It’s been awhile since my last post.
My script has been stuck in compliance hell!
Writing compliant health copy has been described as walking along a tightrope across a canyon filled with deadly snakes while wearing a straitjacket. And now I know why.
First I had to remove any discussion of toxins, as CB aren’t fans of you suggesting any of the body’s organs are underperforming in any way…
Then I had to rewrite the rewrite to remove any discussion of free radicals, as CB considers these falling under the same umbrella as toxins…
And now I’m waiting to see if my newfound focus on NASA’s discovery of the ‘master switch’ for health (a.k.a. mitochondria) will be allowed.
On the plus side, I now have a better grasp of what ClickBank’s compliance team are looking for. And thought I’d share these hardwon insights with you:
1. “All claims must come from a place of health”
You’ll likely see this plastered ALL over your first draft. ClickBank doesn’t like you suggesting the reader has any health issues that could be deemed long-term or that their body isn’t already working optimally.
So you can’t talk about ‘joint ache’, ‘health concerns’ or ‘erratic blood sugar’. Even ‘brain fog’ seems risky. There is some leeway if you focus the health issues on your hero. But even then their health issues have to be of the ‘occasional’ and mild variety.
How the heck you’re supposed to sell a joint supplement or a probiotic beats me.
2. Invented stories are frowned upon
ClickBank will want you to confirm you can provide evidence to backup your stories.
They may ask you to confirm you have proof of your hero’s flight to an isolated hill tribe in the mountains of Timbuktu, or contact details for the mad scientist who showed your hero how compound V flips the switch on their sluggish metabolism.
So dial down your stories to something that can be authenticated as being truthful.
3. Supplements can only ‘support’ or ‘maintain’
This is par for the course in health copy. And all your health claims have to be based on maintaining homeostasis i.e. keeping the body’s health in balance, rather than boosting, changing or transforming health in any way.
So use phrases like ‘supports the normal function of X’ liberally. ‘Energizing’ is ok, but I got push back on ‘revitalizing’.
4. Your mechanism can only be one of many factors
In direct response, we’re always looking to present that ONE hack or trick that can fix our customer’s health issue. But turns out, one simple fix is against compliance rules.
So you have to present your new cause as one of many, and your new mechanism as one of many solutions. The perception has to be that the reader will be fine without buying your product, which makes writing a hard hitting crossroads close tough.
5. Criticism of shared enemies has to be framed as opinion
Big pharma is now largely shielded from blame by the tier 1 ad networks and their buddies at the FDA. And even if you want to blame Big Food or the weight loss industry for people’s struggles, you have to frame this criticism as your opinion.
So you need to use phrases like ‘if you ask me…’, ‘based on the evidence it looks to me like…’ and ‘in my opinion…’.
Even then, keep your criticism light and avoid aggressive conspiracy angles.
6. Focus on emotions, not symptoms
ClickBank seems ok with you talking about negative emotions. So a good rule of thumb is to imagine you’re writing for Facebook, and talk about how a health issue affects people emotionally and impacts their experience in daily life.
Even then, this may not be enough if CB deem’s your hero struggling down the stairs in the morning sounds too much like joint pain.
Going forwards, I recommend focusing your research on finding out the reader’s deeper emotions behind wanting to solve a health issue e.g. to be worshipped, respected, to be a better mother and to still feel as strong as they did when they were younger.
Deeper emotions are fast becoming our only preserve for writing hard hitting copy. Luckily, deeper emotions are still one of the most powerful triggers in our arsenal.
7. Don’t mirror the claims in top selling CB offers and assume they’ll be allowed
I recently wrote a weight loss VSL for a client based on top sellers like ProVen and Resurge. The whole thing got stuck in compliance for months before being summarily rejected – and not just for accusing industrial chemical companies of poisoning the water with fattening ‘obesogens’ (true story – there’s even a movie about it).
I believe ClickBank’s newfound compliance with compliance is due to them hiring an FDA lawyer on their team. So tons of their current offers would not be approved if submitted now.
The latest version of my script has been stuck with compliance for nearly a month now. So the list above may soon be even longer.
The good news is this has given me more time to iron out my traffic strategy…
YouTube Traffic Strategy
Turns out lots of marketers are getting great results running their VSLs directly in YouTube. And the key to success is testing lots of ‘prerolls’ at the start.
A preroll is the first 2-3 mins before the VSL. You then run the entire video on YouTube and link to a professional looking product page to keep Google happy (which I’ve now 90% completed).
Tools like invideo.io make it super easy to create 2-3 mins slideshows with video clips. And then your main video can just be slides with a voice over.
As soon as this campaign is up and running I’ll then be gingerly picking my way through the next minefield: Split testing my ads.
I’ll update you accordingly when I do.