3 tips for magnetizing your copy
The difference between good copy and great copy is the
number of actions it generates. The more actions the copy drives, the
greater the copy is.
My friend John Reese, a master at simplifying what we often tend to unnecessarily
complicate, says it best. He says the only metric you should ever really
count on is this: "Yes" or "No."
Now, what makes great copy nudge people into action requires a variety
of different things -- things I often find missing with most of the copy
So let me share with you three powerful elements that can help you turn
your not-so-good copy into good copy, and your good copy into outstanding
1. Give Reasons Why.
Great copy proposes a series of benefits that the prospect will enjoy
once they respond. But this is the area most people struggle with. What
makes a good benefit? Heck, what makes a benefit in the first place?
A feature is what the product has. An advantage is what that features
does. But a benefit is what that advantage means to the reader specifically.
It's the specific motive to which that feature caters. In other words,
a benefit is the reason why the feature exists and why it's important
to the reader.
Look at it this way: a benefit is what a person intimately gains
from a specific feature -- not what YOU think the customer
will gain from it.
Granted, trying to figure this out can be a little challenging.
So here's a tip: whenever you describe a feature (or what you may think
may be a benefit), say this: "What this means to you is this,"
followed by a more personal benefit your reader gets from the feature.
Keep asking until there are no further reasons to give. Here's an example
(and keep in mind that I'm repeating myself, here, for the sake of illustration
"This stereo has a 14-band equalizer. What this means to you
is, you can adjust the frequencies of the sound to your liking. What
this means to you is, you can add depth and dimension to your music.
What this means to you is, you can make your music sound as rich and
lively as if you were at the concert listening to your favorite band.
What this means to you is..."
Tell readers why they must read, why the product is important and why
they must buy (and buy now). The more reasons you give, and the more specific
and personal those reasons are, the more compelling your copy will be.
2. Tell a Good Story.
Good copy makes a good case. But great copy tells a good story. Keep this
in mind: a great copywriter is also a great salesperson. However, all
great copywriters AND all great salespeople also have
one thing in common...
... They are also great storytellers.
I just returned from Ken McCarthy's System Seminar in San Francisco.
And one of the surprise speakers was Gary Halbert. Now Gary, on a topic
that at the time seemed totally unrelated to copy, sales or Internet marketing,
began to talk about this newfangled anti-wrinkle cream he came across.
He went on to talk about how the product came about, how it was made
and even how the product worked. While all these things seemed irrelevant,
he did make a great point: he told a great story that captivated the audience.
He translated features into benefits, such as the fact that the cream
contained special hydroxies formed during the crystallization process.
The analogy was that these hydroxies were like millions of microscopic
prisms that reflect light.
He went on to describe that it was those "prisms" that helped
to make your wrinkles invisible. It was a terrific story -- and while
some people missed it, Gary indirectly provided the greatest lesson of
the entire seminar.
Because in his story, Gary provided several powerful lessons.
A key component of telling great stories is to relate them to the reader.
Often, this can accomplished with the help of analogies, examples, metaphors
and case studies. Why? Because the mind thinks in relative terms.
Here's an example (of both stories and analogies). When people object
to long copy, I often argue that long copy is like a good Stephen King
novel. If you were a diehard Stephen Kind fanatic, and if his latest book
was, say, over 600 pages, would you stop reading it because it was too
In fact, most Stephen King lovers I know often read his books in one
sitting. They tell me they simply can't seem to put the book down.
Dan Kennedy calls this "message-to-market match." Like a Stephen
King fanatic, when your copy is targeted and your audience is interested
in your offer, they will read it. All of it. No matter how long it may
seem to you.
3. Think For The Reader.
Sales are largely based on faith. Faith in the company, faith in the product
and faith in the delivery of the promised benefits. And sales trainers
often tell you that, like a good fiction story, you must temporarily suspend
And belief requires the suspension of critical thinking.
It is important to understand that people first buy on emotion and then
justify their decisions with logic. Even the most analytical types buy
on emotion, whether they express (or are aware) of their emotions or not.
Conversely, critical thinking causes the suspension of feelings. If your
reader starts to think too much, then fundamental fears, doubts and concerns
take over, eventually leading to the greatest killer of sales: procrastination.
Why? Because if we focus on logic first, we tend to think about other
needs, concerns and preoccupations at that time. And more important, we
may think about other, more important things we can do with our money.
YOU must do the thinking for your prospect. Don't stop
short of describing the benefits, offering reasons why and telling stories
simply because you're afraid of insulting your audience's intelligence.
Clients often say, "My clients are not idiots," "the benefits
are obvious," "they can think for themselves" or "they
can figure it out on their own."
Technically, that's true. But leaving the copy to the reader's own devices
will also open up a can of worms, since they will also think of all the
other things that may be irrelevant, untrue or unnecessary, which will
negate the sale.
And unlike a face-to-face sales presentation, you're not there to answer
any questions or objections. So your copy must do that for them. In fact,
my friend and copywriter David Garfinkel says it best:
"You must do the thinking for your reader and tell them why
your offer is so valuable. Of course, they may 'get it' in the abstract.
But going from the abstract to the reader's specific situation requires
thinking on their part. A prospect considering your offer wouldn't dare
do that thinking. You have to do it for them."
So here's a tip: use the "so-what" acid test. If at any point
in your copy your reader asks "so what," then that part needs
to be more personal. It needs to be more specific to the reader. And it
needs to give more reasons why.
Otherwise, delete it because it's irrelevant.
If you don't, your copy will not speak to your reader. It will make your
long copy seem long. And above all, it simply will not drive your reader
|About the author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter and consultant dedicated
to turning sales messages into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of
his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," when
you subscribe to his free monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill."
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