A lesson in kopy (sellin’ vs. story tellin’)

(This is an email I originally sent to the email subscribers of the KopywritingKourse):
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We’re trying to shift the copy on our AppSumo deals to be more “real”….and it was a struggle for me personally.

When Noah was co-working at my place a few years ago…..I got the idea to start writing the sales copy for his new project “AppSumo” as this jovial/hilarious/fat/racist/sexist Sumo.

The name “AppSumo” was perfect, and the logo was perfect too:

….this fat bastard made it easy to get away with saying ANYTHING!

Fat jokes.
Butt jokes.
Jewish Jokes.
Woman jokes.

….it was all fair game and VERY few people complained out of 100’000’s of people (if you’re not pissing SOME people off, you’re doing it wrong).

People would constantly ask “Who the hell wrote that copy!?” and try to hire me for their own copy.  It’s HUGE compliment when people are willing to spend thousands of bill$ just from reading our sales pitches (to boot, they’d usually end up buying a bunch of stuff from AppSumo too)!

The copy was mainly educational.  And it would SHOW EXACTLY what the product would do for a group of people, and even how to use it.

It also had humor….but that was secondary.  Educating people was priority #1.

After pawning off most of the writing to other copywriters, the quality went down.

The copy turned into regular bullshit sales copy…..but with a bunch of cheesy Sumo jokes thrown in.

“Yes!  Everyone should buy this!”

“This is a TOTALLY KILLER VALUE!”

“If you want to live the dream of making millions, buy this!”

….barf.

Over the course of about 8 months the whole Sumo-voice thing seemed “played” to everyone at the office.

A change was wanted.

Everyone wanted to put out “stories” rather than “sales pitches”.

I fought this so damn hard.  Even pissing off some people at the office who never get mad at anything (sorry guys)!

Then I thought “Ok….lemme swallow some pride and give this a shot.” 

I started poking around the internet and noticed that EVERY big blog, EVERY big news outlet…..featured STORIES!

People share stories
People don’t share sales-pitches as much.
People don’t share “How-To’s” as much (unless it’s about their specific interest).

(Think about it, how often do you see a non-marketing person share a sales-pitch on Facebook)?

The 1st piece of copy I wrote in this “Story” format was for Prey.  You can see it here:
http://www.appsumo.com/prey/

…..I originally wrote a how-to article on using Prey to protect your computers, but the team wanted a story.  Eventually that’s what was put out…..mainly against my will.

Three things happened:

  1. The post went viral.
  2. Even offline, people started telling family & friends about Prey.
  3. It sold like crazy (a record high for the past few months of sales).

Even Ramit Sethi and Derek Halpern both personally told me “It was some of the best copy I’ve seen in a long time, anywhere. Really terrific job.”

WHOA.  

Lots of sales.
Lots of sharing.
Lots of compliments.
….maybe this “story thing” was a good move.

We’ve since replicated the results with the story format.

NOW….this doesn’t mean I think everything has to be a damn story, but it’s certainly one way you can breathe some new life into what you’re writing.

If you want to test out a “Sales Story” of your own…..you can try following this rough outline I used:

  1. Problem you (or someone else) had.
  2. Something you tried that didn’t work.
  3. You discovered a certain product/service.
  4. The positive results you got from it.

You can even go to AppSumo.com and click the “Back” button on the banner image to see all our previous deal copy.

Checkout the number of shares and comments to spy on which deals did well or not.

….and lemme know if you have any success (or failure) with a “Sales Story”!

Keep being a student. 
Sincerely,
Neville Medhora

P.S.  If you used to read the old AppSumo emails, which do you like better?  Meaning which did you actually look forward to and open the most?  Vote please (I’m a constant student myself, so I love learning from your answers)!