Maybe Hope Really Is a Strategy (Copywriting Tip #10)

Quick Copywriting Tip #10: Make your copy empowering, not condemning or depressing.

If the reader benefits just from reading the marketing message, you’ve made the sale before the sale.


One of the most effective ways to empower your reader…to make it easier for him to take the next step towards his desired outcome…is to add an educational element to your copy.

In campaigns I’ve worked over the past few months, I’ve boosted orders as much as 25 to 40% by providing valuable tips, actionable recommendations, etc. right in the sales message instead of just “selling.”.

Quality educational content proves that

  1. you actually know what you’re talking about — you’re not just a product-pusher and
  2. begins to demonstrate to the reader that HE CAN DO THIS, that this can actually work for him.

When you do it well, a sense of hope may begin to form in the reader’s mind: hope that result he imagines can finally become reality.

When you instill real hope, you win an important victory — and the long-term benefits accrue for both you and your reader.

I got an email a couple weeks ago gets it terribly wrong, I think:

good luck copywriting tip

The “expert” shared some valuable tips, then implied I’d struggle to implement them successfully without his on-going help.

Seriously?

I have no problem with sales pressure and urgency, but if this is a big turn-off. At least for me.

So be careful how you approach this. In the long-run, it pays off to be genuinely helpful.

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Read all 13 Quick Copywriting Tips here.

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One Rarely-Used Strategy to Get Your Copy “Over the Top” (Copywriting Tip #8)

copywriting tip

Quick Copywriting Tip #8: Sequences Beat Single Shots.

In the climax of the old movie Over the Top, Lincoln Hawk (a role for which Sylvester Stallone was nominated Worst Actor in 1988) faces off with Bull Hurley in the championship round of an arm wrestling tournament.

Hawk is the underdog, both in the competition and in life. He needs to the prize money and he desperately wants to prove he’s not a loser to his son’s grandfather.

And he does win in the end…and all is right with the world. Suddenly, his family life is happy and his trucking business is on the fast track.

Here’s the thing. There’s only one reason Hawk even had a shot to become the champ: it was a double elimination tournament. “Lose twice and you’re out,” as the announcer said repeatedly.

After losing to John Grizzly in an earlier round, Hawk kept going and going, all the way to ultimate victory.

Two tips for today:

1) Avoid watching Over the Top at all costs. I’ve spoiled the ending for you anyway!

2) You have the ability to set up the rules of your marketing “tournament.” One-and-done messages are totally unnecessary.

Design sequences to take multiple attempts at winning him over.

Each message can build on the previous one, making your case more compelling each time…painting a clearer picture of the reality, severity and immediacy of the problem you solve…and stacking benefit on benefit to make the choice obvious.

To a surprising degree, you get to make the rules. Set yourself up to win.

Don’t settle for single elimination.

Have a productive day!

P.S. I’m kidding about how terrible Over the Top is. But I’m not kidding about Stallone’s nomination for Worst Actor.

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Read all 13 Quick Copywriting Tips.

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The Cover Said “Read This or Die” (Copywriting Tip #7)

Quick Copywriting Tip #7: Clarity is Critical.

Entrepreneurs often spend their energy building a “better mousetrap” and promoting it as such.

The most effective persuasion, though, starts by building bigger mice (to borrow a line from Breakthrough Advertising).

Why?

Your reader may already see the symptoms, but it’s up to you to make sure he knows what those symptoms mean.

It is important to understand the details about your product/service/solution. It’s usually more important for him to have  clear understanding of the reality, severity and immediacy of the problem he’s facing — and a clear picture of what’s at stake if he ignores you or procrastinates too long.

copywriting tip clarity rutz

Beneath the headline of the Jim Rutz’s “Read This or Die” promotion, you learn that “Today you have a 95 percent chance of eventually dying for which there is already a known cure somewhere on the planet.” If that statistic is anywhere near accurate, don’t you almost HAVE to read more?

There is no question what’s at stake. If you don’t heed the warning, you know exactly what’s going to happen. No alternative interpretations are possible.

Rutz then takes 52 pages to prove his point, build trust and offer a no-brainer solution.

Is your marketing message THIS clear? Do you address the problems your potential client is facing THIS plainly? Are you willing to be bold enough to tell the whole truth?

Naturally, most businesses don’t deal with life-and-death situations. But every business does solve a problem or relieve some kind of pain. You can still spell out reality, severity and immediacy of the issue, as well as the consequences of inaction in vivid detail.

We’re not in the business of scaring people. But it’s our responsibility to warn people about difficulties we can help them avoid.

