My "Expanded Bullet" Technique for Churning Out 2X the Autoresponder Copy In 1/2 the Time …
… and Making a Bundle More Sales, Without a Shred of Sales Skills
I may be a little different in how I write email autoresponder copy. I don't think very hard, I can write it very quickly, and it gets surprising results.
(And I don't even rev up the salesmanship, yet this method makes tons of sales.)
In fact, a friend was complaining to me this past week that he'd been pushing boulders uphill trying to put together a 10-part autoresponder series on an information product he was promoting.
He griped about his sales skills (which he's sure he doesn't have). He was fighting to come up with topics to write about (he needed 10 unique emails). And after about the third email, even HE didn't want to read the next — how could he expect his prospects to?!
I said, "You're working TOO HARD!"
Then I broke down my entire method for writing autoresponder copy in just a couple quick steps.
What he said next made me laugh. "Doing it YOUR WAY would have saved me HOURS of work!"
Here's how I write better email autoresponder copy, faster
Listen, if you can read and take notes you can use this method. It's that simple.
First, a little disclaimer. This method is designed to work with information. Books. Videos. Audio. Special reports. E-courses. It's not designed specifically for physical products.
However … If you're selling a physical product you can get creative and either: 1) Bundle additional helpful information with your product, then use this method, or 2) Get the mental steam engine going and adapt the method to what you are offering.
Disclaimer done. Let's get to the meat.
Here's the crux of what I do:
Step 1: Find bullet-worthy topics
I pour over the info product, looking for little helpful hints and nuggets prospective readers may find interesting. I want info juicy enough that if I were a prospect, I'd buy the product just to get to this information.
This is the same stuff I'm looking for when writing bullets for sales copy.
Except now I'm going to give it away, bit by bit, in autoresponders.
(Don't worry, I'll explain in a minute why prospects will STILL BUY your product even after you've given away your best info.)
Step 2: Take notes
Once I've found these juicy nuggets, I write them down. I want to write down just enough that I can come back later and explain what I'm talking about, using just these notes.
There should be a formula to your notes, too. Every story has a beginning, middle, and an end. If you've seen the movie "The Prestige" you've heard every magic trick has the pledge, the turn, and the prestige. And every process has a setup, an execution, and a conclusion.
Each part should be covered in your notes:
- The setup: Why you need the information
- The execution: What the information or process actually is
- The conclusion: What changes after the information is used
This simple three-part formula works very well not only for stories and magic tricks but also for sharing information in a compelling way.
Step 3: Extrapolate
Here's where you can get creative.
For each nugget you've taken notes on, you can come up with a story, find interesting facts that tie-in, or somehow extrapolate additional content above and beyond what you've pulled from your product.
You don't have to take a long time here. Just think, “That reminds me of …” and when your brain starts feeding you ideas, write them down. These come from you, not from your product.
(I once heard Ted Nicholas explain that he sold millions of copies of a book on incorporating with the headline "The Ultimate Tax Shelter." But the book didn't even go into detail on how businesses can be used as tax shelters! However he knew the tax-shelter function was a hidden benefit of having a business, so he described that benefit in an ad for his book on incorporating. This is what I'm talking about.)
None of the ideas you brainstorm have to be used … But if you find a gem, use it.
And, if there's nothing that's working, you can always turn your note into a "Quick Tip" without any additional lead-in.
Step 4: Write
Okay, so before I explain how to actually write your autoresponders using the notes you've prepared, I'll explain why I call this the "Expanded Bullet" technique.
You see, as a copywriter you're probably aware of the three types of bullets:
- Give-Away — True to their name, give-away bullets reveal a nugget of information.
- Half-Blind — Half-blind bullets give away a part of the info, while holding back on an important detail.
- Blind — Blind bullets tease you with an idea of what the info is and what benefits it'll give you, without really telling you anything.
In the actual sales letter, you're probably including a lot of blind and half-blind bullets.
In my "Expanded Bullet" technique, you do the opposite — each autoresponder is like you took a half-blind or give-away bullet and turned it into a full email.
Reveal, reveal, reveal, with a little bit of tease on the end.
One of the main tasks of each autoresponder message is to ensure your prospect will read the next one. That means if they don't get something significant out of the first message, you've lost them for the second, third, fourth, and on down the line.
So, you want to reveal valuable information to them in each message.
Enough so that they say …
"WOW! That was helpful – I CAN'T WAIT for the next email!"
And that's a response you'll never get if all you do is sell, sell, sell.
But, if you give away valuable information in every autoresponder message …
- You'll be building a strong bond with your readers as someone they can trust to give them valuable information (respecting their time taken to open and read your emails).
- You'll ensure prospects want to read every email you send, for fear they may miss out on more valuable information like what you've already sent them.
Okay, okay, enough supporting information, here's how you write the messages.
First, pick out which nugget or piece of information you're going to reveal.
Second, use your notes to decide if you're going to do a quick tip, or a longer message.
If you were able to extrapolate a good extra bit of information, it's going to be a longer message. If you just want to reveal the info, it's a quick tip.
(Quick tips are good mixed in here and there, but the longer emails with more personality are better relationship builders and should be used frequently if possible.)
Third, start writing. You're going to tell your story, give away the information, then tease a little bit … pointing back to where in the product readers can get more information, plus how to order.
Here's a rough outline for the longer message:
- Tell a story that leads in to what you're going to reveal
- Tell why the information you're going to reveal is valuable, why the reader needs to know what you're going to tell them (the setup)
- Reveal the information, either in part or in full (the execution)
- Explain how you can't really reveal it all properly in an email, and point back to your product for more info (the conclusion)
If you're going to do a quick tip, all you need to do is eliminate step 1 from the longer message.
You can then repeat this process for every note you took as you went through your product. This will give you ample content for your autoresponder series, and create emails your prospects actually want to open and read instead of sort straight to the trash can.
Why prospects STILL BUY even after you give away your best information
I promised this, and I won't turn my back on a promise.
So you're concerned. You think, "If I give away all my best tips, won't my customers already have what they need? Then they won't need to buy my product, and even if they do, they won't be happy."
It doesn't really happen that way for a couple reasons.
One, you're building a great relationship with your prospects by giving them this information. They start to enjoy the experience of consuming your information. And when they buy, they're buying more of that experience (not necessarily more information). So, even though some of what they learn will be familiar, it'll reinforce what they learned from you before and validate thoughts you've already planted in their head, which they'll be thankful for.
Two, we're very forgetful. Our minds aren't designed to store all the information we consume. So, while much of it will feel familiar, it'll also be new every time they read it. Just look at your bookshelf and see how many marketing books cover much of the same content. Yet when you read each one, you felt like you got new insights on the topic.
If you're still concerned, TRY IT, see what results you get, and stop if you don't like it. (I don't expect you'll throw out this method any time soon.)
Get paid $500 per email for something this simple?
More and more marketers are realizing just how powerful autoresponders can be. And a good copywriter who understands what works for autoresponders can command an easy $500 for writing a single email (and the contracts don't typically stop at one — they can be five, seven, 15, or more emails on a single contract).
And they can be written quickly with techniques like the "Expanded Bullet" technique I describe above.
But that's not the only approach (there are a lot more equally simple, equally effective approaches).
Plus, there are some tricks that can land you more autoresponder-hungry clients quicker, and for bigger contracts.
In Jay White's Autoresponder Apprentice: How to Become a Successful Copywriter Without Writing Sales Letters program, he gives you all the details you need to know to get paid a king's ransom as a copywriter without writing a single sales letter.
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