Welcome to today’s VidTao Blog, your one-stop destination for all the latest in Direct Response video advertising.

Today’s briefing is a 7 minute read:

✍️ The “Lead” Framework behind $1 Billion USD in Direct Response Revenue: Part 1 with Agora Financial’s Mark Ford

😱 How this 7-Figure Financial offer leverages FEAR (is this ethical/unethical?)

🤖 Try this “Lead Analyzer” GPT prompt to score your ad’s “hook” & generates new ideas

🎬 How to build Direct Response YouTube Ad creatives from scratch (2023’s most comprehensive guide)

🗳️ Poll: Are you scaling on Connected TV yet? If no, why not?

➕ Plus: Direct Response Principles for 2023, Google’s new Lookalike Audience feature, Advertising’s “Red Pill” moment, Media Buying “Biases”, a new twist on the “AIDA” copywriting framework, and much more…

Let’s start by taking a look at some of the latest updates from the Direct Response Marketing world:

🕙 Direct Response Marketing Minute

Here is your 60 second Performance Marketing Briefing for today:

🎯 Google's New Lookalike Audience Feature: (and how to use it, step-by-step)

🤖 Long-Form Copy GPT Prompt Sequence: Can this AI prompt sequence write full ads/salespages in 3 minutes?

💊 Advertising's "Red Pill" moment? This revealing podcast episode some are calling the most eye-opening content of 2023.

💡Media Buying Biases: Are these Media Buying Biases hurting your performance?

✍️ New copywriting framework: Test this new twist on the time-tested “AIDA” (Attention Interest Desire Action) copywriting framework.

🕵️‍♂️ How to “Spy” on Top Affiliate Offers: (Plus Ads & Landing Pages) check out this step-by-step tutorial walk-thru.

💰 Why Click Fraud will waste 10%+ of your adspend this year (and what to do about it)

✍️ Direct Response Strategy & Tactics Corner

Over the years working behind the scenes with hundreds of businesses, we’ve seen a consistent pattern:

The more obsessed you are with learning Direct Response marketing principles and applying these principles to your business…

…The more money you make.

And that’s why in this and upcoming newsletters we're going to walk through principles from some of the most successful Direct Response marketers of all time.

Most important, we’re also going to show how businesses are applying these principles to their ads & offers, right now.

(So you’ll have a clear idea on how you can implement these principles in your own offers & ads).

Today we’ll start with Mark Ford aka “Michael Masterson” (his pen name), and his fantastic book “Great Leads”

Mark Ford aka Michael Masterson

Here’s why you should listen to what Mark Ford has to say about Direct Response marketing:

Mark has helped launch & grow dozens of multi-million dollar direct response businesses, including the Agora Companies: which he and Bill Bonner have grown to over $1 billion in gross revenue.

And the key to his success? It all starts with a the ad’s “Lead.”

Today’s Newsletter is Supported by Inceptly
Direct Response Video & Traffic Agency

Are you spending over $1k/day on ads?

Schedule a free brainstorm session:

Your “Lead”: What it is & Why it Matters…

But first, what exactly is a “Lead”?

Think of the “Lead” as the all-important first few seconds of contact between your prospect and your ad.

In traditional print advertising (where Direct Response began), the “Lead” is the all-important headline, subheadline & first words of the body copy (usually the first 100-600 words) tasked with grabbing the reader’s attention and getting them to read deeper into the promotion.

(That’s around the first 25 seconds to 2.5 minutes of reading time, at average reading speeds.)

Why is your “Lead” so important?

As Mark puts it:

“…as copywriters, we must recognize our first job is to win over the prospect’s heart. Once we do that, then the rest of our job — winning over his mind — is relatively easy.”

Here’s how Mark defines the key function of the lead, in Chapter 1 of Great Leads:

“Direct response advertising copy is different from brand advertising. Its purpose is to produce an immediate, positive action.

