Part 2 – Selling With Emotional Impact – Maximizing The Readers Emotional Experience

The IRS Auditor Captured In Full Gloriousness In One Of Gary Benivenga's Letters

Hey you,

It’s #2.

As promised, I’m back with Part 2 of Selling With Emotional Impact.

While you may or may not taken time in January to make a plan for your 2010, I wanted to give you a quick example of the process I’ve been using lately to get the ball rolling on any marketing sequence I’m developing.

And as you’re reading this now, think about how you can use this in your own projects.

Planning For Success

Your great idea or concept… has to be either fresh, appealing, interesting, exciting, intriguing, compelling, provocative to grab your prospects attention.

This fits right in with your audiences need for new information or as I like to put it, the new shiny object. In short, it must hook you and them emotionally. Even if you aren’t your customer you should feel a rush for what they’re about to experience by seeing your marketing.

There are two absolute requirements for a great idea to be a great idea…

1. It must be uniquely familiar.

2. It must promise conflict

One of the greatest ads I’ve ever seen that met these two requirements was Gary Bencivenga’s famous Mark Skousen promo…

Who knows how many millions of dollars Gary raked in with this 24 page promo...

Just in case you can’t read the headline here it is…

Lies, Lies, Lies!

Why we investors are fed up with everyone lying to us!

But getting rich is the best revenge…

Smartest ways to do it in 1990-1991

When you double click on the picture you’ll be able to see better the smaller cartoon pics on the bottom.

One of them is of a smug looking guy in a suit talking on the phone and the caption for this pic is “Lies brokers tell p. 5”

<======== Bottom left is a picture of a guy who looks like slick willy Clinton and the caption for that one says “Lies politicians tell, p. 6”

The bottom right picture is of an Anglo Saxon man wearing a suit and a turban seated behind a crystal ball and the caption below it is “Lies gurus tell, p. 3” ===========>

Isn’t it brilliant how this concept met both the need to be uniquely familiar and how it promised conflict?  And another very, very important point, all of these topics implied I’m showing up at the door of your mind to give you something, not to get something.

Develop a Mighty Theme

“To produce a mighty book, you must have a mighty theme.  No great and enduring volume can be written on the flea.  Though many there be that have tried it.”

Herman Melville – American short story writer, poet and novelist best known for his novels of the sea, including his masterpiece Moby Dick.

Jay Abraham the marketing wizard, is fond of saying “Concept over Copy”.   Great marketers like to come up with this before they write because everything that comes after is an exploration of that theme. It forces you to give your project purpose.

As a marketer, your offer really helps you with this.  This is why some pro’s like to start their ads with the offer knowing this sparks all kinds of possibilities.

Story Reveals Theme

I can imagine that after Gary had come up with the “Lies, Lies, Lies” theme, it made writing the rest of ad a lot easier.  Just the other day I was watching my “Bencivenga 100 Seminar DVD’s and he talks about how once he switched from doing 100% pitch ads to doing 50% content, 50% pitch ads, he started not just barely beating controls, but crushing them like aluminum cans.

What’s amazing is that he got the green light to do this in a field where that 50% of content cost the publisher money out of pocket, up front. Hats off to boardroom for having the direct marketing savvy to a least test this concept before dismissing it which would’ve been easy to do because of the upfront investment for the printing of a 50% larger format.

After taking the leap of faith, Boardroom and Gary saw the results and they couldn’t deny the extra expense because this strategy is what helped make their ads not seem like an ads but like an articles in a magazine… like something that showed up to offer you value before asking anything of you… which is exactly what led to the massive increase in response.

I’m a firm believer in this style of marketing.  I’ve never much been a fan of wham-bam thank you ma’am ads that rush people to make a decision to buy. I want action pronto but I don’t want people to feel hurried because of my desperation.

Especially if I’m asking for a sizeable chunk of money.

A story in your ad exists as a tool to create situations that will reveal the theme.

And a story is not only about the theme but the experience of that theme on two levels: Rational, intellectual level, and the Emotional, where we feel it subconsciously and it either resonates or not.

And remember, your theme should resonate throughout your entire ad, not just a few sections here and there. Trust me, if you stick to your winning theme, it will make writing so much simpler and fun to put together.

Theme Moves Us Emotionally

The more meaningful the theme, the deeper the emotions.

Your theme should be emotional because emotions are what create a universal appeal. Now when I say universal, I mean universal to your entire target audience. Gary’s “Lies, Lies, Lies” theme was universal to the person who’s got money to protect.

Why Not Be a Super Hero?

Character’s are the most important element in storytelling.

Without characters, there’s no story.  This is what’s so magnificent about this new social media online economy.  In today’s day and age you can reveal little tidbits about your character everyday on a blog or by twittering for free, where as back in the days before the internet, the ink or airtime it took to reveal character cost money.

