The $25,000 web page

Here’s how Yaro Starak, internet marketing royalty, sets the stage to collect $25,000 simply by talking to 5 people.

I occasionally enjoy Yaro’s blog and email newsletter for their clear demonstrations of direct marketing tactics. Most recently, Yaro pitched his forthcoming “Elite Entrepreneur Coaching Program” on this page. When it works, he’ll collect $25,000 by simply having conversations with 5 people, on his own terms.

Check it out – it’s a great demonstration of a long sales letter. After reading through it a couple of times myself, I noticed a framework emerge. This is essentially the same pitch that convinces people to part with their hard-earned cash in all kinds of scenarios:

  • It begins by assuming that the reader is interested in a purchase (too many sales efforts waste time trying to lure disinterested buyers).
  • The bulk of the content makes an emotional right-brained appeal while overloading the left brain with numbers and case studies.

The net effect is similar to the psych study that asked people to memorize a sequence of random numbers and then offered them a healthy snack or a slice of rich chocolate cakes. Participants whose brains were overloaded by longer number sequences (a left-brained activity) unconsciously tended to shift the decision to the relatively unburdened right brain and more often chose the delicious-but-unhealthy cake.

Step 1: set the stage for an emotional decision

  1. Background = aspirational intro (“I’m rich and so can you!”).
  2. Aspirational value proposition. Too many sales efforts waste time describing the product or service instead of the value it creates for the buyer. “Sell the dream, not the dirt,” declares Donald Trump as he explains his successful real estate ventures.
  3. Aspirational “qualifier” questions. Begins to set a tone of exclusivity, a seller’s market.
  4. Details: product description and list of problems solved. (Overwhelming the left brain with lists leads to right-brain, emotional decision-making.) Lists are key here.

Step 2: appeal to the emotional brain with a scarce luxury good

  1. Velvet rope of work (“You have to really want it.”) Raises perceived value, sets luxury status.
  2. “Trust me” background info.
  3. Velvet rope of price (“Yes, it’s expensive.”) Reinforces luxury status.
  4. No refunds. What?! Yes. It’s so good he doesn’t have to offer refunds. Reinforces luxury status, creates seller’s market mindset.
  5. Charity. Reinforces aspirational tone. I’m not convinced of the value on this one, but it’s a popular sales angle.
  6. “You’ll ‘know’ if this is right for you.” Or, “don’t figure it out, go with your gut!” Driving the shopper to make an emotional decision.

Step 3: Decision time

  1. Application” reinforces notion of luxury good and seller’s market – you’ll be lucky to get this!
  2. Finally, pricing. At this point it’s an emotional decision. Don’t lead with the price, it allows the user to make a decision without enough cognitive load.