To create that response, you need to do more than catch the reader’s attention. You need to do more than entertain him. You need to do more than leave him with a positive impression of the product.

With direct response advertising, you need to provoke action. And to do that, you must accomplish two important objectives:

1. You must move the prospect emotionally.

2. You must persuade him intellectually.

Both jobs are equally important. But, to write breakthrough ads or promotions, you must do the emotional persuasion first.”

The best ads of yesterday or today (no matter if they are in print, on video, on virtual reality or any platform) are always going use the Lead to hit a powerful emotional note in the first few seconds of contact with the prospect.

Here’s one classic example that Mark shows, which ran for forty years and was never beaten (how’s that for creative fatigue!):

The product is an at-home English course for business people.

And the targeted emotion the ad hits on? Insecurity.

Now let’s fast forward to the 1990s and take a look at this 2 minute ad for Pedi Egg, a product that sold over 40 million units via Direct Response TV ads:

You’ll notice how hard this ad hits on the emotion of embarrassment in the first 8 seconds:

     ● “Are you EMBARRASSED by ugly feet in sandals?”

     ● “Are dry, cracked feet ruining your stockings?”

     ● “Don’t put fancy shoes on UGLY feet!”

The lead sinks the emotional “hook” ⚓ into the viewer’s heart ❤️, buying the advertiser enough attention in those first precious seconds to be able to present the full sales argument for the product.

And here’s another classic lead for one of the best performing Boardroom INC ads of all time, now with the lead on the actual envelope itself:

What’s the emotion this Lead hits on?


While we are on the topic of fear…

Here’s a great ex7ample of how to use FEAR in advertising. Whether or not you think this a manipulative approach is your call. But let’s fast forward to 2023 and look at one of GoldCo’s recent top performing YouTube ads inside of VidTao, with around $150k spent in the past 30 days:

Here is the lead:

  • “It looks like the Fed has just declared WAR on Americans, AGAIN! Because if they FORCE us into a digital dollar…”

Again, notice how hard the ad’s lead hits on the emotion of FEAR, both in the lead and then in the rest of the ad:

  • Paints government as enemy "at war" with Americans
  • Warns of privacy invasion and government tracking with digital dollar
  • Claims not preparing means you'll be on "wrong side of history"
  • Pushes urgent call to action before it's too late
  • Makes listener afraid, then offers product as empowering solution
  • Exaggerates threats with language like "scary times" and "invasion of privacy"

Why do emotion-driven leads like this work so well?

According to Harvard Business School professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of our purchase decision making takes place in the “subconscious” mind, with emotion driving the purchase behavior.

Buying is based emotion first, then conscious post-rationalization of that emotional . Or as Mark Ford puts it:

“…First we find ourselves wanting to buy a product and then begin the rationalization process of deciding if we should.”

It’s the LEAD that often triggers that initial emotional “want.”

Try this Chat GPT Prompt to Make Your Lead More Emotional

Inspired by Mark Ford, here’s a GPT prompt you can try to evaluate your leads and generate solid ideas for improvement:

Lead Evaluation and Improvement Task:

Please paste the ad lead you'd like to evaluate in the space provided below. I will analyze it based on the criteria set by Mark Ford, a renowned Direct Response Marketer. Specifically, I will assess whether the lead generates excitement and a strong desire to continue engaging with the content.

Input Lead:
(Paste your ad lead here)

Evaluation and Feedback:

Excitement and Anticipation (Scale 1-10):
(Your evaluation will appear here)

Feedback and Suggestions for Improvement:
(Your feedback and suggestions will appear here)

Follow-up Task:

If you have any high-performing leads that you'd like to share, please paste them below. I will analyze them to generate more ideas and insights that could be beneficial for crafting future successful ad leads.

Input High-Performing Lead:
(Paste your high-performing lead here)

Generated Ideas and Insights:
(The generated ideas and insights will appear here)

Try it out and let us know how it goes.

