Copywriting is a specific form of writing with the purpose of compelling the reader to take a specific action. No matter what you do, effective writing is a skill that everyone should learn. This book will teach you how to communicate clearly and write well so that people buy whatever it’s that you’re selling, be it a product, service, or a subscription.
Copywriting is writing that’s intended to persuade the right reader, viewer, or listener to take a specific action. It is not just putting down words on paper and hoping that it works. Copywriting is about structure and strategy.
Write to a single person
Think about your ideal customer and start writing an email to them.
What are their problems? What are their questions? What are their roadblocks?
Write your sales copy such that it speaks directly to your ideal prospect. Don’t try to write for a group. Write to someone you know who represents the perfect person in your target audience.
Always remember that millions might read your sales message, but you’re selling to one person at a time. Talk like them. Use words they understand. Never make them feel stupid!
Understand Your Niche Audience. The better you understand the people in your niche market, the more money you’ll make and the happier they’re going to be because you can communicate better with them.
Who is your ideal customer?
You need to communicate with a specific person instead of with a group. This person has problems, questions, and roadblocks that you are going to solve.
They’re aware of their problems. They’ve got questions. There are roadblocks. Definite things that hold them back. They’re completely tuned in to their problems, questions, and roadblocks. They’re also tuned in to the results they want, which are over there on the other cliff. They want to go from here to there.
Your sales copy helps them to make the leap to the other side, where you have the solutions to their problems.
Look at yourself. We are often members of our target audience either currently or in the past. What are your problems? What are your questions? What are your roadblocks? What are the results you desire?
Nobody cares about you
People are interested in themselves.
Go through your copy, look for any time you’ve used the words “I, me, my, we, ours,” and change the perspective. Change the wording.
People have hopes, fears, and dreams. They’ve always had hopes, fears, and dreams. They will continue to have hopes, fears, and dreams.
They love things. They hate things. They have opinions.
People love to buy, they hate to be sold
People buy when they feel like something will make them feel better or help them get what they want.
You must have the attitude that if people understand the benefit of your product, service, or software, they’re going to buy it.
Copywriting helps you accomplish this.
What would the conversation be like with people who know they have a problem, but have no clue a solution even exists?
What would the conversation be like with someone who is aware they have a problem and know what a solution looks like, but they’re not aware of us?
What would be the conversation with someone who knows who we are and what we do?
Avoid Jargon. Use simple words.
Talk in simple terms they understand. Use short sentences.
Keep your thoughts well-organized and sequential.
If you make somebody feel stupid, they won’t buy from you.
If someone feels like you’re making fun of them or talking down to them, they won’t buy from you.
If they feel like you’re too smart for them to understand, they won’t buy from you.
If you confuse them, they won’t buy from you.
How to write sales copy
Don’t feel pressured to write the entire thing in one go.
Focus on each of the following steps, one at a time, which makes it easier to complete.
- Define the problem
- Present the solution
- Bullets to arouse curiosity
- Credibility statement about you
- Proof that you can deliver
- Sum up the offer with price
- Bonus and pot sweeteners
- Call to action
The job of each step is to move people on to the next part of the sales letter.
Problem -> Need -> Desire -> Product
The purpose of a headline is simple: to get people to stop what they’re doing and start reading whatever it is you put in front of them.
If your prospect is not yet aware of what he really seeks but is concerned with the general problem, your headline starts with the problem and crystallizes it into a specific need.
If he is not aware of your product but only has the desire itself, your headline starts with the desire.
If your prospect is aware of your product and has realized that it can satisfy this desire, your headline starts with the product.
Define the problem
You don’t just want to be a vitamin, be the painkiller.
Clearly explain the problems they face. The more it hurts, the more they need a solution and are willing to spend their time, money, and attention on whatever it is that you want to sell.
Present the solution
What are they going to get as a result of that feature?
People don’t buy because of the features. Features are how they compare things. People buy the benefits.
Introduce them to your product or service that holds the solution they need, for the problem you just explained.
Take your features and benefits and use them to build curiosity and desire for your solution.
Answer the question, “Why You?”
Tell people about you and why you are qualified to bring them this solution.
It might include your skills, experience, credentials, testimonials, and whatever else that lends you credibility.
Proof that you can deliver
Show them your past work and how successful the people using them are now.
Sum up the offer with price
Tell them three things:
- What they’re going to get,
- How they’re going to get it,
- How much does it cost
You want people to feel like they’re getting a great deal, and this is the place to do it.
Add bonus offers
Add more value to the offer. Anything that will make them feel like they’re getting a fantastic deal on your offer.
