A few years ago, a client hired me to whip up a sales page for his SaaS company.
It was a startup.
And unfortunately, it never actually ended up getting started.
But the copy was really good… if I do say so myself.
(Perhaps I’ll share it at some point.)
Anyway, the owner of the company was so impressed with my work (he probably felt a little bad, too)… that he wanted to commission me to help sell one of his “weekend” cars.
The Big Challenge
He was going to sell his car on one of those “auction” sites. And he had a price in mind that he really wanted to get for it.
Now, if you’ve ever tried to sell your car yourself… you know that most people will try to haggle you down.
Being able to negotiate for a lower price is kind of like a badge of honor for most men, myself included.
So I had my work cut out for me.
On top of that…
I had never owned or driven this kind of “sports car.”
I drive a fucking Honda Civic.
Clearly, I’m not a car guy.
Despite all this… I took on this challenge… because I wanted the money he was paying me to write the ad (DUH)… and because I wanted to prove to myself that I could write for a product I didn’t really know much about.
If You Understand How To Do Effective Market Research… You Can Sell Anything
Keep in mind, I had never met this client in real life.
I had never seen the car he was trying to sell in real life.
Therefore… I had never driven it, either.
So if I was going to write a good ad, I was going to have to do a metric shit tonne of research.
So, I did.
I started by researching on Google, everything I could find out about the car from the manufacturer. I read articles from car afficiandos who love this stuff.
I started looking up all the standard features that came in the car… and I asked the owner (my client) about all of the upgrades and the condition of each part.
I spent a LOT of time researching.
I read car forums and industry articles about the car.
I read and read and read.
Eventually… I had a dozen or so pages of notes.
So there was one last thing for me to do…
I Looked At Other Ads That Successfully Sold Cars
No… I didn’t turn on the TV and wait for Matthew McConaughey’s sultry voice to come on, trying to convince me to buy a Lincoln… not THOSE kinds of car ads.
Instead, I looked at some classics, so I could model the general flow and get some inspiration and direction for the structure of the ad I was about to write.
Here’s an ad I found that really helped me:
You can read all about this famous ad at Swiped.co
That’s Mike Schauer’s site. I don’t know him but he created one of the best swipe files on the internet today… and he seems like a really cool dude.
Another resource that helped me was Gary Halbert’s newsletter where he gets into how to write an ad about your car. You can read that issue here.
So now that I had my research…
And now that I understood the general flow and structure that some successful car ads followed…
I had everything I needed to start writing:
Now before you go on, please note…
I am not a car guy. I don’t know all the technical jargon and “language” that car guys speak. So if you are one and you get the sudden urge to point out something I could have said better… keep it to yourself. I don’t really give a shit. The ad worked brilliantly.
SO DON’T @ ME BRO!
Alright, let’s take a look…
At 9,000 Screaming RPM The Only Thing You’ll Feel Is Pure Adrenaline Coursing Through Your Veins
If you’re the kind of guy who wants to own a sports pedigree car with some balls in an ageless body, then read on.
It pains me to say this, but the day has come when I have to sell my favorite “weekend” car.
You see, I need some cash for an upcoming business venture I’m getting involved in, so unfortunately for me, this car has to go. If you bought this car new, it would have cost you $32,840, but you can have it for almost half of that.
Here’s a little background information about this little roadster.
I bought this car at [NAME OF DEALERSHIP REDACTED] in [STATE REDACTED]. It’s previous owner was a very prominent doctor who was got rid of it because he never had the time to drive it.
Since then, this car has been babied. It’s been kept in my garage away from the damaging elements and has only been taken out for drives on nice, sunny days.
This car feels and drives more like a race car than an actual sports car. And it should – it was designed by the same Honda team that is responsible for multiple Formula One and Championship Auto Racing Teams championship trophies.
Many car experts consider the AP1 S2000’s engine to be one of the greatest 4 cylinders ever built.
But despite all that raw power, I’ve never taken it out to race – I just cared about this car too much.
A lot of guys who have bought these cars have molested and abused them by using them for street racing competitions or they’ve “tricked them out” with so many custom parts that you wouldn’t even recognize it anymore.
It’s a shame. These cars were produced in such limited quantities, it’s almost impossible to find a bone stock model like this one anymore. When Honda released this model, impatient buyers were fighting each other hand over fist for the privilege of paying EXTRA just to get their hands on an early edition. And nowadays, it’s harder than ever to find a stock model like this one.
