My step-by-step process to manufacture winning Big Ideas

If your copy is failing to take off and sell like crazy, there’s a good chance you’re not coming up with good enough Big Ideas.

Big Ideas are the “engine” behind the world’s best copy.

And Big Ideas are often more important than your copy itself.

When you get a great Big Idea, it becomes “sticky” in your customers’ minds. If they’re in the market for what you sell, usually all they’ll need to hear from you is your one-line Big Idea and they’ll be sold. The rest of your copy is just there to convince them you’re legit and push them over the edge.

(Check out my email yesterday for examples of Big Ideas.)

So how do you actually come up with a good Big Idea?
Well, I can tell you how I do it.

It’s important to point out first – this takes practice.

Big Ideas are a perfect example of The 80/20 Principle in copy: they are the tiny levers that create massive results. For that reason, you’ll have to spend a bit of time on crafting a lot of one-sentence super sexy benefits…

…until finally, after a day of rest, one will just slap you in the face and leave you with a gut feeling that, “This is the one.”

So with that said, the first thing to keep in mind:

Step #1: Remember that a Big Idea is one single exciting super-sexy benefit of your product.
Your product could have 15 amazing benefits that your customers crave.

However, a Big Idea is just ONE idea.

If you start focusing on too many benefits at once, they all lose power. We as humans are unfortunately very single-minded and lose focus when we’re presented with too much information.

You’ll always win bigger by putting the majority of your focus on the one benefit that gets your audience worked up more than any other.

Step #2: Write out all the benefits your competitors claim to provide (or don’t provide).
For example, yesterday I mentioned Ramit Sethi and I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

In the world of personal finance, everything is about saving more money by pinching pennies. Cut out the lattes, downsize your home, sell your cars, and generally don’t do anything extravagant in your life – then you’ll be able to retire comfortably at 65 so you can die peacefully at 70.

And that’s how he started too – teaching the same stuff in his own voice.

But then he mixed it up.

Step #3: Take that core idea and use one of these 9 Big Idea Prompts to remix it.

They are CREATE BIG:

  1. Combine Ideas: Combine two different ideas or benefits into one to create something new. GI Joes took the idea of dolls like Barbie (for little girls) and added action (for little boys).
  2. Reverse Thinking: What’s the opposite way to say this? Instead of “save money” it’s “spend money smartly”.
  3. Eliminate Parts: Remove benefits or features. Subtract until the product does one extremely important thing better than anyone else.
  4. Adapt Solutions From Other Fields: Use solutions from other industries for a fresh perspective. Netflix for X. The Tesla of Y.
  5. Technology: Attach some form of technology to an idea. (You see this everywhere now with AI – it’s the same old product, but now with AI woven into it.)
  6. Examine Futures: Make the idea seem futuristic. (The old Sharper Image catalogs did this for all their products – they made it feel like you were looking at future products you could buy today.)
  7. Build Constraints: Create constraints like budget or time limits.
  8. Imagine Scales: Multiply the idea. Change the size or scale of the idea. (Instead of “learn your favorite songs”, you promise “learn the simple chord progressions that allow you to learn EVERY song”.)
  9. Gain Perspectives: Narrow in by looking at the idea from a different demographic or cultural viewpoint. What benefits does this group immediately see from their perspective that you never could?

Using Ramit Sethi again as an example, he pivoted from “save money by pinching pennies” to “define your Rich Life and save so you can spend extravagantly on that – and cut everything else”.

From there, his business took off.

Go through the list above and you’ll see a few Big Idea Prompts that, when combined, could take him from “save money pinching pennies” to that “Rich Life” Big Idea.

These three steps alone will get you 90% of the way to your Big Idea.
It’ll feel slow at first – but with practice it gets fast. And lucrative. Very lucrative.

But what about the last 10%?

The last 10% is how you hard-wire all these formulas in your head so Big Ideas just come immediately when you need them – like a flash of inspiration.

This is how you become that person who churns out letter after letter after letter that makes $$$ – and, by extension, become that person making that $$$ yourself (whether you’re an entrepreneur writing for yourself or a freelancer writing for other businesses).

We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Talk then!

  • Derek