Welcome back to the Healthpreneur Podcast! Today we have a rehashed episode from a previous podcast of mine. It’s with a friend of mine named Jon Benson, who is the creator of the video sales letter.
You’ve definitely seen some video sales letters online. Jon created the idea and he has been collectively responsible for billions and billions of dollars in online purchasing. He is an amazing copywriter—one of the most highly sought after in the world—and will be sharing a ton of tips with us about marketing and copywriting.
Whether you are an experienced copywriter or you’ve never written a piece of sales copy in your life, I guarantee you will get a bunch of value from this episode. Jon and I will dive into copywriting, sales pages, big ideas, and product creation. He has some amazing insights. If you are able to implement just a fraction of what he talks about in this episode into your business, I am confident you will see results.
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In This Episode Jon and I discuss:
- The power of copywriting.
- The most common initial mistakes that marketers and entrepreneurs make.
- What makes people do what they do.
- The various steps of product creation.
- What makes a good book title.
- Page counts—why less is often more.
4:00 – 13:00 – The most common initial mistakes
13:00 – 22:00 – The big idea
22:00 – 28:00 – The product
28:00 – 36:00 – Book titles
36:00 – 40:00 – Yuri’s take
What You Missed:
In our last episode I spoke with Scott Rewick. He’s someone who flies a bit under the radar and he is one of the early pioneers of affiliate marketing, online direct response and high-volume media buying.
Scott had worked for companies like Netflix and Blockbuster, generating massive numbers of leads. So he’s got tons of experience with lead gen and is now putting that to use in the health and wellness space.
This is a great episode for anyone who is interested in buying paid traffic—maybe you’re a bit nervous or you’ve had a bad experience in the past … This episode should clear it all up! We’re going to talk a lot about how to scale your business using Facebook ads and also how to bring expert marketers onto your team.
Hey guys, welcome to the Healthpreneur Podcast, Yuri here. Today, we’ve got a special episode—it’s actually a rehash. So, let me explain…
A couple of years ago I had another podcast called “The Smarter Marketer Project.” Now, this is at a time where I was at a crossroads between Healthpreneur and this other idea, The Smarter Marketer Project. And I’m like, “You know what? Let’s go with the Smarter Marketer Project and teach business to all businesses.”
I did that for a little bit, and then I was sitting in a hot tub one day and I was like, “Wow, Healthpreneur is such a better name, it’s a better brand. I actually only want to help people in the health and fitness base, so let’s shut this down.
And that’s what I did.
So, along with that were a lot of amazing podcast episodes, including this one with my buddy Jon Benson, who is the creator of the video sales letter. You’ve probably seen these online—you know, the ugly powerpoints, videos where a lot of people now use doodle characters and drawings.
Well, Jon is the guy who created that whole video sales letter thing, and his VSL, as it’s known, has been collectively responsible for billions upon billions of dollars in online purchasing. Jon is amazing at really understanding the underlying psychology of what makes people do what they do, and how we can move them into a bigger future. He’s one of the most sought after copywriters in the world.
I’ve known him for a number of years, because we both started off in the fitness space. He’s just such a great guy. We’ve hung out a bunch and he’s a lot of fun to be around. So, what I want to do in this episode is actually bring you that interview—which is about two years old, but it’s still extremely valuable in terms of its content.
Jon is going to talk about the importance of copywriting, but not just the importance of it. We’ll be talking about how to do it properly, how to come up with the big idea or the hook for your product, how to help it stand out in a very crowded marketplace.
There’s a lot of really great wisdom here. You’re literally going to be listening to one of the highest paid, most sought-after copywriters on the planet.
So, sit tight, grab a green juice, let’s bring Jon into the Healthpreneur Podcast, which is essentially just taking the recording from the previous podcast and merging it with this one. Either way, let’s have some fun, let’s get right into the interview.
Yuri: All right, Mr. Jon Benson, welcome to the “Smarter Marketer” show.
Jon: Hey, Yuri, thanks a lot. Great to be here.
Yuri: Absolutely. So, not only do you have arguably the coolest voice for audio, but you’re probably at the top of the list in terms of people who have really shifted this industry over the past decade, decade and a half. There’s kind of a handful of people that have done that and you’re at the top.
