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
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
[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.
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.
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