“How to take your B2B SaaS company from $0-$1M in 12 months or less using content marketing funnel and AI-powered content automation”
“Let’s get to the heart of the matter. The power, the force, the overwhelming urge to own that makes advertising work, comes from the market itself, and not from the copy. Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exists in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copy writer’s task: not to create this mass desire – but to channel and direct it.” – Eugene Schwartz
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” – Elmore Leonard
“Copy is not written. Copy is assembled.” – Eugene Schwartz
“When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.” – David Ogilvy
“Your job is not to write copy. Your job is to know your visitors, customers and prospects so well, you understand the situation they’re in right now, where they’d like to be, and exactly how your solution can and will get them to their ideal self.” – Joanna Wiebe
“Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” – Howard Gossage
“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” – Leo Burnett
“Metaphors are a great language tool, because they explain the unknown in terms of the known.” – Anne Lamott
“The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships.” – Leo Burnett
“We have become so accustomed to hearing everyone claim that his product is the best in the world, or the cheapest, that we take all such statements with a grain of salt.” – Robert Collier
“A big reason so many businesses compete on price is because they can’t prove what value they offer, so they’re stuck with the one selling point that’s a breeze to communicate: cheapness.” – Mish Slade
“Every product has a unique personality and it is your job to find it.” – Joe Sugarman
“People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, and help them throw rocks at their enemies.” – Blair Warren
“Here’s the only thing you’re selling, no matter what business you’re in and what you ship: you’re selling your prospects a better version of themselves.” – Joanna Wiebe
“The mind thinks in pictures, you know. One good illustration is worth a thousand words. But one clear picture built up in the reader’s mind by your words is worth a thousand drawings, for the reader colors that picture with his own imagination, which is more potent than all the brushes of all the world’s artists.” – Robert Collier
“Instead of representing the buyer’s expectations, needs, wants, and concerns, many personas are built around a profile of what the business would like its ideal buyer to be.” – Jennifer Havice
“A business man is no different from any other kind.” – Robert Collier
“To properly understand advertising or to learn even its rudiments one must start with the right conception. Advertising is salesmanship.” – Claude Hopkins
“The very first thing you must come to realize is that you must become a “student of markets.” Not products. Not techniques. Not copywriting. Not how to buy space or whatever. Now, of course, all of these things are important and you must learn about them, but, the first and the most important thing you must learn is what people want to buy.” – Gary Halbert
“The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth.” – Anne Lamott
“It has long been my belief that a lot of money can be made by making offers to people who are at an emotional turning point in their lives.” – Gary Halbert
“There is your audience. There is the language. There are the words that they use.” – Eugene Schwartz
“Decide the effect you want to produce in your reader.” — Robert Collier
“Brevity doesn’t mean bare bones or stripped down. Take as long as you need to tell the story.” – Ann Handley
“What I am doing here is taking the reader by the hand and leading him exactly where I want him to go. It seems like a small point and, maybe it is, but is the little touches like this that keeps the letter flowing, the reader moving along, and, it relieves him of the burden of trying to figure out what he is supposed to do when he finishes reading a particular page.” – Gary Halbert
“There is a secret every professional artist knows that the amateurs don’t: being original is overrated. The most creative minds in the world are not especially creative; they’re just better at rearrangement.” – Jeff Goins
“The word block suggests that you are constipated or stuck, when the truth is that you’re empty.” – Anne Lamott
“So, before you begin the writing, be sure you know the purpose or mission or objective of every piece of content that you write. What are you trying to achieve? What information, exactly, are you trying to communicate? And why should your audience care?” – Ann Handley
“I’ve learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one.” – Leo Burnett
“Tap a single overwhelming desire existing in the hearts of thousands of people who are actively seeking to satisfy it at this very moment.” – Eugene Schwartz
“Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions it rarely moves anyone.” – Fairfax M. Cone
“In writing good advertising it is necessary to put a mood into words and to transfer that mood to the reader.” – Helen Woodward
“The vast majority of products are sold because of the need for love, the fear of shame, the pride of achievement, the drive for recognition, the yearning to feel important, the urge to look attractive, the lust for power, the longing for romance, the need to feel secure, the terror of facing the unknown, the lifelong hunger for self-esteem and so on. Emotions are the fire of human motivation, the combustible force that secretly drives most decisions to buy. When your marketing harnesses those forces correctly you will generate explosive increases in response.” – Gary Bencivenga
