Category Archives: Copywriting

Will Your Headlines Make Money – Or Make A Mess?

“Are You Ready To Learn The One Sentence That Will Add An Extra $1,542 Per Month To Your Business?”

If that headline grabbed your attention…

And you’re sitting on pins and needles to learn what this sentence is…

Well, you just read it!

The headline is the most critical piece of your sales copy, and there’s a reason why it’s all-important: if your headline is boring or doesn’t scream “THIS IS FOR YOU,” then your potential customers will go right by without giving you a second look.

But if your headline is strong, it means your visitors will read the second sentence… and the next… and the next, sucking in your information, your credibility, and your deal until it’s time to make the sale.

Want headlines that engage and sell? Listen and learn.

Watch Your Length

How long should you headline be? Typically, writers are taught the value of getting ideas across as quickly as possible, but when it comes to sales, that rule goes straight out the window.

The headline isn’t an exception. Make your headline long enough to clearly state what the product is, what they’ll get from it, and how quickly they’ll get the benefits.

Use uppercase, bold text, underlines, and highlighting to emphasize the most important parts.

You can also compound your headline by using a pre-headline to specifically get the attention of your target audience, or a sub-headline to deliver a more detailed picture of your benefits.

And what kind of benefits should you lead with?

Be As Specific As Possible

Customers respond powerfully to specific numbers and figures. We’re inundated by advertisements for all kinds of products offering vague benefits in a vague amount of time, and we dismiss most of them as hype and hyperbole – so if someone gives an exact percentage or dollar figure, we take it as a sign that we aren’t dealing with another generic offer.

Create Urgency

By giving your readers a reason to read more, you increase the chances that they will, which brings you closer to closing the sale. If there’s a deadline, a specific number of copies available for sale, or special information they’ll gain from reading the sales copy, put it in the sub-headline or near the top.

Create An Emotional Tone

There are lots of small factors that drive us emotionally, but when it comes to sales, they can all be simplified as the fear of loss or the hope of gain.

As you write your headline, try playing to the reader’s hope.

If you make them feel eager and excited, there’s a higher chance that they’ll read more of what you have to say. That does not mean that you should keep it entirely positive as some copywriters suggest – there are times when you should vividly remind the reader of how painful and stressful it is to have their particular problem.

But it’s best to be upbeat and reframe problems in the opening of your copy. Most of all, you should make sure that your headline – along with all of your writing – has some emotional tone to speak of.

Tested And Proven

Are you assuming that your headline is getting the job done? Think again. The only way to make sure that your headline is the best possible headline is to split test it against other headlines you’ve made stressing different benefits of your product. Once you’ve spent an extensive amount of time testing headlines and design elements, you have an optimized website that makes the most of the traffic it gets.

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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How To Use Metaphor To Break Out

Boring Product? Use This Secret To Break Out Forever!

Skeptical customers aren’t born. They’re made – forged over years of relentless advertising and “samey” sales copy. That doesn’t mean those customers are against spending money, or immune to the basic desires that drive emotional buying. It just means that most advertising doesn’t actually stoke those desires.

It’s easier said than done – there are lots of competing products and services out there, and they all promise similar results – saving money, better relations with the opposite sex, or a house that runs with less hassle.

If you ask me… if you can stand out from the crowd and hook THESE customers, you can hook anyone. Using specific examples can help break through the fog. Instead of just “saving money,” for example, you can give a direct example of how much you can expect to save.

But even if your product saves $500 a month, chances are your prospects won’t think in those terms. They’ll process the number in terms of its impact on their daily life. Maybe it means they can finally take a vacation. Maybe they can pay a month’s rent, or put a down payment on a big purchase.

That’s why the use of a metaphor can hit your prospect’s emotional buttons directly. It can also seprarate you from your competiton.

Here’s an example. Gary Halbert was once hired by a cosmetics company to write an advertisement for facial cream that motivated people to buy on the spot. Sounds like a tough job, right? After all, there are plenty of facial creams out there, and they all promise similar benefits.

