I'm one of those guys who believes that we often make things harder than they need to be.
Why pay $97+ for an ebook when you can learn from my experience - not theory - for free? In this thread, there are no tricks, no secrets, and no sales pitches to you the reader - just my experiences and consequent advice. Personally, what I'm about to discuss comes to me on autopilot: I just take it as common sense now a days, so I hope that my tips will help someone out there!
Let's simplify copywriting.
So here's a bit about myself: I'm a student at UMD, I've done various projects like graphic design and general web development, but lately I found my niche to be content creation (articles, web pages) and copywriting. It's my favorite because it makes me more money, and as a student I'm in constant need of rent, food, and entertainment money (not to mention tuition!)
I've authored probably about 10 copies that I'd consider professional, and every time I write a new one I learn something new. I am by no means a true expert yet, because there is certainly someone out there with more versatility, more experience, and more know-how, but I do want to share something special with you.
There are many guides out there on how to make that "Killer Copy," and I've never bought a single one of those. All the information you need can be found online, for free - you just have to look for a bit. When it comes to copywriting, it's way different from article writing, but you already know that: your purpose is to SELL a product, not to INFORM about it. Selling someone something requires a call to action, rather than just fluid sentences that make you interested in a product.
Here is my personal formula for a great copy that won't only satisfy your copy buyer, but will also help that buyer pay for itself through sales on his site. This, in turn, will bring you repeat business from the same clientele.
1) Get as many details from your client before you even begin thinking about what to write.
Before, I found myself rushing to get to writing before I even knew what I needed to accomplish. A lot of low-charging writers say, "here's an ebook, let's throw some catchy headlines and hopefully the client will like it." Besides the basics like the name of the product and its author, I usually ask for this information before I even draft an outline of the sales page:
- Who is your target audience?
- Can you send me any applicable graphics?
- How much will you be selling the product for?
- Do you have any authentic testimonials for me to use?
- Can I see a copy of the product to familiarize myself with what I'm trying to sell to your visitors?
- Are there any particular things that you want me to include? Any bonus products?
- Will you be offering a specific money back guarantee?
- Who will be your payment processor?
Other questions may apply based on the particular product that you need to promote. I've written on topics ranging from get-rich-quick schemes to male enhancement pills; as you could imagine, I would need different ideas from each individual client before I can get a sense of what they want to see, what their buyers need to know before buying, and how I can tweak that information to make them buy it.
2) Make a rough draft of the outline
Remember what they taught us in English class in high school? I knew I should have paid attention, and I'm glad I did: an outline does half of your work for you. This is the brainstorming stage. This is the point of the outline - you're getting your ideas down, before you actually put time and effort into copywriting. The format is simple:
I. Introductions i. First main idea a. Point one b. Point two ii. Second main idea a. Point one b. Point two ... ... II. Sales Pitch Body i. First main idea a. Point one b. Point two ii. Second main idea a. Point one b. Point two ... ... III. Closure i. First main idea a. Point one b. Point two ii. Second main idea a. Point one b. Point two ... ...
Things you want to do in your sales pitch body: discuss the details of the product, make an email form to build a list of laser-targeted leads for later use, list product testimonials, and pitch the price and money-back guarantee.
Things you want to do in your closure: reinforce the message of success, strengthen buyer confidence by repeating the money back guarantee, and offer them to buy the product. Allow them to sign up for the mailing list if they are unsure about buying yet. :rolleyes:
After your outline is done, send it to your client for approval. Ask them for their honest opinion and suggestions for changes. In 90% of the cases, they will point out something that you missed, or something that needs to go because they dislike it. This doesn't make you an insecure writer, which is what other writers might think - it actually does the opposite. By discussing the clients' needs, you appear as a provider of a professional, responsible service - which is what you are!
3) Confirm the outline
Have it set in stone before you begin drafting your ideas. This will provide a clear understanding between you and the client as to what's expected of you, and what the client is expected to pay for.
4) Sales brainstorming
Now that you have a good understanding of the product, you need to separate fact from fiction. All sales involve a bit of BS, and your job is to make it look authentic. Here's what I do: I make a list of 30 unique catch-phrases, slogans, or headlines (call them what you want), and "sleep on them." What I mean by that is, I come up with the ideas over the course of the day, or before going to bed, and then review them in the afternoon the following day. Sleeping legitimately helps you sort your thoughts out, and get a fresh look at things when you wake up. So from those 30 ideas, I pick my 10 favorites. I send those to my client and ask him which ones he likes best. If he doesn't like any, then guess what - you have 20 more to impress him with A bit of effort a day ahead puts you days ahead of the curve in terms of the writing process! Isn't that pretty cool?
5) Writing, re-writing, and re-writing again
You want your copy to be between 1,100 and 1,500 words. Different products will require different text size, so ask your client about what they're looking for. I can usually bargain with the buyer a bit, sometimes as low as $100-$120, but I think one-fifty a fair price for my services: similar agencies with trained professionals charge thousands on the end, and I can do the same work for a fraction of the price.
Editing your rough draft of the sales copy is key. The more times you do it, the better it'll be, I guarantee it. In theory, I never deliver my "BEST" sales copy final, because if I proof read it again, I would probably be able to improve it.
Copywriting is a great endeavor for me. Keeping my client's budget and word count in mind, from start to finish, I tend to spend about 8-12 hours on one copy. Do the math, and that ends up being 15 bucks an hour for work from home - not too bad for a Business student in college, AND I get experience in writing and sales at the same time :p
So, that's my formula, everyone. Simple, time-tested, and proven to get you money if you put effort into getting the word out about your services. Just get in the habit of being honest, communicating quickly, and delivering on deadlines, and you'll be getting clients by word of mouth like I have been for the past... I don't know... I'd say, 12-13 months?
I regularly charge $6 per 100 words, but I discount it to $5 per 100 words for fellow forum members. I also offer repeat-buyer discounts to encourage my clients to work with me instead of paying a lower premium elsewhere; that way I develop a personal relationship with someone who keeps sending me more and more work, which is what I want!
Please tell me what you think about my article, hopefully you've enjoyed reading about my journey and will find some tips that you can also adopt in your work ethics down the road!