Usually we save all the sneaky tricks and techniques for the newsletter, but today I’m feeling rambunctious so I decided I’d uncork some of the good stuff.
Don’t read today’s post unless you want to reach out and scoop more than your fair share of customers and sales. If you’re already making more money than you want, this one’s not for you.
Are you evil enough to join us?
OK. Here are 7 dastardly, fiendish, and just plain frickin’ evil tactics to get ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Or more customers. Whatever.
Evil tactic #1: Ask for the order
The Dr. Evil mind-control labs have determined that you can materially boost the response to anything just by issuing a clear, well-defined call to action.
This radically increases response to your offers, and yet does not require you to do any additional work. Clearly an evil scheme.
- Want more blog subscribers? Tell them to enter their email for free updates.
- Want them to click? Tell them to Click Here.
- Want more customers? Tell them to Add the Product to their Frickin’ Cart Already.
I wish I could make it more complicated for you, but it turns out the simpler and more straightforward you make your call to action, the better it works.
Evil tactic #2: Offer an unfair guarantee
When you offer a freakishly strong guarantee, you take the risk on yourself rather than putting it onto your customer.
This effects deep-seated neurological change that is tantamount to mind control. Combine this with the call to action and you have all but eliminated free will. The customer becomes your enthralled minion.
You evil genius, you.
Evil tactic #3: Give them a reason to act today
Let’s face it, most prospects are spineless weaklings lacking the strength of purpose to commit true evil.
Also, they procrastinate.
Give them enough time, and they’ll wiggle out of the sale faster than Austin Powers escaping an unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism.
In order to keep them from escaping your clutches, give prospects a compelling reason to buy today.
The usual way to get this done is to limit your offer, either by restricting the number you’ll sell or by giving them a deadline to buy.
One warning: don’t lie or give fake information about your limited offers. If you tell them you only have 100 limited-edition poseable Frau Farbissina action dolls, you can’t give out 101. While it’s true that fake scarcity is evil, it is also lame. Which we try to avoid.
Evil tactic #4: Have higher standards
No, I’m not talking about being a perfectionist. You’ll never rule the world by being a perfectionist.
The pursuit of true evil, however, does require high standards.
Standards are well-defined. You get to decide just what, specifically, you’ll have high standards about.
It might be the quality of your product. It might be your business ethics. It might be the brilliantly fiendish complexity of your evil schemes.
Standards are also measurable, and there are consequences for failing to meet them.
“We’ll get right back to you” isn’t a standard, it’s an ideal.
“We’ll respond to your email within one business day or we’ll detonate an explosive that destroys our secret volcano lair” is a standard.
Evil tactic #5: Use secret language to enthrall them to your will
It’s a secret known only to a handful of supervillains, several thousand direct response copywriters, and 133,631 subscribers to this blog.
There exist two secret trigger words that can turn prospects into enslaved robotic mutants who live only to do your bidding.
Read about them here, if you dare.
Evil tactic #6: Use the power of numbers
We could tell you all the underlying psychological reasons that the numbered list post is more effective than a tank full of sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.
We could tell you, but then we’d have to kill you.
Yes, everyone’s already using numbers in their headlines. Yes, you’re sick of them. Suck it up. Do you want to wear the daddy pants or don’t you?
Evil tactic #7: Deploy the unfair offer
Here’s the one that separates an internationally known criminal genius from a Mini-Me.
This is the one that will make your competition cry like schoolchildren with low self-esteem. It’s deadlier than a “laser” on the moon, and freakier than Goldmember.
If you make an offer for something your market really, really wants, it takes almost no persuasion to get your prospects to take it.
No, I know, it’s almost too diabolical to use.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
For the most up-to-date evil advice you’ll find on marketing your business online, subscribe to the free Copyblogger newsletter, Internet Marketing for Frickin’ Smart People.
About the Author: It is a little-known fact that Sonia Simone is the embodiment of pure evil. Thus, it is only natural that she is Senior Editor of Copyblogger.
Reader Comments (75)
Nabeel | Making Your Own Website says
HaHa…Loved the humor ridden and witty post!
I especially liked Evil tactic #1: Ask for the order
“Want them to click? Tell them to Click Here.” This is so obvious and simple, but it is amazing how many people still do not follow the simple rule of ‘KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid’
“We’ll respond to your email within one business day or we’ll detonate an explosive that destroys our secret volcano lair” is a standard.” LMAO!! I did not know copyblogger had writers who write humour, and are very good at it!
Sweetness. I’m on my way to making “one miiiiiiiilion dollars”.
Sonia, this is good stuff. Thanks.
Golden rule though… and yes even evil has it’s rules. I didn’t after all spend 7 years in evil medical school to be called “Mr” thank you very much!
“never ever upset Mr Bigglesworth”
Josh Garcia says
Thank you for giving out this information without having to sign up for something. This list is keeper!
