When we sit down to write a landing page, we usually have a ton of confusion in our heads.
We have so many elements on that landing page. What should we put first? What should we leave out? The sales of our product or service depends on us having incredible focus.
So how do we get that focus? The answer lies in the “pebble system”.
In this episode Sean talks about
Part 1: How To Find The Confusion On Your Sales Pages
Part 2: How To Use The Pebble System On Your Sales Page
Part 3: How To Expand The Sales Message
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“This transcript hasn’t been checked for typos, so you may well find some. If you do, let us know and we’ll be sure to fix them.”
This is the Three Month Vacation, and I'm Sean D'Souza.
Every evening at about twilight in New Mexico and Arizona, thousands of bats stream out from caves.
One of the most famous of them all, at least among biologists, is the Mexican free-tailed bats, because they're known for their hunting sprees. Like all animals, bats communicate with each other. But these Mexican free-tailed bats, they not only communicate; they also confuse. Aaron Cochran is a biologist who's at the Wake Forest University. He was studying the hunting habits of Mexican free-tailed bats in Arizona and also in New Mexico. What he found was that his ultrasonic equipment was picking up two completely different sounds. When the free-tailed bats were trying to communicate with each other they used one sound, and then, the moment they had competition in the area, they would send out a sound that was totally different.
Usually when a bat is hunting, it sends out what is called a feeding buzz. That bounces off the prey, and then they know, “Hey, it's time for dinner.” What these bats were doing was jamming the signals. It reduced their capability of capturing moths from 64% down to just 18%.
This confusion, this reduced capability is a lot like what happens on our sales pages. When we are trying to write sales pages, we're trying to get too much information across. It sounds like there's one buzz and a second buzz, and now there is confusion and we miss the point.
Today what we're going to do is we're going to stick to the point and we're going to use pebbles. We're going to use pebbles to figure out how we get to exactly what we want to say to the client, and then how we continue to say that over the rest of the sales page. The three things that we're going to cover are, one, we find the confusion. The second is we use the pebbles. The third is we expand each issue all by itself. Let's start out with the first one, which is finding the confusion on your sales page.
Part 1: How To Find The Confusion On Your Sales Pages
About two weeks ago I was on Facebook. I learn a lot through Facebook, despite what I say. Yet, I was watching this video by this conductor called Alondra de la Parra. I was so taken by this video that I saw on Facebook that I went to YouTube. On YouTube, there she was directing the Paris Orchestra. One of the songs that really got to me, one of the pieces that really got to me was “Huapango.” I started listening to “Huapango,” and then to another piece, and another piece, and another piece. Before I knew it, I had three albums of Alondra de la Parra. Of course I was driving Renuka crazy because I was playing this music all day long.
Now the interesting thing about this music is it's classic music, and like a lot of classical music, it requires an orchestra. An orchestra is complete confusion if you let it be. That's what a conductor does. A conductor has to stand up there and somehow know that music in advance, and push and pull so that instead of cacophony we have music, we have this beautiful-sounding orchestra all playing together, but somehow separately at the same time. Your sales page is not difference. It's got to have all of this information, but it's got to play something louder than the other. This is why you have to first find the confusion, because when you find the confusion you know exactly what's driving the sales page crazy.
The answer is usually with the clients. When you ask your clients questions about why do you choose our business, they will tend to use a single word or a single phrase. Theygive you a line that you then try to put on your sales page, and of course it's total confusion. Let me read you a line from the Running Coach. Now we're talking about head coach Ken Rickerman, and he runs 5speedrunning.com and he teaches people how to run faster and better and with fewer injuries. Of course help go and help speak to a client, and help ask them, “What is it that drives you to come to 5speedrunning.com?” Of course they'll give their response, and it sounds like this: “I want to move more freely. I want to go longer on the runs, and I want to improve my form.” The question is, does that help?
It doesn't help, because when you look at it, there are three points there. One is move more freely. Second is longer runs. The third is improve form. It sounded like a single sentence, but there are three whole topics in there, and that's what we have to do. First we have to find the confusion. In that single line, there is enormous amounts of confusion. You can't write a sales page or you can't write an email if you're trying to cover three points at the same time. You have to cover one point, just like this podcast. We're going to cover three points, but hey, let's start off with the first point. Let's go into a lot of detail with the first point. Then we'll go to the second point, detail the second point. Then we go to the third point.
