Copywriting is THE most important skill when running an online business.
Just think about what it means to do business online, where you never see your customers face-to-face. In the old days, a business owner could actually meet with their customers and talk to them. But that doesn’t happen with an online business. And here’s what that means…
If a business owner cannot write copy effectively, they WILL fail.
Why? Because copywriting is the art of selling through effective communication. It’s all part of what’s now called interactive marketing.
Interactive marketing is just as it sounds. It’s about engaging the consumer. It’s about getting them to interact with the sales copy. It’s about building relationships with potential customers so they begin to trust the seller and the brand. Once trust is established, they will buy.
And the best part is anyone can do it.
There is no need to be a great writer to be a great copywriter. They key is to write as if it’s a conversation with a friend and implement a few simple strategies…
15 Simple Secrets Master Copywriters Understand
Being a great copywriter doesn’t require a degree in English or Journalism. It doesn’t require a person to be the next Nobel Prize winner.
What it does require is honesty, casual conversation and the following 15 simple tips...
1. Study Great Copywriters
We learn from the work and efforts of the people who have come before us.
Even the greatest of the great have learned from others. No one who has achieved mastery in anything has done it 100% alone.
I can’t begin to describe how much others have helped me on my journey to online business success. And even today, I still reach out to experts and learn as much as I can from them.
In order to become a great copywriter, it’s so important to study the work of great copywriters and learn from them.
Study everything that is available.
Go to ClickBank and find the most successful products in various niches—these are the products with the highest Gravity Score. These are the products that sell. Study their written sales letters, their video sales letters. See how it’s done.
And when it comes to video sales letters, there is a super easy way to study them without having to watch them dozens of times. Just use the transcription service Rev.com. They are quick and affordable. And once you have the video script transcribed, it’s right there in written form. Study these transcripts!
It’s also important to keep things organized. And for that I recommend creating a swipe file.
I do this and it’s so effective. Create a file that categorizes all the different copy to be studied. Have a file for each of the following:
- Written sales letters
- Video sales letters
- Facebook ads
- Opt-in pages
- Thank you pages
When studying any kind of copy, there are certain things to look for. Here are some examples of questions to ask with each piece of copy:
- What is the common structure?
- What trigger words do they use?
- What pain points do they address?
- What kind of language do they use?
- What tone of voice is used?
But remember NEVER to copy! Don’t copy other people’s copy!
Copying someone else’s work is simply unethical—not to mention illegal. Use the work of others only as a template to learn from. Take what they have done and make it unique. Make it better. Give it a voice of its own.
And then use that voice to…
2. Tell Stories
Storytelling is THE most important part of copywriting!
No matter what type of copy it is, it absolutely must tell a story. Why? Because people are captivated by stories. Human beings have been telling stories for millennia. It’s in our nature to tell stories and to be able to relate to stories.
And for this reason, people remember stories.
But it’s more than remembering stories. When a copywriter tells a story, they become a real person, not just another brand. The story makes it possible for the audience to relate to the copywriter. It helps build a connection that bridges the gap. It helps build trust.
Storytellers outsell non-storytellers every single time.
Stories are the X factor of copywriting.
And storytelling is simple! To effectively tell a story, there is a formula to follow that will nail it every time.
But telling stories is just the beginning…
3. Visual Flow
The next thing to consider when becoming a better copywriter is the visual flow of the copy. I’m always surprised by how many of the very best copywriters overlook this aspect of copywriting.
How the copy looks on the page matters A LOT!
A nice visual appearance and flow of the copy will attract the eye and draw people in. To create good visual flow, just do a few simple things:
- Break up the copy into paragraphs of different lengths—short, medium, and long (no more than four lines).
- NEVER use long paragraphs that make the page look like a wall of text.
- Use short sentences. A single paragraph should never be made up of only one sentence (unless it’s a super short paragraph).
- Use variety when formatting by making good use of bold, italics, underline, CAPS, and color.
Ultimately, the visual flow of the copy should be pleasing to the eye, not overwhelming. And it should guide people’s eyes to the call-to-action. That is the true goal of any copy.
4. Build Relationships
People buy based on relationships.
