internet Marketing too! 🙂

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Mark. Congrats on accomplishing so much, so soon in your life.
      Good thinking here, too. The accumulated wisdom just in this thread is pretty heavy and hard-core. Your mantra is a good one.
      Thanks for writing.

  • Michael Sheward says:

    Obviously you need to ACT, but the answer is
    And I did not look at any of the previous comments before coming to this conclusion and scrolling down to submit my answer. Thanks for a Sunday morning brain stimulator.

  • Frank Daley says:

    My first thought is test but what exactly? (although to be fair the answer might present iself depending on the situation). But if it didn’t, then before testing I would get a bird’s eye view of the problem and analyze it Discover what it is that I should do next. Don’t go off half -cocked.

  • Cody says:

    What is Track?

  • Mary Nolan says:

    Find someone successful and DO what they did.
    Persevere is good.

  • Mary Nolan says:


  • Michel Hage says:

    Since time is of the essence first my answer, an explanation will follow suit.

    Answer: Acknowledge

  • John Carlton says:

    Hi Ansub.
    I cannot answer your main question for you — only you can do that.
    However, I can offer you some encouragement, and a dose of reality.
    First: Changing your life like this, exercising and doing in-depth study, is great. I did the exact same thing when I began my career (speed-reading my way through the library’s biz and sales and marketing and writing sections). Consider it “continuing adult education”, though, not a brief spurt. You’ll want to invest in your new habits of digging deep for the rest of your days.
    Second: Often, our first goals we really go after are not the goals we end up with. It’s actually hard to set goals, because at first we don’t know what we really want. The over-arching reason to pursue any goal should be a better life, however you define it.
    I think you’re over-reaching, as a rookie goal setter. Singing, weight loss… these are highly competitive fields, and you’ll need to spend some serious time in the trenches to succeed. Success will not be handed to you, no matter how much you “want” it. Only action on your part will get you anywhere.
    Nail some easy goals first — ones you can achieve in a few weeks or months. Make your first dollar as a business owner. Get your first review, or gig, or whatever, as a singer. Move on from there, knocking off “doable” goals one by one.
    I actually know some folks who are making a living as singers — not as performers (that game is mostly out of your hands, since other people decide whether you’re going to be the Next Big Thing or not), but as teachers. They have been at it for a long time, and are only making a modest living. The happier ones consider singing as a fulfilling hobby. (I do this with playing music. I have formed bands, written songs, had a blast… and not cared a whit about earning money at it, or getting recognized — I do it for fun. Very relaxing. Pro musicians starve in this country.)
    Your Big Answer will not come easily to you, just because you ask. It’s like a long journey — you will not get there just by taking the first step… but if you take that first step, and keep taking small steps, you WILL get somewhere. If you never take the first step, you will get NOWHERE.
    Good luck. Struggle and self-doubt are part of the process. We ALL go through it. It’s part of life. Be thankful your self-doubt has launched you on this journey, in fact.
    You’ll get somewhere. Action always produces results. Maybe not the exact results you throught you’d get… but the universe does reward positive action.
    Stay with it.

  • Elyse says:

    Hi John,
    Looking at the picture above the word “risk” came to mind, after reading the answer was revealed many times over, it has to be test.

  • Kim says:

    “one answer fits all” = Action

  • Brian says:


  • Michel Hage says:

    As promised my explanation:

    Put all synonyms of ‘Acknowledge’ in a certain order and it provides you with a logical step-by-step procedure to engage any kind of sale or call to action.


    Step1.‘Admit’ – admit to struggles owned by your target group.

    Step 2.‘Recognize’ – recognize their needs and obstacles to solve this problem.

    Step3.‘Deny’ – deny the need to struggle.

    Step4.‘Accept’ – accept responsibility for the answer.

    Step7.‘Concede’ – concede one or more of your trade secrets.

    Step5.‘Allow’ – allow them access to a ready-to-go kick start solution.

    Step6.‘Grant’- grant access only if their willing to form a relationship.

    Step8.‘Reply’ – reply with a sales offer.