But by pitching the facial cream as “The Amazing Face Lift In A Jar,” he motivated prospects to think of that product in a completely different way. When your product seems like it can’t break through, think about ways to use metaphor and get people thinking about you in a fresh way.

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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Is Your Copywriter Overeducated?

Why I started out as a copywriter, I was a sponge – I sucked in information from every book, listened to every tape I could, scoured top-selling advertisements and took notes on them.

And after taking in information from every online source, I would go offline, checking in at seminars and taking to other professionals for advice.

And strangely enough, when I sat down at the computer, I couldn’t find a single word to write!

As I matured in the craft, I found a similar affliction striking other new copywriters. It made me wonder if it was possible to become overeducated as a writer. Taking in too much information and trying to apply it at once can create a logjam of information and keep it from getting out on the page.

Luckily… the affliction isn’t permanent.

The mind is an associating and organizing machine! When we take in a lot of information, it takes time for our minds to sort it out and arrange it into an order that we can use.

And what happens once we file this information into a useful format? If we’re smart, we reduce our knowledge to the very basics of copywriting – grabbing attention, creating a rapport, estabishing value, demonstrating credibility, and closing the sale.

The same approach works when we take in the rules of grammar. We don’t write in order to show off our skills with the English language, we do it to build comfort with customers and get their wallets open. That means we need to focus on some essential rules of grammar and play loose with other ones.

Whether it’s in fiction or sales writing, the active voice is the strongest way to get interest in keep it. And when our subjects and verbs agree, our words are clear and helpful. Singular subjects have singular verbs and plural subjects have plural verbs.

But we also need to write the way our prospects speak. Starting sentences with a conjunction may get you flunked out of grammar class. But in sales writing, it shortens sentences, adds suspense, and sounds more natural. It’s also OK to use sentence fragments. Again, this device makes sentences shorter. And that means more interest and attention.

Finally, plenty of successful salesmen don’t hew to the exact rules governing punctuation. Liberal use of exclamation points, commas, and the ellipsis are all acceptible as long as people read on.

Whether it’s information on the craft of copywriting or the conventions of grammar – the things we learn as copywriters has to be funneled down and sharpened to an edge that sells.

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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How To Lose Customers And Influence Absolutely Nobody

Let’s say you’ve spent a little time reading my blog (and other websites on the fine craft of persuasive words) and you greedily hunt down every morsel of information, think it over, and deploy it on your website… only to find that the fish aren’t biting. At all.

Is it possible that everything you’ve learned about copywriting is baloney? Or do copywriters have some magical and subtle touch you lack entirely?

Before you panic, remember that WHEN and WHERE you sell is just as important as how you do it.

Imagine having a friend point you to a brick and mortar store across town. You enter the store and you take a couple of breaths, adjust to the blast of air conditioning hitting your face, blink out the hot lights, maybe brush a little rain off your umbrella –

And before you can even get situated, some irritating 17 year old marches up to you and asks you what you’re looking for. Does that kind of in your face salesmanship make you more or less likely to make a big purchase?

Creating The Transition

In Paco Underhill’s “Why We Buy,” he talks about a space called a “transition zone”. When we first walk in a store, we want to get adjusted, confirm we’re in the right place, and maybe get acknowledged.

How can you apply this idea to your homepage?

Instead of trying to close the sale on your homepage, why not casually lead them through the stages that lead to the sale – starting with confirming that they’re in the right place?

Open your website by greeting the customer and confirming that they’re in the right place, explaining who you are and what you do.

Where Should They Go?

We’ve been in so many stores that the structure of the stores are second nature. You know how to navigate the hallways, and you know how to find the register. But in the online world, it’s easy for a customer to get lost – especially if you introduce wacky colors, typefaces, and navigational elements.

You have to create the climate for selling, and make it easy for people to find what they’re looking for.