I mean, not only are you a cool guy and you come up with some amazing products, but you’ve actually invented the “Video Sales Letter” which has gone on to sell, what? Billion of dollars’ worth of products amongst all the people that have used it?
I mean, it’s incredible.
Jon: Yeah. Thanks.
Yuri: Yeah, absolutely, thank you for your contributions. So, we’re gonna talk about publishing and the power of digital publishing, all the elements that are required in that. But before we get into that, I want to start off by asking you, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve seen online marketers and online businesses make as it pertains to either their marketing or their publishing? Or any aspect of their business?
The most common initial mistakes
Jon: It seems the biggest mistake has to be the lack of awareness of the need for a sales page that kicks butt. Everybody is so caught up in social media, in perfecting their product before they sell it—which I can say is a close second.
We all know on some level that perfection is the enemy of progress, but very few people apply it when it comes down to their own stuff. They’re afraid to release something that they don’t think is just right, right?
So, I think even above that, people are caught up in trying to get the product perfect, the social media blitz brigade, buying traffic to a page that doesn’t convert … Because they underestimate the power of words on a page. In my case, video sales letters, it’s words on a video. Something to sell their product, and I think that comes from an aversion to the word “selling.”
Yuri: Sure. Yeah.
Jon: One of the greatest salesman and nicest guy in the world had a quote that lingers with me, “selling is helping.” That’s essentially what you’re doing as a salesperson—you’re helping someone discover a new, better, or even just a different way.
It can be the same exact thing, just worded differently. And I liken that back to Anthony Robbins, who has been a hero of mine since I started business in my 20s. Believe it or not, “Personal Power” was the thing I listened to that made me quit my job—the only job I ever had—and start a business with no experience, no money, nothing. I didn’t even know what a designer did, it just sounded cool.
He worded things in different ways, there are distinctions. You may have a distinction that’s unique to you—the way that you describe your product or service. It’s just the way that you talk, the way that you describe it, the one unique mechanism that makes your stuff different.
Those are the things that people need to latch onto and that is what your sales page needs to convey—I have something that’s slightly different, I have something that’s slightly better, or just a different way of going about it.
Getting that across to the public, you need to understand that it’s just the way that people are. There is a way to sell a product via word of mouth only. Believe me, there is a way to do that, and it starts with spending a lot of money.
So, I can give you a one-minute synopsis of this—P90X is a great example. I know the owners of Beach Body and this is one of the things that they said. They said, “Yeah, it’s one of the largest word of mouth products in the world, P90X.” And that’s not where they make their money. They make their money off the back end.
But here’s what’s interesting; it took them $250 million to get it to be word of mouth, and epic failure after epic failure after epic failure.
Yuri: They weren’t just testing sales pages, they were testing infomercials as well, which is not the cheapest thing to do, but it’s an amazing lesson to continually be testing the message.
Jon: Exactly. That’s another mistake that I think entrepreneurs, especially marketers make, is they don’t test. They give up.
They take a video sales letter, for example, they go through a course that I teach or whatever and they put their very first video sales letter out and they go, “Ah, man, it didn’t work.” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m a professional copywriter. I’ve written stuff that doesn’t work.” Name one person that hasn’t. Name one copywriter, even Gary Bencivenga has failed, right?
So, if guys like Gary and Gary Halbert and John Carlton and Chris Dodd and me can go down the line, can write a bomb (and we all have), your odds of writing a bomb are exponentially higher because this is not what you do for a living. But, having the right tools to help you along, to see why it might have been a bomb and tweak it, that’s the secret.
Yuri, I think you know one of the guys in the fitness industry, Wesley Virgin—with his new product he’s now seeing an amazing surge in income, to say the least. And he’s been posting all over my “Sellerator” forum because he’s been a client for a year and a half.
He just basically told me a year and a half ago, “Dude, I’m gonna follow you everywhere you go. Whatever you say, I’m just gonna do.” He just picked a mentor, and he failed epically. I think his first three video sales letters were just complete bombs.
