The one with Jon Benson (video sales letters)
- Dean and Joe grill Jon Benson on the success of video sales letters
- How Jon took his conversion rate from 1% to 6% on his sales page
- The most important elements of video sales letters
- PLUS: Jon shares his favorite psychological triggers
- 3X Marketing Formula
Dean: Hey, everybody! It’s Dean Jackson.
Joe: And Joe Polish. And a very special guest. What’s your name, sir?
Jon: What is my name? Jon Benson.
Dean: The world famous Jon Benson.
Joe: Yeah, the one, the only Jon Benson. Well, on this particular episode, we’re going to interview this guy named Jon Benson. And unlike world-famous marketing gurus like me and Dean Jackson, this guy, I think he’s going to become one of the most impactful marketers, maybe, perhaps, of this decade.
Dean: Certainly the most buff.
Joe: Yeah. He’s the author of Everyday Diet: 7 Minute Body.
Dean: Every Other Day Diet.
Jon: Every Other Day.
Dean: You’re so disrespectful.
Joe: Just relax. Relax. Fit After 40.
Jon: Fit Over 40.
Joe: Fit Over 40. Let’s get all of the titles wrong.
Dean: Let’s get them all wrong.
Joe: Every Other Day Diet and 7 Minute Body. Which you also did 7 Minute Muscles. So, you’re saying that you’re better than Tim Ferriss.
Jon: By 3 minutes and 54 seconds.
Joe: 3 hours.
Jon: 3 hours and 53 minutes.
Joe: This is the comical part. This is the comical part of the starting part of this. Let’s just keep going. In typical fashion, we could reduce and get it all right.
Dean: We are. This is real.
Joe: Yeah. This is real. So, Jon is actually – I don’t know if you’re the inventor, but to me you would be the first one that I ever learned it from, the ugly video sales letter, which we’ll refer to it as the video sales letter, which can be used in all kinds of different applications. But in your fitness and exercise world, you’ve helped literally tens of thousands of people transform their bodies, through exercise and eating. And you’ve helped a lot of people in the fitness world that actually sell training materials, eBooks, you name it.
Dean: Including me, by the way.
Jon: Dean’s a success story, man.
Joe: As of this point in time, Dean has lost 42 pounds. How much more are you going for?
Dean: 142. No. I don’t know. That’s my aspiration.
Joe: So, basically, Jon, explain who you are and what you do.
Jon: Who I am and what I do? Well, I am Jon Benson, and my sole focus, for years, was the fitness and nutrition market. And through that, I did like everybody else was doing. My first book was Fit Over 40, and Tom Venudo actually wrote most of the copy for that first page. He’s in the fitness world, too, a very good marketer. Back in 2004, when it was launched, at that time, set a record for fitness launches. It shut down racks of servers. This was before ___ (2.48) was around. And we hit 1,007 on Alexa. Today’s standards of these launches, it’s relatively small potatoes. We were like totally psyched and thrilled when it hit $100,000. But back then, that was a pretty cool deal. From that point on, I quit my job. I was a graphic designer, and just totally quit. I just gave them all my clients away. I didn’t care. I decided I wanted to do this fulltime, and I wrote my second book Every Other Day Diet. That was still going well, but I was noticing that everybody was stuck at this 1% conversion rate.
Dean: And thrilled with it.
Jon: And thrilled with it, yeah. And people still are, by the way. People are still very happy with it. I was telling my programmer this the other day. I said, “This page we’re looking at was still converting at 1%. We need to change it.” And he said, “1% is really good.” Not anymore. A lot of that is because of this thing that I kind of stumbled into. The distinction is the ugly video sales letter. So, I love marketing, not to coin a phrase, because it’s already coined. Or as I told Dean on the way over here, “I loved marketing, but the bitch never called me back.” Anyway, I love marketing, and I have a real passion.
Joe: I don’t see that as funny. I don’t know what you guys are laughing at. I’m kidding. It’s amusing.
Jon: So, yeah, I really love marketing and the science behind it, the psychology behind it. I was a psychology minor, so I decided to kind of get good at it – or as good as I could get at it, and looking at a lot of copywriters, because I wrote ad copy when I was on the design firm. We did advertising, so I figured, “Eh, I can probably do this.” Through just trial and error, I’ll tell the story, if you want to hear it, how it happened, I started getting into every viral aspect of marketing that I could, and it landed me on YouTube, and I started doing YouTube videos with just me talking to the camera.
Then, I started getting real fancy with it, and it ended up being like 9 hours to produce a 5-minute YouTube video. It was completely not worth it. It was me stupid with screen flow, really. I got really good at screen flow, though, but dismal for conversions. Really, really awful. So, what I decided to do one day, because I hadn’t shaven, and I looked really crappy, scruffy, crappier than normal, and I said, “I’m not going to put my face on camera today.” Besides, I did a survey of my list, and my list was responding what they thought of the videos, and it was all comments about me. A lot of them were positive, and some of them were not positive.
Dean: It’s distracting, probably. Right? Most of the people buying your books, they don’t look like you. Maybe they could be intimidated by that.
Jon: The #1 phrase was, “Too big.”
Dean: I don’t want to get that bulky.
Jon: Yeah, I don’t think of myself as a big guy. And I remember Tom warning me about this when we did Fit Over 40. The people we picked as our role models, 52 people from 40 to 80, a lot of them were bodybuilders or fitness athletes. And he’s going, “Dude, I’m telling you, this is way over the top. You need to get somebody that’s nasty.” “Man, this is not over the top. Over the top is Mr. Olympia.” So, I have a totally different standard of that. I’ve learned my lesson.
Joe: Can I say something about that, too? You’re going to talk about copy and stuff here, and the use of video sales letters are words with just a voice in the background, some photos, sometimes video thrown in. But one term that I heard years ago, when I was learning marketing, is that everyone’s heard “a picture’s worth 1,000 words,” but I heard a twist on it, which is “a picture worth 1,000 words, but a mental picture’s worth 10,000 words.” And I think even what you’re describing right now, that your perception and what you think is over the top, it doesn’t even matter, because the reality is people have their own perceptions of everything. And what you’re about to describe really is not about a video. That just happens to be a delivery system. It’s about psychology.
