Dr. sears reveals the challenges of writing for the exercise industry  and how to overcome them
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Dr. sears reveals the challenges of writing for the exercise industry and how to overcome them

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  • 1. Health Articles by: Dr. Al SearsThis special report is brought to you free courtesy of www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 2. Dr. Sears Reveals the Challenges of Writing for the Exercise Industry … And How to Overcome ThemDr. Al Sears runs a successful medical practice, as well as a health andwellness business. Among his most successful programs is PACE, a patentedexercise program. We asked him to share his experience with successfullypromoting PACE through direct-response marketing.CI: Why don’t you start by giving us a little background informationon your PACE exercise program.Dr. Sears: PACE has been around for about five years. We started promotingit with my own patients. We wrote a couple of free reports about it that wewould give out. And we used those reports as premiums to market mynewsletter and my e-letter service. Then the PACE book came out just lastyear.PACE has become our number one selling product. We‟ve never had anotherbook or nutritional product that sold like PACE does. And it‟s got legs. It isvery sustainable. It continues to sell well. We‟ve sold over a million dollars‟worth of these books.It‟s also led to several ancillary products. We‟ve marketed a PACE DVD andtwo audio CDs. Then we had a similar idea about exercising above yourcurrent aerobic capacity. It‟s kind of an outcropping of PACE, and it‟s turnedout to be our second-best-selling product. We are now doing a PACE videoand working on the second edition of the PACE book and a few more audios.We‟ve marketed several bundled packages that include PACE, and we nowhave Dr. Mercola and several other outside vendors selling PACE. PACE saleshave grown on Amazon relatively organically, which we think is because of www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 3. the basic idea of the book. It is selling more and more on Amazon withvirtually no copy.CI: What have been the most successful techniques for promotingand selling the PACE program?Dr. Sears: To the exercise files that we‟ve been able to sell it to, the rulesare mostly the same: Good copy is good copy. The thing that wasparticularly successful with PACE was to make the idea appear verycontrarian from the beginning. The approach is: “Everything you thoughtyou knew about exercise turns out to be wrong.”That has been the concept behind several of our promos. The mostsuccessful promo that we‟ve had so far has the headline “Are Your LungsDying?” It carries through with the supposition that your lungs shrink withage. All the way through it is this contrarian focus – that what we haveaccepted as scientific knowledge of exercise was incomplete and mistaken inmany important ways.The contrarian nature of the idea seems to drive the promos. When we try apromo that‟s based on the more typical benefit-driven approach, it does lesswell. Our next-best-selling headline, for instance, was “Throw Away YourJogging Shoes.” The lead was focused on how everybody has been wrongabout this important aspect of exercise. It used that surprising andcontrarian you-thought-you-knew-but-I‟m-here-to-tell-you-different kind ofapproach. www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 4. CI: What have been some of the unique challenges of writing asuccessful promo for the exercise industry?Dr Sears: The first unique challenge is the obvious one – that nobody reallywants to exercise. You‟re trying to sell them something they don‟t want todo, so you have to use what Michael Masterson the Principle ofTransparency. You can‟t focus on the fact that you‟re selling them anexercise program. You have to see through that to the eventual benefit ofthe exercise program.So you tell them what it‟s going to do for them – not that they‟re going tohave to buy a book and actually read it and then actually work at theexercises. You tell them things like: it‟s only 10 minutes a day, it‟s easy, it‟sfast, it‟s fun, and you don‟t have to do the grueling exercise.The principle obstacle is the nature of what you‟re selling. You‟re sellingexercise, and people would just as soon skip it. The way we got around thatwas to beat up on exercise. As a matter of fact, we never call our programexercise.The term PACE, when I originally conceived it, was Progressively AcceleratedCardiopulmonary Exercise. But then I started thinking, “How many peopleare going to say „Hey, what I really need is a new exercise program‟?” So wecalled it Exertion instead of Exercise. And when we write about it, we use theword exercise when we‟re beating up on the other guy. When we say, “Youknow, you don‟t really need an hour of exercise” or “Exercise is grueling” or“Exercise is a waste of your time” or “You don‟t really need to go out andpound the