Moderately evil dragon tears down this opt-in offer for your amusement and edu-tainment - Trial and Eureka

Moderately evil dragon tears down this opt-in offer for your amusement and edu-tainment

By Alp | List-building

Pre-S: This is a silly post. In part, it’s “silly" because I’m about to teach you a crucial marketing principle. And sometimes the best way to illustrate a complicated concept is through reductio ad absurdum.

I recently had the distinct pleasure of babysitting my best friend’s little monst — erhm — sweet little angels for 7 hours straight.

Highly recommended as a spiritual exercise in gratitude.

For example, I walked away from the house counting my blessings as a single guy.

Walked away?

Beg your pardon. I meant limped away.

At various points during the evening, I was simultaneously:

a horse…

a train…

a space rocket…

and... a disgruntled dragon, whose moderately evil reign was brought to an abrupt end when Excalibur (standing lamp) fell on its neck (head).

But the evening was not a complete waste of time, for I kept working on an email to my list despite the trying circumstances.

I am happy to report that I was able to maintain monk-like focus on you guys - my subscribers - even as Ozlem painted scales on my shirt with her crayons while her brother practiced “how to shoe a horse with various implements of torture” on my unsuspecting feet.

(I think my subscribers should nominate me for Mar(ke)tyr of the Year Award.)

In fact, it was on that very evening that I penned in a recent email.

As a dutiful subscriber who opens, memorises and then forwards every single email I write so that your entire office, book club and neighbourhood can benefit from its blessings…

You will, without doubt, recall the lesson contained in the afore-mentioned email:

Your opt-in should be Boyfriend 5.0 (entertainment package) not Husband 1.0 (operating system). Give people what they want (opt-in offer), so you can sell them what they need (paid offer).

(Which sounds like total gibberish until you read the actual email, so go read it.)

Although it has been several days since that email…

Although I have yet to receive an invitation to the Mar(ke)tyr Academy Awards from my subscribers…

I DID receive this response from a longtime reader named Hilde:

Of course, I always encourage my readers to practice what I preach…

(I swear that's not as self-involved as it sounds. You can trust me on this, I’m a lawyer.)

Because the only way you’re going to get better at crafting offers is by actually crafting them. No amount of passive reading will level up your skills.

And sometimes it’s easier to practice with an imaginary offer than with your own business where the stakes are high.

So I followed up with Hilde and asked her to brainstorm some offers.

She didn’t disappoint:

Hilde is also a FAST50 student so she is familiar with my recommendation to “write for Dreamy”.

(Dreamy is one individual you personally know in real life who would make an ideal buyer for your product.)

The trick to great marketing is to write with a single individual in mind who is representative of your target market.

If you craft your opt-in with either a demographic (“mum entrepreneurs aged 35-40”) or multiple Dreamy's ("Sally, Jessica AND Carol”) in mind, it won’t pack the same punch.

Knowing this, Hilde proactively added:

So I asked Hilde:

“If you could promise her a result, what would she want that to be?”

(By the way, this is a great question to ask yourself whenever you’re crafting an offer.)

Hilde came back to me a couple hours later with this hilarious idea for a (fictional) opt-in offer:

Unfortunately, Hilde and I are now in court, having become embroiled in a Dickensian legal dispute of Bleak House-proportions:

I’m suing her for grievous bodily harm, because I fell off the sofa laughing and hurt my delicate hamstrings.

She’s suing me for royalties, because... it seems I trained my subscribers a bit too well in the Dark Side of the Force that Makes Marketing Work and now it has come back to bite me.

I offered to feature her creativity in my Facebook group, to which she responded:


Hilde’s dreams of a Rich Life Through Wor(l)d Domination might not come to pass for some time yet.

For I, as any self-respecting Sith Lord would, anticipated such treachery and therefore did not reveal ALL my marketing secrets.

There is one glaring error in this (fictional) opt-in offer.

And I bet you’re making the same mistake in your own (serious) opt-in offers too…

Can you spot what’s wrong with the offer?

Hit reply and tell me your best guess.

To be continued…