One Marketing Funnel To Rule Them All


“It began with the forging of the Great Funnels.

Three were given to the Elves, immortal, wisest and fairest of all beings. Seven to the Dwarf-Lords, great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls. And nine, nine rings were gifted to the race of Men, who above all else desire power. For within these rings was bound the strength and the will to govern each race.

But they were all of them deceived, for another funnel was made. Deep in the land of Mordor, in the Fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged a master funnel in secret… One funnel to rule them all.”

Forgive the pun. I couldn’t help it.

This article is about marketing funnels.

Designing intricate marketing funnels and campaigns is something I do. And partners and clients tell me it’s something I do quite well.

My most recent win is creating the entire marketing funnel for a weight loss membership program. It’s created over 3000 full paying members in less than 2 months.

I’ve built…

  • Email autoresponder funnels…
  • Maximized cold traffic funnels…
  • Product launch funnels…
  • Membership funnels…
  • Automated webinar funnels…
  • Book launch funnels… etc…
  • (“Etc.” are 3 secret funnels strategies I’ve been keeping to myself and my partners.)

I have a knack for funnels because of one basic quirk in my thinking. I think of marketing and copywriting in terms of systems and processes.

It’s not just a VSL, or sales letter, that sells people. It’s the entire process of going from complete ignorance about you and what you offer…

To falling in love with you,
wanting to become one of your tribe…

Now, when I named some of these funnels above, most copywriters and marketers will have a sort of mental checklist their head they’re ticking off. Silently nodding to themselves:

“Yep, I know that one. Yeah, and I know that one. And yes, I know that one.”

I know, I would. 😉

Trust me on this, you may know funnels in a tactical, or even a strategic sense. Enough for you to write the copy.

And that may be enough for you to get by. It may even be enough for you to get paid.

But it isn’t enough for you to build an enduring, ultra-profitable BUSINESS for and with a client.

You need to think bigger. And higher. And broader.

And that’s my master marketing funnel
I want to share with you today.
The one marketing funnel to rule them all.

I call it the “Lord of the Rings” Funnel…

In order to build an encompassing funnel that builds 7, 8 and 9-figure businesses, what you’re likely missing is the mindset. The mindset of the market. Let’s discuss that now.

However, you may say…

“Oh no, Matt! That’s where you’re wrong. I know the mindset of my market like the back of my hand. I did my interviews. I wrote out my buyer persona. I’ve done my research.”

And if you said that, I just proved my point. Because there is not ONE single mindset of the market.

There are actually SIX market mindsets
within a single market.

Yeah, SIX. Each one integrally linked to a specific stage and phase of your business’ marketing funnel, regardless of how it takes shape…

What you want to do in shift a person’s mindset through 3 stages and six discrete phases.

Now at this point, if I do my job right, you’re about to have an epiphany. And this epiphany will be so big and come on so strong, it will haunt you for the rest of your marketing and copywriting life.

What this epiphany will also do is get you thinking bigger, get you off the one-off marketing funnel campaign-itis treadmill and into true business-building.

If you’re going to help build an enduring business with a client, THIS is the marketing funnel that lays the foundation for everything else to come…

Marketing Funnel Stage #1: Cognitive – “I am aware of you”

The first mindset stage your prospect is one of cognition. They know you’re out there. They become aware They know YOU are in the market in some what shape or form.

They don’t know who you are or what you do or how you do it.

To them? You exist. That’s all. You a blip on their radar.

They don’t even consider themselves a prospect (yet.) Maybe YOU think they may be, but they don’t. It’s too early in the relationship.

Now in order to get to the next major stage, the prospect naturally, effortlessly, goes through two distinct phases.

FIRST the prospect becomes aware, THEN they start to become knowledgeable. Not necessarily in a research gathering way, but more of a “Let me Google him for a moment…”

This distinction is critical to your success.

During this stage, your “prospect” isn’t even a prospect for whatever it is you offering (unless it’s free.) Don’t even try at this point, it’s premature.

But as you are probably aware, most marketers won’t heed this advice.  They’ll pitch something.  Anything just to create a buyer.

That’s why you see the “free plus shipping” offers, that’s why you see the “$1 membership” offers.

(Note: Those CAN and DO work. Especially in situations where a JV/affiliate RELATIONSHIP is already present and they’re pitching the offer to their list with their recommendation.)

However, if you try to sell too early, this stage is like you’re in a mall, and you pass an interesting storefront and you quickly go inside. And the salesperson practically jumps on you and in an overly cheerful voice says “How can I help you today?!”

Usually You’ll scare them away.

In reality, the only thing you have going for you at this stage is the emotion of… Curiosity. And they have some money in their pocket.

If you’re smart, you’re going to do something with that emotion.

What you do with that person’s curiosity depends upon your specific business, but you must do something with it to ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP in a non-threatening way.

Because that’s where the money is.

Let’s look at this online and see what happens.

A person enters your orbit with a curiosity-provoking article from you in their FB feed. They click on it and the fun begins…

Marketing Funnel Stage #2: The Affective Stage – “I like you”

The next significant stage of a business’ marketing funnel, if you were smart and established the initial relationship is to strengthen the bond.

This stage is where you affect them EMOTIONALLY them in some way shape or form. This is the “feeling stage.” They like you, and maybe they like you a lot.

Done right, the prospect passes through all three of these stages.

They read your article.  And they like your article.  Maybe they like it a little or maybe they like it a lot.

What are you going to do, now that they like you?

Answer: You’re going to make them a little offer. You’re going to ask them to do something small and totally non-threatening.

