Episode #45 – Zach Grove On 4 Sales Funnel Tricks Learned Writing for the Autoresponder Guy
Zach Grove is a FAST-rising email copywriter.
He writes SIZZLING hot autoresponders.
His emails impress clients.
…how do I know?
‘Cause he learned from the best ; )
Zach applied to write copy for me in late 2013.
Back then, I thought I needed a few emails…
…Turns out, the McMethod is growing faster than ever.
And there’s a LOT to get done.
Since December, Zach has become my right-hand man and go-to executioner.
He’s worked behind the scenes with me on:
- building my Email for Ecommerce sales funnel
- launch of the McMasters paid community
- leading 30+ McMasters as the community manager
- writing launch autoresponders for clients
…and in this episode, Zach pulls the curtain on 4 tricks learned on the journey.
Here’s your VIP Insider’s Pass to The Autoresponder Guy HQ.
Grab a coffee.
Take out a sheet of paper and a pen.
And get ready to convert more prospects in your funnel.
In this episode, you’ll discover:
- the DAP formula to make your squeeze and sales pages flow – every time
- the discovery author Kurt Vonnegut called his life’s greatest work (add this to your swipe file)
- how simple “Story Shapes” can help you craft GRABBING parables in email
- how to write an FAQ email that DESTROYS objections and gets sales
- why marketing is NEVER about your product
- the weird path Zach and John both took to go from ZERO copy chops to writing for 6-figure clients in months
- what a random email about napkin math and Einstein can teach you about “framing” your emails to CAPTIVATE readers
- Jay Abraham’s 3 ways to grow a business
- the Universal Shapes of Stories via Kurt Vonnegut
- CopyHour (hand-copying sales letters)
- EmailforEcommerce DAP-format landing page
- Vishen Lakhiani on the Email Marketing Podcast re. FAQ emails
- Perry Marshall’s Traffic/Conversions/Economics triangle
Intro and outro backing music: Forever More by CREO
John: It’s John McIntyre here, the Autoresponder Guy. I’m here with Zach Grove. You might not have heard of Zach Grove before. Zach Grove is an up-and-coming copywriter. He’s actually is one of the copywriters who applied to write copy for me, write emails, way back in December. That was two months ago. In December I put out a blog post and said I was looking for someone to come and write some emails for me. That’s all I thought it would be. Zach was one of the people who applied. I was really impressed.
Now what’s happened…He started just by writing a few emails for me. Now, I guess I would say he is pretty much growing into that role of right-hand man. He’s writing emails. He helps me with a sales funnel for an ecommerce product – a product-as-a-service that we’ve got. We’ve done product launch autoresponders. We’ve just launched McMasters. He’s helping the members in there, replying to questions, helping them all out with advice, all that sort of stuff. Now he’s also doing the videos and podcasts.
I guess he came in as an email copywriter, and now he’s a get-things-done, get-shit-done, kind of guy, which is really cool. I’ve been really impressed so far. What I wanted to do was get him on the podcast, so that I could introduce him to you, the listener, because maybe you’re in McMasters, maybe you’re on the daily email list. If you’re in the Autoresponder Guy scene, if you’re in this group, you’re going to run into Zach sooner or later, either on a video or in a podcast or in an email. You’re going to see he has worked around somewhere, even if you don’t know it’s his just by looking at it. That’s what this podcast is about.
Zach’s got some cool stuff to share. He put together a, basically a podcast. I asked him to bring together a few tricks, so we’ve got that and we’ll get into that in just a minute. First I thought I would ask Zach how he’s doing, and then find out … get him to introduce himself. Zach, how are you doing today?
Zach: I’m doing well, John. How are you doing?
John: I’m doing really good, man, really good. Before we get into the content that you’ve prepared today, tell the listener a bit about who are you and what do you do?
Zach: Sure. I’m Zach Grove. I am an up-and-coming email copywriter. I hit up John a couple of months ago, as I was copying out sales letters and things that I had heard … other copywriters that I look up to like Derek Johanson and Andre Chaperon. I really wanted to work with John. I just tried to add value as much as I could. For about six months now I’ve had my own clients as a freelancer. I write for a lot of Kickstarter-funded startups doing email crash courses and things like that. I really just wanted to get in the room with John and mastermind and write some autoresponders.
John: Cool. Cool. You’re crushing it. Absolutely crushing it. Let’s start … Tell us, what have you prepared for us today?
Zach: Today, I just wanted to tell the listener about four sales funnel tricks that I learned writing for the autoresponder guy. I obviously learned a lot of tricks of the trade from you, John. I got four that stuck out, so shall we dive in?
