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Copywriting Essentials Draft10_23Final

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TITLE PAGE
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Definition Of Copywriting 8
What Is Copywriting 8
Elements Of Copywriting 13
Traits Of Top Copywriters...
Mia Gordon
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Detail Oriented Readers 56
Sceptics 57
Skippers: Skim Readers 59
Get To The Point Readers (GTTP) 60
Motivatin...
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  1. 1. TITLE PAGE
  2. 2. 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS Definition Of Copywriting 8 What Is Copywriting 8 Elements Of Copywriting 13 Traits Of Top Copywriters 16 70% Psychology 30% Skill 23 Qualification & Preconditioning 30 Research:Homework Is Everything 30 Qualification & Credibility 32 Browsers,Shoppers & Buyers 34 Who What Where Why When How 38 Social Proof 44 Authority & Positioning 46 Preconditioning 48 Bonding With Your Audience 50 Different Types Of Readers 54 Blah Blah What Did You Say? 54
  3. 3. Mia Gordon 2 Detail Oriented Readers 56 Sceptics 57 Skippers: Skim Readers 59 Get To The Point Readers (GTTP) 60 Motivating Human Factors 62 Why People Want Stuff 62 Motivations & Hooks 70 7 Deadly Sins 75 Giving Your Reader A Reason To Act 78 Words To Use To Describe Feelings 81 How To Write Copy That Sells 96 The Important Stuff 96 The Ultimate Copy Template 99 Overcoming Objections & Concerns 115 The Importance Of Headlines 118 The Art Of Inference 121 Damaging Admissions 126 Quoting Credible Sources 129 Bullets Are Your Friends 131 Call To Action Guidelines 136 Continuity & Congruency 139 What To Use For Content 141 Article Specific Formatting 143 Article Example 146 Graphic Design & Layout 153 Print Ads 155 Articles & Blog Posts 157 Social Media 159
  4. 4. Copywriting Essentials 3 Writing For SEO 169 Optimizing For Search Engines 169 Promoting Your Content 172 Overcoming Writer’s Block 174 Causes & Cures For Writers Block 174 Write Your Headline First 178 Guided Writing With Bullets 182 Chunking 185 5 Tips For Easier Writing 186 Conclusion 187 Final Words Of Advice 187
  5. 5. 4 AUTHOR'S NOTE First I would like to thank you for investing your time and energy into reading this book. Most people have very busy lives, and I appreciate your taking the time to read something is an (albeit small) investment of a piece of your life. You have entrusted your time with me, so my intent is to give you something that gives you an immense return from a personal understanding, confidence, and earning potential point of view. While this book contains actual steps to help you format copy, its main goal is to give you a complete understanding of WHY and HOW you can write content/copy that sells multiple times better then the average Joe's. This has nothing to do with how clever your sales wording or formatting is - it has everything to do with who your audience is, how well you know your audience’s motivations, and the reasons why they will or won't buy. You may have noticed I used the word energy and not money in the opening paragraph. That's because if you think about it, money is really just crystallized energy, and when you write, you have the opportunity to effectively turn that time and energy into money.
  6. 6. Copywriting Essentials 5 How much value you deliver to your audience, and how much you can relate to them and help them, determines what they will do with what you share with them and how much you will be rewarded for it. The difference between good writers and outstanding writers is their belief in and understanding of this concept. How do I know this? Well I've been writing since I was 8 years old. It started while traveling the world with my parents. As a child I had to write letters home to family as part of my school homework. I had to write a 5 page letter every second day, so I had to make it relevant to what they wanted: descriptive and colorful. Later in life I carried my interest in writing into learning how to write commercial ad and marketing copy. What I found was that the framework traditional marketing taught was all focused or ME ME ME marketing and not customer centric. It didn't feel right. It might have been grammaticality correct and 'professionally' formatted, but the average conversion rate was between 1 and 3 percent. I was told this was what I should expect. Looking back on how most people are taught to write, it's not hard /easy to understand why. In 2003 I began a career as an internet marketer. I was told I had to spend thousands of hours writing and posting articles and other content to get traffic and sales. Well at a conversion rate of 1 to 2% I had to write a LOT of articles. That felt inauthentic after a while because it became more about producing quantity than quality. You might relate to this. In 2007 I had built websites, but I sold them because I got burned out with the number of hours I was having to spend on something that started as an interest, but turned into a big pain in the you know what! I had all but given up on the fantasy I'd been sold about 'easy passive income online' which was and is getting harder and harder to achieve. Problem was, I still loved the concept of writing for profit, but not the poorly
  7. 7. Mia Gordon 6 targeted, inefficient system I saw everywhere that's accepted as "normal". So I bought every book I could find by the world's top copywriters. I invested in a mindset changing course which cost $17000 (many principles in that course you will learn in this book). Best money ever spent! The one underlying principle that stood out was and is: ”quality always beats quantity”'. One piece of content that converts at 10% to 20% is waaaaay better than 10 average pieces of content. This course delivered a completely different message from what I had seen and been 'sold' elsewhere online. So I started again. Turns out I got good at building traffic, and through obsession and determination I became a search engine optimization (SEO) and traffic building expert, and met lots of successful, happy and kind people who love what they do as much as I do. This is how I have been successfully building traffic and sales not just for myself but also for my clients’ websites. Building successful, highly targeted traffic streams through content CAN work without risk of burnout. The saying “work smarter not harder” applies to content too! Why? Good content builds credibility. There are some people that ramble on when they talk you, and tune out. Other people don't say much but when they do - you listen. Most of us know one or more of both these types of people, right? Be the one that talks less often, but when you do, say something positive and motivating that appeals to your audience’s FEELINGS. Do this and watch your results multiply! That's the purpose of this book! I am going to teach you how to make copywriting fun, satisfying and effective. I got sick of feeling like a writing machine - and went back to writing purposefully. You can too. Your readers will love and follow you, and you will convert more of them to buyers!
  8. 8. Copywriting Essentials 7 Writing can be immensely rewarding. You can be you and do your own thing while achieving outstanding results. Stick to your own rules, rules which you will find yourself creating and refining through reading this book, So thanks again for reading - I wish you all the best. Happy copywriting!
  9. 9. 8 Definition Of Copywriting WHAT IS COPYWRITING If you look up the word copywriting in the dictionary, you will discover a definition that sounds something like "Copywriting is the writing of content especially for advertising and for publicity releases". What a boring description for what is actually a very creative and strategic process. It's also a process that is widely misunderstood and, in my opinion, often misrepresented. One of the biggest myths about copywriting is that you need to be a super salesperson with the gift of gab to write good copy. The truth is, you don't need to be a slick salesperson or master spin doctor to do what is actually the most important part of copywriting: to connect with, relate to and motivate your readers.
  10. 10. Copywriting Essentials 9 I look at copywriting as a bit like having a superpower: the power to persuade and influence a reader’s perception. Rather than trying to twist peoples’ arms (metaphorically speaking) and exaggerate the facts, your job as a copywriter is to use your understanding of your customers’ needs and concerns to write content that will help them get closer to achieving what they want. Specifically, your job is to prove to your audience that you can help them achieve their desired outcome. You’ll do this by earning their confidence and trust through providing helpful content that benefits them in some way. You need to take them through a specific process to build their desire and the confidence to take action. Copywriting is not about fancy words, or about writing Pulitzer Prize winning stories, it's about connecting with your audience. Riveting copy and content is not about you or your stuff, it's about your reader, what they want and what obstacles they need to overcome to get what they want. Through writing good content you can talk about what that gets your readers excited and align yourself with your readers - even stand along side them against what they dislike and then walk them toward taking action. They need to like you, trust you and believe you can help them. To achieve this you need to know them, both what they want and what they don't.. As an example, let's say you have a friend named Matt who has always dreamed of buying a specific model of classic Corvette. Let's say you find the car he wants and say: "Hey Matt, I've just found you a 1968 limited edition Corvette in fire red, your color!". Matt is likely to be fairly interested in what you just said, right? He might go to check out the car, but will he want to buy it? That depends on what other criteria Matt feels are important, criteria that you may or may not be aware of. What you don't know is that Matt has a strong dislike for the same Corvette model produced in the factory with orange upholstery. He
  11. 11. Mia Gordon 10 loves all the other production models, just not the one with orange trim. So whether or not he likes the one you have seen will depend totally on what color the upholstery is. Like Matt and the Corvette example, most things that people want also come with a catch. The catch could be something to do with the product, it could be something to do with the price or even the delivery options. There can be many reasons why a reader might not act on something, and these reasons could be hidden. The point here is that knowing who you are talking to, what they really want, what they want to avoid, and what's really important to them is the only way to know how to motivate someone to do something without hesitation. This is the foundation of copywriting. It's also important to give them something of value. By this I mean you should demonstrate the potential use of a product or service, or give them something that is useful to them NOW. If you can give them something they know they can use they will feel a sense of goodwill towards you. It's a great way to build credibility by showing them that even before they buy, your intent is to help them and you have the ability to do so., You can only build on something you know and understand. If you know how to relate to your readers’ needs, everything else gets a whole lot easier. By following a template - a sort of paint by numbers document to fill out - you can deliver important information to your readers in succinct way. By the time you have read this book, you'll be able to create your own template(s) that relate to your own product(s) and service(s). To this template you will add content that comprehensively covers all the important factors you need to need to include for your specific audience.
