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Nine Beginners Tips for Writing Better Copy

August 8, 2012

The demand for solid sales copy continues to grow and grow. After all, if you want to sell just about any product online, a few cleverly chosen words can go a very long way. Therefore provided you know your way around an English dictionary, entering the copywriting field could make a hell of a lot of sense.

The bad news however is that the learning curve can at first seem rather steep. It’s an industry that has been around for quite some time now and as a result, the number of theories when it comes to boosting conversions are both many and varied. Should you be up for the challenge, here are nine tips for those just starting out on the road to copywriting riches.

Grammar Doesn’t Matter

I like grammar. Too bad.

Though typos are rightly forbidden, grammatical syntax need not always be obeyed. Remember that when you are writing copy, your goal is conversion. If that involves removing unnecessary words from your sentences, then so be it. When somebody purchases copy, they want sales. Nobody is ever going to complain about grammar provided what you write gets the job done.


Simple is Always Better

Keep It Simple Stupid

You might be a fan of fancy metaphors and five star words but the average web user really isn’t. Most people scan copy at pretty high speeds, they are busy. When what you write is more complicated than it needs to be, you run the risk of many readers missing your point. Keep things simple. Consider your readers uneducated and consider them in a hurry. Base your copy on the lowest common denominator.

Word Count is Not Important

Words

Few copywriters sell their work by the word. The reason is simple, word count is irrelevant. Don’t start a sales page with a specific number in mind. Focus on getting the facts onto the page in a concise fashion. Don’t remove facts to keep the copy short, don’t include pointless sentences to make your copy longer. Aim for conversions. Include everything that will get them, delete anything that is unlikely to have an effect.

Address the Individual

When a salesman tries to sell you something, he doesn’t talk to the entire shop. He talks exclusively to you. He explains the benefits of the product and he explains how those benefits might apply to you individually. Always address the individual reader. Of course, everyone knows that the words are generic, designed to be read by thousands, if not millions. But that doesn’t change the fact that people tend to pay more attention when what’s written is addressed to them.

Stick to the Facts

Most people aren’t stupid. They know when they are reading something that is designed to make them buy something. Copy is therefore frequently read with a certain level of suspicion. Estimates and figures including “up to” and “over” are therefore usually taken with a grain of salt. You can help to alleviate the suspicions of the average reader by sticking to concrete facts and figures. Avoid phrases that are open to interpretation.

You Must Use Testimonials

Another way to counter the inherent suspicion that sales copy attracts is the use of customer testimonials. Get testimonials from well known, respected individuals and just about any product will sell. But even testimonials from random customers are worth their weight in gold. If what you are selling is any good, testimonials won’t be difficult to come by. All you have to do is ask.

Invest in Headlines

Headlines are what make the difference between good copywriters and great copywriters. They are one of the few aspects of effective copywriting that cannot really be learned from a book. Some people have a knack for it, others learn by practicing, a lot. Look at the experts, ask yourself what makes their headlines so effective. And carry a pen and paper with you at all times. Headline ideas are funny beasts, they come when you least expect them.

Ask Questions

When you ask questions, you are engaging the reader. You are not just throwing information at him, you are making him think. And thinking is good, it means you have his full attention. Of course, don’t just ask questions for the sake of it. Focus exclusively on questions that make him think about how great the product is. And get him into the habit of saying yes. The most important question comes at the end and it’s a yes that you are looking for.

Always Make it Urgent

Finally, it might be the oldest trick in the book but tell them it’s urgent. Urgency sells. Urgency can turn a yes into a sale whereas too much time to think tends to do the opposite. Limited quantities, temporary discounts, a fantastic offer that is never to be seen again. It’s simple but it works.

Tom Koh is a freelance writer and blogger. Through his posts he advises about blogging to beginners and also writes about SEO and internet marketing. He believes that targeted web traffic from trusted source is a great way to boost website traffic for new websites.

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