Repeat the main benefits of your product once or twice in your copy and make sure your design is smooth, with a consistent look and feel.

You should also make it easy for customers to look around, with a simple, easily understood navigation system. A horizontal bar showing the most important sections of your website and a clear, visible search bar can help immeasurably.

Finally, clearly direct your customer towards the most valuable action they can take on your website (if there is one). If you want them to call, prominently display your phone number. If you want them to fill out a form, use a colorful arrow that points to it.

Make the changes and give a close look to your website – now you’re looking at effective homepage copy that ushers them closer to the sale. Good job.

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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Here’s How To Add Real Value To Your Sales Material

I turned on the television last week to watch some commercials.

Yeah, I’m a weirdo.

I don’t watch alone – I had my favorite uncle in the room, and as we watched TV, I kept quiet as the advertisements came on. The way ads are these days, it’s hard to know when the programs stop and the commercials begin.

There are comedians, bright lights, punchlines, stories. Modern commercials are really hard to turn off. My uncle watched all the commercials, and laughed at all the appropriate places.

But he barely remembered any of the companies airing the commercials – or what they sold.

There are too many cutesy commercials that build enthusiasm and curiosity without driving home an offer or any kind of value. But if you want people to reach into their pocket on the spot, you need to be willing to gie a little steak with the sizzle. It’ll convince prospects of your credibility and qualifications, and make them more eager to buy.

It also serves a little teaser. Obviously, you aren’t going to give every piece of information you know in an advertisement or sales letter. If you can deliver value with an advertisement, imagine the deliver you can value in a product!

You’ll also lower the natural “sales blinders” that your prospects wear every day. It’s easy to tune an advertisement out, but it’s much tougher to turn down free information – and there’s nothing stopping you from weaving your sales pitch in the midst of that free information, using it to teach your prospect about the value of your product.

So, who can take advantage of the principles of free information? Everyone!

Obviously, if you’re selling informational products like a book or a set of videos, it’s easier to give out information that acts as a lead-in to the main product.

But it’s also easy to give information in other mediums. A free report, an email course, or case studies on how your product works are all useful gifts that deliver value while educating prospects on your product’s value.

This is even easier in a service industry. If you’re a lawyer, dentist, or plumber, there’s no problem giving a little information on your trade and how you work – chances are pretty low that your prospect will read your information and decide to perform oral surgery themselves!

But you’ll increase the prospect’s confidence that you can do a great job.

How many people in your local market are selling warmed over “sales talk?” Can you stand out as a unique entity by giving people steak instead of sizzle? There’s no easier way to get customers salivating for more.

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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Fun Size Copy – How To Write Hypnotic Emails On Autopilot

Email is a solid medium for fast, direct response. Your mailing list already has a relationship with you, your message goes directly in front of their eyeballs, and – more than any other medium – your list has the ability to take action on your offer within seconds.

But there are challenges, too. With so many distractions competing for their attention, every email you send needs to be incredibly engaging. When you follow these steps, you’ll find it easier than ever to make emails that get opened, read, and acted on.

#1 – Laser Target Your Audience

Want to write an effective email fast? Write with your audience in mind. You can get away with a lot of small mistakes as long as you’re thinking about your prospects desires, fears, and frustrations.

#2 – Don’t Write A Cute Headline

Numerous tests have shown that simple, benefit driven headlines get better response rates than subjects based on puns, wordplay, and indirect implication. Let people know the main benefit they’ll get from opening your email.

What will they get, and more importantly, how will it make them feel? Remember that people buy things (and open emails) for emotional reasons, and then use logic to justify it.

Don’t hesitate to use words like “free” in your copy or use all caps (sparingly) – if you’re using a trusted domain or email service, you’ll be fine.

#3 – Write Emotional Copy

Keep a consistent, emotional tone through your emails. Before you start writing, decide what the “hot buttons” are that will sell your copy. Try to keep the same tone throughout your email.

