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Copywriting Advice From A Grizzled
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If you would like to know one of the "best kept secrets" of writing good sales copy -- for any media you use, and no matter what you're selling -- then listen to this.
One of the best marketing "formulas" I've ever heard is the "50-30-20" formula. This basically says 50% of the effectiveness of your promotion is entirely dependent on how targeted, hungry and responsive your list is. 30% is dependent on the offer you create. And just 20% has to do with the actual "writing".
In other words, if you're selling to the right person, and have the right offer, then you can, in many cases, botch up the copy in a thousand different ways...and still walk away with a fat profit.
However, even though this means the list and the offer should be given the most attention, the actual writing is still 20% of the process, and shouldn't be ignored.
And to that end, I want to tell you a simple little secret used by reporters, novelists and most every other kind of writer out there, that can make a huge difference in your response. Especially if you have the offer and list right.
Check this out:
When you're writing an ad, your first draft will almost always be a complete mess. Which is fine. Random thoughts, questions or ideas will more than likely be written all over the page. Whether they apply to the pitch or not.
But, when you revise your copy, it's time to take out everything that's not the "pitch." Including all those clever twists, turns and phrases you're in love with, and are excited about using, but that simply lack even a speck of sales appeal.
For example, I sometimes do copy critiques, and many of these sales letters take little "side trips" here and there -- talking about things completely unrelated to what's being sold.
It's as bad as trying to sell water filters to someone in person and then -- when you're in the middle of your pitch and have the customer glued to your story and half way sold -- saying something like, "oh and speaking of clean water, stay away from those dumpy Chicago beaches. You know they found a three headed catfish on one of those beaches? It was the weirdest thing..."
See what I mean? It completely wrenches the customer's attention away.
Now look, these side trips and "tangents" may be extremely interesting and fascinating, but if they don't add to the sales pitch, they need to be cut out. No matter how clever, creative or "original" they are. Sometimes it hurts to cut out your favorite parts. But if you want to make the sale then you have to. Otherwise, you risk losing the customer's attention and interest in what you're selling. Both of which are near impossible to regain once lost.
I always try to keep in mind something expert copywriter and teacher John Carlton said about when he was getting selling advice from an old, grizzled salesman. His advice was simple: "Quit trying to be fancy and just sell the dang thing."
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