Part 2 – The secret to writing persuasive sales copy

Reading Time: About 5 minutes


Well let’s just dive right in and pick up where we left off in part 1 of this post, the secret to writing persuasive sales copy

Last time we ended with the age old proverb…

People buy on emotions and then justify the decision with facts.

And more than 20 years of sales experience has taught me it’s true about most people (Probably everyone, but I try to steer clear from making absolute statements about people. Especially when it comes to personality traits).

So most people buy on emotion and justify the decision with logic. And most marketers understand selling on emotion.

But I still see a shit ton of copy out there that neglects the “logic” part…

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The Secret To Writing Persuasive Sales Copy

Reading Time: About 7 minutes


What’s the secret to writing persuasive sales copy?

Simple enough question… with a simple answer…


THE ANSWER : I do not know… and neither does anyone else.

That’s because there is no “secret” to writing persuasive sales copy.

No secret sauce… No magic formula… No two thousand year old discovery that can show you how to instantly get a 100% response rate…


There’s only fundamental salesmanship that can be tweaked and tested to fit different situations.

The truth is, nobody knows what copy will get the best response, before it goes live. The last 100 years of direct response have proven that great looking copy can flop, while mediocre copy, delivered at the right time to the right people, can knock it out of the park.


Now in all fairness, many good books have been written on the awesome power of selling through the written word. And you don’t need me to write another cookbook just to reheat yesterday’s leftovers.

But my hope for this post is by sharing a small taste of my own personal thought process, it might resonate with a few more people.

And who knows, maybe it’ll even help someone up their game a bit.


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Why Simple Writing Works Better

Reading Time: About 4 minutes

Someone once asked me…

Why I would, so often…

(At least in copy)…

Use so many…

One-line sentences…

And so many… well… of these things: “…”

Of course, the above is exaggerated.

But there’s no getting around it…

Many copywriters really do use a lot of one-line paragraphs.

Or even one word sentences.


Let’s explain using a demonstration.

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How to pre-test your sales copy BEFORE it goes live…

Reading Time: About 4 minutes

Of course the only way to know for sure if your sales copy is effective is to test it and measure the results.

But there is a way you can pre-test your copy to give you a better than average chance that it’ll be good…


Have people read your copy before you put it out into the world.

In fact, have as many regular / average people as possible read it before you put it out into the world.

If you work at a company, show it to the non-advertising people. Show it to the mail clerk, show it to the maintenance guy, show it to the person who brings you coffee in the morning…


If you don’t work for a big company, then show it to friends, neighbors, or family members. Hell, you can even show it to the mailman if you get the chance.


And here’s the key to this whole process…
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This Is Why Hyped-up Sales Copy Doesn’t Work Anymore…

Reading Time: About 3 minutes

In the past, marketers have tried to hype up and even glamorize their products or services to make them sound more exciting and irresistible.

And technically there’s nothing wrong with that way of thinking, because we all need to make our offer as exciting as possible, so our visitors will want what we’re selling… right?

Unfortunately too many advertisers took the hype too far, and now most consumers have caught on and are becoming immune to all the dubious claims and hyped-up B.S.


I mean let’s face it… Not EVERY product can be the “All New Amazing Solution” to every persons dreams. (no matter how fast, easy, safe, and “scientifically” proven you claim it to be)


Consumers are pretty savvy these days and most of us have grown weary of all the “over the top” claims made by advertisers and promoters.


As a result; Our bullshit detectors have been set to high and we’ve learned to ignore (or just roll our eyes at) the hypey claims coming from the advertising world.

Those types of ads might still make a few sales, mostly because there will always be new people who haven’t seen them yet, but they don’t engender trust among the masses. And they will never give you a reputation for being sincere or trustworthy.


The way to generate trust is not to make outrageous claims that can’t be believed. But instead we need to be authentic with our product. Here’s why…

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Writing Tips You Need to Know To Write A Great Blog Post

Reading Time: About 3 minutes

Do you want to be a great writer? If you have a passion for writing, then your answer is probably yes.

But these days more and more writers are showing up on the internet, and with new blogs being created every day, one of the biggest challenges is standing apart from the crowd. And also writing posts that people want to read.


Writing a blog post is not the same thing as writing a book or manifesto. Most successful bloggers understand that readers on the internet have short attention spans, so they distribute information in bite-size pieces, which means your writing has to be interesting, but also concise and to the point.

If you’re starting your blog, you can improve your chances of success by using the following advice…


Here are a few pointers that can make your blog posts more engaging for your readers

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Keeping Your Audience Engaged – Part 2 of 2

Reading Time: About 8 minutes

Welcome back…

This is part 2 of my post on “Keeping Your Audience Engaged With Your Copy”.

As always, I’m going to pack a lot of info onto this page for you (while still keeping a reasonable time limit). So make yourself comfortable, and prepare yourself for a few minutes of education and entertainment (I guess we can call it “edu-tainment”?)


