The control — every copywriter’s coveted prize that gives them instant status and massive bragging rights in the game and the sought-after cash cow for the offer owner.
Everyone wants to have control, yet most don’t know how to beat the control — mainly because most are trying to guess how to do it.
It goes something like this: They’re making money with that, we should make an offer like that, but do it our way… then, when they do — it doesn’t work. Flop.
This article is going to change that for you by showing you the exact process of creating and beating controls using a step-by-step process that works in every market.
I have some of the top copywriters and offer owners in the world come to me for advice and one of the questions that come up often is “How do I beat this control?”
Oftentimes, they’re hired by some of the top companies and tasked to do exactly that — beat their control that all others have failed.
A daunting task, one in which you sit down and start to look at it and start thinking about “How can I make this better?” Maybe you swipe a little bit of that, a little bit of this, move a few things around, and give it a shot.
You read it, and your copy is fire — on the surface, reading this copy, it’s better. It opens better, it punches harder, it grips the prospect, and expresses emotions in a way that made you go “I’d buy that!”
Then you read it once again, polish it off, sign off on it, and send it off. They run it and it fails to beat the control.
*rage mode ensues* and you go WTF!
“Mine was better, I would have bought it. Unbelievable”. *sad face*
That’s the thing, YOU would buy it, but you’re not the market and that’s why the market wouldn’t, so it flopped.
Here’s what typically goes wrong:
On the surface level, looking at it, you wanted to take what they had and didn’t want to deliver “the same thing”. So you decided to get a little creative, change a few things around, and reorganize it to make it better.
One of the things I find the creative types do is that we LOVE to take something that works and change it 10%-20%, We just can’t help it.
The only problem is typically that the 10%-20% that’s changed is what makes or breaks the offer.
So let’s put an end to the guesswork as to what’s going to work and give you a little certainty in the game that’s going to allow you to beat any control and rise up in the ranks in the copywriting world.
You see, oftentimes, when people come to me for consulting, they do so because they don’t know what questions they should be asking.
If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll always get the wrong answers.
So a lot of what I do is knowing where to look and what to ask so that the right answer is self-evident. It’s VERY easy once you know where to look and what questions to ask.
So when copywriters come to me and ask me to take a look at their copy and make it better — they typically want me to take a look at the words, story, etc…
They chose and make them better, the choice of words is important, but it’s not going to move the needle that much as it’s the weakest form of communication.
So instead of starting with the words, I go one level above and look at what contains the words and the structure of the copy in the market they’re in.
Most of the flops against controls are based on using the wrong structure.
And herein lies one of the great secrets of copywriting.
You see, when it comes to controls, copy, and beating them — it’s not so much the words we use, as much as it is about the structure of the copy.
So often times the failure to beat a control is not a failure in the choice of words, but rather the failure of unknowingly changing the structure of the copy.
Once you change the structure of the copy in the market, it’s destined to fail. Because markets don’t respond so much to words as they do to structure.
The structure of the copy is defined as:
The components and elements the copy must contain in the right sequence to satisfy the prospect’s criteria for accepting something as TRUE (so they believe is true), so they can move to the next step in the CTA.
Whether you realize it or not, each section of copy has an invisible CTA, when elicited, gets them to go to the next section, all the way to the end, and then to the checkout page where they buy.
When you see a drop off in your video stats — that’s a failure of criteria and that hidden CTA on whatever level, they don’t believe you and leave.
The structure is not to be confused with the format. The format is what is the medium of communication. Video, text, etc…each format has a structure.
If you’re in the game of making money online then this is going to be one of the most important articles you’ll ever read, because it will show you how to beat and replicate controls in any market.
So if you’re an offer owner and you have a winning offer, before spending a dime on copywriters to beat it. Get the structure right and have them beat the elements WITHIN the Structure, and you’ll do a lot better.
If you’re a copywriter and you’re tasked with beating the control, then deconstruct the structure of their control in order to beat it.
So you have:
Market -> Format -> Structure -> Story / Hook / Mechanism / Close / Etc…
So if you change the above levels, they tend to greatly affect the lower levels.
And when it comes to controls it all comes down to structure — the STRUCTURE of the control.
Once you understand this, you’ll be able to beat any control and in the process proceed to piss off every copywriter who had the control, because you just took away their bragging rights.