Every single purchase a person makes is based on relationship, even if they don’t realize it. Think about it. What if a perfect stranger walked up to someone and said, “Buy this fantastic book on losing weight for $30.” That person would probably think the stranger was totally crazy.
But what if the person’s friend said, “Buy this fantastic book on losing weight for $30.”
That is a recommendation from someone the person has a relationship with. Someone that person trusts. And that person probably is going to buy it.
Building a relationship with the consumer is a crucial part of selling.
And in order to build that relationship, it is important to have multiple touch points with people on multiple platforms. Through these touchpoints, tell stories and be relatable. When people can relate to the seller or the brand, they will buy.
Marketers need to make it personal.
And that means getting in there and personally responding to people. Having one-on-one contact with people, responding to people’s comments, answering their questions.
Essentially, marketers need to show they care. That it isn’t all about making money.
Building these relationships is no easy task, but it’s totally worth it. And the best way to do it is through email marketing. Email marketing (which we’ll talk about in more detail below) requires great copywriting skills and is the best online business model there is.
Relationships are so important that I dedicated a whole post to it: Relationships: The Secret Weapon of Email Marketing
The goal of copywriting is to get people to take some form of action. But before that can happen…
The marketer needs to catch their attention!
This is the job of the headline. The headline should really stand out. It should make the audience stop in their tracks and read or listen to the copy. To accomplish this, the headline should do at least one of the following:
- Shock the audience
- Bring about a sense of awe
- Be controversial
- Offer a “how-to” that catches the attention
- Ask an attention-grabbing question
The attention-grabbing headline in a written piece becomes an attention-grabbing introduction in a video. In a video sales letter, the first few seconds is the time to catch people’s attention and spark their curiosity.
Either way, the hook is what makes the audience stop in their tracks and keep reading or watching.
It’s what makes them want to know more!
6. Sniper Approach
This is all about targeting.
In the old days of marketing, large advertising campaigns would be sent out to a very large target audience. It was the best they could do with the available data. In this case, they used what is called the shotgun approach.
Shotgun approach = sending a general message to a lot of people and seeing what sticks.
However, with online marketing, we are able to target much more effectively. Facebook advertising is the king of targeting. They have so much consumer data, any marketer can access a highly targeted audience. And that means we can make the message much more specific—we can use the sniper approach.
Sniper approach = sending a specific message to a smaller group of ideal customers.
The sniper approach is targeting the exact people you want to reach.
However, in order to take the sniper approach, it’s important to do some market research. A marketer needs to know every aspect of their market in as much detail as possible. They need to know the niche in detail. They need to understand the biggest pain points in that niche. And they need to understand the jargon typically used in that niche.
The pain points of a niche are particularly important.
Make a list of these pain points. Get to know them well. Then create copy by reverse-engineering those pain points. This will ensure these pain points are specifically addressed in the copy.
And when talking about the pain points, it is important to discuss…
7. The “What,” Not the “How”
If the audience learns the “how,” they will not buy!
It is so important that copy never reveals the “how.” That is what the product is for. The product IS the how.
The job of the marketer is to write the copy so that ii reveals the problem and the solution to the problem. But NOT how the solution works. The whole point of the copy is to lead the consumer to the product. This product is the system that provides the solution.
It’s all about selling the sizzle, not the steak.
Say the marketer is selling a weight loss system.
The copy will explain about the foods that make people fat and why so many people have trouble losing weight. The copy will lead the audience to the product—the weight loss system—which is the solution to the pain point of losing weight.
Really, it’s that simple.
8. Know the Difference Between Copy and Content
Knowing the difference between copy and content is critical. Why? Because it’s necessary to know when to write copy and when to write content. Remember the previous point about giving them the “what,” not the “how”? Essentially:
Copy = the “what”
Content = the “how”
Now, when copywriting, it isn’t necessary to completely avoid writing content. But it is necessary to keep that content to a minimum and not give away the big “how.”
Think of copy vs. content as open loops vs. closed loops.
Copy = a series of open loops that keep people wanting more. This is the part that does the selling.
