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22 copywriting tips to supercharge your marketing

If you write your own website or marketing copy, here are 22 nuggets from Jack Forde that are worth thinking about. He collated them from a four day seminar in Germany and shared them on his newsletter, which I recommend to anyone who’s interested in improving their copywriting skills.

Try them out next time you draft a promotional email, web page or offline communication.

** Copywriters should do more than write copy. They/we should also get involved in product development, picking lists, production, and more. This way, your value goes up and your business sense skyrockets. Plus, it could pay more.

** Try paying off your headline promise in the actual sales letter… but then teasing with something much bigger. That is, if you offer a compelling titbit of info at the outset, go ahead and give it away… but only when you have something even more tempting lined up.

** What are the typical customer service complaints with the product you’re trying to sell? Don’t bury them — use them by addressing each objection ahead of time, in your sales copy.

** Don’t use “initial caps” in the subject line of a selling email. What are “initial caps?” Easy. They’re When You Stick a Capital Letter in Front of Each Word. Why avoid this? Because it looks too polished and salesy, not natural like a regular e-mail.

** Here’s one you can safely apply almost across the board: Specifics out-pull generalities. That is, opt against the sweeping promise or other copy, in favour of the unique details.

** Imperative also outsells declarative. That is, don’t just tell them what is, tell them what to do.

** Though, pay attention to what words you use to urge action. When you say “Let’s do this…” it’s friendly. If you say “you should do this…” that sounds like authority. But if you say “you must do this…” it might, but not always, stir resentment and even resistance.

** One more: emotion out-pulls intellect. We buy because a message makes us feel, not calculate.

** Here’s another insight that really stuck: Remember, attention does not always translate into action. In these days when marketers are clamoring to get more Twitter “followers” and Facebook “likes” for no clear reason, what observation could be more relevant?

** Speaking of which, “Can’t Buy Me Love” said four mop-topped philosophers musically, some time back. How true… and trading online coupons and similar for a social media “like”f alls in that same category. It’s a false psychological statement.

** That said, there ARE ways to use social media that seem smart. For instance, what about “posts” and “tweets” that you share only with your paid-up customers?

** How’s that work? How about “tweets” to subscribers and past clients that build excitement for upcoming events? Or “tweets” that share details from a live conference, plus upsells to the recording for those who couldn’t attend?

** If you’ve got a subscriber-based product, how about “tweets” sharing only the headlines of the latest issue, to increase readership?

** All that said, the use of any direct response tool has to figure out how much time and staff it’s going to cost. For social media, for instance, that means you want to run those numbers early to figure out if it’s really worth your while.

** Don’t fear social media, but don’t worship it either. It’s just another communication tool, which the masters will master and absorb.

** Selling to older people? Don’t try to transform them. Say, in so many words, you’re offering what you’re offering “because you are who you are… and you deserve this.” And by all means, promise fast action.

** Writing your reply page? For the sake of all, keep it simple and demand little. Your prospect needs to be able to read it and understand what you’re offering in 10 seconds or less, a way that flatters his intelligence for ordering. And you need to collect only the information you have to have to make the sale and not one tidbit more.

** Have a company website? Here’s a cool idea…start featuring a customer of the month. Make it real, pick someone your other prospects can relate to, and let it highlight the benefit the customer got from one of your products.

** Offer a toll-free number on your reply card? Try testing without it. Offer a lifetime guarantee? Try testing a “20-year Guarantee” instead. And while you’re at it, use this phrase wherever you can: “Free Shipping.”

 That last one is so obvious and yet so effective.We know because we’ve tested it.

Thanks to Jack for sharing.

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