Hey everyone–so in this chapter, I’m going to be talking about NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming. A lot of master copywriters have studied NLP to really hone their skills and while a thorough discussion of this subject is outside the scope of this book, I did want to give you some of the basics to use so you can improve as a copywriter.
So, let’s talk about NLP, because even though I’ve told you what the acronym stands for, if you’ve never studied this topic before, I’m sure Neuro-Linguistic Programming doesn’t mean a whole lot to you.
NLP was started in the 70s by two psychologists who researched successful therapists. Basically, they were trying to find out why some therapists could seemingly “fix” a patient in no time at all, while others took years to get results. In the course of their research, they discovered that successful therapists use different language and mental models to bring about immediate change.
So, in a nutshell, the NLP model is all about learning how the mind works and then using a set of tools or techniques to influence it. The reason copywriters like NLP is because it can persuade prospects to take action. Typically that’s done by using words to create pictures in people’s minds, by establishing rapport, and by appealing to all the senses–taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound.
Anyways, that’s just a little background about NLP. I’m by no means an expert on this subject, but I have used most of the hacks I’m about to teach you to improve my own copywriting. So, let’s move on to the first hack.
The easiest way to explain a pattern interrupt is to talk about what the goal of a pattern interrupt is and that is to break the pattern that a situation would normally produce. So, what does that mean exactly? Let me give you an example.
While this doesn’t happen too often anymore, remember back in the day when you’d get telemarketer calls? If you were like most people, as soon as the telemarketer identified himself as “Mark Jones calling from ABC Security Company to talk to you about your home security options,” you’d frantically try to figure out the quickest way to end the call. That’s the pattern a phone call from a telemarketer is probably going to produce.
But what if the telemarketer called you and said something like, “Hey Brad–it’s Mark Jones, does that name ring a bell?” Rather than immediately launch into “telemarketer defense” mode, you’d stop to think for a minute–that’s the power of a pattern interrupt.
So, now that I’ve given you an idea of what pattern interrupts are, you’re probably wondering how you can inject them into your copy. One of the most common examples you’ll see of copywriters trying to use pattern interrupts are the words “WARNING!” or “ATTENTION!” Usually, you’ll find these in headlines. That said, I don’t think these are great pattern interrupts. So many copywriters use them that I suspect they’re not as effective as they once were.
The best way to use a pattern interrupt is conceptually–by that I mean, you insert a new completely unrelated idea into your copy, rather than using words.
However, you want to be careful doing this. You don’t want to write something like, “The Mexican Walking Fish can regrow severed limbs. Now buy my vitamin supplement that has nothing to do with what I just said.”
When you use a pattern interrupt, make sure you can relate it in some way to what you’re selling. For instance, if your vitamin supplement also regenerates limbs, talking about the Mexican Walking Fish first might be a really effective pattern interrupt you could use to introduce your supplement’s limb regeneration powers.
The next NLP hack is called an embedded command. That’s when you try to implant a thought into someone’s subconscious. Typically, this is done verbally and the NLP speaker will emphasize the embedded command while they’re talking.
But it can also be done in copywriting too. To show you an example, I took a few lines of text from the sales letter I wrote for Fat Loss Factor and highlighted the embedded commands in each sentence. Check it out:
Awareness Pattern Words
In NLP, awareness pattern words are words that subliminally implant suggestions. These are words like: notice, see, realize, aware, experience, understand, and discover. Basically, the belief is that when people read an awareness word, their critical thinking skills go on autopilot and they just assume that everything following the awareness word is true.
So, again, the best way to highlight this NLP tactic is with an example:
Anyways, these are great words to incorporate into your copywriting, where it makes sense to do so.
Jon Benson, who’s one of the top Video Sales Letter copywriters and actually claims to have invented the VSL, uses awareness pattern words in his VSL slides. When he does, he makes the awareness pattern word red, rather than black, just like I have here on the screen.
Get Plenty of “Yes’s!”
I like this hack a lot. Your goal with this technique is to get prospects to say “yes” often as they read or listen to your copy. You do this by asking closed questions that are easy ways to get your prospects to say yes.
For example, here are some closed questions you could ask to elicit a “yes” response:
- Isn’t that cool?
- Am I right?
- Isn’t that exciting?
- I’m sure you’ve noticed this too?
