Monday, June 9, 2008

5 Success Secrets of the Copywriting Masters

Want to know how the pros really create winning copy that sells? Try these 5 expert tips for starters, and you’ll be well on your way to writing copy that promotes your products and services—just like some of the greatest copywriting superstars of all time.

Focus on the Consumer, Not on Your Product. The question on everyone’s mind is, “What’s in it for me?” Answer that question about your product or service to the prospect’s satisfaction, and chances are good that they will become paying customers. They don’t care how long your company has been in business, or what you were doing that made you come up with the idea for your product or service. They only want to know how it will help them solve a problem that they are facing.

Use Everyday Speech. You’re writing about widgets to ordinary people, not an academic paper on Hemingway’s use of the comma. Avoid the stilted, high-falutin’ Corporatese that poisons many a marketing piece. Use ordinary, everyday speech, and avoid jargon if possible.

Start a Swipe File. This is the one thing that all successful copywriters do, and if you’re going to be writing your own copy, you should too! So start saving those pieces of “junk mail” that you get, and print out and save any web sales letters or emails you come across as well. They can be a fountain of inspiration for your next promotion. Why reinvent the wheel?

Read. You can’t be an effective writer—of any type of material—if you don’t read. Read magazines, newsletters, Web sites, and blogs relating to your industry. If you’re at a loss for industry publications, check out, which offers free magazine subscriptions and whitepapers for dozens of industries. I get many of my ideas for my blog posts and this newsletter from reading marketing publications.

You should also read outside your industry and for pleasure. Not only is it a great way to pass the time, but it can teach you about language and sentence construction, which come in handy when you’re writing your next promotion. Read business books, as well as your favorite fiction. I like science fiction, but any genre will do, and it all helps you learn how to tell a compelling story, which works as well in marketing copy as it does in today’s bestsellers.

Test, Test, Test. Another thing all successful marketers and copywriters do is test. Run your sales letter or webpage against another, changing only one thing at a time, like the headline. Whichever one outsells the other, use that one as your primary sales message, then test again! Change something else about the letter, like the lead, or the offer, or the guarantee. Heck, even use a different font! Even the most seemingly insignificant element will make people more likely to whip out their credit cards than another. Keep testing and testing until you’ve got something that continues to pull better than anything you set it up against. This becomes your Control. Use it as the basis for everything else you create.

That’s it! 5 super copywriting secrets you can start using right now!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Getting Things Done the Benjamin Franklin Way

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”—Benjamin Franklin

One of the best success strategies used by everyone who has become successful is called modeling, where you find a person who is successful at what you want to do, and then do what they do.

For example, someone who wants to be successful in real estate could model Donald Trump. For copywriting, there’s Bob Bly, Clayton Makepeace, and Peter Bowerman.

But you don’t have to model the success of only those people who are still alive. History is full of successful men and women who can still be an inspiration to us today.

For me, one of those people is Benjamin Franklin. A successful entrepreneur, Benjamin Franklin retired at the ripe old age of 40. He was a skilled writer, invented bifocals, charted the Gulf Stream, created the first insurance company, volunteer fire department and lending library, and was a statesman and U.S. ambassador to France.

He really packed in a lot of successes. Sure, he lived to be 84, but he still couldn’t have done all this without becoming a master of time management.

Fortunately for us, Franklin spelled out exactly what he did in his autobiography.

Rising at 5am, Ben would ask himself one question: “What good shall I do this day?”

Then he would get ready for his day and have breakfast, followed by four hours of work.

At noon he would eat while either reading or reviewing his accounts. Then back to work for four more hours.

At 6pm it was time to “Put things in their places, supper, music or diversion, or conversation; examination of the day.”

Then he was off to bed for seven hours sleep before doing it all over again the next day.

Yes, it sounds regimented, but it was necessary in order for Ben to get things done. Perhaps you can use this as a guide to come up with something similar for your life.

I believe that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish most anything you set out to do in life, whether it be to become wealthy, start a business, write a book, whatever. And a big part of that is becoming a master of time management.

So start today. As old Ben would say, “Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.”