Conversation Starters: How to Create Opening Copy that Sings and Soars

[By Clayton Makepeace]

  • Four Principles All Great Opening Sales Copy Shares …
  • Seven Proven Ways to Get Your Sales Copy Off to a Fast Start …
  • Much More!

Dear Business-Builder,

You’ve stopped your prospect in his tracks with a powerful, emotionally-driven headline and deck …

Your deck copy supports and expands upon your headline structure, adding specificity, intrigue, irony and intensity – all wrapped around powerful reasons why reading your ad is the single most important thing he could possibly do now …

Now it’s time to really get his juices flowing – with powerful, emotionally-driven, opening copy that makes it impossible for him to look away.

And so there you sit; staring at a blank page and wondering how in the hellyou’re going to get the conversation started.

Good thing you clicked through to this article – isn’t it, Sparky?

Cause that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about today: Seven great ways to get your body copy started with a bang!

First, though, let’s lay a little groundwork – with four principles it pays to keep in mind as you create your opening copy …

First, your lead does not exist in a vacuum. 

Your prospect has read your headline and your deck. Now, he expects you to deliver on the theme you led with or the promise you just made him.

If your first few paragraphs begin delivering on your headline theme or promise immediately, you will deepen his interest and convert that interest to readership of your sales message.

But if you make him feel as though you’re changing the subject – or worse – that this is some kind of a bait and switch scam designed to trick him into reading your copy – you will lose him.

Second, it’s essential that you make friends fast. 

Finding ways to signal that you and your reader are in the same boat … are of the same persuasion … have the same frustrations or aspirations … or that you have heartfelt empathy for his situation … instantly positions you as a trusted friend – not a salesman.

Third, your opening copy should come out of the starting gate faster than a thoroughbred on Derby Day. 

Everything in life is a transaction. Your headline and deck promise your copy will reveal certain specific things that will bring value to your prospect’s life – IF he’ll only spend a few minutes reading your copy.

Your prospect, for his part, has agreed to give you a small piece of his life –IF you deliver the value you’ve promised.

Put simply, your prospect is “buying” the information in your copy. He is paying you with minutes of his life.

So long as you begin delivering on your part of the bargain immediately, he’s likely to continue reading. But if at any time, he feels he’s not getting his money’s worth – good value for the time he’s investing with you – you will lose him.

Fourth, credibility is everything. 

Unbelievable claims do much more than place everything you say under suspicion – they tell the prospect he’s probably wasting his time reading this.

Surprising facts or propositions are great – so long as you can prove them – or at least substantiate them – instantly.

If you can’t prove it logically – or at the very least, attribute it to a source he trusts – don’t say it.

Seven Compelling Conversation Starters

OK – got the basics? Great!

Now, when it comes to crafting your opening copy, there is no right way and no wrong way.

There are, in fact, as many ways to write the first few paragraphs of an ad as there are copywriters, products, media and markets.

Nevertheless, I do have a few favorite opening strategies that have consistently worked well for me – and for a gaggle of other top writers – over the years …

Opening Strategy #1:
Try the “PDR” Formula

This is, perhaps the most common way copywriters launch into sales copy. And it’s effective, especially when you’re writing shorter copy – a print ad, for example.

You simply name the Problem the reader suffers from … Dimensionalize the problem – demonstrate how serious it really is … then offer Resolution.

Here’s how I recently used this approach for a health product …

If you …

  • Can’t help but notice that your eyeglass prescription gets stronger every year …
  • Constantly find yourself juggling a pair of regular glasses and reading spectacles …
  • Worry that your fading eyesight could ultimately rob you of your independence and force you to say “good-bye” to your active lifestyle …
  • And especially if a doctor has told you that you may need an operation for cloudy lenses – or worse: That your retina is degenerating – the #1 cause of age-related blindness …

… This timely bulletin is going to be a godsend for you!

My name is Dr. Michael Cutler – and in the next few minutes, I’m going to show you why fading vision is NOT inevitable as you age.

AND, I’m going to reveal 17 common nutrients that medical scientists have proven beyond the shadow of a doubt to not only protect your eyesight but actually help restore it!

Opening Strategy #2:
Be a Name-Dropper

Invoking a common enemy or a beloved figure accomplishes three wonderful things at once:

  1. It can trigger strong, actionable emotions in your prospect almost instantly …
  2. It tells your prospect that the two of you are of the same mind on a particular issue, and …
  3. It can create a topical, newsy feel, signaling that the copy that follows is as fresh as tomorrow’s headlines.

Some name-dropping one-liners for example …

Has Fed Chief Bernanke lost his everlovin’ MIND?

Hillary Clinton has plans for your health, your wealth and your life …

Marcus Welby must be spinning in his grave …

Harry Houdini couldn’t get out of this one – not in a million years …

Here’s another example – I wrote this one for investment analyst Sharon Parker …

I honestly don’t know whether to be mad at Alan Greenspan – or give him a big kiss!

On the one hand, there’s no doubt that his crazy interest rate hikes killed the greatest bull market of all time …

But they also created some of the greatest bargains Wall Street has ever seen – quality stocks that could easily double, triple or even quadruple your wealth this year … IF your reflexes are quick enough …

Opening Strategy #3:
The Bobble-Head Approach

Some of the most successful direct response promotions ever written began with a head-nodder.

Kicking off your copy with an intriguing statement you’re sure your prospect will agree with is yet another great way to signal that the two of you are on the same page. And it has the added charm of intrigue – you almost have to keep reading just to see where this is headed.

Examples …

Every once-in-a-while, a quick call to a broker can change your life. I’ve rushed you this fascinating bulletin because I’m absolutely convinced that this is one of those times …

A surgeon will gladly cut a hole right through you just to get at your wallet.