- Is this making sense?
- Are you all getting this?
- Who wants a free copy of X?
- Can you imagine if this happened to you?
The reason this is so effective is because you’re establishing a pattern of getting your prospects’ to say yes before you get into the details of your offer. Then, once you present your offer, your prospects are more likely to keep saying “yes” and purchase whatever it is you’re selling.
Russell Brand, who’s a friend of mine and the founder of ClickFunnels, tells a really great story about this tactic in his book, Expert Secrets. I highly recommend his book, by the way–there’s a lot of really useful stuff in there if you want to ramp up your marketing skills.
Anyways, in his book, Russell mentions how he’d heard rumors about this guy, Ted Thomas, who was known as the Pied Piper of Real Estate. Apparently Ted was so good at selling on stage that there’d be hundreds of people in line just waiting to buy.
So, Russell had lunch with Ted, and Ted explained that he constantly asks simple questions to get people to say yes over and over again.
Then when he asks them to give him money at the end, they’re more likely to because they’ve already said yes hundreds of times before that.
At the time, Russell had an automated webinar running so he decided to test this idea out. He listened to the recording, found a few dozen places he could ask “yes” questions and inserted them into the audio. Just by doing that, his webinar went from making $9.45 per registrant to $16.50 per registrant.
That’s the power of yes. OK, let’s move on to the next hack which is sell the next step.
Sell The Next Step
While he uses embedded commands, pattern interrupts, and some of the other things I’m talking about here, he says that he approaches NLP copywriting with only one goal in mind: to sell the next step.
So, when he writes a headline, his goal is to get prospects to read the first paragraph. When he writes the first paragraph, his goal is to get people to read the second paragraph. He does this step-by-step without rushing people. To do this, he says that you really need to pay attention to where your prospects are at and understand the conversation that’s going on in their heads.
He describes this process of selling the next step as the KEY to NLP copywriting. So, I highly recommend you incorporate this strategy into the copy you write.
Use Triple Facts.
This is kind of an interesting one. So, with a triple fact, you’re going to use two true statements and then follow them up with a statement you’d like your prospects to accept.
To give you an example of how it works, here’s a triple fact I created for my liver detox system, Fat Loss Factor.
This triple fact is something that I might use in a VSL, just before transitioning into my offer. Check it out:
- I’ve explained to you the important role your liver plays in weight loss. (TRUE)
- You’ve also learned why a liver detox can help anyone lose weight. (TRUE)
- And you know this system will turn your body into a lean, mean, fat-burning machine! (STATEMENT YOU WANT THE PROSPECT TO ACCEPT)
That’s why I created this special program for you, the Fat Loss Factor RX System.
Anyways, as you can see, this is really just another way of getting the prospect to buy in to what you’re saying. While I didn’t end each statement with a question so I could get a ‘yes’ answer, you can almost imagine prospects nodding in agreement after each one.
This tactic, by the way, is one that I learned in a video by Internet marketer Frank Kern. He suggests that this is a great way to transition into your actual offer when you’re doing a webinar.
Use Universal Quantifiers
You do this all the time, you probably just didn’t realize there was a term for it. In NLP, universal quantifiers refer to global words like: all, everyone, always, every time, and nobody.
In relationships, these are words you probably don’t want to use, because when you say to your spouse something like, “You never empty the dishwasher,” the conversation usually doesn’t end well. But as a copywriter, these are great words to use. That’s because they’re so extreme that they stimulate people’s emotions.
Now typically you’re going to want to use words like these in 1 of 2 scenarios–either when you want to agitate a problem or when you want the prospect to imagine a desired state.
So, let me give you an example, and again, I’m going to use my Fat Loss Factor RX system to do this. Let’s say that I’m trying to stir up emotions in my prospects by reminding them how hard it is to lose weight without a great system like the one I’m offering. I might say something like:
As you can see, I’m trying to agitate a pain point with universal quantifiers before launching into a description of my solution.
You could do this same thing when you want someone to imagine what their life would be like after buying Fat Loss Factor. That might look something like this:
Anyways, you get the picture. By now you have a pretty good understanding of NLP, and I’m going to wrap this up.
And having said that, we’ve now reached the end of the NLP Copywriting Hacks chapter. In the next chapter, I’ll talk about swipe files and why they’re so important. See you there.