Imagine sitting poolside with your laptop at a posh LA hotel and typing out a
sales promotion between dips in the pool. You hand the assignment to your client
the very next day and get on a plane to go home.
Three weeks later you get a breathless call from the client. He tells you he's
had to hire three shifts at his order-processing department just to keep track
of the money that's pouring in.
When all's said and done, that promotion and two more like it get mailed to 90
million homes and generate over $138 MILLION in sales!
From that point forward you realize you're in possession of
something incredibly powerful. Put simply, you hold in the palm of your hand a
simple skill that can get you anything you want.
The above story is true. For three years, the very best copywriters on the
planet pulled out all of the stops to try and knock that promotion off its
throne, but they couldn't.
Following resource could put you on your way to a similar
All About Money
amazingly powerful emotion ALL your prospects share –
and how activating it can make you a bundle …
kinds of customer promotions that can almost instantly
multiply your response, revenues and profits …
your wildest dreams are only 25% as big as they need to
Much, MUCH MORE!
I’m in Manhattan
this week … treating The Redhead and the kids to a few
Broadway shows and all the sights.
We have a nice
suite right on Times Square – a short walk from
Rockefeller Center, the Theater District and more great
delicatessens than you could shake a Knish at.
I love kosher
food. In fact, I’ve always said I shoulda been born
Jewish. Not only do they have great food, they’ve got
more holidays. Plus, they’ve got great-looking
women(!). And anytime I see a religion that uses that
much wine in their observations – hey: I’m
But alas, I was
born a poor, whitebread Anglo-Saxon protestant straight
male. And not when being a straight white male (SWM)
came with any perks, either.
Due to a
combination of bad luck and poor personal planning, I
was born into this fraternity just as it was becoming
the one minority group it’s politically correct to
These days, us
SWMs get the blame for just about everything – from
slavery, to the subjugation of the Indians, to the
oppression of the Chinese, to the repression of women,
to the rape of the environment, to the heartbreak of
Now, don’t get me
wrong: It’s not that I wouldn’t have just loved
to have snatched up most of South Dakota for myself when
Sitting Bull was taking a potty break …
… But I
wasn’t even alive when all that was going on – and
that pretty much limited my opportunities to join the
like Cain and Able – who got their prenatal butts
unceremoniously tossed out of the Garden of Eden
through no fault of their own – us SWMs are now making
restitution for the sins of our fathers.
Flick on the boob
tube after 7:00 PM, and you’ll be treated to hours of TV
shows and commercials portraying us SWMs as blithering
idiots, insensitive philistines and beer-swilling
Black and Latin
guys? They’re cool – or is it “fly?”.
Quirky, gifted, fun.
guys like Homer Simpson, The King of Queens and me?
Clueless, oafish, vulgar – or worse: Venal, greedy,
conspiratorial, and mindlessly violent.
I swear: It’s
getting to the point where just reading the TV Guide
listings makes me feel like the caveman in those Geico
That’s OK though
… I’m a big boy and I can take it. You won’t hear any
whining from me. Sticks and stones and all that stuff.
other oppressed minority I’m really starting to
worry about –a minority that YOU belong to -- or will
The Evil Rich
Like you, I’ve
always tried to make wise choices, to work hard and to
manage my money wisely.
So for the last
three decades plus, I’ve put in back-breaking hours …
suffered through the lean times … scrimped, sacrificed
and saved in the good times … and reinvested my profits
to hire folks and expand my business.
And lo and
behold, it all began to pay off for me back in the early
That’s when I
committed the ultimate sin: I became officially “rich.”
Now, when I say I
got “rich,” I do not mean Jay Rockefeller rich
(net worth $200 million). Or Diane Feinstein rich ($50
million). Or Teddy Kennedy rich ($35 million). Or even
Nancy Pelosi rich ($13 million).
But about 25
years ago, I crossed the $350,000-per-year income
threshold – just enough for the millionaires in Congress
to declare me “rich” with a straight face.
Now, as we all
know, when Congress wants to discourage a particular
behavior, it passes a law that imposes fines on the
evil-doers. The fine for working hard is called the
And, like a
couple of Satanic parents, the House and Senate use
income taxes to punish us when we’re good and
reward us when we’re naughty.
Make dumb choices,
squander your opportunities and wind up poor – and not
only won’t they fine you, they’ll give you all kinds of
Make wise choices,
work diligently and become successful – you’d better
watch out: Congress is going to fine the bejezus out of
When your income
passes the $350,000 mark, you graduate into the highest
income tax bracket – which entitles you to pay
Washington thirty-five cents out of ever dollar you
That means in an
average 260-day working year, you’ll work 91 days for
free – giving the government 100% of the money you
Or, put another
way, if you come to work every day at 9:00, everything
you earn before 11:48 AM goes to Washington to squander
any way it sees fit.