  12. 12. Copywriting Essentials 11 I would prefer to change the definition of Copywriting to "building excitement and interest in your audience and then giving them logical reasons what they can justify that excitement and move towards an action". It doesn't matter what type of medium you are writing for, the same principles apply. Many of my writing students have been asked how they write articles that sound like a blog but sell like a sales letter. The answer is that they know how to make a connection with their readers,what they want, what they want to avoid, and how they want to FEEL before they start. They then write in a way that engages the reader so they are talking “TO” them and not "AT" them like most sales copy. Gary Halbert was the master of writing sales letters that were like stories. They kept your eyes glued to the text, but at the same time led you, in a clever way, to take an action. By the time you've read this book and practiced the principles I'm going to teach you, this skill set will start to become something that is second nature to you. You will be able to write copy that doesn't look like copy. It's important to remember that the best copywriters are taking readers on a journey to a destination. On this journey they obtain a greater understanding of what they want and increased motivation and confidence in making a decision to buy a product or service. If you are a person who genuinely believes what you are selling can deliver a high level of satisfaction to your audience, then you are using your copywriting superpowers for good rather than trying to sell at all costs without looking after your prospects along the way. Think of copy content as a slide. A reader arrives at the top of the page, a metaphorical slide, once on that slide, they ride it to the bottom though a
  13. 13. Mia Gordon 12 series of important steps. These are steps you put in place to build desire, trust and, most importantly, the confidence to contact you, make a purchase, or sign up for something you want them to do. By answering questions throughout the process, you are also helping the audience get closer to achieving their desired outcome. Give them quality information and demonstrate how to get closer to their desired outcome. Again, it's much easier to do this when you have done your homework and know what your audience members are genuinely interested in then providing them with something they can do or use NOW. By taking the time to learn how you can actually help them and demonstrating value before they buy anything, you are earning their respect and trust while helping to remove obstacles to their goal. Earn your superhero status by doing your homework and helping your reader with content they can use to get closer to their goal. [Repetitive- suggest deleting] Now let's get your copywriting superhero training underway!
  14. 14. 13 ELEMENTS OF COPYWRITING Everyone who has a product or service to sell may (and should) know HOW and WHY that product or service satisfies their customers or clients. They need to be able to describe in detail what they like about your products and services.. If you love donuts and ate a donut, how would you describe how you feel about its taste and texture? Similarly, how would you describe how your customers will feel when they buy your products or services? What problems do they solve? How do they solve them? How many different ways do they help them? What is unique and special about your products or services? How will buying them improve their life?
  15. 15. Mia Gordon 14 Dig deep into this question? What does that product or service really need to deliver to satisfy them? The next question is: what is currently stopping them from investing in those products or services? Do they need to learn more about the benefits of them or to gain trust in some aspect of the buying process? What do you need to do, say, or demonstrate to them to learn more and earn their trust? This may sound a little detailed, and it is. It's worth putting the energy in to finding out how you can start making small promises to your audience though your content, then delivering on those promises in the form of inspiration, information or affirmation. Before you begin writing then, have a clear idea of what you want to convey to your audience based on solid research of their needs. Once you have a clear idea, now is your opportunity to show your audience who you are as a person and company. If this sounds like a big responsibility, it is! They are looking at you as someone they can follow, trust, respect and learn from, so of course they want to feel familiar with you first. They’ll gain this familiarity through your content. If they like you first and feel good through reading your content,, they will be willing to give more attention to the next part of the conversation or sales process they are about to embark on. Now’s the time to start putting together the pieces of your sales letter or content jigsaw puzzle. In doing so be yourself and give generously with facts, useful content, and answers to their most important questions..
  16. 16. Copywriting Essentials 15
  17. 17. 16 TRAITS OF TOP COPYWRITERS For me, copywriting has always been about connection. This starts with doing research to develop a comprehensive understanding of my customers’ and clients’ needs and what they most want as a desired outcome. And it’s equally about helping them make sound, informed decisions and avoid pain.. Finally it’s about guiding them to a destination where they can get what they want. All copywriters need to be acutely aware of all the fears and concerns readers have around their desires. Understanding how a reader wants to FEEL through buying what you are selling is key to connecting with them. Is it for monetary, time, ego, pride, or social reasons? Are they buying because they want to some kind of emotional payoff? We know they want something, but with every want comes a fear or concern. A buyer doesn't know your company, you haven't earned their trust yet or demonstrated value. The reader may also be scared of making the wrong decision, like buying the wrong thing/size/color etc. so it’s important to help them address their fears when deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
  18. 18. Copywriting Essentials 17 Copywriting begins with understanding what satisfaction 'looks like' to your specific audience, then continues with mindfully crafted communication for overcoming obstacles and demonstrating benefits. Customer Centric If you study the intent and styles of successful copywriters, you will discover that they are highly customer centric, heavily focused on a customer’s desires and all the different ways the customer wants to achieve those desires. And they are equally focused on how the customer can avoid pain. Successful copywriters also know that customers want instant gratification. Part of the reason for this is because they want to know as soon as possible when arriving on a page that what you’re offering can actually deliver what it promises. Good copywriters know that content should be about providing a solution to a problem or need. They also use language patterns with which readers are already familiar and feel comfortable with. They are careful to write as if they are part of their reader’s “tribe” (more on tribes later). Aware Of They Own Biases Copywriters should be aware of their own bias towards a product or service. Just because you love something about a product or service doesn't mean everyone one else does. Copywriters talk to the reader’s view of a product, and filter out their own biases. People who own a company and who are selling their own goods and services are almost always favorably biased towards the technical design and benefits of these goods and services. They look at them from their own perspective. After all it's their project, their baby so to speak! So it's even
  19. 19. Mia Gordon 18 more important for a copywriter, when writing for his/her own business, to do research on what his/her customers are saying about them: the good, the bad, and the not obviously one or the other.. They pay close attention to what readers are saying about similar/competing products and services and what they love about what these products or services do for them. Language & Tribe Research Audiences are a little bit like Tribes, or to use a more modern terminology, like clubs or sports teams. Tribes hang out together sharing activities and talking about the things in which they have a common interest. They often have nicknames or specific terms to describe tools or other aspects of their interests. They usually have things in common that they love and/or hate. It's common for them to actively talk amongst themselves about both what they like and dislike. Good copywriters will develop an understanding of the language and the hierarchy of what is most import to the tribes they are marketing to. We will be covering more of this in later chapters. Value Centric Good copywriters believe in delivering something of value early to satisfy the desire for instant gratification and to establish immediate credibility. The little good deeds you do early on to show your reader that you understand what they need, and that you can deliver it. If you can offer them small but significant pieces of useful resources before they buy anything from you, you are proving that you're serious about your intent to help them, that you can actually help them, and that you know what you’re talking about. Give them a taste of feeling good and they will be much more likely to want more from you. Not Scared Of Elephants
  20. 20. Copywriting Essentials 19 Good copywriters are not afraid to address the big scary elephants in the room. Good copywriters are happy to be the superhero and have the courage to take care of the elephants for their readers. They are acutely aware of all the fears and concerns their readers have around their desires, and what are they afraid of losing or getting wrong when making a purchase. Good copywriters are not afraid to address these concerns rather than gloss over them or, worse still, completely ignore them and pretend they don't exist. Readers want someone to recognize their concerns and write about the things they are too scared or embarrassed to ask. . Humble & Accepting Of Imperfection Nobody is perfect, and people are much more likely to relate to and trust someone who's willing to admit their mistakes. Hey lets face it, if someone's already been through something you are wanting to avoid, you are likely to want to know how you can avoid the same mistakes. Good copywriters are happy to make damaging admissions about past mistakes and share the valuable lessons they’ve learned that will help their readers. The main benefit, of course, is that it shows the writer is honest enough to admit what he/she has survived and learned from - no matter how embarrassing it was! Clear And Concise Copywriters are careful and precise about how in their content they go about addressing their readers every desire, need and concern. They value their audience’s time and recognize that they have just one opportunity to align with who they are writing to and earn their respect. Instant Gratification Most people are skim readers, at least when they start reading a page. They are trying to find the part of the page or content they are most interested in so they can establish whether it is worth a further read. Writers have only a
  21. 21. Mia Gordon 20 few seconds to prove to a reader that the content is relevant to them and worth their time continuing to read.. Good copywriters make it easy for readers to quickly find what they are looking for when they arrive on a page. They use teasers as confirmation the reader is on the right track and to entice a reader to move to the next segment of the page. Consistent and Congruent Just as important as being clear, being consistent keeps a reader focused. Good copywriters understand that conditioning readers and building familiarity also builds trust. If you're talking about a specific thing in a specific way or asking a reader to take an action, that message needs to be consistent across all steps. For example asking someone to "sign up" on one part of the page and then "to register" on another, even if you are asking them to do exactly her same thing this may confuse them. Keep the same continuity of language and instructions and don't change the wording. Good copywriters don't make a reader have to think or get out a dictionary to understand what is required of them to take the next step. Checklists And USP's How many times have you walked into a store or looked for something online, liked what you've seen then left that store or web site so you can do some price or feature comparison shopping. Everyone wants to feel like they’ve gotten the best deal. It's human nature to want to do some comparison homework before making a purchase. Good copywriters will give readers who leave to do comparison shopping, something to take with them. Usually this is a mental (or actual) list that the buyer can go "shopping" with. It is a list of features and benefits which should include their company’s unique selling proposition. It should also include something
  22. 22. Copywriting Essentials 21 that is hard for the competition to beat, so the buyer wants to come back. This is a very powerful way to position a brand, product or service when done correctly. Thorough Good copywriters know that they need to make sure they have covered all bases - like good customer service, they have answered all of the questions they think the buyer needs to know so the buyer is happy not only to buy something now, but also that in retrospect they feel they have made a great decision.. Qualification - Talking To The Right People Good copywriters will tell you it's much better to qualify your buyers first and sell to THEM rather than try to oversell to people who the product wasn't right for in the first place. In my days of writing sales letters we offered a 100% no questions asked money back guarantee. We did this because we knew how important it is to MAKE SURE people understood what they were getting, why they should invest, why it was worth it and also why they deserved it. This limited the number of refunds to about 2%. We also backed up the purchase with extra bonuses they did not expect to get so they were even more delighted with their purchase. Good copywriters are not afraid to come right out and say “Hey - is this you? If not that's ok - you might find what you are looking for here” (and send them elsewhere). This is not only honest - it also solidifies your credibility to people who are in fact your appropriate buyers.