On the other hand, content = one or more loops that get closed by the end. This is the part that offers the solution. It’s purely educational.
So, when writing copy, be sure to stick to actually writing copy. Once a marketer gets too deep into content, they risk giving away too much of the “how” and then the sale is lost.
Even if they only get a mediocre version of the “how,” people will try to do it on their own instead of buying the product.
9. See the Bigger Picture
When writing copy, it is important to take the entire sales funnel into account.
Sure, at this point, the goal of the copy might be simply to convince someone to opt into an email list or purchase a low-cost product. But where are these consumers ultimately being lead?
Each piece of copy needs to have the consumer make a micro-commitment, and over time, these commitments will get bigger and bigger.
When the marketer knows the whole, they are less likely to make mistakes. For example, the marketer won’t offer a bonus at one stage that really should be a product later on. Instead, they will know how each piece of copy fits into the bigger picture and guides the audience through the funnel.
Not only that, but by understanding the bigger picture, it is easier to upsell the audience. And upselling can truly maximize profit.
Understanding the bigger picture also makes retargeting easier. If the customer doesn’t accept one offer, then it is simple to direct them to another lower-cost, lower-commitment offer instead.
And this means the marketer is less likely to lose the customer entirely. It’s easier to keep them in the funnel. Ultimately, when the marketer keeps the end goal in mind when creating copy, it is always clear exactly where to steer the customer.
And it’s easy to keep them interested every step of the way.
10. Learn How to Make Videos
Copywriting includes creating videos.
And right now, video is incredibly effective.
People love video! As I mentioned above, study video as well as written copy. Take it apart. See what works. And use this as a general template from which to create new and unique video copy.
Video doesn’t have to be complicated! And it doesn’t have to be intimidating.
The marketer doesn’t even have to be on the screen!
All that is needed is a PowerPoint video. And there is great software out there that can make any video flow and come alive, including Camtasia, Screenflow, and Screen-Cast-O-Matic.
All that is needed is the software, a decent camera, and a good microphone, which can be bought for less than $100.
That’s all there is to it!
All of the same principles of copywriting apply. And creating a PowerPoint video is an easy way to make sure all aspects of effective copy are included in the video.
11. Learn How to Create Webinars
Webinars are one step above video sales letters. And it is a highly effective form of sales copy.
A webinar is the absolute BEST way to sell high-ticket items.
And the webinar is now what video was just a few years ago. But not many people know how to create and present a webinar. Which makes creating copy for webinars a very in-demand skill to master.
What makes the webinar so popular? Simply put, it’s the new “face-to-face” form of selling.
The marketer and audience might not be able to actually see each other, but the webinar is live. They can communicate back and forth in real-time. Webinars are also longer and more in-depth than video sales letters. And this builds relationships in a way no other form of copy can.
The webinar really offers the best of everything.
It allows the marketer to interact with the consumer on many different levels. The marketer can reach a large audience all at the same time, yet be able to communicate with each person on a one-on-one basis.
The webinar really is all about delivering high value. It’s a little more involved to create a webinar, but it’s completely worth the time and effort.
For more info on creating and promoting a webinar, check out this blog post: 3 Proven Ways To Sell Any Type Of Offer Online
12. Learn Email Marketing
Email marketing is the basis of any successful online business.
I have based my entire business on email marketing. It has allowed me to make more than $100 million over the last 14 years! And despite the fact that many people think email is dead, it is very much alive and well. Just take a look at these statistics:
- There are 6 billion email addresses worldwide (Source: The Radical Group).
- A whopping 8 billion emails are sent every day.
- Email marketing has generated $2.47 billion in sales (Source: Forrester Research).
- For every $1 spent on email marketing the average return on investment is $44.25 (Source: Email Report).
What makes email so effective? Simple. Through email, a marketer can create and nurture relationships with their subscribers and customers.
Think about it. When marketers use advertisements to sell their products, they are reaching out to a cold audience. This audience doesn’t know them or their brand at all. It’s very difficult to sell to a cold audience.
But when a marketer is selling to the subscribers on their email list, they are selling to a warm audience. The people on the email list know something about the marketer. They like the marketer enough to have chosen to join that list.