“BUT I HAD THE CONTROL FOR 9 YEARS“…Sorry bro, not anymore.
So back to structure, think of Structure as the criteria the market needs in order to satisfy their decision-making process and to accept this as “truth”.
The structure is about the mental process. One has to go through the sequence of events in order to gain experience so they can make a decision.
It’s not about criteria, it’s about the process and the process in which criteria are then examined or exposed.
An example is if you were telling somebody about the criteria of a car that they want, you don’t always start with the wheels you would start describing the motor first before the wheels. So it’s essentially the process in which you expose the criteria.
In essence, the structure is the components and the sequences of events in the format of the offer.
By the way, the process of decision goes in the CTA: Judge (compare) -> Decide (remove alternatives -> Act (choose what you’re selling).
Without them accepting something as the truth, they will not act on it. Truth has many levels. There are layers of truth, one is built upon the next and this is what the structure provides for the market.
That is what the market responds to and any time you deviate from the structure, it doesn’t work. The market will reject it. The structure is everywhere in all winning controls, not just our space…
Why do you think Elon Musk made the ELECTRIC car? Steve Jobs made the iPhone? The list goes on. Everything is an evolution of structure. It’s a derivative of the same structure, but better.
For the few that make it, you can also see countless failed products in the graveyard of “innovation”, and it’s filled with taking components, and parts and attaching them to a NEW structure.
So they change the structure, but not the parts.
- Same structure -> better components = control.
- Different structure -> same components = flop.
Knowing structure is the key and with everything, and every market has a structure they respond to. So knowing this — they don’t as much respond to your words as much as they respond to the structure.
- Most popular YouTubers all run the same structure on their channels — Joe Rogan, Lex Friedman, Mr. Beast, etc…
- Hollywood has stumbled upon a structure that can guarantee $1 billion movie. It’s the blockbuster formula. The formula is exactly that structure repeated. Why do you think all superhero movies are basically the same thing? Take a look at the similarity between Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh.
- Mcdonald’s developed its structure and then gave birth to the entire fast food industry that uses the same exact structure in just about all of the fast food restaurants.
- Agora figured out its structure — and then it went on to make billions.
- And so did Gundry MD as well, the winning formula that crushes the market.
- I did as well with all of my membership sites, supplements, #1 ClickBank offers, $500 VSLs, Automatic Clients, 10 Minute VSLs, PodCast VSL, Webinars, coaching programs, and everything else I’ve done.
I spend A LOT of time looking, thinking, and working on the structure — once I have it, it’s game over. Everything has a structure. The hero’s journey is a structure. The names are variable the description of the heroes variable, but the structure of what the hero does as a hero.
That is what we respond to. The structure is what holds things together, it’s what the words in copy go INTO. Then THAT structure goes into the MARKET carrying your words to the masses.
All big brands figure out the structure mostly by accident then they replicate it over and over again, and the smart competitors copy their structure.
- Rolex: The bezel on the Submariner, Day-Date, and others = are all the same, yet slightly different.
- Audomor Piguet = the structure of the case
- BMW and Mercedes = All their cars look the same, just one is bigger than the other.
- Some would call this “design language,” but it really means the structure of how something looks that the market responds to.
The list goes on and on, once you start looking at the structure of things, you’ll see that just about everyone is more focused on creating the right structure than inventing it because people know it works.
When people mess up, they try to come in with something unique, and in their question of trying to be unique. While at the same time not being aware of the power of structure, they modify it and it fails.
Every time I start blowing up offers in a space is because I figured out the structure and replicated it.
It was literally the same thing to me, but it felt very unique to the audience — as they don’t know they were influenced by structure.
So let’s talk about how to actually do that. You have two choices.
One is if you’re trying to beat the control. The other is if you don’t have control but want to create a winning offer that becomes a control.
In either case, the process is the same. The only difference is you know the offer to study for structure in the 1st and the second option is you just need to look for and find the offer that’s scaling so you can replicate it.
Basically, if they don’t have control, then their competition does so.
Here’s the process:
Step 1. Open Google Docs
Step 2. Create a table with 3 columns and 20 rows.
Step 3. In your copy section out to discover the structure.
For example, in the 10-minute VSL, the 1st section is “big promise”, which has this piece of copy in it:
The goal of this section is to make a BIG promise, so if you’re to model it, you have to have a BIG promise. Not a horror story, not emotional openings, nor discovery but a BIG promise. NOTHING else.