This is how we do stuff, or we should do stuff. Instead, we end up like those Mexican free-tailed bats, and there's all this confusion because we're trying to cover all of it together because it seems like one sentence. We take that sentence and we break it down into bullet points. That's how you sort out any confusion. Take the sentence from your client, whatever that might be, and then break it up into bullet points. Once you break it up into bullet points, you will see very quickly that hey, there are four or five points here, or there are two or three points here, but there is almost never one point. That's where the confusion lies. First step: make sure that you break up the sentences into bullet points.
Part 2: How To Use The Pebble System On Your Sales Page
That takes us to the second step where we start using the pebbles. As you know, we take three months off every year. We work for three months, and then we take a month off. For at least two of those months, we travel internationally. We'll go to places like The Netherlands, or Japan, or Sardinia. When people ask me, “Which is your favorite city?” that's not a fair question to ask because every city is completely different. The people are different and the food is different and the experience is different. Even so, you could specifically ask me, “Here are three cities, like three bullet points. Now, can you allocate pebbles to them?” If we took three cities like Amsterdam and Kyoto and Cagliari, then I could allocate pebbles. Because when you rank cities, it's very difficult. You could say Kyoto is one, Cagliari is two, Amsterdam is three. But that doesn't give us a sense of weight. What gives us a sense of weight is the pebble system.
The pebble system is very simple. If you said, “Now allocate ten pebbles. You've got ten pebbles and you have to allocate them to these three different cities,” and then Kyoto would get maybe four or five pebbles. Because Kyoto is old Japan. It's got temples and shrines and gardens. It's got lots of ramen, lots of it, great food, great people, and these amazingly sublime gardens where you can sit there for hours and do nothing, just like you would imagine Japan to be, this very quiet, non hustle bustle place. In my ranking, Kyoto would get five pebbles. Now we have just five pebbles among the rest of the cities. Now we have Cagliari and Amsterdam. Amsterdam is amazing. It's got lots of cheese, and Renuka loved that place more than any other place. But I would give Cagliari three pebbles, and then Amsterdam two pebbles.
Now we have a weighted system. We have this concept of Kyoto, five pebbles; Cagliari, three pebbles; and then finally we get to Amsterdam, which is two pebbles. Now, if we have those three bullet points, we're clear which one is the most important. When look at what Ken had, he had move more freely, longer runs, and improve form. Longer runs got five pebbles. What we're going to do is we're going to start off with longer runs. The next thing was improve form; that got three pebbles. Finally, move more freely got two pebbles. Now, what we have with this pebble system is clarity. We know that the most important thing for that runner is for longer runs, so we're going to deal with longer runs on our sales page. For now, we totally abandon the other two, which is move more freely and improve form, and we focus on the problems that runners have with longer runs: the injuries it causes, all that stuff, but only with longer runs. Then you're able to get that message across very clearly. You might never have to go to point two and point three. Because, as Ken mentioned, with the longer run you get tired, you get physically exhausted, you lose focus, you get aches and pains, you have oxygen problems, you go out of breath. Then finally, you lose motivation and confidence. There is a lot of stuff to cover with just one topic, as you can see.
What we do on the sale page is do the Mexican free-tail dance. We try and put all the points together, when this one point itself could drive half the sales page. Imagine yourself as a client. You get there, you're having trouble with longer runs, and you see so much information in the form of a sales page about longer runs. That's when you realize, “My goodness, this guy knows exactly what he's talking about. This is the stuff that is of interest to me,” instead of all of this confusion and all of these bullet points bouncing back and forth.
What we've covered so far is we've found the confusion. Then we started using the pebbles. Now we're going to expand the issue.