Your motive? Not to make money, necessarily. You may even lose money on the initial transaction. But it’s ok. You’re an astute marketer, you’re building a base and you’re thinking long term.

In their eyes, you’re proving yourself. You’re building trust. You’re being consistent with who you portray yourself to be in the market.

So because you are smart and developed a relationship, you’re cultivating that relationship. Either quickly or slowly.

Yes, I said “quickly.” In less than 30 minutes, you can have their conviction. Willing to spend several thousand dollars with you.

(This is how the cold traffic marketers make their gazillions.)

Marketing Funnel Stage #3: Behavioral – “I want to be a customer.”

If you done your job right, the prospect will NATURALLY go from awareness, to liking, to taking the action, actually doing things as a part of your tribe. This will be almost effortless for the prospect.

They’ll want to do it. Very little pressure or even incentive is required.

Again, it you do it right, they’ll buy for three significant reasons:

  1. The curiosity of how it feels to be your customer.
  1. The desire for the benefits you’re promising.
  1. The desire to be a part of your tribe. Done right, they’ll kill to be associated with you.


If you follow this meta-marketing funnel model, regardless of your specific marketing campaign, online or offline, you’ll be building an enduring business.

The more you can systemize/automate it, the better it will be.

The One Funnel To Rule Them All…


Some marketers proceed with this funnel slowly building curiosity, credibility, trust and interest over time…

They’re in no rush to be profitable. They want to build their base, build their tribe.

(For instance, I’ve recently discovered Great service. They’ll rewrite and edit the personal emails you send. They’re doing it for free right now, indefinitely. But someday, they’ll start charging.)

Other marketers have a far more aggressive approach. For instance, I’ve used this model in a single VSL for a supplement recently promoted heavily on YouTube. With traffic being driven by a YouTube preroll ad. We’re in the processing ramping up to $3mm a month.

It’s harder for sure, but it can be done. I’ve done it many times.

In the context of the Lord of the Rings Funnel, feel free to use all the different funnels you’re already aware of. Just make sure it has a place inside the one funnel that rules them all.


Good luck and if you need help implementing, just holler. My email is

PS: Did you get your marketing funnel epiphany? I hope so. I really do. This funnel has added multiple zeroes onto my clients and partners bank account balances. More importantly, it’s built enduring businesses, not just one-off product launches.

I hope it does the same with yours.

Clickbank + Organifi = Game Changer?

clickbank organifi

I have to admit, I’m gushing with excitement for one my partners. (And if you know Brits, we rarely if ever “gush.”)

In the next few days, ClickBank is doing something they’ve never done before.

They’re allowing a marketer to sell a physical product on their platform. And my client will be the first.

Drew Canole, Founder of, with a FB following of 1.2 million fans, is launching his flagship juicing-oriented product, Organifi on the ubiquitous ClickBank platform.

Pretty cool, right?

This opens up being able to sell Organifi to
hundreds of affiliates, literally overnight…

What’s Organifi?

It’s an innovative “green drink” targeted to already health-conscious people.

While Drew’s zeal is for live, organic juicing, the feedback he’s gotten is there’s a definite market for people who don’t have the time, money or desire to clean up the mess after juicing–but are still committed to losing weight, reversing premature aging, rejuvenating their health and healing chronic disease.

By the way, as a marketer, Drew’s a constant optimizer.  I love that in a client!

While the current VSL (written by yours truly) already converts against cold email drops to health-oriented lists and on YouTube… we currently have a couple more interesting variations in the wings.  Personally, I think they’ll smash the current control.

So if you have a health or juicing-oriented email list, FB or YouTube channel, it may be worth your while to promote the moment it launched.

I’m told the affiliate commissions % are crazy silly high, especially for a shippable product.

Here’s the affiliate page:

Join me in saying good luck and congratulations to Drew, his hard working team and ClickBank on their launch.

– Matt

PS: And now, I’ll be on my way. I have to crank out a couple article landers today for this puppy. The affiliates are so pumped!

PPS: Feel free to share this info with others! This is going to be big.

The #1 Question To Ask When Writing Emails


I write a ton of emails. Mostly for my clients to sell stuff. Maybe you do, too.

Not to boast, but I’ve been told I’m really good at it. However, I’ll let you in on a secret…

What makes me good is NOT about how great the copy I write is.

What makes me good at it is I know the answer to a very unique question.  A question which 99.9% of all copywriters FAIL to ask.  And as a result, their emails rarely hit the mark.

Here’s the question:

When writing emails, which one does your client want:

Targeted emails that generate high EPCs?


Emails designed to drive high numbers of clicks?

Here’s the situation:

If your client wants high EPCs, that implicitly means they’re going to get relatively low numbers of clicks. To accomplish high EPCs, you need very targeted traffic.

However, if they want high numbers of clicks, you’ll flood their page with untargeted clicks which will result in low EPCs.

Obviously there are exceptions. However, you can rarely have both high EPCs and high numbers of clicks with the same email drop.

Out of the thousands of emails I’ve written, it’s happened to me three times.

Let me put it another way. You can write an email that SPECIFICALLY targets the wants, needs, pains, desires of a certain prospect who is far more likely to become a customer.

Or you can just drive as much traffic as possible to the page, hoping a few will actually pull out their credit card and buy.

So which does your client want? Large numbers of clicks? Or high EPCs?

Of course, they want both. But Confucius say “he who chases two rabbits catches neither.”

So have the client choose and aim for that.

