Master Joe Sugarman’s Slippery Slide: An Under-Appreciated Model to High-Performing Landing Pages

by | Aug 18, 2023

Joe Sugarman is a name that many in marketing hold in high regard. Why? He had a knack for grabbing attention and guiding people through a story, leading them right to the action he wanted them to take. One of his most famous ideas is the “Slippery Slide.” At its core, it’s about keeping readers so engaged that they can’t help but continue the journey you’ve laid out for them. Today, we’ll explore this concept and see how it can make a big difference for your online landing pages. If you’re looking to improve how many visitors take action on your site, understanding the Slippery Slide is a great place to start.

Meet Joseph Sugarman: Direct Marketing Copywriting Legend

Joseph Sugarman

If you’re not familiar with Joe Sugarman, he was a trailblazer in direct marketing and revolutionized the art of copywriting with his innovative techniques. Renowned for his compelling storytelling and psychological insights, Sugarman’s advertisements consistently turned products into bestsellers. His “Slippery Slide” technique, which guides readers seamlessly from headline to purchase, became a foundational strategy in effective sales copy. Beyond his successful campaigns, Sugarman also imparted his wisdom through seminars and books, shaping the world’s next generation of copywriters and winning the prestigious Maxwell Sackheim Award for direct marketing ads. With a legacy spanning decades, Joseph Sugarman remains an enduring figure in the world of persuasive writing and marketing. His work lives on in the Adweek Copywriting Handbook.

Understanding the “Slippery Slide” Concept

Let’s start by picturing a slide at a playground. Once you’re at the top and you begin your descent, it’s nearly impossible not to reach the bottom. The Joseph Sugarman “Slippery Slide” idea works in a similar way, but instead of playground equipment, we’re talking about the words and images on a page. The main goal? Make sure that once someone starts reading or engaging with your content, they feel drawn to continue all the way to the end.

So, what makes this idea special? It’s all about human psychology. We’re naturally curious creatures. If something sparks our interest, we want to know more. The Slippery Slide taps into this by giving readers just enough to keep them hooked, making them eager to see what comes next.

It might sound like another marketing trick, but there’s a big difference. Instead of trying to push or persuade someone, the Joseph Sugarman Slippery Slide gently guides them, making the entire experience feel natural and enjoyable, like a weekend in Las Vegas. And when people enjoy the journey, they’re more likely to take the action you want them to at the end.

Joe Sugarman’s Slippery Slide Advertorial Example for BluBlockers

Let’s go deeper by looking at one of Joe’s famous advertorials below, which ran in newspapers and magazines in the 80s and 90s.  Below the ad, I’ve highlighted some of the tactics he applied.

BluBlocker Advertorial - Great Copywriting Example by Joe Sugarman

  1. Storytelling: The ad opens with a story about Len, a friend of Joe, which helps to humanize the product and its effects. Stories are relatable and engaging, making readers more likely to continue.
  2. Credibility and Authenticity: The phrase “I am about to tell you a true story” establishes authenticity right from the start. Sugarman further offers to make it worth the reader’s while if they don’t believe him, adding an element of intrigue and challenge.
  3. Curiosity and Anticipation: Throughout the story, Sugarman builds anticipation. Phrases like “What will I see?”, “What could be so incredible?”, and “I just want you to see for yourself” make readers eager to know more.
  4. Comparison and Contrast: Sugarman compares the BluBlockers to a $100 pair of sunglasses, emphasizing the superiority of BluBlockers. This establishes value in the reader’s mind.
  5. Educational: The advertorial educates the reader on why BluBlockers are effective, explaining the science behind the blue spectrum and ultraviolet rays. By providing a rationale, Sugarman makes the product benefits more believable.
  6. Problem-Solution Framework: Sugarman highlights the dangers of conventional sunglasses, creating a problem in the reader’s mind. He then presents BluBlockers as the solution to that problem.
  7. Testimonial and Proof: Sugarman uses his own experience as a testimonial, reinforcing the product’s benefits. He further offers a guarantee, assuring readers of the product’s efficacy.
  8. Value Proposition: Sugarman emphasizes the quality of the BluBlockers, comparing them to $200 pairs from France or Italy, but at a much lower price. This establishes a strong value proposition.
  9. Urgency and Call to Action: Phrases like “I urge you to order a pair”, “Order a pair or two at no obligation, today”, and the mention of a 30-day refund policy create urgency and encourage readers to take immediate action.
  10. Emphasis on Importance: The statement “Our eyes are very important to us” stresses the importance of eye protection, tapping into the reader’s intrinsic motivation to care for their well-being.
  11. Clear Pricing and Ordering Information: At the end, the advertorial provides clear pricing and a straightforward method for ordering, making the purchase process easy for interested readers.