And it so much easier to sell to warm traffic.
There truly is no better way to sell online than via email. And email marketing is easy!
Read this blog post to find out more about how to start an online business using email: The Email Lifeline: How to Start An Online Business Using Nothing but Email
13. Use Linear Thinking
People think in a linear way.
They are very logical in their progression from one point to the next. And they don’t like to be left hanging, wondering what comes next.
This is why it’s important to structure copy in a linear fashion. Using an ordered sequence to present information will keep people reading. If there are five steps, they will want to—or need to—follow the copy until they reach the end. That’s just how our minds work.
With this in mind, always present copy in a linear way, such as with a:
- Step-by-step system (“5 steps to….”)
- List (“11 ways…”)
- Diagram—People love visuals, as well as linear thinking, so diagrams attract and hold the audience’s attention
Not only do people want to keep reading when the information is presented in a linear fashion, it also keeps them on track. Without linear structure, people would get lost or overwhelmed. The linear presentation of copy creates a natural flow that makes it incredibly easy to pitch to people.
And it makes it easy to….
14. Sell to the Subconscious
Let’s face it—our subconscious mind plays a HUGE role in the decisions we make each day.
And that includes the decision to buy something.
All marketing is really geared toward the subconscious. How do we reach the subconscious? It’s about making an emotional connection. This is done through storytelling. The key is to create an emotional experience by touching people’s pain points, as well as their dreams and desires.
Show them where they are and take them to where they want to be.
The emotions will convince the subconscious to buy. Then the subconscious will convince the conscious mind to buy.
Copywriting, as with any other form of writing, can only be mastered by actually doing it.
Just start writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s horrible at first. Any marketer will learn faster by doing it than just reading and learning about it.
Yes, it is important to study and learn from great copywriters.
But it is even more important to put that learning into action. Create copy. Then create more copy. And then create more copy. NEVER stop creating copy.
Practice makes progress. Will the copy be the best the first time it is put out into the online world? Probably not. But as time goes on, it can be refined to determine what works better.
Keep creating copy. See what works and what doesn’t. And adjust accordingly.
It’s better to put out average copy and refine it than to never do it at all.
So, get writing!
Bonus: Get over the fear of selling
We have discussed 15 simple ways to become a better copywriter.
And NONE of it will matter if there is a fear of selling!
I cannot begin to describe how many people are held back by the fear of selling. And getting over this fear all starts in the mind.
When someone is marketing a product, something they truly believe in, they are helping others. And if a lot of value is delivered and the product is great, why not get compensated for it? After all, we all have to make a living. Being compensated for selling a product online is no different than a downtown store owner being compensated for selling products in their store.
Online or not, a business sells things that makes people’s lives better! And people can choose whether or not to buy.
The key is to have the confidence to sell it. This is the confidence of knowing that what is being sold is worth it. Will everyone think so? No. But that doesn’t matter. The people who do will buy.
Just get out there and do it!
In today’s technologically advanced world, there is no online business success without copywriting. It’s simply not possible to reach online customers any other way!
Fortunately, learning how to become a skilled copywriter isn’t just possible—it’s simple!
In this blog post, we have covered 15 simple ways to become a better copywriter. Let’s recap:
- Study Great Copywriters
- Tell Stories
- Visual Flow
- Build Relationships
- Sniper Approach
- The “What,” Not the “How”
- Know the Difference Between Copy and Content
- See the Bigger Picture
- Learn How to Make Videos
- Learn How to Create Webinars
- Learn Email Marketing
- Use Linear Thinking
- Sell to the Subconscious
And the bonus tip is the most important—get over the fear of selling!
Write some copy and go through each and every one of these tips during the writing process. Practice and practice until it feels more natural.
Anyone CAN become a good copywriter. And anyone who wants to succeed in online business MUST become a good copywriter.
And we want to help.
Sign up today for our FREE Copywriting Bootcamp and learn from master copywriters. Really, anyone who is serious about their online business cannot miss this bootcamp.
Copywriting IS the #1 skill for online business success!
Sign up for our Copywriting Bootcamp now.
See you soon!