Chat with you later…
Jodi Kaplan says
It IS amazing how many people forget to ask for the order, or reduce the risk.
I’ve got a freakishly strong backwards and forwards guarantee for my ebook. I stole it (from Megan Elizabeth Morris, who stole it from Naomi Dunford, who stole it from Mark Silver). Does all that stealing get extra, bonus “evil” points?
Patrick Bakker says
You made me smile and feel a bit smarter. And go back to reread some older posts 🙂
Interesting how ‘click here’ is so wrong from a usability (and seo) point of view, but so right for conversion.
Randy Duermyer says
Thanks for this extraordinary example of great content that people feel compelled to share. You grabbed me with the title but the content didn’t disappoint at all – in fact it just made it all the more enjoyable. Bravo!
Jeremy Powers says
I wonder if I could use an image of Dr. Evil in my direct mail campaigns without getting a strongly worded letter . . .
Nice List! And yes, despite the fact I hate writing numbered lists, it does seem to be what I am drawn to reading.
Head Honcho says
This is so freakin killer and you will cause mayhem for the reader because Sonia can click here to keep our attention the way she moves here words up an down the page like that! Naughty Girl Shwing!
John Hyde says
‘Ask for the order’ – great tip.
If you’re not selling directly off your website then the site needs to spell out in simple words what the visitor has to do next to get going…
Shane Arthur says
@Sonia, you just made 117,690 subscribers want to be your writing Mini-Me!
Thanks for the excellent work! “About the author” made me laugh, and I love the humor! Given the wisdom and great contents you have delivered, you can be called “Dr. Smart” or “Dr. Brilliant”; and given the action of sharing, “Dr. Kind”.
You are a great writer/teacher! ROLF! Tears are rolling down my cheeks!
…Helping you live an outrageously satisfying life!
Laura @ Futura Hospitality says
These are really evil tricks 🙂 every copywriter should now. Limited offers is probably the most powerful one, but it’s often abused…if they’re not motivated, they can cause a lack of credibility!
Steve Benedict says
You never cease to create clever ways to “hook” me.
Asking for the order is the natural way to conclude a sales pitch. In fact, if you ask a series of questions that elicit a “Yes”, you almost home free! “Wouldn’t you like to ______ (fill in the blank).
Too many of us think that if we make a great pitch, the customer will jump in our lap and say “Take me…I’m yours”.
You still have to ask for the order, early and often. We often try to be too clever with the close. Simply ask for the order. You’ll get a yes, no or maybe. It’s all good. My mentor used to say a “no” was great. Sales is a numbers game, and the “no’s” just get you that much closer to a yes!
Your point about putting a sense of urgency in your close is the all time sales winner! “There will never be a better time, so ACT NOW ” and “Limited Time Offer…ACT NOW” have sold more products than any other close.
One would think that people are so jaded that they’d never fall for anything so obvious. Not true. Even the most sophisticated consumer still wants to get in on a deal.
Macy’s on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving, at 5 am, is a good example. Either a limited supply or a limited time offer and steep discounts can cause mobs and riots where people (and I won’t say which gender) often try to kill each other getting to the cash register.
The call to action can work so good it’s scary!
Thanks for your usual great post. Your sense of irreverent humor shines through, as you make your case.
Sterling Mckinley says
Lol great post. Evil tactic #2: Offer an unfair guarantee is the best tip. A guarantee makes my clients trust in my services.
doug hay says
Excellent post – using humor to get the points accross was very clever. We all need reminding that marketing basics are the foundation of marketing success.
Beki @ The Good Girl says
Oh my god, I now have stuck in my head the image of me in some “daddy pants!” No, no, no, I don’t want to wear them!!! But I’ll pull up my big girl panties and get on with my day anyhow.
Great post, even better tips, and fabulous entertainment. That’s a job very well done.
Sonia Simone says
@Jodi, evil bonus points for you!
Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella says
Having been trained in telemarketing, I have my own fair share of evil tricks. LOL But this is a very entertaining approach to pointing out some of the strong sales tactics that are employed not just on the web, but everywhere.
I guess a person has to decide which ones they can use and not feel that they are turning into a little devil.
Being a Blog Angel, I’ll have to be careful or I could end up with a tarnished halo that sits a little off-center. LMAO
Jeff Yablon says
Umm . . . Am I crazy, or are at least several of those SALES tips rather than MARKETING tips?
Palticularly when it comes to #1 “ask for the order”, these are important, but . . . Sonia, I’m afraid you’re miscategorizing . . . and your lead is therefore MISleading.
You know . . . just sayin’ . . .
President & CEO
Sonia Simone says
Serious online marketing is direct response marketing, and direct response marketing has to sell.
Also, mwoo ha ha.
Brian Clark says
Jeff, online, the lines between marketing and sales are blurred more than ever. Seeing them as two distinctly separate things is where a lot of people go wrong.
