Don’t Be Afraid to Write as You Speak!

February 6, 2012

Don’t Be Afraid to Write as You Speak!

I often find it amusing when I read my emails.

It almost always starts off with “Dear Marc”, and then goes on with “Please find herewith…” or “Kindly be advised..”

I find that amusing because not only does it sound old-fashioned and boring, they are just not written in the language that people speak.

Do you feel the same way too?

In modern sales writing, it is important that your messages are the same as what you would say to your readers if you were speaking to them face-to-face. If you were talking to somebody in person, you wouldn’t use words like “Dear Sir” or “Please be advised” would you?

Let’s say you want to invite somebody out on a date. Can you imagine going up to that person and saying “Dear Michelle, I would kindly like to invite you to a seafood restaurant tonight. It is a very famous restaurant located in town. Please kindly RSVP. ”

You wouldn’t say it would you?

In fact, you are far more likely to say something like this, “Hey Michelle, there’s this new restaurant in town that’s famous for its amazing seafood! Why don’t we go try it out?”

See the difference in the emotions? One is written in the way that WE would speak, while the other is written in the way that our great-grandparents were taught to write in school.

In copywriting, it’s all about the results. Sometimes it doesn’t really matter if you write in perfect English or grammar as long as you achieve these 3 things:

  • Did you get your intended message across?
  • Was it interesting (and FUN) for other people to read?
  • Was it written in a conversational tone that you would normally say face-to-face with a friend?
Learn even more advanced copywriting techniques from my QuickStart Copywriter ebook. Get it here (still) at the special price of just US$9.97 >>

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How to Increase Readers’ Response in Any Sales Copy: Speak Your Audience’s Language

January 21, 2011

How to Increase Readers’ Response in Any Sales Copy: Speak Your Audience’s Language

When you are writing to elicit a response from a particular type of reader, it doesn’t always have to be in perfect, polished English. It depends on whom you are writing for.

If your readers belong to a specific group of people who understand only basic English, then keep the style of your writing as simple as possible. It wouldn’t make sense to use writing devices like metaphors or similes or clever wordplay, which would confuse your readers even more.

The best way to increase the number of responses to your ads is to understand what a certain market segment want to hear and say it to them.

What is the ideal tone of voice you should use to motivate health buffs? What sort of language would appeal to teenage rock music fans? What would move die-hard romantics to tears?

You can apply this writing technique, among a string of other response-pulling strategies as taught in the QuickStart Copywriter eBook, to any form of sales copy. It can be anything, from a Facebook Fan Page wall post or even a script for face-to-face selling.


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1-Minute Learning for Busy Copywriters: How a Simple Writing Technique Can Make a Powerful Impact on Your Readers

January 18, 2011

How a Simple Writing Technique Can Make a Powerful Impact on Your Readers

Whether it is for a speech, sales letter or email, pay attention to the final word in your sentence.

In copywriting, we call it the “hot spot” – the word that makes the biggest impact on readers. So keep it for powerful words.

Instead of:

You will feel refreshed when you use XYZ brand of body foam.

Say:

XYZ brand of body foam leaves your skin feeling clean and refreshed!

Instead of:

You’ll learn how to dress to impress when you read this article

Say:

This article will teach you how to dress to impress!


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Copywriting Technique that Hooks Readers into Your Sales Copy: Use Positive Language

December 7, 2010

Here’s a sample of just one of the many advanced writing techniques from the QuickStart Copywriter ebook.

Everyone loves good news, whether it is an email informing you about a pay raise, or a special someone telling you that he or she loves you.

The same applies in sales writing. People typically find it more enjoyable to read something that sounds positive than negative. Using positive language makes your sales writing sound pleasing to the ears and it increases the likelihood of your readers reading it to the end.