If you really want to make your offer amazing, take your competitor’s USP and turn it into a free bonus with your offer.
In other words, whatever your competitors are offering that makes them unique, provide the same thing as a free bonus when people buy from you. That way, instead of comparing you to your competitors and trying to decide between the two offers, they buy from you because they see themselves getting everything they want without having to buy from anyone but you!
CAUTION: Don’t pile on a bunch of crap bonuses for the sake of piling on bonuses.
This is where you take away the risk. Clearly explain what you’ll do if you fail to deliver what you promised.
Call to Action
It’s time to call them to action. It could be a button that says, “Buy Now”.
How you do this depends on what you’re selling, what type and quantity of sales copy you’re using, and where you’re using it.
First Draft is the Hardest
How in the world am I going to go from this blank screen to a sales message, a headline, a sales letter, or a video sales letter script?
The answer is to think and write in chunks. A sales letter is nothing more than a series of pieces. Don’t think, “Hey, I have to write a sales letter.” Instead, think through the chunks needed to create whatever it is you need.
First, you need a headline. Then you need a couple of bullets followed by an introduction. Then you do the Problem, Agitate, Solve formula. Next, write a description of your product followed by some bullets explaining the benefits. Next, tell them a little bit about yourself. Now, provide proof that what you’re telling them works.
Next, build up the value, name the price, and then give a price drop. Now clearly state your call to action. It’s time now to summarize your fantastic offer and conclude the letter.
Being original is overrated. The most creative minds in the world are not special, just better at rearrangement.
The hardest draft is the first draft. There’s never a perfect time to write copy. There’s always something you’d probably rather be doing. Often, when you sit down to write the copy, you tell yourself you need it in the next ten minutes.
Don’t Look at a blank sheet!
Get the first draft done as fast as you can. Use a template, instead of starting from scratch.
Once you have the first draft it’s a hundred times easier to edit than it is to write.
People buy from a character or a persona more easily than they buy from some unknown company.
Tell actual stories about your life, your business, other people, or anything that illustrates your point.
Case studies are stories about how somebody got a result. It has a beginning, middle, and end.
I was here, I wasn’t happy, this is what I did with the product and these are the results I got.
It’s a three-act play. It’s just like the hero’s journey. I was here, I had a problem, this fixed it and this is where my life is now.
Examples can be stories as well. This is showing people how something works, how something was applied, how something was put into motion, and then the results they got.
The fastest way to establish that persona is to take a stand, to have a position or an opinion, and be secure about it.
Why, How, and When
The prize is what the person wants. It is also known as the result you want from taking action in the previous step.
You must address people’s concerns or questions about what they have to do to get what they want. When someone looks at your product, while you tell them, “Hey, this will help you get the result you want,” they think, “Okay, but what do I have to do to get that result?”
Your job is to understand the thing they want but see as a hard thing to do, which is the hurdle.
Finally, answer the question “When will I get what I want?” The timing part of the formula is where you give a timeframe they can wrap their head around that answers their question “When will I get it?”
Make your offer clear to the buyer
What will they get?
What do they need to do to get it?
How will they get it?
When will they get it?
How much will it cost?
Sell dollars for dimes
When deciding the price for your product or services, figure out the value you’re providing.
In the prospect’s mind, your offer must be worth ten times what you charge.
Create your swipe file
Get yourself a collection of good ads and read them alound and copy them in your own handwriting. - Gary Halbert
When you sit down to write, you just can’t flip a switch and instantly start writing. Any good routine includes a warmup. You need to be in the proper mindset to write copy. One of the best ways to get into the right mindset is to read great copy.
All copywriters worth their salt maintain something called a “swipe file”. What is a swipe file? A swipe file is a collection of advertisements, postcards, direct mail, catalogs, posters, flyers, and anything that has to do with selling somebody something.
How to develop the copywriting mindset
Focus on it.
Pay attention to your results.
Commit to getting good at it.
Then do it and practice it.
Before you can be great, you have to be good.
Before you can be good, you have to be bad.
Before you can be bad, you have to try.
You have to do something.
Then you need to pay attention to and measure your results.
Write some copy every single day, but don’t just sit on it. Put it out in the open and get feedback on it. What do people do after reading it?
Apply these principles not only to the products/services/business but the day-to-day activities where you want a certain result. Your blog, status emails at work, home applications, job applications, and cover letters.
I hope you learned a thing or two about effective copywriting by reading these notes. But I highly recommend you go and buy this book. You will thank me later.
If you have any comments or thoughts about this post, you can contact me at via email. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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