In summary, BluBlocker Sunglasses advertorial written by Joseph Sugarman is a masterclass in copywriting. It effectively combines storytelling, education, credibility, and a strong value proposition to create a compelling narrative that encourages readers to take action.  Save this ad as a great example of direct marketing advertising and see even more Joe Sugarman advertisement examples below when writing copy.

See more Joe Sugarman ads in the collection here.

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Why the Slippery Slide is Relevant for Landing Pages

Imagine visiting a website. You click on a link or an ad, and you’re taken to a page. This is the landing page, and its job is to give you a reason to stay and, hopefully, take some kind of action, like signing up for a newsletter or buying a product.

Now, think about all the times you’ve left a page without doing anything. Maybe it was too confusing, too boring, or just not what you were looking for. This is where the Slippery Slide comes in.

A landing page that uses the Slippery Slide keeps you interested. From the moment you arrive, every headline, image, and piece of text pulls you in. It’s like reading a great book or watching a gripping movie. You want to know what happens next.

And that’s the magic of it. Instead of just throwing information at you, a Slippery Slide landing page takes you on a journey. It connects with you, answers your questions, and leads you right to the action the website wants you to take. And because it feels smooth and natural, you’re more likely to follow through.

In today’s online world, where attention spans are short, and distractions are just a click away, having a landing page that holds onto visitors is more important than ever. And that’s why the Slippery Slide isn’t just a neat idea—it’s a powerful tool for anyone wanting to make the most of their online presence.

Key Elements of the Slippery Slide for Landing Pages

When setting up a Slippery Slide on your landing page, there are some main ingredients you’ll want to include. Think of these as the steps on a path that guide your visitors from the beginning to the end of their journey.

  1. Hook: This is the starting point. Just as a fisherman uses bait to catch fish, your hook is there to grab your visitor’s attention. It could be a headline, a striking image, or a bold statement. The goal is to make them think, “I want to know more.” This is typically the first sentence.
  2. Engage: Now that you have their attention; it’s time to connect. This is where you share content that speaks to your visitor. Maybe it’s a story, a surprising fact, or a solution to a problem they have. It’s all about making them feel like they’re in the right place. A picture or video can also assist here.
  3. Intrigue: This is the twist in the plot. By adding elements that spark curiosity, you’re giving visitors a reason to keep going. It could be a teaser for what’s to come or a question that makes them think.
  4. Relevance: It’s essential to ensure that everything on your page is tailored to your target audience. If visitors feel like the content isn’t meant for them, they’ll leave. By keeping things relevant, you show that you understand their needs and have what they’re looking for.
  5. Call to Action (CTA): This is the grand finale. After guiding visitors through your Slippery Slide, it’s time to let them know what you’d like them to do next. Whether it’s signing up, buying, or getting in touch, a clear and compelling CTA is your chance to seal the deal. This can be a form, phone number, or other next step.

Remember, the beauty of the Slippery Slide is its flow. Each element should naturally lead to the next, creating a seamless customer experience that feels less like being sold to and more like being guided.

Tips and Tricks for Implementing the Slippery Slide

Bringing the Slippery Slide to life on your landing page can feel like a balancing act. But with a few handy pointers, you can craft a page that not only captures attention but also keeps visitors engaged till the very end. Here are some tried and tested tips to get you started:

  1. Crafting the Perfect Hook:
    • Keep it short and impactful. Think of it as your elevator pitch.
    • Use powerful words that evoke emotion or curiosity.
    • Remember, your goal is to make visitors think, “Tell me more!”
  2. Engaging Content is King:
    • Use simple language. Speak to your audience as you would in a face-to-face conversation.
    • Incorporate visuals like images, GIFs, or short videos. They can often communicate more than words alone.
    • Break up long paragraphs. Bullet points, subheadings, and short sentences can make content more digestible.
  3. Stoking Curiosity:
    • Tease upcoming content or offers. Give just enough away to keep them hooked.
    • Ask open-ended questions. These can prompt visitors to seek answers further down the page.
  4. Staying Relevant:
    • Do your research. Know your audience’s pain points, desires, and language.
    • Regularly update your content. What was relevant last year might not be today.
  5. The Art of the CTA:
    • Be clear about what you want the visitor to do next.
    • Use action words like “Get,” “Discover,” or “Start.”
    • Make your CTA stand out. Contrasting colors or a slightly larger font can draw the eye.

Lastly, always be open to feedback and willing to tweak. What works for one audience might not for another group. Regularly testing and adjusting your landing page based on visitor interactions can help you find the perfect Slippery Slide formula for your needs.

