Product Creation Golden Tip

Here’s a little tip that I’ve found works wonders for me, and I was talking about it to a friend the other night.  In fact it works so well I could probably pad it out and sell it as a product in its own right and people would be glad to pay for it.

It’s really mind bogglingly simple, and is extremely effective.  It came about almost by accident, and this is GOLDEN.  You’ll have one of those “Aha!” moments when it sinks in.  It’s one of those things that most people leave until last, when it should be done before most everything else.

Are you ready?

Once you know what your product is going to be, and it’s all taking shape in your mind…  here it is…

Write the sales copy FIRST.

“WTH?” I can hear you say.  “But the product isn’t ready, why would I write the sales copy if I don’t even have a product?”

Three golden reasons, and when you’ve done this once you’ll realise how strong they are.

#1 – It clarifies exactly what the product is going to be.  You’ll find yourself coming up with additional ideas and bulleting them in.

#2 – It absolutely COMMITS you to a course of action because you’ve done what would for many people be the last thing first, and no-one likes to think they’ve wasted their time.  You’ve made an investment.  It motivates you (trust me on this) because you want to join all the dots and get to the end point you’ve already put in place.

#3 – Probably the hardest job to have to do is writing the sales copy – it can be a real struggle and is one of the reasons so many people outsource it.  When you’ve done everything else and you’re as good as ready to launch your product, then if you’re anything like me, by that time you’re running out of steam.  There is NOTHING so hard to face in the product creation process that is so difficult as having to write up the sales copy when you have no enthusiasm for it.

Think about that last sentence.  At the beginning of a project, your enthusiasm is on a high, you feel very motivated, and it’s easier to write your sales copy because your mind is buzzing with ideas.

Four years ago when I started on all this, my first product was SmartDD.  It had been completed, the sales script was in place, and everything was done apart from the sales copy itself.  It took me nearly two months to write before I even had the guts to launch it.

I found myself going round in circles, removing bits, adding new stuff, removing it again, and generally putting it off.  I procrastinated a lot.  I finally decided it was ready when somebody told me I was being a jerk and just to “Get the damn thing out there!” but I wasn’t happy with the copy until months afterwards, and I still tweak it here and there even now.

Nowadays I move a lot faster simply because I do the sales copy FIRST.  And I don’t agonise over it either.  I make it good enough and tweak it later.

Everything else is a lot easier to do once the sales copy is done.

Try it, you’ll be amazed.

-Frank Haywood


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13 Comments

  1. Frank you are a star! (hey 50 isn’t so bad after all, wouldn’t you say? – I’m 54 and still feel as if I’m 18, sometimes)
    Smart Link Cloaker is great. I was a little concerned, as I’d tried a competitor’s cloaker and couldn’t get it to work properly with addon-domains on my Hostgator account – but your’s does, brilliantly. Thank you so much.
    ATB(AllTheBest)

    Ray – in Somerset
    PS Well Done is always better than Well Said!

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Raymond Rushton-Gough:

      50 is okay once you get used to it. ;) Always look on the bright side I say, and yeah I remember being 17 as if it was last week, and don’t we know it all when we’re young? What’s that saying?

      “Yeah, now I’m 19 it’s amazing how intelligent my father has become since 5 years ago.”

      I’m glad SLC works okay for you, I’m fairly sure the small problems we’ve found with it are all down to the web host. Good job it’s working for you.

      -Frank

  2. Frank, I think you’ve got the right idea there, I first heard this suggested by Jim Edwards about three and a half years ago at a workshop, where Phil Gosling also did a session on copywriting and they went into it in a bit of depth. (The workshop was run by Peter Woodhead.) Actually I think I may have heard it from Jim before the workshop, in any case he elaborated.

    In particular he said you can basically plan the product as you write the sales letter, describing everything you intend to put into it (not his words, but like a spec sheet I guess), and then you put all that into it and deliver a little bit more. If anything ends up not going into the product, you can take it out of the sales letter afterwards.

    Just one thing to watch out for: getting bogged down with the sales letter and as a result not progressing with whatever it is you’re selling! (I’m there right now… :-( )

    On turning 50 – yes, it does take a while to sink in, doesn’t it? I turned 50 last year and I still catch myself thinking about things and realising “my goodness, that was 30 years ago” or similar, yet it feels like just last week. Just wish I could remember 30 minutes ago that well ;-) .

    -Paul
    (Kiwi in South West Scotland)

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Paul Chilvers-Grierson:

      You ended up in the Akismet spam, now retrieved.

      I’m so pleased that someone else has come to the same conclusion before me. That tells me that what I evolved into doing because it felt right for me, is just one of the ways that works for other people too.