Part 3: How To Expand The Sales Message
Yes, we're on the third and final part of this podcast. Let's expand the issue, shall we? Let's go back for a minute to Alondra de la Parra. There she is in front of this orchestra, and there is this accordion. Now this was a different piece altogether, and not “Huapango.” In this accordion we have the analogy that we need to understand how you expand that one point. In the last section we looked at this one concept of longer runs. What we have to ask are three questions. The first is what does the solution look like? When someone goes for a longer run, what does it look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? The best thing to do is not to answer this question yourself, especially if you're writing the sales letter. Because we're hopeless at writing sales letters. It's better to call up the client, get a recorder going, and ask them: What does it feel like? What does it look like? They will give you two, three paragraphs.
Then you ask that client the second question, which is: When it doesn't work out? How does it feel? What are things that stop you, slow you down? What they'll do is come up with that list. I get tired, I lose focus, I lose motivation. What they will do as well is they'll give you the words that you need to use on that page. If you've got that recorder going, you'll find that the client is giving you the exact words and the exact feeling and the exact emotion that you want from them. The most important thing for you to figure out at this point is that you stay one point. Even when we have gone to just longer runs, we still have five subtopics under that, which is get tired, lose focus, aches and pains, can't catch breath, and then lose motivation. We have five topics, and you have to be very careful. You have to stick with one thing at a time.
Among those five topics, which are the most important? Then you drive that. You address that one topic. Then they answer in a paragraph. That paragraph goes on your sales page. Because they will tell you exactly how they feel, what's happening in their brain, and what's really important to them. The client might say that the aches and pains are the most critical of all. That's where you start. Then maybe they go to the fact that the aches and pains make them lose focus. Then you continue down that path. Let them speak for a while. You just have to transcribe. Maybe you have to tweak a little bit here and there, but most of the time you're just doing a transcription.
This is the beauty of the pebble system. Instead of dealing with all of these things, we go down to one point. From that one point, we get another five points from those five points. We still have some level of ranking. In this case, you can have the ranking, all the pebbles all over again. The client will explain to you how they feel. Then you want to take that and put that on your sales page.
What about the other points? The move more freely and the improve form? You can put that in your bullets. You don't have to put that in your main text. You can put that a lot later. What you're really trying to do is drive home one problem. That is longer runs and what it means not to run that long. What are the consequences of not running that long? Then you bring up your solution: introducing the long run system. Then you explain your solution. How do you explain your solution? The client told you, remember? We asked them what did the solution look like. In effect, the client is writing your entire sales page. The critical thing is to use the pebble system. Because the pebble system allows you to focus. Otherwise, we have all this confusion, too much information. When someone reads your sales page, they don't get a single message.
We often try to write sales pages ourselves, and it's a big mistake. Even if you're a copywriter, it's a big mistake. The client can come up with terminology that you just cannot dream of, because they live it and they breathe it and they feel it. They have this specific information, the specific term that they want to use. You want to use that on your sales page. The best way to do it is to ask them. First you have to clarify. While I'm talking about clarification, let me reiterate what we've covered in this episode.
The first thing that we looked at was finding the confusion. We saw that it didn't matter what we're doing, there were several points that need to be covered. What we're going to do is isolate them. We isolated them by using pebbles. We then said five pebbles for this place, three for that, two for this. The same thing applies to your website. There are all of these points, but you allocate pebbles. Then you take the one that got the most pebbles. Then you expand on them. That was the third part. When you expand, you ask them, What does the solution look like?” and let them talk, and let them talk, and let them talk. You keep recording. You're the transcriber. You're the person asking the questions. Let them talk. Then you ask them what the problem looks like. Then they will give you four or five points. You can ask them more details about those points. Now you have enough content to put on your page. It's not just content, but emotion-filled content on that one single topic. That is why the pebble system is so powerful, because it helps the client focus, helps you focus, and you're able to create a much better sales page than just sitting at your computer and churning something out.
What's the one thing that you can do this week?
The one thing that you can do is to help yourself find that confusion factor that you're dealing with every single day. Do this with your grocery list. Just take three items and then allocate those pebbles. This is five, this is three, this is two. Get into the habit of allocating for pretty much everything. Your to-do list looks a lot better when you allocate pebbles, because you know exactly why you're doing what you're doing. If you have any questions, I'm at Twitter, Sean D'Souza; Facebook, Sean D'Souza; or email@example.com. To get this episode, go to psychotactics.com/64, and you will get the podcast as well as the transcript.
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