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6 Copywriting Tips Before You Put Pen To Paper

Author: Darlene & Barry Nicholson   |   September 30th, 2009

small business copywriting tipsAre you a business owner trying to produce more leads, get current customers to buy more, and consistently do it through super-hot, money-generating online and offline copy.

The solution is simple. Find out what  the direct-response experts do and how they write copy that pulls in sales like a magnet. Use these six simple steps to  generate the BIG bucks.

Before you ever put pen to paper or type a single word, you MUST…

1) Have a clear objective. What are you trying to accomplish with this piece of copy? Are you trying to get a sale, a sign-up for your list or do you want someone to request a special report or a free gift? This will shape the way you speak to the reader, the tone you take and/or the angle you choose.

2) Know your recipient or Target Audience. It is easiest to write to people who you can relate to…your niche…because you already understand them. However, even if you don’t know squat about the market or niche (something I have to do almost on a daily basis now) you can easily “bone up” and become an expert with RESEARCH. Proper research will give you the info and answers you need to fully understand that market’s wants and needs.

Oh, and there is the problem of being “too close” to your niche. I have had many clients who “think” they know everything about their target market. WRONG! Many times it takes an outsider or a survey to show you that your market has changed or what you thought they wanted, and what they really want are two different things. It’s smart to get several opinions before you write, not just your own.

Answer these questions BEFORE you write a single word:

¨     What keeps them up at night?

¨     What ticks them off?

¨     Who ticks them off?

¨     What are their fears?

¨     Do they have their own vocabulary? (learn it and understand it)

¨     What challenges do they face on a daily basis?

¨     What’s hot in this particular market right now?

¨     Who else is doing well in this market?

¨     Who is doing poorly?

This is a BIG ONE: you gotta know what keeps these folks up at night. What is their biggest problem or need, what are they suffering from? How are you going to fill that need, more so than the other guys?

When I was preparing to market my Weight Loss product I knew how my overweight audience thought. I knew this – NOT because I was overweight myself – not at all, but I had done my homework by speaking to former personal training clients (my career before being a direct response copywriter) and people I knew who were “prime pickins” for my product. I asked them questions…got into their heads to develop copy that really hit their hot buttons. How can you do the same for your ideal prospect?

3) Choose the right message for your market. You can’t use one cookie-cutter letter for to go out to everyone. Think about each group individually. For instance, if you have a membership site or program of some sort, you’ll likely have separate campaigns for leads, members, each level of membership and lost or past members. If you sell a travel product or service, you may have one campaign for retirees, another for newlyweds and another for families.  You would also need different letters or copy for purchased lists or joint ventures. NOT one letter for all…it won’t work.

4) Know your product or service. Research…research…research! Find studies, articles, scour the web, look up your competitors (if you’re online, search the Alexa ranking…do whatever you need to in order to become an expert in your service or product. When you look at the other in your market pay special attention to the emotional triggers, hot topics, USP, offer, bonuses and pay structure they use. Now, I’m NOT saying copy them, but see what’s hot and WHAT’S WORKING…then do it smarter and better.

5) Position Your Product or Service. How is your product or service superior or different than all the other guys out there? How you position yourself is critical if you want to big a “real player” and develop a successful marketing strategy amongst your competition.

6) Plan your attack. Do you need a 4 page letter or 24 page letter in order to sell your product or service? Usually the higher the price point, the longer your copy. So if you’re selling a $10,000.00 high-end coaching program you’re gonna need more than 4 pages. You are really going to have to work hard to prove to them why they need you. Versus selling a $14.95 widget, which will not need quite as much copy behind it. HOWEVER, sometimes you have to work very hard to convince a lead to put their info down for a free offer. So don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an easy sale, work just as hard for it.

Darlene & Barry

About Darlene & Barry Nicholson
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