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Copywriting Case Study: $600K In One Week

Copywriting case study Jason Kanigan

Copywriting Case Study for Stock Trading Software Client by Jason Kanigan

Copywriting is salesmanship in print. I don't normally share case studies like these, but an expert copywriter and brand developer suggested that I do for his group. So let me begin.

If you want to hit a home run, pick your client carefully.

Undercapitalized, desperate people who don't have a succesful track record or a good product need not apply.

Learn to screen these out as quickly as you can.

My client is well-funded, already had a comfortable lifestyle--though the results of this campaign transformed his life--and a history of providing great value to his customers...who also had money and energy. Exactly who you want for a copywriting case study like this.

That is something else to consider: your customer's customers. If they suck, why would you expect good results from any of your efforts with your prospect?

Do you want to make a ton more money as a writer or a seller? Read on:

Too many copywriters are too eager to get involved with anyone who waves a dollar their way. This is the height of foolishness. Stop undermining your chances of success, and instead engineer victory by analyzing your prospective client and their target market before taking anyone on.

And writers will still lie through their teeth at this, saying, "Oh, I do that." No, you don't.

An additional factor in this copywriting case study was that I had done a project with this client before. I knew he appreciated skill and results. The previous work had been a short email series, but it had made good money and paved the way for me to be the only choice for him moving forward. I didn't know that, and being asked to manage this launch was a pleasant surprise.

So near the end of the month concluding 30 days before our launch, I discovered we had a product but no theme; a warmish market but no intense desire from them to buy anything.

And email has become a cluttered medium. How were we to get the attention of our drilled-down niche of hypertargeted prospects, and induce them to consume our content?

First, we got money off the table.

If you know my method of Monetizing the Problem, we did that and arrived at a satisfactory figure. This was paid in two installments 5 days apart, simply because few people have that much money in their Paypal account and cash had to be moved. I could now completely and exclusively concentrate upon my client's project.

Should you have not yet been in this position, imagine what it does to your mind. You have absolutely nothing to worry about, except getting results. This gives you total freedom and the downtime necessary for all the "staring at the ceiling" that typically precedes actual writing.

It did not take any staring at the ceiling to generate the theme and direction for the campaign. In a fast conversation, I gave my client key ideas to produce a new marketing funnel. But first, we had to get the right people onto our target buyers list.

Secret Details About My Client, Target Audience and Elements of the Offer for this Copywriting Case Study

My client has been leading in the stock trading field for many years. He has a successful trading product that just reached its one year anniversary, and boasts the accolade of doing exactly what it said it would do...a rarity in this world. He also has a weekly radio show and a front end marketing funnel to distribute his book and its unique trading philosophy. He consistently uses email marketing and constantly studies split testing. So I did not have to educate him.

His target market is 50-60 year-old men who have traded in the market for several years or more, and have at least $20,000 to invest. These folks are staring retirement in the face and are highly motivated to find a solution to their monetary needs following that point. So like Charlie Brown, they have bought and been disappointed with many trading products over the years...but perpetually return to take another kick at the football they know Lucy is almost certainly going to whip away at the last minute.

Skeptical, but have some money and are always "scoping" for a solution to their impending financial disaster problem.

My client's product is a software program. It is the culmination of the past 15 years of his life experience and research, and includes certain proprietary strategies and algorithms derived from observation of how the market has actually performed. And he had consistently made money for himself and his clients. Contrast this with the talking heads on money market tv shows, who are sharing the latest "tip of the day"...and never get rich. A financial and time investment was naturally necessary to develop this program. I suspect the investment total to reach the launch point was close to $150,000. My client had skin in the game.

The retail price for this product will be $5,000 or higher. Our target audience needed to know and value this.

The launch price for our soon-to-be warmed up group was $1997. Again, the audience had to understand what a huge discount and amazing deal this was.

My client set a public goal and cap of 200 units, so the target revenue for this launch was $400K.

Additionally, we had a $997 upsell.

As I saw it, we had three fundamental problems to overcome:

1. How would we get the right people to stick up their hands and get onto a special list?

2. How would we train them to understand the value of our product, by having them consume educational content?

3. How would we excite them and gain enough trust to overwhelm their natural skepticism so they would buy?

Just prior to hiring me, my client had a strategy call with Rich Shefren providing a couple of key pointers. Most importantly, that the audience needed to understand that this launch was a big deal. BIG. This was foremost on our minds as we began this copywriting case study.

