What a lucky copywriter you make...
After binge-browsing tons of ineffective articles on Google, you finally found a valuable resource.
On this page, I'll share with you my personal process to write a copy... well that actually sells.
Among other things, you'll learn:
- This simple thing I always do before I even take my pen.
- My home-grown method to structure a copy that put the prospect in an emotionally buying state.
- The secret hack I discovered to make sure the prospect will read the entire copy.
- And much more...
1. Truly understand who you are selling to
What makes the difference between a bad copy and a great copy?
The persuasion techniques you deploy?
The big idea?
All those elements are important to craft a compelling copy.
But in my opinion, what makes a real difference is how much you understand your prospect.
What I mean by that, is that beforehand, before even writing the single headline, you should first research who your prospect is, what does he believe in, what problems is he currently facing and what his level of awareness of your product is.
My personal rule of thumb is spending 80% on this research phase and 20% on writing the copy.
If it takes 3 days to write the full copy, then you should spend 12 days researching the buyer persona.
Of course, if you've already done the research once, you don't need to spend so much time the next time.
This explains why so many copywriters are specializing in a few niches: they already know the market and prospects specificities and need less time to write an effective copy.
Of course they still need some research time to find a great big idea and unique selling points to develop an irresistible offer.
My advice is: choose a niche and stick with it.
The research step—although it's mandatory before writing any copy—is a long running process and you must work on it by bits every day.
Every day, you should spend time talking to your prospects, going on forums or reading other good copies in your niche to stay up to date.
Once you get a good grasp on your prospect and his needs, then you can go to step 2.
2. Identify the sales objections your prospect might have
Now you understand your prospect.
Imagine you're talking to him live and present him your offer.
How would he react? What would he think? What would be his objections?
This is important to anticipate all the possible blockers he might have since you're not actually in front of him.
As a copywriter, you need to be very empathetic to embrace your prospect psychology.
That's also what makes a huge difference between a junior and a senior copywriter.
Of course, most objections are always redundant so you can start from a generic list of objections.
But you still have work to do.
Objections depend on the prospect, the niche, the price and your offer.
You must do the effort to find them and tackle them properly in your copy.
Don't make the mistake to tackle the objections you've identified in a mechanical way, like checking a todo list.
Instead, it's important that for each objection you try to understand the underlying logic that raised it.
Let's do an example.
Objection: I don't trust you. I don't believe you can treat my cancer.
Bad answer: I'm the best oncologist. I've helped thousands of people. I can definitely stop your cancer.
Good answer: "Vlad Kowsky has saved my life. Doctors told me I had only 3 months left but thanks to his miracle treatment, it's been 3 years I live normally... without any symptoms !"
I hope you understood how you can overcome sales objections now.
In the next step we'll see how to structure your copy so your prospect ends up buying.
3. Structure your copy with this simple method
If you're familiar with storytelling, you must know that structure is what makes a story actually good.
But one of my favorite story teller, Dan Harmon has pushed the concept a bit further with his Story Circle:
- A character is in a zone of comfort
- But they want something
- They enter an unfamiliar situation
- Adapt to it
- Get what they wanted
- Pay a heavy price for it
- Return to their familiar situation
- Having changed
What's amazing is that most great stories actually follow this structure.
Why am I talking to you about story structure?
Well, because it's exactly the same for copywriting.
Most great copies follow more or less the same structure.
Without a proper structure, you're cannot create that 1 + 1 = 3 effect.
The sum of the parts is greater than the whole.
If you simply juxtapose ideas without following a guiding thread, there is no way you can put your prospect into a buying mode.
So which structure should we follow for an effective copy?
There are tons of so-called copywriting formulas: AIDA, PAS, BAB, FAB, 4C's, 4U's, PPPP, SSS, ACCA, 1-2-3-4 and even AICPBSAWN!
The list is endless.
And this is a completely stupid way to write a copy if you want my opinion.
But the original reason why we started using them was because they guided us, forcing us to follow a logical structure.
There are many techniques to determine your copy structures:
- Follow a formula. I do not recommend it, unless it's for a short copy like an ad or an email.
- Extract the structure of an existing copy and reuse it for your own. This can be a great way to write a good copy when you're a beginner. But not only, and I still copy swipe from time to time.
- Create your own structure. It's for more experienced copywriters. It requires you to have a strong understanding of your market and prospect psychology. But it can often lead to powerful and highly converting copies. We usually build the structure out of sales objections that may be raised by the prospect as he reads our copy (see also the copyboarding system).
I don't have time to explain to you all there is to know about copywriting structures, but you definitely need to follow one in order to write a compelling copy.