“All the elements in an advertisement are primarily designed to do one thing and one thing only: get you to read the first sentence of the copy.” – Joseph Sugarman
“What matters isn’t storytelling. What matters is telling a true story well.” – Ann Handley
“Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.” – Shirley Polykoff
“You sell on emotion, but you justify a purchase with logic.” – Joseph Sugarman
“In an online world, our online words are our emissaries; they tell the world who we are.” – Ann Handley
“The greatest thing you have working for you is not the photo you take or the picture you paint; it’s the imagination of the consumer. They have no budget, they have no time limit, and if you can get into that space, your ad can run all day.” – Don Draper
“Make your copy straightforward to read, understand and use. Use easy words; those that are used for everyday speech. Use phrases that are not too imprecise and very understandable. Do not be too stuffy; remove pompous words and substitute them with plain words. Minimize complicated gimmicks and constructions. If you can’t give the data directly and briefly, you must consider writing the copy again.” – Jay Abraham
“It takes a big idea to attract the attention of consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea.” – David Ogilvy
“Probably the biggest thing or biggest ‘aha’ moment I had with the process of copywriting was when I realized that copywriting was more than just being creative. I used to think, ‘Wow, let’s come up with something great and wonderful,’ and I didn’t start becoming successful, in my own eyes, until I said, ‘No, my clients are not hiring me to be creative; they’re hiring me to deliver a control.’” – Carline Anglade-Cole
“Marketers have a tendency to try to abstract their messages to the point that everything can be said in two to six commonly used words, which somehow gives us the comforting sense that we’ve created a polished marketing message. As if that’s the goal. Let me leave you with this: polish doesn’t convert.” – Joanna Wiebe
First present the product or the satisfaction it gives directly—bluntly—by a thorough, completely detailed description of its appearance or the results it gives.
Put the Claims in Action: Now that you have presented your main description, you are ready to expand the image. One of the most effective ways to do this is to PUT THE PRODUCT IN ACTION for your reader. To show, not only how the product looks, and what benefits it gives the reader, but exactly how it does this.
Bring in the Reader: put your reader right smack in the middle of this product-in-action story, and give him a verbal demonstration of what will happen to him the first day he owns that product.
Show your prospect how to test your Claims: Turn the demonstration into a test. Let your reader visualize himself proving the performance of your product—gaining its benefits immediately—in the most specific and dramatic way possible.
Stretch out your benefits in time. showing the product at work, not for just an hour or day, but over a span of weeks and months. Here you extend your reader’s vision further and further into time—showing him a continuous flow of benefits.
Bring in an Audience: other actors besides the reader are brought into the scene. Each one of them—each group of them—provides a fresh new perspective through which your reader can view the product. Seen through their eyes—experienced through their actions and reactions—the product performances become new, vivid and completely different again.
Show Experts Approving: But not only celebrities and ordinary people can be used to reaffirm the product benefits. Experts in the field—professionals—the sophisticated, the discriminating, can be called on to register their reactions.
Compare, Contrast, Prove Superiority: the competition can be carried into contrast. The disadvantages of the old product or service can be laid side by side with the advantages of the new— throwing these advantages into sharp relief.
Picture the limitation of your product too: Here the negative aspect to every promise—the problem that you are liberating your prospect from forever—is painted in all its full black color. You irritate the wound, and then you apply the salve that heals it.
Show How Easy It Is to Get These Benefits: at every point that your product touches the life of vour prospect price, availability, ease of use, durability, portability replacement and maintenance, it furnishes you with another fresh perspective in which to reiterate and reemphasize its benefits. Here is just one example—stressing the ease of application, and contrasting it with the tremendous benefits that that application gives you.
Use Metaphor, Analogy, Imagination: nor do you have to be satisfied merely with the statement of rate fact. There are infinite opportunities for the use of imagination to present those facts in more dramatic form, outside of the rigidly realistic approach.
Before You’re Done , Summarize again: as long as each additional fresh perspective continues to build the dominant desire in your prospect’s mind, use it. But if the additional perspective is not different or dramatic enough to renew your prospect’s interest in your claims, then leave it out.
Put Your Guarantee to Work: finally, as you close the sale, as you ask the prospect for action, as you state the terms of your guarantee, you can turn that guarantee into the climax of your sales letter—the last brief summary of your product’s performances—reinforced at every step by the positive reassertion of that guarantee.
In mathematics, one plus one always equals two—never more. In emotional writing, one plus one can often equal ten. In other words, two emotional images, joined together in the right way- can often have TEN TIMES the impact that either of these images.