And I think of psychology as applied psychology. And I think even your understanding of marketing, originally, is what has allowed you to really enter the conversation that exists in that prospect’s mind, as Robert Collier said in The Robert Collier Letter Book, from years ago. But I wanted to point that out, because I think that’s a very important distinction that everyone needs to understand and get the most out of what you’re about to talk to us about.
Jon: Yes. It is. And it’s using video sales letters and webinars, which I think came right out of that whole genre of video sales letters, was and remains the very best way to take advantage of multiple psychological elements that are simply just phenomenal to work with. I’ll go over some of them here. But anyway, back to how it all started. So, I decided to shoot a video with just me and words on a screen. This was the first ugly video sales letter. So, yes, I am the inventor of that. There were people probably doing PowerPoint-looking sales stuff, but nobody was just doing words on a screen. So, the words on the screen just crushed everything else. But anyway, I thought this would never work, in a million years. But basically, all I was thinking was, “I’ll give them a transcript.”
And then, I remembered back in one of my psyche classes they said there was a study done on retention, and 67% greater retention when you’re looking and listening at the same time. So, I thought, “Maybe just get people to pay attention more.” It’s kind of cool. And then, because I studied NLP, I started thinking, “What if I highlighted certain words that I wanted to really leap out, and make those words kind of cool?” So, I did this for a 6-minute YouTube video, and it took me like a fraction of the time it took to do this, to do the other videos, and uploaded it, and the conversions were like 7,000%. I was ridiculously off-the-chart higher. I just drove them to a text-based sales page. It was much, much higher. So, I thought it was a fluke. I thought, “There’s got to be something big.”
Dean: I want to just clarify, though. Did you change different than the sales letter that you were using, or was it essentially the sales letter turned into a…?
Jon: Yeah, I’ll get to that. Because what I did the first time wasn’t a sales letter at all. It was me talking about a topic. So, I said, “If you want to know more about how you can eat your favorite foods and still lose weight, go over here, to EveryOtherDayDiet.com.” I was doing this in every other video, and I was getting dismal response. And all of sudden, I got like literally 30 times the response to go over to the sales page. So, naturally, I had more sales. So, I decided to focus on one book, and I took Every Other Day Diet. I’ve got 7, so I took Every Other Day Diet and said, “I want to create a sales page completely around this formula.” And at the time, it ended up at 18 minutes.
And I thought that was just insane. Who is going to watch an 18-minute video? It’s going through my mind the whole time. I thought, “It never hurts to try. You can split-test anything. Right?” I said the same thing the very first time Tom Venudo sent over his copy for Fit Over 40. Who the hell is going to read 6,000 words? Well, a lot of people read those things. They don’t read all of them, but long-form sales copy works. No one’s in disagreement, right? Well, I hear, to this very day, “Who on earth is going to watch an 18-minute,” and now they’re like 30 and 40 minute, just words on the screen, “and nothing else, no pictures, no graphics?” I’ll get into this more strategic stuff later, but we’ll throw in pattern break pictures in a very specific way, that do help conversions.
But what happened was amazing. Within literally a month of doing that, or it was actually about 3 weeks, my conversions went from about 1% to 6½%. They just flew through the roof. I could not believe it. So, I had a couple of marketer friends of mine, who are in the fitness business, they sent their traffic there, and they were going, “Geez, that thing really converts!” And that’s all it took. Once everybody said, “This thing is really converting,” I built a good backend for it, and next thing you know, within weeks, I had the 2 biggest payper- click affiliates spending about $1-million a month or more on Google. They were spending just a ton. And this was before the Google slap. It just took off like crazy. I would have ended up with the #1 book on ClickBank, but we got slapped, it was climbing so fast. But it took 2 books with it, so I ended up with 2 books in the top 10 of 2 different genres, which was kind of cool. So, it was obviously a success.
Then, my friend Mike Geery, who had the #1 book, The Truth About Abs, Mike’s a hell of a good marketer, he called me up, and he goes, “Dude, I’ll pay you $20,000 to do this for me. But will you voice it?” I go, “Well, if I voice it, it’s going to be kind of weird, wouldn’t it, if I voiced it?” And he goes, “No, I just think the way you voiced it.” I later discovered, doing what I teach now, it’s not the sound of your voice. I have a decent radio voice, because I did radio in college, but it’s not that. You don’t want to go to the radio voice. That’s just not what you want. It’s the cadence, it’s the tempo, it’s the emphasis on certain words, like we were talking about when I was coaching Joe through this. I said, “Certain words, you want to really elongate and slow down.” It’s just knowing which words to do that, and practice, and some of it’s intuition. But anyway, I did it for Mike Geery and wrote my own story with Mike. The truth is I had his book, and his book was really helpful for me. And so, I just wrote my story, and it ended up doubling his conversions. He was already #1 on ClickBank, already had extremely high conversion rate on cold traffic. He was buying mostly cold traffic. It doubled his conversions.
Dean: We talked about that on the last episode. We talked about leveraging things. And sometimes how just an idea that you apply can have really incredible leverage, like through the idea of replacing a long-copy sales letter with a video sales letter.
Joe: Yeah, because your original result was like 6 times. You went from 1% conversion to 6%. So you 6-timed yours. And we talked about, on the last episode, as a primer to the fact that we were going to have you as a guest on this episode. So, having said that….
Jon: So, that’s a little bit of the history of it. And since then, it’s been nuts. Since then, it’s been obviously knocked off by literally thousands of marketers. Ryan Deice did a course on it. I went down to teach Ryan, and then Ryan did a course on it. And he does mention that. His course, by the way, no one picks that up. So, a lot of people think Ryan created it.
Joe: If you were to get in a physical fight with Ryan, with like one of your hands tied behind your back, do you think you could take him?
Jon: No, I could still take him.
Joe: We’re going to see if Ryan listens to this episode.
Dean: He’s going to get some mail.
Jon: I couldn’t take Nathan, but I could take Ryan. Nathan’s a beast. So, anyway, it became a genre in and of itself. I know other guys that, like I said, were doing PowerPoint stuff, and some people were getting better results with that. Most people don’t. Most people get better results with the uglier version. And we tested it. Ryan went through like tons of tests with this, and just the ugly stuff wins. I asked my good friend, Jeff Siegel, who’s got videos freaking killing it right now, on The Diet Solution video, and his is more PowerPoint. I don’t know Keith Wallman, and I’ve never met him. And people were saying, when this came out, they go, “Oh yeah, there’s this Keith Wallman guy that does kind of PowerPoint stuff.” I’m like, “Cool.”
