Radical Marketing Secrets: Introducing The Phenomenal Power of Copywriting

How to Virtually Hypnotise Your Prospects into Eagerly and Happily Reading Your Adverts

Reading Copy

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A special message to my new readers from Saudi: Since my father Ghazi Algosaibi, God rest his soul, passed I seem to have a lot more readers from Saudi.  Most of which are fans of his.  So, welcome!  And thank you for your interest.  A quick note however, this blog is not a site dedicated to his memory.  There are some fan pages out there, and we his children will at some point put up an official Ghazi Algosaibi website.  This blog is about my thoughts and the topics I’m interested and passionate about, among which are marketing and entrepreneurship (though I suspect I will write about my father from time to time).  Also, this blog is in English and has always been in English, the main reason for that is because I want to appeal to an international audience and not just a local/regional one (not to mention it takes me forever to type in Arabic).  So thanks again for dropping by, now on with today’s topic…

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Welcome to another “Radical Marketing Secrets” post.  In this series I’ve been talking about some pretty awesome advertising secrets.  Here are the links to the previous posts in the series:

1) How to write advertising headlines that can make you rich
2) How to commit small business marketing suicide (the importance of direct response advertising)

As a quick reminder, it is a lot more efficient and effective to do direct response advertisements than image advertisements.  Direct response adverts generally look like articles.  They’re often referred to as advertorials.  Here are two ads I’ve shown in previous posts:

Ad advert for the DreamBody Centre Competition.
Ad advert for the DreamBody  Competition.

The Radical Importance of The First Sentence

Once you’ve got a sexy, irresistible headline, you need to write your copy (words).  THE most important sentence in your ad is the first one.  It is said that 80% of the success of an ad is the headline, and 80% of the remaining 20%’s success is the first sentence. Remember, your prospect will not be reading your advert in a vacuum.  He’ll be reading it while browsing the paper or PC/iPad screen.  Possibly while watching TV or having breakfast, distracted by his kids, thinking of the presentation he has to give at work.  Think of yourself when you’re reading a newspaper or magazine, do you stop and evaluate each advert?  Of course not, right?

So, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a few split seconds of attention while your prospect is scanning the headlines, and if your headline is good, he’ll stop at your headline just long enough to read it.  If that intrigues him, he then might – just might – give you an extra second or two to read the first sentence, or look at the photo (I’ll talk more about advertising photos in another blog post).  So the first sentence has to be really good!  And it should be what you spend a considerable time on.

It’s generally a good idea to follow up with the thought you introduced in the headline.  Keep the sentence short and to the point.  Another thing you can do is to start with a question (e.g. “Do you suffer from acne?…”).  You could also start with a story (“Two years ago my doctor told me I could never have children / I only have six months to live / I’ll be bald for life”).  Just make sure the story is true.  And keep it compelling.

Benefits, Benefits, Benefits

In sales training courses, one of the first things they teach is features vs. benefits.  A feature is something a product has, and a benefit is what it does for you.  So when you write your copy, always right in terms of the benefits your reader will get when buying your product or service, because he only cares about what it will do for him.  There’s an old sales acronym that you should keep in mind when writing your ads “WIIFM”, which stands for “what’s in it for me?”

The reader does not care about how good you are, or how good your products or services are, all he cares about is what you can do for him.  So, before writing your copy, draw a line down the middle of an A4 sheet of paper.  On one side list all the features your product or service has, and on the other side write the benefit(s) each feature has.  That will give you a very good starting point.  If there are any benefits you know of that your current customers are particularly happy about, make sure to mention those too.  Makes sense?

Appeal To Emotions and Feelings

We humans think we’re logical, but we’re not really.  We make most of our decisions based on emotions, and then justify them with logic.  So in your copy, make sure you’re appealing to emotions as well.  How will the prospect feel when buying your product or service?

I think it was Freud who said that we humans have two basic desires; the desire to gain pleasure, and the desire to avoid pain.  Here’s a partial list of things people generally want:

– Better health.

– More comfort.

– More money!

– More time.

– Better relationships.

– More popularity.

– More prestige.

– Better appearance.

Now figure out how your products or service can be linked to one or more of these.

Speak To One Person Only

When writing your copy, write as if you are speaking.  I often break the rules of traditional, proper writing when writing ads, because you get better results that way.  Also, write as if you’re writing to one person only, not to a group of readers.  Use the word “you” a lot, and minimise the word “I” or “we”.

Mention Your USP

USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition.  It’s the thing that makes your business stand out from the rest.  If you don’t have one, make sure to develop one.

Copy length

This is a topic that can cause a lot of controversy – but only for beginners, or for Image Advertising advocates.  The general rule is, the longer your copy, the better.  But – and this is a big BUT – the copy must be compelling and interesting.  It must keep your reader motivated and inspired to read the whole advert.

Let me give you an example to illustrate my point: have you ever read a book?  I assume the answer is yes (and if you’re a reader of my blog I presume and hope that you read books fairly regularly).  Anyway, assuming the answer is yes, then the follow up question from me would be “why did you read this book?”  There might be all kinds of reasons, but I’ll assume the main reason is because you found the book interesting – otherwise you would not have read it.

I’ll further assume that all the books you read are about topics you’re interested in.  So if you would read a 200+ page book about a topic you’re interested in – as many people would – would it not be fair to assume that you would read a long advert, about something you’re interested in?

The key thing is that the advert must be interesting to your prospect – don’t worry about who won’t read it, worry about who will.  Therefore your ad must be targeted at the correct prospect, not at everyone.  If you try to get everyone to read your advert you’ll end up getting no one.

So, if your headline targets the right prospect, and you have a good first sentence, and your copy is benefit-oriented, compelling and interesting, then people will read your advert.

Let me give you another example to further cement this point.  Imagine you walk into a mobile phone shop because you need a new phone.  You walk around and you see a nice phone, let’s call it the XLCom.  You call the sales guy and ask him about it, and he picks up the phone, makes a waving gesture with his hand and says “The new XLCom mobile phone, because you want the best!”

This would be a very weird experience, right?.  You would probably say something like “Excuse me, I don’t know what you just said, but I’d like more information on the new XLCom phone.”  He then looks at you, smiles and just repeats the same sentence “The new XLCom mobile phone, because you want the best!”
And this goes on for a few more times until you lose your temper and shout “STOP!  I just want more information on this phone!  How should I know whether I should buy it or not!!!”

The sales person apologetically looks at you and says “We’re not allowed to tell you more about the phone.  My manager says that people won’t listen if we explain too much about the phone.  We can only give you the tag line and point at the phone.”

Of course this is just a fictional example, but you get my point.  Saying that people won’t read an advert that has many words is like saying people will not listen to a sales person.  Would you limit the number of words your salesperson can use?  I don’t think so.  Don’t limit the number of words in your adverts either.  Studies have shown that long copy outsells short copy almost every single time.  Long copy allows you to “sell” your product more. And remember advertising is salesmanship in print.

Hope you found this useful.  If you enjoyed this then make sure to sign up for my FREE marketing course at RadicalMarketing.com.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and talk to you soon.

One Response to Radical Marketing Secrets: Introducing The Phenomenal Power of Copywriting

  1. Turad El-Amri 4 September 2010 at 7:56 pm #

    Dear Suhail,
    I enjoyed, very much, your marketing tips. Moreover, I love the way you present the subject, mainly, your examples. Wish you the best. Regards

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