Doesn’t mean it couldn’t be done, just couldn’t be done on the cheap.

Gary’s ad was print and he couldn’t go into any kind of rich detail about what kind of guy Mark Skousen was but you soak in a lot from the tone of the letter…

“INVESTOR REVOLT! Why we investors are MAD AS HELL and not going to take it any more. And we’re sending a message to:

WALL STREET BROKERS: “We don’t trust you anymore.  Your first goal is to make commissions, not give us objective advice.”  A much better source of investment counsel, including the 12 best and 3 worst investments now…

THE IRS: “You take too much of our money, only to pour it down Federal Ratholes.”  Solution: 7 powerful ways to slash taxes legally and retire like a king…

CONGRESS: “You cowards will never balance your budget.”  But there’s a way to reap a fortune from politicians’ incompetence…”

Can you see the pattern here?

This guys character is unfolding as the advocate to the little guy.  The guy with the heavy  set of balls that hang low to ground like frog nuts.  The guy who’s gonna give you a hand and bring you out of the muck and get you up with him on his level.

And Gary got all and more of this message onto one 8 1/2″ x 11″ page.

The opposite of this is relying on a one page ad in a newspaper with a jumbo logo and a jangle that says “Come to Merrill Lynch and one of our highly trained financial advisors will help you retire safely and invest for you future.”  Do you see the difference?

Same amount of space, totally different voice. Two polar opposite feelings stimulated.

When you’ve come to grips with the idea of becoming a character people can identify with, you’ll make it so much easier for talented copywriters to want to work with you or… for you to write yourself into your marketing.

If you hire out your copywriting, your guy will see they’ve got plenty of material to work from and will be excited at all the angles they can take with you and your story. And this is what sets great marketing apart from bad marketing.  People buy from people, not businesses and when they admire the person “lettting them buy from them”.

It allows people’s emotions to be aroused which creates a loyalty that being the cheapest vendor can’t.

The Simple Universal Formula For Creating a Story

This is as easy as it gets…

“You or your character wants something, and someone or something opposes him.”

See, I told you.  This is what Gary’s whole ad was built around.  People oppressing Mark, how he overcame it and now that he’s done it, he can show you how to do the same.  Here’s a glimpse of how he did it…

“The IRS. Uncle Sam’s arrogant collection agency labors under the curious illusion that everything you earn is theirs first, and you are entitled only to what they allow you to keep.  They seem completely oblivious to the fact that you are the source of your income and that your hard work supports them, not vice-versa.

The IRS, like all government agencies, creates no wealth at all.

But don’t fret.  And whatever you do, don’t break the law.  The risk is too high, and not even necessary.  There are still extremely powerful ways you can slash your taxes legally and keep the lion’s share of your wealth yourself.  Your accountant may not have told you about these 100% legitimate devices and strategies, but I will in a moment.”


Woven within in that passage is the essence of an engaging conflict in a story… Goal – Obstacle – Unwillingness to compromise.

The third one is the key.  Let’s say you were using Paypal to collect money for your services.  One day you go to log on and they tell you they’re doing a “routine, random” investigation of your account and while they’re doing so, they freeze your ability to pay people or be paid through their site.  That’s an obstacle but what if you just said “Ah, screw it, let ‘em hold my business hostage. I’ll just take it.”

Would that make for a good story?  No, not really, because you gave up.  But if you have an unwillingness to compromise it leads you on a quest to do whatever it takes to overcome the Gestapo who’s oppressing your business, keeping you from serving your customers.

You need that trio to ensure you have what could be called dramatic conflict.  Do you see how this works?  It’s almost impossible to stop reading if you’re the target market.

HOLY SHIT!  Your Story’s Main Conflict

Now to juice your story for dramatic conflict you’ve got to focus on the elements that cause visceral emotions:

Interest – Keeping your marketing in their face…

Curiosity – Wondering what’s coming…

Anticipation – Looking forward to something…

Suspense/Tension – Every ad/marketing piece should have this woven into it.

Surprise – All the twists

If the lead for your ad, the headline, subhead, opening paragraph and remainder of the first two pages have the first four, Interest, Curiosity, Anticipation, Suspense/Tension elements woven into it, you’ve won 80% of the copywriting battle.  If you Surprise the hell out of them with one hell of an offer at the end of it, you should be doing gang busters with your ideal prospects.

The Universal Principles Of Structure: Follow this and your story is all but guaranteed to engage your audience

One of the ten short stories Gary threaded into his salesletter

When you tell a story it’s real easy to get off track.  This is why it’s crucial to boil down the essence of story into a clear beginning, middle and end or… a Set-up, Conflict and Resolution.  This is the way we’ve told stories for 2,000 years.

In Gary’s ad, one of the stories he wove was called “The Big “Hidden Lie” Your Stockbroker Will Never Admit”.

