A Mini Class In Copywriting
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A Mini Class In Copywriting

Three fundamental rules about selling

  1. People don't like to be sold
  2. People buy things for emotional, not rational, reasons.
  3. Once sold, people need to justify their emotional decisions with logic.

The 3-step buying tier

If you can identify the readers emotions, you can awake their desires that lead them to take action. That's the process you'll be using every single time you write a text to sell or persuade someone of something. What emotion to stir differs from product to product.

The four pillars

Benefits, ideas, credibility and track record. When you have all four parts your text will stand firmly on solid footing. If you forget one the text will topple over like a poorly constructed stool.When you master this you'll be able to evaluate every text you write for depth and balance.

Research - Know your product or service intimately

The best way to uncover your product or service is to know it inside and out. If it’s a food product, eat it. If it’s an information product, read it and follow its advice. And if it's a service, use it. Know it better than your reader do.

Gold Nuggets

Do your research and embed fascinating bits of information. When you tell somebody something he doesn't know, some useful information, you're actually giving him something for free. On a subconscious level it makes your reader feel obligated to buy. This is the law of reciprocity at play.

Go the extra mile

To get the competitive edge, find the stuff that nobody knows. Tease with it, inform. Give them something they didn't know before.

The reader

Know exactly who you are writing to. Put yourself in your readers shoes. Relate to the specific situations his in.You have to know what interests him? What keeps him awake at night? When you know this you can hook him with desire or fear and tell what you are going to do for him. Speak to your reader in an informal, conversational way, like you speak to a good friend, write as you talk. Be passionate about what you’re writing.

DONT! - "Let me stop talking about myself. What do you think about me?" Instead show your reader all the advantages he's getting at every opportunity.

The principle of intimacy

There's really only two ways to sell anything. The classical approach to focus the reader on the benefits. With the charismatic approach you create an additional overriding benefit, the benefit of becoming familiar or "intimate" with the seller himself. You probably bought something you didn't need just because you liked the salesperson or wanted to reward him for his kindness.

Remember, intimacy is fundamentally caring for you customer and building trust. Write to the reader as if you were speaking to someone you love. The simplest ways to establish intimacy is to include a photo of you.

Include revelations

Let the reader "see" into your life. Reveal something about yourself. If you're writing about self-improvement products and services (diets, training courses, business opportunities), you should always reveal something about your "Achilles Heel". Reveal your weakest point. This because your reader has built-in insecurities. You must prove to them that you don't consider yourself to be better than they are, even if your really are. "I remember when I didn't have enough money to buy groceries for my family".

Include your reader in "Your special group"

Anytime you can you should try to include your reader in a special group along with you. This group could be just about anything from fishers to geopolitical thinkers to doctors and lawyers. Once you've created a special group with your reader, you can forge an even stronger connection by placing that group in opposition with a common enemy.

Differentiate yourselves from the enemy

What better way to "connect" with your reader than to show him how everyone else is wrong, except for you special group. If you are a hard working average guys, that set you apart from the lazy, rich crowd that gets it all handed to them on a silver platter.

The Headline

This is where you grab your readers attention and usher him into the text. You say something important to him, something that appeals to his core beliefs, feelings and desires. Remember that you have only a couple of seconds to grab the readers attention, if not you never get it. Consider all possible headlines before settling on one.Many writers spend as much time writing a single headline as they do writing the rest of the entire text. Professional copywriters write and rewrite them many times.

The four headlines U's

Aim for at least three of these.

  • Urgency - Desire, tell the benefits sooner rather than later
  • Usefulness - Something of value for the reader
  • Uniqueness - This differ with everything else
  • Ultra-specificity - Avoid vagueness at all costs, communicate the specific benefits.

Headline don't!

  • Don't say something conventional in the headline. Don't let the reader guess where your are going.
  • Don't mislead or trick the reader with a promise you don't deliver.
  • Be careful with headlines that ask a question, they can be answered the wrong way.