This is 9 minutes long and it could possibly change your financial life forever. Just 90 days from today you could have a 700+ credit score, showing in your credit karma account. There is a little-known, simple, but powerful method that is now being used by people just like you to raise their credit scores well into the 700s, and even 800 range… in as little as 90 days. It is the same secret I used to raise my own credit score from 541 to 756 after going nearly bankrupt and losing everything.
The 2nd section is to “Establish Authority”, which has this copy in it:
The goal of this section is to establish authority because if you make a big promise, it has to be trusted, and to be trusted, it helps if someone with authority makes that big promise. Again, establish authority, nothing else.
My name is Jay Hannon, and while you probably haven’t heard my name before…
You’ve definitely seen some of the people I’ve helped, featured on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, and MSNBC…after changing their financial lives forever.
I am 40 years old, happily married and I live in a 4,000 sq ft house in the best part of town.
I drive a top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz – and it’s all thanks to having an almost perfect credit score.
The reason is that I have been able to do something none of the mainstream financial “experts” have been able to figure out.
The 3rd section is to Big claims and pre-empt objections
The goal of this section is to make a big claim and pre-empt objections, to remove objections before they start. That’s what you should be doing anyway, not haggling with them later. Again, only this, NOTHING else.
This secret could potentially raise your credit scores into the 700s and even 800s with just one simple trick.
It takes less than 5 minutes a day and doesn’t require you to hire a high-priced credit repair agency or do anything illegal or unethical. In fact, it has really no risk at all.
And it’s all possible because of a loophole I discovered in the credit laws of the United States that allows almost anyone, anywhere, regardless of credit score, income or education.
… to follow 3 step-by-step directions and instantly be able to increase their scores practically “on-demand”.
It’s like having a cheat code that lets you beat the credit system at it’s own game – and there is nothing the banks, credit card companies or collection agencies can do about it.
Those are 3 of 25 sections in the 10-minute VSL that create the structure of the offer.
So what you want to do is section it out on your columns and then what will happen is that you might feel that your copy is a little too similar to the control, and that’s when you add another column and then rewrite your own version to gain distance from it so that way it’s different yet the same structure.
As an offer owner, you can keep iterations of these controls, section by section. Once you know this, you can look at Wistia or Vidalytics stats and look at the drop-offs. Those drop-offs are where you improve, section by section, those are your weak points.
So as you’re redoing the sections, if they have a doctor, well, now you have a doctor who went to the school when he was 12, graduated with a 4.0 GPA, went to the Vietnam War, saved 2,425 lives, and is asked to speak by everyone yet he refuses in favor of charity.
Whatever they have make it better!
In the process of making it better, here’s something else. The brain can not process information without asking questions, it can’t.
Even if someone tells you something, anything. there is an underlying assumption that you want to know.
So an example is:
Hey, Tom Brady won the Superbowl.
The assumption is that you had a question of “who” won “what”. Knowing this, there are 6 questions that the brain uses to process data: What, Where, When, Who, Why, and How.
When you’re sectioning it out, there is an assumption of that question being elicited in my example above. You want to dig into that.
So in the example above in the “BIG PROMISE”, it’s largely a “WHAT” and “HOW”..
What: Just 90 days from today you could have a 700+ credit score, showing in your credit karma account.
How: There is a little-known, simple, but powerful method that is now being used by people just like you to raise their credit scores.
Do you see it? You want to AMP those up, a better, bigger, stronger WHAT and an easier HOW.
There is a rule I use in copy and that rule is:
- Always maximize outcomes
- Always minimize inputs to get those outcomes
- Always simplify the process to do so
So in that case, how can you maximize the what and the how, and minimize the input to get them and simplify the process?
Once you combine this with the rest of the other 3 sections of the grid, including the structure of personality, it’s powerful stuff.
The last thing I want to leave you with is I work with / consult with some of the biggest companies in the game, and one thing they all have in common is the difficulty of beating the control.
One thing I did with a $50/m year company recently was just explain this to them.
They took their #1 offer, the bread and butter of the business, and broke it down in structure and now every new offer has to follow that structure — remove the guesswork.
Remember: The biggest danger in marketing is to be unique and different in order to make it new. You want NEW, but not different, so similar but new.
So focus on innovation and creativity within the bounds of the structure, but don’t change the structure