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Eight Words To A Sale
When The Search Agency in Santa Monica, Ca. called, I was thrilled. “Can you write B2C and
B2B pay-per-click ads?” they asked. “I’ve never done it, but I study direct response like a
madwoman and I’d love to give it a shot,” I said.
The VP placed me as a pinch-hitter (rather than a dedicated vertical); I was the only
copywriter to touch every campaign, across 8 account management teams.
Every day I pulled constant ideation and sales concepts out of my brain. (I initiated creative
briefs… something the agency wasn’t using previously.)
Most of the landing pages were for direct response companies selling consumer products:
electronics, recipes, movie DVDs, homes. (My first PPC campaign ran for 2 years.)
First Cardinal LLC was a successful B2B operating in 3 states. With sales hovering around
$100M, the sales force needed better leads for heir workers’ compensation services.
I asked the president if I could also rewrite their landing page. “Yes.”
In the goal of speeding buyer velocity, here’s what I did:
Brain pathway. Immediate call to action. Copy includes benefit: money-saving.
Quick answer. “Why Us?” Copy shows co. is on the rise; story details moved to a
separate page. There if the reader wants it and not in the way of lead capture.
Social proof. Previously, I worked at Agora for 2 years getting testimonials and when
I can, prefer to interview buyers by phone directly. First Cardinal had 20; I choose
these for their variety—both content and length. Red font draws attention to the
organizational names (more credible than individuals), makes for easy scanning.
(Side note: I was also pushing testimonials and ‘prospect quotes’ as copy for certain
B2C pay-per-click campaigns; after seeing thousands of ads, I believe I was the first
copywriter to do this.)
Breathing room. Shorter copy, more white space, sub-heads are easy on the central
nervous system. The copy is as long as it needs to be, not one iota more or less.
The $64,000 question. I ripped the last 8-word question in the quote form directly
out of a copywriting textbook. It’s a technique that hands the prospect’s pain point
to the sales rep on a silver platter, opens relevant conversation with ease.
The new landing page was a success, and remained unchanged for a few years. In 2011, First
Cardinal LLC sold to an international insurance firm as part of a larger buyout.
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First Cardinal’s continued growth has made it one
of the largest administrators of self-insured groups
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“Service and promise are sometimes only words. It is
nice to see that these words have meaning with First
Cardinal LLC. Whether the issue is safety engineering,
comp case follow-up, or billing issues, First Cardinal
LLC’s response has been a cut above the rest.”
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service and Cardinal Easy Pay.”
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“If you’re looking for great service, a great price and a
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Take control of your workers’ compensation insurance
costs by switching to the Business Council’s self
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“Over the last 5 years the dividends I have received
have offset about 33% of my total premiums! I wish my
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