It does not matter how good your product is, nor the strength of the copy you are using to sell it.

If you are not using advanced direct response as your principle strategy for presenting your offer – what I term precision productization – you will almost certainly double or triple your current conversions once you apply the technique.

Maybe you will do even better than that.

Much better. Maybe you will ten times your response. Using the techniques I am about to describe, there may be situations where this is entirely conceivable.

The strategy is simple: give your prospect exactly the product they need (in a way that makes them want it unlike anything they have experienced before).

Here’s the problem. Very rarely do we know exactly what it is the prospect needs. That makes it hard to say the things they need to hear to make them want our offer. So we give them our best guess in terms of the messaging.

We run our marketing campaigns on guesswork. Sometimes inspired guesswork backed by careful research into our market.

But still, it is guesswork, and this is the reason conversion rates tend to be very low.

And protracted. It can take months, even years, to convince prospects that we have the necessary tools, and understand their problems well enough, to plausibly be able to fix them.

Persuasion Voodoo

Imagine the following prospect experience, designed to bypass many of the objections that might keep your would-be customer from buying.

You run a carefully-worded advertisement which invites prospects to self-diagnose the cause of their inability to move forward/succeed with one of their important life goals – the solution to which you think you can provide.

Maybe this is a quiz, or a survey, or a qualification form. At any rate, it is an application whose sole purpose is to pull critical information from the prospect which can be used to determine the best approach to solving their problem.

Depending on just how desperate your prospect is to solve their problem, the amount of creativity required to put together an engaging (i.e. high converting) application will vary from moderate to challenging. But let’s say you are up to the task and you know how to convince people to give you all the information you need in return for some immediate reward, like a diagnosis of their problem:

“Well Grant, it appears your inability to get financing for your startup is likely due to the fact that you are an ‘Intellectual Property Putz’. Your inability to properly assess the value of your company’s IP, and present it during financing rounds, is turning off prospective investors… Luckily for you, we specialize in solving that exact problem. We can turn you into an Intellectual Property Crackerjack in no time flat!”

Grant had no idea he was an intellectual property putz, and now he can see how not being a putz might be worth millions in financing for his startup.

Grant would be willing to pay a pretty penny to experience the promised transformation. Provided you can convince him you have the ability to make it happen.

Which of course you do.

Because in addition to being an expert in this area, and having determined Grant’s number one challenge, your quiz/survey/questionnaire thingy has also unearthed: the nature of his company, the number of current investors and their level of commitment, the number of patents either filed or in the planning stages, the percentage of capital allocated to research and development, the number of engineers and Ph.D.s on staff… and quite a bit more information on top of that.

Within three seconds of collecting all this information you have been able to:

  • Devise a custom product containing the exact information/strategies which will allow Grant to achieve his crackerjack status
  • Come up with a custom title for the product, reflecting the goal: From Putz To Crackerjack: Grant’s 30-Day IP Mastery Implementation Plan
  • Design and present artwork for the product, on the fly, which incorporates the product title
  • Write a sales letter customized to Grant’s exact needs as revealed in the “quiz” diagnosis – one that works to overcome objections uncovered during the custom data collection

And then, right after Grant realizes your offer is just too good to pass up and he purchases it, your software builds the product, writes it to disk, and then presents Grant with the download links or membership access required to consume your precisely-engineered custom solution.

Or you could bypass the data collection, not bother to go to the trouble of implementing a custom solution to Grant’s problem, and try to sell him a generic product which promises to teach entrepreneurs how to get better traction with investors at that critical first meeting.

You know, like everyone else is doing, because it is easy to implement.

But Wait. What If Instead Of A Pecision Product We Use Email Follow Ups!

“Well, Stephen,” you might be thinking. “This is an interesting approach, this precision productization. But couldn’t I just do something similar with email follow ups, and not bother with a precision product on the front end?”

“Like, I collect the custom data, then I send out just the messages my prospect needs to hear to eventually invest in my oh-so-very-good (but not precision-engineered) solution?”

No. Email marketing falls flat on its face for the following reasons.

First reason: Auto responders are not sufficiently “computationally complex” to allow you to assemble precision messaging for anything but the simplest degree of precision.

Here’s why. When you build software to construct a precision product on the fly you can use IF/ELSEIF/ELSE conditional statements to assemble the logic required to parse the custom data and piece together the relevant parts of your solution.

This is not trivial, but it is straightforward.

Auto responders on the other hand generally offer “click and drag” interfaces to assemble message-sending logic networks. It does not take more than a few custom parameters, each with a few possible options to choose from, before the task of assembling your logic network becomes overwhelmingly complex and inflexible. Not to mention impossible to maintain.

Auto responders are the wrong medium for non-trivial attempts at custom messaging.

Second reason: You cannot guarantee your subscribers will see any particular message in your custom email sequence. If they see it you cannot guarantee they will be in the mood to digest your message. If they do digest your message you cannot guarantee they will act on your call to action.

If you implement precision productization and sell a product on day one you immediately enjoy two benefits:

First benefit: You got paid to deliver your message to the customer. Instead of sending messages to them for free over a period of weeks, months, or years, you already have them as a paid customer.

Second benefit: Because they paid for your product they are likely to consume it. The same cannot be said for email follow ups. An inexpensive precision product can be used to upsell the customer on the idea of upgrading to a more comprehensive precision solution – like, say, coaching.

But The Cost. Surely Implementation of Precision Productization Is Prohibitive!

Not necessarily.

For about the same as it once cost to build a custom quiz to collect segmentation data on your prospects, today you could build the quiz and the other technical elements required to implement precision productization.

Is it worth doing this?

Maybe. Maybe not. It really depends on the nature of the solution you offer and the extent to which you think customization might be able to add value to your solution (in the eyes of the customer).

Maybe implementing precision productization gets you over the hump and brings a level of profitability that allows you to scale your marketing efforts well beyond what was previously possible.

In that case you could argue it is money well spent.

“But Stephen, have you implemented any of this precision productization stuff? Do you really know what you are talking about?”

Yes I have. And I like to think I do, based on having spent a good bit of time figuring out how to make it all work.