PS: If you think I’m bragging, maybe I am a little. 😉

You’d be rather proud to if you could consistently generate $2+ EPCs for clients. You’d be proud too, if you could regularly cream 5-10% of an affiliates list and get them over to your Client’s page.

Even if you’re just a decent copywriter, that’s what answering this one question can do for you.

Try it and let me know, ok?

Make Your Client Look Like A Superhero

… or how to beat a control like an MMA fighter
whipping an opponent into submission.

Sometimes I write copy for big direct response companies. You know who I’m talking about…

Agora, Boardroom, Healthy Directions, et al. The big dogs of direct response.

Now, I would LOVE to tell you I’m on a first name basis with Bill Bonner. But the truth is, I’m not.

Never met the man. Probably never will.

BUT I do work with people who not only know the man, but report to him directly.

Now, I’m a copywriter.  You may *THINK* my job is to write copy.  However, when working with big companies, I pivot.

My job is to not only write copy but…

I have to make my Client look
not just good, but GREAT.

Nothing less will do.

Not only do I have to complete the project on time, not only do I have to make them money…

I have to beat the existing control by a significant margin.

Copy that beats controls gets noticed within the company. News spreads like wildfire.

It is truly the brass ring. Employees responsible for a hitting it out of the park get promoted, rewarded, etc.  So let’s be clear:

To make your Client look like a hero to his or her boss, above all else YOU MUST BEAT THAT CONTROL like an MMA fighter in a title UFC fight.


So how do I do it?

Well, I’m not going to get into the entire strategy today, but I will share with you today where you can start.

To beat a control, you MUST pick the the right project.

You see, when the big companies come to me, they let ME pick the product or service. They send me a list of URLs for all their products or services and say…

“Go ahead Matt, pick your pleasure. 🙂 ”

Now I’m sure I’m not alone. I’ve talked with multiple copywriters and they tell me pretty much the same thing. (Although some copywriters are brought on for a specific project.)

Anyway, picking the right project is the first secret to beating a control. Being able to pick your opponent is an unfair advantage you must not squander.

Unfortunately, many copywriters do.

Some of the most learned copywriters out there will point to how the copywriting god, Gary Bencivenga picked his projects.

Gary reportedly “only picked controls he KNEW he could beat.”

That’s very admirable. And someday, I too hope to be that psychic, that all knowing.

Alas, I have no such ability yet. (But I’m working on it. 😉 )

Other copywriters will pick projects they can fall in love with, that they’re passionate about. Still other copywriters will pick projects that have the biggest market, or market share, or the most possibility of generating a lot of money.

None of these methods are wrong. But they’re not how I pick a project and a control to beat.


Because again, my job is to beat the control by a significant margin so I make my Client look like Ironman in an Avengers movie.

So how do *I* pick a control to
knock off its lofty perch?

I pick the weakest opponent. I pick the control with the lowest conversion rate.

I pick the dog. The runt of the litter. I pick the one other copywriters treat like an ebola victim, even though it’s the winner.

That’s my sweet spot.

I ask the Client to send me over not only the URLs of the products so I can see the existing controls VSLs, sales letters and websites, I ask for the corresponding lastest conversion rates of each.

(If they say they don’t have them or can’t get them, just know you’re flying blind.)

Next, I pick a product where the conversion rate sucks.

I don’t care what the product is. I don’t care how much money it currently makes. I’d be curious, but I don’t care who wrote the current control.

None of that matters to me.

I email my Client my choice, we ink the deal, a bit of money exchanges hands…

And it’s game on!

I am going to have my way with that control. I am going to “make it my bitch.”

Follow my lead, and I’ll show you how you can do this, too.

There are so many products just begging for a whuppin’, it boggles the the mind.

Seriously. And there are more coming onto the market every single day. Competition is fierce.

And I like it that way. It makes me a better copywriter. It separates the strong from the weak.

Now in order to follow the strategy I’m advocating, there are three simple prerequisites:

First, you must be extremely adept at doing what I call “fresh eye” research.

Many times, you won’t know the market and what makes it tick. That means you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Although other copywriters may disagree, having a fresh eye towards the market is an advantage. A plus. Other copywriters prefer to work in their comfort zone.

To do it my way, you better know how to assimilate a market, and do it quickly. As you may know, time is of the essence, and deadlines are usually short and firm. (I may be get to this is a future column.)


  1. You must be willing to take on a product or market you may not be familiar with.

I agree, not being familiar with a product or market, may initially be intimidating.

All I can say to that is to…


This is WAR we’re talking about here. A battle. Survival of the fittest. If you think beating a control into submission is easy, you have another thing coming, my friend. Even if you’re familiar with the market, product or company.

If you underestimate your opponent for a moment, you’re going to tap out. You’re going take your piddly upfront fee, quickly develop amnesia about the project and scrounge around for your next gig. When you could have had a waiting list of projects begging for your attention from the Client, not to mention the royalties (which we’ll get to that in a moment.)

That’s right. If you don’t beat the control, chances of you being rehired are slim.

You must know your enemy. Every word of that control’s copy. You must know the octagon ring (i.e. the market) like the back of your hand. That’s the reason for Prerequisite #1.

  1. You must be willing to take on a product you may not even particularly like

Again, SUCK IT UP.

I’ve done some crazy stuff, especially in men’s health, but also markets totally foreign to me like women’s beauty products. I’m a market agnostic. Morality aside, I don’t care who I write for, I don’t care what I write for, as long as it’s legal and ethical.