As you write, think of phrases and questions that will incite their curiosity, press their hot buttons, and keep them reading.

Chances are, you aren’t the only email in their inbox, so it’s important to write dense, interesting copy.

#4 – Make It Personal

When people read their emails, they’re in a comfort zone. They’re much more ready to read correspondence from friends than pitches from a faceless corporate entity.

Don’t be afraid to tell a personal story or two to “warm up” your reader, or use the same kind of personal language you would in an email to a friend.

#5 – Break It Up

Want your customers to DASH for the delete button? Make giant blocks of text for them to read through.

While people have no problem reading a meaty article, they’re terrified of committing to an email of that size. That means you should keep your email short and broken up.

Use short sentences, short paragraphs, dashes, and ellipses in order to make your email easier to scroll and digest.

#6 – Close The Deal

What’s the goal of your email?

Whatever it is, you need to ask your prospects to help you achieve that goal.

If you want a response, ask them to respond. If you want them to read your next email, tell them what they should be looking forward to, and when to expect the message. If you’d like them to make a purchase – ask!

No matter how good your email is, it’ll be less effective if you don’t ask for the order.

#7 – Offer An Incentive

Can you spice up your promotion efforts by offering special deals to your mailing list? If you can offer something that you don’t offer to the general public, you increase the incentive for your prospects to act!

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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Copywriting 2.0: How The Web Impacts Persuasion

Are your copywriting efforts stuck in the Stone Ages?

I’ve got a deep respect for the direct response writers who built the foundations of modern copywriting. But if you aren’t thinking about the ways the internet affects your customers, you might be making a few boneheaded mistakes.

That doesn’t mean you have to throw out all the basics. But there are a few “new rules” that you should keep firmly in mind if you want your words to sell.

Rule One: Google Controls Everything

Search engines dominate the media, the entertainment sphere, and (probably) the minds of your customers. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s plenty of free information available.

That doesn’t mean there’s no point in making content – far from it. That means your content needs to be more powerful than the basic conventional wisdom they can find anywhere online.

You need to write with vigor and personality, and it needs to look and feel different from the reams of information online. It also needs to be visible in order to stand out – that means aggressively marketing yourself so that you get linked from high traffic websites and get a space in the search engines, whether that means using free methods like article marketing or investing in PPC advertising.

Rule Two: The Check Factor

It’s not just your competitors that are a click away. Every claim that you make that be fact checked in a few seconds. You’ve also got to worry about price checks – a savvy customer can find out how much something *really* costs within a few seconds.

That means you need to provide evidence for all your claims, especially the ones that seem wild or unbelievable.

And if you can’t deliver the lowest price available in the entire world (since this article isn’t typed in Mandarin, you probably can’t) you’ve also got to build trust and differentiate yourself from the competition, offering speed, comfort, or value that others can’t reach.

Rule Three: Society’s Got AdBlock

People are bombarded with advertising every day. That’s why most people are used to snuffing out anything that resembles advertising. They put blocking programs on their browsers, skip ads on their DVR, and skim every message they receive.

Multimillion dollar brands try to get around this by saturating the airwaves with messages that are funny, memorable, and don’t really “sell” anything.

If you don’t have millions to burn, you need to be more efficient. How can you reach these people?

Make your advertising have its own value. If your sales pitch has valuable information that your prospect will benefit from by reading, it increases the chances they’ll read it – and attach value to your company.

Ask yourself if you can add games, stories, humor, surveys, or any other form of interaction to your efforts.

Your business needs to look good and feel special.

Rule Four: Nobody Trusts You

It’s not personal. But there’s so much dishonesty that in many fields, suspicion is the default outlook of your customers.

That means you need more credibility in your marketing than ever before. Luckily, this isn’t hard.

You can get personal, discussing the amount of time (or just your membership) in trade organizations and business networks. It’s also easy to add things like your picture, signature, and your business address in the copy.

Use evidence – case studies and testimonials. If you can get quotes from noted experts, that bolsters your credibility as well.

