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Power University sales page feedback (Experimental): what do you think?

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Pretty sure this is better than what some McKinsey consultants advise.

I could certainly use some of the techniques here too.

Thanks a lot for sharing in such great detail!
As Lucio says, I would pay for such advice.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano
Quote from Ali Scarlett on July 22, 2021, 3:26 am

Help People Imagine Being Inside of the Course

This comes straight out of Kolenda's book, Imagine Reading This Book. And, the idea is that if the prospect can easily imagine being inside of your course, they're more likely to take the necessary action to realize that image due to conceptual fluency.

Kolenda does it here:

And, Ramit does it a different way in his "How To Talk To Anybody" course here:

And (tried 🙂 ) to add this one as well.

Added a block with a bunch of pictures from inside the course.

I tried putting a carousel too, but it wasn't working too well on mobile.
Maybe I'll try again later on.

Not the best result, but a step in that direction.

Thanks again, Ali.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Feeling really recharged because I recently got some cool-down time after releasing my last post (for now) on Kolenda's Sales Psychology course.

And, don't be fooled, some of the techniques in his DARRP framework could apply here, such as using rhetorical questions (e.g. at a business meeting ask, "Do we want to make more profit this year?" Or, in this case, after the benefits / "what you're getting" section of PU, say something like, "Do you want to get more power this year?")

That said, most of the DARRP applications were already covered in earlier posts within this thread.

So, now, I'm going to see if I can start rolling out some tactics from Kolenda's The Psychology of Copywriting (albeit that roll-out might be slow).

Let's dig in:

Boost the Clarity of Your Message

Use an active voice wherever possible

"Compared to passive sentences, active sentences are more persuasive. Why? Hosman (2002) explains that passive sentences are grammatically complex, weakening persuasion…"

A general example would be:

  • Passive: Some interesting tactics are explained in this course.
  • Active: This course explains some interesting tactics.

I didn't see too many cases of a passive voice in the current copy. But, I did see a couple missed opportunities for a voice that was more on the active side.

E.g.

Current Copy: "They want you in the bottom 10%, not the top 10%. If you remain ignorant, it’s less competition for them."

Optional Revision: "They want you in the bottom 10%, not the top 10%. They want you to remain ignorant because it’s less competition for them."

The "want" is more active and, therefore, more persuasive.

And, the "because" is a coherence marker because it connects the two ideas together (more on that below).

Describe information using positive frames (i.e. positive sentence structure)

"Since we need more mental resources to process negative frames, they reduce comprehension and degrade the impact of your message (Jacoby, Nelson, & Hoyer, 1982)."

E.g.

Current Copy: "Your ability to do well with people is the biggest factor for your success, as well as your life quality. But it’s not the “social skills” that most courses teach."

Optional Revision: "Your ability to do well with people is the biggest factor for your success, as well as your life quality. But it goes beyond the 'social skills' that most courses teach."

Use better coherence markers wherever necessary / possible

Coherence markers are: "Words and phrases that connect ideas."

"Coherence markers don’t add semantic meaning, so many advertisers remove them to condense their copy. However, research shows that coherence markers boost clarity and persuasion (Kamalski, 2007)."

The example Kolenda gives is:

  • Poor: "We encounter so many distractions. We become unproductive."
  • Good: "We encounter so many distractions. So, we become unproductive."

And, I think this might be an area to explore in the current copy.

E.g.

Current Copy: "The community in the forum constantly comes up with new strategies, and the author never stops learning and studying. But once you join, you get access to all future updates and bonuses, no matter how much the price will increase."

Optional Revision: "The community in the forum constantly comes up with new strategies, and the author never stops learning and studying. And, once you join, you get access to all future updates and bonuses, no matter how much the price will increase."

Avoid negating the previous sentence with that word / coherence marker "but".

Maximize the diversity of your word choices

"Hosman (2002) explains the connection between persuasion and lexical diversity. Readers prefer messages that contain a variety of different words."

Kolenda's example:

  • Poor: "...productivity is important...productivity can..."
  • Good: "...productivity is important...efficiency can..."

Current Copy: "...To do that, you will have to learn a set of new mindsets and skills...Few people teach these skills..."

Optional Revision: "...To do that, you will have to learn a set of new mindsets and skills...Few people teach these approaches to life and business..."