His fourth one, though, he’s already made half a million dollars in two months? Three months?
So, it just took tweaking. I want to just emphasize to people that, yeah, the mechanisms work, sales pages work, but video sales letters work even better. You just have to work at it.
Yuri: And I completely agree. The way I see copy is almost like a combination lock to a safe and you’re just continually trying to find the right combination because when you do it’s like, overnight the floodgates can open.
What do you say to somebody who doesn’t understand or does not want to put the effort into revising and testing and writing the copy?
Jon: I’d say that I admire your stance on poverty. In some way it’s noble. I hope that you enjoy being a monk or working at McDonald’s or taking a day job. That’s awesome.
I came from an extremely blue collar family. My dad was a manual laborer. He worked on a railroad for 36 years, in inclement weather, in Texas and New York. So you just put those weather combinations together.
So, I grew up around a lot of blisters and a lot of hard work, and that stuff, as a work ethic. There’s nothing wrong with going into the real world and being a carpenter or going into the world and being an insurance salesman. That’s great.
That’s what you’re gonna have to do if you don’t wanna test your landing pages, if you don’t want to test your opt-in pages. If you think that you can just write something—even if you take a course like mine. Not to brag, but it’s done $1.3 billion in revenue for my customers.
And that’s what we know of. It’s probably more like 6 or $7 billion, but I don’t know for sure so I can’t say. Just the ones that we know of, which is a fraction of the numbers.
Even those guys. I know a few notable exceptions. One guy I know, his name is Ryan, he said, “I went through the course, I spit out my first video sales letter, and it made $50 million.” That is the exception, okay?
My first video sales letter did awesome, too, because it was the very first one. I kind of got cheated, right? But I’ve had major hits that did the very first draft of “Old School New Body.” That never even went through one revision. Not one edit. That’s one of the top converting offers still in fitness.
Those are rare, even for a professional copywriter. So, if you’re not willing to task, go back, and just look at “Wow, where did I miss the mark? Where did I miss the hook? Is it just not engaging enough?” Then you’re going to fail.
It’s not a question of if, it’s a matter of when, so be prepared to go into the real world and be okay with that. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I want to go back to say this. Of course, most people have seen “Good Will Hunting.” And Will’s argument throughout the movie was like, “What’s wrong with laying brick? My father was a bricklayer.” There’s nothing wrong with it.
If you wanna lay brick that’s awesome. I mean, my dad was a blue collar worker. They’re the backbone of society in many ways. You’ll just never be an internet millionaire, you’ll never be an internet entrepreneur.
What else can you say to that? That’s what I say to people. I’m just brutally honest with them, and hopefully in a somewhat loving way, but that is the brutal truth. You just gotta roll your sleeves up.
I know I can sell more copies of “Sellerator,” and some more copies of fill in the blank product if I just said, “Yeah, man, you can literally push a button and out comes profit.” But that would be a lie.
Jon: So I’m not gonna do that.
Yuri: So, copy is king. Really important, whether it’s emails or sales pages.
For those listening who are not “copy chiefs” yet, how do people get started? Other than taking a copywriting course or reading copywriting books or looking at swipe files and rewriting sales pages? Is there one element of a pitch that you feel is really important for people to nail down? Is it the big idea? Is it the USP? Is it identifying the market? What is the one thing people need to start at?
The big idea
Jon: Do a survey, and you don’t need a list to do this. You can do this on a Facebook page. You can survey random people and say, “Hey, I’m considering writing a book on blank. What’s the most pressing concern you have when it comes to blank? When it comes to weight loss? When it comes to training your dog? When it comes to making more money online?”
It can be anything, right?
What’s the most pressing concern? What’s the one thing you would want to have addressed the most? And you’ll end up with about four or five things that are pretty consistent. Pick one that you’re really good at. You don’t even have to be an expert at it, you can just be proficient at it.
You can actually be someone who’s in the process of discovering how to do this. You can say, “Join me as I discover, because I’m going to make it my life’s mission to become the best blank I can so you don’t have to do that work and I’ll just keep filling you in. I’ll keep updating the book.”
