Friday, June 8, 2012

Copywriting Tips for Beginners - Don't Believe (Or Use) The Hype

Just to clear something up about sales letters, prospect lists and copywriting.

Someone emailed to pontificate about how it IS possible to sell with long copy to cold lists.

Well, yes. I think I've actually said this in the past. As I recall I've pointed out the conversion rate of the long-copy sales letter was under 1%, rising to 4% when the list had warmed up a bit.

Some people are clearly hard of reading.

The point I was making (obviously, to me) is it's easier and more profitable to sell to people with whom you have a relationship - that is, they have accepted your honesty and integrity, they like you and what you have to say, and they're convinced of your qualification to be selling what you ARE selling.

You CAN do this to a stranger with a long copy sales letter, but it's a lot harder and you'll probably have to pay a pro copywriter to write your letter for you.

Tangentially to this is the point I made about the overblown claims of copywriters. You'll often see their claims to "million dollar launches" with the implication you can do the same if you buy their courses.

Well, maybe. Maybe not.

Because these launches are usually to hot, qualified lists of their "guru" chums who have built these lists over the last decade or so. They are not having million dollar launches selling to stone-cold Internet traffic that's found them by searching Google, of that you can be sure.

Similarly, taking the argument off-line, it IS possible to send out a "million dollar mailing" - but before you do that you select your list very, very carefully and test the mailing piece to death before you pump a lot of money into it (more about testing in a future tip).

And how do you forge a "relationship" with the people on your list?

Easy, in 5 simple steps:

1. Have great content on your web-pages (or in your ads or whatever if you're doing this off-line).

2. Give them a good reason to join your list - a guide, a course, a newsletter, a download of some kind - use your imagination.

3. Keep them entertained, engaged and informed in your regular emails, writing naturally and informally about whatever it is you're educating them about.

4. Every now and then, make them an offer they'd be mad to refuse.

5. Guarantee everything. Sarah's ebook on her blog has an unconditional lifetime 100% money-back guarantee. And her refund rate is under 1%.

None of this is complicated; it's not really even hard work unless you really loathe writing (if you can write, say, 1000 words a day of readable engaging content, you can do this).

Finally, understand the solipsistic nature of the aggressive, over-hyped sales letters you feel you want to respond to selling you the secrets of how to write aggressive over-hyped sales letters - you, and people with the same "hot buttons" as you want to respond, but you aren't (necessarily) your own target market.

Think of it this way: you probably wouldn't try to persuade a member of the opposite sex to jump into bed with you by seducing her (or him) with that kind of talk, so why would you want to sell something using it?

I can just see it now: "For ONE NIGHT ONLY I'll share with you the most amazing SECRETS to non-stop all-night PASSION which will TOTALLY ANNIHILATE thoughts of ANYONE ELSE from your mind..."

Right. Irresistible, huh?

I don't think so.

If you want to be successful with your copywriting, keep it real, keep it human and avoid the hype.

Jon McCulloch is Europe's top advertising copywriter, and helps thousands of business owners boost their sales and profits with his unique tips and strategies. Visit now and take just 3 of the FREE copywriting tips and set them to work for you, and you'll be thrilled by the results.

They've all yielded substantially better results for small businesses in the last two years.

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