The title of this article is a lie.
I know that’s a lousy way to start a relationship, but hear me out.
Online, you don’t actually get a full minute to win a customer – it’s more like five seconds. Do well in those first five seconds and you’ll win more time until you’ve reached a full minute, giving you the opportunity to keep talking, sharing and providing value – until you blow it.
Let’s talk about how not to blow it. Not in the crucial first five seconds, or anytime after that. Here’s why this is now more critical to your business than ever: Scientists have clocked the current human attention span at eight seconds, one second lower than that of a goldfish.
Our typical line of vision now resembles a Vegas casino. Flashing lights, ringing bells and endless promises of easy money from “loose slots” – and that’s just Snapchat!
So how do you win those crucial seconds and reward your attention-givers so they stick around?
The answer is to use a good joke.
Not that one joke you always look over your shoulder before telling, or the one about the manfrom Nantucket. Instead, I’ll teach you how to write your own “joke” in my upcoming SEMrush webinar.
The one about how you got into the business you’re in, why it’s important to you (and your customers) and tell it in a way that all but guarantees your best prospects will never forget you after hearing it.
This joke formula is one I used often in my former life as a stand up comic.
I spent my twenties touring the U.S. with guys named Louis CK, Chris Rock and Billy Gardell. Not sure what ever became of those guys, but luckily for you, I decided to follow a higher calling and dedicated my life to direct response copywriting. So, today, instead of gearing up for my next Tonight Show spot, I’m putting that energy toward helping brilliant marketers and business owners like you. We’re going to swipe a proven joke formula and use it to tell your story in a way that wins attention, deeper engagement, and ultimately, more sales.
I call it the 60-Second Sales Hook.
The joke formula I cribbed it from is one that I and countless other comedians use often. I named it the Persona Joke Formula. It has only four parts:
1. Identity (who you are)
2. Struggle (a problem the audience can relate to)
3. Discovery (a device that aids in overcoming the problem)
4. Surprise (the unexpected twist that makes it funny)
This joke formula is designed to quickly establish a comedian’s character and point of view. You’ll see it often when a comic is making their big television debut. That’s because a comedian’s second goal (after getting laughs) of a television appearance is to establish themselves as a marketable personality.
To do that, you’ve got to have a hook, like Larry the Cable Guy. A “hook” in comedy simply means a style that the audience can relate to. Think of Larry the Cable Guy with his sleeveless flannel shirts, ball cap and punny one-liners.
“Larry’s” real name is Dan Whitney and yes, I worked with him too back in the day. I bring that up not only to drop names, but as an example of how creating a hook can be the difference on your business. Back when Larry was Dan he possessed the same talent for getting big laughs, the same punchy style and the same impressively high “laugh per minute” ratio. But nobody really noticed. Because what he didn’t have was a hook. He was just a funny American white kid from West Palm, Florida (via Nebraska). Easy to like, just as easy to forget.
Then Dan started calling into a local radio show hosted by comedian Ron Bennington (of Sirius radio’s “Bennington”). He invented a character for the radio show; a redneck stereotype who worked as an installer for the cable company. Dan called him “Larry.” Larry would call in complaining about the “idiots” he encountered installing cable. The spots were hilarious and quickly became a staple of the show. Ron would say, “we’ve got Larry the cable guy on line two.” Dan was smart enough to run with the gag – and the name. He eventually became “Larry” full time, and he’s been a household name for over a decade. He makes movies, sells out concert halls and lives in millionaire country boy luxury.
Same guy, same act, better hook.
There’s no end to examples of previously ignorable entertainers finding their hook and striking it rich. Shawn Carter becomes Jay Z; Alecia Beth Moore becomes Pink; Paul Reubens becomes Pee Wee Herman; Donald Trump becomes… Donald Trump.
And no, you don’t need to change your name to adopt a hook. Madonna is famous for reinventing herself with new hooks. Her real name? Madonna. All you need to create a personal hook is to be yourself, just in a more dynamic way.
The 60-Second Sales Hook Formula will help you do it.
Ready for it? Cool.
The 60SSH is the same formula as the Persona Joke Formula, except for that last part. Instead of a surprise twist at the end, we slot in what people in business want more than a witty line; we want results.
Identity, struggle, discovery, results.
Tell your story in that simple frame, in 60 seconds or less, and your best prospects will react in ways you can’t imagine. One woman I worked with to craft her 60SSH used it on the landing page offering her free sample product in exchange for the visitors’ email addresses. She teaches traditional cooking.
After reworking her welcome video with a 60SSH that spoke to the best prospects for her teaching videos and telling her story in a more dynamic way, opt-ins to her email list skyrocketed by an increase of 1000%. After applying the same copy to her sales page, her sales increased by 400%.
Same person, same product, better hook.
Excited yet? I hope so. Because the coolest part about creating your 60SSH is how much fun it is to write. You already know your stories, and the formula allows you to tell it with fill-in- the-blank ease. Kind of like a Mad Libs for your sales copy.
The good people at SEMrush have asked me to present the 60-Second Sales Hook in all its actionable glory on an upcoming webinar. I’d be happy to. Unless Jimmy Fallon calls I’ll see you on Wednesday, April 6th to walk you through all four steps of the 60SSH so you can write yours along with me, in real time.
We’ll have a good time and afterward you’ll still be you, but with a much better hook.
See you there.