The recommended change here is "boost the clarity of the your message". The next one is (going to be) "provide a concrete mental image".

I'm going to see if I can release at least one recommended change every other day. If nothing comes up, I'm sure I can pull it off.

And, if you're reading this and don't want to wait for me to release an update to this thread, The Psychology of Copywriting is available on Kolenda's website anytime :).

Provide A Concrete Mental Image Through PU's Sales Copy

"Not surprisingly, images generate a larger emotional impact than words (Hinojosa et al., 2009). To increase the persuasiveness of your content, you should transform important written content into a mental image."

Here are a couple of ways:

Use metaphors to convey intangible concepts

"…life insurance companies use ideas associated with various symbols such as umbrellas (Travelers), rocks (Prudential Insurance Company), and hands (Allstate)
to convey qualities of protection, sturdiness, and support” (Zaltman, 2008, p. 35)."

Kolenda's example:

  • Poor: Our app is very powerful.
  • Good: Our app has Zeus-like power.

And, given that one thing we talk about here is avoiding losing status to the value-takers, turkeys, negative social climbers and so on, there's opportunity for conveying "power" with a mental image in PU's sales page:

Current Copy: "Power University gives you the tools to achieve life success (hard to imagine what Lucio means by "life success", especially since, as a prospect, his definition could be different from yours)."

Optional Revision: "Power University gives you the tools to achieve celebrity-like power (easy to imagine a celebrity and then imagine what they're capable of achieving with their influence, freedom, etc.)."

Transform generic claims into concrete terms

"Don’t get me wrong — the underlying messages [of generic claims] are great. But it sounds like you’re selling, rather than telling."

Kolenda's example 1:

  • Poor: Our support team is very quick.
  • Good: We’ll get you an answer within 24 hours.

Kolenda's example 2:

  • Poor: Our customers love us.
  • Good: 568 companies love our software.

Kolenda's example 3:

  • Poor: Our software is very reliable.
  • Good: You’ll have 100 percent uptime…guaranteed.

And, there are a couple generic claims in PU's sales page's copy.

E.g.

Current Copy: "These ebooks condense the knowledge of the best books and researches in a compact, easy to consume size. They will save you thousands of dollars and years of learning!"

Optional Revision: "These bonus eBooks condense the knowledge of the best books and researches in a compact, easy to consume size. So, you'll get these three bonuses that have five years worth of learning in each and are valued at €1.004 altogether."

Emphasize tangible uses for leftover savings

"Frederick et al. (2009) recommend emphasizing specific uses [alternatives] for that leftover cash...In turn, the savings become tangible. Customers can visualize the benefits. So they’re more likely to appreciate the value of your offering. The same concept applies with time...emphasize a hedonic alternative (e.g., vacation). Those alternatives will be more persuasive."

Current Copy: "These ebooks condense the knowledge of the best books and researches in a compact, easy to consume size. They will save you thousands of dollars and years of learning!"

Optional Revision: "These ebooks condense the knowledge of the best books and researches in a compact, easy to consume size. So, you can put the time and money you'll save with these bonuses toward those holidays you deserve (makes it easier for them to imagine the specific use for the time and money they'll save, making it more likely they'll appreciate the value of this free, included offer)."


Another set coming soon...

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Lucio Buffalmano

And yet more gold, already implemented.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Use PU's Sales Copy to Trigger Positive Emotions

Use 1st person plural pronouns

"We’re also influenced by ingroups — people who share a similar social identity (Van Bavel, Packer, & Cunningham, 2008)."

E.g.

Current Copy: "But if you are reading here, maybe you’re awakening to the truth. Not only the standard path to success is untrue, it’s often counterproductive."

Optional Revision: "But if you are reading here, maybe you’re awakening to the truth. Not only is the standard path to success untrue for us, it’s often counterproductive."

Deemphasize Your Persuasion Attempt

As we explored in the DARRP framework.

Emphasize their freedom to choose

E.g.

Current Copy: "You have the chance to act now, and get it at the best value. Just click the button...The next step is on you."

Optional Revision: "You have the chance to act now, and get it at the best value. You can decide to click the button...The next step is on you (communicates: "you can decide to click the button, you can decide to take the next step toward the life you deserve)."

