It’s hard work!
If you are writing for a market you don’t know, you better do a whole lot of research before you even start writing.
A lawyer doesn’t defend his client if he doesn’t know all the details of the case.
In the same way, copywriters prepare before writing copy for a client.
Not only do they prepare by getting to know everything about their target market, but also by studying the art of copy and knowing the rules of the game.
You won’t always have to follow the rules. Occasionally you’ll find breaking one is a smart move. But you can’t effectively break them before you know what the rules are. So they study the best copywriters in their field.
One of the best ways to become better at anything fast is modeling those people who are successful in the skill you want to master.
That’s why I think you’ll find massive value in this list of copywriting advice from some of the best copywriters around the globe.
Are you ready?
Here we go!
The Headline Makes Or Breaks Your Copy
Never underestimate the power of the headline. It can make your readers decide to either leave or stick around to read the rest of your copy.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” -David Ogilvy
You should spend a substantial amount of time on crafting an amazing headline. It’s the invitation to a reader that says: this is for you and I think you’ll find this interesting.
“Don’t underestimate the value of beginning a headline by naming the people you want to reach.” – John Caples”
Just an amazing headline won’t cut it. If your copy isn’t going anywhere, you risk losing your reader forever. That’s why it’s essential to create a strong opening. Every sentence should compel them to read the next sentence.
“A great headline mixed with a lame opening is like inviting someone to your house, only to slam the door in their face as they approach” – Brian Clark”
Don’t disappoint your readers. Your readers went as far as reading your headline and they’re showing signs of interest. They decided to read more. Use your words wisely. Tell them what they want to hear!
“Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slope” – Joseph Sugarman
“The way we get people to act, to buy, to ask for more information, is to take what’s otherwise a dull, fuzzy image in their brains, and turn it into a sharp, super-focused, loud, colorful, tasty, fragrant, highly sensory experience.” – Drew Eric Whitman
We need to write picture clear to influence our readers. There’s no getting around it. You don’t want to leave your readers in doubt. If you’re selling a product that helps your target audience to lose weight, you want to paint a bright picture of a future without excessive weight.
Perhaps you want to tell them a story of someone that had a lot of excessive weight. Someone that went from feeling flabby and needing help to feeling energized, healthy, vibrant and being able to do things that they haven’t been able to do for a long time.
The clearer the picture, the more they’ll realize your solution is going to be able to help them.
Hype is the enemy of the sale. This may come as a surprise to you, especially if you are on some lists that promote IM products. Hype seems to be the norm. Everything is a “breakthrough” software or system.
The problem with this is that readers become very skeptical. If you make big claims, but don’t provide the proof to match, you sound like a big talker that tells exaggerated stories. Sure, these stories sound amazing…but did it all really happen? Most likely you’re skeptical. And for good reason!
The same goes for your copy. If you make bold claims, show ample proof to back it up.
Don’t trick your readers into buying from you. It’s a horrible “strategy” and those who DO buy will be massively disappointed because your product didn’t deliver. You didn’t just tell them strong stories, you used it on them to make them a decision they shouldn’t have.
Know Your Target Audience
It’s imperative to know who you are selling to. If you don’t, you’re talking to everyone. But copy aimed at nobody isn’t persuasive. To influence many people, you need to be able to persuade just one person.
Even if thousands of people are going to read it, you should write it as if you’re writing a letter to an audience of one.
You should have a clear picture of your target audience. Do you know what magazines they read? What TV shows they watch? Do they read books? What are their fears? Their aspirations? Do you know their general beliefs about the world? Get to know them so well that you can picture someone sitting in front of you. Write the letter to this person and this person only.
“People who won’t derive enough value to talk about your product after using it are not your target audience.” – Joanne Wiebe”
Focus On The Reader
If you know Dale Carnegie, you are aware that he isn’t a copywriter. However, you probably also understand that he was once of the most powerful influencers to ever walk on this earth.
He understood fundamental things about humans, which he described in his book How To Win Friends and Influence People.
One of the most important lessons I took away from the book is that you should never focus on yourself if you’re trying to persuade someone. You need to look at it from their perspective. What do they desire?
“The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it” – Dale Carnegie”
Informing = Persuading
You know what’s persuasive?
If you know more about the product or service you are selling then your prospects…
If you can tell them interesting facts about the products or service, you are automatically persuasive.
