This week I've been writing a sales letter for a Whale consulting client in the property industry.
He's got a great product and a bonus stack that makes me salivate.
So writing the sales letter should have been easy.
But it wasn't. In fact, I spent days trying to get my head around a simple offer. I spent days trying to write what makes this product unique in a simple way.
I'd write all day. Then read it through my copy the next morning and tear up every single word!
It was brutal.
What made this process worse was that it should have been easy. Because the offer is so strong.
But having an irresistible offer and showing the reader your irresistible offer are two different things.
After repeated throwing out what I had written I finally saw the problem...
There was a good story and an irresistible offer. But I didn't have a hook. Until I found one, my sales page would be a 3 legged donkey trying to win the Grand National.
This problem forced me to keep digging. Until I found the hook that would pull the perfect reader into the message... and keep them reading to the sale.
What I'd like to share with you in this blog is what I learned about finding a hook. And why it is the most important part of your sales message.
Let's get started...
A hook does more than get immediate (and very focused) attention from your reader.
A hook sets the stage for your story. Which flows almost effortlessly, when it clicks.
So you could think of the hook as the story. But it's more powerful than that. The hook is your story distilled down to a few words. Fewer words than a headline!
Here are 2 hooks that reeled in the perfect customer for years...
The 7-figure pizza boy
Broke student makes £6 million in just 3 years
The first hook is only 5 words!
What product is it for?
You've got no clue from the hook.
But... (and this is the important part) does it make you want to know more?
It took me 2 weeks of abusive fighting to get this hook approved. The 'guru' hated it. He didn't want the world to think of him as a pizza boy.
What finally made him change his mind was changing the hook from 6-figure to 7-figure pizza boy.
This hook was the foundation for my most successful launch. A sales campaign that made £672,989 in 9 days.
The hook was the foundation for everything going forward.
The hook made the perfect reader curios. It made them say 'Wow! Tell me more...'
And there are 2 amazing stories in the hook. The 40-year old pizza boy and how he built a 7-figure business in a few years.
Now let's look at the second hook...
Broke student makes £6 million in just 3 years
Like the first hook, this has a thrilling story built into it. And like the first hook, it doesn't tell you how they achieved this amazing result. That creates intrigue and curiosity. That creates a story gap. That creates desire in the reader to learn more!
So the hook gets immediate and very focused attention from the reader. And the hook sets up the story. The readers' curiosity demands that you tell them the full story.
This hook was for a property guru. One year after the campaign I interviewed many of the buyers to get a testimonial. For each buyer, I asked them what made them happy to buy. What made them want to buy this product.
In every single case...
The response was "Broke student makes £6 million"
The hook was a story, it was a promise, it was a value statement, and it gave the reader a front-row seat to a better life.
I didn't know the power of this hook when I wrote it. I knew it was strong, but I didn't know readers would remember it a year later. I didn't know that readers would see the life that they want in it. I didn't know that readers would use it to feel good about their purchase.
So... what is a hook?
A hook is a story distilled down to a few words. A hook is an incomplete story which creates intrigue and a desire to learn more in the reader.
Now that we know what a hook it. It's time to pick up a shovel and start digging for gold.
A hook is a story distilled down to a few words. So... the first thing to uncover is your inspirational story.
If you're writing for a client, this is easier to do because you can interview them. You can keep digging until you find the gold. Yes this puts them in the hot-seat and often makes them feel uncomfortable. And this never fails to reveal their story.
If you're writing for yourself it's much harder to put yourself in the hot-set... and... to interview yourself at the same time. That's exactly what you've got to do.
It will take you longer to interview yourself. It might take days instead of hours but don't give up. You've got to keep digging until you find your inspirational personal story.
So, what are you looking for?
Every great story has 3 parts. A beginning. A middle. An end.
Where does your story start? It starts when something outside of your control forced you to make a change in your life. That moment is likely to be painful and unwanted.
My story starts when bankruptcy forced me to close the doors of my first business. That's when I committed to learn how to turn strangers into customers on demand. That's the moment when my life changed.
What led up to that moment was the financial crisis. That's when the phone stopped ringing and my photography and graphic design business flatlined. So that's the start of my story. That's the moment when the world as I knew it changed.
Once you know where your story starts. You have uncovered the first gold nugget. That's a cause for celebration. So get up and dance around the office.
Then pick up the shovel again. It's time to find where your story ends.
The end of your story is when you found your system and proved that it works repeatedly. It's when you achieved an unbelievable result. It's when you achieved the goal that you set at the start of your journey.
For me, this moment came when I discovered a system to turn strangers into customers on demand. It's a system that made a giant leap in sales for my consulting clients. A system that I first used to make £30,105 in 9 days.