At the end of the line, yes… there is a sales page designed for specific action. But most of what “pre-sells” is actually what sells — not the copy on the sales page.
Check out this article from our newsletter that discusses the “sideways salesletter” approach — and subscribe to the newsletter. 😉
Toronto Dentist :) says
Brilliant post. I read every sentence S-L-O-W-L-Y because I didn’t want to miss anything funny. As I was having fun, I was actually learning stuff. You and your jedi mind tricks!
Sure, maybe some things have been said before, but your Evil spin made it so fresh and irresistible.
I can appreciate the work you put into writing this. In making it so Dr. Evil, complete with “a tank full of sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads” it reads like a dream.
An evil dream… Muahahahaha!
Jeff Yablon says
Brian, I sit chastised. I drew a distinction when in fact you’re right; in this context there was no difference.
Mea Culpa. So much for my one hundred BILLION dollars . . .
Brian Clark says
Jeff, don’t feel chastised. This is the main mindset change that represents the difference between ineffective marketing and stuff that works. Most people don’t get it, but we’re continuing to preach. 😉
Jeff Yablon says
I checked with Webster, and I sippose “chastise” was too strong a word .
OTOH (to the original point): Yes, there’s convergence on this stuff. And anyone who believes they can do Marketing OR sales, or that the two functions haven’t become so inextricably linked that they’ve all but merged IS missing the big picture. BUT:
The marketing function is a matter of getting people’s attention, and the sales function is getting their money. So while people who are selling “stuff” might have the luxury of completely collapsing the two on each other, people who sell services do not. No matter how good the marketing, people still need to be sold on the services . . . and almost always in a far more complex dance. And that’s when you “ask for the order”.
It’s a real disconnect between the new way and the old way.
Stanford @ PushingSocial says
Master – I used evil tactic #6 for my latest manifesto and was harshly criticized by a troll. The self-appointed archangel of Blog excellence said that using List Posts was a sign of being a mindless follower using obsolete tactics.
He’s wrong of course. (I even invoked the name of Brian Clark in my rebuttal). It turns out that the List Post in question was the best performing in my young blog’s history. So your advice is right on (of course).
One question Sonia:
Could Evil Tactic #8 Be – Use a Proven Hypnotic Sequence?
I’m referring to the classic direct marketing writing frameworks such as AIDA or PPPP (Promise, Picture, Proof, Push).
Each of the 7 Mind Control tactics you outlined work brilliantly but they need to be used in the right order. Even this post uses one hell of an AIDA structure.
Brian Clark says
Good call Standford. Check out these two posts:
The Structure of Persuasive Copy
The Four “P” Approach: A Persuasive Writing Structure That Works
Sonia Simone says
I like that as Dr. Evil’s Tip #8.
And Tip #9 is to saute trolls lightly in peanut oil and feed them to Fat Bastard.
Michael Martine says
What? Higher standards? You have sunk to a new low! 😉
Lori Ann Cole says
Awesome post. You couldn’t gear a blog better to its target audience. I mean, what marketer doesn’t want to be an Evil Overlord and plot to take over the world (or at least a sizable market share)?
Bamboo Forest - Tick Tock Timer says
Excellent advice. All the essentials of making sales packed into one post. A very useful ‘list post’.
Sonia Simone says
@Michael, we will stop at nothing to achieve our evil desires. 🙂
What? You mean I signed up for the newsletter for nothing? You’re giving away the best stuff for free here? 🙂
Actually, you got me to check out some of the other links i the article so it’s all good. Maybe you should add another tip – link to relevant and related posts and then ask them again to do something.
Thanks for sharing these great, evil, tips,
Carol Hess says
Sonia, only you could have me laughing out loud at the same time I was receiving great marketing advice. You crack me up! Are you having a good time or what?!
Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire says
I really appreciate the use of the “unfair” guarantee and offer. That is really the key. Once you have addressed each of the customer’s reasons why they wouldn’t buy it, they have no choice but to pull out their wallets.
However, you seemed to have misplaced Evil Tactic # 9 (since Stanford took number 8) The unbelieveable mind-altering, time-warping, bank-acount-changing power of the killer headline.
You did allude to the fact, but without the power of the headline in an email, print ad, direct mail piece, sales page, twitter tweet, or facebook post, no one is going to get anywhere NEAR the rest of the evil steps, because they will have completely passed over the message.
The headline is the big, fat check for… ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
The Underdog Millionaire
OMG! Thought I wanted to help make the world/planet a better place, but really, I just want to be Evil! Love this piece. The old fashioned KISS method still applies. Thanks!
Jamie Barclay says
I love this article. This makes me realize sometimes being Evil isn’t all about being bad at all. If being this type of evil is wrong, I don’t want to be corrected. Great post.. Way to go..