Ok, that’s it for Part 1 of our “Deep Dive” into leads with Agora’s Mark Ford.

Stay tuned for upcoming episodes where we’re going to walk through 6 proven lead types that compel readers to act, with exact formulas and examples for each lead type.

✍️ Get this Free PDF

Want to see exactly how to build direct response YouTube ad creatives that scale to 1k/day, 10k/day and beyond?

Alex Simic, Inceptly's Creative Director Alex Simic is sharing this 25 page PDF right now on Twitter/X: 👇

Go here to check it out.

🗳️ Today's Poll:

Are you running your video ads on Connected TV yet?

Whether or not your are running on Connected TV yet…

…We’ve got some very exciting resources in the mix for you to help you succeed on this incredibly promising platform, and we can’t wait to share them with you asap.

Advertise with VidTao's Audience of 100k+

Advertise with VidTao to get your brand in front of the Who's Who of Performance Advertising & Direct Response. Whether you’re looking to reach decision makers at top brands or looking for rock-start talent for your team (like our happy advertising client below) VidTao’s audience are the cream of the crop of digitial advertisers always looking for the next interesting product, tool, or opportunity. Get in touch today.

That’s it for today!

Best wishes,

The VidTao Team

PS - Got a direct response offer or brand you're looking to scale with paid traffic?

Here's how our partners at Inceptly (our Direct Response Video & Traffic agency partner with over $950M in Direct Response revenue generated) can help:

1) Paid ads Strategy & Execution on Google, YouTube, Meta, TikTok (and more)

"We have been working with Inceptly for over 2 years now, and they have been instrumental in helping us drive paid acquisition at scale. I highly recommend Inceptly's services." - Sandy Diao, Director of Growth @ Descript.com

👉 Go here to set up a free paid traffic brainstorm chat.

2) Build a Custom Tracking & Attribution “Brain”:

"Thanks to [Inceptly's] data team, we now have a custom tracking solution built specifically to our business that supplies all of the information we need to floor or throttle the proverbial gas pedal which is front-end advertising." - Devyn Merklin, CMO Livingood Daily

Can one of Inceptly's custom data solutions help you finally crack the code on attribution at scale?

👉 Go here to schedule a free tracking & attribution consult

3) Build Direct Response Video Creatives that SCALE

"The Inceptly team just gets it when it comes to performance video creative. I love it." - Val Yakovchik, Founder & CEO MoxieLash

Let's build your next winning creative campaign on YouTube, YouTube shorts (and more)!

👉 Go here to set up a YouTube ad creative brainstorm with our team.

4) "UpSkill" Your Internal Creative & Media Buying Team

"Thanks to our work with Inceptly, at our current pace within 3-4 weeks we should be doing highly profitable $10k+ days on YouTube." - Wouter Akika, VidTao Bootcamp client, Founder & CEO of MyDermaDream

Let's “Transplant” our team’s experience directly into your internal team, as quickly as possible. Fast-track your team’s media buying & creative skillset with the best in the business.

👉 Go here to see if our internal team-build programs could be a good fit for your business.

PPS: Have you checked out VidTao 2.0 yet?

We just added new features like Affiliate offer tracking, and millions of NEW YouTube ads indexed from all your favorite companies and offers.

Here’s how to check it out:

☝️If you have a VidTao Premium account already?

Go to next.vidtao.com to log in to VidTao 2.0 and try it out.

🙅 …And if you don’t yet have a VidTao Premium account?

Current VidTao Premium members will be “grandfathered in” on the current pricing tier for VidTao 2.0…

…But once we fully launch VidTao 2.0 at the end of the month?

We’ll be raising the price (as you can imagine we’ve invested A LOT to upgrade the software and continue to add a bunch more amazing features we’ll be walking through over the next few days)

Go here to lock in current pricing & claim your VidTao Premium membership with VidTao 2.0 access:

👉 https://blog.vidtao.com/vidtaopremium

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