John: Let’s dive in. Let’s do it.
Zach: All right. Number One is tell-to-sell. Anyone on John’s list has heard of the power of stories and telling via parables and metaphors. One thing you may not have heard is something from the author, Kurt Vonnegut.
Really interesting thing that popped up in the McMasters community via Rob Hanly who posted an infographic from the work of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut outlines various story arcs that come up in different cultures. It doesn’t matter if it’s the east or the west or what language they speak, there are these same story arcs. It’s also called the monomyth, the hero’s journey, that pop up everywhere. I thought this was really interesting. Looking at especially how John applies these story arcs.
Let me throw out a couple here. One of them is the man in the hole. In this story arc, you can apply this in your email copy and you’ll find that it resonates with people. It’s just a universal human story where the main character gets into trouble, and then gets out of it again, and ends up better off for the experience. One example, if you’re on John’s list, is you may have seen the Rocky, the guy with the email marketing, about the movie where Rocky Balboa fights against all odds and then achieves his goal.
This can be quite helpful when you’re writing emails because you can position your product as the solution that will help your prospect end up better.
John: Okay. Cool. What I really love about this is it just reminds me of … I think it’s just evidence that we, as people, we communicate through stories. A lot of people are getting into content marketing and email marketing, just copywriters, just marketing in general, thinking that they’re going to go around. They’re not going to tell stories. They’re not even thinking about that. They’re just going to give that how-to tips and that’s going to convince people. They’re going to give away all this how-to information which is always so valuable. Then that’s going to be how, why people trust them.
That works to a point, but I think what this forgets is that people love stories. We communicate through stories. If you can communicate with someone with a story, you’re going to be a much better teacher. Therefore, your how-to information is going to be much more powerful if you can teach it under a guise of a story, which means people are going to get better results from it.
They’re going to connect with them more. They’re going to have more light bulb moments which is going to create more trust. I just think this is … To me it’s just incredible what you can do with it. It’s hardwired into us.
Zach: Yeah, and that’s what I thought was interesting is that all cultures resonate with these same story arcs. The reality is that people buy based on emotion and then justify it with logic. If you can write a powerful story or a parable that really connects with your prospect emotionally and you empathize with them, the rest will follow.
John: Okay. One thing I’m curious about … I know how to do it, but I’d like to hear your perspective on it. Someone’s listening to this … A listener might be listening going, “That’s great. I get it. I want to tell stories, but how do I come up with stuff to talk about? What do you mean tell stories? How do I … Where do I start?” What helped you when you were writing some of the emails when it came to writing stories?
Zach: You know, man, everyone is different. You might get ideas from reading a lot or from just watching the TV. The way I look at it, you can really turn anything into a story as long as you slide it into a pitch. I can throw out an example where I wrote an email yesterday. It was based on a YouTube video that my girlfriend shared with me. It’s this cheesy video about a cheetah that was injured in the wild, and then it became friends with a dog at this animal shelter.
At first the dog was really friendly, but this new foreign cheetah wasn’t really sure about the dog and didn’t really want to go near it. Then, as they hung out every day, the cheetah got used to seeing the dog every day. Now they’re best friends.
What does this have to do with my prospect? The email I was writing the story about was about email marketing and the power of autoresponders. The morale was, you need to use autoresponders in your business to get in front of your prospects on a daily basis so that they come to know and trust you and want to buy from you.
I really think you could throw out any topic, anything that you see on TV or on the Internet or if you’re reading a lot. Something that your friend mentions to you. As long as you slide it into a pitch, I really think anything can be a story.
John: Okay. What you meant with that cheetah story was that what made the cheetah become friends with the dog in the end was that the dog just kept persisting. Over time, by staying in contact, the dog is like…He used the autoresponder strategy. He just kept going up to the cheetah, you know, “What’s up man?” He did it everyday, I don’t know, thirty days for example. Then one day the cheetah goes, “All right. Screw it. I’m going to be friends with you.
You sound like a nice dog.” They became friends. This is that slide that we’ve kind of talked about. Just like email marketing. You stay on top of them, you keep emailing them, sooner or later they’re going to come around. Just like that cheetah who fell in love with the dog, or at least they became friends, you’re prospects are going to become friends with you.
Zach: That’s right.
John: All right. That’s that. Now what’s next?
Zach: Number Two. We have the DAP formula. This is a great framework that that you taught me, John, for writing any kind of landing page, so that’s an opt-in page, or trying to get somebody’s email address, or a sales page where you’re trying to get the purchase. Here’s what DAP stands for. D is describe the problem. A is agitate the pain. P is present your solution.
