I was recently asked to give a short presentation on copywriting for a group of small business owners.
Now, copywriting can be a somewhat complicated thing to explain. And I had just 20 minutes to try to convey something tangible that these entrepreneurs could use in their business.
Well, I thought about this for a couple of days.
What I realized was, while I would never turn anyone into a “master copywriter” in 20 minutes, I could break down the crucial elements of what makes copywriting work.
I would like to share with you what I came up with.
Here are the…
3 Keys To Copywriting Mastery
Key #1 – Understand What Your Customers Really Care About
One of the biggest mistakes I see small business owners make (especially on local television) is making THEMSELVES or their family members or even their “brand name” the focus of their advertising.
I swear, NOTHING drives me crazier than watching someone spend a bunch of money to parade their kids, wife or even their mother in front of the camera to tell us how wonderful their dad is.
All without EVER giving me a single reason to contact them. Or consider going to them for whatever the heck it is they are selling.
The problem is they actually think we all care about how cute their kids are. Or how pretty their husband or wife is. Or how charming their mother is.
And for some reason (I guess complete and utter delusion) it appears they are making some connection between how much they assume we’ll adore their family, with us wanting to do business with them.
Okay, so sure, it’s good to be perceived as likable but I’ll be damned if I’m going to buy some widget because you own a cute puppy dog.
The ONLY thing your potential customer cares about is what your product or service is going to DO FOR THEM!
Your sales message MUST be focused on the BIG PROMISE of what the BIG BENEFIT is that your customer is going to receive from buying from you.
Make your CUSTOMER and their WANTS, NEEDS, DESIRES, and PROBLEMS (that need to be fixed) the focus of your advertising and marketing.
Anything that doesn’t immediately make your target prospect say…
… “Hey, that’s for me!” …
… is a HUGE waste of your time, energy and most importantly… YOUR MONEY!
Key #2 – Always Match Your Message to Your Market
I’ve been asked before by potential clients if really good copywriting can sell literally anything …
… even a sub-par product or service.
Well, first of all, that question gives me the willies. I have ZERO interest in working with anyone who isn’t completely honest and is putting out a product which will legitimately help their customers.
But if I get past my initial annoyance my answer is NO. The typical reaction to that answer is not surprising.
I mean as a copywriter shouldn’t I brag about being able to make ANYONE buy ANYTHING?
Look, the truth is while great copywriting is designed to persuade the reader, viewer or listener to buy…
… if you are trying to sell something to someone who isn’t part of your target market…
… then it makes no difference how skilled the copywriter is.
You are NOT going to get the sale.
Let me give you an example. I live in Florida. It is HOTTER than hades most of the year.
Even when it isn’t hot, I don’t go outside much.
So, if a winter coat salesperson came to my door and tried to sell me the greatest looking, warmest and most stylish winter coat on the planet…
… and for a fantastic price…
… I’m going to laugh and say “No, thanks”.
I simply have no interest in buying something I’m going to use maybe once or twice a year (and we DO NOT vacation anywhere cold).
This is EXACTLY the same when it comes to copywriting (which is selling but multiplied by media).
Do NOT waste your time crafting a sales message until you know EXACTLY who you are writing to!
Make research your #1 priority. Know who your market is and what they are interested in buying.
This is the second key to copywriting mastery.
Key #3 – Make Your Offer Irresistible
Okay, so I hope I’ve properly communicated the importance of Steps 1 and 2. Now we come to something I think is often either overlooked or just not given enough time when someone is learning about copywriting.
Lots of effort is always out into things like learning how to write headlines and telling stories and writing emails.
But I promise if you neglect key #3, then nothing else really matters.
Ultimately, everything comes down to THE OFFER.
Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes when you are creating your offer and ask the question:
“What’s In It For Me?”
This is such a great thing to always keep in mind. As even if you’ve got the greatest product or service in your industry. And you KNOW it’s something your target market is interested in, we live in a super-skeptical society and unless you make an offer to your prospect that’s almost impossible for them to say “No” to, then it’s going to be VERY difficult to stay in business.
Don’t let this discourage you, however. Luckily there are many proven ways to present your offer that bypasses your prospect’s inner “Doubting Thomas” and will push them over the edge to buy.
One way is to…
Offer a Guarantee that “Reverses the Risk” Involved
What do I mean? Well, a good example is the old Domino’s Pizza gimmick that originally put them on the map. They were complete unknowns entering into one of THE most competitive markets ever, so they had to come up with a way to stand out.
What did they do? In what would turn out to be pure genius they created the “We Deliver it HOT in 30 Minutes or Less… or it’s FREE!”
This was a true IRRESISTIBLE offer! Especially if you consider who their original target audience was, which were college students.
A college student who was probably dying of the munchies from their extra-curricular activities and would eat just about anything at that point.
And it worked like GANGBUSTERS! Now, you notice there was nothing in their offer about being the BEST pizza, or even being GOOD pizza but if you were half-starved on a Friday night, you didn’t care. You just wanted it FAST and the added bonus was you HOPED it would show up late or cold so you could get it for free!
Now, there’s a reason why they don’t make that offer anymore (as far as I know). I’m pretty sure some delivery drivers may have caused an accident or two trying to make it to the campus in 30 minutes. But this offer worked to build Domino’s business and they still rank among the top pizza companies on the planet.
Can you think of a way to create a “Risk-Reversal” guarantee for your business?
If not, there are still other devices you can use. One of the most popular in the direct response advertising world where I spend most of my time is the adding of premiums.
What is a premium?
The Premium Is a Bonus Added to the Main Offer to “Sweeten” the Deal
I’m sure you’ve seen some direct response TV ads where they say something like:
“… And that’s not all. If you call or order online in the next 11 minutes, we’ll DOUBLE YOUR ORDER at no additional cost (just pay separate shipping and handling) etc.”
That’s exactly what a premium is. Now, with online products and mail-order often what you will see is one or even a series of “special reports” or books or some sort of information which is similar to the main offer and has been “bundled” to make it seem like you are getting some major extra value.
And do these premiums work? You bet they do! Again, if they are legitimately valuable and compliment the main product being sold.
Conclusion To The 3 Keys of Copywriting Mastery
In conclusion, I hope you will keep these 3 Keys of Copywriting Mastery in mind whenever you need to create any advertising or marketing pieces for your business.
Now, if you’d like to discuss how I can personally help you cover these 3 Keys properly and create a compelling sales message. One which will lead your prospects to pull out their wallets and buy from you, then send a quick message to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get right back to you.
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