In Keeping Your Audience Engaged – Part 1 we talked about staying focused on your audience, and staying focused on 1 main idea per piece. In this lesson we’re going to talk about structure, word usage, and flow of our copy.

Note: We’re going to primarily talk about online copy throughout this lesson, but aside from a few structural differences most of the concepts apply to offline as well. And with some minor adjustments much of it applies to audio and video scripts too.

So let’s just dive right in and I’ll do my best to make the next few minutes of your time as edu-taining as possible…


Rule #3 – Making it easy to absorb your message

When it comes to keeping our audience engaged with our copy, there’s a few key concepts we need to remember about our average reader… This isn’t meant to be derogatory, and it doesn’t apply to everyone, but these things are nearly universal for the mass of our average audience…


To begin with, the attention span of your average reader is short, and getting shorter all the time. Thanks in no small part to the sheer amount of distractions, and information overload available to us on the internet, there seems to be an exploding trend of what I refer to as “electronically induced ADHD”.

So in order to counteract this trend we not only need to make our copy interesting, but we also need to make it as easy as possible to absorb.


Of course, if our product is vitally important to our audience, like the last bottle of water in the desert, then their own self interest will do wonders to keep their attention focused on what we have to say.

But in our busy society, when a curious or only partially interested reader first sees your copy, one thing that goes through their mind is whether or not they have time to sift through your message.


Assuming your headline brings people into your copy (because if it doesn’t then the rest of this doesn’t matter anyway), and your lede gains some interest…

… As your average reader, I’m going to quickly skim or scan the entire page before deciding how much time to give you.


Your audience is looking for two main things at this point…

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Keeping Your Audience Engaged – Part 1 of 2

Reading Time: About 7 minutes

Authors note: Throughout my teachings I use the terms “client” and “customer” interchangeably. I also use the pronouns “he” and “she” interchangeably, and also the words “product” and “service”. So whichever word I write on the page just know it represents both.


Welcome back,

In this session we’re going to talk about keeping your audience engaged with your copy.
And a lot of it has to do with the structure and flow of our copy, and how it relates to the readability of our writing.

We all know the importance of an attention-grabbing headline, and we understand that it needs to call out our ideal audience and pull them into our copy.

Now we’re going to look at how to keep things flowing beyond the headline so our writing not only communicates with ease, but so each element of our copy keeps the reader engaged right through to the conclusion.

First, let’s start with some guidelines. And then we’ll go deeper into each one…


Rule #1 – Stay focused on your audience

First and foremost, always focus on the reader and what’s in it for them.

If you want your reader to stay engaged with your copy, then we need to make sure they know exactly why they should care. And one thing that nearly everyone cares about is… themselves.

In sales copy make a big bold promise early on (with your headline and your lede) that tells the reader what’s in it for them and why they should care. Then make sure you give them a reason to stay with you.

And the best reason is because they feel they’re getting something in exchange for their time, and money.


One of the easiest and most obvious ways to make sure your copy is focusing on the reader, is a simple method I have my students do when they evaluate copy. The only criteria for this skill is you must be able to count.

I can almost hear you asking… “what does counting have to do with writing persuasive copy”?

Well, you’re about to find out…

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Customer Mindset – Fundamentals Of Copywriting part 6

Reading Time: About 6 minutes

Mindset (overcoming your readers initial resistance)

OK, in this last session we’ll start to move away from the techniques and methods, and focus on the mindset of our average reader.

Understanding “what” to do, and “how” to do it is crucial for the success of your sales copy. But understanding “why” is just as important (maybe even more important). Because when we understand why something works, we can more easily decide which elements are prime for tweaking and testing, to increase response rates.


So what are readers thinking when they first see our sales copy?


Of course at the top of the list is the old acronym WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). Because the truth is, nobody cares about what you’re selling until they know how it will benefit them.

That’s why we always need to think about the benefits to our audience whenever we sit down to write anything. Keeping this one thing in focus assures us that we’re always moving in the right direction.


We also need to remember that we’re competing against some natural, and very powerful obstacles working against us right from the start.


A few of these obstacles are…


1. Advertising Clutter:

People are being exposed to hundreds (even thousands) of advertisements every day.

There’s radio and T.V. ads, billboards on the roads we travel, promotional signs in the stores we shop at, email promotions (and spam), ads on nearly every website we visit on the internet… And the list goes on…

As a society most of us have learned to “tune out” the Advertising Clutter, and we only pay attention to the few things that are interesting or important to us.

OK, I can almost hear you saying… “But I don’t see thousands of advertisements every day.”
And that’s exactly the point… They are everywhere, but we tune 99% of them out before they ever get the chance to register.


The next obstacle is preoccupation…


2. Preoccupation:

People are busy with their own daily lives. They have their own problems, desires, anticipations… And nobody asked you to interrupt their day with your sales pitch.

So they’re not only unaware that your ad is about to show up, but they also don’t care about it. Unless it attracts their attention with something that’s important, or interesting to them.