Let me tell you about what it’s like to be in the driver’s seat of this machine:
- Honda claims this car can go from zero to 60 in less than 6 seconds, and once you drive it yourself, you’ll believe them
- When you hop in, the first thing you’ll notice is the red starter button staring menacingly at you, daring you to fire up this potent four-cylinder engine. If this setup looks familiar, its because its borrowed from Porsche and other high-end sports car designers of the past.
- You’ll feel like a Formula One driver seated comfortably in the body-hugging, leather-trimmed bucket seats
- You’ll notice the clean design of the instrument cluster that features digital and graphic displays adapted from popular race car models
- As you grip the leather-wrapped, power-steering wheel, you’ll find your hands fit perfectly in the thumb notches providing you the extra “white knuckling” grip you’ll need as your whipping this car around town or on the highway
- There are two rocker switches right by your hands by the wheel so you can increase the fan speed or crank up the volume on the premium, 4 speaker sound system. You’ll never have to take your eyes away from the road to turn up the volume on your favorite song as you redline down the highway
- As you fire up the engine you start to feel the true power of this car. It has enough torque to take off in first without giving it any gas. And when you open it up, you better hold on tight.
- The soft top opens or closes in a matter of seconds. And it’s not made with some cheap plastic back window like most other models. This version features a glass back window with rear defogging capability that is more resistant to scratches and nicks (the glass on this car is unblemished).
- The power convertible rooftop material seals snugly keeping cold air out and air conditioning in. There are no rips, tears or flaws in the top so you won’t hear any wind or road noise with the top up. That is, if you ever want to keep the top up (my guess is you’ll want to drop the top as much as possible)
- You grab the alloy and leather bound 6 gear throttle and take off with incredible acceleration. The very forgiving stick shift helps you take off quickly and easily
- The 2.0 L engine roars to life as you open it up, offering a screaming 9,000 RPM redline (a limit far beyond most cars on the market)
This baby leaps past more mild-mannered sports cars, leaving them in your dust as you push it to full throttle. When you hit full throttle a deep, aggressive growl erupts from the engine. You only get a fraction of this car’s true potential, that is, until you zoom past 5,000 RPM. Once you pass that line, it takes off like a rocket as you climb up to a white-knuckling 9000 RPM redline that gives you an adrenaline dump that’ll last for hours.
If you want a quiet ride, this isn’t the car for you – go drive a Prius. This engine screams through each of its six speeds. I also want to point out that this car is NOT for inexperienced or first time drivers. They just can’t handle the speed.
You might be wondering how this car handles. It has razor sharp steering, disciplined handling and corners like a first-round draft pick in a 3-cone drill at the NFL combine.
The driving experience is the closest thing you can get to being in a race car without actually entering a Grand Prix.
Here’s some other things you should know about this car:
- It’s silver – the color of high class and high status. This color shows the world that you’re successful and you’re not afraid to show it.
- It’s got 63,200 miles on it. You might think this is a lot, but you have to remember, this is a Honda. I’ve heard of guys taking their Hondas to 200k, 250k, even 300,000 miles before they had to retire their cars. And if you’re only driving it for fun you won’t ever get close to those numbers – this car can last for decades
- Clean, black leather interior with an unwarped dash – makes the car look almost brand new
- The original listing says it gets up to 24 mpg, which is better than 95% of other sports cars on the market
- It has two doors and two seats – perfect for you and the Mrs. (or Ms. for all the lucky guys out there) cruising down the highway with the top down on a sunny day. This is not a car meant for taking the kids to soccer practice
- 2.0 Liter 240 Horsepower engine – When this car came out, it’s engine developed more horsepower per liter (120hp/L) than any other production motor on the planet
- Rear wheel drive for a much more balanced ride
- 4 Wheel Anti Lock Brakes offer shorter stopping distances than some Porches. These ventilated front disc/solid rear disc brakes use electronic brake force distribution for incredible stopping power
- Comes with cruise control, power locks, power windows, driver & passenger airbags, CD player, AM/FM radio, Immobilizer Theft Deterrent System, tachometer, front cupholders, interior air filtration and a remote keyless entry
- 4 performance tires that give it that familiar sports-car handling. Steel spare tire in the trunk just in case.
This car is in great condition. Like I said, I barely drove it – only on sunny weekends when I could enjoy it with the top down.
- The lights and switchgear work well
- The trunk and liner are in great condition. The trunk isn’t huge, but you’re not loading this thing up and taking the family on vacation. It’s perfect for a few small pieces of luggage or a couple of briefcases
- It has a clear, acrylic wind deflector that mounts between the integrated roll bars in between the two seats – this helps reduce turbulence while you’re on the move.
I want to be upfront with you. There are a few drawbacks to owning this car that you should be aware of.