  23. 23. Mia Gordon 22 My Personal Rules Of Engagement Personally, I can't write copy unless I believe in what I'm writing about. I need to feel like I'm genuinely helping someone learn something through my content. I know for a fact that what I'm trying to sell may not suit everybody's needs and that's okay. But if I have provided readers with some type of value, then whether they buy or not I feel I have done some good. And if they become a customer, our relationship is already built on positive goodwill.
  24. 24. 23 70% PSYCHOLOGY 30% SKILL Motivation Is Emotional Behind every lead up to a decision to buy, there is an emotional process buyers go through. People don't buy stuff based solely on logic, they buy because the stuff they want gives them positive emotional satisfaction - an emotional payoff. In other words, the logical justification behind the sale happens after a combination of emotional and logical events. This means that every step of the process must build on a reader’s emotional reasons for buying, then be backed up by logic. Essentially there are two things that motivate people: the carrot or the stick - the promise of gain or the fear of loss. The stick - fear - is always the bigger motivator, and needs to be handled carefully. Think about this for a moment:
  25. 25. Mia Gordon 24 Which book title would you prefer if you suffered from acne? "How To Get Acne Free Skin Using Natural Masks" or "Home Remedies To Eliminate Acne & Get Clear Soft Beautiful Skin In 14 Days" I can show you data to prove that the second title sells 5 times better then the first. Why? This is because it addresses a fear, fulfils a need with a positive outcome and specifies an expected time frame (14 days). If you can add an emotional payoff in your title, it's much more personal. Remember that people want to: Feel popular and included Feel abundant (or wealthy) Feel attractive Feel healthy Feel secure Achieve peace and happiness Have more time Have fun Because they want to meet the human needs of Certainty and Security Uncertainty or Variety Feeling Significant or Important Feeling Connected or Loved by Someone Growth and Contribution Contribution to the Whole (all of humanity) (We will be covering these in more detail soon).
  26. 26. Copywriting Essentials 25 These payoffs are what your readers REALLY want. What you are selling is just a conduit for fulfilling their needs in some way. So your content needs to address your audiences’ specific needs and wants as they relate to your products and services. Readers go through both conscious and subconscious processes in order to feel confident enough make a buying decision. Research shows that when reading online copy or sales letters, this process has not changed much over many decades and various sales formats. The only real difference in this day and age is that the online shopping shopper cannot eyeball a salesperson to read his or her body language as extra cues to their honesty or lack thereof. They can't FEEL it, so the logical, safety conscious wiring part of their brain will have a greater influence over their buying decision. In the old days before the Internet existed as a point of sale, you would walk into a store and speak to a salesperson. You would look for someone who looked like they could help you, someone who understands what you're looking for. The first thing the salesman would do is qualify you to see if he or she can help you find you're looking for. At the same time, you would be qualifying them to establish whether they are honest and can help you. Then you want to see whether the store carries what you want. Let's imagine this scenario: You are looking to buy a new television and you visit the local electronics store to see what they have on offer. You find a salesperson on the sales floor. That is the first step in a qualification process for both you and the salesperson. The first thing you want to know as a customer when you walk into the store is whether or not that store can provide what you want. Next a whole bunch of other factors come in to play which we will cover in a moment.
  27. 27. Mia Gordon 26 Once you establish that you are in the right place, your next step is usually to find someone who has the expertise to discuss the features and benefits of the television that you are considering purchasing. You find a salesperson, he/she greets you with a smile and asks how he/she can help. At this point you tell them you want a TV and may even begin to mention some of the features you think you might like in a TV. If the salesperson is good, before they take you to a TV they will ask you a series of qualifying questions to establish exactly what features and benefits you want, and specifically WHY you want them. He/she will assess what it is that you want to experience from that television, e.g. movies, high-definition, Internet capability, great surround sound etc. You may or may not already know what features and options you want, and so the salesperson has the job of establishing these important details. If they are good, they will try to help you relate these features and options to how you want to feel about your potential purchase. For example, a good salesperson, while talking about high definition, will take you to an HD TV playing the HD movies you have told them you like. A good salesperson will identify your "turn on buttons" - what it is that gets you excited. They will also try to ascertain your fears, concerns, and what you really don't like about your current TV or any new ones you’ve already seen. Next the salesperson starts telling you what TVs he/she has on display in the showroom for you to have a look at. Hopefully they will go on to relate to you all of the features and benefits of the TVs in question. You may at this point start to get excited about a particular TV and start thinking: “Hmmm maybe yes, this one will suit me". This is the emotional part of this process and this is also when your inner sceptic turns up. This is the logical part of your brain. The next thing you start thinking is "Hang on a second, how do I know this person is not just trying to sell me this particular TV so he/she can free up showroom floor for new stock, or that he/she isn't bluffing and pretending they know this”. This is the point at which you really start
  28. 28. Copywriting Essentials 27 qualifying the salesperson with thoughts like "How long has this salesperson been working here?, Did the boss tell him/her to clear out this TV?, What is this persons’ motivation in wanting to sell me this TV? Should I trust their advice?". It's a very natural thing to feel this way. It relates back to our human need for survival and security. Scepticism is a perfectly healthy part of our brain’s wiring. It can save us from making decisions that would be wrong for us. So what do you do to qualify this salesperson? Well you may ask how long they’ve worked in the store, and you might ask him/her a few questions to determine what you want to know, You might ask what they like watching on TV or a myriad of other things. The point is you are looking for cues to establish his/her credibility. You're looking for indicators to qualify that this is someone who can really help you and really knows what they are talking about - specifically related to you and your situation. You want to know how qualified they are to be giving you this advice. This is a reasonable thing to ask from a salesperson if you're going to invest a large amount of money for a product or service.. The next thing that generally happens is once you’ve established that the salesperson is credible enough to advise you, you move on to price and discussing what the store is willing to offer. At this point you may ask yourself what price other stores might offer for the same TV. You may wonder ”"Can I get a better price elsewhere?”which is of course another natural question to ask. If the salesperson has done his/her job right, they will have explained to you the benefits that their company offers over and above the competition. It might be that they offer an extra extended guarantee period, some bonus items, or even better, a one on one lesson from the salesperson or technician on how to set up their TV with personalized settings.
  29. 29. Mia Gordon 28 Price should not be the only consideration – other factors are important. As we all know, Getting the best deal doesn't necessarily mean the cheapest price A good salesperson will be prepared to address these considerations with a potential buyer. They’ll give the buyer a shopping list to go away with, whether metaphorical or actual. Preferably, he/she wants the buyer to have a picture of their offer in mind - something that is not written down. This way when the prospective buyer goes comparative shopping, your list of "must have extras" pops into their mind, triggered by whatever they encounter at another store. Offering something like service or training that is unique to that website/store/person makes it hard for a competitor, The value that you’ll receive over and above the price will be difficult to match. This is a very powerful psychological trick to use in your sales copy. Now lets move on to the close. Your salesperson has gotten you excited, taken you through all of your questions, concerns and objections, and you are keen to buy. Now he or she asks you how you want to go about taking your TV home. They ask if you want it to day so you can get started and they[insert the thing that made you excited about the TV]. They ask if you would like to know about interest free terms or paying cash. This is of course the close. This is the time to remind you about all of the important points - then ask for the sale. A good salesperson will remind you why you want the TV and also giving you reasons to justify the purchase. The salesperson might mention that this deal is only available for another 3 days at this price. They might also say the bonuses are limited to a certain number and/or available for a
  30. 30. Copywriting Essentials 29 limited time, and ask you when you would like to come in for your free setup session. The above example might be how you go about making a purchase in a real brick and mortar store, but the same thinking and emotional processes occur online just in a different format: though the written word. Next time you prepare to write content, imagine your online research being like the TV salesperson asking you questions about what the customer wants. Do your homework. This research is key to writing content that really deals with all of your readers’ questions. Later in this book you are going to use what you find though your research to create a template for your actual sales letters or blog post content. While creating this template, think about all of the things your reader may be going through as in the fictional TV buying process: how you can help your reader move past any obstacles to achiev their desired outcome.
