Are you hoping to blow the doors right off the sales copy for your product or service?
Well, that should be a no-brainer. The key to doing that, however, won’t be found in the design of the page, clever metaphors or punchlines, or even kick-ass testimonials. Instead, it will be found in coming up with the big idea.
Say what, now?
Yeah, you read that right. The BIG IDEA. I think I can make a pretty good guess about the expression you just made. You winced, didn’t you? It’s okay. I’m not judging. After all, it already takes what seems like forever and a day to craft copy that’s worth putting out into the universe. So, why on earth would you want to add something like this to the very beginning of your creation process?
The question should actually be: Why the heck wouldn’t you? I know I’ve got some convincing to do, however, before you jump on the “big idea” bandwagon with me. Therefore, today, I’m going to share all you need to know—from what it is to how to find and use it so you can level-up your copy.
Okay, seriously. What exactly is this “big idea” you speak of?
Let’s just say entrepreneurs can get a little “idea happy.” What I mean is, they get so excited about sharing all they have in their creative brains that they want to spew it all out at once to their readers. I see it happen far too often. That just sets them up to experience information overload.
Therefore, your real message gets buried, and they scurry off the page as quickly as they can. Why? Because they just don’t understand what it is you can honestly do for them. They’re freakin’ overwhelmed.
Luckily, that’s where the big idea comes into play. How can one define it? As David Ogilvy, the master of advertising, once said, “It’s instantly comprehended as important, exciting, and beneficial. It also leads to an inevitable conclusion, a conclusion that makes it easy to sell your product.” Not to mention, the sole purpose of it is to help you genuinely hone in on your message so you can be crystal clear and appeal to your ideal people.
But, what’s the anatomy of a big idea? Again, Mr. Ogilvy came in clutch, providing a helpful checklist in his book Ogilvy on Advertising to help people like you and me decipher whether or not an idea could (and should) qualify as truly tremendous.
- Did it make me gasp when I first saw it? It should stir up the emotions of your readers.
- Do I wish I had thought of it myself? Obviously, you should love your idea.
- Is it unique? If you’re the first to deliver the message, it’ll feel monumental. And, don’t be fooled by the fact that it needs to be “unique.” You can provide a new angle or twist on an idea that’s already popular or talked about. Thus, you give it a new life!
- Does it fit the strategy to perfection? It should pair well with your plan of action to accomplish your ultimate goal.
- Could it be used for 30 years? Consider the moment when you meet someone and instantly kick it off, recognizing you’ll most likely be friends with them for many, many years to come. That should be the same feeling you have about your big idea—something that’ll last for a long time versus a fad.
If you want an example of a big idea that hits every point on this checklist, just look to Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek. Have you heard of it? Sure you have. That is unless you’ve been living under a rock.
In all seriousness, he wrote a real game changer that has helped and inspired struggling entrepreneurs (and continues to do so to this day). All by focusing on the concept of lifestyle design.
Did he invent the concept? Nope. Was his book built on hype? Of course. Did it sell, however? Absolutely. We’re talking more than one million copies sold worldwide to date.
Want to know why? Because there are far too who take any chance they can get to scoop up insight on how to get rich quick. You know, pass “Go” and head straight to collect the title of “boss” without having to put in much effort or hours in the office.
It’s appealing. And, boy did Ferriss understand that. So, he built his whole idea around it and thus labeled it The 4-Hour Workweek. Bam.
Now, how do I come up with my very own big idea to level-up my copy? And, ultimately, my profits?
1. Keep your ideal customer top-of-mind.
While creating his big idea, Ferriss obviously knew who would need (and want to buy) his lessons the most. After all, he used to be one of them—a struggling entrepreneur. You know, the ones who believe life has to be hard and you have no choice but to park your butt behind a desk from 9 am until 5 pm every weekday in exchange for a few (sometimes) relaxing weekends at home or a short-lived vacation.
Heck, that’s why his big idea sold so well. They were downright thirsty to learn how to run a company without letting it consume their life. The problem, however, is most don’t follow Ferriss’ footsteps. Instead, they quickly lose sight of who their product or service could resonate the most with, which leads them to slam dunk their chances of success right into the trash.
For that reason, you need to keep your ideal customer or client top-of-mind. Doing so will only help you carry out that big idea and allow it to flourish in the real world. If you’re unsure of who exactly you dream of doing business with, you’ll want to check out this post.
2. Look for an unmet need or opportunity your product or service can address.
If you want your ideal customer to pay attention to what it is you have to offer, just as people did with Ferriss, they need to feel they have a legitimate reason to. So, what does that mean for your next big product or service idea? It needs to:
Reveal an unmet need.
Reveal an opportunity.
Sometimes, your people won’t necessarily know they have an unmet need or opportunity. And, that’s perfectly fine. You’ll let your sales copy do the explaining and persuading.