So, that’s a great way to do this if you’re not an expert, by the way. I talk to people all the time about how you don’t need to be an expert to write a book, you just need to have a passion for it.
So you already know that what you’re writing or creating is exactly what they want to hear. Then the very next thing that you have to do is that big idea. The really big idea … I just had a podcast yesterday with the Sales Whisperer about this very topic.
Do you ever watch “Mad Men?”
Yuri: Mm-hmm, love the show.
Jon: Yeah, me too. When that show first came out a lot of my clients would refer to me as the main character. I don’t smoke, I’m not as good-looking as Jon Hamm, but I do spell my name the same way, so, I’m close, man.
So, I’m sitting around in the office and I do kind of have his demeanor sometimes or I’m sitting back and I’m listening and I go, “No, no, no, what about this?” Everybody goes, “Yeah, that’s it!”
I remember the very first time I watched an episode of that. He would just sit down and he had this one punchline, right? And everybody was like, “Oh, that’s awesome!” and they go away, they pour a drink. He smokes a cigarette and he goes out and sleeps with women.
I go, “Man, Madison Avenue guys, they have it so easy.” I mean, if that’s all we had to do that would just be an awesome world, but we have to write the rest of the 7,000 words!
And the copywriters in “Mad Men,” they were always the low end of the spectrum, and obviously that’s coming from writers that know that copywriters are the low end of the spectrum. But unfortunately, and here in the real world, they kept referencing David Ogilvy throughout that series because Ogilvy understood the power of direct response copywriting.
That’s why he was kicking everyone’s ass on Madison Avenue. Everyone. So, all these guys on Madison Avenue, they couldn’t hang with this guy. But still, the concept here, the concept is still quite valid that you need the really big idea.
But, here’s what’s really interesting about it, the big idea does not have to be something that you create. It’s just a different way of looking at something.
For example, in my second book, Every Other Day Diet, changing caloric intake throughout the week is not a new concept, it’s been around a long time. Back in the ’70s, Arnold Schwarzenegger, when he was training for bodybuilding shows, would diet really severely for four, five days and then eat a tub of ice cream at night, right?
This is nothing new. All I did was take that concept that I knew about, but that 95% of my audience has never heard of, and came up with a name for it. I called it “Caloric Staggering.”
So, if you if you were to google “Caloric Staggering” before “Every Other Day Diet” came out, you would have not found it, not that I’m aware of. You would not have found the term. It’s a trademarked term now, and now it’s all over the web.
So, all I did was name something—because that’s what you’re doing, you’re staggering your calories. That did not take a Jon Hamm moment of brilliance to come up with. It doesn’t have to be really pithy. I’ve come up with really awesome hooks before, I think. Caloric staggering is not one of them, but it stuck with people and it became the caloric staggering principle, and so that became the one mechanism inside this book, “The reason why you have failed at dieting is because you don’t understand caloric staggering,” and that’s where you want to go.
Once your customers give you what you want to hear, then you can say, “Do you know the one reason why you haven’t seen the success that you want when it comes to blank is because of blank?”
And that is your golden thread, man. That is the one idea that you’re going to use throughout your entire pitch. Everything you say, every testimonial you give, every bit of advice that you give, everything relates right back to that one big idea.
I call it the “Oh, that’s why,” moment. What that is, is, “Oh, that’s why I haven’t been able to lose weight, I didn’t know about this caloric staggering thing. That makes total sense to me.” So, understand that caloric staggering for anyone that is a nutritionist, who has been in this field for years, we’ve known about this since we’ve be doing it.
I just called it something different, I made it the focal point, and that’s all I did.
Yuri: It’s almost like P90X with muscle confusion.
Jon: Exactly, muscle confusion. That’s exactly what they did, muscle confusion. You think that’s a new principle? That is exactly the words that Joe Weider used in the ’80s.
Jon: Don’t plagiarize. I’m not saying they plagiarized, by the way, but don’t go off and steal somebody’s idea.
You can take an idea that’s in existence, rename it into something that makes a very crystal clear concept, and then that’s the big idea.