Rule Five: They’re In A Hurry

Once people commit to your product, they don’t want to wait any longer than needed to actually get their hands on your product. Even if you sell a physical service (plumbing, for example) you can give your clients SOMETHING as soon as they make their order, right?

Once you apply these “Copywriting 2.0” tips in every area of your business, you’ll see awesome results – even when dealing with customers offline!

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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Copy That Converts Businesses

Here’s a small question that can have a big impact on your business. Is your writing good enough to make the sale – even when you aren’t there?

If you want to hook prospects in the business-to-business world, it’s crucial that you have great copywriting regardless of your medium.

Whether you’re reaching out via a website, print advertising, electronic or direct mail, it’s important that your efforts aren’t just good – they’re better than the bulk to your competitors.

Remember that if your copy is just “good” and doesn’t differentiate from your competitors… businesses might choose your service, and they might not. But instead of leaving it to random chance, why not construct copy that can survive a hard-edged interrogation from a professional in their field?

Here are the questions on the mind of a business prospect as they read your advertisement, why they think that way, and how to convince them.

#1 – Are you a specialist?

We all want specialized experts for our specialized needs, situations, or business operations. Even when we work with a larger business, we do it because we’re confident that they have someone on the staff that can help our specific needs.

That’s why effective copy is specific copy – not just in the benefits offered, but in the audience we target.The more specific, the better.

#2 – I already have someone for this service – why do I need yours?

While it’s a copywriting cliche to lead with benefits rather than features, there are times when a statement of features works – with a highly technical audience that looks at those features all the time and can instantly absorb the benefits of those statistics and specs.

If you can show the difference in performance and results between you and your competitors – you’ll make a stark impression in your B2B writing.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to stand apart.

#3 – How can I justify this investment to my peers?

Whether it’s our partners, bosses, or investors, it’s rare that businesses make purchases on a single person’s say-so. That’s why it’s important that you drill your sales pitch to a simple message that uses stark, simple language.

And if you are using longer sales copy, it’s important to use headlines, subheaders, bullets, and short paragraphs so that it’s easy for prospects to scan and find the information most relevant to them.

If you can figure out the benefits that our prospects want the most, you can craft a message they’ll appreciate.

#4 – Where’s the proof?

Obviously, prospects are looking for credibility wether they’re in business or not. But it’s especially important to bowl business prospects over with testimonials from other respected figures they’ve heard of, strong guarantees, and inexpensive trials they can sign on to before making a commitment.

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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Busting Myths About SEO Copywriting

It can be tough developing an online strategy for your business, especially if you’re an offline sort of guy. The more information that’s out there, the harder it can be to make a decision. And there lots of information on there.

And misinformation. And disinformation.

Unfortunately, the SEO industry rarely helps you cut through the clutter. Even worse, some of the bad advice that’s been passed around by every youngster with an internet connection has taken a hold on the minds of many small business owners.

I want to take a few minutes and knock down a few myths about SEO and its impact on copywriting.

1. SEO Copywriters Have A Specific Set Of Skills

Believe it or not, an SEO copywriter, a copywriter, and an article writer aren’t exactly the same. While a copywriter specializes in sales language, and an article writer looks to convey information, an SEO copywriter has a mixture of those skills: conveying information in a way that attracts both humans and search engines.

2. SEO Optimization Costs Extra

Be suspicious of SEO writers who promise work for an extremely low price. Too low, and you’ll probably be stuck working with someone in the third world whose command of the English language is supbar – which is vital for obvious reasons.

If anything, you should expect to pay more than the average rates for SEO copy, because you want elegant writing that still grabs the search engines.

3. Good SEO Copy “Reads Normal”

With the recent changes to Google’s search engine metrics, pages filled with keywords that feel as if they were written by Serbian spam robots are even less relevant than before.

Don’t blindly ask a copywriter to add more and more keywords in the hopes that it will raise your ranking. Search engines haven’t worked that way for a long time.