Sonia Simone says
@Joshua, you get your evil merit badge!
@Marge and @Jamie, embrace the evil! Evil is fun, and fun is good.
Teresa Janelle says
Great info, I think I’m on my way to becoming an evil genius! #6 especially, that’s how I found this post…you got me!
Dorothy Ray says
Funnnee. You’ve gifted us with a hillarious redo of things you’ve been preaching right along, because you used your devilish voice and superb way with words to get the points across. You made Dr. Evil’s points memorable for me. I’m still laughing.
Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says
Evil cackles all round. Sometimes you have to be evil, after all, if your products and services are great you’re doing them a favor by making sure they don’t leave your website without having signed up or bought something:) Chanelling wicked witch of the East, Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa. Thanks for the laughs and the pointers, they never go amiss!
I love this post and am always waiting on the next post. I hope to put the info to use and get more people reading my blog.
Mtn Jim Fisher says
Do you know anyone I can outsource this evil stuff to Sinister Simone?
On the Dragon’s Tail
Rezdwan Hamid says
Very nice post, Sonia. Funny yet to the point! I love it a lot.
Funny post with some great reminders, thanks!
I do have another -annoyingly unrelated- question: to what extent is it allowed to use images from movies and books? I really like to present content using some kind of pop-cultural reference, but I’m often fearing a billion dollar claim from Paramount Pictures or something like that 🙂
These strategies are awesome, i like the way the post has a funny side, nice to read and great info.
Nathan Williams says
A steep learning curve. So that’s how things work!!!
And we thought everyone was just being nice and caring 🙂
Thanks for the tips, each one is a goldmine of ideas.
Valentine Belonwu says
Great post and I hope to try some of the tips here.
Thanks for sharing once again.
Joseph Wesley says
This is a great post — funny, entertaining, and informative. Thanks Sonia!
This was a great post, I learned a lot from it, you even convinced me to click on some of your links and explore further, which I don’t usually do on blogs, it made me realise that it really works, thank you.
Sonia Simone says
(Adjusting evil mind control beam to work even better on @HackerTen.)
Dave Doolin says
I like this new, improved yellow highlighter, the one in pastel, with the border around it. Spiffy. Not #yellow; at all. Nosireebob.
Sean Neprud says
You wrote good advice here, because these tips are easy to use and implement.
I’ll have to work these in to my next offer in a couple weeks.
Sonia Simone says
@Dave, the important thing is just to use yellow, as it has special hypnotic powers.
Kris Beus says
I really like these seven “evil” tactics. I have been blogging for a while now and could not understand why no one was subscribing until I actually when and looked at the home page of my blog and realized there was nothing on my blog that said subscribe here. I made a clickable link which allowed my visitors to subscribe and found a large leap in subscribers. Rule 1 is quite often overlooked and one of the most important.
Gary David | Build Your List Fast says
Thanks for sharing this. I really like the idea of having a call-to-action. Some people are afraid to ask people to subscribe, click on the link, offer a product, but that’s the way to have the visitors/customers to take some action.
Kavin Paulson says
Nice post! The tips are clear and straight to the point and most importantly practical.
Stuart Morris says
frickin’ sweet, Sonia… I really enjoyed your post. The call to action is something we always do, but you made me think “why not make it more actionable” Of course be Evil is the best.. so keep it up and look forward to reading more.
DSM Design says
One of the best blog posts i’ve read in a while, loved it! Not sure others in the office appreciated the multiple lols though! 🙂
Can’t say more than what’s already been said, but THANK YOU for the laughs & good advice. Where can I get my Frau Farbissina doll?
Kathy Jodrey says
Wow, what an awesome list of must-do actions! Great job linking to other posts as well. I absolutely had to find out what the 2 most important words are. I knew the first was “you” but had never heard about the second, “because”. Will definitely be taking this tip and running with it.
Thanks for the great content….love it!
Keith Davis says
Nice one Sonia
I’m giving readers a time limited offer for the Genesis “pro plus package”, plus a promo code – I could soon be ruling the world. LOL
How about a few promo codes for Scribe and Premise.
Would certainly help me get to the top.
Diane Dolinsky-Pickar says
OMG, not as the acronym but the words said aloud “Oh-Emm-Gee,” you’ve done it again! The metaphor for Dr. Evil telling this (instead of “me” whoever me is) is so remarkable that I feel like an 11 year old who can use her mommy’s entire closet for dress up. Now, I can think of like 15 alter-egos for him: Dr. ManicMotorcycle (for a news site reviewing cars and trucks), Dr. BeautifulBladders (for the blog on a Urologist’s website), Dr. Warped-and-Wonderful (for a fan club of extreme sports fanatics) and so forth. Your points were also clear and direct. As I try to craft the curriculum for a program of re-training workers, and also the marketing copy to sell it, I will surely be referring back to this!
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