  31. 31. 30 Qualification & Preconditioning RESEARCH: HOMEWORK IS EVERYTHING By now you will understand that researching your audience is crucial to everything you do. Good research helps you to come up with a list of a series of steps your readers need to go through in order to feel confident enough to take any action you are asking them to take. By addressing everything they want to feel as a result of buying your products and services, and also taking them through a process that removes hesitation and obstacles, you are increasing their motivation to buy. Creating content is really a formulaic process with predictable steps based on everything you know about your audience. The number of objections you need to cover will be determined by what you discover in your research about your specific audience. By writing down everything your target audience is talking about online - both positive and
  32. 32. Copywriting Essentials 31 negative - you’ll be able to craft paragraphs that address these points one by one. Speaking to your audience in a language they recognize and in a style they can relate to helps them to feel like they're talking to a member of their tribe rather than some salesperson. What you are trying to give them is a preview of the end game: the emotional feeling, the payoff that buying the product or service you sell will give them. There are many motivating human factors you will read about in this book that you can use to determine what might drive people to do what they do, and buy what they buy. Start by looking at places where your audience’s their tribe hangs out. Popular places where people voice their opinions can be found on Amazon, eBay, forums and communities. The juiciest ones are often found by doing Google searches for your competitors’ products. Find out what customers are talking about. What do they love, what do they hate, what goal are they really trying to get to by purchasing xyz product or service? Write down all of the things that are talked about most., then make a list of all of the things that are most important to your potential customers. What do they love, what exactly is it about the xyz thingeemabob they like? What answers are they most satisfied with or impressed by? Write it all down so you can refer to it later These notes are what you are going to be working your content around. The more thorough you can be the better, because you'll have more to work with.
  33. 33. 32 QUALIFICATION & CREDIBILITY You wouldn't take a plate of steak to a vegetarian pot luck dinner and you wouldn't try to sell a gas heater to someone who lived in Fiji ,right? So why do so many online marketers spend money trying to reach people who are not remotely interested in buying what they have to offer. The generally accepted idea of many online mediu sites, especially social media sites, is to broadcast their ads to as many people as possible in the hope that a percentage of them will be interested. Although we are sold the concept that we are given options for 'targeting' people, the concept of 'targeting' is not necessarily clear. In fact,MarketingSherpa.com research shows that conversion rates online average only 1% to 5%. Part of the reason for this is that website designers are not usually conversion experts, so many websites could convert customers into buyers better then they do today. The main issue, however, is that people are not doing enough research on who their audience actually is, and what they
  34. 34. Copywriting Essentials 33 really want. Only through a research process can you find out where they are, and how to most effectively start engaging with them. The real problem is WHO they attract to their websites in the first place, and how much of their marketing dollar is being spent trying to sell to people who were never interested to begin with. Remember, if people come to your website and don't buy, it's generally for two reasons: ◆ They don't want your product or service or ◆ They don't trust you enough or know enough to buy from you - YET! As content writers, at the start of a websites sales funnel we first need to find the right people, then target them through our titles in order to sort and qualify who is a buyer and who isn't. This means putting your energy into finding and helping people you can actually help, the people you can serve best. They want what you have to sell, but want someone to help them select the best solution for their needs and to show them that you are the right person to buy it from. I’ll say it again: think quality not quantity. Don’t be scared of the number of visitors to your site.
  35. 35. 34 BROWSERS, SHOPPERS & BUYERS There are several different types of potential buyers online and obviously many different reasons people use the Internet. Sometimes it’s purely for social reasons, other times to research products and services to fulfill a want or desire, or solve a problem. If you are not writing for an online audience, that's OK because, many of these points will also apply to non-digital media. However I’m assuming that most of my readers are writing online contentt and this will apply especially to you. People buy products or services to make them feel something. It's not the thing they want, but the feeling or outcome that thing will give them. Some of the reasons they may give you, however. include : ◆ brand familiarity ◆ comfort ◆ style ◆ looks cool ◆ to be trendy ◆ like the color or style
  36. 36. Copywriting Essentials 35 ◆ to solve a problem ◆ to make life easier in some way If they are looking for a service online they might say they are buying it to: ◆ have more time ◆ impress the boss ◆ work more efficiently ◆ feel more in control ◆ make more profit ◆ save money The point is that behind every search there is also a desire to FEEL something or get some other payoff from buying it. If you were to try to list some of those reasons, you could come up with a whole heap of answers as to why they want your stuff if you start with why, where, how and when questions. Never forget that behind every internet search is an intent which you need to understand in order to be able to satisfy that intent with your content! There are generally three different types of audiences: browsers, shoppers, and buyers, and they all have different intents- or more specifically are all at different stages of the buying process. Browsers are online for social reasons with no immediate intent to buy.; For example they may be visiting their Facebook page or reading the news. This group of online users may see something they like while browsing, but they didn't begin their online session with the intent to buy something. The next group is people who have shown a small to moderate interest in a brand or type of product or service. They may not yet have a specific idea of what they want,- rather they have a general interest in something. For
  37. 37. Mia Gordon 36 example they may like Nike shoes but are not sure what style and color they are interested.. These people are just looking around to narrow down what they may want. I call these people shoppers. The next and what I like to nickname the hottest group of surfers are what I call buyers. These folks are the ones that know what type of "thing" or "service" or even brand they want and what specific features and benefits that product or service needs to provide to fit their requirements. These people are in a different frame of mind from browsers and shoppers. They are looking to buy and are looking for indicators of value and trustworthiness. They are looking for who is most likely to give them the best post-sale satisfaction. They aren't necessarily looking for the best price, but rather the best value, which means they're looking at who are the best or right people or which is the best company to deliver the item or service they want. They are very sensitive to how you handle their wants, fears, concerns and desires. They will be scrutinizing everything. There are really only two reasons "buyers" who arrive on site won't buy: ◆ they don't want what you have or ◆ they don't understand or believe that you can deliver what they want through your products or services (or don't trust you can deliver at this time) Why it's important to define and categorize different online users. Remember that people are generally using the Internet for one or more of these three reasons: ◆ to solve a problem ◆ to find something they want ◆ to be entertained and connect with other members of their tribe in some way
  38. 38. Copywriting Essentials 37 Just like clubs, groups of friends, social groups etc, so too online users generally hang out in tribes. Every tribe has its own personality, etiquette, language, common interests, and pet likes and pet hates. Your job as an online marketer is to pick which of the hundreds of online groups specifically relate to your product or service and who the most likely people are that you can best satisfy. Then you need to meet them WHERE THEY ARE AT in their buying process. Ask yourself:- “Out of my target audience, who are the people to whom I can deliver the MOST value though my content, products or services?”.
  39. 39. 38 WHO WHAT WHERE WHY WHEN HOW Before writing your content you need to do your homework so you know your audience’s wants and concerns, where they hang out, who they are and how they talk to each other – the language they use. If you know what they want, how they want it and, more importantly, how they are searching and asking for it - you can create content that connects with them. You can demonstrate that you know them, understand them, and speak the same language. Walk them past their fears and concerns and help them find the right solution.. If you don't feel you can deliver awesome value and genuinely help them, they are NOT your customers. Find the people that want what you have, then DEMONSTRATE that you are the best source of that product or service. Start doing your research by asking the right questions. This helps you form a clear picture of your audience and what they need from you in order to make a purchase. It's much easier to create content when you are following a guideline that keeps your content closely aligned with your audience’s
  40. 40. Copywriting Essentials 39 needs and behaviors. It's also important to know if you are talking to a browser, shopper or buyer, and remember to meet each group where they are at. Who Who is your audience? Who do they like associating with and why (who are the people in their tribe)? Do they fall into an age or income demographic? Who and what don't they like and why? Write down a description of your audience and what you think is important to them based on what you have learned in your research. List these down so you can refer to them and have them close at hand. What What does your audience talk about, both positive and negative? What are they most passionate about? What is MOST and least important to them? What solutions are they looking for or what desires are they trying to fulfill? The process of writing this down will help you focus on the priority of importance of different motivations your audience has for buying. What are the features they most like and dislike about competitors and/or the products you are writing about? The most important next step is to write down how what they like makes them FEEL. What payoffs are they talking about getting from products and services?. Make sure you understand this before moving on, as it is very important to include these in your copy. Why Why does your audience wanti products and services like those you sell? Why are they looking where they are looking to find what they want? What is the payoff from being there? Ask why questions to further refine the emotional payoff they are looking for.