pavement.” We associate exercise with all the negatives – withthe injuries and the boredom and the basic feeling among most people thatthey‟d really rather be doing something else. www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 5. CI: So taking the contrarian point of view was how you overcamethat initial objection.Dr. Sears: Yes. Part of the contrarian point of view is that you don‟t reallyneed long-duration exercise – that shorter exercise works better. That‟s oneof the reasons for the success of PACE. You‟re selling an idea that theyalready want. They would like to believe that they can get the benefit ofexercise without spending an hour a day in the gym. And, of course, it‟seasier to sell something that people already want rather than to try to createthat want.CI: Let’s switch gears a bit and focus on the copywriter. Assomebody who hires copywriters, what do you think is the mostvaluable trait a copywriter can have when writing for the exerciseindustry?Dr. Sears: In general, flexibility, rather than experience, is surprisinglyimportant. Many times, I work with a writer and they want to write whatthey want to write. I want them to write what I want them to write, and thatoften means they lose future work with me. I expect that I can tell themwhat I want them to say and that they‟ll try to understand what I want anddo it to the best of their ability. Not to say, “Well, he wanted this, but Ireally think it should be this,” and then do it their way. It‟s partly a matter ofego, but when you‟re writing for someone else, you have to force yourselfaway from what you want to write. What you want to write doesn‟t matter.You have to fully accept the role of writing for someone else, and write whatthey want in the way they want it. Your job is to figure out what they wantand provide it.You would think that goes without saying, but it‟s surprising how often thatbecomes a make or break issue with a writer. If they do it the way I want it, www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 6. we are probably going to give them more work. If they don‟t, if they resist,we‟re probably going to find somebody else.Keep in mind that our approach is very contrarian. We pick out the thingsabout exercise that we know to be true but convention doesn‟t … and wefocus on that. So if a writer is bringing along the baggage of what theybelieve to be true, what they‟ve written about before, or what they readabout somewhere else, it‟s almost always going to contradict what we wantto say. It‟s unlikely they‟re going to know or believe our point of view. Theyhave to be willing to shift into what our experience and our specializedknowledge has taught us that no one else knows. Often, they want to tone itdown, and I think that‟s a big mistake when you‟re writing copy to sellsomething. What works best in our industry, in most cases, is a veryfocused, single point of view that is contrarian and considered by most to beextreme.CI: What do you like copywriters to understand about youraudience?Dr. Sears: Our audience can be broken into two broad groups. One group isthose who are familiar with us. That would include the people who subscribeto my newsletter, get my e-zine, get my e-letters, and/or have read mybooks. The other group is those who don‟t know about me yet – and wehave to talk to them differently.It‟s a matter of preaching to the choir. When someone has already boughteven one of my books, they usually become a convert. That means we canbe more direct in approaching them with a new product, either aninformation product or a nutritional product. It‟s important to tell them thatthis is my recommendation – and you only need to tell them a little bit of thewhy. www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 7. But when we‟re going to an outside file and they don‟t know me, we can‟tjust say, “Dr. Sears thinks you should do this.” Instead, we have to use amore indirect approach. You have to hook them and captivate them beforeyou even let them know in the copy that there‟s a product available.I suppose that‟s true for other industries as well, but I know it‟s true for thehealthcare industry. When the promo is going to people who know me, youcan just start right away with the benefits of the offer. You can go withproblem/solution, which is the basic structure for most direct-marketingsales in healthcare.But when it‟s going to people who don‟t know me, the direct method doesn‟twork at all. You need to do something like start with a story – maybe atestimonial from a patient. Or you can make a prediction – another indirecttechnique, where you don‟t mention the offer until after you‟ve got theminterested.CI: It’s important for our readers to understand the differencebetween writing to the front-end and to the back-end.Dr. Sears: It‟s like night and day. We‟ll have a promotion that does $25,000to our house file, and when we send it to an outside file it will do less than$1,000. We‟ve been analyzing why certain promotions that were such