Extreme sales makeover: flabby copy into sales muscle

Writing words that sell is an incredibly valuable skill to have, especially if you plan to market products online.Β  It’s a skill that affects your income, so it’s worth putting effort in to continually improve it.Β  Below is a real-life example of sales copy that needs some sales muscle.

Let’s work on it together! Here are five pointers to stimulate your thinking.

Best-selling sales copy has…

1. Attractive looks

It grabs your attention the second you see it.Β  The key is to have a headline that works like a million-dollar smile. One that instantly stands out and makes you want to engage and discover more.

2. Slim lines

The best-ever body copy is fat free and full of value. Remove the bloated lumps of verbiage and sculpt firm, lean lines that make the reader feel great. Remember, waffle adds fat! πŸ˜‰

3. Natural beauty

There’s something irresistible about words that are sourced from your authentic self.Β  Clever copy formulas may sound great, but they somehow all end up with a phony, ‘same-as-everybody-else’ feel about them. Be sure your copy glows vibrantly with your own personal style.

4. Core strength

At the heart of your sales copy must be real substance that in worth buying.Β  All the pretty word packaging in the world will never replace delivering a powerful payload based on your unique, core strengths.

5. Perfect fitness

Fitness is about pulse – having your finger on the pulse of the buyer and delivering something that fits their unmet needs.Β  There are bene-fits and perfect fits.Β  A perfect fit gets the buying endorphins flowing.Β  This happens when your copy delivers just what your target buyer can’t wait to buy – right now!

In summary

These are just five of the many ways to approach sales copy.Β  It’s an evergreen topic of books and blog posts and it’s for this reason that I’d like to approach it a little differently.

To create maximum value for this community of readers, I would love us to pool our experience and knowledge of what works best. Here’s how.

BEFORE | Helen’s extreme sales makeover

My friend Helen Crozier is a Business Productivity Consultant who transforms technology into productivity. (Helen’s Twitter and Website) Her latest Newsletter has the following sales copy to promoting a key service:

Let’s help Helen succeed

Given the importance of having effective sales copy and the high level of reader talent, participation and interactivity on this blog, I thought we could help Helen by workshopping her sales copy. The value of any recommendations we make can be tested by measuring Helen’s sales! πŸ™‚

You don’t need to be a master copywriter to contribute. A key lesson from the Sharewords workshop (that is still ‘live’) is that every idea, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, helps the group succeed. No ideas? Then leave some encouragement or words of support. This will fuel the efforts of others.

Simply write your suggestions, questions and or ideas in the comments below and both Helen and I will respond where appropriate.

AFTER | Helen’s dramatic transformation


Note from Helen Crozier

Emerging from surgery with a post-op report on the flabby sales copy transformation, I am pleased to report that not only did I survive but I am fighting fit and feeling like a new woman.

Two weeks ago, I was in a hurry to get an overdue newsletter out to my subscribers and wanted to include a new service offering. I took the “don’t stress over perfection” advice to extreme and barely checked the copy before clicking send. What seemed most important was getting the newsletter out before the end of the week.

When Robin asked me if I would like to try another Radsmarts ‘experiment’ I was keen because in my heart I knew there was plenty of scope for improvement. Generous and thoughtful contributions to the post requesting help came in from all around the world (see the comments below). I cannot thank everyone enough. There was such a qualified and willing team at my disposal that I started to feel a bit of performance anxiety! Finally though when it came to the point where I just HADΒ  to face the job again it was not so bad. Cat and Robin had gathered some ideas and offered a base – it was then just up to me to do the final ediitng and tweaking. Armed with a highlighter pen I marked all the ideas that resonated with me and slowly it came together.

I added a new sales page to my site, included an early-bird discount and was ready to release my new ‘technology wish’ package to the world!

Feedback to the newsletter has been very positive and I must admit I felt a sense of pride this time. There has been one email already saying they are keen to ‘take up my offer’. I shall of course report on any sales which I feel will most certainly eventuate once the offering has been promoted further.

Thanks again everyone – I couldn’t have done it without you and thanks Robin for suggesting – it really wasn’t as bad as ‘open heart surgery’ after all.

Book Helen’s services here.

Well, what do you think of the transformation?

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Comments 102

  1. helen

    Thank you so much Robin and fellow radsmarts community! I’m so looking forward to this ‘makeover’ and know there will be a wealth of knowledge that will ‘transform’ my offering!

    Bring it on!!

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  3. Desolie Page

    Hi Helen
    Some questions:
    Would you respond to this ad?
    Does the ad sound like you, does it capture your enthusiasm?
    Do you have a mental picture of the person you’re trying to reach?

    I’d like to see the ad be more reader-centred, rather than I-centred (‘I’ or ‘me’ used 5 times in a 100-word ad).
    The readers’ needs sit at the end of a long opening sentence. Perhaps they’ll give up if it’s unclear very early whether this applies to them.

    Enjoy the process of turning this into something phenomonal.

    1. Helen Crozier

      Hi Desolie
      Thanks for the feedback – the copy was written in a race to meet a deadline and I did not notice the prevalence of the “I” statements. I think this points out to me that copy is difficult and for some not natural… thank goodness we have a team of helpful people in this community!

      Cat has helped a lot with tweaking below…I’m already feeling quite revamped!

      best wishes Desolie.
      Helen

      1. Desolie Page

        Hi again Helen

        This is an exciting process.

        When you’ve decided on the wording, I’m happy for you to send me a copy for a final check of punctuation, grammar, etc.

        Desolie

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  4. Cat Matson

    Hi Helen, Robin and crew,

    OK …

    Headline … 100 minutes with doesn’t tell me the benefit. What about:

    Untangle Your Technology – a one-on-one session with the me, the Productivity Genius

    Feeling frustrated with your technology? Want more time in your day whilst harnessing the best today’s tools have to offer?

