Lesson #1: The Checkmate Matrix

Camp Checkmate Lesson #1: The Checkmate Matrix

First, download the Checkmate Matrix PDF and print out one copy.

Next, go to Google.com, enter your most important keyword, and print the search results page.

Now complete the Matrix for each ad (sponsored listing). Do each ad in order from left to right, writing down just what you see and hear.

URL: the URL of the ad (to identify each one)

Offer: what the ad says you get. For example: a widget, a free report, a comparison, a video, a workshop, a checklist, an information guide, a page with product descriptions, etc. Often ads do not include offers. OK to leave blank.

Features: details of the offer, the advertiser, the problem or the solution. For example: free shipping, 99% uptime, money-back guarantee, available in red.

Benefits: what's in it for the customer. Examples: save money, achieve vibrant health, lose 33 pounds, stop fighting with your neighbor, etc. Most ads do not include overt benefits. Sometimes benefits are strongly implied by the feature, i.e. small classes translates into personal attention translates into more learning translates into better test scores translates into get more scholarship money. OK to leave blank if the benefits aren't mentioned or are so buried you have to be an archeologist to spot them.

Call to Action: a verb that tells the prospect to do something, or an urgency term or deadline. For example: download the white paper, compare features, test drive the software, free shipping until May 31, etc. Most ads do not include Calls to Action – OK to leave blank.

Reason to Believe: credibility elements to the ad. Words and phrases that make a prospect more likely to trust the offer and the advertiser. For example: words like proven, tested, accurate, since 1947, official supplier to, as seen on TV. Also trusted brand names mentioned in ad or in the URL itself, i.e. cameras.com is seen as highly credible because the single word in the URL "defines" the market.

Big Difference: how this ad is different from all the other ads on the page. Could be a different offer, or a different writing style (using a question in the headline, for example), or a different benefit, or a different feature, or speaking to a different market segment (for example, talking to parents of students instead of the students themselves). OK to leave blank, but you can usually find something to put here if you stay open and patient.

"Voice": skip this for now. We'll spend time here later in the training course.

Keyword: does the keyword appear in the ad? How often? Just jot down whether it appears in the headline, description lines, or display URL. Leave blank if it doesn't appear in the ad.

Once you've completed the matrix, put it down for 10 minutes and clear your mind. Take a walk, have a drink of water, lie down for a short nap, read a poem, do some pushups, etc.

Then return to the matrix and simply notice what is there, and what isn't. Have a piece of paper to jot down any ideas or opportunities that come to you: ways to improve your ad based on this serpent-eye, tactical view of the competitive landscape.

If  nothing comes to you, that's fine. Keep the Matrix handy – we'll be referring to it throughout the training series.

Want more? Check out the Camp Checkmate Home Study Course.

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