- no boring theory
- no jargon
- no tears
Yes, you too can write your own copy! It's fun and so easy a five year old can do it. Where do you start? It's not essential but you may want to start with a pre-head that targets or pre-qualifies who you're pitching. In this case I've used "...so you wanna write your own copy, huh?"
Your headline is vitally important. Your brilliant copy will sink or swim depending on how well you hook your readers with the headline. You need to grab your readers attention - really grab them - hit their "hot button" and have them reading on. Put it in inverted commas - it improves readability. And if you can stick a benefit in there, even better. Put your reader in the "drivers seat" by using "you" and "yours".
A headline, of course, is... AN AD FOR YOUR AD! Gary HalbertSpellcheck your copy. Oh yeah...and don't be tempted to write something like "How to Make a Million Dollars Online - Overnight and in Your Jocks!" The punters might click on it but then they're just going to be saying to themselves (rightly so) "This is Total BS". And you've lost them forever. Unless of course you really can prove that you have a system that will do that. Laugh-Out-Friggin' Loud.
You might qualify your head with "the deck" - the few lines of copy that you can run under the headline to further qualify or "hook" your readers. In this case - "no boring theory" etc.
Should you use video? Done properly, video can be very powerful. The video I've used here isn't mine - I captured it from a copywriter's site. I can't even remember his name. Sorry about that Chief. Maybe you're reading this and you'll get in touch so I can properly attribute it. But I think it a beauty!
The funny thing about video is not everyone will click on it and watch it. Maybe because they're watching at work. Or they don't have broadband. Or they prefer to read. For instance, after this post being up a day only 20 people out of the 200+ viewers have clicked through to the video.
BTW using a host like Amazon S3 looks much more professional than YouTube.
Just Do It, Dude
There are several ways to start. You could tell a story. Make sure it's entertaining. Or you could just start off by telling us what you have, what it does, why our miserable lives will be so much better if we have one too. Later on you'll tell us the price and where and how we can get it.
Or you could summarise what you're about to offer. In this case it might be something like this - "By the end of this page you'll have enough info to dash off your own world-beating sales copy - without paying out thousands to a rude, opinionated, egotistical, internet copywriter (what's with those guys?)".
Somewhere near the beginning of the page and "above the fold" you might want to put your mugshot and introduce yourself. You're establishing credibility.
Who have I worked for? Some of the biggest names in Internet Marketing - some of the "whales" in this game". Yada yada yada.
Write in Simple Short Sentences That a 5 year old Will Have No Trouble Following and Understanding
Break the Copy Up Into Chunks
If there is a whole block of copy of long convoluted sentences with big scary words in it, with barely any paragraphs and no bolding or subheads - people are not going to read it. They'll run a mile. So break it up. You're not writing for The New York Times. You're writing for "Joe the Plumber". Make it easy for him. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Make it Easy To Read
Putting important copy in a different font will make it stand out against the rest. Make sure it's an easy-to-read font like this Verdana. Avoid arty fonts. Drop-shadow fonts in headlines seem to be the flavor-of-the-month but they are much harder to read than common-or-garden variety fonts.
Don't Forget the Captions
Before I forget. Here's a good tip. A powerful tip. Put captions under every photo. People love captions. Every caption will be read. Make the caption part of your pitch as well. Like this -
You want fries with that?
Think in terms of "benefits" rather than features - "This copy is full of bells and whistles" is a feature. "This copy is so full of bells and whistles, you'll be able to save thousands of dollars by writing your own copy - today" is a benefit. Answer the reader's "What's in it for me?". He could care less about your amazing features. He wants to know how those features will benefit him.
Yes and no. Personally I'm pretty keen on correct grammar, syntax and spelling. But I'm not anal about it.
As for style, Gary Halbert used to say -
" Being on target is much more important than being facile with words"
In other words don't pitch a Knitting Book to a bunch of truckdrivers. Know who you're talking to. Who you are targeting. And talk to them in their language.
Halbert also said -
"People don't have time for your pathetic subtleties"
In other words, don't try and be too clever. And don't use words that most people don't understand. You're not writing The World's Greatest Novel or a piece for The New York Times. Use simple, short, everyday words in short, simple sentences. In words a 5 year old understands. The last thing you want is your reader saying "Wow...this is a beautifully-crafted piece of copy" (unless he's a fellow copywriter).
Famous copywriter John Caples (he of the "They laughed when I sat down at the piano..." print ad.) in 1932 (78 years ago!) put it like this -
|Don't make ads simple because you think people are low in intelligence. Some are smart and some are not smart. The point is that people are thinking about other things when they see your ad. Your ad does not get their full attention or intelligence. Your ad gets only a fraction of their intelligence . . . . People won't study your ad carefully. They can't be bothered. And so you have to make your ads simple.|
Tell me what you have, tell me what it does, tell me why my life will be so much better if I have one too, tell me how much, tell me where to get it. Don't be afraid to repeat the important bits. Or say the same thing again but spin it.
Show me some proof your product does what you say it will do. Real proof - not dodgy screenshots of earnings or useless testimonials from "Jo Blow, Canada". Video proof can be extremely powerful. Did you see yesterday's launch of "The Magic Bullet System"? Sold out in hours and grossed $1.5M. The video "proof" was killer.
Stick several "Buy Buttons" on the page. Don't just rely on your reader scrolling to the very bottom of the page to find a Buy Button. If you've done a good job some of your readers will hit a Buy Button half-way through the copy. Some say "Add To Cart" works better than "Buy Now" or "Order Now". Check out "The Belcher Button" - that's the one I use with great success.
Testing is the name of the game. Sometimes just adding or deleting a single word will skyrocket conversions. The headline is the most important part of the whole page. You only have a second or two to seduce your readers before they click off. So make sure your headline grabs them by the you-know-whats. Or you're dead in the water.
Don't waffle in your copy. Generally, "less is more".
If the copy isn't converting - kill it and start again.
Putting important things in bullet form makes them easier to read. Odd numbers of bullets work better. No more than 7 of them. I'm out of time...you know you need to add testimonials, "social proof" , p.s. - all that jive. That stuff is important but its mainly window dressing. What's important is -
- be on target
- use simple, short sentences
- get to the point
- break your copy into chunks so it's easier to read
- don't use dodgy screenshots or fake testimonials
- test and test again
- use bullets
Voila! How to write your own copy in one easy lesson. Now I must get back to the coalface.
p.s. if you want your copy to read like the spoken word, invest in Dragon Naturally Speaking (for PCs) or MacSpeech Dictate (for Macs) and dictate your copy while the program writes it for you. I've even used it to write directly into this forum. They say it's 99% accurate but that's BS. It does make a few mistakes. For instance when I say "Australian" in my Australian accent, it writes it (every time) as "Estonian".