Book Summary: Cashvertising by Drew E. Whitman

My Personal Summary

This book is about how to understand human desires so that you can sell products and services to people more effectively by appealing to their desires.

Book Notes

    • All humans have 8 basic desires:
      • 1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension.
      • 2. Enjoyment of food and beverages.
      • 3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger.
      • 4. Sexual companionship.
      • 5. Comfortable living conditions.
      • 6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Joneses.
      • 7. Care and protection of loved ones.
      • 8. Social approval.
    • You must understand these desires before you can sell a product to an individual.
    • Focus on benefits. People will buy your product only if they believe it will serve as a means to some end that they want. People don’t buy products; they buy the benefit they think the product will provide.
    • “If you sell shovels, you must understand that people don’t want a long pole with a flat piece of attached metal. They do want the holes so they can plant beautiful trees and colorful flowers and make their homes look more attractive!”
    • Use repetition. “People don’t start seeing your ad until you run it seven times.” Run ads multiple times. But try to run variations of it so people don’t get bored to death of the same ad.
    • Make your copy as easy to read as possible.
    • Say “John loves Mary” not “John has a profound affection for Mary.”
    • Example of easy-to-read copy:
      • Would you like to make $10,000 a month making your own ice cream? (My wife Lindsay and I do. In fact, sometimes we make thousands more. We showed our friend Steve, and now he makes an additional $4,300 every month with ease.) Then keep reading. Because by the time you’re finished with this letter, you’ll know how. In fact, I’m going to spill the beans and tell you over 48 insider secretes that not one person in 1,000 knows. Any one of these secrets is worth the cost of this entire package.”
  • Example of hard-to-read copy:
    • If you wish to acquire vast financial resources, please pay close attention to the following information. Numerous individuals in the frozen confectionary industry have, for years, kept closely guarded secrets that reveal the fast route to establishing yourself as a much-in-demand artisan ice cream producer in a ridiculously short period of time. While they shudder to think about passing on such data to the general public, I am more than willing to proffer said privileged information to you.”
  • Be specific.
  • Don’t say “become financially successful.”
  • Say “You’ll make up to $2,495 every week.”
  • Tips to write more clearly:
    • Use short, simple words.
    • Use short sentences.
    • Start paragraphs with ultra-short sentences to draw the reader in.
    • Load your copywriting with pronouns (I, he, she him, they, them you). It’s impossible to overuse the word you in well-written copy.
  • Put your biggest benefit in the headline.
  • Suppose you’re writing a headline for your restaurant workshop that teaches waiters how to boost their income.
    • Don’t say: “Attention Food Servers: New Workshop Teaches You the Tricks of the Trade!”
    • Do say: “Attention Food Servers: New Workshop Teaches You How to Boost Your Tips by 512%…or Your Money Back!”
  • Be specific. Stand out from the competition by describing your product in detail.
  • Example of being specific with an Italian restaurant ad:
    • We make our bread fresh every day, golden and crusty. Our pasta is made from scratch. We use only fresh herbs in all our recipes. Only pure, cold-pressed 100-percent virgin olive oil is served. Spring water fills your glass, mellow Italian music fills the air, and softly glowing candles light your table.”
  • Use plenty of questions in your copy. Asking questions creates an “open loop” in the readers mind that they want answers to.
  • Reel the reader in from the start.
  • Most readers don’t give a shit what you have to say. You must reel them in fast.
  • Suppose you sell tear gas spray to women.
  • Don’t start your letter with:
    • “Dear Janet, In these days of uncertainty on our streets, we continually read about the horrors that women face. We read frightening statistics that paint a gloomy picture of blah blah blah…
  • Do start with:
    • “Dear Janet, can you protect yourself against a 220-pound rapist?”
  • Social proof works. One of the best ways to increase sales is to insert testimonials into your copy.
  • Make it easy to buy your product. The point of copywriting is to get sales. And the way to get sales is to do two things:
    • Make it easy for the customer to act (offer several forms of payment)
    • Ask for the sale.
  • Use pictures. Pictures are worth a thousand words. More pictures are associated with higher sales.
  • Use long copy. Long sales letters produce higher conversion rates than short sales letters.
  • Some people need long copy to be convinced; others can decide with less information. Long copy satisfies both parties. Ms. Long gets all her details. Mr. Short can stop reading whenever he wants to and place his order.
  • On the other hand, if I used only short copy, I don’t give Ms. Long what she needs, and she goes away unconvinced. How silly to create sales materials for only one type of buyer.
  • An Important Copywriting Exercise
    • (1) Name some feature of your product.
    • (2) Have someone else tell you “SO WHAT?”
    • (3) Explain the benefit of this feature.
    • (4) Again have them say “SO WHAT?”
    • (5) Explain the big life-changing benefit of this feature.
    • That is the benefit you should lead with.
    • People don’t care about features. They care about the benefits – e.g. how your product will actually make their life noticeably better.

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