    Let me untangle your technology problems in this unique service. Using skype and other (easy) online collaborating tools, I’ll show *you*:

    – what technology tools are best for *you* and *your* circumstances
    – how to streamline your technological world – from contacts to social media, calendar to data, blogs and scheduling
    – how to *easily* integrate the various platforms you use – minimising annoying double-entrey or ‘forgetting’ where you put something
    – how you can radically increase your productivity whilst creating more time in your day

    How it Works

    1. we’ll ‘meet’ for an hour (etc etc)
    2. we’ll have 3 follow-up calls – giving you the opportunity to tweak, trouble-shoot and get the systems working perfectly

    Cost – $299 – paid in advance

    Call me to book

    (last bits might need a bit of finessing :-))

    Over to the team for distinctions, polishing and comments … hope it helps!

    C

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      Robin Dickinson

      This is really useful, Cat. Thank you for helping us get off to a really solid start. πŸ™‚

      One thing I’m not really clear on is what are the unmet needs of the target buyers Helen is targeting? What are there primary productivity frustrations – their pain points?

      Are we all clear on exactly who Helen’s target buyer is?

      1. helen

        My target buyer? Business owners caught up in the admin/day to day ‘tasks’ of running a business rather than building it. They are overwhelmed and call themselves ‘time poor’. They don’t have time to research what tools they should be using. They aren’t ‘afraid’ of technology however they know it is more than useful they just need the ‘skinny’ on how it can help them.

        Does this help at all?

        I’m liking Cat’s ideas so far πŸ™‚

  5. Janna Fikh

    Cat – I agree with your comments and structure 101%

    Providing specifics on session times and follow up’s isn’t required at this stage.

    In terms of the end of the newsletter, may I suggest a key Call to Action, which also stands out graphically.

    Perhaps:

    Let’s Get Started! Email me with any queries or Book in today!

    Also, I think tungle.me and mindmeister might be completely new tools which most of your readers may not have heard of and might be put off by, and hence may not be required at this stage either?

    Hope the above is of some help, Helen.

    Janna

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    2. helen

      Thanks Janna – it’s funny that because I become so ‘attached’ to my tools I think they should be with me all the time… tungle/mindmeister what does that mean indeed? How awful that I’ve been thinking everyone would want to jump onto those straight away. I now realise how confusing and scary they might sound.

      Appreciate your feedback.

      Helen

    3. Cat Matson

      I agree with Janna … the ‘process’ of how you solve the problem isn’t all that important … whether it’s the platforms you use or the time spent.

      πŸ™‚

  6. Myriam @ Detours

    Well done Helen, can’t wait to help you sell this product!! Here are my two cents, hope this helps πŸ˜‰

    Couldn’t agree more with Cat, this is definitely first-class feedback!

    Your newsletter will be a much stronger impact if you spell out which “pains” you’re helping solve with your offer – written from the client’s perspective (as Desolie said, it’s preferable to focus on you / your vs me/mine).

    Also, I’d get rid of the word “desperate” in the intro, because as a prospective client I wouldn’t really like to think of myself as desperate.

    Just one thing, based on Desolie’s comment: in your offer, you’re mentioning “business owners”. Just to get a better understanding on your service, are business owners your only / primary target for this product? For instance, could an executive find your service useful? Or a budding entrepreneur? Or a marketing agency managing multiple contacts? Maybe not, I’m just asking πŸ˜‰

    And I agree with Janna: you may need to spell out what Tungle and Mindmeister are, because most people in your target audience wouldn’t know what this is.

    And actually, I’m not sure I’d talk about Mindmeister at this stage, mentioning too many different / new technological tools may be a bit confusing for some… I’d personally introduce the tool during one of your sessions, so you can spend more time explaining its fantastic benefits. We always need to be mindful not to give away too much too soon πŸ˜‰

    Lastly, just from experience I’ve noticed that including a deadline or early bird deal with your call to action, at the end of the newsletter, helps with this kind of offers.

    What do you guys think?

    1. helen

      Thanks so much Myriam.

      No I’m not restricting my services to small business owners I would be happy to work with medium/corporate/government so any way I could point that out would be appreciated.

      Thanks for the tip re ‘desperate’….
      Thoughts on the early bird/deadline idea?

      Amazing feedback everyone – THANKS!

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  7. Roger Lawrence

    I’m loving this makeover already, and rather suspect it may become another “sharewords” epic (in all the best senses of that word) – let’s see.

    I agree with Cat and Janna. Also, with Desolie. Who is your target market? Let’s understand your buyer first and foremost. Robin is excellent at understanding customers (or in your case, clients.) Where do they shop? What do they wear? What do they read? How much do they earn? What do they spend their money on?

    Sounds cynical, but it’s not, it’s the opposite. It’s about building empathy, through focus. When you understand all this about your customer, you understand their needs, then the language you speak will be their language.

    My 2c – put together a Facebook or LinkedIn Ad – 4 lines including a header and a URL. This will really force you to focus (and the benefit is I reckon your clients hang out in those two places :))

    So – to add to the makeover:

    Headline: Stop! Before you throw your PC through the window!

    Copy:
    We’ve all been there! That place of frustration! You’ve spent thousands of dollars, and goodness knows how many hours, on getting technology to work for your business. And it just. Isn’t. Working.

    Meet Helen Crozier, the Productivity Genius. Like you, I run a small business. Like you, I need to spend time with my clients. Technology must just work.

    And it does.

    I help clients untangle their technology issues. The best technologies to adopt for their business! The quickest way to learn how to use computers, software, the Internet, even Smartphones! Before long your business systems will be humming, and you’ll be the envy of your colleagues.

    How much would it be worth to your business? If you could save just 30 mins a day and put that half-hour into your business?

    For just $299 I’ll devote 100 minutes to work with you to understand your needs, and help you develop the most effective technology strategy for your business. 1-on-1.

    In fact, we’ll use some of the tools which will help you save money, get back control, and get rid of that frustration.

    As I’m sure you understand, these 1-on-1 sessions are in huge demand, so confirm yours by pre-paying *here* <- (paypal link) and schedule your session *here* <- (Tungle.me link)

    If you have any questions, simply contact me at this number/email address, or come and meet me over coffee on Thursday mornings in Mosman <= (Link to #nscm) I try and get there most weeks.

    *******
    Voila – you're a real person people can talk to, and provide a real service they want.

    1. helen

      Roger thanks so much for your thoughtful reply.

      The copy looks great… can’t wait to test it out.