As Kolenda says, "That framing reduces psychological reactance. With more freedom, your readers will develop a stronger genuine desire to complete your call-to-action."

Describe the drawbacks of your message

Kolenda's example 1:

  • Poor: Our app is great because of XYZ.
  • Good: We don't have much ABC because we focused on XYZ.

This reminded me of an alumni who "didn't vibe" with PU. As the reviews page says, they were looking for something shorter.

So, that could be the "drawback" here:

Optional Addition: "Power University doesn't have too many 'tips and tricks' because we focused on quizzes, tests, and practical, real-world strategies."

And, that could go in the main sales page where more readers can see it as well as the Reviews page if Lucio wants.

Mention the competing alternatives

"As humans, we usually determine our attitudes based on our behavior. If we’re eating, we infer that we’re hungry. If we’re smiling, we infer that we’re happy. If we’re sitting upright, we infer that we’re confident. Even if we weren’t experiencing those emotions, the mere behavior triggers those emotions within us (Wilson, 2002).

[So] If you don’t mention your competition, readers are more likely to search for competing solutions. That’s bad. In the mere act of searching, they’re more likely to infer that your solution is less attractive (Ge, Brigden, & Häubl, 2015)."

Current Copy: "The good news is that Power University is already best-in-class."

Optional Revision: "Other courses include Charisma University, People School, and How To Talk To Anybody. But, we're different because of..."

Prolong the start of your pitch

"When people start reading your copy, they shouldn’t recognize an underlying motive or call-to-action. If readers sense that you’re trying to persuade them, they’ll be more likely to reject your benefits and arguments (Petty & Cacioppo, 1979)."

When Lucio starts his sales copy off with "The Course That The Top 1% Wants To Keep Secret", he makes it obvious that he's looking to persuade the reader to buy the course.

Better, would be to simply start off with that personal anecdote and then to agitate the reader/prospect's problems (issue: no social skills = core issues: anxious, lonely, low self-esteem, etc.), and only then start to move into the pitch.

*Note: The problems/issues of the prospect can be identified with some customer research/feedback. For more on agitating the problems, see the DARRP framework.

Current Copy: "The Course That The Top 1% Wants To Keep Secret."

Optional Revision: "I Was Tired Of Losing In Life."

Ramit Sethi also uses this same persuasion technique in his HTTA sales copy:

And, that avoids the initial reaction to push back against being persuaded or "sold".

Use indirect claims to extract inferences

Bringing back a note from Kolenda on this:

"Compare these headlines:

  • DIRECT: Tide will clean your clothes really well
  • INDIRECT: The freshness of the outdoors. Now in liquid form.

With the DIRECT headline, there’s no other meaning. Thus, you need to rely on the information source (i.e., the biased advertiser). With the INDIRECT headline, YOU construct the meaning. For example, you might imagine the outdoors, associating a brisk and refreshing emotion with Tide. Regardless of the inference, YOU generate the meaning. YOU become the source. So your brain places more trust in the information."

E.g.

Current Copy: "The good news is that Power University is already best-in-class."

Optional Revision: "My blog articles are jam-packed with actionable content. My course is no different.”

With this, Lucio is not making the direct claim of A = C (my course = actionable content).

He's saying A = B (my blog has actionable content) and B = C (my course is no different from my blog).

And, the reader / prospect is left to make the self-generated inference of, "If A = B...and B = C...then A must equal C."

And, they reached that conclusion on their own, so it's more persuasive.


Forgot to mention, all of the recommendations here are indeed coming from The Psychology of Copywriting. So, these are more than recommendations, they're principles that apply to more than only the optional revisions I point out.

That's also why sometimes I provided two different optional revisions for the same line of copy: these are principles so there can be numerous possibilities. And, that includes using revisions as suggested additions where is applies (e.g. adding the "competing alternatives" without changing the current copy).

Steadily but surely, we're making our way through this book. More revision ideas coming soon :).

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Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you so much yet again, Ali :).

Implemented the "indirect claim" suggestion already.

By the way, let me know if you'd like some of my opinions on some of your (awesome) suggestions.

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Ali Scarlett
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on July 26, 2021, 4:59 pm

By the way, let me know if you'd like some of my opinions on some of your (awesome) suggestions.

Absolutely, would be curious to hear your thoughts.

Plus, I might be able to add on to your opinions with more of Kolenda's take if I know what you're thinking :).


