This entry was originally published waaay back on July 27, 2011.
Thankfully, not all of the stuff I put out then was crap.
I’m republishing it on March 16, 2022.
What’s changed in the world of direct mail supplement selling since then?
If you’ve got a HOT product, killer copy and great lists to market to, it’s almost formulaic to be able to build your company and sell it for a pretty penny, almost always within a ten year time frame.
By the way, my semi-shameless swipe of Gary Bencivenga and Ken McCarthy was heavily KNOCKED OFF as an email subject line after this entry was posted.
Heck, you might try it yourself.
It’s so ancient I’ve forgotten about it, ergo it’s new to me. 🙂
How can you get a Nobel Prize Winner to endorse your product or service?
Believe it or not, it can be really quite simple.
And one of the best places to take a cue from is top flight direct response companies who know the importance of pairing promise and proof.
So with that in mind, I’ll swipe Ken McCarthy’s equation: Traffic + Conversion = Profits for:
Promise + Proof = Profits
See, without superb proof mechanisms, the loud promises just get drowned out. Amazingly, most marketers never catch on to this fact. And that’s good news for us!
Look at the above headline for the colon cleansing product, Flora Source
“Doctor who won a Nobel Prize accidentally discovers a miraculous, medically proven-remedy that helps your digestive system work like a dream. Doctors recommend it”
At first sight, you’d think the white-jacketed man is the Nobel Laureate promoting this miracle product, yet he’s just the advertiser’s “house doctor.” Actually, the Nobel Winner referred to in the headline did his award winning work on phagocytosis over 100 years ago.
Though that’s clear to an observant reader after a moment or so, the one-two combination of the strong first impression and abundant proof are unbeatable here… and they’re responsible for moving a lot of product.
Somehow, I’ve managed to preserve the cover of this massive selling magalog. Admittedly, I have a weak stomach for the subject matter. Get it? LOL 🙂
What’s exciting is there’s no reason you can’t use such “proof plays” in your own advertising.
It can be as simple as asking yourself the following questions.
- What person or which publication is the ULTIMATE authority related to the market I’m in… or for the product I’m selling?
- How can I draw a connection to myself or my products and services?
I observed the stunning power of this for the first time, during a headline split-run test I ventured in the mid-2000s
(My tastes in marketing at the time included the underbelly of direct response. MEA CULPA! Some old timers will recognize this as David Bendah territory. Perhaps, not a ringing endorsement.)
A) “If you’ve got 7 minutes, then I can show you how to earn a second income helping 1-in-8 people nationwide
reclaim their lost assets”
Now here’s the modification that shot sales nearly 50% higher. Nothing else was changed in the ad besides the addition of the sub-headline.
reclaim their lost assets”
“Whether it is pirate’s treasure found on a beach vacation, or a long-lost $20 in the living room couch, everyone dreams of hitting the jackpot…last year, the states held $22.8 billion in unclaimed assets.” (The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 17, 2004)
Just as borrowing the credibility of the Nobel Winner ramped up supplement sales for Nutri-Health, the reputation of the “Wall Street Journal” silently accounted for a 50% response boost. The net result is these implied endorsements, when correctly crafted, can trigger an avalanche of sales
Caveat emptor: Latin for watch your backside.
Never cross the line of insinuating that a third party is endorsing you or your specific product when they are not. Example: if “The Financial Times” were to publish an article identifying nanotechnology as the most promising industry of the next decade, a newsletter publisher specializing in nanotech stocks would be foolish not to trumpet this fact. But if the publisher suggested for a moment that the FT had endorsed their newsletter, when they did not, they could count on being sued back into the Stone Age.