Why offer trumps copy AND drama

Nov 29, 2021

Issue #144
Today is Black Friday, and rather than wake up early and go shopping, I decided to sleep in and have myself a leisurely morning and breakfast. (I plan to hit the Black Friday sales online as soon as I finish this email!)

Great decision, because I came up with a topic I want to share with you in today’s issue…and a lot of it has to do with lessons learned as a result of the Black Friday Bundle promotion I’m participating in with 15 other copywriting and marketing experts.

Now, chances are good you’ve heard about the 40/40/20 rule when it comes to direct marketing.

It’s the tried-and-true principle that the success of a promotion is based on 40% list (meaning who the promo is going to–the term “list” is a holdover from the direct mail days)…40% offer (meaning the product or special deal being offered)…and 20% creative (meaning copy, design, and format).

(I did an entire interview with Very Good Copy publisher Eddie Shleyner on this topic not long ago that you can read in its entirety here.)

So let’s take a look at the recent Black Friday Bundle promotion that went live a week ago, and is running through this Monday, November 29th.

This deal was set up by top email marketer John McIntyre, who brought together 15 other experts (including yours truly) to offer a huge bundle of training resources at an incredible price. Just on its own merits, it was (and still is) a killer offer.

But since it was also set up to be a competition among the partners, or “affiliates”, there were incentives built in to be the #1 sales producer.

And seeing how none of us participating are strangers to competition…let’s face it, we all LOVE to win and hate to lose…several of the experts decided to offer exclusive bonuses on top of the great deal the bundle was already offering to their lists.

Obviously this is because so many of the same prospects are on multiple people’s lists…so the idea was to give them an incentive to buy from one “guru” over another.

Then, the day before the Black Friday Bundle promotion launched a week ago, I saw one of the affiliates–Matt Bockenstette–offering a huuuuuuge bundle of exclusive bonuses he partnered with Brian Kurtz to give away to his buyers.

At that point I hadn’t finalized what I was going to offer. So I decided to offer up a few super-rare opportunities to get live mentoring and group coaching from me as my exclusive bonuses–plus a $50 donation to The Hunger Project to folks who also got the upsell bundle.

I figured this would give me a huge edge over what Matt was offering up…because who needs MORE stuff loading up their hard drive when they can get personalized coaching in an intimate group call from me?

Well, apparently, people LIKE getting even more stuff…lots more stuff. So I upped the ante…but that was after Daniel Throssell “throsselled” the rest of us affiliates with an offer for the ages–giving away ALL of his training he currently offers if people bought both the initial bundle AND the upsell bundle deal (an investment of $994).

(That deal ended this past Monday…so it’s too late to get it, but I’ve now added just about all of my training as exclusive bonuses, and you don’t have to get BOTH the regular and upsell bundles to take advantage of it).

DT’s crazy maneuver ended up being a brilliant move from the standpoint of completely dominating the sales competition (bringing in nearly three-quarters of sales so far) and securing the #1 spot by a mile.

Now, was his copy significantly better than anyone else’s copy? No (although a lot of folks really do love his quirky style).

Was his list that much better than anyone else’s? No (in fact, I see many familiar names who are on my list and are past buyers who snapped up DT’s bundle deal)…we’re marketing to a lot of the same people.

So in this case, I’d like to proffer that the offer (oh no, I feel another poem coming on), which started out as a level playing field if no one had also added exclusive bonuses, was by far THE giant needle-mover here when it came to the “Throsselling” that Daniel wreaked on the rest of us affiliates.

In this case, I would say the success of HIS Black Friday Bundle offer was more like 30/60/10 for list/offer/creative… and maybe more like 20/70/10, since his offer attracted people who likely heard about it and then joined his list as a result.

Heck, maybe it was 0/100/0 now that I think about it (-;

But there was another factor that may have helped–or possibly hurt–not just Daniel, but one of the other affiliates, Matt Bockenstette.

It’s all of the drama that Daniel initially stirred up with his declaration of “war”, his allegations that his welcome series copy had been swiped by Matt (I’m not offering an opinion on this either way–“my name’s Bennett and I ain’t in it”), and then Matt’s emails defending himself against Daniel’s claims.

Now, seeing how Matt’s standing in the affiliate rankings is #2 (though Daniel is still way ahead), maybe all that drama didn’t hurt either one of these dudes. Those who feel loyal to Matt may have stood behind him by buying from him, and the same could be said for Daniel.

And then there were some who just got hooked into all the drama and couldn’t stop watching…

The thing is, I suspect there were people who bought from Daniel who DIDN’T care at all for the drama…but just wanted to take advantage of his special deal.

And I also know for a fact that there were people who purposely did NOT buy the bundle from Daniel because of all the drama…and some who even unsubscribed.

So I think there’s the short-term “results-boosting” effect that adding in some drama that makes people read your emails–not unlike people not being able to help slowing down to rubberneck at an accident on the side of the road…

But who knows what the long-term effects are?

I know when I wrote one of my earlier emails with the subject line “Finally, a NON-testosterone-laden email”, I got a lot of responses from Copy Insiders who were turned off by all the “willy-waving” drama, as one put it…

“I’m not so interested in the self-referential stuff going on between Daniel and others, it’s all willy-waving to me.”

Another female Copy Insider wrote, “As my 13 year old would say…’yaaas queen!’ Killer angle. My inbox can’t see for swinging d*cks right now.”

One of my male Copy Insiders wrote, “Ha, this opener was great. We need a little more… balance in the space.”

And another guy had this to say, “I’m buying Black Friday from your link. The swinging d*cks email is a work of art.”

Meanwhile, I’ve heard from a few Copy Insiders who seemed completely turned off by these other affiliates’ behavior:

“I gotta ask — is all this ‘war’ actually aggressive? Or just an aggressive marketing tactic? It’s so intense for all the wrong reasons… I didn’t realize it was industry ‘okay’ to tear each other up.”

So I felt really good when I got this email from a Copy Insider last night who bought both the initial Black Friday Bundle and the upsell bundle from my link–and snagged all of my exclusive bonuses

“You kept it real throughout this wild BF Bundle promo…and I sooooo appreciate you for that.
I was on four other lists, receiving promo messages and shaking my head with disappointment as I observed some of the drama.

But I felt safe and grounded as I read EVERY ONE of your notes.

This is an amazing package and I chose to get more Kim instead of more of the others. I’m anxious to jump in and learn from you.”

So even though I’m only in 5th place in the rankings (at least right now), to me the message I received above is what really matters…

It’s not sacrificing short-term gains for long-term relationships.

And RELATIONSHIPS to me is what this email marketing game is all about.

Actually, it’s what LIFE is about…having a positive impact on others.

There’s enough negativity in the world. My hope is that every time you read one of my emails–whether it’s packed with valuable content or contains a sales offer, that you feel “safe and grounded” and gain some benefit from reading it.

I learned early on from my mentor Bob King at Phillips Publishing that you always want to make your prospect feel better off for reading your ad, even if they don’t buy right then.

It’s the long view that counts. You won’t catch me tearing up others to make myself look better. And I’ll always pull back the curtain and be honest with you.

Because that’s what teaching and mentoring are all about!

P.S. In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t checked out the Black Friday Bundle details yet, you can find them all here. My list of exclusive bonuses when you buy from my link can be found here. This incredible, never-to-be-seen-again deal ends this coming Monday.

P.P.S. If you’re interested in taking your copywriting skills to a much higher level than you can get with any course or training, you’ll want to check out my Fast Track to A-List mentoring program that starts in January. The “early bird” savings end this Tuesday, November 30th, and there’s only a limited number of spots left. You can find all the details here.