Issue 12: A Response Boosting Secret

Did you miss Issue 11? Titled: The Winning Marketing Tip
Click here to read.

Take a look at the following email I recently sent to my ezine list. Embedded within it is a powerful, response boosting secret. Yet as powerful as this secret is, and as easy as it is to use, few people take advantage of it. So take a moment to read this short block of copy — then see if you can guess the secret it employs before I reveal the answer.

Subject line: Why I'm glad my site crashed twice

Did you try to visit my web site but were denied
access about 10 days ago? If so, you weren't alone.
Thousands of visitors were locked out or received
a "site not found" message. You see, my site crashed 
twice within 10 hours and I couldn't be happier about it! 

Why? Because I was conducting what I thought was a 
small test of my new traffic generation system and it
flooded my site with so much traffic, all the resources 
were consumed and the site came to a grinding halt. 
Then we tripled the resources, but the traffic kept 
growing like crazy and within 10 hours, my site came 
crashing down again.

But like I said, I couldn't be happier. My web guy has
solved the resource issue and I now have a simple,
powerful new way to drive massive streams of traffic
to my site. It will work equally as well for you too. You
can check out the details at:

I promise the site will be up and you'll be able to
access it.


Bob Serling

So what do you think? What’s the secret that makes this copy so compelling, it’s pulling stronger response than any other email I’ve sent to my list in the past year?

The answer revealed

So what’s the secret? It certainly isn’t personalization, as there is none. I didn’t even open with “Dear Friend” or “Dear Subscriber”. Was it curiousity? Not really. Although there is a curiosity factor at work here, it’s used mainly to get people to click on the link and continue reading. The real secret that makes this simple copy so compelling isÂ…

The power of a story.

You see, what I’m doing in these few paragraphs is telling a short, but complete, story. My site came crashing down. Not once, but twice within ten hours. And, I’m actually happy about it!

But it isn’t the story itself that makes this technique so powerful. The fact is, you can use any story to anchor your copy as long as its interesting. Because the factor that makes stories so powerful for boosting response is…

Stories are the way we communicate information
in our daily conversation

Stories are our main way of communicating with each other. So they’re a natural for riveting your prospects’ attention.

Think about it. You’re at work and you’ve been working hard for hours. So you take a walk to the break room, slide a dollar into the vending machine and grab a cup of coffee. Then you wander over to a table where four of your fellow employees are chatting.

Three of your fellow employees are staring raptly at the fourth while she tells them about how a heavy build-up of snow caused part of her roof to collapse over the weekend. If she and her husband weren’t out bowling, they could easily have been injured.

“You’re kidding,” one of the other employees replies. “When a pipe burst and flooded our house last spring, we were out bowling too! I wish we weren’t, because we probably would have been able to stop the flooding”.

And around the table it goes, with each person chiming in, adding to the story, or taking the conversation in another direction with yet another story.

Great stories make great copy

There are dozens of examples of stories being used as the main device to drive great copy. However, for the most part, good story telling in copy is a lost art, use primarily in the past.

One of my favorite story-driven pieces of copy was used decades ago by Harry & David to sell a load of pears that had been damaged by a storm. In order to produce the sweetest, juiciest fruit, Harry & David’s growers would leave their pears on the trees until late into the fall. This particular fall, there was a sudden hailstorm that damaged the entire crop, leaving the pears covered with pit marks from the sharp hail.

At first, it seemed that the entire crop would be lost. How could they possibly sell this fruit that was covered with blemishes? Then someone in marketing came up with a brilliant idea.

Instead of dumping the crop or selling it at a discount, they decided to feature “Harry & David’s Hailstone Pears”. The copy explained that only these pears had the juiciest, most tantalizing flavor because they were left on the trees weeks longer than all other fruit. They would only be picked after the season’s first hailstorm signaled they were at the height of ripeness. And you can tell these pears are authentic by the pitting in their skins caused by the hail. But you’d better hurry if you want to enjoy this rare treat, as the supply is extremely limited.

As a result of telling their story, the entire crop sold out in record time. And for many years to come, people would call months in advance to reserve their order of “hailstone pears”. Simply by spinning a great story, Harry & David, managed to turn a potential loss into an ongoing best-seller.

Start using stories to boost your response

Most people can’t resist a good story. Wherever people gather, you’ll hear them communicating with stories. Even this issue is a story about stories!

You can harness this natural, powerful form of communication to get a lot more people tuning into your copy, and keep their attention much longer. This all adds up to stronger response, greater sales, and a healthy bottom line.

So what’s your story?

Copyright © 2006 by Bob Serling All rights reserved