Read all 13 Quick Copywriting Tips.

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The Supreme Marketing Advantage (Copywriting Tip #6)

Copywriting Tip 6 Trust

Quick Copywriting Tip #6: Trust is EVERYTHING.

I got a bunch of hate mail a few weeks ago. Actually, the Vice President of one of my clients got hate mail…because of something I wrote.

Here’s one of the notes:

“I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE BUT YOU SENDING ME INSULTING EMAILS IS UNPROFESSIONAL AND I’M GLAD I DIDN’T GET INVOLVED WITH [ client name withheld] AND THANKS TO YOU NEVER WILL.” (Emphasis mine)

The sales reps were upset that they had to deal with a barrage of emails like these.

The VP, whose name was on the offending message, had mixed feelings. Sales were through the roof (relative to the norm)…on a product that’s somewhat difficult to sell. But “potential buyers” were upset with him.

As I said to the Mr. Vice President, “The people who complain are probably never going to become paying customers anyway. This kind of reaction is how you know you’re doing it right!

Direct response involves forcing people to pick a side and being willing to lose some people along the way — if you’re doing it right.

“I’m glad I didn’t get involved with you…”

Let’s focus for a moment on the angry, all caps email I shared above.

The final line brings a crucial issue to light: you need to get good at gaining people’s TRUST.

This guy suspected that he couldn’t trust my client – and the marketing message that pushed him over the edge proved (in his mind) his suspicion was correct.

We all face this obstacle. But we don’t always use trust as an opportunity.

In the copy I wrote, my client came across more as a salesperson (which he is) than an expert or leader (which is is). And it’s hard to trust salespeople.

Everything in the message was true. Honesty isn’t enough to make people trust you. It’s just the beginning!

Earning the kind of trust that makes it easy (or at least easier) for prospects to become clients takes work.

Pillars of Proof

At a conference in Denver earlier this month, Patrick Bove, Senior Copywriter at Stansberry Research described 5 Pillars of Proof you should be using to defeat skepticism and win trust from your should-be clients. Here’s a very quick overview from a mind-blowing session:

Financial Copywriter Patrick Bove Stansberry

Proof of Character

  • Who are you? Why should I believe you?
  • What’s your track record? What achievements can verify your expertise?

Proof of Story

  • How do I know you’re not making this stuff up?
  • Are there 3rd party sources that verify the point you’re making?

Proof of Catalyst

  • Why is your story important to me NOW

Proof of Product

  • Demonstration: Don’t just tell me about your product. Show me it works.
  • Who does it work for and when? Who is it not right for?

Social Proof

  • Testimonials, case studies, etc.

Notice how testimonials are great, but they’re just not enough to convince people anymore. If you want to make trust your supreme marketing advantage, you’ll have to go much further.

The good news is, your competitors aren’t doing any of this. Once you start implementing these ideas, you’ll probably be light-years ahead.

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Check out the other 13 Quick Copywriting Tips here.

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Preaching to the Almost Pitch-Perfect Choir (Copywriting Tip # 4)

copywriting tip - preach to the choir

Quick Copywriting Tip #4: Whenever possible, write to people who are already at least half-convinced.


One of the hardest things in the world to do is convince someone they’re wrong. That their opinions are wrong, the way they’ve been doing something is wrong, etc.

We’re all naturally resistant to change (inertia) —  and we usually don’t like anyone telling us to change course.

In many cases, that’s what we’re doing: telling people they’re wrong and we can “fix” them.

We may be asking someone to change

  • from inaction to action — get off the fence, like we talked about in Tip #3
  • from one course of action to another
  • brands or providers
  • his thinking
  • his habits

Change is hard. So why, when your business/profitability are on the line, are you asking people change?

Perhaps you should start “preaching to the converted” instead.

A good writer is more likely to buy writing resources than a bad one, even though he needs it much less.

A dedicated marathoner (like the guy we talked about in Tip #2) is much more likely to invest in fitness stuff than a couch potato dedicated to Game of Thrones and his Playstation.

I know you mean well. But keep in mind that changing the world (or just one person’s mind!) usually takes a lot more work than helping your “choir” make progress towards its goals.

Ideal clients are not necessarily the people who need what you offer the most. They’re the ones who KNOW they need it and/or want it badly and are willing and able to pay for it.

Share your message with those people. Become a visible expert where they congregate. And continue growing your own audience (mailing list) of people who don’t need convincing.

It’ll save you a lot of energy and headache — and probably make you a lot more money.

Check out all 13 Quick Copywriting Tips.

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