This is more Keith stuff, I think. And some of mine and some of Keith’s worked out great. But I asked him, “Have you ever tried just text?” And he said, “To be honest with you, that’s the one thing we’ve never split-tested.” I go, “Dude! I think you’re leaving money on the table. I’m not sure,” because he was already doing well. But anyway, the point is the reason why video sales letters work is because it does a couple of things: 1) it forces your reader to read every word of your copy.
Dean: Right. Forced consumption. It’s effortless consumption. It’s buckle in, here we go. You’re not skimming. You’re not scamming.
Jon: If you’ve ever done heat-mapping on a website, you can see that people will read the headline, and assuming they keep reading, they’ll read the sub headline. They might read the first paragraph. They’ll jump to the first picture; they’ll scroll down and read the price.
Dean: but that’s important, because they’re reading it the way that you’re intending them to hear it. When I say hear it, because when you’re reading, essentially, you’re hearing it in your mind as you’re reading. So, they’re adding their inflection or their emphasis on words that maybe won’t be in the same place that you are intending it to be.
Jon: In some way, I’m taking away their imagination.
Dean: Right. Taking over their imagination.
Jon: Yeah, taking over. In sales, I think that’s a very good thing.
Joe: That is a good point, though, what you said, taking over their imagination. People are wanting their imaginations taken over.
Jon: Yeah. That reminds me of one of my favorite South Park episodes, where the terrorists take over our imaginations. I won’t go into imagination here on I Love Marketing.
Joe: How much do you think you’ve learned about marketing from watching things like South Park?
Jon: A ton. Honestly, a ton.
Dean: It’s absolutely true. We talk about it all the time.
Joe: Let’s talk about it right now.
Dean: There’s a lot of similarities between South Park, and I Love Marketing.
Joe: Think about it. Because it’s captivating, right? People watch South Park. Right? They use words, right? It will offend a hell of a lot of people. I asked Frank Kern what are his favorite books. Carpetbagger, by what is that author’s name? It’s one of Frank’s favorite. Different marketers, some will read romance novels, some will read mysteries, some will watch South Park, and they learn things from them.
Dean: That’s the common thread. South Park seems to be the common thread.
Jon: Yeah. For me, Trey Parker is an absolute genius, in my opinion, as a writer. Matt is, as well. But I would love to hang out with those guys for a weekend. For one thing, it’s inspiring to see the creativity a guy can do in just 6 days.
Dean: That’s what we were talking about the other day. That’s what I was saying reminds me of I Love Marketing, is that they literally do the episodes in 6 days. They start on Wednesday, to deliver it.
Jon: Unbelievable. And the quality they came out with, as far as just sheer social satire, is unbelievable. The other thing I learned in this, I’m serious here, the most important part about a video sales letter is when it originally started, it was a pattern break in and of itself, because no one had ever seen it. Now, they’re popular, and people maybe have seen it. So, the most important thing is that very first 10 seconds. And you have to break the pattern. I call this the snap suggestion. It’s based around a simple model. It’s a 2-step model. First of all, if you walk into a conversation and you go (snap), everybody gets quiet. It’s a really unique phenomenon.
Joe: You snap louder than anyone.
Dean: It really is. It’s spiked.
Jon: It is. It’s spiked. So, it’s an interesting phenomenon. People will stop, and slow down and listen to you. That’s how you want to think about that moment, because you don’t know where your user’s coming from. They may have just opened their email and clicked a link. They may have watched your YouTube video. They may have been watching TV. They may be like Joe Polish, and doing 22 things at once. You don’t know. And the only way to captivate their attention is to give them something they were completely not expecting. And then after you do that, what happens psychologically is when your mind is given something that you do not expect, temporarily, your defenses are down. And when your defenses are down, you’re open to suggestion. It’s a little hypnotic, and it’s definitely a little sinister. The suggestion that I give off of that is, “You need something, and I want you to watch something.” So, I give them that suggestion. That’s a very, very important part of the whole process.
Joe: Yes. Yes. So, for I Love Marketing listeners, one of the things that we always want to deliver to them are processes, capabilities, methodologies that will help them obviously improve their ability to put into the hands of their prospects and client the value that they create in the world. This process that you’ve created, refined, developed, I had the highest close in Glazer-Kennedy history from a recent speech that I gave at Dan Kennedy’s event, and the recent one you gave just absolutely killed it. What me and Dean were talking about, maybe we’ll actually put that video on ILoveMarketing.com, so people can actually see an example of this, in case they’re not quite even aware of what we’re talking about. We’ll put some things up. Maybe we’ll even put my speech up there. I don’t know. We’ll talk about that.
Jon: I would, because it’s just sexy, if not anything else.
Joe: Of course. People cannot get enough of watching me on video. Let’s kind of talk about how can they start using this themselves. We have a limited amount of time, and this is something you’ve developed over many, many years, and you charge for private consulting. People are paying you upwards of $100,000 to develop killer…
Jon: That’s been the highest offer so far. I’ve made that on my backend stuff. In fact, I showed a screen capture on my iPhone. I showed you this, from Dan, that said, “Will you take $100,000 to do my video?” I kept telling him, “No, I’m busy. I’m sorry. I was working on this stuff with Dean Graziosi at the time, and working on my other stuff.” And Dan sent me this text message, “Will you do it for $100,000?” That’s been the highest offer right off the bat. But usually, it’s at least $20,000.
Joe: But here’s the thing here. When we were at my $25K group, you explained this. The first time it was actually shared in the mastermind group like that, in my $25K meeting, Dean Graziosi had an event he was doing a week later. Dean is the annoying guy you see on television, selling real estate stuff. He’s actually very bright. A week later, like literally a week later, he’s doing an event to 200 people. He used a video sales letter, because he learned about it after you talked about it, and he did $440,000 in sales to a group of around 200 people.
Jon: Completely insane.