I want you to think about it this way:

Think about when you beating a controls kind of like a Richter Scale…

The Richter Scale measures the magnitude of an earthquake. The scale is logarithmic. Just a small difference of ONE represents an approximate THIRTY FOLD INCREASE in magnitude!

In other words, the bigger the increase in conversion? The more exponential the impact on your client’s success.

That’s how it really is in beating a control when your Client is involved.

You see, when you beat a control by 5 or 10%, that’s noteworthy, no doubt. But when you beat an existing, especially longstanding control, by 25%, 50%, 100% or more?

You can bet you can feel the rumble from your home office when word starts to spread.

My most recent “big company” win beat the existing control by a comfortable 30% against the house lists.

That, by the way, was right out of the gate. Unoptimized for design or traffic.

If you’re curious, it was for a high-end beauty creme.

(Yeah, that’s right. A guy writes a control for a women’s product. See? I walk my talk. This is a experience talking here.)

Here’s what I like best about beating controls…

The royalties.

Most freelance copywriters today I think live “paycheck to paycheck”, meaning they relish the large upfront fee and do not negotiate a royalty. In doing so, I believe they’re leaving money on the table.

Not me. No, sir.

I live for the royalties. (And of course, the bragging rights for beating the control.)

These are the things that additionally inspire me to give it my all and do my best work.

Here’s what’s great about beating a control. You don’t just get a percentage of the increase in revenue to the company.

You get a piece of the action on
EVERYTHING your copy sells…

The old control is retired. Your copy is king of the hill.

And the hopefully long train of royalty checks to your bank account begins.

(Of course, you also now have a target on your back. But that my friend, is a story for another day.)

So go ahead and let me know your thoughts below. How do you pick your projects? Am I wrong? Do I need to stand corrected? Let me know below.

One Secret To Beating The Pants Off A Control


[Note: If you really study this blog today, you’ll be pleasantly delighted to discover a true secret to creating a winning, control-beating piece of copy.

Unfortunately though, I’m NOT going to lay it out on a silver platter for you.


You know what will happen, right? It’ll quickly be swiped, turned into some 3-step formula, blog or top ten listicle. Ad nauseum.

However, if you’re a marketer or copywriter and you’re serious about beating the pants off the competition, a true breakthrough awaits you today.

Let’s get started…]

It’s Friday night, and I’m coming off a pretty good week…

  • With a major Client in a ruthlessly competitive weight loss market, the piece I’ve written for them is breaking records in every way imaginable. Between their in-house list and JV lists, their average upfront conversion is over 10%, the upsells are averaging 20%.

While the Client is frantically trying to handle the influx of new business, in the heat of the moment, I had to remind him “These are good problems to have…”

Cold traffic is in the wings…

  • A major supplement company just reported the piece I’ve written for their beauty product is beating their current control by a comfortable 30%.

And we haven’t even started optimizing.

  • And in the dating market, a launch I’m involved in reported conversions of 3.5% on average and as high as 6%. With as much as $2.00 EPCs. (As you may be aware, 2% conversions and $1 EPCs are considered very good.)

I tell you this not to brag. (We British find bragging uncouth.) I share this with you because in my heart, I want you to know the joy of writing winning copy.

So now the obvious question you may have is…

“How do you do it, Matt?
What’s your secret?”

Like I said in the beginning, I’m sure a formula would be appreciated right now. But that’s not on the cards. That would actually be counter productive to you.

Let me start off by saying this:

Much of my day is spent studying my Client’s competition.

Why? Well to be really straight about it, NOT because I want to be more like them.

I must admit, they are in an enviable position.  I respect what they’ve achieved.  And I want my Client to experience the same success they’re having.

Like it or not, my competition has climbed to the top, and become King of a VERY crowded hill.

My job, my ultimate goal as a copywriter, is to knock the competition off their well-earned perch. To me, they’re a worthy competitor, a worthy opponent.

Now in order to beat them, most copywriters try to accomplish that several different ways.

One rather common way is to swipe what the competition is doing.

This strategy, as you might be aware, is rampant on the Internet. By and large, it DOES work to create copy that converts.

Have I done it?

Sheepishly speaking, yes I have. But it’s been a long time.

In your apprentice and journeyman years as a copywriter, you (falsely) think “all I have to do is produce a piece like that.”

So you copy. Steal. Swipe. Whatever you want to call it.

But as I’ve discovered, while it may make the client happy and it may give you nice conversion numbers, breakthrough copy ISN’T written that way.

Based upon my experience, that strategy will not come anywhere near beating the existing control.

Yet, I’m fanatical about studying my competition.

Why you ask?

Am I looking for their copywriting formula? For the underlying structure of their persuasion strategy? For the regurgitated benefits and bullets every other piece in the market has swiped from them?

As a copywriter, I can’t help but appreciate things like this, but no. That’s not what I’m looking for either.

At this point, I’ll let Neo from the Matrix take over and explain…

Trinity: “Neo… nobody has ever done this before.”

Neo: I know. That’s why it’s goes to work.”


To beat a control, you must do something different.

In my case, I’m trying to do something RADICALLY DIFFERENT from the competition.

Risky? Not really.

“That’s why it’s going to work.”

That may sound brash. Or overconfident. It’s not.

It’s a strategy that works consistently.

You have to understand the mindset of people on the Internet. Your market. They are constantly on the look out for things that are new, different yet still relevant to them.

That’s extremely good news if your job is creating breakthroughs.

So where do you start? HOW do you come up with that coveted breakthrough exactly?