By far the most popular — and probably the oldest — of all direct mail copy formulas is one of the most simple: AIDA. A. Attract the reader’s attention. I Arouse the reader’s interest in the proposition. D Stimulate the reader’s desire to take action. A Ask the reader to take the action requested. There are several variations on the AIDA formula. The late Robert Collier insisted the proper order for sales letters was: Attention Interest Description Persuasion Proof Close Earle A. Buckley had this variation: Interest Desire Conviction Action
Victor Schwab suggested this formula: A Get Attention A Show people an Advantage P Prove it P Persuade people to grasp this advantage A Ask for action
Henry Hoke, Sr., took a different approach: Picture Promise Prove Push
Many writers have found Jack Lacy’s Five Points an excellent guideline for their sales letters: 1. What will you do for me if I listen to your story? 2. How are you going to do this? 3. Who is responsible for the promises you make? 4. Who have you done this for? 5. What will it cost me?
Frank Egner offered a more detailed, nine-point formula: 1. The headline (or first paragraph) to get attention and arouse desire. 2. The inspirational lead-in. 3. A clear definition of the product. 4. Tell a success story about product use. 5. Include testimonials and endorsements. 6. List special features. 7. A definite statement of value to the prospect. 8. Specific urgent action copy. 9. A postscript.
Of all the formulas, I have found Bob Stone’s seven steps the most helpful: 1. Promise a benefit in your headline or first paragraph — your most important benefit. 2. Immediately enlarge your most important benefit. 3. Tell the reader specifically what he or she is going to get. 4. Back up your statements with proof and endorsements. 5. Tell the reader what might be lost if he or she doesn’t act. 6. Rephrase your prominent benefits in your closing. 7. Incite action — now.
There’s one more approach many writers have built into their direct mail copy. It was the basis for much of Cy Frailey’s teaching about effective letter writing. He credits a Chicago consultant, Dr. Frank W. Dignan, for creating the Star-Chain-Hook approach: Star An opening that quickly captures the reader’s attention. Chain A series of facts to change the reader’s casual attention to a real and sustained interest. Hook Something to impel the desired action.
Many teachers of writing often add a mathematical formula to these approaches. Several of these mathematical formulas are based on the readability formula introduced by Dr. Rudolf Flesch.* The late Maxwell Ross, whose name is in everybody’s book as one of the all-time great direct mail writers, boiled it all down to this: ■ For every 100 words you write, make sure that approximately 75% are words of five letters or less. In the classes I teach, I try to make it even simpler: Concentrate on short words and action words. The reason for this is that most formula-oriented copywriters have a tendency to lean too heavily on their formula. As a result, there is a stiffness to their copy that destroys the natural flow.
Frankly, I’m convinced that none of the top direct mail writers really use their formulas when writing. It’s just that when asked to give a speech on copywriting, the easiest thing to do is talk about a formula. The formulas that flow from the platforms at direct mail meetings are promptly forgotten when a writing assignment comes along. * The Art of Plain Talk, Rudolf Flesch, Ph.D., Harper & Brothers, New York, 1946.
This doesn’t mean copywriting formulas are without merit. They deserve to be studied and entered into the subconscious and can be useful in analyzing what’s wrong with a copy that doesn’t hit the mark. When it comes to editing copy, there are many more sets of helpful guidelines. The late, great Edward N. Mayer, Jr., who created the first series of continuing education programs for the Direct Marketing Association, often suggested this list: 1. Make every letter sell. 2. Know your subject thoroughly. 3. Make your letters clear 4. Make your letters concise, but tell the whole story. 5. Know what you want — and ask for it. 6. Use simple language and short words to tell your story. 7. Make your letters friendly. 8. Make your copy sincere. 9. Make your copy tactful. 10. Always put a hook in your copy.
Another great copywriter, John Yeck, offers these guidelines: 1. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. 2. Be friendly. 3. Shoot for the bullseye (to take the reader from where she is to where you want her to be). 4. Keep your letters clear and easy to read. 5. Make them interesting and keep them moving. 6. Be believable. 7. B.U. — be yourself. 8. Write, write, write — carefully. If you love formulas for writing and editing, you’ll find many more of them in Dartnell’s Direct Mail and Mail Order Handbook*
The most useful formula, however, is Maxwell C. Ross’s 20-point checklist for better direct mail copy: * Direct Mail & Mail Order Handbook, Richard S. Hodgson, Dartnell Corporation, Chicago, Third Edition, 1980. -
Does the lead sentence get in step with the reader at once? Do this by talking in terms of things that interest your reader — not in vague generalities or of things you want. Put yourself in his place! I can’t think of a better way to say it than this: Get in step with your reader.
