Case Study: Dominating The Health Market With… Cookbooks?

Attention health and fitness marketers:

What if you had a simple go-to strategy to generate quality traffic and then monetize that traffic over and over and over again?

Because that’s EXACTLY what I want to share with you today–from one of the most popular health websites on the Internet.

As I write this, according to Alexa, this site is the 38,134 most visited website in the world.
paleohack2Translation? They get untold amounts of  traffic each day.

(Yes, I do see the chart and it does look like they’ve slacked off a bit for the holidays. But you’d have to admit, you and I would KILL for an Alexa rank of #38,000, wouldn’t we?)

That stated, being “king of the hill” traffic-wise
DOESN’T necessarily equal big money.

After all, you have to know WHAT TO DO with all that traffic.

So how does this popular health site generate its revenue? And what are their “under-the-hood strategies” you can apply to your own online health and fitness business?

In this special Conversion Gods report, you’ll discover:

  • The high volume super strategy that helps this health-site-that-cannot-be-named sell hundreds of mini-reports each day…
  • The subtle copywriting techniques that cause customers to snatch up simple PDFs like they are going out of style…
  • PLUS: the covert marketing plan that has enabled Paleo Hacks to amass a gargantuan list of buyers–at a time when many health businesses are struggling to entice new customers

You’ll get it all right here on this page.

How do I know
their secrets?

It’s not because I’ve studied them. Although I DO study what they do.

It’s because I’ve lived it. My team and I are the copywriters behind this popular health site’s mega-launches. (Can you tell we can’t mention them by name?)

We understand the weight loss, diet, alternative health, and supplement markets intimately.

“So why are you sharing your
secrets, Matt?” you may ask

Fair question.

Well, I can tell you it’s not to publicly gloat and beat our chests like other copywriters do. Our work (when you realize we wrote it) speaks for itself.

Nor do we need to prove how smart or sophisticated we are, how many marketing books we’ve read, or how many copywriting courses we’ve taken.

Again, when you’ve got the goods? None of that stuff matters.

What does matter however, is sincerely and without remuneration, helping your fellow marketer, your fellow copywriter.

Giving back, in other words.

And that’s exactly what I’m doing here.

Giving back. Paying it forward.

So enjoy. What you’re about to read are THE REAL SECRETS behind their strategy for monetizing traffic.

Once the lightbulb goes on, it should change your marketing/copywriting life.

The Lean, Mean
Marketing Machine…

Underneath a simple, stylish blog design, high quality content and thousands of eyeballs hitting the site each day is a lean, muscular marketing machine.

The strategy is simple:

Every single day, this ultra-popular health site
emails its readers and
makes them an offer.

Now, most people are too scared to sell something EVERY SINGLE DAY.

They fear they’ll annoy their list… they worry about being too pushy or salesy… they sweat bullets a subscriber may — gasp! — unsubscribe.

As a matter of fact, if you can offer great products that complement their interests? If you can deliver premium offers that people LOVE? The entire marketing process becomes a joy–TO THEM. And your product is seen as a blessing rather than a money grab.

This high-traffic health blog understands this. And they also know a day not selling is a day leaving untold amounts of money on the table.

Plus, there’s ONE THING they do better than most:

They Know Their Market

I know, I know. Your eyes just rolled, didn’t they?

How many times have we, as marketers, been told we must know our market?

However, just knowing your site’s demographics or how many visitors are looking at your sales pages or reading your emails just isn’t enough.

Believe me, it’s not enough to get the monetization job done.

To really get the highest conversions… to transform browsers into buyers… we must understand what makes them tick… what challenges they face… what keeps them wide awake at night.

Let’s take a look at one of our most successful campaigns to see how we zeroed in and nailed the target market.

What does this health site mainly sell? Cookbooks.

Regular old cookbooks.

Incredible, isn’t it? Despite the internet containing thousands of FREE diet recipes, people are all too happy to hand over money for a collection. Why? One word…


Rather than wade through recipe after recipe online, you can get them all together in one shiny, new PDF.

Of course, this is where the sales copy needs to work its magic.

How to make people pay
for FREE stuff…

Ok, now for the good stuff. The intel you’ve been waiting for.

There are 3 major components to the cookbook sales page puzzle:

1) The Story

2) Romance (yes, really!)

3) Killer emails

Let’s get started…

Component #1:
Stories Sell Cookbooks

While it may seem counter-intuitive for a cookbook, you ABSOLUTELY need some kind, any kind of a compelling story to suck people in emotionally. Yes–even when selling a mere cookbook!

