Wisdom from the John Carlton Event

Can you imagine an event by John Carlton being bad? Me neither. And true to form John’s Big Damn Hot Seat Seminar was eye-opening. But it was a little different than most copywriting seminars. In fact, we only spent a marginal amount of time on actually critiquing copy.

No, this event was about looking at the BIG PICTURE of the Hot Seat victim’s…er, attendee’s business. Here’s how it works…

Each participant gets an hour in the Hot Seat. The first stage is what John calls a “Brain Cleanse” (his method of doing the “sales detective” work or deep digging he does with a real client). These are some of the questions you should be asking your OWN clients if you are a copywriter…or asking YOURSELF if you are doing your own copy. Want to know what they are? Let me give you a taste:

Can you explain what you do in one sentence?
Why did you get into your business?
What gets you excited about your business everyday?
What is your primary source of advertising?
How do you generate leads?
What is a lead worth to you?
Do you have a 2 year plan? Five year plan?
What outcome would you like to see from our work?

There were sooooo many more questions in the “sales detective” sequence but there’s just not room for them all here.

Let’s move on, shall we…

In the next stage, the Hot Seat became more specific to each person’s business. While John was the “main brain” behind the advice, it was fascinating to watch the entire room of less than 20 people evolve into a mastermind group, building off one another’s ideas.

There were so many aha moments in the room, I’m just going to dump out as many as I can for you here. Ready? Here we go…

You can’t write an ad to educate prospects. They have to already have it in their minds they are interested.

Copywriters who are successful know the rules first, then break them.
Don’t try to apply logic to marketing.

There are always two reasons why they buy – the reason the prospect thinks he/she is buying and the real reason (ala Mark Twain) but the prospect is often NOT AWARE of the real reason.

As an entrepreneur, your job is to be the full time lead generator and marketer of your company. Every minute you aren’t spending writing a better letter or ad is robbing you of money – even if you’re not a writer.

If you’re stuck while writing or have an issue in your head don’t do anything right then. Instead make an appointment with yourself at least 24 hours later to sit down and work it out. It’s amazing how the ideas float to the surface once you’ve “slept on it”.

Your ad should always be an extension of the conversation already going on in your prospect’s head.

Fear will get attention but it will not sell.

Take a few hours to set up a baseline tracking system so you can tell what is working and what is not. It’s worth the time.

One word keywords in Google Adwords are generally not keywords prospects type in when they are in the buying stage. A keyword phrase is more targeted.

Never call something a “free report” – give it a title with a benefit in it.

If you had a gun to your head and had to write a winning ad, testimonials are always the most bang for your buck. (You may have to go as far as interviewing happy clients for a half hour on the phone and writing a testimonial template. It takes time to get a good one but it’s worth it.)

The funny thing is, no matter what business you’re in, the marketing lessons were the same. I learned a lot about my business watching others’ Hot Seats. Yes, even the guy selling cement steps had similar marketing issues.

Obviously there is no way I can tell you as much as you would have gotten out of attending this event yourself (which is why live events are such a great investment of your time and money – hint, hint). Never stop learning.

Article by:

Copywriting guru Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero has been helping entrepreneurs and copywriters get their marketing messages razor sharp since 1999. Get free access to 5 tips to turn your “blah” sales message into red-hot copy that ROCKS… at www.redhotcopy.com

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