Is your lead sentence more than two lines long? But if it takes three lines or four lines or even more to get in step with your reader, use them.
Do your opening paragraphs promise a benefit to the reader? Lead with your best foot forward — your most important benefit. If you have trouble with your opening paragraph, try writing your lead at least six different ways. Then when you get six down on paper, you are quite likely to have at least one pretty good lead somewhere among them.
Have you fired your biggest gun first? Sometimes it’s easy to get confused in trying to pick out the most important sales point to feature in your lead. But here is one way to tell: Years ago Richard Manville developed a technique that has been of great help. When you are pondering over leads, ask yourself if the reader wants more x or y?
Is there a big idea behind your letter? You may wonder what the difference is between firing your biggest gun and this big idea. In one case, for example, the big gun may be the introductory offer on an insurance policy, but the big idea behind the letter is a company that makes insurance available to the senior citizens. The big idea is important. My guess is that the lack of a big idea is why letters fail.
Are your thoughts arranged in a logical order? In other words, have you got the cart before the horse? It is a fundamental copywriting truth that your reader anticipates what you are going to say. So it may help to think of your reader as a passenger in a motorcycle sidecar — and you are the driver. You can take him or her straight to the destination, surely and swiftly and smoothly. Or you can dawdle along the way, over side roads, bumps, and curves, sometimes making such short turns that he or she may shootoff down the road without you. Unless you follow a charted course and make the ride as pleasant as possible, too often your “passenger” will say, “I’m tired. Let me off.” This is another good reason for having a checklist to follow.
Is what you say believable? Here is a chance to offer proof and testimony to back up what you have said in your letter. (Notice I didn’t say “true” instead of “believable.” What you say may be true, but not necessarily believable.)
Is it clear how the reader is to order, and did you ask for the order? You would be surprised how easy it is to write a letter without asking for the order.
Does the copy tie in with the order form, and have you directed attention to the order form in the letter?
Does the letter have the “you” attitude all the way through?
Does the letter have a conversational tone?
Have you formed a “bucket brigade” through your copy? If you study the works of master letter writers, you will notice that all these letters have swing and movement — a joining together of paragraphs through the use of connecting links. Some of these connecting links are little sentences like, “But that is not all”… “So that is why”… “Now, here is the next step” . . . “But there is one thing more.” You can find dozens of ways to join your thoughts like this — in short, to take your reader by the hand and lead him through your copy — and avoid what I call "island paragraphs’’ that stand alone and are usually as dull as they look to the reader.
Does the letter score between 70 and 80 one-syllable words for every 100 words you write?
Are there any sentences that begin with an article (a, an, the) where you might have avoided it?
Are there any places where you have strung together too many prepositional phrases?
Have you kept out “wandering” verbs? You can often make sentences easier to read by rearranging them so that verbs are closer to their subjects.
Have you used action verbs instead of noun construction? You gain interest when you do this. Instead of saying, “This letter is of vital concern to . . .” say, “This letter vitally concerns …”
Are there any "thats’’ you don’t need? Using too many "thats’’ is another strength-robber. Eliminate as many as you can, but be careful. Read your copy aloud to make sure you haven’t trimmed out so many that your copy will slow down the reader
How does the copy rate on such letter-craftsmanship points as (a) using active voice instead of passive, (b) periodic sentences instead of loose, © too many participles,(d) splitting infinitives, and (e) repeating your company name too many times? Moderation in copy is a great virtue.
Does your letter look the way you want it to? Finally, from the wisdom of Guy L. Yolton, an outstanding copywriter, come seven guidelines for editing direct mail copy:
Edit for warm-up. This is first because it occurs at the beginning of a letter. It’s the general type of statement that is perfectly obvious to your reader. It’s usually just the copy writer’s warm-up to her subject, explaining to herself what this is all about. Statements like, “As an American businesswoman, you know that managing people is a difficult job …” The reader already knows that. If there’s a personal message for her, or some interesting ideas coming later, she won’t wait around for them. She wants to know: “Why am I getting this letter on this subject?” Or, “What have you got to say to me that’s new?”
