After 20 years of working with copywriters, my friend and mentor, Mark Ford (Michael Masterson) has identified three things that weaken any marketing message.

“90% of marketing copy that is not effective suffers from one of three problems”, says Mark.

Today, I want to share with you the number one problem.

It’s the single most powerful marketing and copywriting lesson I’ve learned in the decade-plus I’ve been involved with direct response marketing.

And, based on the financial impact this one lesson has had on my many businesses, I owe Mark a tremendous debt of gratitude for drilling this in to me.

After analyzing the commonalities between top selling fiction books, the essays that produced the most number of sales from his newsletter, and the most profitable marketing promotions and sales letters to come out of Agora, Inc., Mark discovered they all had one thing in common.

He also discovered this one commonality was missing from the marketing promotions that didn’t work. And time and time again as he reviewed failing promotions he saw the same thing.

They did not focus on one good idea.

You see: The number one problem of all weak copywriting is a lack of a single, unifying big idea.

“Because they don’t focus on a single idea, they don’t have a good idea. They simply have a bunch of mediocre ideas”, Mark said. “And that isn’t going to cut it”.

To clarify, let’s look at the two pieces of what Mark was saying.

1. A lack of One Idea
2. A lack of a Big Idea

A Lack Of One Idea

It goes without saying that your marketing message needs to be succinct, clear, and understandable.

If it’s not, it simply won’t get read or viewed. And it won’t generate ample sales.

That’s why your marketing message must focus on just one thing—One Idea.

That one idea, then, needs to be communicated with one overall story. Which should convey one desirable promise. Stimulate one core emotion. And drive to one specific action.

That’s the principle of the power of one.

A Lack Of A Big Idea

Fact is: Whether you like it or not, your marketing message is based on some idea. Some position. Some angle or hook.

“When you decide to focus on one idea it forces you to come up with a good idea. Marketing based around one weak idea will, of course, fail miserably”, Mark would say.

A weak marketing idea will almost immediately be dismissed by prospects as simply more of the same. It’ll cause “mental opt-out”, as my friend Rich Schefren says.

You have to find an idea to base your marketing message on that is arresting, compelling, and intellectually interesting to prospects.

You have to find an idea that cuts through the clutter, screams of being new, and fresh, and sucks prospects in and makes them want to learn more.

And in the process, you have to refuse to settle for run of the mill, mediocre ideas to base your marketing on.

To do this you need invest more time thinking, more time reading, and more time digging through your product or service looking for the big idea.

I promise you… the dividends of doing so will be well worth the time and effort.

Then, when you’ve found what you believe is a Big Idea, make sure you stay focused on that one idea only. And don’t muck it up by introducing any other ideas (no matter how good you think they may be).

Stick to just one, big idea… and watch how much more profitable all of your marketing campaigns and funnels become.