Copywriting 911

Copywriter + Client = Love?

Since times immemorial, when the art of promotion was invented, the humanity has succeeded in its development, but one question still remains unsolved: how not to go too far while praising the product? In other words, what words look authoritative and quite persuasive for prospects, and which ones just annoy them, being referred to as “spam”?

Just look around and you’ll see: spammy promotion is literally everywhere. When a salesman knocks at your door and, breathless with delight, informs you that “you’re so lucky today”, because he’s come to show you the best lawnmower in the universe – what do you feel? Do you like this person? I bet, you are ready to kick the poor fellow downstairs, staying completely ignorant about his great product.

The fact is that excessive praise can ruin even a well-planned promotional campaign. It is especially obvious while looking through a sales letter. People, all those “it is time to be the best of the best?” and “start earning billions” have become a commonplace and are unlikely to call to action even a monkey, let alone today’s experienced readers. Of course, Henri Matisse said “don’t be afraid of banality”, but first, he wasn’t a copywriter, and secondly, it was 200 years ago!

So, let’s look at the most common spammy techniques that copywriters use in sales copies and discover how to avoid them.

  • First you have to invent a more or less tired headline. If you think that headlines like “Yes, you too can earn $100,000 a day quickly and easily” are ok, then either you are a beginner at sales letter writing, or you had worked in Herbalife for 10 years, and spammy promotion is already your second nature. To find more examples of commonplace headlines, visit Headline Generator featuring the most trite cliches.

To fight banality, try to stay deliberately accurate. Don’t write the vague and incomprehensible “Learn How the Ultimate Fitness Guide Can Fulfill All of Your Dreams”. Choose something more precise and definite – “Learn How to Make Your Legs Look Like Kylie’s in 3 Months!” The concept of “life” has too many meanings and seems obscure, while “Kylie’s legs” embodies the ideal each woman aspires to.

  • Having got through the headline, you proceed to the product description, writing the lead, the bullet points and the body itself. Here the balance is your best friend. Even if you are absolutely sure the product is a treasure, try at least to seem unbiased and – what is more important – don’t exaggerate its benefits, telling a lie. Writing that a vacuum cleaner “will change your life once and for all” you not only deceive prospects, but also divert them from the product, as nobody likes hype. To be listened to and to be heard via the sales letter, you should first establish your authority. Show that you really know everything about the promoted product and the area of its application by providing more specific details and answering all the possible questions.

Keep aside spammy “the new Traffic Generating Guide will quickly bring you to the top on SERPs and create six-figure income!” If you are just selling a guide you can’t guarantee such a result, as many things depend on the customer’s activity. Be closer to the reality: “the new Traffic Generating Guide will teach you how to grow targeted traffic, to take advantage of off-page optimization, building credibility within your niche, and to run an effective PPC campaign.” Of course, this one isn’t the highest degree of perfection, but it looks more believable than empty promises of wealth and happiness.

Story: a friend of mine was already discussing the deal with his client when suddenly his competitor came into the room. With no doubt, the client got quite interested in what both of them could offer. My friend’s competitor hastened to tell their services were high-quality and cheap. There was nothing to add, and my friend just reported: “Well, our services are poor-quality. And very expensive.” The scene looked so comic, that the client just burst out laughing – and guess who got the deal? The power of humor is unmeasurable, in fact.

Of course it doesn’t mean you are to use humor in the sales page – it may be misunderstood by readers, but you should at least have it – in order not to be laughed at yourself.

  • When all benefits of that “unique and irresistible” product are listed, you call readers to make a purchase by creating urgency. Look at the most widespread samples:

“Warning! The amazing offer expires in 24 hours. Don’t let this unique opportunity slip through your fingers!”


“Don’t procrastinate: only 10 first clients can enjoy the current discount!”

…and then the customer visits the site in a week, finds the same notification and feels duped. Don’t let this unfortunate mistake ruin your credibility and make money pass your pocket! Remember that apart from introducing time limits, there are many other ways to create urgency, like product update, bonus limits etc – actually, Michel Fortin describes them very clearly.

It’s time to get a better writing style, isn’t it? Yes, you too can earn $[fill in the blank] monthly. You can’t even realize how lucky you are to read all this! So, don’t waste your chance: get rid of spammy techniques today, and become a sales letter pro! ;)

Image by Sam Foster

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