Another Funnel Bites The Dust

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Is your funnel converting the way you want it to?

Are your ads falling flat? Or worse, are they adding to the clutter?

Learning to write rock star copy for your funnels and ads takes time.

It takes patience, persistence, and perseverance.

It reminds me of this Ernest Shackleton ad...

"MEN WANTED for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, 

long months of complete darkness, constant danger,

safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of return."

Are you tired of struggling with your copy? Tired of your funnel biting the dust?

Yesterday I told you about the 1st of 4 stages to writing rock star copy that sells. 

I called it, "The Shed." You cut your teeth in the shed. You get your chops. You learn to jam with the big boys. You start finding your own voice.

Once you've found at least one diamond in the dungheap of your failures, it's time to move on to Stage 2... "The Studio."

There are 6 phases of development in "The Studio."

In the studio, you trying to write your hit song. In copywriting language, you're trying to write a persuasive sales letter. The kind of sales letter that grabs attention, makes a promise, proves the promise, and delivers the promised transformation.

PHASE 1 - Laying Down Tracks

This is the research phase. 

As a musician, by the time you're ready for the studio, you've found your golden riff. You've discovered your diamond in the dungheap while jamming. Now it's time to take these ingredients and write a real song. You get together with your buddies and go to work. You start organizing your jam sessions into takes. The engineer turns on the microphones. You begin laying down as many tracks as you can, using all your licks and riffs. The goal is a smooth, catchy, hit song. 

When writing copy, Phase 1 is where you do research by digging into the product. You learn what it is, who it's for, how it can help them. You identify the problem it solves and how it benefits your customer's lives. I like to get on the phone and talk with people who've used the product. They're the best source of proof and overcoming objections. And if you can't prove your promise and overcome your reader's objections, they won't buy. The research phase is like jamming with your band. You test things out on each other. You see what sticks. You throw away the rest.

PHASE 2 - Riffs and Licks that Stick

The opening riff of a rock song is CRUCIAL to the success of the song. Think of "Another One Bites The Dust" by Queen. As soon as you hear the bassline thumping its way through the speakers, you're hooked! 

Success! You've turned your riff into a grabber that catches your audience by the eardrums and brings them into your universe. They feel the groove right away. They're curious to hear where it's going to go, how it's going to pay off later in the song. Why? Because they want to go on a journey. They want to go for a ride and feel something. They want connection, affection, and intoxication. "What's in it for me?" They think. "Oooo, what a riff! This one sounds like it's really gonna take me somewhere. Let's hop on and see where it goes..."

It's no different in copywriting and marketing. Your prospect wants to go on a journey. The journey to a better, easier, more fulfilling, thinner, richer, more exotic life. But you can't get them there if you don't hook them from the start. That's why the headline and the opening few sentences of your copy are SO important. If you can't hook them like Freddie Mercury and Queen... you've lost them. All your hard work on the rest of your ad is wasted because they'll never get that far.

PHASE 3 - Lyrics and Legends

You've got your golden riff. You've got your groove. You've got your audience leaning in. Now... where will you take them? It's time for the lyrics.

The lyrics play the role of the tour bus. They're the portal to the Magical Mystery Tour. They have a story to tell, even if the story has an unclear destination. Some rock songs like "Hotel California" or "Bohemian Rhapsody" have fuzzy destinations. Even though the stories may not be fully coherent, they're enticing enough to sell millions of copies.

In your sales message, it's time to tell your readers a story. You've hooked them. Now they need to go for a ride. On the ride, they need to see your offer can transform their life. How it will solve their problem. How it will make them feel better about themselves, the way you feel after blasting out the final chorus of your favorite song. Your story takes your audience somewhere new. They have a new lease on life. A new sense of freshness in the air. The song showed you a better way to lead your day.

That's what a great story does in your sales message. It overcomes the objections in your reader's mind and proves your promise through demonstration. That's a formula for success!

