Too much marketing literature ignores some of the basic principles for writing selling copy.
You do not have to be a trained journalist or a clever wordsmith to have customers read your piece. Writing copy is a skill which can be developed by reading books on the subject and by practice. Joe Sugarman is recognised as a copywrting guru. His book The Adweek Copywriting Handbook published in 2007 sets out his copywriting his axioms illustrated with examples of his work. Henneke Duistermaat with her Enchanted Marketing series of books and free articles supply much easy to read pratical advice. Using my experience and tips and advice form others her are these simple rules for writing or maybe just editing selleing copy:
- Before writing anything, imagine who your target reader is. Make a few notes about age, sex, lifestyle and what they are looking for your product/service to do for them. Then answer the questions they may ask in your sales copy
- To be really effective, become an expert in the product or service or anything you write about. You need enough 'specific knowledge' so that you can communicate the real nature of what it is you are selling.
- Whether its is sales letters, web pages, blog posts, or marketing emails the base structure is usually the same. This is A(Attention) I(Interest) D(Desire) A(Action). Force attention with the headline, develop interest with the facts, create desire with the benefits and end with a call to action
- Joe Sugarman says the main purpose of marketing copy is to make the customer read the first line of the selling copy. To make this happens you need an attention grabbing headline followed by a sub headline which adds to the headline copy. This flows into the first line of the main selling message. Then you have the reader where you need them - hearing about your product or service.
- Start with 'you' and 'yours' rather than 'we' and 'ours'. Initially the reader is interested in what you can do for them before knowing how you do it.
- The 'YOU' approach is closely aligned with benefits and features. Make a list of your selling features and say how each one benefits the reader. Maybe use bullet points to list each benefit
- Keep the copy simple. As far as possible use short, well punctuated sentences. Don't use big words. Be careful with jokes especially if the subject is serious.
- Ensure you give every sensible reason to buy? Answer obvious questions? And overcome all reasonable objections? Use testimonials to prove your claims
- Somehwere towards the middle of the piece, highlight the main benefits again. In direct mail this may be called a 'Johnson Box'
- The length of the piece is determined by the media. On-line use 'More Information' links. Direct mail letters can be much longer but you must maintain attention and not be boring.
- At the end and maybe during your work, firmly ask the reader for action. Make it clear and easy to do, repeating the main arguments can help. Then try a postscript (PS) to make the action more urgent e.g. 'Your last chance...' 'Reply now to secure your ...'
- Some reader research suggests that when reading the eyes pick up the headline, the middle bullets and the PS.
- Ask some one not involved to read it before publication
Now, if after reading all this, you still need help with your sales copy, contact us at info[at]deve.co.uk
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