That would have been the end of the story except that what happened next completely blew my mind.
What happened next was selling a £2,000 product using the same system... and making £672,989 in 9 days!
That was the moment I knew this system could sell products and services in any market at any price.
That's where this story ends.
That's not where my story ends because life goes on. We learn new things. We have new challenges.
But we are not telling the never-ending story! We are telling an inspirational personal story that your reader will remember.
Once you know where your story starts and where your story ends you are well on your way to finding your hook.
Now you've got to distill it down to it's most potent form. You're reducing it to the point where it doesn't make sense. Take the most shocking and surprising elements and placing them side by side. This will be the beginning and the end.
So, try to describe where your story starts in 2 or 3 words. I know that might sound impossible but here's how I did it in the examples above.
What about my story? Where does it start?
Bankrupt Cambridge photographer.
I know that when you reduce the start of your story to 2 or 3 words it doesn't make sense and that's okay. Because the hook is not your headline. You are not going to use the hook in your promotional activity. The hook is the starting point for everything that you do going forward. The hook is the foundation for every message you write.
Then repeat this word reduction process for the end of your story. You want to write where your story ends in as few words as possible.
Then put these elements side by side. You'll see that you've made dynamite.
This is how I wrote 7-figure pizza boy. The 2 competing elements are the start and end of the story. It starts with pizza boy and ends with 7-figure business.
I spent hours rolling ideas around my head and then debating them with a very experienced marketer. After a few hours, we came up with 6-figure pizza boy. It wasn't until we led with the end of the story (the better life) that we found the hook.
The second hook is a much more linear story. Broke student makes £6 million in 3 years!
The story and hook examples all have sensationalist beginnings. Not all stories are like that. In fact, more stories aren't. Most stories are something along the lines of, life was good but not perfect. Then I discovered how to make it better.
Those are the raw materials that you've got to work with. Keep digging until you find something that is going to pull your perfect customer into your message.
As I've shown in this blog, finding a hook is not easy. The first hook took me a couple of days to find. And then a couple of weeks to get approved.
It would have been easy to quit. It would have been easy to say I can't find it and to look for a product benefit.
The hook is the most important part of your message.
Because the hook gets the immediate and focused attention of your reader. In other words, the hook pulls them into your message.
The hook pulls them through your message to the sale.
Your perfect customer uses the hook to justify his purchase decision to the doubters in his life... and himself!
So your hook grabs the attention of your perfect customer and makes them feel good about buying.
Yes, you still need a good product. Yes, you still need an irresistible offer.
But your hook gives your perfect customer the emotional reason to buy. This is their front-row seat to a better life.
So if you're struggling to find the hook for your message. Remember this is the most important thing you could do. It doesn't matter if it takes you 2 days to find the hook. This is the foundation of everything. The hook is the foundation for your sales page. The hook is the foundation for your webinar.
Keep digging. You will find it.
You now know what is a hook and where to find one.
You challenge now is to interview yourself and stay in the hot-seat until you have uncovered your story. Then you need to distill your story down to the point where you can write the start and end in only 2 or 3 words.
Put those elements side-by-side and you've created a powerful hook.
It's easy to say. Hard to do.
Your challenge is to do this. And then use your hook to reel in your perfect customer and make him feel good about buying.
If you've found this useful then please leave a comment below.
If this can help someone you know then please share it with them.
Until next time...
P.S. When bankruptcy stole my first business. I made a commitment to myself to discover a repeatable system to turn strangers into customers on demand. A journey that ended when I made £30,105 in 9 days… without making a single sales call.
It’s a system that I’ve used in many industries. To sell products and services ranging in price from £5 to £12,000.
A system that I’ve used repeatedly in campaigns that have dwarfed that initial success.
I’d like to show you how to use my simple 3 step system in your business so you can turn strangers into customers on demand. And build your dream business. A business that gives you the income and lifestyle you want.
Unfortunately, I can't show you how to use my simple 3-step system here. The post would run too long.
That's why I've written the book Consistent Profits Pyramid. The book shows you how to use my simple 3-step system in your business. So you can turn strangers into customers... on demand.
I’d like to give you a FREE copy.
To download your FREE copy now. Click the link below.
To download your FREE copy now. Click the link below.
I'm a copywriter and marketing expert that turns expertise into cash.
For the last 5 years, I've helped business owners to sell products and services in many industries. The products and services have ranged in price from £5 to £12,000.
My most successful campaign made £672,989 in 9 days.
I took that result and transformed it into a simple repeatable system. A system that I teach to ambitious entrepreneurs that want to make money on demand without a sales team.