The 7 Deadly Sins of Copywriting

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1 The 7 Deadly Sins of Copywriting by Beverly Bergman Turning Copy Into Gold 2008 BB Marketing Solutions Copywriting Communications Group

2 Dear Marketing Professional, There are hundreds if not thousands of tips, tricks and strategies to writing effective Direct Response Copy. Direct Response Copy is advertising text intended to elicit a specific response, such as to place an order or sign up for a class, request further information etc. Although in many ways the tips below apply to anything you may write, they are aimed at writing effective advertising or promotional copy. These are the top seven fatal copywriting errors to avoid: Copywriting Mistake #1: Ignoring Your Key Words and Keyword Phrases Before you write anything, you must know the key words your prospects will likely use to find you on the Internet, and you must know them cold. Keep them in front of you when writing. Even if you are writing for offline media such as a magazine article or a printed brochure, realize that your reader will likely conduct an Internet search after reading the piece if they want more information. It is your job to lead and mirror your prospective clients by making sure the key words or phrases they are likely to use are planted in your copy. This is a two part mistake, with the second part being using industry jargon, as most businesses tend to do. Copywriting Mistake #2: Not Writing Conversationally Especially for marketing purposes, write conversationally, the way you would talk if explaining to a fifth grader. Why? Because your goal here is to convince them buy what you re selling, not impress and confuse by using big words. If you want to check to see the grade level comprehension for what you ve already written, use the Flesch Readability Statistics feature in Microsoft Word. Copywriting Mistake #3: Writing for the Masses When writing for marketing purposes, always write to one person. This is difficult

3 at first because your natural inclination is to imagine all the people who will be reading your copy. Think about that one 5th grader. Use 2nd person you because it s all about the individual reader, not about the author (I) or a crowd (them). When you review your copy, change phrases like you all ; some of you ; many of you ; etc. Copywriting Mistake #4: Confusing Features with Clearly Stated Benefits Your reader wants to know what s in it for him or her. Period. Don t try to educate with too much detail up front and don t confuse features with benefits. The less space you have to write the more critical this becomes. Remember your purpose is to sell. Explain the benefits of your product and how it will help them. Here s an one example of a feature versus a benefit: Feature: High horsepower Miles per gallon Heated seats Benefit: Climb hills easier & faster Save money & fuel Stay warm in winter Always remember this: Features TELL and Benefits SELL! Copywriting Mistake #5: Using Passive Voice Because It Sounds More Refined Your purpose is to stir the reader to whatever action you want them to take. Use active voice, not passive to guide the reader. Write Sign up and you ll get one hour of free consultation not Should you choose to sign up, you ll be the recipient of one hour of free consultation. Write Land a great job not Learn to interview more successfully. This is not the venue to impress with your command of the English language. Avoid using big words and complicated sentences when a short simple one will do remember you are writing as if explaining to a 5th grader. Copywriting Mistake # 6: Failing to Connect With Your Client

4 To succeed in business today, you need to be able to connect with your potential clients. You want them to know that you understand their pain and what they need from you as a solution. Your prospective clients are searching for something or someone to help solve their problem and ease their pain. With more than 16 million web sites out there, your competition is just a click away. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Your first job is to engage your prospective client. Copywriting Mistake # 7: Not Understanding How Copy Persuades AIDA is an acronym commonly used in marketing to explain the traditional paradigm of the way advertising and sales work. It stands for: A Attention I Interest D Desire A Action Sometimes, it s seen as AIDAS, adding Satisfaction to the list. These steps define the proper order to introduce various copy points. #1 Attention Before you can sell them your product, you must get their attention --somehow. There is no clear answer as to the best way to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes it can be a graphic image that gets their attention, sometimes it can be the type face used, sometimes it can be the color or absence of it (a black and white ad in a sea of color.) Sometimes it s the headline. You should always have the strongest possible headline, regardless of whether one of the other factors ultimately ends up gaining the attention. #2 Interest Again, the other elements can help to pique the reader s interest, but that is really the copy s job. So after you ve gotten their attention, you want to develop their interest. Sometimes that s through a sub-head that expands on the headline

5 concept. Other times, you just delve right into the copy. Demonstrate the benefits of the product. But the selling doesn t come until the end (action), so you must create a high level of interest. #3 Desire Next, your copy must stimulate an overwhelming desire to have whatever it is you re describing. Think about what would make you feel excited about getting the product or service. Expand on the benefits, what it will do for the reader; what specific needs the product will meet. Convince them of the advantages and communicate how your services will improve their life. #4 Action What action do you want them to take? Do you want them to buy a product, sign up for a class, call for an appointment? Think about the purpose of the copy. You ve lead them to this point with attention, interest and desire now you have to ask for the order -- whether it s paid or a freebie. Tell them specifically how they can get what you re selling. Convince them it s in their best interest to engage. Give them a strong incentive/good reason to act right now. # 5 Satisfaction You want them to know that you are concerned about their experience with you and that you value them. You want to connect with them and build an ongoing long-term relationship. You want the client to be happy, give you good referrals and come back for more. You might offer a free consultation and/or a money back guarantee. And be sure to follow up with regular communication to retain them as a client. *******************************************************************

6 Watch your box for my Ezine Golden Copy Nuggets where you ll get more copywriting and marketing tips -- along with the scoop on how to access great marketing resources. To Your Infinite Success, Beverly Bergman The Queen of Copywriting BB Marketing Solutions Copywriting Communications Group

7 This report is copyrighted by BB Marketing Solutions. No part of this may be copied, or changed in any format, sold, or used in any way other than what is outlined within this report under any circumstances.

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