Now, if you’re
thinking, “No problem; I’ll just skip that part of the
day – show up for work at 11:48 and then keep
everything I earn.”
Nice try, no
cigar. I already ran that one by my CPA. He just
rolled his eyes.
OK … so now,
you’re probably thinking: “Jeeze, Clayton, you make a
LOT of money every year – quit bitching about a lousy
35% income tax, will ya?”
I’m sorry –
didn’t I mention this isn’t about me? It’s
about you and your quest to become
See, despite what
Washington and the media tell you, high taxes never hurt
the truly rich.
Warren Buffet, George Soros and all the millionaires in
Congress already have their money. Ditto for corporate
CEOs, with their hundred-million-dollar bonuses …
Hollywood celebs with their $20 million-a-picture deals
… or trust-fund babies with their bazillion-dollar
Not only are
these folks already set for life, they can
afford armies of high-priced tax accountants to shrink
their tax bills down near-zero.
On the other
hand, high taxes do hurt folks who can’t get a
job because their prospective employers just sent their
salary to Washington.
But most of all …
High taxes hurt people
like you: Folks working to become rich.
Making good money
each year is one thing. Building long-term wealth and
saving for retirement while putting kids through college
… caring for elderly parents … and flushing more than a
third of your income down the Congressional crapper is
that 35% federal income tax bite is just the beginning.
If you’re self-employed, Uncle Sam wants another 15% to
cover your Social Security and Medicare premiums – and
depending where you live, you could also get slammed for
as much as 9.5% in state income taxes.
That’s 59.5% of
your income confiscated before you ever see it – enough
to shrink the $350,000 income that just made you “rich”
down to $141,750.
Sure – you’ll
have deductions at tax time and they’ll help plump up
your refund. But the government isn’t through with you
yet – not by a long shot.
You’re going to
have to spend a bunch of what you still have on
“extravagant” things like food, shelter, clothing,
transportation – and of course, energy.
And guess what?
You’ll have to pay state sales taxes of 5%, 6%, 7% or
more on most of those things.
Then, there are
the annual taxes on stuff you already own – like your
cars and your house: Depending on where you live,
that’s good for another multi-thousand-dollar yearly
everything you buy has huge taxes tucked away in
the price you pay for them.
Take that new car
company involved in supplying the iron to make the steel
… the oil to make the plastics and all the other raw
company that used those raw materials to
produce finished parts …
company that transported those finished parts
to the factory for assembly and the factory itself …
company that transported the finished car to
the dealership and the dealership itself …
… Every one of
those companies is paying taxes out the wazzoo: Property
taxes … matching FICA contributions … sales taxes on
everything they buy … taxes on their profits …
… And each of
those taxes is cheerfully passed on to you -- included
in the price you paid for that car.
So how much does
all that cost you every year? I don’t think anyone
knows for sure – but a few years ago, the National
Taxpayer’s Union estimated that the average new car
would cost 66% less if all those taxes could be removed
from the sticker.
So let’s recap:
Up to 60% of the money you earn is confiscated before
you see it – for federal and state income taxes and FICA
… And when you
spend the rest, up to 66% of that money winds
up in a politician’s hands, too.
Do the math and
you’ll see: Government is already costing you somewhere
around 75% of what we earn each year.
would spend like $1.4 million if there were no taxes.
Thanks to taxes,
it spends more like $87,500.
And don’t even
think about getting me started on how the
massive budget deficits Washington’s running slash the
spending power of that eighty-seven grand by 30% to 50%
every decade or so!
Now – you ready
for the kicker?
Rather than tell
all-time pork king Senator Robert C. Byrd that the world
has enough bridges named after his sorry ass – and
delivering the same message to the 535 other pork barrel
barons and baronesses on Capitol Hill …
… Congress is
threatening to levy even larger fines on you for earning
more than $350,000 per year – which (finally!) brings me
to the points I set out to make in the first place …
Point #1: Profits Live at
the Intersection of Need and Emotion
Despite the fact
that April 15th is bearing down on us like a run-away
train, only a minority of Americans have any idea of the
enormity of the shellacking they’re about to receive.
In one of the
slickest, sleaziest marketing ploys of all time, the
government has convinced them that April 15 is a
good thing. After all -- it means they’re about to
get their tax refunds!
You know: The
money the government’s been forcibly borrowing from them
all year long without paying interest on it?
But most of the
rest -- tens of millions of business owners …
entrepreneurs … investors … and the senior citizens who
make up the majority of our prospects for health
products … are aware of what’s going on … and most of
them are royally pissed off.