Joe: Yeah, totally insane. And I had like just over 500 people standing in line at the Glazer- Kennedy event, a couple hundred of them dropped out of the line because they thought they missed the offer. Literally, they couldn’t handle all of the sales. Kind of like we talked, in the last episode, sometimes you can get too many sales. But this is a video sales letter done in a live environment. Someone doesn’t have to speak from stage in order to use this. Actually, I think I’m the first one ever…
Jon: We were the first one to do it.
Joe: I was the first one to ever sell from the platform, even the year before that, because I saw you speak in 2010, and I literally sold 68 people into a $1,000-a-month program using a video sales letter. And what’s great about it is this, because we’ve all been to some seminars where there’s a highly-manipulative salesperson that’s getting people all frothed up and shaking money out of their pockets. No one feels like, “Oh my God, I’m being pressured.” They’re watching a video. They can walk away. It’s a very nonthreatening way to present, and it is education-based selling because, in your videos, you’re actually teaching people stuff. They’re learning stuff. So, I think this is just an incredible method. So, where do you start?
Jon: The question I think is the biggest thing people want to know is where do you start. Maybe I don’t have PowerPoint; maybe I don’t know how to record a screen capture. What about a microphone? All of those things, I cover when I go over this course, that we talked about, through Glazer-Kennedy. That’s actually the simple part. The most challenging part is understanding the basics of what the product is that you’re selling, and defining what’s known as your USP. So, in other words, this part is not necessarily geared towards video sales letters, this is geared towards any selling at all. You’ve got to know your USP. I have an exercise I walk people through to get it into 20 words or less.
The reason you want it to 20 words or less is very important: 20 words or less is easy to say in one slide. You can fit that snap suggestion in there. It’s very powerful. It gives them exactly the benefit, and you’re only asking them to believe one thing. So, all of those are psychological elements in good sales. So, where to start actually isn’t with video, it’s to start with a USP, to know your USP. That’s your unique selling position, unique selling point. And you only have one. Even if you think you have 4, one. You only want your user to understand and believe one thing. So, we start there, when I work with people: “What is your USP?”
Joe: Do you have an example?
Dean: He’s got a couple.
Jon: Yeah. For example, my USP is, “The only diet in the world that allows you to eat your favorite foods and still lose weight.” That’s under 20 words. So, “The only diet in the world that allows you to eat your favorite foods and still lose weight,” it demands that you eat your favorite foods and still lose weight. So, what I’m asking my user to believe is you can eat your favorite foods and lose weight.
Dean: We had this conversation, you and I, in Phoenix, in April, and we went through that exercise. You asked me what are my favorite foods, what are my favorite proteins, and just eat those, basically, is what you said, in these combinations, in the combination that you said. But that’s really essentially what I’ve done, and it just makes it simple.
Jon: The cool thing about that is it’s not just your favorite foods. What I do in Every Other Day Diet is I say, “What are your favorite healthy foods? And what are your favorite junk foods?” I’m not a food purist. I don’t think anyone is going to follow that for a long period of time, unless they completely devote their life to it. So, I want to get people better. And the journey, if they decide to go further, that’s great. 99% of the time, I eat extremely healthy, because it’s my job, and I love it. I love the foods that I eat. But I also enjoy my pizza and sushi. And I do that every week, unless I’m getting ready for a contest or something. That’s very important to understand.
Anyway, I get them to believe and understand one thing. And from that point on, and I think everyone listening needs to do that too, figure out what your USP is, and understand that that’s the one thing that you have to communicate. It has to be unique. It’s like how is your product unique? If there’s some way that it is unique, find what it is. What is the number one benefit that it brings to your user, the number one benefit, the best thing about it, and what has it enabled them to do? Every USP should have an enabler. In my case, the enabling card is obviously losing weight. The benefit is eating the favorite foods. That’s the benefit. The enabler part is losing weight.
So, enablers are usually verbs, something that allows you to attract, to consume, to earn, that kind of thing. That’s just a really rough overview there. Once you have that, you can actually get into writing the formula, writing what the video sales letter should be. We probably don’t have nowhere near the time to actually go into the 5 parts of the VSL process and all that stuff, but I’ll cover whatever you guys ask me to cover.
Joe: Okay. So, Dean, go ahead.
Dean: Well, that’s a good start. You’ve got your unique selling proposition or unique selling position. Is that what you open the video with? Are you using that as a guideline to everything you’re doing and supporting that?
Jon: No. You open the video with what I call the snap suggestion. There’s some sort of pattern error. You give them a reason to watch, and then within the very first 10 slides, there’s always that mention of the USP. “Here’s what I’m going to tell you. I’m going to reveal a secret. This is how I ate my favorite foods and still lost weight. I’ve been saying, “Personally, I lost 68 pounds, and I used to be obese. So, yeah, this is how it works. I’m going to show you everything. This is why you need to watch until the end.” I’m suggesting throughout the entire video. Now, let me just explain, since this can’t be a how-to because my how-to course is like 12 hours long, what we can talk about is why it’s essential for everyone to have one. I’d love to get into the conversation of modalities.
Joe: I don’t want to talk about that. No, I’m kidding.
Dean: We were just saying that. Less modalities. No more.
Joe: I think modalities is what’s undermining a lot of things, even the economy perhaps.
Jon: It really is.
Joe: Explain a modality. What does that mean, first off? What’s a modality?
Jon: For example, the other day when I saw you down at the 99% marc. I’m kidding. Modality is a different way. Basically, it’s this. There’s a psychological point of view that you an approach, that each person basically has, they filter through. Some are auditory; some are visual. Some are kinesthetic, whatever. You’ve got different forms of modalities there. In marketing, you have different forms of modalities. And when I’m using the term “modality,” some people like to read, some people like to listen. A video sales letter, you read and listen. Some people like to interact – webinars. So, to not have all 3 of those is to leave at least 2/3, if you only have one of these buyers on the table. You’re losing 2/3 of your money.
So, there’s a sequence that you can follow. And that sequence is very, very cool. I think video sales letters are, by far and away, the best sequence starter. Not webinars, video sales letters. Webinars would go last. People are so in love with webinars, because you hear this all the time. Webinars were created using my ugly video, to be honest with you, and then basically taking that and saying, “Let’s do it on a live call.” I love webinars. They’re great. People say, “The conversions are so much higher.” You get people signing up, and maybe 25% go through, and then 50% of those should sign up, and 50% of those show up.