  41. 41. Mia Gordon 40 Where Where does your audience hang out? [OR: Where do your audience members hang out?] What websites, forums, communities or clubs do they frequent? Where do they spend their time? Knowing this helps you refine and qualify the best place on which to put your content. If you know where your audience [members] hangs [OR:hang] out, and what they like about the format e.g. images, or bulleted forum posts, then you can better prepare your own content. If you know what your audience likes reading and where they like reading it, you can pre-frame what your content needs to contain. When When does your audience read content they like? If they are commenting in forums or online, pay attention to when they responded to something.. If you see a pattern while doing your research, write it down so you can plan the best days and times to post. How How do your audience members go about finding the information they are looking for? How do they ask for it and what language do they use: what words, phrases and terminology? How they are asking for what they want is what you need to know, because it helps you stay in context when answering their questions. Keywords Choosing keywords like 'best xyz widget' is one way people search for things, but did you know that 80% of searches are performed in the form of a question such as: 'What is the best xyz widget'. Think from your audiences’ point of view. They don't necessarily know what they need or want to solve a problem or make them feel a certain way
  42. 42. Copywriting Essentials 41 as a result of buying something, they only know that they want to feel something or solve something. So take off your biased seller centric glasses when doing research and when writing titles, and think from your audience’s point of view. Use reviews and the types of solutions your audience members say they enjoyed or the payoff they got to format your keywords for titles. You can use tools online to find out how many people are searching for specific phrases - just don't assume your buyers are using product or service based terms. Use the questions and language your research tells you your audience members are asking and using to craft similar style copywriting.. Statistics show that long tail (longer that 3 word) key phrases that include a question or ask for a solution are a lot more likely to be used by someone who is a buyer, rather than a browser. Remember there are generally three types of searcher online: broswers, shoppers. and buyers. Wherever possible you want to write content for shoppers and buyers.. Use titles that shoppers and buyers are using and your reader retention, click though and conversion rates will go up. [OR: skyrocket!] Technical tips for using Google search operators to find content to research Google is many copywriters first port of call for researching to find their audience. Did you know you can perform custom searches to find specific topics using Google's advanced search operators? Here are some searches you can perform using search operators to find reviews on products you are writing about:
  43. 43. Mia Gordon 42 Use quotes around "text you want to search"or use word one + word two + word three 1. To search a website for specific text use: site:example intext:"example text" This one allows you to find a keyword on a specific website e.g. Amazon. An example you could add to the search bar would be site:amazon.com:canon intext: "6D camera reviews" 2. To search a specific category (folder) on a website use: site:example/folder intent:example text Let’s narrow down the previous search by searching in a specific category www.amazon.com/Camera-Photo-Film-Canon-Sony/ "6d camera reviews" 3. To search for the keyword in any web pages you can use: intext:"canon + 6D + reviews". This tells Google to search any page for the word combination of canon, 6D and reviews. _ 4. To search for a keyword in a website URL specifically, you can use: inurl:"add + your + text + here". This is useful for when you want to look for review pages for example inurl:"canon + 6D + reviews" 5. To search for a keyword in sites excluding your own (or another) use: "keyword" -site:thesiteyouwanttoexclude.com 6. To search for a specific type of file you can use: site:example.com filetype:pdf 7. To search for a specific type of domain (universities for example which use .edu) use: site:.edu "keyword"
  44. 44. Copywriting Essentials 43 8. Another way to search for a specific type of website is: inurl:forum+review intext:"canon+6d+camera". This type of search tells Google you only want it to return results that have the word "forum" in the URL, and 'review'. I could leave out the review part if I was happy to look at comments in a forum or I could swap out the word 'forum' for 'review' if I wanted to search for reviews only and not forums. 9. To search titles of pages (the websites meta title description) you can use: intitle:canon+6d. 10. To search for specific text in pages on a specific website you can create your own combination like: site:amazon.com intext: "canon+6d+camera" These operators help you quickly identify and sort from the millions of pages, the select few you want to read. I use search operators to find specific types of content and reviews. I even use them to find problems people are dealing with by using the operators inurl:forum intext:problem canon+6d or inurl:review intext problem+canon+6d (in this last example I want Google to search for canon and 6d and problems in the whole page, but the page URL needs to contain review). Notice I use quotes around text if I want Google to be specific about only including any combination of those words. If I also use a + between them, then keywords with any other words in between the text will be included in my results too. These operators are a researchers’ best friend, and with a little practice, you can use them to find all manner of information online. Look for reviews, forums, community and anything else that is pertinent to your topic.
  45. 45. 44 SOCIAL PROOF Testimonials, reviews, customer feedback, case studies and recommendations are all examples of social proof. A definition of “social proof” is "Visual or verbal proof that you can deliver the results someone wants backed up and proven by customers and peers". Social proof is another important ingredient in your copywriting sandwich! Why? Because it’s important to show that other people have taken the plunge, bought what you are selling and that they have been happy with the result. What's even more important is demonstrating to your readers how they can get the same satisfaction. Give them an example, a demo of how other peoples’ satisfaction can apply to them, and what they want. Social proof gives them a taste of what others have enjoyed, while demonstration lets them FEEL it for themselves. This is a VERY powerful motivator for people. It’s a bit like giving a kid an ice-cream. Giving them one bite is just a tease, so they will want more!
  46. 46. Copywriting Essentials 45 You can also use images of people who are like your audience enjoying the benefits of your products or services. Images are a powerful visual tool to convey a lot of things at once. They are a visual confirmation that it is possible to achieve what they desire. Use different forms of social proof on your page if possible. Don't feel like you have to choose only one. Break it up to give your reader a three dimensional view of your credibility.
  47. 47. 46 AUTHORITY & POSITIONING Positioning yourself as an authority is the single most important thing you can do increase your perceived value to the market place. The importance of authority, positioning and personal branding for professionals, business owners, coaches and consultants cannot be emphasized enough. Let's be clear: being an expert is not the same as being an authority. Being an expert is something you claim yourself and show through testimonials or other "social proof". Your reputation as an authority, however is something you earn though demonstration and by allowing others to state your expertise out in the marketplace for all to see. Seeing your presence across many platforms is regarded as proof of your authority. This is why you should plan your own brand. Decide what you want to be known for, and go about educating and proving to your associates and prospects what you do. Don't be a generic label, have your own mission and be vocal about it.
  48. 48. Copywriting Essentials 47 Don't tell everyone you're an expert, show them and prove it. Don't tell everyone you're great. Instead, show them the evidence and let them reach their own conclusions. Don't be just part of the conversation, create the conversation yourself. Don't just follow the basics, earn your authority. Do condition your audience to believe in you by helping them in small yet significant ways, and do it consistently. Do seek out and find as many ways as you can to demonstrate to your audience that you are an authority on what you want to be known for. Do keep your message consistent. As is true of many famous catch phrases, make yourself known for something unique to your brand. Do be generous, help others and not just your prospective customers but also your associates, so they will want to share your stories and your messages.. Do offer lots of helpful resources that could end up being viral in nature. Downloadables, statistics and other data, how to's, infographics and step by step articles are good examples. Do keep your branding: logo, font, colors and taglines consistent. Do be yourself. Don't be afraid to express your unique personality. Establishing yourself as an authority is about being memorable, helpful and consistent. This applies across all content and copywriting mediums.
  49. 49. 48 PRECONDITIONING The dictionary defines preconditioning as:: "A condition that must exist or be established before something can occur or be considered; a prerequisite. To condition train or accustom in advance". I define preconditioning for content as the art of framing your prospects’ expectations and desires before they arrive at your intended destination. This means giving your readers a path to follow. Preconditioning does several things... 1. Creates a path that builds familiarity and confidence in you and your products or services. 2. Takes the prospect through a qualification process that helps to reinforce their desires as well as confirming, and walking them past, what they want to avoid.
  50. 50. Copywriting Essentials 49 3. Gives you an opportunity to demonstrate value early on. Giving your prospects something useful early on shows your positive intent and illustrates your ability to help them. 4. Shows you understand what they want - and can deliver it. Preconditioning builds the foundation for a great relationship with your audience, a bond that you can grow.
