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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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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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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Goal Setting Tips for Creative Advertising #2: 5 Easy Ways to Formulate a Goal

April 8, 2010

One of the biggest mistakes that most creative teams make is formulating the wrong goals. This leads to time and effort being wasted on ideas that are boring, complicated or in the worst case, misunderstood. If you are going to create overwhelmingly positive results in your advertising campaign, you must formulate the right goal. Here are 5 ways to help you Your goal should always:

  1. Be a single-minded proposition that can be easily understood within a few seconds. Bear in mind that a single-minded proposition has no “ands” (How can we demonstrate in an email teaser that “Club ABC” is the trendiest nightspot in town?)
  2. Be in the form of a question
  3. Be short and concise
  4. Be simple enough for anyone to understand.
  5. Avoid the use of complicated words or incomprehensible jargon.

To learn more about goal-setting in creative advertising, click here.


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Email Writing Case Example: Can You Spot the Errors?

March 11, 2010

Here’s a sample of an email I received a few minutes ago. I noticed that it was full of  long-winded writing, old-fashioned terminology and grammatical errors. Can you spot everything that’s wrong with it?

Dear Sir/Mdm,

We are in receipt of your feedback dated last week, 3 March 2010.

We are sorry that we have delayed the sending of your requested document due to some mistakes in the information presented in it. Please be informed that our marketing dept is in review of your complaint and will respond soonest with your revised document.

We seek your sincere understanding for the delay and we offer our sincerest apologies for any unneccesary incovenience caused. We look forward to send you the latest document at the soonest.

Kindly contact our cust serv dept if you need any assistance in the meantime. Have a G8 day!

Yours sincerely,

[Company Name omitted to protect privacy]

Here’s how I re-wrote the same letter in a modern, natural style:

Dear Mr. Wong,

Thank you for your feedback of 3 March.

I am very sorry to hear about the delay regarding your document. I have personally looked into this and learnt that some critical information is incorrect and needs to be updated. Our Marketing Team has been working on the neccessary updates to ensure that the document you’ll be receiving is accurate. I will have the document arranged to be sent to you tommorow morning.

Please accept my apologies for the inconvenience caused. Meanwhile, please give me a call if you need my help.

Yours sincerely,


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