    Sorry, John for taking so much space with my explanation. But I wanted to give it my all.

    You’re giving away a signed book!! So, you kinda brought it on yourself. LOL

  • Jeff Smith says:

    I am getting the feeling the answer to your main question is “test”. but the answer to this question: “What’s the time limit on doing the “Ass Whup” dance, mocking your partner, anyway?” Is NOT test because no further testing is needed and there are two correct answers. If you are the one doing the dancing — maybe once! If you are the one being danced at — eternity. Just try to appreciate the fact someone is dancing for you!

  • David says:

    Hi John,
    Of course the only answer is already in the questions:
    When you’re looking at your pay-per-click campaign, wondering which path to take in cutting up bait for your target market… what do you do?

    When you’re crafting a hook for your name-squeeze page, trying to corral as many visitors as possible and build your list to ungodly size… what do you do?

    When you’re greasing up your “sales slide” on your main site, looking to bring in the maximum amount of moolah possible with a fast, direct sale… what do you do?

    Each of these questions has only one possible solution: testing changes for results.

    Which path in PPC? Which ideas catch the most fish.

    Which “hook” catches the most fish?

    What grease gets people sliding the fastest to your close?

    The ONLY way to find the answer to these questions is testing the words, copy or language whether it’s a headline, the copy itself, offer or close, you will never know the answer until you test for variations large or small.

    Thanks for the “TEST” John. A synonym for quiz is what?

    You’re sneaky Dude!

  • Michel Hage says:

    I forgot to say that the antonym of ‘Acknowledge’ – the word ‘Deny’- is needed to disrupt behavior.

    If you want people to move to a new proposition. They first must be willing to leave their old one.

  • Louis says:

    … everything begins with taking action.

  • Michel Hage says:

    Sorry people for messing up the numbering in the steps to take.

    Shame on me for not checking before posting. Completely overlooked it.

  • The one word is “Adapt”

  • Jordan says:

    Think: Do that till you turn purple; won’t help you grease the funnel. Think about testing.
    Focus: Great, but focus on what? On testing.
    Headline: A part of the testing process.
    Leverage: Test which lever to use.
    Offer or Pitch: Test which offer works better.
    Strategy: Test your strategy.
    Close: Close what?
    Something or Anything: That’s too much like wasting time not knowing what your doing.
    Followup: Test their response with a followup.
    Relate: Test to see which lines they relate better with.
    Curiosity or Intrigue: Test to see what makes them curios and intrigued.
    Action: What action to take? Testing.
    Give: Test to see which one you give is more effective.
    Plan: A plan is great, but it should include serious testing.
    Copy: Test your copy.
    USP: Not really a part of the test. You gotta have a USP to present in your test.
    Close The Deal: I won’t buy anything from you, too much like a car sales-man.
    Deliver The Goods: Test delivery method returns the highest ROI.
    Bribe: Test which bribe works better.
    Empathize: Part of the research.
    Persuade: Test which methods persuade better.
    Research: Really comes before testing.

    Well anyway, this could go on an on. TESTING is what you should be doing. Your landing pages, your ads, the images, the copy, the offers, the bribes, etc. Many of the above are part of the testing process, but in and of themselves are not the correct answer.

  • bud says:

    I test everyhting before I make up my mind. I let my costumers tell me the answer.

  • Dave Kotecki says:

    Hey John,
    I’m gonna go with act.


  • John says:

    The answer has to do with the ” Unstable cliffs, keep clear” sign.

    The answer: NEWS!

    Put it in your headline!

  • Mike Singer says:

    Very thought-provoking comments! I found Jordan’s comment above, relating every other possible answer to testing, particularly useful. My own answer (once I saw that “test” was already given), was “swipe”–in the sense that ethically modeling something that’s been proven to work before saves time. However, Jordan’s comment now provokes me to ask, “How do you know what to swipe?” Test!

    The fact that testing is so easy (especially on the Web) was eye-opening to me when I first learned that’s how direct marketing works. Concepts like “controls” in copy were new to me, but made perfect sense.