The last thing I want to say on that topic is, the big idea needs to be something that will make your customer or potential customer go, “Oh, that’s why I haven’t been able to succeed.” Not just, “Oh, that’s a cool idea.” That’s not strong enough.
A great hook is defined by this. A great hook is defined by, “Oh, that’s why I failed.”
Yuri: That’s a beautiful distinction. Just that alone, if you’re listening to this.”Oh, that’s why.” Just ask that after you’ve written a sentence, or as you’re writing your copy.
It’s such a small but powerful distinction. I think it’s really important for the listeners to understand this, especially if you’re in a market that has a very sophisticated level of awareness. Like, in the fitness market how many weight loss products are there out there?
We both had conversations with numerous people that have a new product coming out, and it’s like, well, what is it? Oh, it’s a workout program. Awesome. Like, what’s the big idea? And I don’t think enough people pay attention to that.
A lot of people don’t think about, first of all what does their market want? They’re thinking about, “Okay, I have an idea, I want to create it.” And I’m guilty of doing that as well, when I started. So I think the advice you gave, “what’s the most pressing issue you have with blank,” is a great place to start.
And then obviously the big idea formula you went through is huge. It’s terrific. So, if you had just stopped listening now you would have an amazing breakthrough in your business, if you took action on it.
I want to shift gears a little bit because you started off in the fitness industry, kind of in your online lifetime, and you transitioned into teaching how to build out your business with the 3X VSL formula and all the amazing stuff you’ve done. Now, you’re transitioning into more of a publishing platform or a digital publishing platform where you’re teaching people how to create this digital empire.
Now that we’ve talked about the big idea, more of the copy, the pitch … How does somebody create an amazing product?
Jon: That’s the very first thing that you need after you get your idea. So, here’s what’s interesting, is that people will create their product and then try to create their sales page and then try to create a big idea as they’re writing their copy. It’s exactly backwards.
You need to create your big idea before you ever put a pen to the paper. It’s okay if you’ve already written your book. It’s totally fine.
Just create your big idea right now, go through there, and if you have it, great. You might have it. If you don’t have it, make it the central theme of every single freaking chapter, or just do a tieback. Just always go back to the end of the chapter, that’s why the blank principle, the blank technique, is so important.
By the time they finish the book, no one can possibly say, “So, what’s the big idea that came out of the book?” And no one’s going to go, “Jeez, I can’t remember, there was like so many of them.” You want people to go, “Oh, the blank principle, it was on every freaking page.”
So you have to go back and do a little book editing, no big deal. Then you create your marketing. Okay?
Now, I actually like to do it completely backwards from that. I prefer to do the big idea, create the sales letter for it, then create the product, because once you create a sales letter with everything that you know as a marketer, that will sell people on taking action. You have to actually go back and make the product do that.
I can’t tell you how many sales pages I’ve written where the product didn’t exist. And the customer just said, “Look, whatever you write we’ll create.” And guess what? The best products I’ve ever seen came out of the sales pages like that.
I’m not saying that you have to do that. I’m saying that’s ideal.
So, let’s say that you have a product right now. Go back, get your big idea, get it really clear, then you’re gonna sit down and talk about the pitch. The pitch is extremely important. You gotta get the pitch down. But, ideally you want to create the big idea and then create the pitch, then the product.
But let’s skip to the product since that was your question. Creating the product, first of all, with that big idea in mind, is huge.
Second of all, I teach a course called “The 28-Product Creation Forum” and I have a product called that, that walks people through how to do this in 28 days sequentially. I created it pretty much retrofitting going back and kind of reverse engineering how I created eBooks.
I think an eBook is your best first product because there’s so many different ways you can use it. You can sell it, you can low-end sell it, you can give it away for free as an opt-in, so many different applications.
I talk about how to take that eBook and turn it into three products, automatically. So, it’s kind of cool, you’re doing a lot of work, you don’t have to repeat a lot of work. But, the best way to create a product, first of all, is sit around the big idea and then follow a proven system of what comes first in chapters, what comes next.
Let me show you this, it’s too long of a process to go into. I actually have like nine podcasts dedicated to nothing but product creation so-
Yuri: That’s all? Just nine?