      I do imagine my clients are more ‘linkedin’ than facebook but strangely enough I’m not devoting the appropriate amount of time to linkedin even though I see it as being a very useful tool. It is definitely worth considering an advert on there though and facebook too perhaps as I have actually bought a product (the pomodoro books) via a facebook ad!

      I like your wording Roger… this is getting exciting and I’m grateful to Robin for sending me out to the ‘lions’ first!!
      (I get you while you are all fresh!!)

      Helen

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      Robin Dickinson

      Fantastic input, Rog. Well done!

      As you say, the focus on understanding the target audience is the real key here. I really appreciate your efforts to unfold your thinking and ideas. πŸ™‚

  8. Emily Boldeman

    Hi Helen,

    I love Cat’s and Jana’s ideas. I’d like to suggest a few small tweaks to these, to slim down the copy a little.

    Untangle Your Technology – a one-on-one session with the Productivity Genius

    Feeling frustrated with your technology? Need more time in your day? Want to harness the best today’s tools have to offer?

    Learn:
    – what technology tools are best for *you* and *your* circumstances
    – how to streamline your technological world – from contacts to social media, calendar to data, blogs and scheduling
    – how to *easily* integrate the various platforms you use – minimising annoying double-entry or β€˜forgetting’ where you put something
    – how you can radically increase your productivity whilst creating more time in your day

    How it works
    β€’ 90 minute one-on-one session to troubleshoot your technology practices
    β€’ Three targeted support sessions, to tweak your systems perfectly.
    Cost – $299 – paid in advance

    Email me with any queries or Book in today!

    Get Started and experience immediate benefits

    I hope this is useful.

    Emily

    1. helen

      Thank you so much Emily. We are getting it a bit tighter. It’s interesting because Kathleen Crone sent me some words last night that she said made her think of my services and they mentioned ‘untangle’….

      Thank you for your contribution.

      Helen

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      Robin Dickinson

      Excellent contribution, Emily. Thank you.

      Any thoughts on layout from a design perspective?

      Have you got an avatar (check out gravatar.com and your avatar will show up here).

      Best, Robin πŸ™‚

    3. Emily Boldeman

      Thanks for the avatar tip!

      In terms of design layout this should be consistent with Helen’s overall brand, and the ID that she uses for her newsletter generally. The proposition is that Helen will bring clarity to the systems, so the ad should feel clean and uncluttered.

      The type feels very condensed. I’d create a small space after each paragraph break. This will help those paras seem clearer and aid legibility. I’d keep the body copy in as light a weight as possible. This will give the illusion of more space and white on the page. I’d keep the subheadings bold.

      As you’re not using any images in the ad I think it would be helpful to use the type is a more eye-catching way. I’d break the heading over two lines such as:

      UNTANGLE YOUR TECHNOLOGY
      a one-on-one session with the Productivity Genius

      and make it larger. The top line really big, the second line a bit smaller but the same colour. Or even make them white and put them on a coloured strip, to set it apart from the body copy.

      I’d make the book now call to action a bit bigger than the body copy to stand out.

      I know you don’t have much room to play with, but if you trim the copy back from the original there will be more room to create an ad that feels really organised and clean and strong.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

      Emily

        1. Emily Boldeman

          You’re welcome Helen. I forgot to say that if you did find you have more space you should consider adding some sort of graphic that works with your over all branding. A picture paints a 1000 words…

  9. Leanne Berry

    Hey Guys,

    I love Untangle your Technology – so sharp and to the point and really focuses on in on the main message of what you do Helen.

    The only other thing I would say is get rid of the pay in advance and just give them the paypal option! (or whatever you are going to use).

    I’m no copy writer so I’m not going to go there! there are others with far more expertise than me in that area.

    Perhaps I can give you my perspective from the small business owners who I see everyday here in regional NSW and beyond who say to me – how do you know everything you do about all this techno stuff – I’M A GEEK AND PROUD OF IT!

    They want to know:

    * How to “drive” the technology – show me how you do that! – whether it be formatting a document or doing a blog!
    * How to structure their ‘my documents’ – I cant find anything!
    * I can’t get to my calendar or emails when I’m away from the office – the best remote tools to support their business.

    I could go on but these are my top 3 recently.

    So three benefits I see are SOLVE, LEARN, DO!

    Hope that helps.

    Leanne – Maximising Your Business Profits

    1. Leanne Berry

      PS – the tools that you use in your sessions are going to be your WOW factor – dont tell them just surprise them – tungle.me and mindmeister in the hands of The Productivity Genius will show them immediately that the $$ they have spent have been put into the hands of a professional who knows her stuff!

      1. helen

        yes the tools need to be the ‘wow’ once I’ve got them as clients rather than adding to their confusion before that’s happened!!
        thanks Leanne I really value and appreciate your expertise.

        Helen

    2. gΓ©

      Awww, I feel like I’m ruining the party because everyone likes the “Untangle your technology”…
      I actually don’t like it so much – it sounds really good but it focuses too much on the technology.
      Even though you are using tools to help your clients to get organised, I believe your core business is improving efficiency *through* technology. Not technology in itself.
      Helping someone to get organised is helping them to improve their habits and mindsets, then get the right tools to support them, and maybe your tag line should express this?

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        Robin Dickinson

        Thank you for participating gΓ©.

        You make a really good point. I understand where Helen got the expression from and can see why she wants to use it. I also think it’s really useful to challenge it.

        If ‘untangle’ means:

        * get the full value out of your technology for all the money you paid;
        * get fast access to the full functionality without getting bamboozled;
        * avoid the mad loop of help-desk ping pong on and off shore;
        * not having to read manuals and call in favours from tech-friends.

        …then I think it’s a strong concept. If not, then perhaps we need something that works a bit harder and gets to the nerve centre of the buying decision.

        best, Robin πŸ™‚

  10. gΓ©

    My 2 cents would be:
    – shorter sentences
    – more bullet points to help guiding the reader
    – work on the added value of your offer. You are centering the add around you as an expert, but not on “me” (what’s in it for me as a customer?)
    – explain the results I can expect in a few words, and quantify them. If I am ready to spend $300, I need to know what I am getting.
    – define and shape your method in a few short and easy-to-remember steps – you could even call it something like “The X steps to increasing your productivity” – human brains like organised lists
    – I am not very comfortable with “the productivity genius”: it is a bit scary, and the feeling is that I, as a customer, am a failure compared to the “productivity genius”
    I truly believe in storytelling and think you should soften up and maybe tell about your own journey. It is reassuring to feel supported by someone who has been through the same problems but found a solution, instead of a super-talented-organised person who obviously never had to face my problems and therefore don’t understand me. I am sure this is not how you are, but that’s how it comes across (well, to me at least)
    – shorten the whole text, develop a separate page about the service in details, with case studies to prove your method is really efficient
    – keep the admin stuff and technicalities (paypal, skype etc.) in this separate page.

