Just the other day I was digging through some of my old writing files. You know the drill, mucking around in dusty old cabinets that you haven’t been in for years. And then out of the blue, it hits you like a bolt of lightning…
It’s that old Ah ha moment…
… that flashes on in your mind and gets you smiling.
While ruminating about writing great copy it occurred to me the thing that separates good copy from great copy is so simple that I nearly fell out of my chair.
“Killer Sales Messages Made Easy”
If you’ve studied copywriting, then you no doubt have heard of AIDA. If not, AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
So, following the AIDA method of writing copy, you know the importance of grabbing the reader’s attention, typically through the hook and headline, building interest and desire throughout the body copy, closing the sale and asking for the order.
After all, if you don’t hook your reader and pique her interest, you have no chance of closing the deal and making the sale.
And certainly, your lead paragraph helps pull your reader into the body copy using short pithy sentences that keep ’em reading.
Writing from the prospects perspective, in a personal “you and me” tone, giving them solid advantages and reasons why your solution is obviously the best, coupled with a no-brainer offer surly goes a long way towards closing the deal.
But the solid foundation upon what all truly great copy is written and is…
… literally the holy grail of all world class copywriting, the key that holds all highly successful advertising messages…
is none other than…
Research. Research. Research.
Yes, admittedly most copywriters hate doing it. After all, we’re writers, and writers write, right?
But guess what – all top-shelf writers do their homework (a.k.a. research). They fastidiously research all aspects of the subject, product, and market) first before a single word is written.
We turn over every stone, dig for every shred of detail, go deep for all the facts and put in the time necessary to do the job right.
This aspect of the project requires a lot of time, patience and skull sweat. But we know it’s like money in the bank and worth every ounce of time and skull sweat mustered.
The late great copywriter and marketing genius, Gene Schwartz once commented to his ability to out sell nearly all his competitors by simply “working harder” than they did.
His hard work was in the form of thoroughly researching the product before he “wrote” a single word of copy. And his hard work paid off to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars’ worth of sales.
Now keep in mind; you do have alternatives. Sure, you could pay others to do the researching for you. It’s money well spent. In fact, many A-list writers do just that and hire a professional researcher to lend a hand.
So, yeah, it’s that necessary evil that makes copy sing with success and puts money in the bank for both you and your clients.
What’s more, it’s the single best way to start any copywriting assignment. You’ll never again face “writer’s block.”
Research Made Easy
Like I said above, you could source out the researching task. Or you could do it yourself.
I personally have no bones of doing my own research, though it’s not my favorite task.
The value of doing the work yourself, is that you gain good skills that are required for writing a great promotion. Plus, if you’re tight on cash, it’s a great way to save some money.
How to get started. Start by making a complete list of all the product features (you’ll later turn these into benefits and advantages that are important to your prospect).
Get product literature from the manufacturer if you can. This can be very helpful in finding interesting details about how’s it made, materials used in the manufacturing process and more.
If possible, get your hands on the product and test it out. What do you like about it? How does it work? Does it really solve the problem? How does it perform in the market place? How does it stack up against your product?
Talk to prospects, customers and users of the product. Ask them what they liked, disliked about it. What were their most favorite things about the product? What did they dislike most about it?
Once you’ve dug deep into the all the details about the product (or service), it’s time to get to know your prospect.
Know Your Prospect
The key here is to “walk a mile in her shoes.” Figure out what makes your prospects and customers tick. Where do they hang out at? What do they read, listen or watch on TV? What bias do they have?
Are they conservative or liberal in their thinking? Are they religious or not?
Find out what problems they’re having now. What’s bugging them most that your product or service could most likely fix? What keeps them up at night. This is essential if you want to persuade her to buy from you.
Again, the key is to become a “sales detective” as John Carlton says.
Know Your Competitors
Once you’ve gathered all this information about the product and your perfect prospect, it’s time to see what the competition is doing.
What products are being offered now? How do these products stack up against your products? Get copies of ads they are running.
Now figure out how to position your company differently from your competitors. You want to stand out favorably from your competitors.
Think about what your product does for your prospect. How are you different? Are you faster, offer quicker deliveries, a better warranty, better price, etc. What?
Now that you’ve gathered up all the facts and figures you need and know how to position yourself effectively against competitors, then you’re ready to begin creating your marketing message.
Writing great copy is not rocket science and it’s not difficult but it does take some elbow grease.
As you can see, promoting yourself or company is a nice mixture of researching your product or service, the marketplace, and competition. Once you’re armed with this information, then and only then are you ready to communicate with your intended audience.
So, as you can see, it’s kinda basic, if you think about it. How could you possibly be ready to “talk” to your customers without knowing what they want?
Pro-Tip. Want to know something really cool? This little method I’ve shared here applies to any type of marketing messages you’d ever write.
And this includes…
Emails, landing pages, sales letters, print ads, radio spots, infomercials, you name it.
At any rate, I believe you got it, right? Hey, I’m here if you need help or have questions. Just drop me a line.
THANK YOU. And while on the subject of “help”, I’d like to say a big ‘ol “thank-you” to all my readers. I sincerely appreciate your interest in what I have to say and all your support over the years. I truly wouldn’t be here without each one of you.
Plus, if there’s a topic or subject you’d like to see covered or want more information about this topic, then please let me know. I’ll do my best to help you. I’m always glad to share all my learning experiences with you.
After all, it’s how we grow!
Wishing you the best,