  51. 51. 50 BONDING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE When you meet someone for the first time at a party or social occasion , it's not generally considered cool to immediately start talking on and on about yourself and what you do and sell. The “Me Me Me” narcissistic approach isn't the best way to win friends and influence people in the real world, yet this approach is all too often used in online, and in many cases off- line, advertising. If you are meeting someone for the first time you generally start asking questions to get to know them. You want to find out what you have in common and maybe what their interests are, right? Good listeners are hard to find, and those who are are good listeners are generally much more welcome than people who talk AT you. People feel included and important when someone takes an interest in them. It makes them feel validated and understood. When getting to know someone we all understand it's generally acceptable to ask basic introductory questions, right? When you've gotten to know someone better, you might learn about some of the things that are important to them, and even some of the things that they really like or want
  52. 52. Copywriting Essentials 51 to avoid. I'm sure you'd agree that someone who has just met you for the first time isn't going to want to tell you their innermost feelings and thoughts. First you need to earn their trust by development a relationship with them.. Meeting people online though your content is pretty much the same. Being a good listener and gently aligning yourself with your readers’ interests is an art. It's the art of copywriting! Now imagine for a moment you're standing in a queue wearing a pair of sexy pants (yup these babies might be your favorite because they make your butt look good). Someone standing behind you says, "Excuse me, I hope you don't mind me asking but I love your pants....where did you get them? They look great on you". This person is a complete stranger, but they have broken the ice and created an instant connection with you by talking about something you both have in common and giving you a genuine compliment. This is still a complete stranger but,he or she is also now someone with whom you share a mutual interest. Most likely you'd be happy to tell them the name of the store where you bought the pants. You are both part of a "tribe" that enjoys wearing sexy pants. Your reasons for wanting them may be different, but you are still connected with that person for a moment on a shared interest level. Now imagine having a deep and meaningful conversation with a very close friend. That friend asks you for your advice about a big decision they need to make. Your friend trusts that you know them well enough to give an informed answer. You have given that friend advice before that worked out well, so they feel confident asking you again. The above scenarios illustrate our natural tenancies as humans to want to connect and/or feel understood before we are willing to make a decision or a commitment to do something, even if we know that doing this will make us feel good. Connecting with someone can manifest in many ways. All you
  53. 53. Mia Gordon 52 need is one commonality to start the ball rolling. If you are familiar with what a tribes wants and needs, it’s also much easier to relate to them. So what does this have to do with copywriting? Think of the first paragraph of your copy as your introduction and opportunity to connect. It's much easier to break the ice if you have something in common to talk about, especially if it's funny or something that ignites a positive desire. Sometimes it's having a moan about something you know they are frustrated about. It's important to understand how the members of tribes talk to each other. Think again about the pants example. If that person had walked up behind you and said the same thing to you in a foreign language you didn't understand, you would look at them sideways for a moment and wonder what they are talking about. This is why it's important to speak to your audience in the same language as people who buy the types of products and services you sell. Golfers have their own lingo or nicknames for equipment. Gym and fitness fanatics use language that includes words like squats and burpees [NOTE: I worked out heavily for many years and never heard the word “burpee” Suggestion: change to curls and/or bench presses] The people that want to buy your products and services are also likely to have their own lingo or nicknames. So when starting up a conversation with readers through your content, you are essentially connecting via something you know is important to them. [It’s just like sitting down to talk to someone you have never met before at a party and discovering that you have a lot in common [I disagree. In the first case you are discovering something about the person – in this case you already know what is important to them]. Talk to your audience about the things they're excited about or averse to and align with them. It's also easy to assume that you know your audiences’ fears and concerns already. While you may know a lot about them already, before your
  54. 54. Copywriting Essentials 53 start writing it's still really vital to do comprehensive research to ascertain all the different ways people are expressing their wants and their concerns. Remember: people buy things because they want to FEELa certain way as a result. What is their desired outcome? Do they want to feel sexier? Do they want to save time? Do they want to save money? Do they want to keep up with the trends? You need to know what the trends and patterns are that drive the desire for what you are selling. Pay attention to your audiences’ language patterns and how they describe what they want, because these language patterns are all juicy tidbits you can use in your content. If you're just talking to your audience from a seller's perspective, using sellers’ language and talking about all of the features of your products and services, you won't be connecting the desired feeling they want to achieve with your products and services. The moral of the story is: talk about how they're going to feel, not just about your product from a technical or logical point of view. Give your audience payoffs that they can relate to from the very beginning of your content so they want to read on and find out more. All content needs to be client centric, focused on them and their desired outcome. The way to ensure your writing stays client focused as to make sure you stay in touch with the way your audience thinks and feels.
  55. 55. 54 Different Types Of Readers BLAH BLAH WHAT DID YOU SAY? People are so inundated with emails, documents, books and digital media that they become numb to the messages we are trying to convey within our text. This is why they usually skim over text on a page looking for something relevant to capture their attention. They are looking for a point of reference to confirm they are in the right place to take them to something they want. Your headline is the introduction - and sales intro that leads them into the rest of the article. Sub-headlines give readers further confirmation that they are likely to find what they want on the page. This are a bit like when you first walk into a store and isle headings indicate where different types of goods can be found.
  56. 56. Copywriting Essentials 55 In addition, ,the job of each sub-header is to entice the reader into reading the text that follows. Initially you attract the attention of skim readers through your title, then hold their attention and entice them into reading further though your sub- headers and bullet points. Paragraph sub-headers should summarize a story’s sequence, so the reader can jump from sub-header to sub-header and get the basic gist of the story. You are earning a readers interest and their trust through your titles and sub-headers. So these should accurately summarize what you are offering to help them do, get or learn by reading your content. When a reader has qualified your article as relevant and useful to them, you have earned the opportunity to deliver the rest of your content.
  57. 57. 56 DETAIL ORIENTED READERS Detail oriented people are the type of folks who will be expecting - well - detail! These people expect you to answer every little question and cover everything before they will trust you. They are very particular and may read every word on your page. Things you most want to get right for these folks are: ◆ Spelling and grammar ◆ A link to a FAQ's page or list of common questions ◆ An explanation about who you are and why you are credible ◆ A link to testimonials ◆ Fine print ◆ Correct formatting
  58. 58. 57 SCEPTICS These people are super cynical and will want to test everything you say. These guys need to see more than just testimonials, they want proof - evidence that you can do what you say you can. Sceptics need the following from your content: ◆ Demonstrations and/or examples they can test out for themselves ◆ Names and photos, preferably business names if yours is a business- to-business website ◆ Third party endorsements ◆ Stats and figures from reputable sources ◆ Anything and everything you can provide for a sceptic so they check it off their imaginary list You don't want to make everyone else read the fine print and risk losing this attention, so if you are writing a website blog page or sales letter, you can add links to pop-up windows or even external sites (that open in new windows) with further explanations on those pages.
  59. 59. Mia Gordon 58 Often just a link to more testimonials, or to credible sources like Forbes magazine for example, are enough to satisfy a sceptic. Just the fact you are showing links to the information they may want to see backs up your story. Remember sceptics want access to all the information, even if they don't use it. Having a FAQ and Testimonials or Case Studies button in your navigation [Suggestion: On your Home Page] also helps, as do endorsement logos of other companies in the footer.
  60. 60. 59 SKIPPERS: SKIM READERS Skippers are the ultimate skim reader. They are like get to the point readers, but may read more if you have given them sufficient reason to do so. They will use your titles, headlines, pictures and bullets to get the feel of what the page is about, then head straight for the offer. They don't feel they need to read all the "fluff". These readers are generally impatient: they think they know what they want and they just want to get it! I like skim readers, : they are easy to please except when they come back to you later claiming they didn't get this or that. If you’re writing a sales letter with an option to purchase something immediately, then you need to cater to skippers by making sure you add a reference to the most important conditions in a bold position. Place a crystal clear summary about what they get close to the main offer.This is also helpful for non-skippers, because you are demonstrating transparency,and confirmation of what they can expect.
  61. 61. 60 GET TO THE POINT READERS (GTTP) Some readers have extra short attention spans. These people can be turned off by long copy. They want to get to the stuff they want as soon as possible, so you need to give them a series of points to skip to. These readers are the ultimate definition of skim readers, so you'd better give them an easy way to find what they want - FAST! Think of a person in a hurry - how would you get to the point if you only had a minute to say what you needed to say. Sub-headers are crucial for holding impatient readers on the page, as are concise paragraphs. Things your content needs to keep GTTP readers happy: ◆ Punchy, short snippets of information ◆ Very clear titles & subtitles
  62. 62. Copywriting Essentials 61 ◆ Pictures and bullets to break up text ◆ A clear call to action and reason for it at the bottom of the page ◆ Telling your basic story through headers and bullets
  63. 63. 62 Motivating Human Factors WHY PEOPLE WANT STUFF People want products or services for lots of different reasons. You can take refine this by paying close attention to the psychology of the audience you are trying to appeal to. When you also understand the psychology behind their desires you can tap into their deepest motivating factors. Most of the time humans are motivated by ego or security based needs. We humans are also creatures of habit. We are programmed to survive and prosper by conditioning and following patterns which help us to function in every-day life. Imagine if every time you wanted to light a dark room, you had to learn how to turn on a light switch. Life would be pretty stressful. Our brains are wired to remember certain tasks by rote so we can focus on other, more important tasks.