However, following a good structure is mandatory, but not enough.
There is a lot of competition out there.
And you need to find a very unique, original angle in order to pass the ambient noise.
But before I tell you how in the next section, let me give you an important tip.
Once you decide a structure, you should start by writing your headlines in such a way they tell everything.
Indeed, we all have 2 ways of reading something.
First we overlook the page and stop on catchy headlines. If it is not compelling or worse does not arouse our desire, our curiosity, then we just leave. If the headlines are good enough, then we stay and start reading the full page.
Your headlines should be explicit enough to make the structure of your copy clear but with this little secrecy, mystery and curiosity that give the reader the will to read the copy body.
4. Try different angles and find the perfect lead
A copy is composed by 3 parts:
- The lead that stops the prospect, gets his attention and forces him to read the full copy.
- The body where all the magic happens. We usually tell a story, to connect with the prospect and convince him he has a problem and needs to fix it now... and of course we just happen to have the solution.
- The close is the part where we push the prospect to take action. Its efficiency depends entirely on how well executed the lead and the body were. We often try to add some urgency to encourage the prospect to buy now and not tomorrow (most of the sales are lost because we didn't give enough reasons to the prospect to buy today).
The objections we need to overcome in each of those sections are different.
To make your copy unique and eye-catchy, you need to focus on the lead since it is responsible to make the prospect actually read your copy.
How do you find a unique angle for your lead?
Well, it seems impossible to answer in a simple paragraph.
But I'll do my best.
You must understand that this is a real skill.
Meaning it takes time and experience to develop.
That is also why I can easily recognize at a glance a beginner's copy.
This skill is what makes brilliant marketers vs average ones.
If you want to understand what it feels to have nailed a unique angle, think about the following examples:
- The Purple Cow from Seth Godin
- The Red Sole Wheels from Christian Louboutin
As you can see with those 2 examples: by simply switching a color, you get out of the crowd.
That's what marketing is all about: switching the color.
You need to analyse your market, your prospect and your offer to identify where you can switch the color.
There is no turnkey process to find your angle, but once you find a good one it becomes obvious it's a good one.
You will know when you'll have it.
Just look at people's faces, it can be some great help when it comes to validating your leads.
The classic The End of America is a great example of what is a great unique angle.
Would you imagine how you would feel if you were American and received this book?
Would you pass?
Of course not.
You'd be instantly hooked, and open it right away.
In the last section, we'll see what is the secret ingredient to literally "force" your prospect to buy once he reads your copy.
5. Every sentence should pull a psychological trigger
In the end, what makes the difference between a very profitable copy and a nicely written story?
All those psychological hacks you're using to influence your prospect into buying.
And if you follow all the previous steps, you now can freely put as many influence elements in your copy: scarcity, curiosity, social proof, scientific proofs, greediness, you name it.
The more you put, the more money you make.
It's that simple.
I'll go even further: you should have no sentence that does not serve a purpose.
I see too many beginners that write tons and tons of useless sentences... just because "it feels right".
But that's a mistake.
You should develop your ideas in the most consistent possible way.
If most successful copies are long it is because their authors have spent countless hours on the research step and have a strong, unique and original vision to develop.
If you're only saying banalities, you don't need to develop.
On the contrary, if you're trying to change the beliefs of your prospects in hope he agrees on your own vision of the world, then you need time to develop your arguments and convince him.
It is often important to change your prospect beliefs in order to sell him a new solution to his problem.
For example, here is how people commonly positions themselves on the Weight Loss market:
Initial Belief: We need to follow a diet to lose weight.
Initial Solution: Buy my super veggie-based diet to lose weight.
Instead, if you can change the initial belief that people need diets to lose weight, then you can sell them another solution, more unique, without facing any competition.
New Belief: Diets don't work. However people who drink tea never gain weight.
New Solution: Buy my super tea box to lose weight.
In this example, you see how it's important to develop your own vision of the world to influence your prospects into choosing your solution to solve their problem. If you don't, you'll end up writing boring trivialities and won't overcome the competition.
If you follow those 5 steps:
- Qualify your prospect
- Identify the sales objections
- Structure your copy
- Find the perfect lead
- Press the right psychological buttons
...there is no way you can write a bad copy.
Last tip: always read your copy out loud when you think it's done. You'll be able to fix a few sentences that do not flow very well and improve your overall copy flow.
Follow this process for your next copy and tell me in comments below if it worked for you.
PS: You can share this with your close friends but avoid putting it on a public platform since it's a quite powerful method (and I'd like to keep it for my own tribe).