And then we have skepticism…


3. Skepticism:
Simply put… They’ve heard it all before and they’re not only wary of your claims, but they’re actively skeptical or even cynical about sales pitches in general.



All of this, and more, is working against us before our copy even gets in front of people.

That’s why things like our Headline, and Lede need to grab attention and pull people into our copy. And we need to anticipate resistance so we can address it quickly.

Let’s walk through a typical thought pattern when someone first sees our copy…

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Copywriting Formulas – Fundamentals Of Copywriting part 5

Reading Time: About 5 minutes


OK, in this session we’re going to talk about formulas for writing persuasive copy.

One thing we rarely see when someone shows us a copywriting formula, is the acknowledgement that they should only be used as guidelines to writing more compelling copy.

Because not every formula will work the same for every offer.

In fact, at last count my archives had around 30 different “formulas” for writing copy. And while most of them have similar concepts, trying to follow them all at once would leave us lost, and turn our copy into unmanageable mess.

So in this post we’re just going to cover a couple of the common elements held by most of them.


Let’s start with the most basic copywriting formula, and expand on it a bit with some standard checklist items…

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Basic Structure and Readability – Fundamentals of copywriting Part 4

Reading Time: About 9 minutes

Authors note: This post belongs to a multi part series called the fundamentals of copywriting , and it holds the most value when the entire series is read in order, starting with part 1 Understanding the product .


Welcome back,

In the last lesson we went over some of what makes a compelling headline more powerful. This time we’re going to look at the layout and readability of our copy.

Making your copy easy to read, and with a certain cognitive flow, will keep more people glued to your words and engaged with your message. And the longer people stay engaged with your message, the better chance we have to bring them closer to the sale.


The actual structure of your copy will vary, depending on where it’s being used.

For example: Online; the layout of email is different from a full sales page, which is different from a lead magnet opt-in page. And offline there’s even more differences.

But many of the same readability elements still apply.

Most of what we’ll talk about today will relate to the online world. Because even though I began copywriting 20+ years ago in the offline world, I understand and accept that these days most people are interested in online copy. So that’s what we’re going to focus on for now.


And with that short intro, let’s dive right in and talk about the basic layout and readability of our copy…

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Writing Winning Headlines – Fundamentals of copywriting Part 3

Reading Time: About 7 minutes

So in our last two sessions we went over the concepts of Understanding the product, and then we talked about how to define your ideal customers.


And now we’re going to begin tying the two together so we can present your product or service to your target audience in a way that means something to them.

Of course the first thing we need to do is get the attention of our ideal clients.

Because if we don’t get their attention then it doesn’t matter how good our offer is, because they’re never going to see it.

And that’s why today we’re going to start at the top of the page, with our “headline”.


Our headline can often make or break our offer, because It sets the tone for the rest of the copy.

The main purpose of our headline is to get the attention of our target audience, and offer them the promise of a better future (either take away their pain, or move them towards pleasure)

It’s the first touch-point from our offer. It gets our target markets attention by calling out and saying “Hey, here’s something of interest to you”.

And once we get peoples attention, then we’re off to a great start.


So if you’re ready to build an attention grabbing headline for your copy… Let’s get started…

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Defining Your Customers – Fundamentals Of Copywriting Part 2

Reading Time: About 4 minutes

Welcome back,

In our last session we talked about understanding your product along with its features and benefits.

But even more important than understanding the product, is knowing your audience. Because how you sell and the words you use in your copy is determined by who you’re selling to.

Simply put… unless you plan on buying 100% of your own product, it’s not about you or your company that makes the sale… it’s all about the customer and why they want to buy.


Understanding your audience Is critically important because each group of people will have different dreams and desires, and different fears, pain points, and cultural language that resonates with them.

For example: Stay at home moms have different priorities than single people with no immediate family. They may both want to buy healthy food, but one is doing it for the whole family’s sake while the other is doing it just for themselves. And you’ll need to use different language to trigger the emotional hot buttons from different groups…

If you’re selling to seasoned business professionals, you’re going to write differently than if you’re selling to first time entrepreneurs…

…If you’re selling to 20 year olds, you’re going to use different words than you would when your selling to 50 or 60 year olds.

These differences will influence the way you write your copy. And that’s why defining your customer is going to be the most important part of the copywriting process.


So let’s get started with defining your ideal customer…

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Understanding The Product – Fundamentals Of Copywriting Part 1

Reading Time: About 5 minutes

OK, so when it comes to the fundamentals of persuasive copywriting, no matter what you’re selling or who you’re selling it to, there’s a few things we always need to consider before we begin. It’s like setting the foundation for a building… The more solid the foundation, the more solid the building.

So today we’re going to touch upon one of the corner stones of a solid foundation…

Understanding the product.

We’re going to identify some key features and benefits that appeal to your audience. And we’re going to talk about understanding your offer (the product or service you’re presenting).

So if you’re ready… let’s get started…

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