I gave a critical idea to produce URGENCY in the target audience to consume the educational content in resolving Problem #2. I have not seen this idea utilized before, and will not be sharing it as it is the kind of thing my clients pay me for. However, you should know about this urgency requirement. We'll speak more about it later.

Want to know the key details of how we created raving fans BEFORE launching the product?

We divided the initial month of the operation, the four week warm up period prior to launch, into three sections.

First, a week-long signup process to wean down my client's 55,000-member list to the qualified few we wanted to speak directly to.

Second, a two-week educational sequence to get that audience on fire for the product.

And finally, a week-long sales window to hit that monetary target of $400K.

A Key Element to Executing the Launch Plan

I want you to understand something about the creative and planing process for both this copywriting case study, and in general. You HAVE TO do the planning. You must lay out your calendar of events for what you're going to do. And you really have to believe in that plan. But reality will not turn out that way. At some point, preferably sooner rather than later, you will throw out this carefully assembled first plan in exchange for a new one. This new plan will be much better focused on the true needs, behavior and results of your target market--but you cannot know what these things are until you put your boots on and walk some distance down the muddy path to your goal. Don't fight the change; just make it.

My theme for the educational component was a Mission:Impossible-style concept to generate excitement and curiosity. We found stock video and music to match, and used them to create the opening sequence. That alone was an educational event for me, because I found some stock footage that was only about $100 which I had seen before--and had assumed it was high-end, custom, expensive work for that person's launch. The more you know... Our aim was to filter for those people who had at least $20K to invest, were action takers, and could follow directions.

Now the course correction in the plan for this copywriting case study:

The first two emails to the 55,000 list did not get many signups to our target list.

We had a full week, of course, so plenty of time to make adjustments. But this kind of result never feels good. Something in the hook wasn't working.

My client and I spoke every day for at least half an hour. Often a full 60 minutes. Our several email threads were 80+ messages long and we'd laugh about that. Remember, money had been taken off the table, so it did not matter how much time the project required.

The switches we made were to a) concentrate more on storytelling, b) really push the idea that those who signed up were part of a special group who would be receiving elite training like the Special Forces of the investment world, and c) add the urgency element I had planned to reserve for the educational phase. To help with urgency, we also added a contest for the best reason to sign up for the training. "How will getting this training change your life?" was the gist of the question. We received hundreds of Facebook comments as entries for this contest. The best of these were used going forward as social proof elements embedded in emails. They can also be used for the evergreen signup sequence to be developed.

Execution and Results for this Copywriting Case Study

From then on we got much better results. At the conclusion of the week, the target buyers list was 2200 strong.

Now I have to tell you, I was a bit concerned with this number. 55000 to 2200 was maybe a bit too good a job of filtering. To hit that 200 unit sales figure, the offer would have to convert at almost 10%. For a higher ticket item, that definitely made me gulp. We'd see how it played out, but for now the doors were closed. The rave was all locked up, and nobody new was getting in.

The educational piece was about to begin. We gave the list members the very best of the knowledge and methods my client has. The object was to transform their point of view and approach to investing. The software follows this approach and does it all for them. We shared his tactics, how he arrived at them, and supporting data. Much of this was through video, which I scripted. Sometimes these videos were 5 or 10 minutes, sometimes 30 or more. We also gave valuable pdf reports. And we put in a couple of contests to again boost that level of involvement and get micro-commitments. The prizes have to be substantial. In our case we gave away three copies of the software. "How would owning this software change your life?" Again, testimonials we can use for all time in an evergreen funnel or any advertising. We asked for feedback via Facebook comments for everything, and got amazing results.

Almost every single person who signed up for the buyers list watched all of the training.

For a video, we received over 400 Facebook comments. Think of the buyer involvement!

And when someone writes a personal declaration of "How owning this software is going to change my life," how do you think they believe and feel about the product? Are they set up to buy it when released? Haven't they just told themselves to do so?

This could be the biggest takeaway from this copywriting case study for you.