PHASE 4 - Shoo-Be-Dos and Doo-Wops

You've got your golden riff (your hook), your lyrics (your story), now you need to fill in the void between the two. This is where the "shoo-be-dos" and "doo-wops" come in. These are the little fascination points that fill the gaps in the vocal lines. They dress up the song like the Pips backing up Gladys Night. Or, like Eric Clapton filling in the vocal lines of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with a bunch of extra riffs and licks that stick. 

Some of those licks and some of those "shoo-be-dos" are so fun and interesting, they become your favorite parts of the songs. You can't wait to hear this one or that one. You can't wait to sing along and to lean into the extra layer of fascination. Often, these extra fascinations come from the cutting room floor when you were working on finding your golden riff. Don't ever throughout your earlier attempts at the golden riff. You might find something silver or bronze in the pile that can add a lot of extra color and value to your song.

In copywriting, we call these fascination points... these extra riffs and licks, these shoo-be-dos... we call them bullets. They are additional hooks that draw the reader in. Extra points of curiosity, of benefit or proof that entice the reader to keep reading and to realize how much they really do need what you're offering. Through these fascinations, they can see how your offer will solve their problems and make their life better. 

Like the silver and bronze hooks you used to write your extra riffs and your shoo-be-dos, you can find your bullets from the pile of discarded headlines and hooks. Many great copywriters begin the writing process by writing hundreds of bullets. The best bullet, like the best riff, becomes the headline and the hook. But that doesn't mean the others are garbage. They are your extra fascination points. Your second and third and fourth battalion of salesmen in the copy. And sometimes those bullets are so enticing, your prospect might buy your product because of just one of them.

PHASE 5 - Take It To The Bridge

At some point, the story needs to reach a climax. In a hit song, this often happens in the bridge. The bridge is a section with new chords and excited singing. It's a "high action" space. Think of the exciting part right in the middle of Sting's hit song "Every Breath You Take." It starts with this lyric... "Since you've gone I've been lost without out a trace..." The most intense emotions come out. The biggest boom or the highest vocals burst out and reach a satisfying climax. By the time the bridge is over, the music has transformed the listener. Even though you hear familiar music after the bridge, it sounds new. Not because the music is different, but because your audience reached the promised land on the other side of the bridge.

In copywriting, taking it to the bridge is reaching the "close" of your copy. Rather than shy away from asking someone to buy, lean into it. Like a hit song, the bridge of a sales message is a "high action" space. You get even more excited because you know you can solve your customer's problem. You spell out the offer. You show them the bonuses, the guarantee, and the details of what they'll receive. You make sure to keep emotions high, like in the hit song. You demonstrate how taking this offer is the only way for them to reach their promised land, or their green pasture, or their safe shore. Most important of all, you ask them to take action. Without action, they can't experience the transformation you've described. And that would be a tragedy.

PHASE 6 - Cutting Room Floor

With your song coming together from all angles, it's time to clean it up. It's time to edit. You get a producer to come in and hear things you're missing. You tidy it up. You shave this or that. You hone the final details so carefully to create a smooth listening journey without any obvious speed bumps in sound. Only then is it ready for prime time.

Now that you've completed your sales letter, it's time to edit. You read it out loud. You find the obvious speed bumps. You find a good direct response copy editor who knows not to tamper with the persuasion points in your letter. Your editor will see and hear things you didn't. Fix those things. Smooth them over. Make the reading experience a smooth greased slide from top to bottom. Only then is your sales message ready for paid traffic.

Stage 2, "The Studio" is not for the faint of heart. 

It's like Shackleton's "Hazardous Journey."

But it's worth the ride. 

You funnel won't convert without each of these crucial elements.

If you need a producer to take a look at your copy-song... give me call. I'll join you in the studio and offer you a critique.

You can reach me at

Now, back to work. Take your copy to the shed. Then take it to the studio. Take your time. Do it right. Then give me a shout and I'll twist over to take a look.

Have a good one, and may your copy ever be melodic and harmonious!