Again, as paradoxical as it may sound, you START by immersing yourself in the competition.

I’ll have more to say about this in the future, but for now, here’s a quick list of I do:

  1. Get yourself something like Religiously start building an online swipe file of their promotions. If they do VSLs and videos, get them transcribed on (As impromptu as they may seem, there’s magic going on behind the scenes of VSLs.)
  1. Next, pull out your credit card and buy your competitor’s products. Study them. Go through their funnel and document it. Experience what it’s like to be one of their customers. This also gives you the added benefit of getting on their mailing list.
  1. Then, reach out to your competitor’s market. Facebook, forums, Meetups, live industry events are invaluable for immersing yourself.
  1. And don’t forget to analyze the sources of traffic. This is often overlooked. Many times a control wins because it’s targeted and optimized to a specific traffic source. Odds are, the same control directed at a different source of traffic will flop. It’s critical you understand the traffic source and its implications.

That list should turn into a neverending source of inspiration for you.

From there? Imagination, creativity and innovation (and yes, a little hard work) are your best friends.

Not to worry, I’ll have more to say about this in the future, but this should get you started…

How To Get People To Do What You Want

I did a consult today. The Client was lamenting how, while he was getting decent email open rates, his clickthroughs sucked.

A little backstory is in order…

I work with this guy on the big huge product launches, but he handles the day-to-day emails to his lists himself.

He asks what my “secrets” are, since he knows pound for pound, I’m acknowledged as one of the best email copywriters out there.

Anyway, I critique his work, he picks my brain and I spill my guts for about 30 minutes. Really good stuff.

So while the information is fresh in my mind, I want to share it you today.

That means you won’t find this in some copywriting guru’s book, or at some seminar or on YouTube. You’re only going to find it right here, right now, so listen closely.

Here’s the great thing what I’m about to share with you:

These secrets will work for any type of online communication.
VSLs, emails, sales letters, native ads, clickbait, you name it.

But before I share, let me put a wrapper around it.

The key to online communication
is to NEVER telegraph yourself.

What am I talking about?

Well, the most vivid examples of telegraphing are in boxing matches.

(Yeah, you can tell I have boxing on my mind. I’ve been following the Mayweather – Pacquiao promotions.)

When telegraphing, a fighter will start do all those things he does to line up a punch. He subconsciously, unknowingly telegraphs his intent. His opponent sees this happening in the moment, and what does he do?

He evades and avoids.

So how do you not telegraph yourself?

Online, there’s only one way I know: Variety.

Make sure you never do the same thing twice. Never fall into a pattern. Keep things random.

This is easier said than done at times. Why?

Well, the most common email scenario is you’re writing emails and you’re getting an ok response. Then one day, you try something. A different subject line, certain subject matter, whatever.

And guess what? It hits! Conversions go through the roof that day.

So what do you do?

Of course, you’re human. You want to do it again.

And therein lies the fatal mistake.

Conversions are pathetic the next time around. Why because the previous day you telegraphed your intent.

The solution?

You must keep changing things up. Variety is a must. Be random. Never let them see you coming.

With that said, let me share with you how I get people to do what I want them to in today’s online world:


To motivate your market, you must understand your market.

I understand the markets I’m in. I know the people who will see my copy very well.

I empathize with them. I acknowledge them. At times, people say I’m psychic.

There’s a reason.

When your reader feels understood, acknowledged and appreciated on a personal level, on an intimate level, when someone really “gets” them, odds are they’ll do what you ask.

The only way through this gauntlet is research. Constant communication. But my secret is not to be objective, clinical or standoffish.

No, I care about the markets I write for.

I’m not saying you don’t. I’m saying ratchet it up. Unleash and really care about your readers, prospects and customers even more.

They’ll reward you in kind.


Make people a benefit-based offer. If you’re a marketer or copywriter, this is probably second nature to you, so I’m not going to go into it.

I’m just letting you know this is in my bag of tricks, but I don’t bludgeon people with benefit after benefit. Often, of course. But I do not telegraph.


This is one of my favorites. In copywriting, they are usually what they call “blind offers”.

Blind offers are where you tell people about the benefits, you do all sorts of short and long term future pacing but you don’t tell them the one thing they’re most curious about.

I’ll also evade the obvious, the thing everybody else may write about. This means they don’t know what I’ll say next


Sometimes, what I’ll do is make what I want them to do so intriguing, it’s irresistible. I’ll have more to say about this in the future, but for now, try injecting more copy with the outcome of stimulating a person’s curiosity.


I use shock deliberately–but not the way you expect. In other words, I change up their expectations, interrupt their way of thinking. Sometimes abruptly. Sometimes unconventionally.

I demonstrated this with my Client today, by triggering my stun gun on our Skype call. (Yes, I own a stun gun. Doesn’t everyone?)

He was beyond surprised. I told him I use it as a shocking reminder.

Change of Perspective:

One of the thing I like to do is try to change someone’s perspective. Get them to look at a situation a different way.

Honestly, I don’t quite understand why this works, but it does.

Sensory Shifts:

As you’ve probably noticed in my writing, I’ll use special characters, different fonts, different ways of using language, to get someone’s attention.

This is easy and it works.


Yeah, sometimes I bribe people to click. Oh, the horror! I’m sure you’re aghast.

My take? A little WIIFM never hurt anybody, did it?

In summary, regardless how powerful they are, do any one or two of these things consistently, and your results will fatigue quickly.

At that point, the only play you have left is to…

Yell Louder!

talk loud

Unfortunately, at some point, unless you change, even that doesn’t get the job done. And the list is ultimately abandoned.