    Good luck!

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      1. gΓ©

        You’re welcome, Robin. We definitely need people like Helen to help us navigate through all the buzz surrounding new tools, and pinpoint the effective ones. I have discovered some great tools through Helen’s blog – she does a great job of making all this simple to understand and not scary at all, and I wish her every success in marketing her services!

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          Robin Dickinson

          Helen has an incredible gift for helping people get the most out of their technology. She really has her work cut out for her with a netro luddite like me! πŸ˜‰

          Thanks gΓ©!

          Robin πŸ™‚

    2. helen

      Excellent feedback thanks gΓ© – I’m not so strongly attached to ‘untangle’…. I can see other ideas emerging from this fabulous discussion. I really like the softer story telling idea…. I think I can work with that!

      thanks Helen

  11. Erik Dobberkau

    Hi everyone,

    this is an excellent issue to discuss, especially considering what the actual result will be, because there are some people arguing that a committee rather ends up with a (foul) compromise instead of a solution that cuts.

    Here’s what came to my mind after reading the post and and comments so far:

    — MOST IMPORTANT: Who are the people you’re talking to? I understand this ad is part of your newsletter, so how close are you with the readers and they with you? How well do they know what your service is already? My criticism on the original ad is that (for me) it’s very much like a classified in your daily paper, a bit generic. The risk is if you try to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to no one. I think you don’t need to sell that hard to people who are already acquainted with what you do (meaning you don’t need to tell them in this detail what you’re doing because they already know), you just need to help them say “yes!”. Maybe you can separate your subscribers by their business and put that into focus.

    — “Make me feel my pain!” I don’t quite *feel* that I need you (because it’s not that clear to me how much money I’m losing every day I’m not taking advantage of your service), and how you will help me figure out not only *how* to use the available technology, but also *which* of the 5,000 options works best for me (also see below).

    — “Me me me!” Everyone’s first and foremost concern is about themselves. People need to feel you’re helping them solve *their* problems in a custom-tailored way, not being offered one solution *you* know that fits more or less. Mentioning services you use gives an undesirable hint that you might sell people on these services whether they fit for their needs or not. For example, are you offering individual solutions for people working on a Mac and don’t want to use online services as well as the Linux guys who do everything online but say no to smartphones? Is that what happens in the first session?

    — Be exclusive. So yes, either an early bird discount or limited seats offer with your call to action at the end will definetely help.

    — Use the power of free (as in free beer): Probably you’re already doing this, and if not, this might well be worth a thought: Provide a free quick tip in each of your newsletters, closely positioned to the ad. If people get a feeling of instant value, they’re more likely to buy from you.

    — Productivity Genius: I like it. Maybe everyone reacts different to this, but it doesn’t make me feel being a failure. For me it has more that genie-in-a-bottle notion. And of course, it raises the bar for yourself, because people will expect genius insight.

    — Which brings me to (just a detail): money back guarantee. In my experience, this always makes people feel comfortable. And if they like you as a person, then even when they feel you’re not 110% genius but you’ve added value nevertheless, they will not ask for a refund.

    Hope this is of any help. What do you think?

    Other than that, I find the contributions so far really helpful! Good work everyone!

    Best,
    Erik

    1. helen

      Dear Erik
      thank you so much for taking the time to give such a detailed response!

      One of the things I’ve been worrying about is that my email list is not particularly ‘targeted’. It’s a mix of past clients, people who have stumbled across my site/blog on the web or referrals. I don’t know all of them very well. Reasonably frequently the newsletter prompts a contact for a consultation so I don’t want to stop the newsletters.

      The newsletters do contain free information and occasionally I’ve done give-aways like software, business books etc.

      I can’t bring myself to ‘discount’ as it’s not the way to maximising profit but I see there are suggestions here for a ‘reason’ to buy now such as special offer etc… I understand why these are being suggested but would be interested in Robin’s thoughts.

      Thank you for appreciating ‘productivity genius’ … yes need to find their points of pain!!

      Looking forward to version 2… such great ideas.

      Helen

      1. Erik Dobberkau

        Helen,

        thank you for your feedback.
        I totally get you point about discounting, it’s not that I say this is the way to go, it’s only an option (which you can use the other way round too, say, charge 299 for early birds and 399 for later inquiries).

        Since your newsletter is a bit like cold calling, here’s something I came up with as a quick draft:

        “I wish could do do this easier…”

        Sounds familiar? Tech has turned out to be a hassle and you feel you’re getting less done? You might be right. Case studies have shown that using the wrong tools and practices can cost you up to 1.4 hours of work each day – that is almost one day a week – and the number keeps increasing.

        Meet Helen, the productivity genius
        What she can do for you:
        Β· review in depth what you need to get done
        Β· qualify what solutions suit your working environment
        Β· provide access and training for tools, technology and best practice that you need for optimum performance

        This individual programme contains 100 minutes jam-packed with performance-boosting knowledge. Seats are limited, make sure you get yours now for only $299. For more detail, call Helen at 0414 738 929 or send an email.

        First off, please bear with me, I’m not a native speaker, there might be some glitches and lots of room for optimization. Feel free to thrash! πŸ˜‰

        A little analysis, going through the ad step by step:

        — Intro: Identification works really hard, but it must not be cheesy. You need to be on the same page as your (potential) client, and if you’re not getting them right there, you won’t do it two lines later.
        — “Case studies” – this is going out on a limb a bit, since a quick Web search did not provide any official studies that show the effects of productivity loss because of too much choice of tools. It’s rather common sense, but your advanttage is that you have experience with your clients and how much productivity they can lose, so you should adjust that number accordingly.
        — Meet Helen: The transition could be more elegant, I suppose.
        What follows is an outline of three steps that make it clear what you do. It’s important that people feel you’re creating an individual menu for them and don’t serve a ready-made dish.
        — Call to action: It’s important to keep this short, I think. Too much detail will let people forget what you’ve said before. To avoid people feeling deceived, I’d have them go to a web page where the programme is explained in detail. Maybe you can set this up in PayPal, so they just have to do one more click to book and don’t have to go through the login process after visiting your page.