Here’s the cliff notes version of the beginning, middle and end of this tale…

Beginning/Setup: In recent years, “stockbroker” has become something of a dirty word, even at brokerage houses! Every major brokerage house now avoids the term, calling their salespeople “financial consultants,” “account representatives,” “first vice presidents”… anything but stockbrokers.

Middle/Conflict: Here’s how one former successful broker, Thomas D. Saler, puts it, “Success in the brokerage business is measured totally in terms of commissions generated, not results for clients.

End/Resolution: Unlike brokers, financial planners and magazine ads, I have nothing to sell you except my advice, so it had better be good.  If it isn’t, people don’t renew their subscriptions and I go out of business.  I make absolutely nothing, not a penny, in any way, shape or form from the few investments I believe are strong, safe and profitable enough to recommend wholeheartedly to you (such as those you can read about elsewhere in this announcement).

This story is proof that you don’t have to get all Mark Twain and weave a spectacular yarn to draw people in.  This was only one page, yet it showed you the face of the enemy/conflict, fleshed out why the enemy is dangerous and positioned himself as a savior with the solution to conquering this challenge.

No rocket science right?

Now if you remember Gary’s Cover of this magalog you’ll see he’s set himself up with ten super short stories to tell you in the ad.  Each one of the stories points out yet another enemy to beware of, why they’re so evil and then how by having a relationship with Mark, you can help you flip the script on the jizz bags and defeat save yourself a ton of shame and money.

Keys to Making Sure Your Story Has Emotional Impact

For your story to make an impression it should…

1) Reveal Character:

Remember, you and I don’t ever talk in the form of “We” or “XYZ company”. We always talk one on one, person to person, “What I want to share with you”.  This what allows you to show your audience to discover for themselves whether you’re the kind of person they’d like to know, like and trust by what you reveal to them about you.

Nordstroms is awesome but I don’t particularly have any warm fuzzy feelings about the corporation.  Tony Robbins, whole different story.  I actually feel like this guy has been more of “Friend” to me than people I actually knew and called “Friends” in my past.

You can do the same with your audience when you show up as a human being with all your human frailties and let people know how despite all your human flaws, you still kick ass in this particular niche.

2) Reflect Your Mood & Emotions:

Certain tone belongs to certain copy.  A super charged topic like people being scammed deserves a pissed off, “Let’s go to war” kinda voice.  An ad showing parents how to be their child’s the best possible first teacher asks for different approach.  A guru teaching a course on “The Hidden Pleasures in Rough Sex” a whole different one.

This is why deciding up front what mood you want to put someone in before you start writing is vitally important. Where do you want to transport people too?  What do you want them to experience.

Whatever you decide, make sure it’s anything but bore, plain vanilla.

3) Reveal Your Motivation:

The stories you tell should always have a point.

And the point to the stories we want to tell should lead people to the REASON WHY I’m talking to you about this, your motivation for bringing you this amazing opportunity.

This is part of why I admire any marketer, like a Frank Kern who’s mailing an affiliate promo, who will flat out tell you “Hey, I’m sending this because I genuinely like Ed.  And, if you buy Ed product by clicking the link below, he’ll send me a few shiny coins that I can go spend on something cool like a fish net shirt.  So, if that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to track Ed down through his own site and make sure he gets every dollar so he has the money to buy himself a pair of fishnet stockings to go with his fishnet shirt.”

4) Advance the Action:

Make sure you don’t get bogged down in the details.  Keep people moving smoothly through beginning, middle and end.  Otherwise, you’ll lose people to the jillion other options they could be exercising at this time.  No good.

5) Foreshadow What’s Coming:

This comes in line the overall strategy of moving someone through your presentation’s beginning, middle and end.  You always want to be alluding to a money shot.  Now depending on how well you use all the elements you and I have been talking about in part one of this series as well as this one, will determine whether you end up with a headboard cracking climax or a pre-mature, fizzled out, disappointment.

This is why if your offer sucks, even great copy won’t help you.  The offer determines 40% of the success of a promo, the list another 40% and the last 20% goes to what you’ve written or spoken.

Make sure that all your great stories aren’t getting someone excited for a let down but putting together an offer that makes people feel like YOU’RE getting screwed in the interaction.  And of course give them a great reason why you’re willing to load them up with way more value than you’re asking for.  You know if what you say sounds like bullshit or not so put your consumer hat on and use your best judgment here.

6) Have an Emotional Impact:

I may have mentioned this or not in the first part of the series, but just in case I didn’t I’ll leave you on this quote that stuck with me for probably over a decade now from one of my first success mentors, the late Jim Rohn:

“I like a good movie.  I like a movie that touches me.  Make me laugh, make me cry, just don’t leave the same as when I walked in.”

When you market using what you and I talked about here, you’ll be sure to touch your audience.

Talk to you again soon,

Note Taking Nerd #2