Jon: Yeah, that’s all, only nine, and a whole product. It’s all about product creation, so a little bit lengthy to go into but suffice it to say that when you’re creating your product, number of pages is irrelevant. Some of the best books I have ever read are very short. My latest book I wrote … I’m not making this up … I wrote the book, designed the cover because I came from a graphic design background, and I did that all in less than eight hours.
Yuri: That’s awesome.
Jon: Start to finish.
Yuri: Some people just need the answer. They just want the solution. You don’t need 300 pages of filler, right?
Jon: No, in fact that’s part of the … I narrowed my ultimate diet book, it’s called “The Four Day Diet.” I’ve got the best diet formula that I’ve ever used and I created it and it’s in 23 pages.
Jon: There’s no recipes, because you don’t need recipes. It’s so baby simple.
Let me just share this really quickly, the reason why books are 300 pages … Well, some books need to be. If you have some big conceptual book on heart disease and you need to explain all this kind of stuff, that’s understandable.
But, a book on dog training, on dieting, on making money online, does not need to be. You can have it be 10, 20 pages, and people will thank you for it. And you can use that as a selling point. “I made a book that you can read easily on your lunch break, and by the end of lunch you’ll be able to be burning fat,” or whatever the case may be.
That’s so much more appealing than a 300 page book that will take you a week and a half to read. And be sure that you use big words so that you will need a dictionary, possibly a thesaurus.
Yuri: That’s a great value proposition, right?
Yuri: Because a lot of people think, “Oh, if it’s only one page people won’t see the value in it, but I think the way you worded it there is beautiful.”
Jon: Yeah. My friend Karim, one of his top selling products is literally a page, it’s one page. It’s a one-page book. Two pages, I think, because he added a chart.
And that’s not him being cheap. That’s literally him saying, “This is all you need to do, to do what I’m talking about. I’ve narrowed it down to this, just do this one thing.”
So, here’s the way I want you to think about this, folks. If I had a treasure map, a bonafide real treasure map and I said, “This treasure map will take you to a hidden treasure chest of gold.” I’m gonna sell it to you for $47, typical cost of an eBook, right?
But here’s the problem, it’s only one page. Do you think you would care?
Yuri: No, not at all.
Jon: Not at all. So, think of your book as a treasure map. So, think of your product as a treasure map . It can be 10 pages, it can be 20 pages, it can be 30 pages. Make it very concise.
And let me just say this, a couple of pro tips on creating a product, don’t forget that people who bought your book are still skeptical. So your introduction, if you have an intro audio, if you have an intro video, should be all about “Man, let me tell you why this is the best decision you’ve ever made. Susie got this, Bill got this, here’s what you’re going to expect. This is gonna rock your world.” You’re still selling.
Jon: You’re still selling, and “selling” is not a dirty word. If you believe selling is a dirty word look around wherever you’re at—in your den, apartment, car, whatever, and tell me you didn’t buy it. Did you steal it? You bought it from someone, which means someone sold it to you, okay?
People love to buy things, they just hate to be sold. They hate to be pressured. So, all you’re wanting to do as a marketer—it’s not pressuring, it’s compelling. You’re just wanting to create a state of compelling. Here’s some great information and here’s why I think I can help you.
That’s a very short introduction into product creation, but hopefully it takes some of the burden off you because you’d be like, “Oh, gosh, I gotta create an outline, I’ve got 97 points under point number one.”
Think about it, would you want to read that book?
Yuri: It’s amazing. I know, I just finished writing my second published book, and it’s 300 pages. I told Rodeo who’s publishing it, I’m like, “Listen, I’m not a huge fan of writing these big books, but I understand that they need a bit more volume, kind of thickness for a perceived value in the stores.” Honestly, I would have enjoyed writing this in 10 pages, if it was all up to me.
Jon: Exactly. And there’s a technical reason. I talk about it in one of my podcasts, a lot of people don’t know this but, the reason why they want thick books in stores, is so they can set them upright.
Try to set a 10-page book upright. Watch what happens, it’ll fall on his face. So, there’s a marketing reason behind that, can you believe that? There’s a marketing reason behind why books are thick. It is also perceived value, which is a joke.