Midway through the educational period we knew we were onto something big. The feedback, involvement level and energy was bigger than anything either of us had ever seen.

Finally the Monday launch date arrived.

A few hours later, my client called me. "We're definitely gonna hit 200," he exclaimed. "How do you know?" I asked cautiously. Remember, I was still concerned that we only had 2200 people on our list. That this might not have been a very good copywriting case study. "We've already sold 97," he said. "And demand is typically U-shaped; you sell as many at the close as you do at the opening." Best of all, he was in the black. The revenue had definitely surpassed his investment to get this far. We could both breathe a sigh of relief.

Tuesday we spoke again. "The upsell's not converting," said my client. Now the main VSL and upsell VSL were scripted from Jon Benson's templates and were put together before I joined the team. I re-watched my way through the funnel, putting myself in the prospect's viewpoint rather than a writer's, and realized something. This person had just watched a 65-minute sales presentation for the main product, and then probably spent 10 minutes humming and hawing about whether to fork over the $1997. Then this other thing comes on, and there's no way of telling how long it's going to be. My response was to groan.

And so I added two slides to that upsell VSL right at the beginning. In them, I acknowledged the fact that they had just invested a long period watching the first video. I then complimented them on the character element they were displaying, and reinforced that element. By watching this second video all the way though, I said, they were being consistent about demonstrating that character element--and also not cutting themselves off from a potentially extremely lucrative tool just because they might be a little bit tired. Again, the exact wording is the kind of thing my clients pay me for, so I won't be sharing that.

We split test the two versions. Conversions of my modified upsell VSL immediately leapt to 50%. No kidding.

Sunday night when we closed, the total was over $600,000. We got some mail-in and phone orders that bumped the total far past the figure my client gave me in his early testimonial. From a list of 2200 people. Kicked that $400K target out of the park, didn't we. Guess I got the right peeps on the list.

Wrap-Up Thoughts for the Jason Kanigan Copywriting Case Study

Now let me point out I did not do everything myself for this copywriting case study. I was more like an orchestra conductor who also plays a lead instrument. We had a video expert who quickly put together the sequences we needed...an admin helper to post the emails...a programmer to do some pretty special stuff inside those emails that I envisioned but didn't know how to actually do. Rich Shefren's strategic direction. Jon Benson's VSL templates. And last but definitely not least, I had a client who understood online marketing...split testing...video presentations...had a great product and real knowledge...and appropriate funding. Success requires putting the pieces of the puzzle together correctly.

Finally, let me share with you the comments from my client:

"The first thing I said to Jason was "you want how much?!" [for the short email series preceding this launch]
Then he showed me his work...
Then he made me an extra $14,300...
Then I said, "let's do this launch. I just paid Rich Schefren
$2000 an hour so let's hash out these ideas."

OK, Jason's call sign should be the Marketing Magician
because within a 10 minute phone call, he conjured up
a completely new, never seen before marketing funnel to
get people to consume training videos for a new product
launch. My lips are sealed about this funnel. It's the new
back end for my business.

Next thing I know $211,000 comes in within 24 hours.
By the end of the week, it's $504,000 and growing.

Before the launch, [I] had a flop. Schefren is amazing,
but we had to go a different route. Jason and I bounced
ideas left and right in machine gun rapid-fire...then
eureka!

Marketing plan. CHECK. Email blasts. CHECK. Half
a million in a week. CHECK.

Even Jon Benson, the father of the "ugly video sales
letter" which has made nearly $1 billion in sales said
of our crazy new up-sell funnel said: "this DOES
need to be in any upsell...nice copy...your message
simply works."

[I added 2 vitally important slides near the beginning of Jon's slide sequence that massively boosted conversions.]

Thanks Jason! You've put money directly in my pocket
with PERSUASIVE copy. You were right, you get what
you pay for.

Dan Murphy. A true believer."

Naturally, we're at work on our next project.

After this launch, we raised the price to more than double the original amount. I transformed the launch sequence into an evergreen funnel. We put a lead generation front end step onto the process. The package continues to sell today.

UPDATE:

Note what elements are necessary for this level of result:

> capital to invest in product development and lead generation
> product creator/founder who has vision and willingness to take risk
> distribution channel to advertise the product through
> product proven to work
> attention-getting warm up funnel leading to proven conversion method
> good writers, video editors, presenters, etc. (talent).