So how would you use this? First you want to describe the problem. Let’s say as an example that you and I worked on, John, emailforecommerce. If you guys go to emailforecommerce.com, you’ll see there’s a DAP landing page in action.
The problem that we first described is you’re an ecommerce store entrepreneur, and you have this store, but you don’t have your email marketing all set up. You know that you’re leaving money on the table. Right? You’re losing money every month because you’re not collecting email addresses. That’s a description of the problem.
The next part is agitate. A-agitate the pain. You really want to kind of pour salt on the wound. In this page we say, let’s do some math. Suppose you have a hundred thousand dollar store. If you’re losing 15% because you don’t have email marketing setup, you could potentially be losing fifteen thousand dollars. That really sucks. You need to get that figured out. You want to agitate it so that ethically you can provide your solution to their problem.
That’s the final step in DAP. P-present the solution. That’s where you say, that’s where my product comes in, emailforecommerce. We’ll take care of everything for you.
John: Okay. Okay. I love that. I love that. I love how simple it is. You just explained it. To be honest, it’s not actually my formula. I don’t even know who invented it. Perry Marshall talks about it. Dan Kennedy talks about it. It’s just this idea that marketing is just about solving problems. If you can convince someone that you can solve his problem, it’s a natural sell. You’re not convincing them to do anything.
I guess that’s one thing that’s worth mentioning. Selling something to someone is not about convincing him to do something. You want to solve his problem. What you have to do is tap into what his problem is, and I guess make that slippery slope for him to take action and solve that. It’s really … Everyone has limiting beliefs, right? Let’s say I want to go and get ripped. There’s a product out there that’s going to help me get ripped, but I’m like, “Well, I could never do it. I don’t have enough motivation.” Right? “I don’t have enough money.” “I don’t have enough willpower.” “I don’t have enough time.”
These are all objections, or maybe this guy, “This product probably won’t work.” All these things … If someone could come along with a sales letter and remove each of those objections, then I’m going to buy that product, because I have a problems and the product solves my problem. If you can just remove those barriers, I will slide down that slippery slope and buy that product. It’s the most natural thing in the world.
Zach: Yes. Exactly.
John: So that’s DAP. What’s … We’ve got Number Three.
Zach: Yeah, so speaking of objections. Point Number Three is address objections in an FAQ email. I first got this idea from a previous episode, John, that you gave with Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley. I really just want to emphasize for the listener. If you have an autoresponder sequence and you haven’t gotten around to putting an FAQ email in the sequence, go do that today. It really works. Just like you were talking about, John, where people have objections. They have limiting beliefs. They think, “I want to get ripped, but genetically I can’t do that. I don’t have the money to buy the food that I need to be eating.”
Make a list of your prospect’s objections. Just get out a piece of paper, and then write your response to each of the objections. Then you can arrange an autoresponder using all the principles that you and I talked about, John, and just systematically go through and get rid of those barriers.
John: Absolutely. I’ve seen the instinct, and worth pointing out here is that some people think about FAQ, they think about all the boring stuff. Just stuff like how is it delivered? Does it come in a box? Is it labeled? What’s the shipping times? What’s your refund policy? That’s important, but it’s not that important. What the FAQ is for, especially a FAQ email like this …
There’s is a place for all that, fine print details, all that boring stuff. That’s just the boring details. What this FAQ email is for is not that stuff. It’s for like these objections, all the reasons why someone wouldn’t buy. You explain why that objection isn’t really an objection.
You can explain this here. We did this with Jamie’s emails. Tell me about some of the objections that we overcame in that email.
Zach: You and I collaborated on a sixteen email autoresponder for a product launch with the client, Jamie. She has a really interesting product where she’s selling Facebook marketing solutions for personal trainers who want to get more clients. One of the objections that a personal trainer would have to spending money on a Facebook marketing program is, they might say, “I already have a Facebook page set up. I already have people liking the page. Why do I need to pay you to teach me how to run my Facebook marketing?” That’s their objection.
The way we got around that is one of the FAQ emails, we said … You basically put the question, “Do I need this if I already have a Facebook page?” Then you go through and you show why it solves their problem. Then we explained the details of how, if you have a lot of likes on Facebook, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re connecting and getting new clients, because of Facebook organic reach, things like that. Then we used the analogy about …
I have the email open right here. I can read it. We said something like, ” How to do game the system like Moneyball and end up with way more clients than the other guys? It all has to do with your organic reach. Here’s what’s great. When you sign up for the Fitness Facebook Blueprint, you’ll learn all about getting clients for free.” Just like you said, John, it’s all about positioning your product as the solution to their problem.