        Looking forward to your feedback!

        Erik

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        2. helen

          Brilliant Erik – really so helpful (forgot you could push the price up like that..:-) )

          I’m printing out all the great ideas and going off to do a draft – shall report back in tonight.

  12. helen

    Have just returned from an evening out and am very grateful for how much discussion has been happening while I was away.

    I look forward to contemplating the new ‘data’ first thing in the morning.

    Thank you everyone!
    Helen

  13. Catherine White

    Very interesting exercise. The only thing I would add is an avatar that shows you are indeed The Productivity Genius.

    For example our Twitter VA Alex P uses the Wonder Woman image to great effect. I immediately recognise she will leap over buildings at a single bound to get the job done.

    The Productivity Genius is ia big claim, in need of a vital image or logo to back it up.

    All the best
    DMW

    1. Post
      Author
      1. Catherine White

        Maybe, maybe not Robin, It’s only my opinion, and since opinions are free online, what of, if any value does it really hold.

        What I do appreciate about Queenies newsletters are they are short, sharp and punchy. Neither are they every other day.

        Cheers

        1. helen

          I think the avatar/logo point is a valid one but very scary. I spend a significant amount of money on graphics for my last ‘business’ name and am loathe to go down that path again just because I want to be able to change quickly if need be.. move fast and not be stuck to one look/logo/etc – it can become a costly exercise.

          I appreciate Catherine’s comments re the newsletter and am concerned about losing respect from readers by putting too many sales pitches in there… this was I feel a valid insertion as it was introducing a new service… I am thinking that I need a condensed ‘newsletter’ edition that leads to a more informative ‘sales page’ with a link.
          I want it to appear always as if I am giving away (always THREE informative tips/tools) more than I am selling.

          thanks, Helen

          1. Emily Boldeman

            Hi Helen,

            I just wanted to respond to this. I actually don’t believe you need a unique logo or brand ID for this wing of your business if you consider it a sub-brand. This is just one of a range of services that ‘Helen Crozier’ offers. You want to have enough flexibility to try things out under the Helen Crozier banner without the expense of developing a number of unique brand IDs.

            Your overall brand ID should be strong enough and flexible enough to service your sub-brands. Everything you put out should feel branded. Things to consider in terms of this are strong type-treatments, brand colours (primary for your main business activities, and secondary for sub-brands) and flexible graphic treatments that give your brand flavour and dynamism and that are also non-specific enough to carry across everything.

            Cheers Emily

  14. Post
    Author
    Robin Dickinson

    Let’s get really focused on the buying decision:

    What are your greatest PAIN POINTS (frustrations, headaches) with technology?

    Here’s mine:

    a) the growing nightmare of overwhelming choices, with new additions and upgrades piling up everyday;

    b) the boiling anger of being bounced around by overseas help-desks and expensive 1300 numbers when things inevitably go wrong;

    c) the sheer frustration of not being able to get it working quickly – even after ‘doing everything the instructions said’;

    d) the misery of knowing there’s a better way to get things done but not having the time, energy or clues on how or where to get it.

    These are mine. What are yours?

    1. Cat Matson

      I’m so with you Robin, especially b, c & d …. and then my additional one is not knowing who to talk to who can give me impartial advice.

      I don’t want to be ‘locked in’ to a platform that doesn’t work … or is a series of ‘make-dos’ … I want to talk to someone, who will look at my total picture and show me the best, easiest and most streamlined ways to achieve my desired results.

      C

    2. Catherine White

      Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

      Only when you’re off shore do you realize how effective our communication systems are in Australia.

      That said, I’m appalled at the FAILURE of banks in respect to communicating with their customers overseas.

      A call from Columbus Ohio racked up a phone charge of $695, most of the time spent on hold while the operator rebooted her system.

      To add insult to injury my son called in Australia, spoke to the same operator, and requested they please reset my online access codes as I was unable to access my accounts. Her reply was another 1300 number to which I needed to make another call.

      The inefficiencies of my home bank AND my US Case account has cost me not only HOURS trying to sort out, hundreds of dollars and untold ANXIETY.

      Upon my return to Australia, my first port of call is the Banking Ombudsman.

      My pain point is my hip pocket.

    3. Suellen Hughes

      Great contributions here – sorry to be joining so late in the piece.

      Have read all the comments so won’t repeat what’s already been said but to build on a few points:

      * Technology for me is a bit broad – I’m not sure whether you mean hardware (PCs, printers), gadets (iPhone, iPads), apps, software or all of the above.

      * I’d like to be wow’d by something in the ad that makes me think – now that’s cool and I’d like a bit of that – not sure whether you do this through a case study or an example. I’m thinking here about something like Hoccer or searchable PDF etc.

      * Pricing / call to action – for only $299 and 90 minutes of your time, you will get 100% value from the investments you’ve already made in your technology. (idea that they’ve already paid for something and maybe not using 100% functionality so wasting their money.)

      In reply to Robin’s question about PAIN POINTS:

      1. Feeling like I’m missing out on some really valuable (and cool) gadgets that could make my life easier and more fun! I’m a gadget geek at heart and love this stuff πŸ˜‰

      2. Frustrated with not knowing whether the time I’m putting in (e.g. to social media) is worth it because I’m not getting much back for my efforts.

      3. Wanting to know the best, most reliable solutions that will make the biggest impact on my productivity without having to spend loads of time seeking them out for myself.

      Hope this is of some help Helen.

      Another great idea Robin and well done Helen for being prepared to put it out to the group.

      1. Post
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    4. Desolie Page

      Pain points stultify: I end up doing nothing when I can’t find a solution.

      As a baby-boomer, I need someone to impartially guide me through my options and support me (as needed) as I implement my decisions.

      So my pain point is confusion.