  64. 64. Copywriting Essentials 63 In the stone age female brains needed to have the capacity to multitask so they could prepare food and make clothes while watching all their children so a saber-toothed tiger didn't eat one of them. Mens’ brains might have been programmed to know how to throw a spear accurately so they could hunt effectively and bring back food to the tribe. My point is: our DNA is wired for programming! Our programming keeps us feeling safe or brings us closer to what we believe will improve our lives in many ways. In the days of cavemen, important tasks included hunting and foraging for food. In todays’ age, important tasks include how you perform at work in order to get paid. When buying something, our auto-programming is working quietly in our subconscious and has a massive influence over our buying decision. It’s important as a copywriter to understand what conditioning or programming is driving a readers’ buying decisions. There are fundamentally 6 human needs that we try to keep in balance - mostly unconsciously - through programming. The problem is that our programming as a mechanism to meet these needs often controls our decisions in life. So what are these human needs and how to they effect our actions when buying something? 6 Fundamental Human Needs: 1. Certainty and Security
  65. 65. Mia Gordon 64 2. Uncertainty or Variety 3. Feeling Significant or Important 4. Feeling Connected or Loved by Someone 5. Growth and Contribution 6. Contribution to the Whole (all of humanity) 1. The first need, to feel secure and safe, is a very powerful one. It is all about security and safety. The caveman genes in all of us give us the instinct to watch for predators. Obviously the modern day predator could be someone trying to fleece us out of our hard earned money. In our copywriting we need to address this need. We need to prove to our readers that we have good intentions, and that we are capable of helping them get what they want. 2. The second need is around wanting certainty, the need to know we can expect a likely outcome. Then there is the exact opposite of this coin which is the need to enjoy something that is different and exciting. In copywriting both of these needs can be addressed. For example to satisfy the need for a defined outcome you can add case studies of other customers, or demonstrate this by systematically showing how your xyz can produce the sort of outcome the reader might expect. Then to also satisfy the need for variety or something new and innovative, you can talk about new developments and innovations, or something that had never been done (maybe in a certain way) before. 3. Feeling significant and important is another powerful driver. People want to feel like they are valued and important. So when you are writing content, think about how you can validate your reader. I'm not talking about being patronizing and schmoozing people. I am however, saying that you can find a way to help your reader feel good about their decision making process by building in affirmations from other credible people that they are on the right track. An example of this could be adding a third party endorsement that suggests that clever, smart, efficient or happy people, for example, buy
  66. 66. Copywriting Essentials 65 xyz. If other people who have made the decision to do x are being praised or validated, they will naturally want to be included in that group of "cool" people. People who are seen to donate to good causes are also an example of validation not only from a contribution point of view, but also because they are more likely to receive praise and gratitude from others. 4. Feeling connected and accepted is another important need for people. It's a commonly accepted fact that having a sense of belonging is important for human growth and development. Being accepted amongst your peers makes one feel safe and happy. People will do all kinds of things to belong. Clubs, hobby groups and gangs are examples of peer groups that offer their participants a sense of belonging. This also applies to trends in fashion, sports, career paths and even in celebrity following. When writing your copy, you can create an opportunity for the reader to connect with their group, (what I like to call their "tribe") through your content and, ideally, your products and/or services. 5. Growth. People want to grow and contribute to something bigger than themselves. Some people who have come from humble beginnings have achieved great things that others aspire to. Most of us have the underlying wish do this, if only we could muster the courage or confidence required of us. If you can give your readers the opportunity to do something that allows them to grow and extend themselves, they will feel positive and hopeful about themselves and you too. 6. Contribution and philanthropy. This need generally applies to people who aren't in survival mode more so than to people who are just surviving. This is why many successful entrepreneurs who feel they live an abundant life want to contribute to a bigger cause than just their own survival. Like a donation box at your local supermarket, you can give your readers an opportunity to do something good for someone else. This is why causes are
  67. 67. Mia Gordon 66 so motivating for people. You may not have the opportunity to do this often in a direct way, but you can think of ways that you offer useful content that others want to share as a way to help others. The human desire to be a better person, to help others and connect with fellow humans. We all want to be seen and feel like we are "good", and when given a chance - many will take the opportunity to do something good. These are some positive motivating factors to ponder. If you can touch on and appeal to one or more of your readers’ basic needs through your content, you will build a strong foundation to expand on. You can also appeal to some very strong ego based emotions which we will cover in the next section "7 deadly sins". By now you should have ideas floating around about how this could apply to your content. If not don't worry, you can use a template to brainstorm some ideas. Most of the time - as cringeworthy as it is to admit - , humans are very often motivated by ego. People want products or services for lots of different reasons, but you can just about guarantee that at least some of their reasoning will come down to ego gratification in some form. Writing sales copy as we know is a creative but also a planned process. You need to cover many bases to make sure your copy takes people through the process you want them to go. There’s no doubt it can sometimes be tricky trying to come up with ideas to tie your content into a readers’ needs, and desires. When looking for ways to resonate with your readers’ desires and concerns though your content you can refer to human needs, and you can also borrow from some of the oldest motivators in the book - literally!
  68. 68. Copywriting Essentials 67 Are you familiar with the seven “deadly sins” listed in the Bible? They are: pride, envy, lust, anger, greed and sloth. ◆ Pride is an excessive sense of ego and an inflated belief in one's own abilities. Pride is also known as vanity. ◆ Envy is the desire to have others' traits, status, abilities, or situation. ◆ Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume excessively, past the point of what is actually required. ◆ Lust is an extreme craving for bodily pleasures. ◆ Anger or wrath is an extreme dislike or hate of something or someone. ◆ Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain at the expense of the spiritual. ◆ Sloth is the avoidance of effort, work - otherwise known as laziness. Over the centuries these "sins" have had their fair share of bad publicity. There is a general assumption that anyone exhibiting one or more of these traits are devoid of morality. This is not necessarily true and if we get honest with ourselves for one moment: we have to accept that all humans operate with an element of each of these traits. We wouldn't be human if we didn't! All of these factors are good motivators and can be included in your copy. For example - if one of the benefits of something you were selling was looking great, then you could use the 7 deadly sins to come up with some triggers to highlight that benefit. Use this list to come up with a whole bunch of ideas. ◆ How could your product or service make your reader the envy of their peers? ◆ How could your product or service make someone look good to their peers? ◆ How can you appeal to their greed?
  69. 69. Mia Gordon 68 ◆ How can you appeal to their laziness (sloth)? You get the idea. So go for it - let your ideas flow and have fun! It's true that little things can make a huge difference in copywriting. Research done by Robert Claudini from Arizona State University showed that giving people a reason why when asking them to do something increases their likelihood of doing it by double in many cases. Researchers examined the donation process of the American Cancer Society, and how a last minute change in the way they asked for donations delivered drastically different results. Their results demonstrate the need to analyze why people say "no," rather than just why they say "yes." Donation collectors were sent door to door with two slightly different versions of donation requests. The first request was worded as follows: "Would you be willing to help by giving a donation?" The second request was worded as follows: "Would you be willing to help by giving a donation? Every penny will help." This is a very small difference, right? Although the difference in wording may seem subtle, the difference in results was stunning. Results showed that those who were asked the second variation were almost twice as likely to donate. 28% vs. 50% was the actual ratio.
  70. 70. Copywriting Essentials 69 Cialdini's researchers concluded that people are much more likely to take an action when parameters to follow have been set., and that people are more likely to take action when minimal parameters are set. This example highlights two things about the people donating. First, the second appeal gives them a number to work with - pennies - and Second, it shows that people who are given a reason are more likely to be able to justify or feel good about doing something for a good cause. The interesting thing to note is that the two groups donated the same amount, yes that's right, the second group were just as happy to donate at the same level. There is an even more interesting story to add here. This theory has been tested across many profit based business models, and also situations where no money but a personal assistance request was made. It also applied to queue jumpers asking to skip ahead of someone in a line. If they gave a reason, almost any benign reason and used the word "because", a higher percentage of people said “OK” to the person wanting to butt in. Of course you can use this in your copy. By adding words like “because” and combining it with phrases like "it will help you to _______", you can improve the conversion rates of your calls to action.
  71. 71. 70 MOTIVATIONS & HOOKS Humans are creatures of habit. We are programmed to survive and prosper by conditioning and following patterns which help us to function in everyday life. Imagine if every time you wanted to light a dark room, you had to learn how to turn on a light switch over and over again. Life would be pretty stressful. Our brains are wired to remember certain tasks by rote so we can focus on other, more important tasks. In the stone age female brains would need to have the capacity to multitask so they could prepare food and make clothes while watching their children so a mountain lion didn't eat one of them. Mens’ brains might have been programmed to have the skill to throw a spear accurately so they could hunt effectively and bring back food to the tribe. The point is - our DNA is programmed for survival - habits that keep us safe and secure!
  72. 72. Copywriting Essentials 71 In the days of cavemen important tasks would be hunting and foraging for food, in todays’ age that would be the tasks you perform at work in order to get paid. When buying something, our auto-programming is working quietly in our subconscious and has a massive influence over our buying decisions. It’s important as a copywriter to understand what conditioning or programming is driving a reader’s buying decisions. Our programming either keeps us feeling safe, or brings us closer to what we believe will improve our lives in many ways. We want to: Feel popular and included Feel abundant (or wealthy) Feel attractive Feel healthy Feel secure Feel peaceful and happy Have more time Have fun Behind the desire to feel these things lies a set of human needs. There are 6 basic human needs that we try, and sometimes struggle, to keep in balance. Most of these needs are unconsciously working away in the background and manifest themselves through our programming. Our programming is simply a mechanism to meet these needs and our "program for survival" controls every decision we make in life, including what we choose to buy.