If you think health care is expensive now, just wait until it’s free!

Probably my all-time favorite head-nodder was actually a headline my friend Jim Rutz wrote for Phillips Health (now Healthy Directions) …

For every illness, there is a country where it simply doesn’t exist. This bulletin will tell you why.

After you’ve read this bulletin, you probably won’t die of cancer … won’t die of a stroke … won’t die from a heart attack … won’t die of diabetes … or any common condition.

And we’re fairly certain you’ll never suffer from arthritis, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, insomnia, cataracts, glaucoma, memory loss, Alzheimer’s, impotence, depression, Candida or any long-term viral disease.

Opening Strategy #4:
Offer a Shameless Bribe

Sometimes, I like to use my opening copy to “tell ‘em what I’m going to tell ‘em” … directly sell my prospect on reading the copy that follows.

In a promotion for Bloomberg Markets magazine for example, I once had Michael Bloomberg, (now that he’s the mayor of New York City, more commonly known as “Hizzonner”) – say …

In the next few moments, I’m going to give you a critical advantage over 99.9% of all other investors.

Some might even say it’s an “unfair” advantage.

Specifically, I’m going to give you 27 tools to cut your risk, pump up your profits and simplify all of your investment decisions.

Furthermore, I’m going to invite you to accept a valuable package of the investment world’s most powerful money-making tools completely without cost or obligation.

More than 75,000 brokers, money managers and top investors around the world pay up to $1,500 a month for these tools. But now you, too, can use them – FREE!

Opening Strategy #5:
Cut to the Chase

Nothing is more effective at convincing your prospect that this is going to be quick, entertaining and valuable (not to mention, painless) than diving right in.

In a promotion for an investment newsletter that promised to help prospects grow rich with defense stocks, my opening copy went something like this …

The new Hyper-X Scramjet screams through the sky at ten times the speed of sound – fast enough to streak from New York to Central Asia in two hours, and completely around the world eight times in a single day …

An all new, super-high-tech radar sees “invisible” Stealth Fighters as clear as day – and faultlessly blows them out of the sky while they’re still hundreds of miles away …

An airborne “laser cannon” blasts a speeding ICBM out of the sky before the missile can even get beyond its own borders – causing it to fall back upon the country that launched it …

The U.S. government is now pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the companies behind these products – and early-bird investors are already raking in windfall profits.

Here’s what you must do now to get your share …

One of my favorite copywriters – Eric Betuel – recently did this under his headline “The 6 Giants of Unstoppable Global Profits” in a promo for Safe Money Report …

My name is Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D. – and I won’t keep you guessing …

… The six giants I’m talking about are China, India, Japan, Brazil, Australia and Canada.

There is nothing, I repeat nothing that you do every day that is not connected to, or dependent upon, these six countries.

They make the clothes you wear. They answer the phones when you call customer service. They supply the gas for your car.

They build your car. They make the paste in your toothpaste. Some of them even examine your CT scansinstead of your doctor.

Quietly, invisibly they have penetrated every corner of your daily life … except one: Your portfolio.

If you do not hold significant investments related to these six global giants, you are already missing out on an opportunity that comes along (maybe) once every 100 years. China’s stock market, for example, rose 131% last year. Ten times more than ours.

You’re going to learn ALL about these investments in the pages of this report …

Opening Strategy #6:
Try a Crossroads OPEN

I often encourage you to put your prospect at a crossroads at the end of your promotion. Giving him a vivid mental image of what will happen if he declines your offer – in contrast to what happens when he accepts – is a great way to help clarify his choice for him.

But sometimes, it also pays to put your prospect at a crossroads right at the beginning of your copy – by contrasting what will happen if he reads what you have to say with what will happen if he ignores your message.

I, for example, once began a magalog with the following …

Ignore this sober warning, and you may as well take your savings, your investments and your retirement and kiss them good-bye.

On the other hand, if you HEED the warning in these pages and act on the advice I offer you in this report, not only will you have plenty of time to insulate your wealth … you’ll have the opportunity to reap up to 450% profits in the year ahead.

Tough choice – right? You can either go broke or get 450% richer!

In another promotion, I actually used the word “crossroads” in my crossroads open. It went something like this …

If you owned Enron when it went belly-up, you lost 100% of your money.

But if you had owned the often-overlooked investments we’re using now, your $25,000 investment would have handed you a $232,250 PROFIT in as little as 42 days.

You are now standing at the most crucial crossroads of your entire investing lifetime.

Twelve months from now, you will either be crying – or laughing all the way to the bank. The choice is now in your hands.

Opening Strategy #7:
Ask a Question

A few years ago, a client told me the story of one of his subscribers who followed his options trading advice and made a bundle in less than a month.

Now, I could have just quoted the testimonial. Or, I could have cobbled together a “case history” and told his story in the third person.

Instead, I decided to open my letter with a note from my client’s client. My opening copy went like this …

How did it feel to casually hand the astonished teller my $120,000 deposit?

… And to see the amazement on her face when I confided I’d made that money in just 29 days?

How do you think it felt? It felt GREAT …

Then, there was this opening question – a huge winner I wrote for Weiss Research …

When was the last time YOU had advance knowledge of a future event that could turn a molehill of cash into a veritable mountain of money?

When was the last time you not only foresaw the event but also had strong evidence of when it was going to occur, AND knew the investments and strategies most likely to turn the even into windfall profits?

That’s precisely the kind of priceless knowledge that’s available to you now …

This article by Clayton Makepeace was first published in The Total Package. To sign-up to receive your own FREE subscription to The Total Package and claim four FREE money making e-books go to www.makepeacetotalpackage.com.