When copywriter Joseph Sugarman did research for a watch he was going to sell, he found out that it was made with a very sophisticated laser technology. Lasers we’re very uncommon at the time he sold the watch, and this was the first watch who was created in this unique way. He used it as the angle to sell the watch and it was so successful that it resulted in millions of dollars in sales.
There are plenty of interesting things to say about products or services you want to sell. Sometimes that means you’ll have to dig into the material or do something that most consumers don’t even do: studying the manual!
“If you’re selling a product, the best way to sell is to EDUCATE your customer.” – Neville Medhora
If You Can’t Write Effectively, You Don’t Know Enough Yet.
“You must become an expert on a product, service or anything you write about to really be effective” – Joseph Sugarman
If you are struggling to get the right words on the page, be honest with yourself. More often than not, it’s not a sign that you suck as a copywriter, but a symptom that you don’t know what you need to know.
“I learned that good copywriters get to know so much about the product and the prospect and his or her wants, fears, assumptions, and lingo that the copy soon wants to burst forth as if a dam is breaking. I learned that research is the infallible cure for writer’s block.” – Gary Bencivenga
You heard it from the master himself. Arguably the best copywriter alive advises you to get so close to your target audience and stack up on so much information, that you feel the urge to write.
Make a List Of All The Benefits
Features are important. They’re the foundation your benefits rest upon. But when it comes down to it, customers don’t buy the features. They want to know what your product will offer them. Naturally, making a big list of the benefits you can offer a customer is very persuasive.
Apple knows this. When they released the iPod, they didn’t tell you how much memory it had. Instead, they told you it allows you to carry “1000 songs in your pocket”.
“Here’s the only thing you’re selling, no matter what business you’re in and what you ship: you’re selling your prospects a better version of themselves.” – Joanne Wiebe
Prevent Procrastination. Give Plenty of reasons to Act Now.
Are you making a strong enough case for your product to make buying now the one and only right option?
What are they missing out on if they don’t make the decision now? What would their life look like 5 or 10 years from now if they don’t take action?
Are you countering every single major objection your target audience might have in your copy?
Things like these are vital if you want to prevent your prospects from doing what people love doing when they aren’t sure enough if it’s the right option: procrastinate.
Have Empathy, Relate To Your Reader’s Needs
Empathy is perhaps the most important thing you need to have as a copywriter. As a copywriter, you’re not in the business of judging people. You’re in the business of relating to people.
Perhaps you’re not overweight, but let’s say you are selling a product in the weight loss niche. You need to relate to their daily struggle with eating healthy. You need to have empathy for their underlying problems for overeating.
Maybe you think spending $250.000,- on a car is a worthless splurge. But if you’re selling one, you need to be able to relate to someone that does want to own such a car. Is it the exclusivity? The feeling of being able to afford something most people can’t? Whatever it is, it’s not your job to judge. Keep an open mind.
Whatever it is, it’s not your job to judge. You can’t bully people into buying from you. You should emphasize with your reader. Only then you can be truly persuasive.
“Study your reader first – your product second. If you understand his reactions and present those phases of your product that relate to his needs, then you cannot help but write a good letter”. – Robert Collier
Long Copy = Not Bad. Boring Copy = Bad.
You’ve probably read that people’s attention span is lower than a goldfish nowadays. Shocking, ain’t it?
However, it is not true that people don’t read long form sales pages. They do!
Because if something interests someone, they want to know all about it.
They will go ahead and read 28 pages of copy as long as it gives them exactly what they want.
There’s just one thing you can’t be: boring!
Study The Old Direct Marketing Legends
I love studying legendary direct marketers and copywriters. You can learn a lot by studying these highly skilled marketers. Study their advertisements. Read their copy and their books.
These will certainly not disappoint:
- Tested Advertising Methods – John Caples
- Scientific Advertising – Claude C. Hopkins
- Ogilvy on Advertising – David Ogilvy
Gary Halbert’s Boron Letters are a must-read for any copywriter. You can access it by simply clicking on that link. It’s free (and it’s worth thousands of dollars to the person with the right mindset).
“Ads which ran 30-50 years ago, even a hundred years ago, are often better than those you see today. You’ll get great ideas to use in your marketing.” – Ted Nicholas
Did you like this post? Have a favorite copywriting quote or lesson you’d like to share?
I’d love to know your thoughts. I look forward to chatting with you in the comment section!
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