When you embark on copywriting, it usually involves a product, person, service or concept that you want to deliver content about in a persuasive manner the reader feels compelled to read. If you are selling anything, or if you want your users to sign up for an opt-in email list, you’ll need to master some basic copywriting principles to achieve your goals.
1. Persuasive is the name of the game when it comes to headlines. You want to grab your reader and hook them in that first three seconds they’re reading. By the time they get to the end of that headline, they need to want to read more. If you can’t do that, your headline has failed. It’s got to be catchy, challenge, entice or exploit some current event. The headline must lead the reader directly into the rest of the text on the page. The hook must make them feel compelled to read the rest of the text on the page.
2. The tone has to be casual, informal and conversational. Just like how you talk to a friend. Be good with grammar, but don’t be conventional about it – for example, you can have some one-sentence paragraphs too.
3. There has to be a section that talks about the advantages of your product and each advantage must be written in brief, preferably formatted in a bullet form.
4. Now this is important: The writing has to be simple – no humungous words, no long sentences, no confusion – everything should be written lucidly in a simple style and the copy must flow logically from one paragraph to the next. The reader should be able to understand everything in one go.
5. The copy should always emphasize on the reader’s wants and desires. So, before writing the copy, put yourself in reader’s shoes and ask what is it you’d like to see written.
6. There has to be a commitment or a promise made early on, preferably before the end of second paragraph.
7. The way the paragraphs flow together should be seamless and most of all logical. If there is any fluff, wandering or digression, clean it up and toss it out. Web visitors have short attention spans and even shorter tolerance for extremely long-winded copy that appears to be imploding.
8. Your claims have to be supported by proof. If you say your product contains a magic ingredient, then there should be a testament by a leading authority certifying the value of the ingredient. If you mention your product can help people achieve something, then it must be backed by testimonials, and so on.
9. Once you reach a point when everything sounds persuasive and is backed by adequate testimonials, you must make an offer. Understand that the buyer is only interested in a good deal – so, if you make him a good offer he cannot refuse, you will strike gold.
10. If there are any questions left in the readers’ mind, any doubts, this is where you quash them. You need a finale, just like in the movies, but in this case it compels the reader to take action. Whether you offer a truckload of extras, promise a secret formula only for buyers or some piece of free software they get in addition to their main order, this is where it’s offered. You want to spice it up to the point where it is irresistible. In some cases, I’ve actually heard of people who bought because the bonus was so good and the product was just okay. That’s the excitement you want to bring to your closing copy.
These principles will get you off to a good start when starting to copy write and build sales letters. Some of the best teachers for good copywriting are in your face as you surf. When you come across a particularly compelling piece of copywriting, bookmark it and study it. The best and brightest are all around you. You simply have to stop and look.
– Kale McClelland