bighits to our file failed so miserably to an outside file. We looked for commonpatterns – and what we found was that the promos that failed with anoutside list used a direct sales approach. One of those promos startedsomething like this: “I went to the rain forest and I found a product that Ibrought back for you that I want to tell you about.” When you put that to afile that‟s not familiar with you, they know right away that you‟re sellingsomething. It‟s too direct, and they are offended … because you haven‟t yethooked them. www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 8. So we converted that to “American doctor treks to the Amazon and findsmedicine‟s Holy Grail.” And then we told the story of being there in thejungle, the jungle noises. And how my friend from the University of Perupointed at something and said, “There it is, see that bush,” and I put thenuts in my hand. The reader didn‟t yet know that there was something forsale, but we got them interested. And then, when we got to the offer, it wasthe same as it was in the first version of the promo. We didn‟t change thatpart. The price and everything else was the same.We‟ve had that same experience with several of our information andsupplement products. And we‟ve had the same thing with PACE. We can sellPACE – the PACE book – to our file by saying, “I‟ve got a great program foryou and I want you to try it out” very early on in the lead. But that doesn‟twork to an outside file. We have to hook them first. So we do that by saying,“Do you like going to the gym for an hour? Do you like all that sweating?What if you found out that none of it is necessary?”Then we say that we did a study on twins, and found that the twin who didsix minutes of exercise a day lost more fat and built more muscle that thetwin who did 45 minutes of exercise a day. And then we talk about thephysiological reactions that occur with exercise, about how you store energy.You get them enthralled and interested in that before you let them knowthat there‟s a book available.Like you say, there‟s a big difference between a back-end proposition andprospecting to a front-end file. www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 9. CI: Are there changes or trends affecting your industry thatcopywriters should be aware of?Dr. Sears: The trend is that it‟s getting harder to give headlines impact bypumping up the claim. I mean, how much more can we get from what is nowubiquitous out there. You know, “Cure cancer with delicious juice” or “Beatheart disease for less than a penny a day.” Headlines have become sodramatic and so exaggerated that you can‟t trump them. You can‟t say itmore powerfully or louder and make it work anymore. Ten years ago, youcould. It‟s different now.You have to have not a louder or more sensational claim, but a more uniqueone. We‟ve know for some time that uniqueness sells in headlines. It‟s oneof the four U‟s. My concept of uniqueness has evolved now to be even morespecifically unique to me and my knowledge and my contact with mycustomers. You‟ve got to think of a way of connecting with them that onlyyou can do. Whatever your product is, whatever your expertise is, you‟vegot to get that through as something that‟s ultra-specific to you. You‟re theonly person who could tell them this. You are the only person who could saythat. You are the only source that they can use for this particularinformation.Then you don‟t need all that hyperbole.CI: So the unique selling proposition is growing in importance?Dr. Sears: Yes. And it‟s changed from being just unique, because too manypeople out there are already doing that. Now you have to take it a stepbeyond making the benefits of your product seem unique. You have to makeit unique to you, connect it to something that only you can provide. www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com
  • 10. Unique has a new connotation. In the age of Internet marketing, you‟ve gotto think of how you can differentiate your unique claim from everyone else‟sattempts to make their claims unique. In our case, it‟s “Dr. Sears‟ [productname]” or “Dr. Sears discovers …” It‟s something that‟s unique to your story,your travels, your experience, your knowledge that has to be broughtforward immediately in the headline and in the lead.CI: What other tips do you have for our readers today?Dr. Sears: There‟s no substitute for knowing your product. The bestcopywriting ideas seem to come out of a complete and thoroughunderstanding of what you are trying to sell. There‟s no substitute for doingthe work and researching the product.Find out how you can earn a doctor‟s income (without years of study and thelong hours) by becoming a health copywriter. For more great free information on how to take your copywriting career to the next level please visit www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com This compilation of articles comes to you courtesy of www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com www.ProCopyWritingTactics.com