    Testing is seemingly the simplest yet most important thing ANY copywriter/marketer can do, and most folks never even consider it, instead thinking they need to build and rely on their own knowledge, skills, or external resources … amassing huge collections of unread books and courses. (I’m a poster child ….)

    Thanks to this quiz, I just realized that the true value of embracing testing is that by definition it forces you/frees you to ACT NOW … because doing it wrong quickly and making a course correction is what testing is all about! The fact that you don’t have to get it right the first time (in fact, you probably won’t) is incredibly liberating.

    I’d argue that “test” is more than an answer to the question of what to do next in any marketing situation. It’s the crucial MINDSET you need to adopt if you want to succeed as a marketer. This seems simple, but is revolutionary stuff for some of us. I think it’s the most important thing for beginners to learn, and the first thing that should be taught in internet marketing books and courses. Adopting a testing mindset wipes out fear and procrastination while simultaneously helping you find the most profitable path. This is huge. Thanks for the big epiphany, John!

  • Earnst says:


  • Gary says:

    Make it their decision to buy. “Empower” the buyer to take action.
    Daniel Ariely says in his book “Irrationally Predictable” we already own it if we can easily visualize it as ours. The longer or easier the visualization is the more powerful the perceived ownership becomes. Let them own it and then empower them to take action.

  • John OLeary says:


  • LawrenceTabak says:


    take a little nap to clear your head

  • Earnst says:


  • Susie Nelson says:

    I would say “test”
    Of course, that assumes that you take “action.”

  • Gary H. says:

    Women. Get some pussy in your life

  • Hey John,

    Of course, making sure your always taking Action and Implementing what you learn is greatly important. As long you apply it… AS YOU LEARN IT!

    BUT, most importantly, the one word WINNER for me is always to…

    K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid)

    Which is one of the most profound things I have ever learned from you John because I have to use it EVERY HOUR OF EVERYDAY…

    Kindest Regards,
    Kevin DaSilva

  • Pegamoose says:

    sweeten the deal if they act now.

  • john caples says:


  • Claude "da man"hopkins says:

    opium worked good for me

  • Peter says:

    You have to “START” first, right?

    • John Carlton says:

      Re-read the question, Peter. It’s what to do next, after you’ve established your fundamentals… so you’ve already “started”, and gotten past that pesky part of taking the first step.
      Now what do you do?

  • Toni says:


  • Randall T says:

    I can’t help myself…
    I want to be just like Michele and use 7 letter words in my WINNING answer:

    PERFECT your opt-in and conversion rates through TESTING.
    And above all, help them KICK-ASS and you will most definitely SUCCEED.

    Thanks, John. This is fun! Great comments too…

  • Nathan says:

    Clearly a trick question, very clever John. You must FOLD under the pressure and DRINK yourself stupid. But I’m never sure which one to do 1st… Is that what you’re going to expand on in tomorrow’s post?

    • John Carlton says:

      Ha! Truly an insight to the minds of many marketers, Nathan. (Not you, I’m sure, though.)
      You’d be astonished — even frightened — to know how many of the big, respected dudes at the top of the game are just one binge away from destroying their lives and biz.
      I’m gonna post on this subject later on… the very human frailty of wanting to crawl back under the covers and get oblivious when things get tough.
      You must resist, however. Like Churchill, you can both drink yourself stupid every day AND be a mover/shaker on the world’s stage.
      But it’s not recommended…

  • Geoff says:


  • Greg Schmid says:

    SURVEY! (Your inquirers)

  • John, I assume it was Test then, but you never said who was right 🙂

    I got in TotalAccessClub.com which is ALL about testing. I gotta tell ya, testing is the key b/c I can think that I’ve got a great offer, but the opt-ins just aren’t there-

    So back to testing.

  • JP Goodchild says:

    I would say persevere

  • test
    everything is all set so just test against a control and then beat it and use it as a new control to test against.

    Of course if you do not take “Action” nothing will happen.

    Thanks for the fun contest John!

  • Manju Thirani says:

    Howdy John,
    That’s the word you are looking for !
    You need to reassure your prospects at that time that you have the answer to their problems.