Measuring the Success of Your Landing Page

Once you’ve implemented the Slippery Slide technique, the next step is to gauge how well it’s working. Here’s a guide to understanding the impact of your changes and areas for potential improvement:

  1. Analytics Tools:
    • Use platforms like Google Analytics to track visitor behavior on your landing page.
    • Look for metrics such as time spent on the page, bounce rate, and conversion rate.
  2. Conversion Rate:
    • This metric tells you the percentage of visitors who take the desired action on your page.
    • If you see a significant increase after implementing the Slippery Slide, you’re on the right track!
  3. User Feedback:
    • Sometimes, the best insights come directly from your audience.
    • Consider running surveys or feedback forms to understand visitors’ experiences on your landing page.
  4. A/B Testing:
    • Test two versions of your landing page (A and B) with slight differences to see which one performs better.
    • This can help identify which elements of the Slippery Slide resonate most with your audience.
  5. Page Load Time:
    • As mentioned earlier, slow load times can deter visitors.
    • Regularly check how quickly your landing page loads and make necessary optimizations.
  6. Mobile Optimization Check:
    • Ensure that mobile visitors have as smooth an experience as those on desktop.
    • Track mobile engagement metrics separately to understand this audience’s behavior.

Remember, while metrics provide valuable insights, they’re just one piece of the puzzle. It’s crucial to interpret them in the context of your specific goals and audience. Regularly reviewing and adjusting based on these insights ensures that your landing page remains effective and continues to guide visitors effortlessly down the Slippery Slide.

Learn Resources on Joseph Sugarman’s Advertisement Writing Style

Essential Joe Sugarman’s Copywriting Resources

Embark on the journey of mastering the Joseph Sugarman copywriting style with these curated resources, designed to bolster your grasp on his strategies and elevate your digital marketing skills. These invaluable learning tools will empower you to harness a results-driven, growth-focused approach, and deliver tangible outcomes for your business through intelligent online and print campaigns.

  1. The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: Sugarman’s definitive guide to effectively engage audiences and enhance your copywriting prowess. The Adweek copywriting handbook is a necessary resource for all direct marketing copywriters.
  2. 7 Lessons from the Legendary Joseph Sugarman – Neil Patel: A condensed insight into Sugarman’s powerful approach to copywriting, as explored by industry veteran Neil Patel.
  3. How Joe Sugarman Sold Billions of Dollars Worth of Products – Copyblogger: Uncover the persuasive techniques behind Sugarman’s tremendous success with this Copyblogger feature.
  4. The Prospecting Letters of Sales Master Joe Sugarman: Discover the art of crafting impactful prospecting letters from Sugarman himself. We use these strategies at our own ad agency to master the written word.
  5. Joe Sugarman Interview on Copywriting – Entrepreneurs-journey.com: Dive into Sugarman’s thoughts on copywriting, advertising, and success in this exclusive interview. If you write copy, you need to read this one.

Immerse yourself in these resources, transform your perspective on copywriting, and join the league of millions of results-oriented marketers seeking to optimize their online presence and achieve remarkable growth.

Conclusion

The world of digital marketing is vast, with countless strategies and techniques vying for attention. Yet, amidst this ocean of tactics, Joe Sugarman’s Slippery Slide stands out, not just for its longevity but for its universal appeal and effectiveness. By guiding visitors seamlessly from the first point of contact to the desired line of action, it transforms the often-chaotic journey of online engagement into a smooth, intuitive experience.

Implementing the Slippery Slide on your landing page isn’t about chasing the market or latest trend; it’s about tapping into fundamental human psychology. It’s about creating a space where visitors feel understood, valued, and motivated to take action.

As you embark on or continue your digital marketing journey, remember the essence of the Slippery Slide: captivate, engage, and guide. By doing so, you’ll not only enhance your landing page conversions but also foster genuine connections with customers and your audience.

Thank you for joining us on this exploration of the Slippery Slide technique. May your landing pages always be slick and your conversions ever climbing! — And if you’d like help building your perfectly crafted Slippery Slide landing page, including copywriting, design, and performance tracking, then connect with one of our growth strategists to learn more about Upgrow’s content and design services.  Book a strategy call now.

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Ryder Meehan

Ryder has been on a 16-year journey to master digital marketing from every aspect. His resume includes Razorfish, Slighshot, Fossil, Samsung Mobile and Tatcha before launching Upgrow. Ryder is the acting CEO, heading business development and account services. He has been featured as a digital marketing leader on Forbes, PRNews, Business.com, Workamajig, Databox, Fit Small Biz and other outlets.

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