It’s simply not enough to list recipes and expect people to buy–no matter how delicious sounding the meals.

First, figure out the thoughts, emotions, the conversation they are having in their own heads… and then meet them there.

What I like to do is hone in on a particular pain point for my prospects and build a story around that.

I’m always thinking…

What is our prospect going through right now?
Why would they even consider buying a cookbook?

  • For instance, with a launch called ‘Paleo Snacks’ (that at last count, sold upwards of 25,000 copies) we focused on the common complaint of walking into a store and having little to choose from except overpriced protein bars.

  • Paleo Breakfast Recipes addresses the morning MISERY of eating the same damn breakfast each day…
  • And for the 100,000+ Paleo Eats cookbooks that were sold, I was fortunate enough to create copy around a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

The big takeaway here?

Pick a pain point based upon your knowledge of your market and exploit and expand on it with a story.

Trust me, when you pick the right pain point, the story pretty much writes itself.

Now I know copywriters are fond of talking about stories. But not the way *I* do stories.

The difference is night and day.

These stories are designed to speak to an individual prospect’s PRIMAL urges and desires. The things they sense deep within themselves.

Cookbooks are PERFECT for this. Because everyone understands the need for food at a primal, psychological level.

You can’t help it. The moment you see an image of a tasty meal you’d like to have, a deep psychological trigger is flipped. Even your mouth starts watering.

For instance, take a gander at this story that opened the Bone Broth Cookbook:

It’s been a long, rewarding day…

Your ancient ancestral tribe of hunter-gatherers have just finished a long overdue, fruitful hunt.

Everyone in the tribe is hungry and excited. As you look on, they’re harvesting every part of the dead animal.

Mouth-watering muscle and organ meats are taken first. Even things that can’t be eaten are scavenged to make clothing, weapons and tools later on.

Everything is precious. Nothing is wasted.

But what about the parts of the animal too tough to chew? What about those that don’t work so well for shelter, weapons or clothing?

What about the bones, hooves, knuckles and so on?

What do they do with those?

Short answer? They burn them.

That’s right.

Early ancestors would insert fired rocks into the empty carcasses of hunted animals. They discovered the heat would break down tough animal bones, creating a strangely-satisfying elixir.

Initially, they’d sip the simmering brew from hollowed-out tortoise shells.

It gave them strength, it gave them stamina, it kept them strong and vital and healthy–even in the most challenging of environments…

Notice we’re not intellectualizing here. We’re not taking them on some long winded, Luke Skywalker hero’s journey either.

No. We’re getting to the point. We’re tapping into primal archetypes and desires they can’t deny. In this case, being hungry and in want of a meal that nutritiously satisfies. Using stories EVERYONE in the market appreciates as the communication device.

Did I plan on this going in? The answer is ABSOLUTELY.

And you should as well.

With every cookbook, there is always a hook… a story that’s so compelling, it DEMANDS your attention.


Component #2:
Romancing the recipes

Merely having great recipe names inside the cookbook is not enough for massive success. (Although it helps A LOT.)

You want the reader salivating at the thought of your cookbook’s recipes.

That’s why we spend the time fine tuning the descriptions of the recipes…

… the delectable taste, the vivid color, the rejuvenating health benefits…  

… teasing the reader as if we have a hot meal waiting for them on the other side of the buy button.

Let me give you an off-the-wall example. It does the job better than I ever could.

It’s a pretty funny (if you’re a copywriter) comedy skit from Conan, called:

The Tea Copywriter Cage Match

With cookbooks, select a few of THE BEST, most delicious looking and sounding recipes and then romance the heck out of them.

Whatever you do, don’t hold back.

That said, you could do everything right on-page, but there’s one thing you need to ensure your success.

Before they even get to the sales page, you need
to put them into the right frame of mind…

I call it warming them up.

And there’s no better way to do that than with:

Component #3:
The Killer Emails

Now, Paleo Hacks is typical of a health info-business in this space by leveraging affiliates to suck in untold amounts of traffic.

Nothing new here. EXCEPT…

Cleverly, they give affiliates the lion’s share of the sale knowing this will make them promote HARD.

That way, this superior health blog gets a ton of new customers with very little effort.

And what really gets affiliates pumped, along with a high-converting sales page, are CREATIVES (such as email swipes) that resonate with their lists, priming the pump for the sale.