Edit for stoppers. These often show up when you read your draft copy back to yourself, or when you read it to someone else. Stoppers are words and phrases that are awkward, contrived, and out of the ordinary. They hold up your reader and interrupt the rhythm of a piece that otherwise flows smoothly from one idea to another. Stoppers sometimes get into the copy because the writer didn’t.
Edit for author’s pride. The well-turned phrase is fine if it adds a unique and powerful twist to a sales point and keeps the copy moving. But if you’ve come up with a catchy- expression that stops your reader along the way while he admires your handiwork and forgets what you’re working at, you may never get him back on track. Sometimes these phrases may not have much meaning. “This public speaking course can be your capstone to success.” What in the heck is a “capstone”? The reader might know it’s the finishing stone of a structure, but if he stops to figure out how that metaphor applies to him and the product being sold, he’ll probably never make it to the order card. Distrust and question those dandy little word structures that please you. Strike them out, and let the reader move on to the action.
Edit for order. Does this follow that? There are natural sequences of ideas that are easier for people to follow. Small, big, bigger, biggest. If you are describing the advantages of your product, this could be the best way to build them. Then, now, later on, future.If your explanation is related to time, this is the logical order for development. In testing whether your copy is orderly question “Should the idea appear where I have it, sooner, or later?” You could wind up turning the whole piece upside-down.
Edit for “reason why.” Do advantages you attribute to your product just sit there in mid-air, supported only by the fact that they appear on paper? Why does it do what you say it will? How did it get that way? What proof can you offer? The reader needs a little more than unsupported puffery to decide to buy. A mailing from a business publication says, “The unusual resources which the editors draw upon are unparalleled in American publishing.” Why the resources are unusual… why they are unparalleled is never made clear.
Edit to stretch benefits. This is another way to help your copy get away from unsupported puffery. A circular tells me that I’ll get new techniques in thinking … payoff tables … . the “decision tree.” Those sound like benefits, but they don’t go far enough. Is it possible that “pay-off tables” could be stretched to: “How pay-off tables tell you when your decision is on the right track”? The decision tree could become: “Unique in approach, the ‘decision tree’ helps you put the elements of the problem in logical order” This kind of editing is related to what Elmer Wheeler meant when he said, “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
Edit for market. Is your prospect male or female, educated or uneducated? An outdoor person or desk-bound? A specialist or generalist? In looking through your draft copy, is your language, style, and tone something your prospect can be comfortable with on his own terms? Writing for Field & Stream is entirely different from writing for the Harvard Business Review prospect.
To satisfy curiosity
To get a surprise
To be successful
To be more comfortable
To make work easier
To gain prestige
To be sociable
To be creative
To be efficient
To safeguard self and family
To protect family’s future
To be good parents
To be well liked and loved
To appear different from others
To gain popularity
To add to life’s pleasures
To express a personality
To be in fashion
To avoid embarrassment
To fulfill fantasies
To be up-to-date
To own attractive things
To collect valuable possessions
To protect or conserve possessions
To satisfy ego
To be “first”
To accumulate money
To preserve money already accumulated
To save time
To protect reputation
To satisfy appetite
To enjoy exotic tastes
To live in a clean atmosphere
To be strong and healthy
To renew vigor and energy
To get rid of aches and pains
To find new and uncommon things
To win others’ affection
To be more beautiful
To attract the opposite sex
To satisfy sexual desires
To bring back “The Good Old Days”
To be lucky
To live longer
To feel important
To gain knowledge
To improve appearance
To gain praise from others
To be recognized as an authority
To enhance leisure
To save money
To have security in old age
To overcome obstacles
To do things well
To get a better job
To be your own boss
To gain social acceptance
To “keep up with the Joneses”
To appreciate beauty
To be proud of possessions
To resist domination by others
To emulate the admirable
To relieve boredom
To gain self-respect
To win acclaim
To gain admiration
To win advancement
To seek adventure
To satisfy ambition
To be among the leaders
To gain confidence
To escape drudgery
To gain freedom from worry
To get on the bandwagon
To get something for nothing
To gain self-assurance
To escape shame
To avoid effort
To get more comfort
To gain praise
To be popular
To have safety in buying something else
To take advantage of opportunities
To protect reputation
To be an individual
To avoid criticism
To avoid trouble
To emulate others
To “one-up” others
To be in style
To increase enjoyment
To have or hold beautiful possessions
To replace the obsolete
To add fun or spice to life
To work less
To look better
To conserve natural resources
To protect the environment
To avoid shortages