      You know what? I’ll take this a step further and say that the product is almost irrelevant. It at least takes a very small percentage of the overall project. If you can get it to the right market, and offer it in the right way, it will sell.

      If you want a hand with your sales letter, leave a reply here and I’ll drop you a line. :)

      -Frank

  3. Amin says:

    “There is NOTHING so hard to face in the product creation process that is so difficult as having to write up the sales copy when you have no enthusiasm for it.”

    Frank, there’s a time management principle called BANJO that applies to that situation. It stands for Bang A Nasty Job Off (which is UK English for finish a nasty job off, for any Americans who aren’t sure of the meaning!).

    I know from my own experience that doing that first makes for better results, but of course it’s always easy to slip back into doing the enjoyable bit first.

    At the very least writing sales copy first forces you to think carefully about what you’re offering. And sometimes it can surprise you when you think it through!

    Amin

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Amin:

      Lol, I LIKE that Amin. FANJO isn’t quite so memorable. ;)

      I actually like to write, unlike many I know, but that enjoyment has only come through practice. As a teenager and even into my 20s, I was a typical lad and trying to get writing out of me was like trying to squeeze blood out of a stone. (Of course typing is a lot easier and I’m sure that’s helped a lot.) I’ve found that the more writing I do, the more I enjoy it.

      Interestingly (to me at least) I’ve been working on outsourcing a lot of my business so I’ve been busy disecting it and putting it all into easy to deal with chunks. It’s taken a bit of writing, but I’ve also had to a do some video too, and found that’s become easier with practice as well.

      So the writing bit isn’t so bad, and certainly with time and practice, the copywriting gets easier too, and yes, I’ve found that it certainly clarifies and soldifies what the product is going to be in my mind.

      -Frank

  4. Lawrence says:

    It all makes sense. But, I must ask if you have any tips or lessons about How To Write Sales Copy. The reasons for tackling it first are all spot on. The next issue of course would be the How To Tips for riting Sales Copy since it is such a daunting task if one has not done it before.

    Thanks for your wonderful scripts

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Lawrence:

      How about one of my next couple of blog posts being about copywriting? Just to give you a taster? It’s such a BIG subject (and an art form) that I couldn’t possibly do it justice with even a single book.

      Yes there are formulas you can follow, but often I find that the best thing to do is just to get it all off my mind and into a document first. Then I give it a bit of structure. Then I add bullets – that’s likely backwards to how everyone else does it. Then I add in the most important ingredient – emotion.

      I then read it all through again, and re-write whole chunks of it as it’s usually junk to begin with. I then read it through again and change some more. Last but one I make sure it has all my keywords sprinkled through it.

      Finally I write the PSs, which I’m told are the most important as people often skim to the bottom. THREE PSs with the second being the real call to action. (Oh and I tend to put a payment button right at the bottom too, under the PSs.)

      I do all of this in a plain text editor so that I don’t have to worry about formatting, just the words.

      When I’m happy with it all, I paste it into Dreamweaver (my web editor of choice), and go through and make sure it’s got plenty of white space. I then work through all the words again (re-writing some of it) and emphasise some of the words by using underlines, italics and bold. I tend to italicise the keywords I want the SEs to focus on, but not all of them and not always.

      I then add some box outs (“Johnson” boxes), and add some graphics to the bullet points, and generally just pretty up the page. The final part of this stage is I read it all through and re-write some more until it all flows nicely with good break points between the blocks of text.

      HTH – watch out for a bigger blog post in the next few days.

      -Frank
      P.S. Also check out this blog post about really GOOD free copywriting ebooks.

  5. Ken Ostrye says:

    Frank … this is simply Brilliant … thanks for the truly Fantastic tip … forgive my gushing enthusiasm, but this is soooo great … it’s basically to write the “Mission Statement” then fill in the details … Thank You … Ken

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Ken Ostrye:

      You know, I hadn’t thought of it like that, but yes you’re right.

      This method came about by accident. I knew how I felt about writing sales copy when everything else was done (it’s a chore), and I decided to write the sales copy first for one of my products. After I’d done it, I found I was VERY enthusiastic about getting everything else done so I could finish it all off and get the product out there. The time just zinged by.

      That was when I decided that was how I was going to do the next one, and now it’s a habit.

      Having said that… On Monday I’m going to get my first viewing of my new product, and I haven’t written a word of sales copy, but then I’m not expecting the product to be quite as I want it, so I’m not too worried.

      After I’ve seen it and tried it out, it will probably spur me to write the copy. I hope. ;)

      -Frank

  6. Mario says:

    I still use your Smart DD in my ebook website. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, its very useful in these hard times.

    • Frank Haywood says:

      @Mario:

      You’re very welcome. More to come and something VERY interesting happening in the new year which I think you may want to be part of. Keep your eyes peeled. ;)

      -Frank

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