Don’t let that ever be you, ok?

With these under yor belt, you can do way better. These “motivations” have made myself and Clients wealthy. They can do the same for you.

Hopefully, this has been helpful. Let me know in the comments below, as well as the things YOU DO to encourage people to do what you want.

PS: Just as a reminder, one resource I urge you to check out that also does a great job discussing these types of motivations is Joe Sugarman’s book Triggers.

Since I didn’t use the book in writing this blog, as I come from direct experience, you can be pretty much assured you’ll find a totally different take from Joe.

How To Convert Like A Banshee


Recently, I’ve seen a stream of articles, (curiously, from respected copywriters) discussing the use of emotions in copy.

All of them had something to contribute. All offering creative insight into how they’re able to rack up incredible conversions.

However, based upon their articles, I believe they all unknowingly encourage…

Leaving MAJOR Money On The Table…

Now, before I get started I’m going to give these copywriters the benefit of the doubt and say they were probably trying to be politically correct, or because they were trying write to their market (and rack up “likes” and shares) they deliberately decided to hold back.

Heck… I never turned down a “like”. If you want to share this blog post that’s fine and I appreciate it, but what I’m about to reveal won’t change the facts of the matter one iota because…

Human nature doesn’t change.

What I’m about to discuss is not opinion, it’s fact. It’s human nature you can use to create incredibly compelling, incredibly motivating copy.

Getting Into the Head of the Prospect

Usually the copywriters’ article will talk about getting into the heads of your prospect.

Copywriters writing articles will post up an image similar to this:


Now, if you’re a copywriter and you’re reading this, this graphic looks reasonable. You may even say it’s pretty insightful.

But I believe it’s missing a little something.

And if that’s all you took away about the general use of emotions, your optin pages would suck, your emails wouldn’t get the click and your VSLs would be quickly abandoned.

This my friend, used as a basis to write copy, is not enough to get the job done.

There are THREE emotions which have been left out.

For whatever reason, I don’t know, but we’ll discuss them now. From least useful to most helpful, I advocate tapping into these three reservoirs liberally and often…


To be able to motivate, I love tapping into someone’s fears.

Now, you may say tapping into fear is over the top, uncalled for and the sign of an amateur.

I disagree.

If that’s how you feel, I strongly recommend staying out of the health, supplements and survival markets. You simply won’t be able to compete against someone trying to scare the crap out of the prospect to get them to take action.

Your Prospect’s Secret Fear

And, for the record, when I’m writing copy, and the reason I do so much research, is I’m looking for A SECRET FEAR.

For instance, I was recently commissioned to write a VSL for a diabetes info-product.

Now you can scour the internet for all sorts of scary facts about diabetes. Pictures, too. Those are good. We can do better.


Wickedly scary, huh? That’s a foot of a diabetic.

What is a diabetic’s SECRET fear?

Now, I’m not going to reveal that today because frankly that piece I recently wrote is converting up to 4% on cold traffic and it would compromise my royalty payments (speaking selfishly), but imagine if you knew the secret button you could press to get a diabetic to take action.

Research enough and you can find the secret fear(s) of every market. This little used copy strategy is one of the reasons my copy doesn’t sound like every other copywriter’s.

So using fear is good, and occasionally we can do even better…


Now, juxtaposed with the emotion of fear, fear and suffering kind of sound like the same thing, don’t they?

Close, but they’re not.

The emotion of fear is because of something totally made up in someone’s head. Technically, there’s no such thing.

The prospect is afraid of something that hasn’t happened yet. (Which creates all sorts of wonderful opportunities to paint very realistic scenarios.)

Fear is about the future.
Suffering is in the present.

Magnifying a person’s current suffering, amplifying the thoughts in their head, intensifying the emotions, will motivate someone to action.

Again, as long as the scenarios you magnify are realistic.

The more real, the more global the suffering among your target market, the more you’ll compel people to action.


What are your prospects silently suffering with?

So there’s fear, their secret fear, suffering and the last one…


When I say pain, I’m talking about real physical pain.

The pain of pricking your finger and drawing blood three times a day to get a glucose reading for the rest of your life.

No fun. You never get used to the pain.

The pain of daily insulin injections.

The constant pain of fire, walking on glass, and electrical shocks running up their legs like lightning bolts–which is what diabetics feel when their nerves start to die.

Yes, I’m being dramatic here. But I’m also being 1000% accurate.

And you can bet, a person with peripheral neuropathy will do anything they can to get out of it.

Very motivating, wouldn’t you say?

On Being Heavy Handed

Now you could say “Matt, you’re being heavy handed.”

And my reply would simply be “you don’t know diabetics and what they go through”.

You see, once you really understand your market, you know what their life is like. And the things I’ve just described are a daily occurrence for them.

These things haunt them.

And that’s what you want to do. You want to haunt people until they do whatever it is you ask.

Trust me, your prospect won’t see it as being heavy handed. They’ll see it as you knowing what their life is REALLY like.

Be Sure to Mix It Up

Instead of clumping all the negative motivational emotions together, vary it with the good, positive emotions.

Think “death by a thousand cuts”

I do this a lot in my copy. Why?