Agitate the Reader's Problem

Also explored in the DARRP framework.

Yet, once again, this will be specific to copywriting.

Emphasize their disdain for the problem

"Opposing attitudes can be stronger than supporting attitudes. For example, we show stronger support for political candidates when our attitude is framed as opposing the other candidate, rather than supporting the original candidate (Bizer & Petty, 2005).

[So] instead of convincing readers about the benefits of your solution, emphasize their disdain for the underlying problem. If you’re writing copy to promote your productivity app, don’t start with benefits. Start with the negative emotions that readers experience from a lack of productivity..."

Kolenda's examples of negative emotions that readers experience from a lack of productivity include:

  • You feel stressed and overwhelmed
  • There aren’t enough hours in the day
  • You miss important deadlines
  • Your boss thinks your incompetent
  • You spend less time with your family

Might be worth it to open a thread exploring the negatives of social powerlessness. But, for now, here are a few recurring themes and ideas:

  • You feel socially awkward and anxious
  • There aren't enough people in your social life
  • You miss important career opportunities
  • Your boss thinks your incompetent
  • You feel like people don't give you enough fair treatment or respectful communication

And, in terms of how that might impact Lucio's copy:

Current Copy: "Great social skills must include things such as frame control, manipulation, value-exchanges, Machiavellian strategies, and winning. Believing anything else is not only naive, but selfish."

Optional Revision: "Great social skills must include things such as frame control, manipulation, value-exchanges, Machiavellian strategies, and winning. Believing anything else will only lead to more unfair treatment and disrespectful communication (agitates the negatives and underlines the WIIFT to achieve great social skills)."

Ask rhetorical questions to engage readers

This has already been explained in depth in another forum post, so I'll get straight into an example.

To start, Kolenda's example:

  • Poor: "Our app will help you be more productive."
  • Good: "Do you ever feel unproductive?"

And, a PU sales page example:

Current Copy: "That’s what Power University gives you. Power University gives you the tools to achieve the type of dream life that you want."

Optional Revision: "Do you ever feel powerless? Power University gives you the tools to achieve the type of dream life that you want."

Use 2nd person pronouns

Basically, any problems that Lucio "agitates" in the sales page feels a lot more personal when he's actually saying your name in the copy.

And, when that technique isn't usable—in this case, because many people are reading the sales page—a similar effect can be achieved using 2nd person pronouns such as "you" and "your".

And, this also applies to helping readers see benefits as well:

Current Copy: "Was our coaching program way, way more valuable than 6,000? Hell yes! But not everyone can afford that."

Optional Revision: "Was our coaching program way, way more valuable than 6,000? Hell yes! Even so (avoids negating the value of the program), maybe that's outside of your budget right now."

Demonstrate an impact on other people

"Self-referencing language can be very persuasive. However, you can achieve an equally — if not more — powerful effect by demonstrating an impact on other people. Especially when the impact is negative. Consider two message that were presented in a hospital:

  • FRAME 1: Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases.
  • FRAME 2: Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases.

The second frame influenced more hospital staff to wash their hands (Grant & Hoffman, 2011)."

Current Copy: "Great social skills must include things such as frame control, manipulation, value-exchanges, Machiavellian strategies, and winning. (Feels like it gets into Lucio's personal beliefs and ethics) Believing anything else is not only naïve, but selfish. (Again, explains the reality of the world without framing it in terms of "reality" but in terms of "ethics") It’s selfish to expect that any top man or woman owes you anything, if you don’t also have top man or top woman value to offer. Because getting a mentor, an attractive partner, or a great business partner, means that they must feel you’re the best available option."

Optional Revision: "Great social skills must include things such as frame control, manipulation, value-exchanges, Machiavellian strategies, and winning. Believing anything else is not only naïve, but selfish. (Maintains the "ethics" frame while demonstrating the impact on other people) It’s selfish because with the power that comes from great social skills, you can help others. You can bring more to the table in any relationship and make the people you meet better off whenever you want to. Because building others up is one of the core traits of any good leader."

Label your readers with a noun

"Nouns generate stronger and more stable preferences. For example, Walton and Banaji (2004) gave participants various statements:

  • Jennifer drinks coffee a lot
  • Jennifer spends a lot of time indoors
  • Jennifer watches baseball a lot

Those statements emphasize verbs. They answer the question: what does Jennifer do?