- If you’re very tall or very heavy, you might be uncomfortable getting in and out of this car.
- There’s no conventional glove box, and there isn’t a huge amount of space to put excess luggage and whatnot – then again, you probably won’t be using this car to store all your crap
- I replaced the clutch the first month after I bought it – it’s not really a drawback for you, just for me.
Other than that, I haven’t had to make any real repairs to this car. Most drivers of S2000’s say they’ve gone over 5 years without having to repair anything. Of course, you’ll still have to get the oil changed, and change the wipers. But those aren’t costly expenses.
I know you’ll love this car as much as I did.
If you want to find out more about it, give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx and I’ll answer any question you have.
You can take it for a test drive, and see how this vehicle performs first hand. And if you want to buy it, I’ll even pay for your gas for the first 6 months you own it.
Give me a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx and ask for ____.
How Did This Advertisement Do?
Welp… let’s just say this: my client was VERY happy with the result.
He actually had a ton of people bid on this car… and he got a lot more than what he was initially asking.
This, of course, made me very happy.
Why Did This Ad Work So Well?
I think it worked for a few reasons…
1. It had a unique, intriguing headline. Obviously, I leaned heavily on Ogilvy for inspiration with the structure here. But it was a lot different than the make and model, which is what a lot of other people include in their boring ass headlines.
2. I had a story and a “reason why” that explained why I was getting rid of the car. I know when I buy a car… I always want to know why. Is there something wrong with it that I should know if? Nope… just need the cash for an investment, which was actually true in my client’s case.
3. I made this car SEXY AF. It’s a car, right? It drives… I guess pretty fast. Got four wheels, some windows, some doors. Whoop dee do… right? I tried making this thing as sexy and exciting as I could. And you know what… it actually is kind of a cool car. So I just told the story of this car… interesting facts about how they made it. Things that would interest a car buyer. Things this buyer would be able to brag about to their friends and family. (<<< this is important.)
4. I included a shit ton of bullets. Bullets are the part of the ad where you get into the features… and the benefits of those features. And if you really are a good writer, then you know this is also where you DIMENSIONALIZE these benefits and show how these benefits actually apply to your life.
5. Every part of this ad was written so that someone who has NEVER driven it could feel like they were sitting in the driver’s seat. I tried to be as explicit as I could about every detail of this car. As you can probably guess… I had a lot of conversations with my client to extract all of this information.
6. I was upfront about all the things that are wrong with the car. Truth be told… there really wasn’t anything wrong with it at all. But I knew I had to find a few small details to focus on, because no one ever believes a used car is in “near perfect condition.” So I was upfront about the drawbacks. Like, if you’re too tall… this car is going to be a nightmare to drive. That’s fine, we’ll lose those buyers… but we’ll solidify the trust of everyone else who’s interested in buying this car. It’s not always about bragging about the benefits… sometimes a damaging admission can go a long way in getting people to trust you.
7. I added a bonus! Six months of free gas if you buy it. IN the grand scheme of things, what would that cost… $150? Give or take? A small price to pay for guaranteeing that this thing gets sold. The person buying feels like they “got the better end of this deal.” And my client was totally fine doing this.
It Doesn’t Matter What You’re Selling. The Principles Of Great Copywriting Never Change.
That’s what’s so cool about copywriting.
When you actually learn how to write advertisements that make people want to pull out their wallets and buy from you… you can literally print money.
Do me a favor!
Leave a comment down below and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article and ad…
Want To Learn How To Write Copy That Sells?
If you’d like to learn how to write copy that sells… and become a master copywriter, then you should join Copy Chief.
It’s a community run by my mentor and coach, Kevin Rogers. And it’s where all the industry’s best copywriting talent goes to hang out, share best practices and give advice to business owners who are looking to take their marketing to the next level.
If you’re a freelancer, you’ll love the community and networking.
And if you’re a business owner, you’ll love the dozens and dozens of trainings on how to write effective copy that sells.
3 thoughts on “How To Sell Your Stuff (For WAY More Than It’s Worth)”
How To Leave A Wild-Ass Comment That Grabs Chris’ Attention:
Step 1: TAKE OFF PANTS AND JACKET.
Step 2: ???
Step 3: PROFIT.
But Step 4?
Immediately add this car ad to my swipe file, because it’s so ****ing good.
BRB, searching Craigslist for a ragtop Honder S2000 during an freezing arctic hell fart.
Thank you Chris, you make me moister than an oyster.
I can’t top Jimmy’s typically awesome feedback, but this was a great training for me, Chris.
What I WILL do- like Jimmy- is swipe this sucker.
Awesome! Thank you, Chris!