Here are 16 “copy insights” that made me a digital millionaire.
1) Get them into bed with you first. You can’t score if they’re in another room. Meaning, you must get up close and personal to sell. You do this by understanding your audience intimately.
2) The 60/40 rule. I spend about 40% of my time researching, learning about, interrogating, and trying to better understand my best buyers; and about 60% of my time actually creating content. Most marketers do little research, vomit anything that comes to mind, then wonder why they can’t make sales.
3) Remember: people love to buy. But it’s your job to create a brand that makes the buying process inviting, exciting, and juicy. When you’re enthusiastic about what you’re selling and you write without restrictions, the copy should ooze originality and optimism. Marie Forleo does this as well as anyone.
4) Avoid adspeak. If it sounds salesy, don’t use it. The more you sound like a marketer, the more suspicious your audience will be.
5) But don’t be boring, either. If you come off like Corporate America, you’ll put people to sleep. Go easy on professional jargon and stiff sentences that don’t sound like a human wrote them.
6) It’s all about psychographics. Demographics like age, gender, income, and location don’t matter near as much as you think. I focus on the beliefs, values, feelings, perceptions, and common characteristics of my target audience.
7) So how do you determine all that? Simple. Just ask. Talk to your peeps in person. Survey them online. Speak to those who know ’em best. Stalk them. What are they talking about on social media? Which magazines do they read? What websites do they frequent? Where do they hang out? What are they binge-watching on Netflix? Investigate. Keep a journal. Find patterns. This intel is a shortcut to sales.
8) Exercise: say you had to buy a gift for a complete stranger. What would you want to know to guarantee they love it? Know that about your leads and keep it in mind whenever you write something for them.
9) Connect. Your customers are humans, not statistics. Speak to them like you would a friend in person, even when they’re strangers online. Care. Interact. Admit your mistakes. Be real. Hide nothing. This ad is a perfect example.
10) Don’t try to sell everyone. Help the right clients make the right choice and keep the wrong ones from buying.
11) Shut up about yourself. No one gives a flying f*ck. Limit the self references. I don’t want to ever catch you saying: “Here at XYZ, we pride ourselves in…”
12) Formatting. I don’t care what you’re writing or where, make it easy to consume. Or no one will. Use big, black fonts; white background; narrow margins; headlines; catchy pictures; small paragraphs; lots of bullets and numbered lists; and always have one clear, compelling call to action (if it’s time-sensitive, even better). Then check the formatting across all different types of devices and browsers.
13) Fence-sitters. Get prospects off the fence by piling on case studies, testimonials, tutorials, and other undeniable proof that your product or service is all that and a plate of macho nachos.
14) Fill buckets. Make ’em feel better about themselves. Give them hope. Build them up. Make it emotional.
15) Features are good; benefits are better; irrational motivators are best. For example, if you’re marketing a weight loss pill and it’s small and easy to swallow, that’s good to know. And if it’ll help me eat less without suffering hunger pangs, even better. But if it’ll make my ex’s jaw drop when I update my FB profile pic? I’m sold.
16) Let them decide. Don’t say you’re honest; how ’bout just being honest? Don’t say you’re transparent; be transparent. Don’t say you’re the best; be the best. And if you’re all those things, referrals become the compounding effect of great copy.