THINK: How can you tie your product to
your prospect’s indignation … frustration … and his
desire to win even a small victory over Washington
I’m often amazed
at how few of my clients think about this when planning
promotions to their customers.
See, when I
design customer file strategies for a client, I try to
avoid “one-size-fits-all” promotions like the plague.
Instead, I focus
on two far more effective types of promotions:
1. Horizontal promotions:
Highly personal promotions that go to customers
who have something in common: A birthday, an
anniversary, a product preference, for example.
demographic or psychographic you wish – sex, age, buying
frequency or recency, average purchase, largest
purchase, cumulative purchase – whatever.
Then, craft a
promotion and a special offer just for the folks who
match that criteria. Let them know why they’ve been
selected for this honor.
Then, sit back
and watch your response go through the roof.
2. Vertical promotions:
These are the direct mail and e-mail promotions
I send to the entire file – but they’re not promotions
you could have sent them anytime.
Each of these
vertical promotions is sent to the entire file to
commemorate something we’re all experiencing together.
It could, for
example be designed to help them deal with a situation
that’s currently in the news.
Or, it could be
keyed to a specific date – like the New Year …
Valentine’s Day … Halloween … Thanksgiving … Christmas …
George Birthington’s Washday …
… OR, the two
most crucial times in a taxpayer’s financial life:
December 31 and April 15.
promotions that connect with your prospects’ dominant
emotions at these times, and I guarantee it: Your
response will soar.
Point #2: Never Forget
How Powerful Envy Can Be
Americans dream about success. They fantasize about
life as a successful entrepreneur … a rich celebrity …
or even a lucky lottery winner.
And yet many of
those same people just voted for politicians who freely
admit they intend to raise taxes on successful people.
I wonder how many
of those voters really connected the dots. How many
realized that when their dreams of success come true,
the vote they just cast will cost them tens of thousands
of dollars every year – maybe even hundreds of thousands
– for the rest of their natural lives?
Why would a
sane person daydream of getting rich one minute and
then vote for folks who promise to tax him to death when
he becomes rich the next?
Simple: Envy is
a powerful emotion. And emotion trumps reason every
THINK: How can you harness your
prospect’s envy of folks who are richer, healthier,
younger, luckier, better looking to get his attention
and readership and to make a sale?
That’s the idea
behind the entire mutual fund industry – it goes
something like this:
“Until now, only
the super-rich could afford to own every stock traded on
the Dow Jones Industrial average. Only the rich could
enjoy the enhanced profit potential and safety that kind
of diversification can give you.
“That’s just not
fair, and it’s just not right. That’s why we created
the XYZ mutual fund – to give you the same “unfair”
advantage that the super-rich think is their
Point #3: Getting TRULY
Rich Is Your Only Defense
“Reach for the
stars,” the wise man said; “You may not catch one, but
you won’t wind up with a fistful of mud, either.”
Learn to think
big. The bigger, the better. Whatever your financial
goals are now, double them. And then double them again.
After all – since
they’re swiping up to 75% of your money, it follows
you’ll need four times more to live the life you
So work smart.
Work hard. Most of all, never give up.
As the Romans were
(supposedly) fond of saying, “Illegitimi non-carborundum”
– don’t let the bastards grind you down.
Yours for Bigger Winners, More
Clayton Makepeace Publisher & Editor THE TOTAL
How to Write “Hot Button” Sales Copy in the Coming Recession of 2012
There are, as you may have heard, 13 human motivators, or “hot buttons”
that inevitably drive sales.
Employ any one, or two of them, in your marketing campaigns, with a
deft and artistic touch, and you’ll easily deliver your customers to the
precipice – the point at which he or she is presented with an
all-important and consequential decision:
To buy … or not to buy.
Yet, use more than one, or at the most two hot button motivators in a
single marketing campaign … and more than likely, you’ll lose the sale.
Just as a sentence should contain only one thought, lest in confuse
and distract the reader, a sales promotion should appeal to one dominant
motivator at a time.
So which one, or two motivators will work best in a recession?
First, let’s identify these 13 motivators.
In no particular order, they are:
Fear of lost opportunities, or the loss of a possession. (Plus,
millions of people just love it when they’re scared – why else Stephen
King and Final Destination 5?)
The coveting of more … more … and more(And its still never
Mirror, mirror on the wall … (Indeed, why mirrors at all)?
Sex sells. Dare to deny it.
5. Envy or
It all began when we were little mini-me’s, and we pulled on mommy’s
skirt and screamed: “I WANT ONE, TOO!”
Who doesn’t want to be valued and feel important … (And drive a BMW)?
Why stand when you can sit; why sit when you can lie down; why work
when someone else can work for you (otherwise known as outsourcing)?