  • Earnst says:

    Rinse and Repeat

  • Mike says:

    Hi John, at first I thought it was “sell”. Then I thought it was “intrigue” or “tease”. Then I thought it was “involve” as in: get them involved in your message. But now I think it’s “engage” – which, you do with your headline or opening statement. You must engage your reader. If not engage … then … it’s “qualify”. Show her that this message is for her and her alone – so “qualify” her for the message. As you can see, I don’t know what the one word is. I just wanted to get involved with your quiz. Thanks John, love your work.

  • John Gilger says:


    Quit dithering and just sell the damn thing.

  • Mike says:

    On second thoughts, and after rereading your post, I think you’re asking “what do you do AFTER” you’ve grabbed your readers attention and more or less intrigued them in to wanting to know what you”re going to do about the problem or opportunity at hand? In this case, I would say the thing you do next is give them a fair smack of “proof” that you’re their man (or woman). Proof this this really IS for them.

    So the word is: “proof” or in action terms “prove” buddy. You’ve go to “prove” you’re authentic and that what you’re saying is for real.

    Thanks again John.

  • Diane says:

    Click here …

    Ask for the sale.

  • Hogni says:

    It’s been said, that the only thing anyone can do wrong is to do nothing. When it comes down to it, it’s not so much the hours invested in any project (quality is better than quantity)

    I heard this from Eben Pagan: 80% of the profits comes from 20% of the work (the 80-20 rule)

    Get crackin’

    Get involved in people’s lives, give them value.

    I think it’s all been said on this site before. I wanted to toss in my 2 cents worth.

    Keep on keeping on

  • Toni says:

    The “Promise”

  • Andreea says:


  • Anthony says:

    Test…yeah right! Test my ass.
    Sell. Well yeah we do that.
    But nowadays we copy.
    1 word copy. c-o-p-y. Copy what already works and improve upon it!

  • Clearly the answer is “surf”.

    “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.” ~ Jeff Spicoli

    You can’t really argue with that kind of wisdom right there.

  • Jack Causevic says:

    Hmmm… Who knows?

    Ima throw’ in my two cents and say:

    after optimizing your PPC campaigns, it’s pretty obvious that you’re trying to ROB your customers.

    After making a lead gen page, it’s obvious that you’re trying to ROB your customers.

    After all, ROB is the essence of internet marketing! Isn’t it?

    • Jack Causevic says:

      Well, not quite. This is, of course, not according to ethical people such as myself. More like people like you, Frank and the rest of your little syndicate cult.

      All you guys are good for: scamming, robbing, etc.

  • I’m going to go with what I always tell my students they should do before making any important action: research!

  • RK Castillo says:

    I’m gonna go with the word: Wait

    You can wait to see your conversions, what your tests show, wait til you get your copy of Kick Ass Copy Secrets and then do what it says. It works for everything!

  • Romeo Blais says:


  • Chris says:


    Do what ever works for you, 80/20, what got you here, get off your butt and do SOMETHING..

  • To coin a phrase from the movie “Blade Runner”

    “This is a TEST designed to provoke an emotional response!”

    I kinda have to go with “test”. (Hmmmm…. synonymous with ‘quiz’ actually)

    Thanks John for a good read and a thought provoking question.


  • Toni says:

    Have a “conversation”

  • Jack says:


  • Marvin says:


  • Whats up John,

    Dude I am going nuts here cuz I want that signed copy bad (Great Tactic)…

    Alright how about…


    Write down whatever comes to mind OVER & OVER AGAIN… And then Again!

    Avatar! Get into the mind of the prospect and tell a “Story” that will “Relate” to them…

    After that I would say…
    Everything, Anything, Something…
    Write! As much as you can!

    P.S. This contest is making want to BUY a “signed copy”… GREAT TACTIC!

  • Hows about…

    No Matter What you have to “Market” whatever it is you have and get the word out about…

    Who You Are? What You Have? Why They Should Listen To You? And What They Should Do Next?

    “Advertise” You need to run ads to bring them into to your funnel so they can get to your “sales slide”…

    “Salesmanship”… Sell what you have with your “storytelling” and “persuading” your prospect to “take the action” you want them to take…

    a.k.a Buy Your Stuff!