  73. 73. Mia Gordon 72 So what are these humans needs and how to they effect our actions when buying something? If you think about the feeling we want to experience, they all come down to one of these 6 fundamental human needs: The 6 Fundamental Human Needs: 1. Certainty and Security 2. Uncertainty or Variety 3. Feeling Significant or Important 4. Feeling Connected or Loved by Someone 5. Growth and Contribution 6. Contribution to the Whole (all of humanity) 1. The first need to feel secure and safe is a very powerful one. It is all about security and safety. The survival genes in all of us have the instinct to watch for predators. Obviously the modern day predator could be someone trying to fleece us out of our hard earned money. When copywriting we need to address this need. We need to prove to our readers that we have good intentions and that we are capable of helping them get what they want. 2. The second need is wanting certainty. It’s the need to know we can expect a likely outcome. Yet we also want the exact opposite of this coin: the need to enjoy something that is different and exciting. In copywriting terms, both of these needs can be addressed. For example so satisfy the need for an expected outcome you could add case studies from other customers, and demonstrating how systematically doing X can produce Y (the kind of outcome the reader wants). And to also satisfy the need for variety or something new and innovative, you could talk about new developments and inventions, or something that had never been done in a specific way before. 3. Feeling significant and important is another powerful driver. People want to feel like they are valued and important. So when you are writing
  74. 74. Copywriting Essentials 73 content, think about how you can validate your reader. I'm not talking about being patronizing and schmoozing people, I am however, saying that if you can find a way to help the reader feel good about their decision making process and build in testimonials from credible sources that they are on the right track. An example of this could be achieved by adding a 3rd party endorsement that suggests that clever, smart, efficient or happy people, for example, buy xyz. If other people who have made the decision to do x are being praised or validated, they will naturally want to be included in that group of "cool" people. People being seen to donate to good causes are also an example of validation, not only from a contribution point of view, but also because they are more likely to receive praise and gratitude from others. 4. Feeling connected and accepted is another important need for people. It's a commonly accepted fact that having a sense of belonging is important for human growth and development. Being accepted amongst your peers makes one feel safe and happy. People will do all kinds of things to belong. Clubs, hobby groups and gangs are examples of peer groups that offer their participants a sense of belonging. This also applies to trends - fashion, sports, career paths and even celebrity following. When writing you copy, you can create an opportunity for the reader to connect with their group, or what I like to call their "tribe" through your content and ideally your products and/or services. 5. Growth. People want to grow and contribute to something bigger than themselves. Some people who have come from humble beginnings have achieved great things that other aspire to. Most of us have this underlying wish, if we could muster the courage or confidence to become better in some way. If you can give your readers the opportunity to do something that allows them to grow and extend themselves, they will feel positive and hopeful about themselves and you too.
  75. 75. Mia Gordon 74 6. Contribution and philanthropy. This need generally applies to people who have moved past survival mode. This is why many successful entrepreneurs who feel they live an abundant existence want to contribute to a bigger cause than just their own survival. Like a donation box at your local supermarket, you can give your readers an opportunity to do something good for someone else. This is why causes are so motivating for people. You may not have the opportunity to do this often is a direct way, but you can think of ways that you offer useful content that others want to share as a way to help others. The human desire to be a better person, to help others and connect with fellow humans. We all want to be seen and feel like we are "good", and when given a chance - many will take the opportunity to do something good. You can also encourage readers, build their confidence because some people will hold back due to fear of failure. Don't be afraid to give them lots of cues that remind them they CAN achieve something. These are some positive motivating factors to ponder. If you can touch on and appeal to one or more of your readers basic needs through your content, you will build a strong foundation to expand on. By now you should have some ideas floating around about how this could apply to your content. If not don't worry, you can use a template to brainstorm some ideas. You can also appeal to some very strong ego based emotions which we will cover in the next section "7 deadly sins".
  76. 76. 75 7 DEADLY SINS Most of the time - as cringeworthy as it is to admit - humans are very often motivated by ego. People want stuff or services for lots of different reasons, but you can just about guarantee that at least some of their reasoning will come down to ego in some form. Writing sales copy as we know is a creative but also planned process. You need to cover many bases to make sure your copy takes people though all the processes you want them to go through. It can be tricky sometimes trying to come up with ideas to tie your content into a readers needs, and desires. When looking for ways to resonate with an audiences’ desires and concerns though content, you can refer to the 6 human needs and you can also borrow from some of the oldest motivators in the book - literally! I’m referring to the Seven Deadly Sins mentioned in the Bible:. They are pride, envy, lust, anger, greed and sloth.
  77. 77. Mia Gordon 76 ◆ Pride is an excessive sense of ego and inflated belief in one's own abilities. Pride is also known as vanity. ◆ Envy is the desire to have others' traits, status, abilities, or situation. ◆ Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume excessively to the point of more than what is required. ◆ Lust is an extreme craving for bodily pleasures. ◆ Anger or wrath is manifested as an extreme dislike for or hatred of something or someone. ◆ Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain at the expense of the spiritual. ◆ Sloth is the avoidance of effort, of work - otherwise known as laziness. Over the centuries these "sins" have had their fair share of bad publicity. There is a general assumption that anyone exhibiting one or more of these traits is devoid of morality. This is not necessarily true. If we get honest with ourselves for one moment, we have to accept that all humans operate with an element of each of these traits. We wouldn't be human if we didn't. They are just part of our survival mechanisms manifested in a different form. All of these factors are good motivators, and can be included in your copy. For example: if one of the benefits of something you were selling was looking great, then you could use the 7 deadly sins to come up with some triggers to highlight that benefit. Use the 7 deadly sins to come up with a whole bunch of ideas. ◆ How could your product or service make your reader the envy of their peers? ◆ How could your product or service make someone look good to their peers? ◆ How can you appeal to their greed?
  78. 78. Copywriting Essentials 77 ◆ How can you appeal to their laziness (sloth). You get the idea. So go for it - let your ideas flow and have fun!
  79. 79. 78 GIVING YOUR READER A REASON TO ACT It's true that little things can make a huge difference in copywriting. Research done by Robert Cialdini from Arizona State University showed that giving people a reason why when asking them to do something increases their likelihood of doing it by multiples in many cases. Researchers examined the donation process of the American Cancer Society, and how a last minute change to the way they asked for donations delivered drastically different results. The results demonstrate the need to analyze why people say "no," rather than just why they say "yes." Donation collectors were sent door to door with two slightly different versions of donation requests: The first request was worded as follows: "Would you be willing to help by giving a donation?"
  80. 80. Copywriting Essentials 79 The second request was worded as follows: "Would you be willing to help by giving a donation? Every penny will help." This is a very small difference, right? Although the wording may seem subtle, the difference in results was stunning. Results showed that those who were asked the second variation were almost twice as likely to donate: 28% vs. 50% was the actual ratio. Cialdini's researchers concluded that people are much more likely to take an action when minimal parameters to follow have been set. This example highlights two things about the people donating. First it shows that, giving people a number to work with, in this case pennies, incentivizes them to donate,. Second, it shows that people who are given a reason are more likely to justify or feel good about doing something for a cause. An interesting thing to note is that the two groups donated the same amount of money!, Yes that's right, the second group of people were just as happy to donate at the same level as the first. And there is an even more interesting story to add here. This theory has been tested across many profit-based business models, as well as in situations where no money but a personal assistance request was made. This also applied to queue jumpers asking to skip ahead of someone in a line. If they gave a reason, almost any benign reason and used the word "because", a high percentage of people said ok to someone butting in politely Of course you can use this in your copy. By adding words like because and combining these with phrases like "it will help you to _______", you can improve the conversion rates of your calls to action.
  81. 81. Mia Gordon 80 Use “because” where appropriate - without overdoing it.
  82. 82. 81 WORDS TO USE TO DESCRIBE FEELINGS H e r e a r e s o m e m o r e
  83. 83. Mia Gordon 82 i d e a s t o h e l p y o u d e s c r i b e h o w a
  84. 84. Copywriting Essentials 83 r e a d e r m a y f e e l . U s e t h e s e i n y o
  85. 85. Mia Gordon 84 u r c o p y , b u t d o n ' t o v e r - d o i t b y
  86. 86. Copywriting Essentials 85 u s i n g t o m a n y l i k e " h e w a s o v e r w h
  87. 87. Mia Gordon 86 e l m e d a t t h e f o r e b o d i n g a n x i o u s n e
  88. 88. Copywriting Essentials 87 s s h e f e l t w h i l e l i b e r a t i n g h i m s e
  89. 89. Mia Gordon 88 l f f r o m h i s c l o t h i n g o n s t a g e o n
  90. 90. Copywriting Essentials 89 f r o n t o f t h e 3 0 0 0 e y e s o f a n a u d i
  91. 91. Mia Gordon 90 e n c e f i l l e d a u d i t o r i u m " Have a play around with some of these in your copy. Pleasant Feelings OPEN HAPPY ALIVE understanding great playful confident gay courageous
  92. 92. Copywriting Essentials 91 reliable joyous energetic easy lucky liberated amazed fortunate optimistic free delighted provocative sympathetic overjoyed impulsive interested gleeful free satisfied thankful frisky receptive important animated accepting festive spirited kind ecstatic thrilled satisfied wonderful glad cheerful sunny merry elated jubilant
  93. 93. Mia Gordon 92 LOVING INTERESTED POSITIVE loving concerned eager considerate affected keen affectionate fascinated earnest sensitive intrigued intent tender absorbed anxious devoted inquisitive inspired attracted nosy determined passionate snoopy excited admiration engrossed enthusiastic warm curious bold touched brave sympathy daring close challenged loved optimistic comforted re-enforced drawn toward confident hopeful
  94. 94. Copywriting Essentials 93 Difficult/Unpleasant Feelings ANGRY DEPRESSED CONFUSED irritated lousy upset enraged disappointed doubtful hostile discouraged uncertain insulting ashamed indecisive sore powerless perplexed annoyed diminished embarrassed upset guilty hesitant hateful dissatisfied shy unpleasant miserable stupefied offensive detestable disillusioned bitter repugnant unbelieving aggressive despicable skeptical resentful disgusting distrustful inflamed abominable misgiving provoked terrible lost incensed in despair unsure

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