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Copy Writing Tutorial
A free tutorial on writing sales copy that sells!

 

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THE 10 PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE COPY WRITING FOR THE NET:

1. Know Your Product

This is the cornerstone of good copy writing. Know your product and be passionate about it. Believe in it. If you don't, you shouldn't be selling it. It is not only unethical to sell something you wouldn't buy yourself, but also difficult and unpleasant.

If you have a product that you *know* will change your customer's life for the better, then copy writing becomes much easier. You're doing her a favor - offering this product at this price - believe that yourself first.

After that, killer copy comes naturally.

2. Know Your Customer

Before you write the first word, create a profile customer.

  • Is it a techno-peasant housewife or an IT company executive?
  • Income range?
  • Age?
  • Sex?
  • In a hurry?

Select your words and page length to suit your reader - not yourself.

Then, once your web site is tailor made for her unique needs, it is time to test... Find about 3 people who more or less fit your profile customer's specs and let them loose on the site. Give them tasks like finding your e-mail address, getting to the order page, finding information on a specific product etc.

See how easily they find it and ask for general comments as they go.

Testing is absolutely vital.

My own sales copy always looks good to me - but I wrote it, so I know exactly how it's structured. Someone else might find it tedious or even confusing.

Confusing web sites is the NUMBER ONE reason people leave.

Swear at them if you must, but don't confuse them.

That is why you have to test.

3. Stress Benefits

Whatever you do, DON'T put you mission statement on your homepage.

We just don't care.

We want benefits! What can your product do for me? Right now!

  • Can it make me rich?
  • Can it save me time?
  • Can it entertain me?
  • Can it make me feel better about myself?

That's what people want.

Your product's greatest benefit should be right in the top header in bold red letters. Your first three or four words should hit them between the eyes.

You never read everything on every page you visit. You scan - you look for something that seems interesting.

Statistics show that you have 10 seconds to grab your visitor's attention. If you don't, she'll move on. No sentence starting with "Our goal is to..." has ever grabbed my attention. I don't care about you. I care about me. What does your site/product do for me? Right now!

I know this seems harsh, but you'd do well to take it seriously. It's been proven many times. E-consumers are very back-button-happy. It's a big web with lots to see. You HAVE TO give them a reason to stay on your site.

4. Establish Trus

On the Net you don't have the advantage of speaking face to face with your customer, so you have to load as much credibility into your words as possible.

How?

Offer a free trial, a money-back guarantee, testimonials, put your e-mail address, physical address and phone number at the bottom of every page, show a (small) photograph of yourself etc.

Most important: Speak to your visitor. Don't ramble about technical specs of your products. Imagine sitting down with a friend and telling her about something that can really enhance her life.

5. Use Headings Like This One

Break it up.

Short paragraphs.

Few people will read your entire page. Make it scannable.

Each heading should do 2 things:

  • Grab her attention
  • Give her clues about the content of the next two or three paragraphs.

Remember that reading from the screen puts extra strain on the eyes. Make the read easy, quick and informative.

6. Words (not) To Use

Good words:
Free; proven; discover; breakthrough; learn; you/your; benefit; first; complete; exclusive etc.

Bad words:
If; but; should; could; etc.

Powerful words:
Why say "If you want to get to the top of the Search Engines..." when you could say "Nail the search engines in five easy steps. Read on... ".

As a rule of thumb, assume that your visitor couldn't care less about you. Don't use "I" or "me" more than "you".

7. Keep It Short

I mentioned page-length up there at #2. The key is to keep it as short as you can. When you're done writing your killer copy, see if you can say it in half the words. Don't sacrifice quality though. Make it as long as it needs to be without dragging it out.

8. Create Urgency

Throw in something special for the first 100 subscribers or make it "this month only". Your word selection is important here. Don't say "Subscribe now!". Put a specific time limit to it - "Subscribe during July and I'll give you... ".

Try to get them to buy on their first visit, because chances of them returning later are slim. Also see the next rule & my article on increasing your conversion ratio for additional tips.

9. Get A Response

Hook'em the first time.

If they don't bookmark you, they probably won't find you again. Have a back-up response ready.

For example:
Let's say that you have a visitor that just can't make up her mind. With a bit more convincing, you'll hook her, but she's at the end of the page and thinking about the dreaded back-button.

So give her something - like a free subscription to your newsletter or a trial download. That way you survive in her memory and you get another opportunity to persuade her.

10. Spelling, Grammar and Formatting

I won't tell you that a typo will kill your sales effort. The same applies to grammatical errors. Use a spellchecker of some sort. I make a habit of pasting my text in MS Word and running a spell-check. It saves a lot of time later.

EASY ON THOSE CAPS AND EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!

They look unprofessional. Use bold text and color to highlight important points.

A Confession..

I learned almost everything I know about copy writing in Joe Robson's "Make Your Words Sell" ebook. It sells for under 30 bucks last time I checked and it comes with an unconditional money-back guarantee.

Nothing to lose and so much to gain.

If you're serious about selling online, this is a must read. Joe is a copy writing wiz and the book does not waste your time. Just real, step-by-step advice you can use from today to turn more of your site visitors into customers.

This article is © Copyright, Pandecta Magazine. Want to reproduce this article on your site / in your newsletter? You can, as long as you (1) copy everything from the green title above up to and including this notice and (2) don't - apart from formatting - change any of it.

 

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