  • Don't be fooled says:

    Warning: This is a scam!

    “John Carlton’s Infamous “Indirection” Technique
    he uses to get FREE leads”!

    Want to be fooled? Want to get suckered?

    If so, put an answer on this blog thinking you’ll get a FREE copy of whatever.

    Why? Easy. So Johnny boy can secretly capture your name and e-mail and sell you a product that will stuff his pockets with green.

    • Rich says:

      Yes, but it can also be used by cowards who hide behind their anonymity to take potshots at people who they are envious of.

      So you see, you get a free platform to spout your nonsense!

      Did I win a prize?


      • Nathan says:

        I didn’t know he liked to be called Johny boy. You learn something new each day. Maybe it’s just the booze talkin’ John (I jsut landed a big job!) , but I learn a lot from you and I’m grateful for this blog and the effort you put into it. Any leads you get from this are not free. They’re paid for by your sweat and your generosity. Thank for your help, Nathan.

      • Rich wanna be says:

        Rich, you’re not the brightest, are ya?

        That post was suppose to be a joke. Get a life.
        Yeah, like anyone is gonna believe this is John’s ultimate plan. Idiot.
        Envious? It should be you envious of me. Fool.

    • Marvin says:

      If you really were concerned about people not getting “fooled” or “suckered” by similar media as this, you should have signed your real name and offered a better alternative (In which case if you’re in “the same business” you would have gotten the “free leads” instead of “Johnny Boy” [funny how your accusation can turn against you in that perspective]).

      Otherwise, you’ll just come across as a Class A “A-hole” who’s trying to muddle up an otherwise healthy brainstorming activity.

      Go take your crappidoo some place else where you can flush it.

      **I’d still go for “SURVEY”. 🙂

      • Marvin the moron says:

        WoW! Another dumbs$%#!

        In Reality, why would I even be concerned about people being “suckered by John? DUH!
        People know John better than that.

        Hey greaseball, go eat your mama mia’s crappidoo canoli.

        • Marvin says:

          ‘Rich wanna be’, ‘get a life’, idiot, fool, ‘Marvin the moron’, dumbs$%#, greaseball, ‘mama mia’s crappidoo canoli’…

          Heck of a vocabulary there! 🙂

          You sure you even should be following this blog?

          Pitiful, pitiful… (Sorry John…)

        • Marvin the moron says:

          Talk about making a moron out of yourself, Marvin.

          That’s the same VOCAB you use in writing effective copy.
          You really are gonna need John’s help!!!!

          still smiling Marvin the martian?

        • John Carlton says:

          Play nice, guys.
          Don’t make me come over there.
          Note: I’ve never, since starting this blog in December of ’04, deleted a non-spam comment. And some of you guys can get downright insulting.
          But as long as you’re not violating basic social rules (in other words, not saying anything that would start a fight in a bar), then you’re fine.
          The folks reading this blog — an international crowd covering the globe — are grown-ups, and can figure out who’s the jerk and who’s the good guy.
          Real-world dialog is messy.
          Thick skin required.
          Still, though, don’t hide behind the anonymity of fake names if you’re gonna vent. Okay?

  • J says:

    I will say provide/ give a solution:)

  • Jan says:


  • Earnst says:

    on 26 Jun 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Is it too late to guess? I say……


    I hope I got it.

  • […] Carlton had an interesting quiz that got a bit of attention over the weekend. Really it was a little ‘test’. Of coure in […]

  • Take Action! Do it now!

  • Will Stirrup says:

    I didn’t read the previous 218 entries, so I don’t know if someone has already said it, but I’m guessing the word is “BENEFITS”.

    Obviously sell the benefits. the biggest first – that’s your headline…

    So you need to understand your product or service and think like a customer to know which benefit is the most important.

    Get that in first and you’re half-way there.


    Will Stirrup

  • Bruce says:

    Test and/or track

  • Bob Dewey says:

    Re read everything in the instruction manual and complete each task until you complete it successfully

  • >