With the Paleo Breakfast campaign, we did just that with an email subject line that landed like a nuclear bomb. it said simply:

Subject: “Bacon and eggs, AGAIN?”

Amazing as it may seem, the sale is made right there in that headline.


The problem of being restricted at breakfast time is so great and so common for Paleo lifestylers that this single line immediately resonated.

They thought: “You know how I feel!”

And we really do.

And from that point on, it’s really a case of making sure you don’t screw up the sale.

Here’s the rest of the email:

I can remember when I first committed to Paleo.

My energy was bursting. Fat was flying off. My health was returning with a vengeance.

For breakfast?  Sizzling strips of bacon and eggs–sunny side up.

Who knew bacon and eggs would be the catalyst of my Paleo transformation?

Every day, I’d wake up, and look forward to the sound, the smell, the taste.

Until one day… I didn’t.

I had to admit to myself, I was sick of them. Not just bored or fed up of the taste, but truly SICK of them.

Now I was in a quandary. What to eat. What to do?

Going back to previously unhealthy options was out of the question. It’d been months since I had an English muffin, a donut or bowl of cereal.

And skipping breakfast altogether was simply not an option.

Scouring the Internet for a tasty and satisfying Paleo breakfast ideas proved frustrating and time consuming.

And then suddenly I discovered these recipes from Paleohacks…

Paleohacks Paleo Breakfast Recipes

Hmmmmmm, delicious. Recipe after recipe, everything I tried, tasted sooo good.

Now I finally had what I craved… Variety.

The best part?

These Paleo-friendly breakfast meals can all be made within 10 short minutes! Just as fast as whipping up bacon and eggs.

In the process, my health exploded.

Whoever said it is right. Breakfast *IS* the most important meal in a Paleo day. And double that, especially when you’re following these kick-butt recipes.

=> Paleohacks Paleo Breakfast Recipes

Let’s wrap this up…

I have to tell you, it’s kinda weird being one of the top cookbook copywriters on the face of planet.

First time I wrote for a cookbook, I admit I had my doubts.

Then after 500,000+ cookbooks sold,
I’m thinking it can’t be this simple, can it?

That’s why I decided to write this blog. I mean, who knew so much much money could be made with things that are readily available for free via Google?

But that’s exactly my mindset going in, writing a cookbook promo.

Look at it this way: I’m competing against FREE STUFF.

I simply have to do a better job. Each and every word has to count.

And that’s probably my biggest tip I can give you…

Put some muscle
into your copy

Work on it U.I.S.–Until It Sings.

Combined with the marketing strategies I’ve shared with you, I have no doubt of your ultimate success.

Good luck.

Matt and the Conversion Gods team.

P.S. If you have a project or you’d like me to review some copy of yours, feel free to reach out.

Paleohacks, as well as other long term client/partners keep us pretty busy, but we’ll make the time for you:

One surefire way to get consistent 4%+ conversions out of the gate

“Matt, you are a copywriting genius and you are really generous with your advice. So thank you in advance.

Question: I have a standard formatted sales letter. So my goal is to improve % of conversion. Right now it’s a measly 1%.

Matt, how can I best determine where visitors are abandoning the page?” Jeff

My Answer:

Good question, Jeff.  And thanks for the gratuitous compliments.  You know how to get the best out of me, that’s for sure.  Keep ’em coming. 😉

And cheer up!  There’s hope.

I’ve got a surefire, cheap way for you to boost those conversions.  Turning serious prospects into buyers.

Now, most copywriters will tell you to
split test your way to success.
I have a different approach IN THE BEGINNING…

Normally, my pages convert decently right out of the gate.  That’s just experience at work.

However, on a new offer, I want to get it so that I convert just an EXTRA 1 or 2 per hundred (1-2%) in the beginning. Just so the Client can easily justify running cold traffic.

That means with the process I’m about to share with you, I’m converting at about 4%.

Now, most marketers would sacrifice a body part for those kinds of conversion numbers.

First of all, I want to understand how a prospect is consuming my sales letter. What are they doing once they get there?

To do that, I use a service like or sample

These are services that allow me to record the moment-to-moment mouse activity of a visitor and play it back later. Compared to the value, these services are cheap. Even free to sign-up.

I know lots of marketers use But at best, all we can get out of CrazyEgg is a colorful consolidated “scrollmap” for my way of doing things.

(Please understand, I’m not slamming CrazyEgg in the least. CrazyEgg is ABSOLUTELY GREAT for what it does. In fact, the owner, Neil Patel’s a Client. You should be using it as well. I just have different intentions at this preliminary stage of “dialing things in.”)