But, no matter what, your idea needs a reason to exist.
To confirm it does, in fact, have a reason to, take some time to do the following:
- Scope out the competition—until you get up close and personal with those you’re up against and see how they do business, you won’t know what makes your big idea unique. Dive into their sales page to understand their angle (aka unique selling proposition), creep on the features and benefits they’re dishing out, and analyze what their customers are saying about them across their social pages and comments section of their blog posts.
- Ask your community—if you already have an email list or social following, put your feelers out to your existing community. Ask them what their pain points are and how you can better serve them. Doing so will allow you to understand what needs you’ve yet to meet.
- Pay attention to current news and culture—this might seem silly at first. But, you’d be surprised by how much this step plays a role in ensuring you focus on an unmet need or opportunity your product or service can address. For example, as BusinessInsider.com explains, the Broadway musical “West Side Story” was originally written with a focus on Catholics and Jews, versus Puerto Ricans and whites as we know it today. The idea came back to life when the composer and writer reunited six years later and saw an eye-opening newspaper headline.
Once you complete the research phase, jot down some ideas for your unique value proposition (USP) to help set yourself apart from the herd of sheep. And, explain to your ideal customer why they should want to invest in your product or service. Not another’s.
3. Ensure it connects to your domain of authority.
Upon graduation, Ferriss set out to explore Silicon Valley. Soon after, he launched his own company, BrainQuicken—with a focus on athletic supplements. His reason for doing so? It was something he knew a lot about as he easily obsessed over it in his own life.
But, when life decided to throw him a couple of curveballs, he was forced to step away from his desk and take some much-needed time off. It was during that time when he realized his business performed better without him micromanaging. Thus, he took it upon himself to compile lessons he’d learned in his personal and professional life regarding efficiency and planning, which later formed the makeup of his legendary book.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Ferriss recognized he had a certain level of credibility to be able to share those lessons and sell them to his audience. After all, his big idea of a four-hour workweek clearly connected with his personal and professional experiences.
Therefore, when you think you’ve landed on a big idea, ensure it connects to your domain of authority. You should feel uniquely qualified to share your take on it (based on your experiences—personal and/or professional) and, when you do, the audience should walk away agreeing that you are in fact the one for the “job.”
4. Double-check it’s something you can get behind & be passionate about.
The 4-Hour Workweek ended up being the catalyst for a few of Ferriss’ other big ideas: The 4-Hour Body, which also became a #1 New York Times bestseller. And, The 4-Hour Chef, which became a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller. Now, you might be wondering why he wanted to take another shot at success when he was already ahead and be known as the guy with the 4-Hour brand.
Ultimately, he just wanted to avoid feeling pegged as some sort of career guru. Therefore, he made the leap to expand his teachings to his two other passions—health and cooking. This provides an important teachable moment for entrepreneurs like you when you’re working hard to come up with your next big idea: double-check it’s something you can get behind and be passionate about.
I say that because chances are, you’re going to be forced to put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into whatever it is you plan on launching—whether it be a product or service. So, make sure it’s something you really, truly, wholeheartedly care about and want to put your all into. If it’s not, be quick to nix it and find something else that sets your soul on fire.
5. Don’t rush it.
You probably have a running list of big ideas marinating in that brilliant brain of yours as you read this. Is each of those a winner? Probably not. But, I’m sure there are a few you’re beyond eager to bring to life. The key to creating a winner, however, is to give it a reasonable amount of time in the incubation phase.
This phase is all about allowing it time to mature. Hey, even Mr. Ferriss did this with one of his books, The Four-Hour Body. As I mentioned earlier, one of his passions was health. I mean, he is really passionate about it. In fact, he’s recorded almost every workout he’s done since he was 18. And, that’s not all. He’s even flown to rural tea farmers in China to discuss the effect Pu’er tea has on fat loss.
It wasn’t until he had a conversation with a Wired magazine writer about the main fears of modern men and women—aka email overload and getting fat—that he realized it was time to write The Four-Hour Body. Talk about allowing an idea time to mature! So, take a page from Ferriss’ book. If you want your ideas to evolve, don’t rush creativity.
The time has come to pass the baton on to you! By now, you should have a solid understanding of what a “big idea” is and how to find your very own to connect with your ideal customers and level-up your sales. So, what are you waiting for? Go on and get to brainstorming!
Lastly, I’m feeling generous today: to make your sales copy for your next product or service endeavor a success, I’m offering you a FREE copy of our checklist: “The Copywriting Checklist That Will Make Your Offer Irresistible,” delivered straight to your inbox.
All that’s required to get your hands on it is your email. Just drop it into the box to the right-hand side of this page, and you’ll get it right away!
So, what’s a big idea you have marinating in that brilliant brain of yours? I want to know! Share it with me in the comments section below.