Working with a variety of business owners in the past I can tell you one thing for sure. There is a huge variant in response rates between different marketing pieces sent to similar lists. I’m talking about the difference between average copy and great copy.
I worked with one client who would get 1 in 10,000 response rate to a one-page advertisement yet was more than happy with that. Another client was getting as high as 1 in 250 to their one-page advertisement.
Both had the same space, both times the same audience saw it at pretty much a similar amount of times.
What made the difference…
What they put in their advertisement!
The magician and his great copy.
It’s the words the person putting together the copy put on the page that made the difference.
Tests will show you that a good design will boost response of good copy no more than 10-20% over an average design. To achieve differences where you are 40 times more effective the difference is in the copy.
Professional writers of all types, say that writing great copy is easy – just sit down at your keyboard, open up your wrist and bleed.
Copywriting is no different or if you ask the pros perhaps much worse. Not only do you have to write you have to sell too.
For me, writing is hard and when I sit down, faced with a blank screen or a blank sheet of paper it gets even harder. Doubt creeps in, then anxiety. Then you are checking your email, or finding all sorts of irrelevant information on Wikipedia!
To beat the blank page blues and at the same time help you boost the response rates to your ads I’ve compiled my top 7 tips for writing better marketing pieces.
1. Do your research.
Great copy is written on the back of loads of research. Forests are destroyed printing the research you need to write good copy. And far bigger virtual forests are destroyed compiling information. You’ll need about 7 times the volume of the piece in research to be able to write a good article.
2.Practice selling your product in real life.
Most entrepreneurs know how to sell. Your copy is about 80% the same as a face-to-face sales presentation. If you can get someone to buy from you face to face, then you are usually on your way to writing a great sales letter. If you don’t know how to sell, go and get a job in sales.
There is a reason why nearly all the copywriters who make the big bucks have a background in face-to-face sales.
3. Tell Stories.
Stories are the glue of human civilisation – universally people love a good story. Find a way to tell the story of your product in an interesting way. Tell it in a way that is far more exciting than just the facts. How to lose 10Kg in 10 weeks is pretty boring. Jared from Subway who became a celebrity on the back of his weight loss story is much more compelling.
4. Never Start With a Blank Slate.
There are two schools of copywriting about blank slates. Probably the greatest copywriting of the 20th Century: Eugene Schwartz claimed that all the fun was in the blank slate. The other school is “I’ve never had an original thought.” Both work some of the time. If you are a mere copywriting mortal, find successful sales letters and use these as a template. Customise for your own situation.
5. Be one of ‘them.’
Your sales letter will work better if you are able to write like your target market speaks. When you sell Face to Face that is how you do it, right? Most copywriters will tell you to write like you speak. You probably aren’t a buyer for what you are selling. Write like your market speaks.
6. Collect A Swipe File.
A swipe file is a collection of material for you to browse through when you need a bit of inspiration. You can estimate the calibre of copywriter by the size of their swipe file. It can give you chunks of copy to model. They also give you an indication of what is and isn’t working at the moment.
Do the hard yards and build a good swipe file. You can even do this for headlines as well.
7. Write good copy out by hand.
There is a reason that this is the first thing legendary Gary Halbert got his students to do. It programs your mind to create winning copy as soon as you start writing. But only do this with great copy. You want your subconscious mind programmed to produce great copy on demand.
8. Practice makes perfect
Good copy takes time to think. It takes practice and lots of rewrites. I can’t stress the rewrites enough.
Polishing and endlessly searching for the right way to say things. These seven tips will help you boost your response rates if you use them, mark my words 🙂
Copywriting is a craft worth learning. There are those who don’t have the time or the patience to learn how to write brilliant copy for their business. To those of you, you need to recognise what is good copy and then you can use someone who is good at writing.
If you know that your marketing materials could use some work then take the points above and apply them one at a time. If there’s one point to focus on more than anything in the beginning it is the swipe file!