Indirection

When you write direct headlines, you rise the readers sales resistance. He knows that you're trying to sell him something and is more likely to resist you offer. So instead lead him into it in a roundabout way. Let the reader come to his own conclusion about what's being said. Show don't tell.

The Lead

Here's where you hook the readers direct after the headline. You've just captured his attention with the headline and want to keep his interest going strong.Here you deliver the big promise and the big idea, show him how the product or service will benefit him if he continues to read the text. The big idea appeal to his intellect as well as his appetite. Your specific approach will depend on how you believe you can best reach your reader.

Some of the things you can use in the lead can be:

  • Share a historic perspective
  • Debunk a common belief
  • Formulate a prediction
  • Provide facts and figures

Whatever you choose, make sure you offer your reader a promise he can't resist. He'll be buying you big promise. Never focus on the product itself, focus on the benefits. Get the reader to say yes and harmonize with your accurate and truthful statements while reading the text. If you can get the reader to say yes throughout the text, he’s more likely to say yes when you state the offer and ask him to "Act now!". A good lead is short, concise and to the point.

Start with the benefits

Start by showing the reader what's in it for him, that connect the reader's emotional desires with your product or service. They keep him moving through your text and create a psychological link between his desires and your product or service. Make a promise that eliminates fears and fulfills desires. Stimulate emotions to create desire within you readers to purchase your products or services.

People buy for emotional, not rational reasons

Try to stimulate constantly what is significant for your reader, his core beliefs, feelings and desires. This is the "golden thread" that keep the readers interest piqued throughout an entire text. You can never have too many benefits. If you do this you have his attention.

Create a picture

Create a picture in their mind as "successful", don't try to argue with reasons. Instead paint those pictures clear enough so your reader sees himself reaping the benefits that you've laid out for him.When you have him hooked, move on with the tex and don't mention the price too soon.

The body

Here's where you do most of you "hard selling". You're going to make your case for your product or service. Here you draw out its many benefits. Prove that it can do everything you say it will. But first you have to do your research to uncover all the possible benefits, this to make and prove your claims.

Proof

After you have the readers attention and emotional desires, now you can start to argue the reasons why. Talk about the features, the raw facts about your product or service. Remind him of the promise at every opportunity. Remember that after the person is "sold" emotionally, they need to rationalize their emotional buying decision. Facts and features provide a comfortable way to do just that. It's not enough to make claims, you have to prove that they are reasonable and accurate. And you have to prove it to the readers satisfaction. Remember to place your most compelling proof toward the beginning of the sales presentation.

What kind of evidence do you need to convince your reader of? A specific study? Facts and figures? A testimonial? You need to dig deep to see what "gold nuggets" you can find. The point is that you must show your reader that you can back up what you say. You do that by giving them independent and reliable sources of information. You must communicate compelling ideas to feed you readers mind. The trick is to introduce ideas that your reader will embrace. This fall back on your ability to know who your reader is. Their core beliefs, feelings and desires.

Establish credibility by using reliable sources

If you use testimonials, stick with one benefit per testimonial. Too many take away from the impact and dilute the potency of what you're saying. Don't include anything that's irrelevant or potentially offensive to your reader. Testimonials are used to rationalize your readers emotional buying decision. Use a few good ones rather than many so-so ones.

USP - Unique Selling Proposition

Before you reveal the price, you have to remind him of all the wonderful benefits he'll get from you product or service. You can throw in some additional benefits to get him excited. Show him why your "widget" is the best and only answer for all his wants and desires. How it's different, unique or fundamentally better than anything else around. USP are most effective when they're woven throughout a text. The more times you can remind your reader that you "widget" is truly unique, the more likely he is to buy. Do your research so you really know all the benefits of your "widget". Try to find your angle, then think of other ways you can convey the message.

The false close

This is a wonderful technique for breaking up a linear argument. If your text is too predictable your reader can race ahead and say "I know what this is...and I don't need it". Change the pace from time to time, leap around and keep them interested. Don't close the logical loop, open a new one instead. In order for the false close to work it must come after the sale has been adequately made. Approach and then redraw.

