Indispensable Copywriting Skills That Boom Your Response, Part 1

Want to improve your sales copy by leaps and bounds?

Copywriting involves many different tools that a writer can have in their arsenal.

While all of them are important, there are some that are simply indispensable.

With a grasp of these “indispensables,” even an average copywriter can markedly improve their results and get more response and more revenue.

The Customer Is the Best Copywriter

If you want to sell hair replacement services, get a bald man or woman to write the copy. If you want to sell Tupperware, get a homemaker who uses the containers to write the copy. If you want to sell asset protection products to baby boomers—okay, you get the point.

The customer is the source of the pain points related to the problem your product or service solves or the desire it fulfills. They know and use the words and phrases that ring truest and “speak” to them about the problem or desire. They are the authors of the conversation they are having in their mind, about their problem and your solution.

So, who better to write your copy, right?

You don’t have to say it. Obviously, it’s totally impractical; you’re not going to hire one of your customers or leads to write your sales copy.

What then?

The Next Level

In the lead of this article, you saw the mention of indispensable copywriting tools.

The most indispensable of these tools is knowing your customer.

“How well do I have to know him/her?” you ask. The answer is: “As good as you possibly can.”

A so-so writer who knows their customer well will always get better results with their sales copy than a rock star writer who has an incomplete or assumed understanding of the customer.

When you can truly get inside the customer’s head and their heart, you will write the kind of copy that they will read all the way through because it speaks to them about their problem/desire and your solution in the same way they “speak” to themselves about these things.

That’s next level copywriting.

When you fail to get inside the customer’s head, you end up writing the same kind of “hype-y,” come-on, sales pitch copy that they’ve seen over and over—the kind that makes them hit “delete” key or crumple it up and shoot a three-pointer into the wastebasket.

You need to be able to get into the head of your prospect, whether you can directly relate to them or not.”—Craig Clemens

“Imagine the person you’re writing to,” said Craig Clemens, speaking on the Self Made Man podcast episode, “How to Write a Sales Message That Moves Millions.” “What is it going to take to get into that guy’s head and get him to finally get excited about our material and get excited about his dating life again?”

Clemens, a copywriter known for writing some of the biggest direct response campaigns on the Internet, was referring to his work for DoubleYourDating.com, but it applies to customers in any niche. How do you get them to come up out of apathy or indifference about their problems or their unfulfilled dreams? How do you get them to feel excitement about your product or service?

You have to understand them but really, you do it by being them.

Write Someone Else’s Autobiography (Wait … What?)

The first thing to do, before you write a sentence of sales copy is to learn about your target customer…

…and then sit down and begin writing an autobiography as if you were them.

Clemens trained as a copywriter under the tutelage of Eben Pagan, the founder of Double Your Dating (for guys) and a similar site for ladies called Catch Him and Keep Him. Clemens wrote successfully for both.

How did he “reach” single and divorced women in their forties?

“Eben taught me a fantastic exercise for doing this,” said Clemens. “He had me sit down and write an autobiography as that prospect.”

“I don’t really know what it’s like to be a 41-year old woman who has recently gotten divorced and is starting to date again and feeling frustrated,” he said. “I could not relate to that all.”

Clemens had the benefit of email responses from Catch Him and Keep Him customers to inform his understanding. “I would read their comments in the emails,” he said. “I would give myself a name … and I would think about how many kids I have and what type of career I was in … ”

“He had me sit down and write an autobiography as that prospect.”—Craig Clemens

Sounds crazy, right? Well, it was this technique that enabled Clemens to write a sales piece that brought in 33,000 new paying customers in just 48 hours—all from cold traffic.

Clemens would write out an entire history of the prospect in the prospect’s voice, as it related to the solution he was going to present: “Hi, my name is Marcie and I’m 41 years old. I have two kids that are five and seven and I really thought I was going to be married to their father for the rest of my life,” Clemens offers, as a sample. “I’ve had a really frustrating time meeting men lately—that was, until I met James … ” Later in the piece, in the voice of “Marcie,” he introduces the reader to Catch Him and Keep Him’s product.

How to Be the Customer

What if you don’t have the benefit of a bunch of customer emails to tell youemail marketing tips what your target audience talks about, what they say, and how they say it?

There are still ways you can still find these things out:

1. Amazon.com—If you’re writing about a particular type of product, you can likely find similar products on Amazon. Read the reviews. What do they say? How do they say it?
2. Online forums—For just about any product or service, there is a forum on the web somewhere. Join in and read the posts. What kinds of things are people posting about? If there are complaint threads, what is the nature of the complaints? That can sometimes be as valuable as the positive comments.
3. YouTube—For many products and services, companies make marketing videos. Read the comments for each video and note what’s said and how people say it.

Use a piece of paper and pencil or a text document to take note of various types of comments people make. Once you’ve done this for a bit, you might notice a trend develops on certain kinds of comments.

Keep a tally and see which words and phrases, what types of comments, and what general sentiment or attitude is expressed. Then use it in your copy to make it more authentic.

This kind of research can be as good as surveying your audience and will provide you will “live” and useful material for your “customer autobiography” and the copy that you write.

Last Word

The most effective sales messages are those which correspond closely to the conversation your typical customer is having in his/her head about their problem and its solution.

With a bit of research, you can get a good feel for their viewpoint on these things. You can then assume their identity when writing the autobiography and your sales message. When you can think and talk like your typical customer, you will sell to more of them.

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