Follow this easy-to-remember system to squeeze more conversions out of every campaign and maximize your revenues.
What You Will Learn
- How to avoid the ‘maze of confusion’ when writing copy
- The eight ‘Ps’ that will keep your copy on track
- How to apply this checklist to turbocharge results
The Fast Track to Copy that Works
When I was a kid, my mom always told me that peas are good for you. And of course, she was right – peas are very good for your health.
But as a direct-response copywriter, I’ve discovered that ‘Ps’ are very good, too. They are important to your financial health. They help you keep a sales letter on track, and ensure that all the important points are covered.
Direct-response copywriting is a sophisticated art, and there are a lot of persuasion elements to remember – so it’s easy to miss one. You can end up with so many formulas and principles to apply that you get lost in a ‘maze of confusion.’
So work through this simple checklist and ensure that your sales copy ticks every item on the list. Then you can be confident of having all the key elements in place. You will be all set for success.
1. The Peculiarity
Your first challenge as a copywriter is to get the attention of your target audience. And a great way to do that is to find a peculiarity that intrigues the right people. In other words, we need to leverage curiosity.
The traditional approach to writing headlines and leads is to focus on the benefits that a product offers. And yes, that can work. But if you can build in curiosity, your response rate will multiply.
For example, one of the most successful direct response campaigns ever ran with the headline:
‘What Never to Eat on an Airplane’
This was Boardroom Report’s most opened direct mail piece for many years. As it turns out, the answer to the tease is that you should ‘never eat anything!’ So a lesser copywriter might have written something like:
‘Why You Should Never Eat Anything on an Airplane’
That may have received a moderate open rate, but it’s nowhere near as compelling. ‘What You Should Never Eat’ opens up a curiosity loop. What is that one thing? Am I eating it when I fly? What will happen if I do?
The only way to close that curiosity loop is to rip open the envelope and read more – which is exactly what Boardroom Reports wanted…and what people did!
2. The Pain
Another rookie copywriting mistake is to focus purely on the future benefits that your product offers. Future pacing is a great technique, and certainly has its place in every promotion.
But remember that people are much more focused on the pain they are experiencing right now, whether physical or emotional. Let’s say you are promoting a business opportunity. Many biz ops focus on painting a rosy picture of the future – lying on the beach on a tropical island, enjoying the good life.
But for someone who has just lost their job, achieving that dream life is not what keeps them awake at night. They are lying in the darkness wondering how they will pay the bills and feed their children this week.
So to get their attention, you need to focus on how you can solve those problems right now. The majority of your copy should be focused on taking away the present pain, with a shorter section demonstrating the future benefits.
3. The Promise
To be successful, your campaign needs to make a big promise. In a world where people are bombarded with ads all day long, a mediocre benefit just won’t cut it.
So focus on nailing your Unique Sales Proposition. What is it that makes your product different from competing options? How will the benefit of buying it exceed the price that customers have to pay?
Finding a big (but achievable) promise is a key factor in building a successful offer. Work hard on making your promise as bold and exciting as you reasonably can.
4. The Pill
Everyone wants a magic pill.
People who are overweight don’t want to give up their favorite foods or sweat away for hours in the gym. They take a pill that melts the fat away while they sit on the sofa eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. No wonder sellers of weight-loss supplements live in mansions and drive Bentleys.
Of course, you should always stick to the facts in your copy and never promise benefits you can’t deliver. But you can identify and emphasize the features that help customers get the results with minimum effort. In particular, you can’t go wrong with:
- Quicker: nobody wants to wait for results. ‘Lose 10 pounds in 10 days’ will always outsell ‘Lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks.’
- Easier: if any kind of effort is required, your response rate will suffer. Make it as simple as possible to get the desired results.
- Done for you: ‘quicker and easier’ rolled into one! People will pay a premium price if you can remove all the inconvenience and get results for them, double quick
The closer you get your offer to a ‘magic pill,’ the better your results will be.
5. The Proof
You can have a great product that delivers fantastic results, yet still fail to achieve meaningful sales. Why? Very often it’s a lack of proof that lets a campaign down.
Prospective customers are very skeptical, and rightly so. Buying online is a potentially risky business, and there are many sellers making exaggerated claims. So proof is a vitally important element in making your offer credible.
Fortunately, there are many different ways to make your offer believable. Leverage as many of them as you can to give prospects confidence in you and your product. You can use:
- Testimonials from happy customers
- Quotes from authoritative sources
- Studies from respected institutions
- Reviews from independent sources
…and so on. Don’t be afraid to pile on the proof. The more you have, the more you will sell.
6. The Path
Once you have convinced the prospect that you have a solution to the problem, you need to guide them to the checkout. That may seem obvious, yet many offers fall at this final hurdle.
The path to the checkout should be clear and obvious. You need to explain to prospects what they need to do next, how they can purchase – and exactly what they will get as a result.
If there is any confusion on these points, you will lose the sale. Clarity is everything, so ensure that the path to the checkout is as clear and simple as you can make it.
7. The Painkiller
When making a purchase decision, the prospect has to weigh the benefits of buying against the costs and risks involved. A whole gamut of questions will cause them to hesitate over the ‘buy’ button.
‘What if the product isn’t as good as I thought? Can I get my money back? I don’t have that much money right now. Is there an option to pay in installments? What if I change my mind?’
This is the pain of purchase – and you need ‘painkillers’ to reduce these concerns. Offer a solid guarantee, include an FAQ section to answer common queries, and offer payment options for high-ticket items.
Many sales are lost at the last moment. In fact, two thirds of online sales are abandoned before checkout is completed. You need to do everything you can to claim those lost sales back.
8. The Panic
Korean band Exo sold out all 66,000 tickets for one concert in less than five minutes – a world record! And around the world, concerts announced by popular performers routinely sell out in less than an hour.
So what’s the rush? For these events, everyone knows the tickets will sell out fast. So the only way to secure a ticket is to grab one fast. There is a panic to buy because there is real urgency.
If you can build this kind of ‘panic’ into your offer, your sales figures will light up. Urgency works routinely in everything from January sales to auctions. When buyers know they may lose out to someone else, or because a deadline has passed, they are compelled to act.
Nobody wants to lose an opportunity that is offered to them. Leverage this ‘fear of missing out’ and your conversion rates will rocket.
‘P for Persuasion’ Works!
Direct-response marketing can become overwhelming. If you study all the gurus, you will end up suffering from information overload. You will have lots of fantastic ideas to draw on, but will you remember to use them?
The ‘P for Persuasion’ cuts through the noise and allows you to focus on what’s truly important. Check off these eight ‘Ps’ in your next piece of sales copy, and you will be sure of better results. It’s a simple system that guarantees to put more money in your pocket.
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