The researchers gave different statements to other participants:

  • Jennifer is a coffee-drinker
  • Jennifer is an indoors person
  • Jennifer is a baseball fan

Those statements emphasize nouns. They answer the question: who is Jennifer?

Both sets of statements convey the same meaning. However, the second set generated a stronger impact. With nouns, those traits seemed central to Jennifer’s identity."

This goes back to the noun of calling some of the readers here "underdogs".

Maybe we can come up with something better in the future. For now, simply replicating that idea of identity can still be done a slightly different way.

E.g.

Current Copy: "That’s what Power University gives you. Power University gives you the tools to achieve the type of dream life that you want."

Optional Revision: "If you're a driven person, you'll love our program. Power University gives you the tools to achieve the type of dream life that you want."

Provide the Proper Support

We're in the home stretch, stick with me only a little bit longer :).

Match their promotion / prevention mindset

"Why are people completing your call-to-action? Are they trying to gain something or prevent something?

Consider your productivity app. Why is your target market buying it?

  • PROMOTION: To be more efficient
  • PREVENTION: To prevent feeling overwhelmed

Your copy should match their mindset.

With congruent copy, you increase processing fluency (Lee, Keller, & Sternthal, 2010). People can digest your message more easily, so they experience a stronger reaction to it."

Most people going through Power University aren't seeking to avoid a loss, they're looking to make a gain (more social power for more respect, fairness, freedom, romantic options, independence, high-quality friends, etc.).

So, I'd say using promotion is already applied to the sales page.

Avoid hedges, disclaimers, and tag questions 

"You want to deemphasize your persuasion attempt. However, you don’t want to use weak language.

In your copy, avoid hedges, disclaimers, and tag questions — which reduce your credibility (Blankenship & Holtgraves, 2005)."

Again, PU's copy looks all good here.

Include words that signal justification  

"In Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman popularized the extent of our irrationality. We believe that our decisions are based on careful reasoning. But that’s not the case. Most of our decisions — even important ones — are quick and mindless.

Even if two arguments contain the same reasoning, merely including the word “because” will make one argument stronger than the other (Langer, Blank & Chanowitz, 1978). Why? When an argument contains any justification, we mindlessly assume that the justification is valid (so we’re more persuaded by it)."

Current Copy: "Mastering power dynamics will make you more successful in all areas of life."

Optional Revision: "Mastering power dynamics will make you more successful in all areas of life because it contains the mindsets, skills, and strategies that the top 1% use."

Or, maybe even better:

Current Copy: "At some point, the price is going to go up towards the 2.000 range. That’s closer to its real value, which means a lot higher. You have the chance to act now, and get it at the best value."

Optional Revision: "You have the chance to act now, and get it at the best value because, at some point, the price is going to go up towards the 2.000 range. That’s closer to its real value, which means a lot higher."

Position strong benefits toward the beginning

"Don’t overlook the sequencing in your message. Always position strong benefits or arguments toward the beginning of your message. You might be familiar with the primacy effect, which explains how information has a stronger impact when it’s presented at the beginning of a sequence (Murdock, 1962)."

Right after the introductions, starting at "What's Power University", all of the main benefits are listed one section after the other.

So, I'd say this gets another check mark here.

Reduces the inherent type of risk

"Lantos (2011) describes 9 types of risk. Identify your risk. Then adjust your copy accordingly."

There might be a few risks that can be dealt with tactically in the copy.


That's everything!

I skipped a few principles that the PU sales page already excelled in. And, listed some that already checked Kolenda's boxes anyway, in case anyone wants to discuss how we can make those even better.

Lucio, if you want to share your thoughts now, feel free.

And, of course, that's extended to anyone else reading this who has any thoughts or ideas to share.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

And added yet another couple more.

Thank you so much Ali!

The example of washing hands "doing for others" in my opinion doesn't always hold as well as in hospitals.
Those are very specific environments where the staff is supposed to care, it's what they do there. And they are caring for people who are in need, who hence need extra attention.
Finaly, that profession also attracts people who, on average, tend to care more than the average.
So I'm not convinced it translates as well in different realms.

Many of the other points, including the ones I added, had me nodding down in full agreement thinking "right, genius".

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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