    5. helen

      possibly agree with other posters about ‘technology’ being too broad… some of the solutions I provide are a combination of tools but also practices.

      Also Robin I had an interesting reaction reading your pain points .. like “OH no no he wants me to be a helpdesk person”

      I really don’t want to do/be that but the point of offering this consult with follow up options is they need to know they CAN call to clarify confusion if they need to after the session. I think people are too afraid to call – well I know for sure many clients have just not called or contacted when they really should have.

  15. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot

    Bullet points and lists so people can scan online copy. I know the list posts like 10 Reasons You Should Buy My Book seem dumb but they work. People like them.

    Use the same language your audience use. Would they say mate? friend? homeboy? The language you use will make them feel at home… or not. In which case they’ll look for someone who speaks the same language as them.

    Don’t forget testimonials and smiling faces. We all want to know other people like what we’re buying and that we’re working with someone cool:)

  16. helen

    As I mentioned to Erik I’ve printed this wonderful material off (yes sometimes paper is necessary) and am going to retreat with a notebook and pencil to come up with a draft.. first revision… but if anyone else has any ideas/thoughts the door is by no means closed…

    wish me luck!!

    Helen.

    1. Post
      Author
      Robin Dickinson

      Hi Helen, I’ve been astounded with the incredible inputs of this amazing community. Wow! What a team! There are so many good ideas and stimulating thoughts. Thought I’d have a crack at an approach to help you along your way.

      As Desolie says, it’s *your* ad – these are just some thoughts to help you succeed.

      My inputs are very much influenced by all of the above comments…

      YOUR TECHNOLOGY WISH IS MY COMMAND!
      β€œIt’s all so confusing, make it easy for me!”
      β€œShow me the best solutions for my situation!”
      β€œWow me with the latest cool ideas!”
      β€œGive me some support I can rely on!”


      Your personal productivity genius

      Introducing Helen Crozier, the Productivity Genius. She’s an expert in making your life easy, fun and productive with technology – hardware (Apple, PCs, printers), gadgets (iPhones, iPads), software, apps – you name it.

      Get more productive, book a WISH today

      Helen’s proven 4-step WISH productivity formula will make sure that your technology is:
      1. Working! Fully functional and fully operational, quickly;
      2. In-synch with your specific everyday needs and situation;
      3. Simple: all fully integrated, organised and easy to use;
      4. Hard working: fine-tuned to deliver your desired results and free time!

      How your WISH works
      β€’ You get a comprehensive 90 minute one-on-one session with Helen to develop your fully customised solution;
      β€’ Plus: three follow-up support sessions, to tweak your systems perfectly.
      β€’ Investment: – $299 – paid in advance.

      Get started and experience immediate benefits!
      Email Helen with any queries or Book now!

      Thoughts?

      Best, Robin πŸ™‚

  17. Desolie Page

    Hi again Helen

    Remember to sit in the reader’s seat once you’ve rewritten your copy.

    What do readers want? Clarity of presentation and ideas, copy that’s easy to read, chunks of information (rather than lots of words), language/terminology they can understand, an easily identifiable ‘what’s in it for me?’ and call to action.

    And remember, this is *your* ad – we’re just ‘what about …’? commentators.

    Enjoy, and reap the benefits.

    Desolie (keeping your writing honest)

  18. Tony Hollingsworth

    Great initiative for a great person in Helen Crozier! I’ll think further on the creative/copy side, meanwhile the spelling bee/grammar geek in me reports the following:

    – “get rid of the overwhelm” Overwhelm is a verb not an adjective, so try “overhead” “reduce the effort involved” etc

    – check-in should be hyphenated

    – your mobile should be on a new line or at least have spacing “0414 738 929”

    – Prepayment is required using the PayPal service here (note PayPal capitalised)

    – “my availabilty is available” shoudl be “My availability can be found on my Tungle.me personal scheduling page here”

    – my service will be conducted using productivity tools Skype and MindMeister, a web-based collaborative mind mapping tool for brainstorming and project management.

    There you go for starters!

    Good luck
    Tony Hollingsworth

  19. Roger Lawrence

    Not entirely convinced about bullet points. For blog posts, absolutely, for sales copy? Not convinced.

    In fact sales presentations tend to be killed by bullet points. I may even go controversial here and suggest a short (60 – 90 secs) video. But certainly a story.

    When I look at the sites that sell to me, there’s very little in the way of text, very much in the way of story: E.g. http://www.apple.com/au/

    Robin, I think your suggestion meets certain criteria. Short, focused, succinct. But frankly, it comes across like those “Land of Leather” style TV ads. All punch and no listen.

    Here’s another controversial thought, what about asking questions on the site, a mini survey. It would be relatively easy to go from that to a decision tree helping your clients understand exactly where they would benefit from your services Helen….

    I guess rather than answering, I’m inquiring, “How do we translate listening to our website?”

    1. helen

      Thanks Roger. What do others think about the bullet points being too clinical?
      Does Roger have a point?
      I have been thinking of doing a survey yes … I just get totally ‘blocked’ about what kinds of questions to ask.

      cheers
      Helen

  20. Kathleen Crone

    Wow Helen. This is great.

    Sorry for joining in so late.

    My suggestion is to use this feedback to develop a suite of assets.

    1. Teaser you can use in enews or get other people to use on your behalf (in their posts, news etc)

    2. Ad – do you need to settle on one? I have found it interesting to observe the diversity of suggestions here. Why not test different types (bullet point, story etc) and evaluate the effectiveness? Or simply keep a few variations up your sleeve for a rainy day or a different target group

    3. Rogers idea of video sounds great

    4. A longer/detailed Sales Page

    What would get me interested?

    Un-flabby copy with branded/coloured buttons/links to learn more and/or watch a video. I would probably click through and read the longer sales copy over watching the video but the video would evoke a greater sense of trust.

    Regards,
    Kathleen

  21. Erik Dobberkau

    Alright, looks like we’re in for the fun part now.

    Everybody favours one version over another. Every approach has its pro’s and con’s, and there’s nothing wrong with bullets. Some people like them, some don’t. Some people like stories, some want to be pitched at like it’s 1985. Nothing wrong with that. Video is cool, and it’s a serious investment in terms of time and money.