So, if you end up doing the math, the conversions are a little better, sometimes, and sometimes a lot worse. But the modality is necessary. So, you’re selling the people that actually need the interaction, that actually want that. So, that should be there. But your very first introduction I like to make is the video sales letter. Because if people window-out and say they’re not interested in this, assuming you’re not buying Google traffic and you can’t use an exit splash, what we do is show them an exit splash. It says, “Wait! How would you like to read an article on the top 5 foods for weight loss.
Joe: Exit splash. Define that. The reason I’m asking you for these things is for people that are not familiar with this. And we’re obviously trying to get them familiar with it, so that they can decide if they want to use this in their marketing. So, if things go by and I stop you, it’s because I’m trying to do that to clarify for the audience.
And then, what we do is split-test that. We’ll go from a positive modality to a negative modality. “Wait! Before you go, I want you to read about the top 3 foods you think are healthy but are preventing your weight loss.” Different modality. It’s a different motivation. So, when people click, “Yeah, let me read that article,” that article is basically almost the same copy. It’s just worded from the very top, without the suggestion bits, to say, “Here’s the top 3 foods,” and then everything else is the same. It makes copywriting a lot easier, because you’ve already done the grunt work through the video sales letter process.
Dean: You’re just using it in different formats.
Joe: Exactly. It’s the same thing. And then, if they window-out of that, say, Hey, we’ve got a free webinar coming up in 2 days, and we’d love to invite you.” So, you send them over to the webinar. And this is how the system works. So, you’re capturing people with multiple modalities. And you can also use visual video, if you’re comfortable with that. Andy Jenkins is the bomb, the boss when it comes to that. He’s awesome. But, all those are essential. So, when Ryan Deiss came out with his course on video sales letters, the clever marketer that he is, he said, “Hey, the text-based sales pages are dead. Clever marketing angle, not true. Not true. You need a video sales letter, just as much as you need a text one.
Joe: I think Ryan says everything’s dead, right?
Jon: Yeah. That’s his gig.
Joe: What I thought was really great is Mary Ellen Tribby, who we saw speak yesterday. She actually was talking about how valuable free reports are for conversion as a giveaway, versus a free video. And I was like, “Alright, you’re running Ryan Deiss’ company, and wasn’t just a few months ago that Ryan Deiss said, “Free reports don’t work anymore,” or something like that? I think, really, this episode should be about bashing Ryan. Having said that, Ryan is a brilliant marketer.
Jon: Ryan is one of the best. Yes, absolutely. He’s a good friend, too.
Joe: He’s a nice guy. He’s a good-looking man.
Jon: I wouldn’t go that far. But, yeah. Did you know that he’s a closet democrat?
Joe: But here’s the thing, though. Now that it’s put out there, you’ve planted a seed. Anything can be said about anyone, and people can tend to believe it, if it comes from an authoritative individual.
Jon: That’s a very funny statement, if you know Ryan.
Joe: Can I say something? I know from reading comments, and I Love Marketing, for so many new people that come into I Love Marketing on a daily basis, for over 1,500 to 2,000 people, this will be the first episode of I Love Marketing they’ve ever heard. And they’re like, “What is all this stuff?” So, me and Dean are always encouraging people to go and listen back, so they’re going to understand and learn marketing. There’s always the thing, “I don’t want to manipulate people. I don’t want to hypnotize people.” In a lot of ways, it’s nonsensical – if that’s even a word – sort of belief system. Because if you have something that’s really going to benefit people but you are ineffective at getting out to the world, you’re not going to help them and you’re not going to help you.
You literally are a convert of your own system. If someone looks at your before and after pictures, you were obese, and you lost a lot of weight and became ripped. You’ve been in bodybuilding contests, that sort of stuff. And you had a good methodology, and it’s helped thousands of people. But if you didn’t know how to do this, you never would have delivered it to people. They wouldn’t have bought it. And that’s my point with like all of these things that people consider tricks and strategies and tactics. As far as I’m concerned, as long as it’s legal, moral and ethical, you should do whatever it is humanly possible in order to persuade people to get what it is that you’re offering them, with the caveat being that you’re delivering value.
Jon: That is the caveat. And I think that’s essential, that you have to have a product worth delivering. I’ve said this multiple times from the stage, and on audio and video, whatever. Without the product of value, if you do not have an intimate relationship with your product, I mean you absolutely love it – don’t take that in the wrong way, Joe – but you love it, and you know that value, and I’m going to talk a little bit more in the next talk I give, on how important that really is, how it comes across. It seeps over the Internet. It’s a very powerful concept. Once you understand the power of that, you understand that you cannot do this with a text-based sales letter. Not anywhere close to what you can do with your voice and a text.
Joe: Right. There are passions that can be conveyed. Even when you’ve coached me through how to record a video sales letter, there are just things you can do. In a lot of ways, this is taking powerful copy and dramatically enhancing it. That’s the way that I look at video sales letters. And the reason I keep pointing this out is because I know, in the time we have, it’s impossible to deliver to someone every aspect of how to develop a video sales letter. And just like me, this has been a learning process, and I continue to go through it with you. So, I wanted to have people here listen to things that I know they’re not going to hear from any other marketers. And I want them to be aware of it.
And I want people to actually watch video sales letters of yours, and we will put up some companion material on ILoveMarketing.com, so people can really see it and they can understand it. The point I always want to make is to break that sort of belief that, “Oh, I can’t do that,” or “I don’t know if we can do that.” I’m like, “Yeah, you should do everything you freaking can, because this is how you become successful at marketing is you literally do everything.” We talked about leverage on the last episode. This is an ultimate form of leverage.
Jon: I have an analogy, if it suffices. If you were in a burning building, you got everybody out but your dog, and the dog’s up there on the second floor, he’s like, “Woof!” He’s barking; he doesn’t know what to do, “Come on, boy! Come on, boy!” He won’t jump. He won’t jump. “Come on, boy!” You’re trying to get him to jump out of a burning building. You’d go, “I have a treat for you! Let’s go for a walk!” You would say anything. You would even lie to get him to jump out of that building. Only reason why is you want to save his life. You have no intention of hurting the dog.
