Direct Response... the List, the Offer, or the Copy (Which is Most Important)?
Have you heard of the 40/40/20 rule?
It's a good rule of thumb you need to heed when running, creating, or evaluating any direct response campaign.
It's not new and there are COUNTLESS blogs, articles, and videos about it.
It means this: the three things you need to nail to make money online as a direct response marketer are... the list, the offer, and the copy/creative.
As a direct response marketer who happens to specialize in direct response copywriting, you'd guess that I think "creative" is the most important..."
But you'd be wrong.
Because the real "difference maker" is in the list.
I'd say it's slightly MORE IMPORTANT than 40% even.
John Carlton told a story about this somewhere (I forgot where I saw it, but I remember the story).
In a nutshell, it goes like this:
If you were trying to sell a hamburger (and so was I), there's ONE THING I could use to guarantee that I'd sell more hamburgers than you...
... even if your hamburger was objectively BETTER (i.e. your offer)
... even if the way you pitched your hamburger was factually more effective (i.e. your creative)
The ONE THING?
Simple... a starving audience.
Because if I can fill a room with people who are starving, I can sell them a shitty hamburger with relative ease.
That's because they already want what I have.
On the contrary, you can have a better offer (e.g. your burger has onion rings, grass-fed beef, gluten-free buns) and present your burger in a better way. But if your audience isn't starving, you'll lose.
Or worse yet, if your audience is vegan... oops.
This is why people will buy an offer with shitty creative (design, copywriting) all day long.
Nail the list and you can make money.
Nail the copy, design & offer with a BAD LIST... you lose.
Nail all three - now we're talking!
And of course, you want to nail all three to maximize profit:
Your list needs to be vetted, screened, and highly targeted...
Your offer needs to be irresistible to that list...
Your copy/creative needs to present your offer in the most effective (i.e. persuasive) way possible...
Don't use this as an excuse for bad copy and a less-than-irresistible offer though.
It'll work, but not for the long haul.
Instead - go for all three... because bad marketing *that makes money* isn't what we're after.