Lies, d*mned lies, and statistics…

Feb 1, 2022

What’s in Kim’s Mailbox?

As Mark Twain put it, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are much more pliable.”

Twain is also credited with saying, “There are 3 types of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

As copywriters, we are obligated to stick to the facts as much as possible. (Always think, do I have back-up to support this that would stand up in court if need be?)

But we get a fair amount of latitude when it comes to using statistics. And it can really come in handy if you know how to use them properly (and basic math, too).

Now, you may not think you need to be good with numbers to write copy. But if you write in the highly-profitable and competitive supplement or financial niches, for example, it can give you a huge edge if you’re willing to dig deep into the numbers.

Because that’s where you can find the “gold” that makes your claims superior.

It also helps you dimensionalize them so you can make them concrete and instantly grasped by your prospect.

And it helps you find the unique mechanism that helps overcome the prospect’s skepticism and builds belief that your solution will work for them.

In fact, no matter which niche you write in, or product or service you market, you can (ethically and accurately) use and manipulate statistics to make your copy far more convincing…and have that translate into increased sales.

It’s why I feel my Bachelor’s degree in mathematics and statistics (with a minor in operations research methods) has actually come in handy for writing copy.

Yep, it was good for something (plus people always think I’m smart when I tell them this! Never mind that I can barely solve a basic Algebra problem today.)

But the truth is, I feel comfortable with complexity and analyzing numbers…and translating them into proof and dimensionalizing them into powerful claims.

And I can show you how to do it, too…even if you’re “not good with numbers”.

Let’s take a look at an example. The following is a test email I wrote to drive traffic to one of my “hot” current controls: an online sales page for a supplement called CircO2.

My client wanted to come up with an angle focusing on immune health due to increased interest (this was back in the Spring of 2020, right when the pandemic was in its early stages).

I had to find the strongest proof I could to uniquely position the product as being a solution for boosting immune health, while staying compliant (meaning I couldn’t obviously mention the “C” word here at all).

Let’s take a look at what I came up with…

Take a look at the last sentence in the second paragraph. The copy that reads “reduced the number of cells invaded  by 100 times” is a pretty powerful claim.

It sounds incredibly impressive, even though from a compliance standpoint it had to dance around the fact that this 2004 study was based on an earlier c*ronavirus, the one linked to SARS.

So here’s the thing: that “100 times” claim wasn’t just handed over to me and served up on a silver platter. I had to hunt it down and work for it! And that required some Googling along with math (nothing too scary, I promise!)

I went to the full-text study (you always should try to get your hands on the full-text because that’s where you’ll find the detail and numbers you can use to give your copy an edge. Many copywriters are too lazy or don’t bother with it.) 

And after reading through about 500 words of mind-numbing, vision-blurring, science-y study language, I finally found what I was looking for…

As shown in Fig. 1A, SNAP inhibited the replication cycle of SARS CoV in a dose-dependent manner. Treatment with 100 μM SNAP resulted in a 2-log reduction in the yield of progeny virus, and the inhibitory effect was even more pronounced with 400 μM SNAP.

It was clear from reading this (and going back and referencing earlier sections of the study) that the cells that were treated with nitric oxide showed reduced signs of infection by the SARS c*ronavirus.

But what the heck does “a 2-log reduction” mean?

I didn’t recall this from my applied linear statistical models class back in college. But you don’t need fancy advanced-level college classes to figure this out. You just need “Professor Google”!

(It reminds me of my kids in high school saying, “I don’t need to learn this. I can just Google it.” Thankfully they’re getting–or got–their college degrees anyway).

I went ahead and googled “what is log reduction” and that when’s it all came together.

According to Professor Google, it turns out a “2 log reduction means the number of germs is 100 times smaller“.

Voila! I had my powerful, dimensionalized, easily-grasped claim. And it really didn’t involve any advanced math…just some dogged persistence.

Had I just stopped at looking at the full-text study and not taken the second step of finding out what “2-log reduction” actually meant, I would have completely missed out on being able to make that dramatic claim.

In my brand-new Research Beast course (go here to get on the priority notice list), I go deep into how I do research in order to come up with winning “big ideas” and powerful unique mechanisms that I can then use in my headline, emails, and other copy.

And this proven, six-step Research Beast process has paid off handsomely for me over the years, handing me control after control.

Even for a simple test email like this one, it’s allowed me to boost the revenue generated by already-successful control sales pages like the one this is driving traffic to by as much as 30%, without changing a word of the sales page copy.

In fact, the email I just shared with you first tested back in April of 2020… and it’s still being used more than a year and a half later. In that time, it’s generated more than $1 million in additional revenue for my client, and at least $50,000 (and counting) in extra royalties for me.

All from writing a simple, 1-page email! But it really resulted from my six-step Research Beast process that I teach all my copywriting mentees…

Now, thanks to my new course that’s coming out later this week, you can apply it, too. Get on the priority notice list here (if you haven’t done so already) and you’ll be the first to know about it.

Here’s to digging deeper and unearthing copywriting “gold” you can use to boost your sales copy success!