4. Not Just Experience, But…

Experience is important for any job – but looks can deceive when it comes to SEO. If you aren’t sure how competitive the targeted keyword is, it’s easy to be fooled by someone who quickly ranks for an easier keyword.

And someone who doesn’t have a large portfolio of results might not be a bad SEO copywriter. Don’t just look for experience, look for an explanation of their results, how they achieved them, and why they can replicate them for your website.

5. They Can’t Do Everything Overnight

SEO is more unpredictable than ever. The more competition is out there, the harder it is to get ranked. So be suspicious of someone who claims that they can give you results overnight, or even over a couple of weeks.

Basically, an SEO copywriter can “tag” your website with words and let search engines know that you’re relevant. But that isn’t all there is to SEO. Even article submissions can’t do everything alone.

You need a comprehensive strategy that includes links to and from authority websites in your niche and social media. This is generally the domain of a link building and SEO specialist and not a writer.

6. Keywords Matter

Are you sure about the words you’re trying to rank for? Before you ask a copywriter to target a set of keywords, you should talk to a keyword researcher and get your site appraised. Often the keywords you *think* are most relevant for your business either aren’t as important as you think, or can be supplanted by other keywords that get the same target audience with less competition.

Remember that, generally speaking, the more specific and targeted your keywords are, the better chance you have of ranking highly on the search engines and converting your visitors into customers.

SEO is a valuable tool in any business owners arsenal. But when you have the wrong expectations of what it is and what it can do, you run the risk of frustrating “the help” – and yourself! Vision and patience are incredibly helpful if you want a website that’s both visible and sells well.

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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3 Ways To Give Your Copy An Extreme Makeover

Are you feeling like there are a LOT of copywriters out there? There’s a good reason – the demand for good writers is larger than ever. Take a look at some of the websites for businesses in your local area or niche. Chances are they’re poorly designed, poorly written, and feel more like a digital business card than a sales tool that can bring real benefits to their business.

Are you worried because that sounds a bit like YOUR website? Take a look at some of these checkpoints and decide whether your sales copy needs a rebuild.

The Foundation

What do you want from your customers?

If you want them to know your company exists, you can list the names and biographies of the people involved, along with your contact information.

If you want them to chuckle at your creativity, you can throw in some jokes, puns, and clever wordplay throughout your copy.

But if you want them to take action – to sign on to your mailing list so you can have continued contact with them, to make purchases and recommend you to friends – then you need to reach out to them and show them that you’re uniquely suited towards filling their needs.

That’s why customer oriented copy is the foundation of writing that sells. If the material on your website spends more time talking about your company and its products than it does talking about the customers problems and how you can solve them, chances are you’re leaving money on the table.

The Front Porch

Imagine driving 500 miles with a rumbling stomach and looking up with comfort at your destination – a diner that says BEST BUERGERS IN THE WORLD above the door. You sit down, and the waitress leads you to a corner.

Your heart is pounding. Your stomach is screaming with anticipation.

But instead of serving you the burgers you’ve been waiting for – the reason you came in the first place – the waitress lectures you on the history of the founder, the number of parking spots, and a decription of everything on the menu…

Why not take a cleaner path and explain why your product is what you say it is. If you can prove that your product delivers – prove it. And then explain why it works to well afterwards.

The Amenities

How do you feel when you walk into a big, attractive house? Does your jaw drop a little while you take things in? That kind of impression makes you feel more at home.

It’s easy to replicate the awe you feel when you’re in amazing surroundings. You do it by clearly stating the value involved in your offer.

Can you offer an introductory service like an evaluation, appraisal, or inexpensive trial? What can you do to restate the benefits of your product in a way that makes it look like an amazing value for the money?

None of these tweaks seem complicated, but try them – I promise the results will be extreme.

Get Ready To Discover Killer Copywriting Secrets To Supercharge Your Marketing And Multiply Your Profits In a Flash!

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