“You're probably wondering how to get hold of this "widget" by now. I'll tell you in just one moment. But before I do, I'd like to tell you a little story about an experience I had a few years ago...”

Here you can tell a story about how you found another miraculous benefit of the product. From here you can lead them strait back to the real close, but now it's stronger. You reader isn't prepared for it anymore and his defences are down.

Close with the offer

Tell him in crystal clear terms what you're offering him in return for a modest payment. Don't try to be cute or clever here.Then you got to prove to your reader that he's really got nothing to lose by trying your product or service. Tell him that all his money will be refunded if he's not happy or that the service is free to try before he buys. Restate the promise again and relate the desired benefits with the product. State the USP and the offer again and ask for the sale.

Summarize key benefits and collect all relevant data here. Make the deal seems like a good value. Rationalize the decision to buy and create a sense of urgency. Prove the guarantee that your reader got nothing to lose by giving you a chance, state the terms of the refund policy. Relieve any residual buying reservations.The close is the perfect place to bring out the strongest, juiciest benefits you have for you reader. Prompt for the action.

Include a strong PS

You want to include a strong PS to throw you reader over the top. You can use this to throw in a surprise benefit, convey urgency or offer a bonus. Restate the benefits and make the promise again. Here you can provide even more credibility. If you want to build a PS that really reaches your reader, you must create it with passion.

The order

Here is where you reader becomes an actual buyer. But to do that you must reinforce his buying decision. You must re-stimulate his initial desires and eliminate any possible buyers remorse. Restate benefits, money back guarantee and special bonuses. Make this as strong as you can. Restate the major promise in an affirmative way. Restate the guarantee. Collect all relevant data here. Restate the primary benefits. Restate the additional benefits. Prompt for the action.

Every element counts

The success of the text will be dependent on the strength of each single element you write. Try to get every element equally strong for the best result.

Subheads

When you're writing your text, don't forget to include subheads to increase the readability and keep your reader engaged in the text.

Seeding

A good way to learn from the experts are to get yourself on the mailing lists of the top marketers and copywriters. If you do this you get their secrets for free. Your mailbox becomes your personal research laboratory. A "secret blueprint" to the most powerful money-generators around. Once you know what to look for it’s easy to spot the technique they use.

Test

When you start with copywriting you can test the response with different versions of the text. The one with the best response becomes the control. This is a good way to hone your skills, try to get a new control better than the last one. Remember that good writing comes from rewriting.

Stir Emotions

All selling involves a firm understanding of the human psyche. If you want to persuade someone, you need to know what spurs him to action. And emotions are strong feelings within your reader which does just that. It comes from the Latin verb motere which means "to move". Emotions leads to movement.

Curiosity

Curiosity is an important emotion. You find that in many headlines, it peaks the readers interest to find out more - "Turn $5,000 into $3,52 million"

Vanity

This is something the whole fitness industry revolves around.

"You face is always on display" - Estee Lauder

Fear

Fear is powerful, but you have to be careful when appealing to people’s fears. The fears you induce have to be real. They have to be specific, and the product or service you're selling must offer a solution. The fear must already exist in your reader's mind and you must be able to inflame it.

Benevolence

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." - Aesop

Insecurity

Insecurity is so ingrained in the human psyche that it's often not regarded as an emotion at all. People seek material things because they give them a feeling of self-worth, it makes them feel important. They think these things make them appear important in other peoples eyes.

Cliches

Every single one contains a fundamental element of truth. But you must uncover it, then use it in a fresh, new way to sell your product or service. A cliche is like a fruit that has dried up and lost it's flavour. You've always got to keep your reader from getting ahead of you. If he anticipate what you're going to say, he'll assume he know what's coming and you lose him.

I hope that this short text can be of some help to you on your website or blog and I wish you all the luck in writing your killer sales letter.

Anders


Street Talk

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