Ok, now let me share with you how I work with tools like this…

Playback Preferred:

First, I don’t look at heatmaps. Yeah, they’re pretty in a DMT ayahuasca sort of way… yeah, they evoke an “Oh my, that’s interesting!” response from me, but I think they’re deceiving in terms of divining insights into a visitor’s reptilian brain, when it comes to consumption of a standard sales letter.

What I do, (caution: it can be time consuming,) is playback very fast (4X or 400%) individual sessions of a visitor. Especially the longest ones.

I’m a bit of a voyeur. I like to watch. 😉

I want the mouse behavior of the longer, converting playback sessions “etched” into my brain.

The implication is the longer ones are people who spend more time are more serious prospects, right?

At least, that’s my assumption. And it seems to hold (except when prospects switch tabs and leave the page active for hours.)

How Far Are They Scrolling?:

The second thing I spend my time looking is how far down they’re consuming the page.

Farther is better, obviously. If I’m not holding them, I blame the subheads first. Then the design. (For instance, I’ll add charts or graphs.)  Then I’ll rework the body copy.

If they pause and spend a lot of time on a certain part, I make note of that in a spreadsheet. It’s probably important.

Where Do They Abandon?:

The third thing I pay attention is how/where they end.

If they exit let’s say at the price, the implication is the price may be a turn-off.

I create a detailed excel spreadsheet about this kind of stuff to be acted upon later.

How to Dial It In:

When you analyze a lot of visitor sessions over time (“a lot” being more than 25 long ones), you start to develop a true appreciation for a serious prospect’s consumption of your sales letter.

If you’re like me, it’ll piss you off at first.

Because you’ll see lots and lots of serious people, but only a few are buying. This will inspire you, for sure. Because you’re sooo close. You just gotta convert one or two per hundred visitors more.

The good news is you start to see what serious people care about (i.e. spend time on) AND what they don’t care about.

Work on converting those serious people.

There are a couple of different strategies I use:

  1. Amplify and smooth out what people are paying attention to. The easiest way is to make it clearer, or create more of an emotional impact.
  2. If they’re not paying attention to something they should be, change the design.
  3. Always, always, always look for improvement in your headline and subheads.
  4. Knee jerk go-to strategy: have multiple calls-to-action.

The shorter playbacks imply visitors immediately see it’s not a fit and bounce. I don’t worry about those at all.

The goal is to get more people to spend more time interacting with the page. Initially focus on those on the one yard line and getting them into the end zone.

Done this way, you’ll glean all sorts of insights. Rather than playing “pin the tail on the donkey” with A/B split tests where you’re just “trying stuff.” If you’re buying traffic, that can get expensive. This way is cheap, comparatively.

So give my way a shot and let me know, ok? Good luck and if you need help, just reach out at

P.S. Bonus: The cool thing is after doing dozens of sales letters, YOU BEGIN TO DEVELOP A SIXTH SENSE about how people consume sales letters. If you’re a copywriter you’ll look like a psychic to Clients.

P.P.S. If you have a decently converting sales letter and want to optimize it further, you’ll probably be amazed and excited to learn I offer this process as a service.  I call it Conversion Therapy.  It’s cheaper than a rewrite. If you need help, just reach out at and ask for Conversion Therapy.


Designing a checkout process for an ecommerce store is a huge challenge. Here’s some numbers you should know:

  • In 2014, 1.12 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods & services online –  tweet this
  • By end of 2013, the average abandonment rate was 67.9% – tweet this
  • Current ecommerce conversion rate statistics show that 40% of worldwide internet users have purchased goods or products online. – tweet this
  • This amounts to more than 1 billion online buyers and is projected to continuously grow.


These Landing Page Copywriting “Best Practices” Turned Out to Be Conversion Fails


PSST! Joanna Wiebe will be speaking at our first ever Call to Action Conference on September 12 in Vancouver. Check it out!

Why split test your landing pages?

Because you never know what impact a copy or design change might have on your business.

Why should you report on your test results?

Because sharing our successes and failures can help inform future optimization efforts. Test data can sometimes tell interesting stories worthy of addition to the canon of landing page “best practices.”

But if the growing body of A/B testing case studies can teach us anything, it’s thatthere’s no such thing as a “best practice” and that you’d be wise not to base your new landing page on what worked for someone else.

These Landing Page Copywriting “Best Practices” Turned Out to Be Conversion Fails


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