  • Because I want to create contrast between the good and the bad, one right after the other…
  • I don’t want the prospect anticipating what he’s going to read next…
  • I want to shock them…
  • Like a good horror movie, I want to create an emotional roller-coaster ride, lots of highs and lows…
  • And here’s something sneaky: In NLP, there’s a tactic called “fractionalization.” As you lead people from one idea to the next, from one story to the next, from one emotion to the next, (sometimes abruptly) they’ll be more and more inclined to follow you.(Insider tip for copywriters:  be sure to let your Client know you’re using fractionalization in a sales piece.  Otherwise they may view it as a rambling mess, unaware of the compelling effect it can have on a prospect.  Ask me how I know.)

Don’t Forget the Positive Emotions (They ARE Critical!)

Just for the record, I’m not advocating writing about all doom and gloom stuff. I’m NOT talking about fear mongering.


My Updated Version 😉

Fear, pain and suffering are just tools to me, to be deployed strategically within the copy.

There IS a time and place to use them.

Remember, if you HAVE done your research, the fear, pain and suffering your prospect reads about from you is something they’re already experiencing.

You’re just drawing attention to them. Subtly but directly, putting them under a microscope.

And as long as you have your prospects’ best and highest interests at heart, I believe you should use every tool at your disposal.

4 Tips For Boosting Conversions With Images

Warning: I’m a copywriter. I make no claims of being a graphics designer or a photographer.

However, over the years, I’ve seen the dramatic effect the right images can have on conversions.

These are 4 tips I’ve personally tested, boost conversions fast…

Tip #1: Include People in Your Images

Most marketers know real-life images pull better than stock images, but here’s a tip which give conversions a pretty nice bump.

Whenever you’re going to use an images, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have real people in them.

I learned this 5 years ago, when I was writing a piece on computers. The photographer went out and took really good photos of the computers at the company we were featuring.

Detailed. Clear. Well-positioned. Very professional.

But the truth of the matter was they sucked.

Boring. Empty. Something was missing.

I had him go back and reshoot, having people at their desks actually USING the computers.

Night and day difference in the outcome. The images totally complemented the piece I was writing.

dinner1 dinner2

Which dinner table would you rather sit at?

(Note: You can use this tip for cover art on info products.)

If you notice, the fashion industry has figured this out.

The companies who really have big budgets always use models. As opposed to just showing their line of clothes. Sure, it costs more, but it’s worth it.

Photographing people actually wearing the clothes convert better.

Tip #2: Add Provocative Captions

Now let’s squeeze a little more conversion juice out of each image, shall we?

Let’s add captions, little pieces of copy inserted somewhere into the image.

Images WITH CAPTIONS have been proven to convert better than images without (depending upon the copy, obviously.)


Captions, bubbles, can be anywhere. Just make sure the copy is easy to read.

Tip #3: One Particular Caption Gets the Reader to Suck Themselves into an Image

Now, those are a couple good tips you should be using at every opportunity.

This next one, while it converts like crazy, needs some TLV.

But this next tip will have your website visitor sucking themselves into an image even more.

But be careful: This one tip has boosted conversion by over 100%.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say you were promoting Justin Bieber tickets for winning a contest.


Just pull a participant out of the audience, circle them and have an arrow pointing to them, saying…

“This could be YOU!”


Can you appreciate how this causes the reader to project themselves inside the photo?

You can do this for seminars, for weight loss “before and after” pictures, any place where someone is getting the benefit of your product or service and obviously enjoying it.


Next time you have pictures you want to include in your promotion, think about all the ways you can embellish them for optimum effect.

With the right tweaks, they really can enhance conversions.

Inside My Copywriter’s Toolbox

copywriter's toolbox

UPDATED: June 2020

As a young boy, I remember my father was Mr. Fixit around the house.  He could mend anything.

And his carpentry skills were not to be sniffed at.  It was only years later I realized that, my family being short of cash one Christmas, he hand-built a huge doll’s house as a present for my sister.

(Confession:  if I have any kind of DIY challenge around the house, I STILL call my old man for help)

And he has this big toolbox.  A toolbox he guards with his life, often padlocked when he’s not around.

I can vividly remember on more than one occasion getting a whuppin’ because I took something from his toolbox and left it laying around the garage.

My bad.

In my dad’s mind, I didn’t RESPECT his tools. (Which forestalled the day when I’d be able to openly use them.)

One of things that impressed me growing up was the level of organization of his toolbox.

“Every tool has its place.” I remember hearing on more than one occasion.

These days, I have a copywriting toolbox. And I am fanatical about it.

Though most of it resides in my head. Tools, strategies, and ideas I’ve picked up over the years.

Obviously, there are thousands of task-specific tools, but most of them can be filed into just a few main categories.

So here are mine…

The marketers I collaborate with are always eager to add to their knowledge base and appreciative of this mental filing system.

So today, let me open up and
give you a peek inside my toolbox:


Ways to better know your market, your prospect, your competition, etc.

You want to know who really “gets” research? The Scientology folks.

Don’t ask me why. I don’t know. But, whatever you think of L. Ron and his ‘religion’… they know their markets better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

In my book, their surveys are practically works of art.

What am I searching for when I research?

Lots of things, but there are three things I’m always looking for clarity on:

  1. What SECRET emotions are they wrestling with?
  2. What are their SECRET fears?
  3. What SECRET desires do they harbor?

These are things they won’t tell a soul.

Overall Knowledge of the Market:

Whenever possible, I want to be IN the market, participating in the give and take of information, commerce, etc.

I’m always learning what it’s like, through meetups, interviews, lively discussion at the local pub, even my wife when I’m looking for a female perspective.

For instance, I know this sounds paradoxical but did you know in the personal development market people DON’T want to be successful?

It’s true. I’ve tested this, time and time again.

The reason? Success sounds like too much work.

