One of my marketing coaching clients asked me last week, "David, are there rules for writing copy? I've written a ton of material about what we do and I never know what's going to work..."
This is like asking, "Are there rules for romance?" YES, as a matter of fact there are. Check out http://1001waystoberomantic.com/
Are there rules for writing marketing copy? Hell yes. My go-to guy on this is the incredible Bob Bly. Check out http://bly.com/
And the best book on the subject is The Copywriter's Handbook.
But I'll do you one better - you don't even need to buy a book.
Here are 17 rough and ready rules that will make you a better copywriter in 10 minutes or less.
Zero guarantee of completeness. Your mileage may vary. Proceed at your own risk...
1. Write like you speak.
2. Speak like a person, not a marketing moron or a sales robot.
3. As you write, ask yourself - if this next sentence is the last thing they read, is it worth writing or do I have something more important they need to know? (You can write a 3-page sales letter this way that will sell like crazy!!)
4. Use short paragraphs.
5. Use action words, not learning words (nobody wants to learn, find out, or get information... they want to BUILD, BOOST, CREATE, INCREASE, SLASH, REDUCE, ELIMINATE)
6. If you start to sound like a late-night infomercial, stop. Ease it back just about 10% - that's where you need to be. 70% substance with 30% sizzle. Articulate your value, your outcomes and your benefits assertively - not aggressively.
7. Take them on a journey - your copy should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
8. The four most powerful words in marketing are:
d. SO THAT
9. It is TOTALLY impossible to overuse testimonials and third-party social proof. Do you have 100 written testimonials? Great - find a way to use them. Do you have 50+ video testimonials? Ditto. Do you have two fistfulls of scanned in endorsement letters on letterhead? Post them. (Examples of each are here for you.)
10. Engage, engage, engage... appeal to the senses. Make the experience of working with you as 3-dimensional as you can. What does it smell like? Taste like? What's the overall experience when people walk in to your store? Hire your accounting firm? Bring you in as their architect?
11. What frustrates the hell out of your prospects and clients? Talk about that - show that you understand their heartaches, headaches, pains and frustrations at the deepest levels.
12. Your copy needs to convey TWO and only two ideas:
a. You know what they are up against
b. You can fix it
13. Stop selling YOUR crap and start solving THEIR problems. Yes, even before they buy.
14. Call to action is key. What's the very NEXT step you want them to take? Is there a free offer? A bonus gift to download? A free assessment? A no-strings phone consultation?
15. Make sure your call to action is a GIVE and not a GET. An example of a GET is "Click here and a member of our sales team will contact you within 24 hours." Stupidest damn thing I've ever seen. Useless.
16. Show them how to go from ZERO to HERO. Paint the picture of the current gap - the missing piece - the shortfall - the misfires - the problems - the glitches. THEN show them success stories, solutions, fixes, wins PLUS the specific ways that people who bought from you are better off, richer, smarter, happier, sexier - or all five.
17. Your copy should deliver three things at the end - the acronym is giving your prospects a big HUG:
a. (H)ope - to improve their condition
b. (U)rgency - to solve their problem
c. (G)ameplan - to start exploring your solution
You can do this - it's a lot easier than you think. (H)
In fact, if writing copy is a challenge, you may want to join our next SIMPLE MARKETING SUCCESS 10-week program which starts September 26. Early bird savings are still on - but not for much longer! (U)
If a group program is not a fit for you, I totally understand. Let's start with a no-strings, no-BS Marketing Assessment. We'll talk for 20 minutes and you'll get 2-3 ideas you can use right away to grow your business whether we decide there's a next step or not. (G)
There - you've just been hugged. See what I mean?
What do YOU think? Share YOUR advice and experiences with writing marketing copy for YOUR business in the COMMENTS area below...