Many efforts are undercapitalized. Others don't have access to a good distribution channel (in this case, Barron's). These are the two most important factors, in my experience.

Do you have these factors in place for your launch?

>> Jason Kanigan is a business development expert who has been helping companies make sales since 1994.

If you believe you're qualified to work with Jason, and want results like this copywriting case study, sign up for a paid consultation.

Any questions or comments? Comment below to let us know! And please Like and share this content if you think other people will find it valuable! <<

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A Word About Collecting Payment and Closing Deals

If You Aren't Collecting Payment at the Time of Order, You're More Likely to "Lose the Sale"

Inside an agency owners group I saw a sales discussion in which a number of people said they had problems collecting payment and closing deals. They would think they had “closed the sale” and gotten the order, but when they later sent an invoice, the buyer would ghost them. 

Here’s my question in response: Do you have your screen for collecting payment ready when the buyer is ready to buy?

A major block to selling that I see with newer agency founders is that they don’t present this attitude: “It’s normal to buy.”

They’re busy being afraid. They’re afraid this person won’t buy. And the actions they take demonstrate it’s weird, unusual, wrong for someone to buy.

collecting payment, failing to get paid, ghosting payment, not completing the sale
If you make it weird to buy, say "bye bye" to the sale. Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

When You Act Like No One Has Been Here Before, They Won't Buy

When you don’t have your method of collecting payment ready, you’re telling your prospect, “Oh, wow—nobody ever got here before! This is strange!” And what do you think the prospect’s emotional reaction to that is? (“Yikes, I’m outta here!”)

My hardcore close, based on 25+ years of experience, is, “So, what do you want to do next?”

When I feel all questions have been taken care of, the prospect has a need for what I offer, a problem large enough to warrant my involvement, and a personality I and my team can work with…then it is natural for them to say something like, “I’d like to buy. How do we get started?” How do I pay you?

And then, instantly, I bring up the payment processing page. It is normal to buy. I have been here a zillion times before. I have been here earlier today. It is normal to buy. Here is the process. People do this. Many people have done it before you.

Make It Normal to Buy

Make this change. If there is a gap between you and collecting the money, get rid of that gap. Collect the money.

I was a credit manager for a national electrical wholesaler for four years around the time I was 30. I collected $2 million a month and got very good at talking to people about the very touchy subject of money. I learned that you must ask for the money, you must be ready to collect the money, and it must feel normal to everyone involved that you are collecting the money.

buyer, purchase, payment, take payment, normal to buy, buying process
Make It Feel Normal for Your Customer to Buy. Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

Are You Presenting Yourself As Someone People Regularly Buy Things From?

Observe how you present yourself and your content on sales calls. Are you nervous? unprepared? unsure?

Everything about what you do needs to express “I have been here before. Many buyers have been here with me before. This is normal. It is normal to buy.”

What changes will you put into action to make this happen?

When I originally posted this in the agency group, fellow member Boyd Trimmell commented: “Failure to collect payment immediately is why so many small service businesses struggle with cash flow.” He is dead right.

The accounting maxim goes: A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. The interest rate aka inflation, creating the Time Value of Money concept, makes it so. Add to that if you aren’t collecting payment now it’s less likely that you ever will, and you’ll see the problem clearly: you’re delaying or completely denying that cash your business needs. Cash is the lifeblood of business. If you’re an employee and not an owner, understand this…you are paid by money collected. If you don’t collect, the business will soon run out of cash and you won’t be paid at all. As Stuart Wilde said: “When they show up, bill ’em”.

>> Jason Kanigan is a strategist who works with agency owners to increase the profitabilty and effectiveness of their organizations. Book a consultation with Jason here <<
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Why Demos Fail to Sell

why demos fail to sell, DemoGuy, software demonstration

Why Demos Fail to Sell: A Question

Why do SaaS (Software as a Service) B2B firms make you go through a demo? This was the question on an expert platform I'm a member of. "What's with all the secrecy?" Why not, as is common in the B2C world, simply let the user download the SaaS and use it for a free trial period? Wouldn't that lead to better traction and more paying customers?

