5 unobvious places to find copy inspiration

A lot of course sales pages look like they’re just filling in the blanks on a template.

That’s because they are.

Your typical course platform will, with good intentions, give you a template to fill in. Unfortunately it’ll make you look like 10,000 other sales letters.

(There’s on particular part of these templates that’s actively sending your readers away. I’ll talk about that in another email though.)

 

Marketing relies on getting people’s attention. If someone’s looking at a predictable pattern, you don’t have their attention.

You need to look for examples away from your industry and away from online courses altogether if you want to come up with something remarkable.

Here’s 5 places I look for inspiration, and why they work:

1. Supplements

Most physical products aren’t sold like information products. You can demonstrate them instead of describing them. Who hasn’t been on the brink of buying some Chinese gadget after seeing a rapid demo on TikTok?

Supplements are different. You can’t watch someone pop a pill and instantly see a change.

But they’re a great lesson in what our buyers really WANT.

They want an outcome, and some certainty that they’ll get that outcome. They also want that result with a minimum of effort, and as quickly as possible.

Be honest with me. If you could become an amazing email marketer by just popping a pill every day, wouldn’t you take that option?

(Don’t worry, I’m not offended.)

Overcoming the same problems as courses.
Supplement buyers have the same problems as course buyers.

Because it’s not easy to demonstrate, and because they’ve seen so many competing products, the buyers are massively cynical.

To get round that you need to come up with a convincing argument about how your product solves an issue that other competitors have left behind unsolved.

Example: Resurge is a huge success in the crazy competitive weight loss market.

It’s actually a sleep supplement that they’ve reframed because lack of sleep raises cortisol which in turn makes you hang on to fat. That’s what we mean by a “unique mechanism”. It gets a result by solving a problem the rest of the market is ignoring, or at least not talking about.

The VSL is a (long) masterpiece but it’s worth watching to show how they set the product up as the missing piece of your weight loss jigsaw.

2. Advertorials: story leads

This brings me on to advertorials.

If you want to see a few of these, go to the kind of sites that cranky old white men read. Fox News, The Daily Mail and so on.

Native ads work best when they look like news stories.

Stories.

You need an eye-catching headline or one that’s really in tune with your target audience, like this one from Peloton:

The ad leads to a relatable story for any middle-aged man with back problems, and ends with a call to action to go to Peloton’s site.

This is a fairly tame example, but if you browse a few body-building sites you’ll eventually get targeted with some insane looking supplement ads.

3. YouTube Ads

If you want to know how to hook someone’s attention, look no further than the 5 second youtube ad spot.

In 5 seconds they need to get your attention enough to stay.

Then in less than 30 seconds they need to repel anyone who isn’t in their target market, or they’ll pay for the ad view. It’s a weird relationship for sure.

Look at this bizarre tooth supplement ad.

It makes a crazy statement at the start, pulling you in with curiosity, then spends the next 15 seconds saying exactly who the ad is for.

By 30 seconds, any teenagers with shiny white teeth will hopefully have been repelled.

The first seconds of YouTube ads are excellent places to plunder for headline formulas.

4. Magazine covers

Magazines are great places to learn headline formulas, and the trashier the magazine the better.

But there’s another trick which you can steal for your emails.

That headline / subhead format is perfect for your subject / preview text in emails.

A quirky, out of the ordinary headline and then a tiny bit of explanation.

The preview line in an email isn’t completely necessary, but it’s a useful way to stop yourself from giving the game away with the first line showing up before the email gets opened.

Flip a magazine open next time you’re near a news stand and you’ll see whole contents page full of examples.

Remember that the formulas for headlines are exactly the same as for bullets in your sales letters so it’s a skill that’ll never go to waste.

5. Book cover blurbs

Books are seriously overlooked as a marketing channel, although they’ve seen a bit of resurgence in the “Free + Shipping” funnels over the last few years.

Non-fiction book copy is very similar to good course copy, and that back of a good non-fiction book is a very condensed version of that.

Take a look at the back of DotCom secrets by Russell Brunson. This book is the gateway drug into the multi-billion-dollar Clickfunnels empire.

Look at how it frames the book as something new and desirable with giving away any of the content.

  • 2 lines about what it’s not (but it’ll give you the results you want)
  • The promise of a shortcut

Remember what I said about magic pills earlier? Everyone wants a shortcut. No offer was ever made better by saying it’ll take longer to get to your goal.

Then the rest of the cover is given over to credibility, firstly with 2 testimonials, then a “million dollars in a year” story.

Summary

To get original ideas, you need to look outside your usual markets, and examine copy to see what persuasion levers they’re trying to pull.

What patterns can you take from other markets and swop in your own offer?