When I started writing, my first effort at thirteen years of age was a short novel that never saw the light of day. I gave it to my English teacher who was so excited and had said he wanted to see it published. He went through the book with a knife as it were slashing every wrong phrase and word I had written that was in the wrong place. It was heart breaking but at thirteen years of age I stomached the editing by my teacher with a school child’s obedience.
It was then I soon learnt that my ego wasn’t that important. My desire to see a book published in my name swallowed whatever little pride I had. What has this to do with copy writing or marketing? As a copy writer I have learnt and taught the same kind of humility for a different reason of-course. Profit is more important than ego.
How so? Every copywriter goes through this. When you start writing copy for clients you will be extremely luck if there is no revision requests on the copy you write. Sometimes it’s painful. Why, because quite often as a copywriter and marketing consultant you often know what could bring in the money and what doesn’t. The customer is always right takes a new meaning here. As a copywiter I often know what my client’s customer wants. My bosses those that hire me to write their blog, sales letter, or catalogue might have an ego to satisfy that has nothing to do with profit. They then chop and change copy sometimes with unprofitable consequences. Quite often I have politely pointed out in many words of-course “that money is better than an ego”. I have even coined the phrase with my clients. “An ego doesn’t buy you lunch.”
One of the most important checklists I have come up with especially in writing marketing copy is ” What phrase or sentence is in this sales letter or advert that doesn’t advance the sale?” When it comes to chopping and changing any copy, I have learnt not to let my ego or that of the client say the last word. Knowing fully well that an ego buys no lunch and pays no bills. I have always asked the client and even allowed myself to remove any sentence or phrases that contribute nothing in advancing the sale.
In writing persuasive sales letters I have relied on a checklist below. You may find it useful for your copy writing efforts:
Sales letter checklist
No editing at first. Good writing is rewriting
Whenever I sit down to write copy I lose my editor’s pen first. I write on a first thought , first written basis. My first draft is rarely the best but it’s a great foundation to build on. Some copy needs to be left alone for days then revisited and edited to a perfect draft.
Kill the ego and take out whatever is not advancing the sell
Some writers write for show. Some marketers do the same as well. It’s a terrible mistake to write for show. The only show that I write for is results. I am quick to remind my clients, as a marketing copy writer I write for money and I want my copy to make money for my clients. My marketing and sales copy has got only one goal, to make money for my clients. “Let’s agree”, I usually quip to them to take out anything that does not advance the sell. They usually thank me later.
Before I write any copy I first try to figure out what the big idea of the article or sales letter is. Having a big idea helps with the direction of the copy.
I write my headlines five to ten times before I settle on the one I think will not show off but attract my chosen target market. Headlines make everything else happen. Without attractive headlines no copy will be read. No reading no buying.
This pulls in the reader into the copy and has to be carefully crafted for effective results. If your copy is not attracting prospects with the headline and the lead it would not sell.
Bullet point headings have to be thought out, as some readers scan through the copy to see if the article has any bullets and subheadings that will be of interest.
Offer an irresistible offer
The offer is very important. It has to be carefully thought out and carefully crafted. The offer is the deal. If your sales letter has no offer, you have no selling point and won’t get business. The offer has to be irresistible it has got to sell itself.
A guarantee allays the fears of every business transaction. Your prospects are afraid. They have many fears, you need to put those fears to rest by giving them a guarantee. A guarantee usually has to eliminate the potential for loss in the mind of the buyer. Online marketers and direct response marketers are usually famous for this tactic.
There are many types of closes but popular is the false close. This is a close that promises a convinced reader or prospect that there is more to what you think you are getting and reinforces to the prospect that he is not settling for less.
The P.S or post script on its own may sell the business or the product on offer. It has to be properly and persuasively crafted. Some prospects read the post script before choosing to read the whole sales letter. It has to persuasively summarize the irresistible offer.
For any comments feel free to comment below.
May I write a promotion or sales letter for your business? I am available on a limited basis to write promotions for a few ambitious entrepreneurs and marketers intending to take their organisations to the next level. Feel free to contact me:
Aubrey Mavhuli Chief Copywriter @Supervaluecopy.com
Tel: +27 733250405 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org