The original version of this post was written in October 2014. Recently, a SaaS founder was sharing a list of factors that helped them get over eight figures ($10MM) in revenue this year...and guess what the first item was? "No Free Demo". So that prompted a review of this post. Let's see how things have updated in the past nine years:

"No Free Demo"

Before leaving Canada, I was Business Development Manager of a full service boutique IT firm. One of our main products was for network security. 'Book demos, book demos, book demos' was the direction. The idea was to get people on a call and screenshare appointment with one of our techs. My experience and understanding from then to now leads me to this conclusion:

I don't think it's secrecy. I believe it's bad selling.

"Look at this awesome thing I developed! Surely if you look at it, and I can control the demonstration, I can explain everything about it. Then you'll really want it!"

Sometimes a product or service creator can be fearful someone will "steal" their idea. They have not realized ideas are a dime a dozen: it's execution that is difficult to match! This could lead to the perception of secrecy. But I believe poor understanding of selling is a much more common issue in the SaaS world.

Underlying Reasons Why Demos Fail to Sell

Many products are developed because the creator had an idea. Not because the market told them they needed it, note. This is why so many SaaS startups fail. No need. Then they make up some sort of pricing structure which has no basis in reality and certainly isn't profitable...and then must go out into the marketplace and try to convert people into becoming users. Tough road!

What most salespeople (and people who shouldn't really be in sales, but accidentally fell into the role) fail to understand is that customers rarely buy because of ALL the features your product or service has. They tend to buy because of ONE of these.

Example: the network security product I sold had four main features. But buyers would only be interested in one of them--a different one each time. Only months later, when they came back and asked the now-perceived-as-expert (me), "Gee, we need X...do you know anything that does that?" I could then happily inform them, "What you have now does that already."

Sell first, educate later. Often, putting too many choices or things to think about in front of a prospect will result in overwhelming them. Another example: I'm a producer for a TV network. When we first meet with a prospect, I don't go into everything we can do. I stick to one big idea, and that's what we sell. When I first started in the field, I tried upselling, cross selling, what have you. Nope. All that did was confuse the prospects. Now I sell them on the one big idea...and then come back a little later, now that they're used to working with us, and pick up the other orders I knew would be a good fit following the first discussion.

What to Do Now That You Know Why Demos Fail to Sell

The standard belief is: "If I can just get in front of enough people and tell them about every single feature of my SaaS, I will get lots of customers." And to a degree this is true. If you see enough prospects, you'll accidentally make some sales. But you probably won't truly know why they bought.

The demo is an outdated mode of selling. The assumption that people buy because of features and benefits is false. These salespeople don't know any other way, though. They want you on the call. Live. Then, they believe, they can convert you into a paying user. On your own, as a consumer, you're not to be trusted to come to your own correct conclusions.

As a SaaS developer, what else can you do?

Don't develop your tool in isolation! Don't create something just because you alone believe it would be a good idea.

Ask your target market.

Do the people you're going to be relying upon to be paying customers agree this is a needed solution to a real problem?

What do they want it to be and do?

What size of a problem does it solve for them (pricing and validation hint)?

Do they instantly "get it"? Or do you find yourself mired in the quicksand of attempted explanations and blank looks?

Many, many SaaS startups have tried and crashed and burned because they did not find out the answers to these simple questions before they went ahead and developed their solution. It was a solution to a problem nobody but the creator thought was important.

If you asked these questions before starting development, and got clear responses from your target market, you would be able to create a solution to a real problem...including features your audience has told you they will pay for. Now do you need a demo? Of course not. The sales copy will practically write itself. User adoption will happen like a rising tide. At that point, it's just a matter of letting your market know you and your solution exist.

One final example. I sell a stock trading software currently valued at $5000 (the price is going up!). My discussion with prospects is NEVER about technical issues: I might have to answer one or two little tech questions, but we do not even look at the software. Buyers invest in the software because they understand it will help them make more money. I'll say it again: I have never had to do a demo or show a single screenshot of this software to sell it for $5000.

>> Do you have a question about why demos fail to sell, selling or SaaS? Comment below to let us know! And if this info helped you, please Like or Share to get it in front of others. Jason Kanigan is a profit maximizer for individuals and organizations that competently solve serious problems for well-defined target markets. For more information about Jason, click here. <<