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Sales Copywriting Tips & Techniques

Discussion in 'Copywriting & Sales Persuasion' started by StarWorks, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. StarWorks

    StarWorks Newbie

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    Listen BHW Crew,

    Copywriting is an art, make no mistake about it.

    Incontrovertibly, copywriting is a dichotomous art form - it is fundamentally a simple conflation of sales persuasion and writing. Your job as a copywriter begins by achieving cognizance of the mental/emotional frame or state of mind of your target audience. Once you have a lucid understanding of the cognitive state your target audience will be in, you are only then ready to begin composing your sales copy.

    The key to a successful sales copy is rhetoric that is specifically tailored to its respective demographic, and ultimately elicits the values and emotional responses auspicious to closing the sale.

    The mistake many amateur copywriters make, is creating a sales copy replete with brusque, desultory thoughts that lack coherence and ergo, fail to convert. You must evince in your sales copy, for example in weight-loss, a narrative that navigates the reader through the process, from problem to solution; from point A (being overweight) to point B, C, D, etc., all the way to the last point: ideal weight.

    In other words, your visitors arrive on your landing page with a problem (overweight) and if you know the solution they seek is to lose their excess weight, then as long as you clearly navigate your visitor from problem to solution logically, from point A to B, C, D, etc., in such a way that by the end of reading your sales page, your visitor has become unassailably convinced your product is the solution they seek - they will have no choice but to *CLICK* 'BUY NOW.'

    Sales copy needs to be enticing as well - you want the reader's attention to be fully captured. For an opening or heading, what sounds better to you:

    "Lose Weight Fast - Easy System to Shed the Pounds Fast"

    Or

    "INSANE Weight Annihilation: Whistleblower Exposes Revolutionary Weight-Loss Secrets"

    You probably said the second one, right? Of course you did! This is the type of rhetoric you want to use as an embellishment in your sales copy to counter the more lackluster but requisite details of whatever you're selling. Becoming an expert at supplementing your copy with this type of rhetorical panache helps hype your visitor about the product and navigate your reader down the sales conduit that is your landing-page.

    I apologize if this post was a bit discursive, as I just finished a copywriting assignment from a big client of mine and I'm a bit worn out.

    Good Luck!
     
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  2. verial

    verial Junior Member

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    Good post, but I couldn't disagree more.

    Copywriting is a science, not an art.

    What works works because of psychological principles that have been proved through research.

    Why do most copywriters fail? Because they neglect this fact.
     
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  3. StarWorks

    StarWorks Newbie

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    Copywriting in and of itself is not a science--psychology is the science. Copywriting is the act of invoking the scientific principles of psychology, and translating that scientific understanding into an artistic rhetorical composition. Therefore, I maintain that copywriting, although drawing from various facets of knowledge, ultimately is a work of art.
     
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  4. yepnopers

    yepnopers Registered Member

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    too many big words - tldr
     
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  5. QualityContentWriter

    QualityContentWriter Junior Member

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    You are both correct, but mostly verial because Psychology does play a huge part in writing copy that sells.

    BUT... a counselor wouldn't have the same skills to write copy that sells. In that sense, copy writing is an art.

    BUT... a counselor would do a much better job at writing copy that sells, compared to an inexperienced writer who doesn't take the demographics / state of mind into account. Writing great copy is a combination of both skill sets, not just a jumble of words that follow a "tried and tested template".

    IN FACT... out of both of those headlines, I would say neither is effective. If I had to choose one, I'd choose the first. The latter is too hyped up, too sales-y and screams "scam". At least the first is pretty straight forward, because TRUST is something most sales copywriters can't establish through manipulation. That's where a counselor would do better.

    BUT... I'm not saying that the sales copy tactic you used to beef up that second headline wouldn't work on some readers. I just don't believe it's the most effective strategy to convert the largest possible audience. Especially with the decline in trust now that thousands of scams have used those tricks.

    If I were to pull a title out of thin air for weight loss, it might read:

    I blamed the extra pounds on my second pregnancy...

    5 years later I stopped using that excuse. It was time to get back into those old jeans, the ones that used to make my butt look amazing.

    I also gave the first sentence to show how the title pulls you in, to keep reading. Of course this would go on to tell the story, maybe, of how "I" used this system and reached that destination you described... and how good it felt. That title doesn't necessarily build trust any more than the others, but it offers more reason to want to keep reading and to keep a reader engaged. Give them something to relate to. That's how psychology plays a huge part in it all... not to manipulate but to understand and engage.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  6. OutcastSlayer

    OutcastSlayer Newbie

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    Thanks for the info good stuff.
     
  7. JerryT

    JerryT Newbie

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    Great stuff man, it is an art and science
     
  8. QualityContentWriter

    QualityContentWriter Junior Member

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    This could turn into an interesting debate, but I'll settle it and say we are both right. I will never say the hyped up headlines don't work because they do. But I will say that more and more people see right through it and walk away, much like a pushy salesmen. Again, it does work... but when I helped one client take out the hype- we saw the bounce rate drop from 70% to under 30% and the conversion rate tripled all in under a week... there's something to be said for "average". :)
     
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  9. silverluke

    silverluke Newbie

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    Are their words that you should not use?
     
  10. WizGizmo

    WizGizmo Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Yes . . . Avoid using the word "me". The customer cares about what's in
    it for him. So use "you" often, but avoid using "me" as much as possible.

    "Wiz"
     
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  11. silverluke

    silverluke Newbie

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    thanks, so make it all about them, but how do you sell to them that way without making it about you?
     