You’ve been robbed! You’ve been cheated! And now you want REVENGE!
C’mon, do you know anyone who really wants to be weak?
The pleasure is in the giving (so they say).
Why else do we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune
(Shakespeare). Because … after all, tomorrow is another day (Gone
with the Wind).
We all have one or two. Because in some perverse way, it makes us
feel better about our miserable, guilt-ridden selves.
The politically correct, socially acceptable and legal equivalent of
Ok, so which hot buttons work best in a recession?
Hold on, not so fast.
Along with these 13 motivators, we humans are also prey to 12
Indeed, at one time or another, regardless of our sex, age, race,
political persuasion, or whether we watch CNN or FOX, we are all subject
to these 12 desires – and some of us are subject to all of them all
at the same time!
Again, a warning: Pander to more than one or two and you will muddle
your marketing message.
Okay, these 12 desires are, in no particular order (and they need no
2. Good looks
9. Enjoyment or
12. Security in
our old age
Now, which of these 12 desires appeal most strongly to consumers
during a recession – when money is tight, the future is murky and an
overall sense of anxiety and dread causes many a sleepless, frightful
Hmn. Well, truthfully, from where I stand, a recession won’t stop,
inhibit or negate any of them!
They all belong to the basic human emotional and visceral food
groups, regardless of whether Bernanke institutes QE3, or not.
Because they function in all climates – and in all economies –
indeed, they will survive and thrive in the best of times and the worst
of times (Dickens, sorta).
If your product or service can successfully satisfy any of these 12
desires, your promotion could be squarely on the road to making you
oodles of money – if you can combine it with a hot-button
Important Caveat: The desire you choose to arouse and satisfy must berelevant to your product.
For example, if you sell car parts, security in old age or good looks
might not be the best two desires to leverage.
But, if you sell pimple cream … good looks certainly works, as would
popularity, praise, self-confidence, and, a case could even be made for
health (after all, if you look good, you feel good).
Okay, now on to …
The motivators you should absolutely use in a recession…
Well, FEAR certainly works – but use it sparingly. For example, use
it in the lead, to get the readers attention. After all, you don’t want
to drone on and on about how terrible things are – they get enough of
that watching the nightly news on TV.
What they really want, therefore, is HOPE!
Okay, so now we’ve got two motivators that go hand-in-hand: FEAR and
ENVY or JEALUOSY works.
For example, your prospect grumbles to himself: “Gezus! How can Harry
next door still take annual Hawaii vacations, when I can’t even afford
to fill my gas tank?”
So, here comes your product to the rescue, allowing him to act like
neighbor Harry, thereby restoring his PRIDE (and presumably filling his
empty wallet and gas tank).
LUST, now that’s clearly a motivator for all seasons. Nothing will
stop carnal desire, not rain, nor hail, not even old age (as long as
your product has the horse power of a little blue pill).
GREED, on the other hand, wouldn’t work.
The average consumer isn’t looking for more – he’s looking to hold on
to and protect what he’s got.
And for that same reason, CHARITY isn’t a big motivator in tough
economic times either, unless…
Your customers are rich and philanthropic. And if they are, then
GREED or CHARITY, and certainly VANITY can be used with wanton abandon!
What about ANGER? Absolutely!
Yes, play into the rage – the loss of privilege and comforts that a
recession robs your customers of.
And by all means – pin the blame – join your customers in throwing
rocks at the enemy!
Who is the enemy? Those whom your customers may have a PREJUDICE
against – Wall Street, Congress, Obama, the Tea Party, your landlord,
your boss who denied you a raise, the list could be endless!
After all, your customers want, indeed they demand JUSTICE!
But be smart and sensitive about it. Use good taste. Don’t blame the
Jews, the blacks, the Mexicans, the poor, or even your mother-in-law
(unless you’re fully capable of cooking and doing your own laundry).
And what about LAZINESS? Silly question – that’s another all season
For example, there are millions of overweight men and women
who would eagerly pop a handful of pills rather than run 5 miles on the
treadmill, much less deny themselves the pleasures of chocolate, ice
cream and cake.
And if a pill, powder, or chair (which easily folds and stores in a
closet), can miraculously turn their pot bellies into a rippling rack of
6-pack abs in 90 days or less – and – give them the STRENGTH to
bend steel in their bare hands and leap tall buildings in a single bound
(Superman) – it’s a no-brainer!
My, my, my, dear marketer, what have we just discovered here?
There are no one, or two, hot button motivators best suited for a
Depending on who your customers are, what they value, what drives
them and what they desire – there are exactly 13 motivators… and 12
desires … to choose from.
In which case … what recession? 2012 is going to be a great year for