Because a book on a bookshelf has no sales page. You’re walking by and the cover has to do all the work or word of mouth. That’s why there’s the old saying, and this is the truth, “if you want to get rich, digitally publish your book. If you want to get famous go to a book publisher.”
Because you’re not gonna get rich that way, unless you get really, really, really lucky. Ask Tim Ferriss, you know?
Yuri: Actually, speaking of that, let’s quickly talk about product titles. How do you come up with a good title for your eBook, your book, your course? What is your formula for coming up with a really good title?
Jon: I had a whole podcast on that as well. Think of a title for a book as the briefest way to describe exactly what the book is. If you come up with something kind of catchy like “The Four Day Diet” … That’s catchy, right? You’re intrigued, right?
What is it? Is it a diet that lasts for four days? Well, you know sort of what it is right now, right? Yuri, what do you think it is?
Yuri: It’s some type of diet that revolves around a sequence of four different days, perhaps.
Jon: Right, so you’re really close. Just by glancing at the title you know what it is. Would you think that book was a book on finance?
Jon: Okay. So, if I wrote a book and I use this as an example because a potential customer came over and she wanted me to write a video sales letter for her. She had the money, and she had this book, she says, “I’m just having a really hard time selling this book.” The book was called Ascending the Mountain.
I went, “Oh, okay, so you’re a mountain climber.” She said, “No, no, I’m an Olympic swimmer.”
Oh, got it. Got it. No one knows what the hell you’re talking about!
It’s like, what does that mean? You don’t have to be clever. You can literally … and this is a trick that Hollis Carter talked to me about and uses when they do Amazon and Kindle books. They actually turn the book cover into a JPEG ad and the title of the book can be like, “Lose Weight Fast in Four Days Guaranteed.”
That’s the worst title ever! Except, it’s not.
Yuri: And that’s the winning one.
Jon: Exactly, except it’s not the worst title ever. I wouldn’t go that way because I kind of like branding, I kind of like the fact that my first book was called Fit Over 40. Okay, what is that about?
Yuri: It’s about being fit over 40, or getting to it.
Jon: Right. So, here’s my catch, I want you to describe exactly what your book is about in the fewest words possible, and if you happen to come up with something that has a cool alliteration like “Fit Over 40,” “The Seven Minute Body,” just has a good rhythm to it, do that.
What’s “Seven Minute Body,” about?
Yuri: Getting the body you want in seven minutes?
Jon: Yeah, okay, so this is not rocket science, right? On the other hand, the worst product I ever created was called “Empower.”
Yuri: I remember back in the day we were talking about this. I thought it was an amazing program.
Jon: Oh, it is!
Yuri: I guess the name is obviously not very fitting for it.
Jon: Terrible! Let me share this really quick if I can.
This is how I met Eben Pagan, who ended up standing in my wedding and we’re good friends now … So, this is really weird. I met Eben six years ago, he was at one of his conferences … And I’m in the audience with Luke Lowery, a buddy of mine, and Luke’s got a box of my books, I don’t know why we had it there, I can’t remember.
Eben’s having a hot seat, and at the time I think there’s like 100 people in the audience. So he’s like, “Okay, who wants to come up here on the hot seat?” I just dove up there because I’m really aggressive.
I’m going, “I’ll come up,” and the whole hot seat was about book titling and branding. He goes, “Okay, great, glad that you came up here. So, you’re having troubles with branding?”
I said, “Yeah, I am, one product in particular.” It was “Empower.”
I said, “I can’t think of what to call it,” and he goes, “Well, it’s okay, different people have different skills. Do you have other products?” And Luke comes running up there with a box of books, goes, “Yeah, here’s his other products.” Eben’s going, “Oh, cool, okay, well, let me look at your first book.”
“Fit Over 40.” He turns the book over and goes, “That’s one of the best titles of a book I’ve ever seen. This is an awesome title. That’s a great brand.”
“Oh, thanks man.” He says, “Let me pick up the next one. The Every Other Day Diet. You’re like a branding guru, what the hell? Why are you up here?”