    Going in any of these directions can get you where you want to go, but not all of them at once. A 1985 pitching video with bullets is a nightmare.

    Good luck,
    Erik

  22. Robin Powis

    Forgive me for being slow, however it’s taking me a while to get used to sharewords. I’m definitely not good with technology and would be a prime candidate to use Helen’ services.

    I agree with everyone and especially Robin’s comments. If I read the add I want it to be personal, so I know exactly how Helen will help me and anything that sounds like words I don’t understand would freak me out. I remember at the WISE Social Media presentation talking to a woman who was nervous to even go on Twitter.

    I also like the idea of not only showing Helen as an expert in her area, but someone I can relate to and feel comfortable with. I don’t want to feel I would be lost with all the terms I don’t understand. I want to feel like I know her already, she will show me what I need to know in a fun and informative way. I think it’s great to see her friendly face, that she looks like a real person who is passionate in what she does.
    Helen is such a giving and fun person, I would like the add to reflect that.

    ‘Helen will show you simply and easily’
    ‘You thought you never could but Helen will show you how’
    ‘in a relaxed and comfortable way Helen will solve your technology dilemnas’

    Hope this adds a little to all the great feedback you have received Helen.

    Cheers

    Robin

  23. Tony Cosentino

    Hi Helen,

    As I am neither a marketer or writer I won’t add to the confusion by adding any more content suggestions as I think you have so much to digest already.

    I really like Erik’s point that each version has its merits but don’t combine them all. I think you need to go in the direction that feels right and see how it goes.

    I am a fan of Robin’s approach and have no issue with bullet points. I appreciate Rogers story telling input too but Apple spend huge amounts of money building a story and a following and it would be very hard to emulate in a single email newsletter that strategy.

    I have to admit though Roger you have got me thinking now how I can started that kind of strategy myself but it is a long term project, that much I do know.

    Learning a lot from you all in areas I would like to be much better at, thank you.

    kind regards
    Tony C

    1. helen

      Thanks Tony I appreciate your words here. I find myself feeling so nervous now that I have writer’s block even though I’ve received so much help! Hopefully in the morning I’ll just be brave enough to get something up and fight the perfection paralysis that I’m renowned for!
      Helen

  24. helen

    Hi Everyone
    In drafting the new copy I’ve come across a problem which I’d appreciate help on…

    As basic as it seems I’m not clear on whether or not I should be using the third person. A lot of examples are doing so….

    Is this what was meant about not using ‘I’… ??? The newsletter does come as if it is written by me to the reader so it feels a bit strange to be saying “Let Helen…” “Helen will” etc…

    thanks, Helen

    1. Desolie Page

      Hi again Helen
      My original comments about the use of ‘I’ was to make the point about being reader centred. That’s not to say you can never use ‘I’.
      In the context of an ad within a newsletter, I think continuing to use the first person is the way to go: it continues the connection you’ve already established with your readers.
      Cat’s reply used ‘we’ quite a lot – perhaps you could have a look at that?
      You’re almost there! Remember to get someone to check it before you publish.
      Desolie

  25. helen

    Thanks for your patience – here is a first draft. Need help please with visuals. This is the smaller version for tomorrow’s newsletter – there will be a squeeze page finished tonight based on feedback to this with more detail and testimonials (story)…
    many thanks…. about to be offline until approximately 9pm.
    So appreciate all your help just took me some time to get clear ‘my take’…
    cheers
    Helen

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7417314/newsletter%20sales%20copy.doc

    1. Sally

      I’m sorry I haven’t been able to jump in sooner, the feedback provided is awesome and it motivates me, I can only imagine how it’s impacting on you. Rock on!

      Wow, what a transformation from your original copy to the one in your dropbox. (BTW, What’s BPG? – Business Productivity Genius??? remember we aren’t all as tech smart or able to pick up the acronyms, etc as quickly as you πŸ˜‰ – side note: when I worked for a gov’t dept we had a 2 full A4 pages of acronyms – grrrrr!)

      Visuals – I’m not a fan of negatives, but I can appreciate an image sequence of from this ‘-‘ to this ‘+’. Something like the drowning in paperwork image to the confident person holding a PDA (of sorts) or the feet up on desk confident leaning back image. (I don’t know what a ‘squeeze page’ is so I’m not sure if this helps.)

      If you need testimonials or other details please specify.

      1. Post
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    2. Ricky Buchanan

      This is fantastic! Some thoughts:

      “30 days email support” -> is this limited to a certain number of emails? If not, I suggest writing “30 days unlimited email support” which sounds more impressive πŸ™‚

      This is a teensy tiny point but it happened in both the first and second adverts you posted (ie: this one plus the one Robin put up top) so I thought I’d mention it – your last use of the word “wish” has the formatting messed up so the space before it is underlined as well as the word itself. The same thing happened with “Paypal” in the original. It’s a niggly little thing but, especially when it happens on the last word of the advert like it does now, it annoys my inner grammer/formatting nerd and makes me think you’re not as expert in technology as you’re making out.

      You’re billing yourself as a genius -> people expect geniuses to be perfect! Especially in their ad copy.

      (For anybody who has this problem and isn’t sure how to fix it, put the cursor immediately after the previous word and insert a regular space, then delete or backspace the offending underlined space. If this doesn’t work, put your cursor before the last letter of the word before the offending space, retype the last letter and a space then use delete or backspace to delete the offending space and original last letter. Did that make sense? I can expand if anybody wants!)

      I am sorry I didn’t comment earlier (been struggling with deadlines of my own) but I love the change overall – it’s much more compelling now and much more personal.

      In case you want, another technology “pain point” that I feel especially – I have a bunch of separate tech solutions which don’t interact/inter-connect neatly so it all feels like a bunch of blocks of wood which are precariously stacked. I want my technology solutions to be lego bricks which snap together so they’re stable and strong.

      PS
      Best captcha ever for this: “A sister mentioned” – truly, word of mouth is the best advertising!

      1. helen

        appreciate your comments Ricky and your pain point revelation!
        cheers
        Helen
        ps yes it’s unlimited email support for the topic discussed hope that’s the right decision but can limit later on if not!