John: Absolutely. I think a lot of this stuff is common sense. I remember thinking about why someone wouldn’t buy that product. Another objection is that, “I don’t have enough money to spend on ads.” If you’re selling, especially like a how to use Facebook for marketing program, one of the objections is going to be from people who don’t have any money to spend on ads. A lot of people just don’t like spending money. Right? They did advertising is an expense. That’s a whole other issue. In a FAQ email, one of the questions is just, and we did this as well, was, “I don’t have enough money to spend on ads,” or “I don’t want to spend any money on ads.”
Then, it’s like, “Well, that’s fine. What’s great is that module one, two, and three you don’t need any money. This is all free stuff. This is all strategies and tactics that you can use without spending a cent on Facebook ads. It’s going to get you fans. It’s going to get you referrals, and blah, blah, blah, blah.” We’re just trying to emphasize that the idea that they don’t have … Even if they don’t have enough money to spend on ads, it’s absolutely fine.
Zach: So, what’s an objection, John, I’m curious, that people have when you use the McIntyre method of launch?
John: I would say that one of the most common ones I get is what’s the difference between the McIntyre method and any other product out there. It could be Autoresponder Madness. There’s a lot of other products that teach people how to do email marketing out there. There are couple of the main ones that I run into a lot. That’s a common question. The classic one was with autoresponder Madness. That was kind of where the McIntyre method came from actually.
I wanted a product, and I thought a great way to kick it off and get things started would be to go into a JB with someone like Andre, which is exacting what happened. That might seem crazy because essentially I have a product that’s competing with Andre in a sense. The way I framed it up was that Andre’s program is great. It’s really in-depth. This is Autoresponder Madness by the way. You get a ton of information. He sends you so much interesting-
Zach: Yeah. It’s a great program.
John: Yeah. It’s incredible. I spoke to a number of people … I had people come to me saying they had bought the product and they had been through it, but they still had no idea how to get started. They couldn’t take action. It’s kind of like he gives you so much information, and it’s great stuff, but you don’t really have a road map for creating that autoresponder in the typical business. It doesn’t want some crazy advanced thing with product launches and segmenting and all that. They just want a simple opt-in form on their website with some sort of autoresponder that might be ten emails, and that’s that. They don’t want to mess around with all the advanced stuff. They just want that.
What I did, was I was like, “I’m going to keep things simple.” Instead of trying to do what Andre’s doing and try to compete with him on that, which isn’t really my style … He already owns that angle of the market. I’m going to go after this idea of creating a step-by-step blueprint. Instead of giving someone a whole bunch of stuff, I’m going to give them the minimum amount necessary to get them to take action. Someone can sign up, follow the steps, do the homework assignments, and spend a couple of hours a week. At the end of four weeks, they’ll have an autoresponder.
It’s not the most advanced thing in the world. This isn’t for pros or anything. It’s for people who have bought other products like Autoresponder Madness. This is how it’s overcoming that objection, “Why should I buy this? I already have this other product?” It’s like, “Well, have you actually done anything about it? If not, the McIntyre method, which is now bundled into McMasters, will help you because it gives you a step-by-step plan.”
Zach: Very interesting. Basically, the way that you answered this objection of how is this program different? There are already other email marketing programs? You said, “Well. This is the first one that gives you a step-by-step system. Once you are done with the four modules, you will have your ten email autoresponder written.”
John: Yeah. The idea is I want to give people a result. I’m not selling a product. This is why a lot of people don’t understand it. They think they’re selling a book or a video or something like that. You’re selling results. If you can convince someone that you can get them the results, they will buy the product. It’s simple.
Zach: Well said, man.
John: All right. What’s this last one? You’ve got one more point.
Zach: Yeah, this is the last point. By the way, guys, if you have not written a FAQ email, go put an FAQ in your autoresponder. Sell some products.
Number Four is keep it vivid. This is huge. I’ve got a quick example here. I know we’re running out of time, John. You and I had this situation where we were writing an autoresponder for ecommerce entrepreneurs. We wanted to put an email where we would walk them through doing a little bit of napkin math We basically said, “Get out a piece of paper and a calculator. We’re going to run some numbers on your business, basically to demonstrate the LCV, the Lifetime Client Value, and why our product is in fact a good investment. Each client is worth a lot to an ecommerce store.