So instead of:

Don’t forget

Say:

Remember

Instead of:

Don’t delay

Say:

Hurry

Instead of:

There’s never been a better time to…

Say:

Now’s the best time to…


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Common Copywriting Mistake: Using Complicated Jargon that Nobody Understands

November 29, 2010

Have you ever got confused by complicated, jargon-filled writing?

I’m not sure about you, but as someone who proofreads hundreds of thousands of lines of text everyday, I certainly have – more so than you can ever imagine!

Here’s an example of a horribly confusing email I received this morning. (Note the spelling, punctuation and grammatical mistakes peppered all over the copy)

Dear Sir,

I would like to take this opportunity to Introfuce ABC Engineering, a subsidiary company of EFG Pte Ltd. Please find the brief of our Learning and Training services we provide through our division.

We offer our services in developing customized Creative Learning and Training solutions & well known for the game-based e-learning modules while also offering a complete range of learning solutions for all kinds of corporate training requirements. We are a one stop shop for end to end eLearning solutions.

We have worked in varied domains in developing different type of training and learning programmes for various verticals across the globe. Just to list a few domains, we have worked big time with Educational, Telecomm, Media, Universities, Engineering, Government, Publishing and many more.

We have got a huge appaluse for developing 30Hours of Banking and Accounting courseware in just 60 calender days for IGNOU, thus breaking all the records so far done by any other company and Brandon Hall is evaluating on the same. We are also working with couple of esteemed universities in USA and Singapore. And, couple of Ministries and government bodies in Singapore and Malaysia.

It would be a pleasure, if we could get a chance to get to talk to you over a meeting at a time convenient to you to discuss if there is a match and a synergy for us to work together and explore the possibilty for a mutually beneficial and long term relationship.

please advise a suitable time for a meeting for 30 minutes to brief more on services.

We appreciate your consideration on this request and look forward to a rewarding and productive meeting with your esteemed organization.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at below mentioned address. I will be pleased to provide any additional information you require.

P.S : Please find the corporate profile and the corporate presentation attached.

Regards,
[Name omitted]

Overlooking the stuffy, centuries-old style of writing, do you understand what the email is trying to convey?

It may sound as if the writer has been working in the education industry for a while but technical jargon such as “game-based e-learning modules”, “various verticals” and “domains” mean nothing to the average reader. It is confusing and painful to read wouldn’t you agree?

And do normal people really speak like this? Probably not – but many certainly write like it!

You’ll not only see such writing in business email correspondences, but complicated, jargon-filled writing have had a long tradition in the workplace where some of the worst culprits are members from the technical and accounts department or even senior management.

It makes me wonder if the writer is trying to communicate in a clear, simple way. Or are they more concerned about communicating status?

Having to read something that you don’t understand wastes precious time and causes frustration. It also causes errors if you need to send an urgent reply to a message you can’t even understand. That’s why you should always write in a simple, clear language that ordinary readers would understand.

Learn even more techniques you can apply today to avoid the most common copywriting mistakes. Download your copy of the QuickStart Copywriter ebook here.


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Common Copywriting Mistakes: Showy Writing that Serves No Meaning to Your Readers

November 15, 2010

Ever heard of the phrase “It’s all show and no substance”?

A lot of writers often fall into the trap of bombarding their readers with meaningless, showy copy just to make their sentences sound impressive, or even worse, increase the word count!

Bear in mind that readers today are much more discerning and better educated than ever before. They are quick to recognize that they are being sold to and anything that reads and sounds like a blatant sales pitch would be thrown away.

Think of your writing like a window. You want your readers to see the view on the other side of the glass. You want them looking at the view, and not the window.

Here are some examples of showy, meaningless writing that you should avoid:

  • “We are the world’s leading IT solutions provider, with more than 20 years of professional experience. We are most happy to provide reliable and convenient service at your doorstep.” (So what?)
  • “We offer high quality and reliable services!” (So what?)
  • “We are the country’s most trusted plumbing service. We believe in our esteemed ability to solve all your plumbing problems.” (So what?)
  • “Powerful and cost efficient, our office printers are the best on the planet!” (SO WHAT?)