So, while I don’t lie, I don’t believe in that, I believe in doing everything – like you said – morally and ethically, with a reason, to manipulate. And I will use that word. Manipulation is not a negative term. It is simply a state of mental being. We manipulate people every single day. Most of it, thank goodness, is for the good. We say, “Hey, Joe, I’d love to take you to dinner tonight.” I’m manipulating Joe to go to dinner, but I’m not. You know what I’m saying? So, we use that word in such a crass way. And marketing should be about ethical manipulation, in the highest standard possible, to get people to get a product that could change their lives.
Dean: Dean Graziosi said the same thing at the I Love Marketing conference. Dean said that same thing. Talking about somebody you love, you know they’re a smoker, and they’re heading for lung cancer, you’d do anything – ethically – to get them to stop.
Jon: I remember when I first got into being a “marketer,” being a guy that people thought of as not just a fitness writer, but a marketer, and one of my best friends, she had a real problem with it. She was like real snooty about it. Now, with people like that, I literally just say, “Fuck off.” I try to explain it. At that point, I say, “Fuck off.” Honestly, I don’t have time to deal with someone that stupid. If you don’t understand the importance of this, you do not deserve to be in this business. That’s the way I feel about it.
Joe: I’d really appreciate if you wouldn’t sugar-coat how you feel. We’re really open to people talking openly, and not having to try to soften the way they feel.
Jon: Good. Good, Joe. I’m not opinionated on it. I just think it’s a very important concept to get across, because you free yourself. Now, let me say one more thing about this. Once you’re free from that burden, if you grew up in a religious family and you grew up feeling guilty about, I don’t know, we’ll make something up, feeling guilty about walking around with your shoes off, who knows, and then all of a sudden you grew up, and you realize there’s nothing wrong with that. You still kind of feel that guilt, until you put it completely behind you.
And this is the same way. I want everybody to put this guilt of “manipulation,” “scare tactics” or “clever copy” behind them, so that their creativity can go, “Foom.” It opens a big window to creativity. And that’s what’s important. Unless you do that, you’re going to have problems, because your marketing is going to come across like a guy I heard at Glazer today. His close, I was watching, and he was reading directly off the PowerPoint. “This is really a wonderful thing. It is a one-time offer only. I think it is good. I’m not going to try to close you hard.”
Joe: And when they say that, “I’m not going to try to sell you,” whereas we believe that selling is a good thing. We even said this on some of the episodes. I think marketers are saviors. It’s like using the Dan Sullivan definition of selling, which is my favorite definition is “getting people intellectually engaged in a future result that’s good for them,” keyword good for them, “and getting them to emotionally commit to take action to achieve that result.” So, if you really can lead people to a bigger future, and the method of getting there is selling, and you’re helping people, every person in the world that helps guide anyone to do something that’s good for them. Including people that save people’s lives by teaching them everything from how to eat better, to take care of their health, to not get involved in destructive things, that doesn’t happen without persuasion. It doesn’t happen without selling. So, I think a lot of this fear – John Carlton calls it selling from your heal – “I’m not going to try to sell you,” as you’re trying to sell them. What the hell are you talking about?
Jon: It’s funny, because that person has some sort of moral problem with that, yet they’re lying out their ass. I’m sorry, I have a problem with lying. That’s my problem. I don’t want to get up onstage and say something like that. Positioning something clever, like how we closed it out, where I said, “How many people want this blueprint? I’m not going to give it to you, at least not in the way you think.” Now, if I just said, “I’m not going to give it to you,” and then we closed it out, it would have been lying. “I’m not going to give it to you.” I literally didn’t give them a box
Joe: And we’re going to save those results for another episode. Obviously, we talked about that before our session here. At least me and Dean did. Not much with you. However, this is a game-changer. And the point is all of this with the video sales letter is a game-changer. And what I wanted to do on this particular episode was define the game. And then, I want people to really start looking for them. Because now, whenever they see a video sales letter, they’re going to see it in a different way. It’s kind of like if you buy a red Corvette. You never really notice them until you buy one, and then all of a sudden you start seeing them.
Dean: Everybody else got theirs today, too.
Joe: The people that suck at marketing, in a lot of ways, is because they don’t pay attention to it. And when you start getting them aware of what are the reasons this work and why this doesn’t work, then all of a sudden people start noticing things they didn’t notice before. And when you start looking for those things and you start understanding it, and you start breaking it down, then you can actually start using it and applying it. Because the first step to anything is awareness. Hell, even 12-Step groups and addiction, the first step is being aware. So, basically, we want people listening to this to be aware that this is, from everything I’ve seen, you guys correct me if I’m wrong, all of the marketers that I know, if you want to talk about new. Although this is not new to you, you’ve been doing this stuff for years, this is the highest-converting marketing methodology that currently exists in the way that I see it done right.
Jon: Done right is the key. And there is a new fad that’s been going around, and several of the guys I know have done it very successfully, and that is guys animating stuff.
Dean: We were just talking about that with Andy Jenkins.
Joe: See, I still consider that a video.
Jon: Well, it is a video sales letter.
Dean: But it’s different.
Joe: It’s an adaptation of it, but I would still put it in the same genre.
Jon: Here’s what’s interesting. I do want to share this story. My friend Mike Geery, he used my voice, my copy, gave it to an illustrator. I think he paid like $20,000 or something. It’s expensive to get an illustrator to draw all of this stuff out on a board and sync it all up. To me, it’s frenetic. That’s the first thing I thought is, ‘I’m going to go into an epileptic seizure. I can’t watch this stuff.” But obviously, to a lot of people, it worked. It increases his conversions.
Joe: You are like a walking epileptic seizure.
Jon: I am.
Joe: Your behavior, your mannerisms.
Jon: My mannerisms, my tics.
Dean: When you said that, you kind of go, “I think maybe there’s a distinction, because what you’re talking about with the video sales letter with the text, is you’re pacing. And it’s almost like they get into a trance, in a way, where they’re listening, they’re reading at the same time, but you’re doing the inflection, you’re doing the inflection, you’re doing all of the stuff, so they’re hearing it exactly the way you want. And they’re kind of like on a monorail, where you’re going, and it goes along a moving sidewalk.
Jon: And there’s only one destination.
