Writing Convincing Copy the Easy Way

by ahew
11 replies
When I first started working online, I was told that writing good copy was all about hitting upon people's pain and fear as well as presenting them with a solution. It didn't sit well with me (mainly the fear and pain part). As much as I tried, I found myself writing sales and opt-in pages that were weak and unfocused. When I got them "professionally" written, they were so hypey that I got an even lower response rate and actually ended up ruining my reputation with my existing customers.

Then some months down the road, when I was working on another IM project, I remembered a trick from my days as an actor. I imagined one of my best friends asking me questions about the product I was reviewing and suddenly the words came to me effortlessly. The shift of talking to one person whom I know as opposed to talking to a bunch of faceless people with a wide variety of wants brought clarity to my message.

Now I write all of my pages that way -- as if I'm talking to a good friend -- and have seen not only a difference in my conversions, but in my rankings probably because people hang out on my sites longer to read my copy.

I am also finding that my feedback on webinars and Amazon books is the same. People say that they like my no nonsense style and even the rhythm of my words.

This is not to say that you should not use the other factors that people suggest for writing copy, I just think that the relationship with your audience is the first place to start. Then you can begin to weave in the elements of benefits, solutions, fear etc.

So if you struggle to write the way that I did, I suggest you give this technique a whirl. It takes a lot of the angst out of the process!

Good luck and let me know how you do!
#convincing #copy #easy #writing
  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    That's sound advice, and the approach of writing to a single person or friend is recommended by many of the best copywriters in the country too.

    I agree that it makes writing easier, and it makes for better, smoother copy. It's easier to anticpate what and where objections might come up, and so on. Maybe by doing that, it's our natural conversational rhythms helping to guide the writing.

    In reviewing my top 100 sales letters of all time swipe file, I see almost every one of them is written in the relaxed, conversational tone that you've described. Not a single one is written in the overhyped in-your-face approach used by many today (especially on web sites). As you found, many customers don't seem to like hyped copy.

    There's just something about the relaxed conversational tone that encourages people to actually read the materials, and feel like they are the ones making the decision, on their terms. It's approachable copy, and not irritating. It could have the same compelling psychological triggers, just done differently.

    Print is somewhat different than shorter-attention-span online formats, but the same principles seem to apply.

    It would be interesting to see tests involving a typical CB-type overhyped ad versus a relaxed conversational ad for the same product, and see which converts best over time. Of course, it would depend on the product, placement, and target audience, but has anyone here done this kind of a test with such dissimilar approaches on the sales page?

    (I saw an example of this a while ago with a financial promotion - the "Dear friend, there is trouble coming in the Dow" approach won handily over the "The Sky is Falling - Protect Yourself NOW!" approach, but I don't have the specifics.)
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  • Profile picture of the author ahew
    You are so right, Steve. My husband is a professional copywriter and he's always stunned at what he sees online because he could never pass that off at his day job -- nor would he want to!

    I, too, would love to see a comparison of the hypey copy vs. a more conversational ad for the same product. People like to feel they have a friend, not like someone is just trying to butter them up.

    It's funny because when I send emails to my list, there are always a few people who don't realize that my email was a blast to the whole list and they send me personal messages responding to any questions or comments I've made. If that's not a testament to the power of this approach, then I don't know what is!

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    • Profile picture of the author ItsChrissy
      Thanks for the post Adrienne, very useful tip and from my own point of view that style of writing appeals to me much more than the hyped up stuff - but we might possibly be biased as IM'ers

      It would very interesting to split test, starting with the headline (very hyped up sales headline compared to a more relaxed one), but I guess it probably also depends a little on what's actually being promoted.

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  • Profile picture of the author Anton Nadilo
    Chrissy, a split test would be a great idea. I wonder if Adrienne has any data in this area??
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  • Profile picture of the author RHert
    Great thoughts. Split testing would be excellent.
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  • Profile picture of the author ahew
    I'll admit it. One place I suck at is A/B split testing. All I know is that once I got into the flow of writing this way, I got more conversions, but haven't actually done a side-by-side comparison to see which items made the biggest changes. Had my hands in too many pots when I decided to go this route. Now I only do things this way because it makes me feel more authentic in my marketing and in a Law of Attraction sort of way, I think this is most important for me.

    Another thing I did notice is that many of my sites ranked better once I began writing this way which is telling me that bounce rate or time spent reading must be lower. I do have many of these sites in GA, so I should take a look to see how it has changed over time. Since they changed the format, I haven't taken the time to figure out where all the data is. Gotta love changes...

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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Earle
    I agree split testing would be the best answer, also have you considered re-visiting your earlier pages that didn't convert as well before you had your breakthrough.

    Re-writing them in your new style could provide a nice boost in sales and profits, providing they are still getting traffic or indeed still relevant.

    I think that certain styles of writing that work well in some markets, don't work in others. It's all about knowing your market and what their pain points are.

    Bear in mind that action is normally taken away from a pain rather than toward a pleasure, as the pain is a stronger motivation and catalyst for action.

    Good luck,
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  • Profile picture of the author ahew
    Absolutely! People want to avoid pain and it is also true that not every market responds the same to the same approach. I was suggesting that we start with our authentic voice and weave in the other elements, not start with the benefits, avoidance of pain etc and then try to find one's voice in that.

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  • Profile picture of the author Anton Nadilo
    Adrienne, whilst I agree in principle with your approach aren't we really trying to tap into the "inner voice" of our target market....and if this responds to eye popping, benefit laden sales copy then "we" would be somewhat silly as IM business owners to stray to far from an approach that works. I am not saying this IS the way but especially in the IM space this does appear to be very effective.
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  • Profile picture of the author ahew
    I think I see what you are saying, but I'm not saying that is inherently wrong. When you think of it, people buy from people. And if we talk to them as if they are people, I think we have a better chance of engaging them and making them feel we are on their side. We must mention all those things you say, but if we appear to be barking orders at them, don't you think the reaction would be less than positive? For those of us to whom this style of marketing is foreign, it ends up coming across that way when we don't find a genuine, "caring" way to enter the conversation. Yes, we are getting to their inner voice, but I think it can be done in a variety of ways, this is just one that resonates with me and perhaps with others.

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  • Profile picture of the author ThomasOMalley
    Every copywriter finds their own copywriting style. You then tweak your style depending on your market. Good copywriting is conversational.

    For example, I really enjoy Gary Halbert's writing style. My favorite swipe file of sales letters is Gary's Motherlode collection.
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