They just want the money or the fame or the fortune.

It’s distinctions like these in health and fitness, survival, weight loss and finance that give me an advantage.

Copywriting/Persuasion Strategy and Tactics:

There are zillions of ways to persuade people through your words and formatting.

It’s knowing what to use when that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?


Of course, words! Mark Twain was fond of saying:

“The difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”Rodale

My favorite tool in this part of my toolbox?

Rodale’s Synonym Finder. I use it everyday.

You can find it here. 

It’ll ratchet up your copy immediately.

Go ahead, grab it.


Learning to write compelling stories is such an important copywriting tactic, it deserves its own category.

There is a big difference between writing fiction, or biographical stories and using stories to help convince someone to buy your product.

Still, there are devices which can be imported, making your stories even more compelling.

My favorite book on the subject? Storytelling Made Easy by Michael Hague is a good one.

Clear, Compelling Writing Tactics:

I’m a perpetual student of writing regardless of the domain, whether it’s scriptwriting, comedy writing, poetry, journalism… even arcane writing such as medical writing.

My favorite is screenwriting.

The dialogue is so succinct, so concise, so pared down, every word counts.

James Cameron is a genius at this. Check out this scene-setting from the movie Aliens for an example:

        FADE IN

        SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE - SPACE                            

        Silent and endless.  The stars shine like the love of
        God...cold and remote.  Against them drifts a tiny chip
        of technology.

        CLOSER SHOT  It is the NARCISSUS, lifeboat of the
        ill-fated star-freighter Nostromo.  Without interior
        or running lights it seems devoid of life.  The PING
        of a RANGING RADAR grows louder, closer.  A shadow
        engulfs the Narcissus.  Searchlights flash on, playing
        over the tiny ship, as a MASSIVE DARK HULL descends
        toward it.

        INT. NARCISSUS                                            

        Dark and dormant as a crypt.  The searchlights stream
        in the dusty windows.  Outside, massive metal forms can
        BE SEEN descending around the shuttle.  Like the tolling
        of a bell, a BASSO PROFUNDO CLANG reverberates through
        the hull.

        CLOSE ON THE AIRLOCK DOOR  Light glares as a cutting
        torch bursts through the metal.  Sparks shower into the

        A second torch cuts through.  They move with machine
        precision, cutting a rectangular path, converging.  The
        torches meet.  Cut off.  The door falls inward REVEALING
        a bizarre multi-armed figure.  A ROBOT WELDER.

Beautiful, ain’t it?

Ways to Build a Better Offer:

I’m always focused on creating an irresistible offer, turning it into an unconscious “impulse buy.” 

Please understand, I’m NOT saying irresistible equates to free or even inexpensive. 

For instance, today I just tested doubling the price of a weight loss program and I’ll be darned if it didn’t more than double conversions as well.

I believe creating an irresistible offer is an art in itself.

Graphics Design:

Your graphics design and packaging telegraphs a lot about your promotion, even before your prospect reads a word. You goals is to make every pixel count.

I’m no designer, but I am asked for my feedback on a lot of projects. You’d be amazed how just changing a couple of elements can have such a dramatic effect on conversions.

Marketing Strategy:

It’s been said a mediocre strategy will always trump great copy. And it’s true.

Your sales funnel, your email, followup sequence, your lead generations strategy are “big rock” tools which can leave your competitors scratching their heads in the dust, wondering what just hit them.

While there are a number of services promising to decipher/decode a strategy, the best ways to learn is to experience them yourself.

Go ahead and buy a ClickBnk product just for the sake of learning the psychology as you go through your competitor’s funnel. The money is well worth it.

Conversion Optimization Tactics:

There are simple things you can do that have gotten me as much as a 13X boot in results. That’s 1300%! Whether that’s optins, or leads, or sales or customers.

Again, this takes on going study, analysis and testing, but the rewards from just on going A/B split testing can be lucrative 

You just have to keep driving the traffic, keep testing and things will work out.

Platform-Specific Strategies and Tactics:

Email tactics, PPC tactics, cold traffic tactics, ClickBank marketplace tactics. A copywriter who his unfamiliar with the platform he is writing for will have his lunch eaten time and time again.

Honestly, as a copywriter, you can spend 40 hours a week just keeping up to date with platforms like Facebook. It changes constantly. Adwords is the same. 

These days, I’m spending more and more time write compelling articles that lead to video sales letters. These native ads on these platforms like Adblade and Taboola are tricky but they can be mastered.

Trade Secrets:


Yes, of course I have my trade secrets.

Things I rarely share that give me, as a copywriter, a decisive advantage.

 These things have made my Clients and I as much as $10 million a year from a single product launch.

(Keep checking in and paying attention to this blog and I’ll be revealing some of my secrets from time to time. You just never know when.)


Now that I’ve shared the major elements of my copywriter’s toolbox, here’s the big distinction:

I treat these categories as SKILLS to master.

Not just tools, or devices or things to be collected, every category has become a subject of ultimate Mastery.

Now, I’m not saying I AM A MASTER of these skills, what I am saying is my intent, my commitment is to master these areas.

Like the Zen koan, I’m always a student. 

Yet, I bring what I know about these eight categories to every project I’m involved in. No matter how big or how small.

So go ahead, open up evernote and start creating some notebooks and collecting ideas, strategies, swipes, whatever.

Of course, I’ll be sharing my experience too in these pages. So y’all come back now, you hear?

PS: Feel free to borrow any of my tools. You don’t even have to worry about putting them back. 😉


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