And he went through like four, five of my books, Every Other Day Diet, Seven Minute Body, he’s like, “Dude, these are all not only great titles, these are great brands.” I go, “Yeah, but wait until you get to the shitty one.” That was the thing—wait until you get to the one that doesn’t work, right?
And the one that didn’t work was “Empower.” He’s like, “That’s terrible.”
It is terrible, and the reason why it was called “Empower,” just to defend myself a little bit, is there are four Ms, mind, meals, muscle, and motion. And even that doesn’t really tell you what it is.
And it happened to be the product that I was the most proud of. 48 weeks straight of audio—all proprietary. It was very good. People who went through it, it changed their lives, but I could have sold 10 times more of that product.
I discontinued it. I took it offline. I’m gonna redo it but I’d have to redo all 48 audios, because I start off with, “Hey, it’s Jon Benson with “Empower.” So, that was a terrible name because it did not tell what they did.
Here’s the funny part, the other conclusion is, so, for the next 30 minutes Eben and I are brainstorming on stage and we still couldn’t name the damned thing. Even Eben and I couldn’t come up with it.
If you have a product that’s really tough to brand then probably your product is trying to cover too many facets. That is what we came up with. I was trying to say, “Here’s how you improve your body, your mind, your soul, your spirit, your …”
It’s everything. It’s like throwing the kitchen sink at improvement.
So, “Personal Power” is a much better name. Anthony Robbins stuff, right? So, there you go. That’s my take on branding and my funny Eben story.
Yuri: Beautiful stuff, buddy. This has been awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wisdom and years of expertise in helping countless entrepreneurs just kick butt online.
So, at this point in time, where is the best place for people to stay up to date with what you are doing with digital publishing and all your latest creations and awesomeness?
Jon: Oh, man, what I decided to do is take everything from the email stuff that we’re doing. Open, Click, Buy just got released, which is the email book. Sellerator, which of course is the video sales letter course, which everyone and their mother has or should have.
We already have season one of the podcast up, 10 episodes per season, and you hear from me once a week. When I did the podcast, last time I did it, which was last year, I hit number 42 on all of iTunes, in my third podcast. So, I think that people will get a lot of value out of that, and that’s just the best place to find me.
So, I hope you enjoyed that episode. A lot of great nuggets of insight there from Mr. Jon Benson. So, this is a special one because the initial schedule that we had mapped out for 2018, one of the guests that was supposed to be on this time slot today live, that interview just got rescheduled later on and I’m like, “Oh, my god! We gotta fill this spot.”
So, that’s how you repurpose content. Take some awesome stuff from the past, you bring it into the present, and it allows people to benefit into the future. There we go.
So, that’s all for today’s episode. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. A couple of housekeeping things, if you haven’t subscribed to the podcast please do so today. Healthpreneur podcast on iTunes, and if you want to leave a rating or a view that would be awesome.
The other thing I’ll mention, that I mentioned earlier this week is that we’ve got a brand new online training called The Nine Business Accelerators. I’m gonna walk you through what these are and how they will help you get more clarity, more customers and more profit into your business.
This is a training that’s not going to be Evergreen, it’s literally going to be online for the next week or two, and then it’s coming down. And I’ll tell you exactly why in that webinar.
So, if you want to register for that it’s completely free. You can go to healthpreneurgroup.com/9. Grab your spot today. It is awesome. It’s basically a framework for giving you a blueprint, a roadmap, a proven way to build your business no matter what type of business model you have and get it to where you want it to be.
The reason I’m sharing this is because I’ve noticed a lot of similarities and commonalities between different types of business models in this space, and I’ve brought these down to nine power moves. Nine things that you can do in your business that, if done right, make a big difference.
Small hinges move big doors, that’s kind of the idea. But, these are also not just small hinges, these are big hinges, and if you’re missing a few of them your business is going to suffer. So, I strongly recommend you attend. healthpreneurgroup.com/9.
That is all for today. I hope you have an amazing day. I hope you have an amazing weekend. I’ll be back with you on Monday for a solo round, which is gonna be a great one. So, enjoy the weekend. Thank you so much for joining me.
Continue to get out there and be great, do great, and I’ll see you on Monday.
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