Dean: Now, the only thing that I thought about with the animated videos is because it’s disconnected, you’re processing 2 different things, you’re processing the visual of what’s going on, but you’re hearing something that is not exact. You have to process on 2 tracks. I was wondering about that, whether if you’re paying attention to the visual, whether there’s less resistance to the audio. Like the audio message might be going right in, or something. I’d love to get to the real psychology.
Joe: You studied what is going on in the minds of people when they’re doing this, and why. So, if you could explain that and break it down, that would be really good.
Jon: I would love to know what’s happening with the animation stuff. I have some theories, one of them being that when you’re watching somebody draw something, again, going back to the snap suggestion, you momentarily take someone out of their current mind frame. They’re just kind entranced in watching. Eventually, I think people get past the drawing part, after a couple of minutes, and start listening. I think that’s a reason it’s working so well. It’s like a 2-minute pattern interrupt. Now, it hasn’t worked well for everybody. For some people, it’s worked exceedingly well. Big, big tip here: start with the video sales letter. Mike proved it. He already had a winning video sales letter. He tried to beat that thing for almost 2 years. He paid like high-end animators, did another video, nothing, nothing could touch it. So, the ugly video sales letter, easiest way to get the highest conversions. And then after that, you want to try the animated video.
Dean: Some people might just be happy if they were to go from 1% to 6%.
Jon: I would be freaking thrilled, yeah. 1% to 2%.
Joe: Here’s one thing that we have learned consistently with the results, because we now have a lot of people making a lot of money as a result of listening to I Love Marketing. When I go to the Meetup groups, I have people doubling. I think we have helped generate millions of additional sales of stuff since we started doing a freaking free podcast.
Jon: I made about $1.50 so far.
Joe: You made nothing. You got a bottle of water, and you keep stealing from my room. So, you need to stop that. I can’t even remember what the hell I was going to say now. What was I going to say?
Jon: People making a lot of money off of I Love Marketing.
Joe: No, I know what it was. When we’ve gone through like the education-based marketing stuff, we’re having people write consumer awareness guides, and creating free reports, and doing free recorded messages, the mere act of going through and putting it together gives someone a much deeper understanding of their business. Just saying, “Hey, everyone should write a sales letter.” If you sit down and write a sales letter, and you’ve never written a sales letter before, every other aspect of your marketing, from your website to your blog to your mobile marketing, whatever the hell it is that you’re using as a delivery system, it improves. So, this raises the water level higher.
So, if I could encourage everyone listening, even if you’re not quite sure how to do it, even if you think you’re going to completely screw up, if you sit down and record your first video sales letter and just do it, that alone is going to give you a much deeper understanding of how to put it together. I sit and run into people all the time like, “I really need to write a book.” Well, the best way to get started is to just get started. Steven Pressfield, who’s my friend and wrote the book The War Of Art and The Legend Of Bagger Vance, he’s just a fantastic writer. And what he says in The War Of Art, which is a great book, he says, “The hard part is not the writing, it’s the sitting down to write.” And that’s what every writer needs to understand.
Dean: Without wiggling.
Joe: Yeah. So, the hard part about a video sales letter, first, is the sitting down and just doing it. We have a limited amount of time here, and it’s a very basic question, but it’s really not a basic question because it doesn’t matter how much someone studies psychology and marketing, if they don’t sit down and crank out the first letter, who gives a shit. Right? So, what do they need, in order to do this? If you use a Mac, a PC, how do you do this?
Jon: What you need, what I use, I’m a Mac guy, and that’s because I like real computers…
Joe: Because you’re cool.
Dean: Cool like us.
Joe: I heard you singing, “I’m cool like that. I’m cool like that.”
Jon: I’m cool like that. So, yeah, here’s the thing. Mac or PC doesn’t matter. I use PowerPoint.
Dean: PC, Mac.
Jon: Yeah, I love Macs. PowerPoint. I write the script. Sometimes, I’ll write the script in like Word and cut and paste every slide over. That’s a pain in the butt. So, a lot of times, I just follow my own formula, naturally.
Dean: You write it that way?
Jon: I’ll write it slide by slide. It’s so much easier, once you know the formula; because you know that on these slides, this is the formula I’m going to follow, this is what I need to say. Without that formula, it’s a pain in the butt, and you wonder where to go next.
Joe: We’ll post info on ILoveMarketing for anyone that wants to actually look at what you’re offering, your formula, if they want to invest in your training, because you do have all that. We’ll put it up on the site, so if anyone wants further information about it. With the time we have, to the best of your ability, tell them about it. I always say, “Even if people never pay us a penny, we always want to deliver the very best stuff.
Jon: Yeah. I’m trying to go as fast as I can. You’ve got PowerPoint, so you would start typing your slides. If you want to write outside, like I said, you can, whatever you’re more comfortable with. And then, let’s pretend that you write in Word. So then, you write your sales letter like you’re writing in Word. What you want to focus on is one sentence at a time. Each slide should be a sentence. Occasionally, I’ll use 2 sentences and separate them by ellipses. And each slide should end with an ellipses or a colon. And the reason why is it’s the forward motion. We started a lot of this stuff, and this is one of the things that I started with you, is the idea of forward motion.
Or, you just don’t end with anything. You just have the words on the screen. Center-aligned. You can go title case, or you can go normal type case. There’s not a huge amount of difference in conversions. You should test it. I usually center all of my copy. In other words, everything’s a center line. And then once it’s in PowerPoint, I use a program called Screen Flow, and that is to record the screen. A lot of people record audio directly into either PowerPoint.
Dean: Or Keynote. Record it right into Keynote.
Jon: I like to get a higher-quality audio, so I use Amadeus. Amadeus is a very inexpensive audio program for the Mac. I don’t know if it’s for the PC or not. So, I’ll record the audio first. So, once I get the screens down, I’ve got it all in screens, I record the audio.
Dean: Then you just advance the slides as you go.
Jon: Before I record the screen.
Dean: Right on.