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  26. Frances Jones

    It looks great Helen. YOUR TECHNOLOGY WISH IS MY COMMAND! is very strong. I’d put a space between that sentence and the anxiety in italics above it. It was a bit much to take all that in at once.
    Frances

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  27. Catherine White

    Hiya Helen

    A vast improvement on the original, and have to agree with Desolie in respect to making the questions more reader centric.

    I love the play on the word wish and had the idea perhaps you could change the word from Genius to Genie

    Cheers
    Catherine

    1. Post
      Author
        1. helen

          thanks guys.
          I’m sitting on ‘genie’ … have looked at it before but find the images associated with it not quite in my first market.. maybe later.. for now I’m trying to go where the money is which is middle sized corporates who perhaps might not appreciate the magic i can weave :-)))
          the genie is gorgeous but maybe not professional enough for these?

          Helen

  28. Linda Fairbairn

    My penny’s worth!!!…

    I find the first sentence a bit fluffy – Would this read better?

    β€œI’m so confused and frustrated, make it easy for *me*!”
    β€œWhat solutions best fit *my* situation?”
    β€œI want more efficiency in the running of *my* business!”

    Agree with Sally – I stumbled over the BPG for a few moments ~
    Maybe the statement above it should read:

    “Learn from your Business Productivity Genius” (I’d cut the ‘Its time to’)
    so its easier to put 2 + 2 together?

    “how to streamline, integrate and simplify your technological world” change to
    “how to simply integrate technology into your world” (‘streamlining’ and ‘simplifying’ are sort of the same here??!)

    “skills that will change how you run your business and your life.”
    change to
    “learn skills that will streamline your business and your life” as isn’t that the change you are offering?

    Also agree with Francis re the space πŸ™‚

    Not being a copywriter I’m not sure whether this helps?!

    Linda

    1. Linda Fairbairn

      Agree with Catherine and Robin re: Genie too

      Also, final statement re guarantee currently:
      “100% refund if for your WISH does not come true”

      Change to:
      “100% refund if your wish is not granted”

    2. Post
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  29. Cat Matson

    It’s fantastic Helen … well done on an incredible job, allowing us all to give such feedback. Wow – talk about synergistic collaboration in motion πŸ™‚

    I agree with Sally’s comments re BPG; and Frances’ re a space between headline sentence …. and I so love Catherine’s suggestion of Genie … even if, to maintain your ‘Genius’ branding, you used ‘Geni-us’

    Finally Helen, I just want to acknowledge *you* for being not only so willing for us to transform your copy … but for your willingness and ability to stay congruent to your message. I read your ‘just took me some time to clear my take’ … and I *get* that it would have been very easy to be knocked off course in this process. You didn’t … and I acknowledge you for it πŸ™‚

    C

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  30. Leanne Berry

    Opps – I provided my feedback/suggestions to Helen via email so thought I should post here for everyone’s benefit too

    For what its worth – and I’m no copywriter but Ive provided my feedback (additions/deletions/suggestions are in ())

    I like it – I think it’s to the point and really targeted at your market – it outlines the problem, it shows the solution and it provides a call to action

    Congratulations on being game enough to do it, strong enough to take all the criticism and wise enough to filter the messages 

    Cheering you on 

    DON’T YOU JUST WISH IT ALL WORKED?

    β€œIt’s all so confusing and frustrating, make it easy for me!”
    β€œShow me the best solutions for my situation!”
    β€œI need to be more efficient at (in) running my business!”(or maybe I need to be more efficient running my business)

    YOUR TECHNOLOGY WISH IS MY COMMAND!

    It’s time to learn from your (Insert Business) Productivity Genius
    β€’ which tools are best for YOU and YOUR circumstances
    β€’ how to streamline, integrate and simplify your technological world
    β€’ skills that will change (improve) how you run your business and your life.

    Book your (removed BPG Technology) WISH session and receive
    β€’ One 90 minute jam-packed session to develop your fully customised solution either in person or by phone.
    β€’ Two 15 minute support sessions, to tweak and review your new systems.
    β€’ 30 days email support from the date (end) of the first session.

    Let’s get started
    β€’ Investment $350
    β€’ Early Bird Rate: $299 (expires 30 September 2010)
    β€’ Guarantee: 100% refund if for your WISH does not come true

    Click here to learn more, read testimonials and book your WISH!

    1. Post
      Author
  31. helen

    Wow thanks for all the comments everyone! Amazing. Just in and have read but will do some ‘minor’ surgery first thing before our centurions call – what a team!!!

    Helen

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  32. Robin Powis

    Hi Helen

    Following our discussions last night, I’m not taken with the wish theme and the idea that a genie with grant your technology wish. This is my opinion only however I thought it was worthwhile explaining. I also think some of the sentences or phrases could be shorter and tighter.

    I have made some suggestions as follows though I do understand many experts have been helping you with this with a lot of thought and effort. I will put forward my ideas if not belated.

    Cheers

    Robin

    DON’T YOU JUST WISH IT ALL WORKED?

    β€œIt’s all so confusing and frustrating, make it easy for me!”
    β€œShow me the best solutions for my situation!”
    β€œI need to be more efficient running my business

    YOUR TECHNOLOGY WISH IS GRANTED

    It’s time to learn from your (Insert Business) Productivity Genius
    β€’ which tools are best for YOU and YOUR life
    β€’ how to streamline, integrate and simplify your technology
    β€’ skills that will improve how you run your business and your life.

    Book your (removed BPG Technology) session and receive
    β€’ One 90 minute jam-packed session to develop your fully customised solution either in person or by phone.
    β€’ Two 15 minute support sessions, to tweak and review your new systems.
    β€’ 30 days email support from the date (end) of the first session.

    Let’s get started
    β€’ Investment $350
    β€’ Early Bird Rate: $299 (expires 30 September 2010)
    β€’ Guarantee: 100% refund

    Click here to learn more, read testimonials and book your session

    1. Post
      Author
  33. helen

    Phew! The newsletter is out and squeeze page up. Thanks everyone – couldn’t have done it without you – what a collaboration.
    Let’s see what happens…. and one with the next patient please!!
    http://eepurl.com/OTG_
    ps shall put more information/thoughts on this process later today but just wanted to show the results of everybody’s work!

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