How many ads have you seen start like this?

This is just scratching the surface of some of the critical copywriting mistakes that most writers overlook. I strongly recommend that you get your copy of QuickStart Copywriter to learn in greater detail the style of writing that will get you results – get it immediately and delivered to your inbox.


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The Magic Copywriting Formula for Writing Effective Sales Letters that Sell

September 6, 2010

In face-to-face selling, nearly every salesman or woman would have applied a simple little formula called “AIDA”. It is an age-old sales formula coined in the 19th Century that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.

The purpose of the formula  is to capture your prospect’s attention, then get them interested in the content of your sales message, then entice them to feel that they need what you are trying to sell, and finally induce them to take action to buy.

Unfortunately, the majority of consumers today are constantly bombarded by advertising nearly everyday of their lives- be it on TV at home or a product flyer chucked into their hands by a sales promoter at the mall. As a result, people are increasingly becoming more skeptical about the marketing messages they receive and wary of being “sold to”. That’s why it’s so important to CONVINCE your prospect or reader to believe you. With that in mind, I’ve updated and improved the formula to:

  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Conviction
  • Action

Arouse Interest

As you write your opening paragraph, think of something that arouses interest and gets your reader’s attention. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your effort and your sales letter could be thrown away without ever being read. So how do we get your readers to be interested? I recommend beginning your opening line with a 2 or 3-tiered question, an instruction that carries a specific benefit or a short statement highlighting a testimonial or an interesting fact.

An example of 3-tiered question that first conjures a painful problem, then suggests some form of pleasure the reader would experience if the pain is removed:

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Now let’s turn that into an instruction that carries a specific benefit:

Can’t write? Read on to discover how you can get instant, unlimited access to a free copywriting resource that can give you the confidence and skills to write professional, persuasive copy in just 7 days!

An example of a client’s testimonial written as a short opening statement:

A reader of mine is happier today than ever before. That’s because  his online business resulted in a 300% increase in sales profits thanks to the valuable ideas he learnt from my Quickstart Copywriting blog.

Create Desire

In sales, people buy based upon emotions. When they truly want something, they’ll always find reasons for needing it.  So as  a sales writer, it’s your job to weave enough desire to help people make a decision to buy the product or service you’re selling. You can do this by highlighting specific and clear benefits to your readers and how it will bring more pleasure into their lives.

An example of a piece of benefits-rich sales copy:

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Carry Conviction

Be it in traditional selling or sales writing, addressing someone’s concerns and overcoming his or her reluctance to buy is a challenge you’ll have to meet. You can do this by supporting your claims in a number of ways:

  • Offer customer testimonials or third-party endorsements
  • Offer a free sample or a free-trial of your product or service
  • Offer a money-back guarantee
  • Offer statistics that highlight your experience in the business or your product’s performance

An example of a sales message that carries conviction:

On my Quickstart Copywriting blog, you’ll discover a treasure trove of techniques and ideas to help you write better sales copy, faster. Best of all, the insights, strategies and tactics on this website are easy to apply and can be used immediately in your letters, emails, reports, proposals and marketing. All you have to do is fill out your information and you’ll get instant, unlimited access to my entire library of copywriting tips and hints…at absolutely no cost to you!

Induce Action

This is a call to action at the end of your sales copy. In my experience, the more information you give readers at the call to action, they are more likely to get confused. So you want to keep things simple, direct and clear.  You have to make it easy for your readers to do what you want, be it to contact a sales rep, to visit a website or to simply place an order.

An example of a call to action that is simple, direct and clear:

Free unlimited access to my  Quickstart Copywriting blog is only available to subscribers who sign up by 30 September. So hurry and take advantage of my limited time offer before it’s gone for good!

Extracted from QuickStart Copywriter, “DAY 6:  START WRITING“.


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