Jon: So, I’m playing the audio back, and I know exactly where to advance the slide, and I’m capturing the screen at the same time. And here’s a tip. It’s a really good tip, too, especially if you’re using PowerPoint and ScreenFlow. You have one monitor. So, how are you going to see the slides, unless you’re looking at the printed? I remember Joe had something printed, you could keep hearing the pages turn. That’s not a good idea. But what you do, a lot of people don’t know that PowerPoint has a rehearsal mode. Go into rehearsal mode and record the screen shot from there. The reason why that’s advantageous is, first of all, you can see the copy coming up. And second of all, you don’t need a copy of the Word document, so you know where to click. You can play the audio underneath it.
Dean: So, you just adjust the recording box to fit the real side, and you’re seeing the next one coming.
Dean: That’s a brilliant idea.
Jon: Yeah. I do it after Word files.
Dean: See, doing it with Keynote, recording it on Keynote, you have to play it full-screen, so you don’t see what’s coming.
Jon: Exactly. And I used to think that you had to do it with PowerPoint, and I stumbled on the rehearsal mode, and that solved the problem. The thing is, in PowerPoint, if you’re in full-screen mode, the problem is you can record the audio, you can listen to your audio going in full-screen mode and record it, but there are certain places like I don’t always put every word on the screen. So, if there are certain places where I need to make notes, I tell it where I’m going to click to the next line, or if I need to look at my Word document, those are cool little tips you can do in rehearsal mode.
Dean: Sometimes, I noticed you do that, too, in some of them, where you’re reading a sentence, then you’ll say something else, kind of a comment about that, but you’re not putting those words up there. And that kind of catches them by surprise, too. Right?
Jon: That’s strategically placed. About every 5 to 10 slides, I don’t have every word on the page. Sometimes, I just have 3 words. And the reason why is I don’t want them to know when the next slide is going to come, because they’re reading and they’re already ahead, they read faster, whatever. Then they see 3 words and they’re like, “He’s talking. Is this over? Oh, next slide.” It’s a pattern break. It’s one pattern break after the other. This is something I experimented with. Hollis Carter gave me the idea. He’s funny, because he never did it. He said, “I’m thinking about doing like just 3 words on a slide.” So, I went home and tried it with 7-Minute Muscle, and it converted great. I had like 3 words on every slide. And then, I figured out a better way to do it, which is put 3 words, then you put all the words, then you put 3 words. That’s what I did for the close at Kennedy.
Joe: Okay, what about length? What’s the shortest, longest?
Jon: 18 minutes is the shortest. If you have a really cheap product, like if it’s say $19.95, you can get by with 15. Nothing under 15. It sounds like a long time. The most successful that we’ve done is anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.
Joe: In a seminar room, when I did $1,000 sales to 68 people, a 22-minute video that they watched.
Dean: How long is that “End Of America” video? You know what I’m talking about? That Porter Stansfield.
Jon: Oh, Porter’s video.
Dean: Yeah. I think those are over an hour long.
Jon: They’re 60 minutes long. Each video was fantastic.
Joe: Oh, the financial one. Okay, I’m sorry. I got it.
Jon: He’s using the ugly video. He’s killing it. Absolutely killing it. He’s doing real well.
Joe: Okay, for the limited amount of time that we have, like I said, we’ve got a couple minutes left, we’ll put some videos on ILoveMarketing.com. So, if you’re listening to this episode on iTunes, then go to ILoveMarketing.com, and you’ll see stuff there. I would also encourage you to listen to some of the past episodes we’ve done, because it will reinforce this. Any final things for people, just to do, to understand, to learn how to better do this? What would you recommend to them?
Jon: To learn how to better do it, most people would need some sort of training to do it, to do it faster. You can go look at video, a lot of video sales letters, and just watch them and see what the pacing’s are. Of course, that’s a long endeavor, because you’ve got to watch hours and hours and hours of video. And then, write down what you think the sequences are. But I still go back to getting into more of the fundamentals of the psychology of understanding why it’s so important to figure this out. And the reason why is because, first, you force people to read every single word. I didn’t mention this, but the close, me and my programmer, Ted, created the magic buy button that everyone uses now. Everyone uses it.
Dean: Up here is right when you talk about it.
Jon: When I started doing this, I started looking around to find out if anyone else was doing it, they said, “Yeah, this guy Keith Willmon’s doing something,” and his stuff was similar, but it was more PowerPointy. Great minds. It’s kind of cool. But at the end of it, you have to go to a different URL. So, it’s really a webinar model. I had the idea like can you java script time something, if you know at the 16:34 mark, your pitch hits, “Look below this video right now,” boom, we’ve taken that to a whole new level. I don’t have time to go into it. But anyway, the reason why that’s so important is that you haven’t sold anyone until the very end. Unlike a text sales page, which you can scroll to the end and know immediately what it is, your buyers are far more qualified buyers.
Joe: They’re totally positioned, because if you’ve just put that much information and education into their minds. Okay. First off, Jon, thank you for sharing your knowledge on this. If people want to go and look at any of your video sales letters, go to your website or whatever, maybe buy some of your diet stuff, where do they go?
Jon: Oh, my gosh. There’s a lot of places you can go. You can go to JonBensonFitness.com.
Joe: And Jon with J-O-N.
Jon: You can go to 3XvideoFormula.com or 3XVideo.com. That’s the best place.
Joe: Awesome. And we’ll put some videos and stuff up there. And maybe, we’ll have to decide, because we have to make sure that the stuff that we can put up there is edited, because there’s some recent stuff that’s been done that I’d love throw up there. It’s just a matter of how quickly we can get it.
Jon: Quickly? Is this going to air in like a week?
Joe: Yeah. It’s going to air, yeah.
Jon: Okay. If it’s going to air in a week, a literal week from here, then they can go to VideoSalesLetters.com, because I now own it.
Dean: There you go. VideoSalesLetters.com.
Joe: Any final words for you, Dean, since last episode I said, “I must have the last word, because I’m cooler than you?”
Dean: Because you’re cool like that. I’m going to let Jon have the last word on this episode.
Joe: Why do you love marketing?
Jon: Why do I love marketing? Because it empowers people. It empowers me to live a life of freedom.
Joe: Awesome. Thank you very much.
Dean: Who do you like better, me or Joe?
Jon: I like you both equally. I want to see a ménage à trois.
Joe: With that, thank you for listening, and we will see you on the next episode of ILoveMarketing.com. Please give us your comments and feedback on the website. You have yourself a wonderful day, and now crank out a video sales letter. For the love of God, do it now.