Rather than framing it up like, “Okay. We’re going to do a bunch of math.” That’s boring. Nobody wants to read a textbook. They want to be entertained. The way we wrote this email is made it sort of like an adventure. We said, “Okay, so …” The subject line is “Einstein called this the most powerful force in the universe.” The copy starts out, “Can you solve this riddle? What is the most powerful force in the universe? According to Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist who ever lived, it’s compound interest. Huh? Albert Einstein was impressed by the big results you can earn by making tiny improvements over time, so what can Einstein teach you about compounding your ecommerce revenue?”
Then we go on to have them do this exercise with the math. It’s fun. It’s vivid. It’s like the readers are going on a journey to discover the most powerful force in the universe and have the same epiphany that Einstein had using the actual numbers from their business revenue.
I would encourage anybody listening to … The next time you’re writing an email, think about how can you make it vivid. How can you make your prospects reading this email not bored by a textbook? How can you take them on an adventure, on a journey, and make them feel like they’re part of it?
John: I love this one. I think it’s … I mentioned this on a podcast today. I was doing a podcast this morning. It’s an Oscar Wilde quote. I mentioned it a few times on this podcast. It’s that “Most people live lives of quiet desperation.” Most people are bored out of their brains. They do the same thing every week. Maybe they’ve got a job. Entrepreneurs are a bit different, but the average person, they do the same thing every day, five days a week, they have a family. Life is boring. There is no excitement to it. It’s pretty drab. That’s how most people live. It’s easy to forget that.
This is just a classic example of it. You can never get in there with, “Hell, let’s just run some numbers.” You’ve got to go in there … It’s kind of like you’ve got to have a bit of theatrics to it. You’ve got to go in there like you’re an actor, or like you’re a magician, or one of these kind of people. You might have a trick that’s not really that interesting if you didn’t have any enthusiasm. When you add all the theater, the slight of hands, and the stories, and all this other stuff, it just adds so much magic to it.
Zach: Absolutely, man. I think acting is a good metaphor. Another one I was thinking about calling it is Cartoon Copy, but I ended up going with Keep It Vivid. I think of it as like … It’s got to be colorful. You know what I mean? You want to paint them a picture. If you’re just giving them how-to information and facts about your product, you’re going to lose people and your sales funnel is not going to convert at the end of the day.
John: It’s kind of like … You mentioned Kurt Vonnegut’s stories frameworks that’s got all the different types of stories. One way to pass that on to someone is to just go and get one of those stories and say something like … I’ll bring it up right now. We’ve got Manny Hall. This is the idea, the main character gets into trouble, then gets out of it again, and ends up better off for the experience. We could have an email that says that. It could be like, “Hey. I know a guy called Dave. Dave got into trouble one day. It was really bad, but one day he got out of it again, and he learned something. He learned this.” That’s a story with no theater. It’s still a story. It still follows that classic format, but there’s no theater to it. There’s no magic to it. You have to have that magic for it to be interesting.
John: Instead of saying that, you might say, “It was a quiet misty night. It was midnight. The rain was pouring down. Dave sat down at his teakwood desk in his bedroom staring out the window into the rain.” You’re creating this image in someone’s head, and they start imaging it. They start getting involved in that story. That’s really what creates those light bulb moments. They go along on a journey. I guess that’s another way of looking at it. Your emails need to take people on a journey.
Zach: Absolutely. If you guys are not really sure how to go about that, you’re not a novelist, go read some fiction. All of your copy inspiration should not just come from marketing materials and the Internet even. Go pick up a paper book and see how good authors like Kurt Vonnegut build imagery into their stories. I think it will make your copy a lot better.
John: Absolutely. Absolutely true, man. It’s been great having you on the show for the first time. I’m sure you’ll be back. We’ll do this again. We talked about doing this in a few weeks time after we’ve got some cool results from the people in McMasters.
Zach: Sounds good, man. Thanks for having me.
John: Before we go, are there any final words of wisdom? What’s one final thing you would like to tell people to do before we sign off for the night?
Zach: If you’re running your business, I would say just go check out the show notes of this episode. We’ll have everything up there. Try and implement some of this stuff. Go write your FAQ email. Just keep doing it. If you’re a beginner, go hand copy some sales letter, because I swear to god, it works.
John: Hell yeah. Hell yeah. All right. Cool, man. You’re doing most of the writing of the emails right now, so if the listener wants an autoresponder sequence, they can contact me, [email protected], and Zach can use some of what he shared right here to write an autoresponder sequence for you. We’ll rock it.
Zach: We’ll make it happen.
John: Alright, man, let’s wrap it up. Thanks for coming on the show.
Zach: Thanks, John.