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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Copywriting Basics: Be Someone Who Knows How to Solve Problems!

September 27, 2010

If you want to be a great sales writer, you need to be able to solve problems.

Because people don’t buy a product or service because they need it; they buy things to solve a problem. And selling is all about helping people recognize something in their lives that they’re unhappy or dissatisfied with.

It could be helping someone who’s been overweight all his life successfully shed those extra kilos, or helping busy, working singles find a date that could blossom into a long-term romantic relationship. Whichever the situation, there is always a problem that needs to be fixed, and that’s what you need to focus on.

Once you’ve helped people become more aware of their problems, you can offer them a vision of how much better their lives would be if they engaged your service or bought your product.

What are some of the problems people have that you can offer a solution to?

Get your copy of QuickStart Copywriter now and learn in full detail how you can help your readers solve their problems by making a few simple (but critical) tweaks to your sales writing.


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How to Keep Readers Glued to Your Sales Letters? Make Your Copy Easy to Read

September 24, 2010

Believe it or not, the easy access to technology today has made consumers lazier than ever.

They expect information to be delivered to them instantly and we, as sales writers, have to keep up with the times to meet our readers’ expectations.

To do this, you have to take great care in controlling the appearance of your ads and sales letters. You can achieve this by using graphic devices that make your copy (especially a long one) easier and faster to read.

Here’s a list of 10 effective graphic devices you can use to improve the readability of your sales letters:

  1. Subheads (they break up large blocks of text, making it easier to read)
  2. Bullets
  3. Numbered lists (like the one you see here)
  4. Underlining (use in moderation and on only the most important parts)
  5. Simulated handwriting (this makes your ads look personal and has been proven to increase sales response)
  6. Photographs and illustrations (remember to include a caption that makes a strong selling point)
  7. Boldfacing (use bold only to highlight key points)
  8. Screens (a light-colored background behind a paragraph)
  9. Yellow overprint (a feature in your word processing software that allows you to simulate markings made with a highlighter pen)
  10. Lines made of asterisks (this is especially useful in plain text emails)
Quoted from QuickStart Copywriter, “Day 7:  DRESSING UP YOUR SALES COPY“.

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How to Write Powerful Body Copy: Use Verbs, Not Nouns

September 16, 2010

The secret to writing good sales body copy is to use words that sound active and vigorous. Like a Hollywood blockbuster director, your aim is to entice, engage and keep your readers hooked to the plot of your story.

And the key to seducing your readers is to use words that convey action, also known as “verbs”. But many writers, presumably trying to sound more professional, tend to turn their verbs into nouns – big words that are used to name complicated ideas. This weakens the impact of your message and ultimately smothers the quality of your overall writing.

Here are some examples of nouns used in a few ads I’ve seen and how we can rewrite them into verbs:

Noun: We are one of the world’s fastest growing exotic car specialists, what’s special about us is our passion!

Verb: We are passionate about cars! And that’s what makes us one of the world’s fastest growing exotic car specialists.

Noun: Our specialization is web design and provision of IT solutions for your entire needs.

Verb: We specialize in web design and solving your IT problems.

Noun: We assist organizations and individuals to improve daily operations through the promotions of InfoComm & Security Technologies.

Verb: We offer InfoComm and Security Technologies that improve daily operations for organizations and people.

Learn more advanced copywriting secrets for writing effective body copy, download the QuickStart Copywriter ebook here.


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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:

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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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Advanced Copywriting Secrets: How to Bring Your Writing to Life!

June 17, 2010

A lot of readers have asked me if there’s a secret copywriting technique to adding more texture and dimension to the general message of what they would like to write. And my answer is “yes”!

More often than not, people provide just the mere facts in their writing, often forgetting to include emotive and sensory words that give readers a true picture of what they’re reading. It is very important to paint a picture of what you are trying to communicate because this makes it easier for your readers to “see” the image you’re trying to create.

Therefore as you write, try to visualize the message of what you want to convey. If you are writing about a product, or anything at all, one of the most important copywriting skills you have to learn is thinking in pictures!

Describe your product in vivid detail, right down to its textures and colors. There is no limit to your imagination and  you may even add interesting details such as whether there are other characters in the scene you’re trying to visualize. What are their expressions? How they are feeling? Whatever your imagination may be, the key thing is to share with your readers what they will see, hear, feel, taste or even smell when they use your product – any product – be it a meat patty maker or a hamburger!

With that in mind, let’s play a visualisation game to help you improve the clarity and control of your mental imagery. Picture the sequence of events as your readers use or consume these common objects. How would your scene unfold?

  • An electric fruit juicer
  • A bar of chocolate
  • A bottle of wine
  • A mountain bike
  • An electronic gadget such as a smartphone
Get even more advanced strategies that help you create better copy in less time. Get your copy of QuickStart Copywriter here and give your writing skills a complete makeover!

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Print Ad Layout Ideas: Insert Captions For Selling Below Every Image in Your Ad

May 27, 2010

Sales and Marketing studies have shown that the majority of people will first read the headline, followed by an image (or illustration), then the caption, then the body copy.

That’s why you should always insert a caption under every photo or picture you include in your sales product flyer or business brochure.

It has also been proven that captions which pull in the highest number of sales are ones that make a strong selling point. For example, let’s imagine you’re advertising a particular brand of facial cleanser. If your product helps consumers effectively remove blackheads and achieve better-looking skin faster than other brands, you could have a photo of an attractive model who has radiant complexion and include a before-and-after comparison of the amount of blackheads on the model’s nose.

To complete the photo, you might include an italicized caption in your sales ad that reads, “The ABC marvel gel helps you remove blackheads fast and achieve noticeably brighter skin after just 1 wash!” I personally recommend you to put your sales caption in italics because it makes it stand out from the rest of the copy around it.

In a nutshell, always remember to make your caption highlight the main selling benefit you’re trying to get across!

Learn everything you need to create killer ads and get real results from your copywriting campaign. Read more in QuickStart Copywriter.


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