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Archive for January 5th, 2012

Good copywriting is a learned skill, and essential to a successful website

(Click twice SLOWLY – not a double-click – to enlarge the image.)
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Happy New Year!

Before we jump right back into the swing of things, let’s take a little trip down memory lane and review the techniques for building a good website that we’ve covered so far:

Today we’re going to talk about the all-important aspect of copywriting. You’re an author (or soon-to-be author), so copywriting should come easily, right? Well, yes and no. Successful copywriting is only partly about the words themselves; it’s also about how you arrange the words and other elements on the page.

For instance, you want to avoid the mistake that many novice copywriters make by cluttering up your sales page. Should you include an image of your book cover? Absolutely! Your head shot or your publishing company logo? Perhaps, but not above the headline, which is the FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT piece of your sales page.

As we have discussed in previous posts, the entire goal of any piece of marketing material is to get the person to KEEP READING. In Web copy, that means you must start with a compelling headline that entices them to … KEEP READING. According to CopyBlogger.com, “On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece.”

We’ve talked about the hook! Well, never was it more important than here in the headline of your web copy.

One thing you must remember is that good copywriting appeals to the emotion of your prospective reader/customer/client. In order to do this well, you’ve got to get into your reader’s head and know what will compel or entice them to want to learn more. In short, pose the question that they are seeking to answer! A financial advisor client of ours works specifically with retirement planning. So, in order to craft a good headline at the height of the financial meltdown, we went to someone with that particular concern, asking, “What specifically keeps you up at night when you think about your financial future?” His answer became our headline: Are you worried that you’ll NEVER be able to retire?

So you come up with a dynamite headline and figure you’ve hit a home run, but you’ll never know unless you test it. As Copywriting Basics 101 writes, “It doesn’t matter if you think your headline is the greatest thing to hit the internet if it doesn’t convert. And thus, split testing becomes a priority. Split testing is based on science and logic. Instead of trusting your gut with your headline, USP, and other parts of your copy — test. Take the time to design two or more different versions of the sales page for the same product.”

It may surprise you to learn that taking the time to test and test and test again, and then using those results to tweak the copy and sales page based on the results, is probably a copywriter’s most essential skill — way beyond the ability to write.

When it comes to the words themselves, if a visitor to your site is inclined to read past the headline, they will read long sales pages as often as short ones, provided that the copy is COMPELLING. How do you make it compelling? Speak to their interests directly. Tell them what the book is about and link to a sample chapter, without giving away the farm. Reference the Table of Contents. Rave about the most important point they will learn. Talk about others who have read and loved your book. Tell them what it will do for them (nonfiction) or how it will make them feel (fiction). Most importantly, use hypnotic writing.

Master Internet marketer Joe Vitale defines hypnotic writing as “intentionally using words to guide people into a focused mental state where they are inclined to buy your product or service.” Any words you use that cause your readers to react because of the mental images you plant in their minds qualify as hypnotic writing. Telling stories is one of the quickest and easiest ways to do this. If your sales copy is going to be effective, it must be hypnotic!

For a look at a great sales letter that pushes just the right emotional buttons, combined with a compelling offer and great testimonials, visit SecretsOfQ.com. It may take some practice to get comfortable with writing sales copy — especially if you’re an author who has never really focused on the sales side of writing before. But if you commit to it, you can do it and do it well. If you won’t do it yourself, the other option is to pay someone else to do it for you, because the book cover alone is not going to sell your book.

MARCIE

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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