  12. WizGizmo

    WizGizmo Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    One of the "rules" of copywriting is to assume that the customer is asking, "What's in it for me?"
    Therefore, it is important to answer that question by emphasizing how your product will benefit
    him/her. Use words in your sales copy like "you", "yours", etc., and avoid talking about yourself.

    That being said, there are also exceptions to the above stated rule. For instance, when you are
    working in "desperate buyers" niches.

    A desperate buyer is a person who has a problem that is causing him/her some type of distress,
    pain, frustration, etc., and as a result, they are desperately seeking a solution to their problem.
    In cases such as that, it is very effective if you insert yourself into the picture.

    Let's say for instance that the individual is having trouble losing weight. Now if you are selling
    an ebook related to the Weight Loss niche, it helps if you tell the customer how you can
    understand the pain and embarrassment they are experiencing, since you also had a weight
    problem in the past until you discovered this new diet, technique, etc. that can be found
    in the ebook you are selling. By doing that, you are creating a "bond" or "kinship" with the
    customer which can prove to be very effective in motivating him/her to buy your product.

    Cheers! - "Wiz"
     
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  13. Ramsweb

    Ramsweb Senior Member

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    Another thing to remember while writing copies is that the average American reads at a 7th or 8th grade level. That will probably apply to most other nations as well. Big words don't necessarily make a sales page look special nor do they make them convert better.
    If anything, they might confuse a lot of people. Of course, if your sales page appeals to that segment of the population that is considered to be fully literate, i.e being able to read at an undergraduate or graduate level, it makes sense to use strong lexis that uses "big words".
     
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  14. WizGizmo

    WizGizmo Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    That is very true. It makes your ad copy much easier to read and
    comprehend if you use smaller words and shorter sentences.
     
  15. Redmancometh

    Redmancometh Newbie

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    If you really think the second one sounds better you need some marketing classes. Any consumer that isn't in the bottom 5th of the bottom 5th of America would see that as a scam. That title screams "bad product" or "scam" so loudly I can hear it all the way in Texas. Further, the "[insert role] exposes revolutionary [bunch of BS]" campaigning is being utilized by known scam or borderline scam sites.

    If I had to guess what was behind that link it would be something like this: a company that sells some kind of BS superfood supplement. Probably acai berry. You order a "free trial" from them, and even if you cancel they charge your card for something ridiculous like 3 or 6 months. That exact scam with other products, using the exact same formatting is literally ubiquitous. "Mom discovers amazing teeth whitening secret" "stupid fat guy makes $2500 a month for sitting on a beanbag chair and watching porn."

    Maybe I'm the only one who pick up on those flags I don't know. I have friends that are aggressively ignorant of all things internet however, and even they know those ads are BS. You are confusing hype with sensationalism, and it's a very important distinction in marketing.
     
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  16. QualityContentWriter

    QualityContentWriter Junior Member

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    Also, with most markets these days, avoid fluff and most buzz words. For the same reason (smells like scam.) Things like:

    1) Rock star. N inja. Guru.
    2) Excessive adjectives.
    3) Words that attempt to make your reader feel inferior. See the recommended reading level, and even if you're dealing with a more literate audience you still want to avoid hyped up phrases like "paradigm shift" or "intellectual capital".
    4) Cliche phrases. Think outside the box! (<< That's an example!) Just get rid of the darn box and say something original, unique, and creative!
    5) Swearing. Scratch that, sometimes a little f bomb can wake your reader up and keep their attention. But don't take that advice if you haven't "mastered everything else" so forget I said that.
     
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  17. froggy23

    froggy23 Newbie

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    Thank you for your insightful tips. I really enjoyed this post!
     
  18. stratocentric

    stratocentric Junior Member

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    Am I the only one that loved studying the great infomercials that Billy Mays used to pitch? This was a good topic.
     
  19. WizGizmo

    WizGizmo Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    Billy Mays injected huge amounts of enthusiasm into his sales pitches,
    and as we all know, enthusiasm is contagious. Also, every product he
    pitched was something that could be demonstrated.

    If you are doing video (Youtube) sales presentations and if you can
    incorporate a convincing demonstration into it, then yes . . . Billy Mays
    is a great example to follow/model.
     
  20. QualityContentWriter

    QualityContentWriter Junior Member

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    Before I chased my dreams of being a writer full time, I used to work a bunch of different "dead end" jobs that didn't offer any fulfillment, but they all contributed to who I am and the skills I offer. One particular job was with sales. Have you ever heard of Cutco cutlery? They are the best kitchen knives you'll ever own, hands down, and that has nothing to do with the fact that I've been brainwashed into brainwashing others about the excellence that is Cutco. They are very, very expensive... not much worse than their competitors (Wusthof, Henckels, etc.) The difference is that Cutco is not sold in stores... it's sold by young people, usually by students as a part time job.

    I related to this post, about the infomercials, and how enthusiastic sales demos has contributed to my success with writing sales copy. First, you have to know all the awesome features and you have to LOVE each one, but more importantly you have to know how to translate each feature into the benefit that would motivate each prospect. Yes that sounds cliche but it's true. It's a pain in the butt doing an in house demonstration of a product like that, I mean it cost something like $40 just for a paring knife. But that's how I learned that cost really does not matter. Selling to a professional chef was easy, and so was selling to a low income single mom... but it was never done the same way.

    If you ever need to brush up on sales copy writing skills, I strongly recommend looking for a "Vector Marketing" nearby and picking up a part time job selling Cutco. The training is great, and the experience is all you need to sharpen those sales skills.