1. Who do you want to serve with your business? How many people like this are there? What are their qualities? How do you know that?
2. What do these people desire, or even long for? What problems, challenges, difficulties do they wish to overcome? What new opportunities, joys, discoveries would they like to experience?
How important is this to them? What's the emotional and psychological meaning of all this to those you serve? What's the spiritual meaning to them of a solution, or an opportunity? What fundamental human values and desires are involved in their wish for a solution, or for a new opportunity? How do you know that?
3. What other opportunities are there for these people to gain solutions, or to add new experiences to their lives, similar to what you offer? Which of these competing offers work on the surface level of the immediate situation? Which have long-term lasting results? And which truly satisfy the underlying needs?
In what ways are needs and wants unmet by other offers? How does this gap greatly bother, concern, dismay, or disappoint those you wish to serve? In what ways are those you wish to serve ignorant of the delights and happiness they could have, if only they knew of a better choice that was available to them?
4. How does your offer provide a unique, one of a kind, exceptionally superb way to solve the problem, better than anyone else could solve it? How does your offer make a new opportunity available, better than anyone else could offer? How does its price make the offer more valuable than anything else could be?
Value here is defined in terms of satisfaction within the lives of those you wish to serve; the peace of mind, happiness, fulfillment, or stress relief brought about by your offer.
How do you know this?
How does the experience, wisdom, passion of the person making the offer (whether that's you, or someone for whom you're a sales affiliate) empower them to uniquely satisfy the core values of those you wish to serve, through some new way to improve their situation in life?
And how do you know that?
If the offer comes from someone else, how does your own experience, wisdom, passion let you empathize with the human values, the life challenges, the circumstances, hopes and dreams of those you wish to serve?
5. In what ways do those you wish to serve like to learn about solutions or opportunities? Where do they expect to find news about something or someone that can help them? Where do they not expect such news, but it would be a happy and welcome addition to their day?
Answer these questions, and copywriting is straightforward. As Gary Halbert put it: Are there any words I could use that would not be interesting to you, to let you know that your wife just brought your new triplet children into the world?
Without answers to questions like these, no amount of cleverness, no amount of ingenious wordsmithing, can lead to long-term success.
In copy critiques, I try to find the answers to these questions.
I want to see that the copy tells me a story. There were some people, who wanted to feel a certain way. These people wanted to change their circumstances. They wanted to solve a problem. They wanted to experience a new way to be happy. The copy should identify what kind of person this is. The copy should clearly state that if this describes you, then this information is for you. Just as any good movie starts by introducing the characters, and showing me their problems or challenges.
I want to see that the copy continues the story. Just as a movie continues with the characters' attempts to solve their problems. Maybe they have a way they always did things, and it doesn't work because the situation has changed. Maybe they already know the right thing to do, and the world is finally catching up with them. Maybe they took suggestions from other people, only to find the suggestions didn't help. Maybe they took on allies, or found those they hoped would be friends to be untrustworthy.
Tell me the story of the challenges and struggles. Tell me how the person you love enough to serve got helped by the competition, but the help only went so far. Put this drama into your letter (or video, or whatever you're using).
In any great movie, eventually the hero has a central opportunity to make a difficult choice, which will change both them and their circumstances. In this leap of faith, what expresses who they really are? How does this crisis reveal their character? What did they learn? Were they able to apply the teachings of their mentor? Do they need to leave behind what they used to know?
In a sales letter, the struggle is between hope and doubt, between (dare I say it) enthusiasm for the new opportunity and skepticism about its true value. What additional evidence shows that faith is reasonable, that the bridge is safe to cross, that the fight can be won?
Movies continue a while after the central conflict is resolved. We need to see what happened. Your sales letter should paint the picture of how satisfied, relieved, delighted, satisfied the buyer will be after they decide to buy. It should also show that, unlike some movie heroes, they don't have to burn the bridge behind them. A realistic guarantee, warranty, service program is available to help them. They won't be stranded on the other side.
Make your sales letter a mini-adventure. Make it a screenplay for the mental journey that someone can take, imagining their role as hero worthy of a guide and mentor such as yourself. Provide the ups and downs of the situation. Maybe their adventure is merely getting their teeth cleaned, or finding a path to the airport, or having a deluxe widget that will last a long time and impress their friends. Even so, why shouldn't you love them enough to help their live be an adventure they ultimately win?
This is the hard work of creative thinking with love. Nothing else is more challenging to both brain and heart. And when they are both fully engaged in this work, with a commitment to uplift your fellow man and woman and child by somehow blessing their lives, nothing else is more rewarding.