The Mistake Most Copywriters Make

Write as if you were speaking WITH your prospect, right in front of them, in a comfortable, conversational manner.

Michel Fortin

Most  of  the  sales  pieces  people  ask  me  to rewrite  seem  to  offer  great  products  and services. In fact, some of their offers are so good, prospects would be crazy to turn them down. But they do. And these sales pieces end up falling in my lap because they’re desperately unproductive.

One of the biggest problems I see in these pieces is the fact that the copy is stale, limp and anemic.

Copywriting is “Salesmanship  in Print”

The Mistake Most Copywriters Make
The Mistake Most Copywriters Make

This is nothing new. It comes from the  ageless teachings  of  the  masters,  like  Hopkins,  Barton, Collier, et al, which still ring true today.

Writing copy is like face-to-face selling. And when writing copy, the lack of human interaction takes away the emotional element in the selling process. A sales message must therefore communicate that emotion that so empowers people to buy.

Often, the challenge  is not with the offer  itself but with the language, the tone and the “voice” of the copy.

You may have a great product, but your copy must be effective enough to make its case and present its offer in an irresistibly compelling way.

Problem is, some sales messages get so engrossed in describing the companies, the products and the features of their products that they fail to appeal to the reader specifically.

It’s understandable.  Business people  are often  so tied to their businesses or products that they get tunnel vision and fail to look at their copy from their readers’ perspective.

Understandable, yes. But not excusable.

My advice? Be benefit rich, of course. But more important, be ego driven when describing the benefits.

Appeal to Their Ego

People  buy  on  emotion.  Even  when selling to  other  businesses,   people are  still  the  ones  okaying  the  deal, whipping   out  their  credit   cards  or signing the checks. And people always buy for personal, selfish reasons.

Copy    using    convoluted, complex, highfalutin language doesn’t sell product. I’m talking about third person, impersonal,  high  horse,  “holier  than thou,” ego-stroking corporate-speak (In  here, I’m referring to the seller’s ego, not the buyer’s).

The fact remains that companies  and websites and committees and C-Level titles are NOT the ones  that  fork out the money, issue the purchase orders or sign the checks.

People do.

Don’t be shy or afraid in being personal, conversational   and   emotional   with your copy. Of course, I’m not talking about being so lackadaisical with your grammar and your spelling to the point that English majors want to burn you at the stake for heresy.

(Although,  your copy might  infuriate some purist grammarians. Unless you  target  scribes  and  grammarians specifically, these people are not, and never will be, your clients. Clients are the ones that matter).

And I’m not talking about being crude, uttering  profanities  or  using  a style that’s so laid back, you appear as if you are on anti-depressants.

I mean copy that goes “for the jugular,” is  down  to  earth  and  is  straight  to the  point.  Copy  that  relates  to  your audience  at  an  intimate  level  —  not an educational or socio-economic level,  but  a  level  people  can  easily understand,  appreciate and identify themselves with.

A level that appears as if you were a concerned,  genuinely  interested  and empathetic salesperson making a face- to-face pitch with your prospect.

So, here are some tips.

Follow the “3 C’s” Rule

Express your offer as Clearly, as Convincingly and as Compellingly as possible.

Be   enthusiastic. Be energetic. Be excited  about  your  offering,  because your job is to transfer that excitement into the minds of your readers.

Use words, phrases and imagery that help paint vivid mental pictures. When people  can  visualize  the  process  of doing  what  you  want   them  to  do, including the enjoyment of the benefits of your offer, you  drive their actions almost instinctively.

You need to denominate, as specifically as possible, the value you bring to the table. And how what you bring to the table will meet and serve the needs of your prospect specifically.

In other words, you need to make them feel important.  Write  as if  you were speaking WITH your prospect, right in front of them, in a comfortable, conversational manner.

When  you do, your  copy  will  imply that you understand them, you feel for them and their “suffering” (for which you have a solution), and you’re ready to nurture and take care of them.

Forget things like “best,” “fastest,” “cheapest” and other broad claims, because  the  worst  thing  you  can  do, second to making  broad claims, is to express those claims broadly.

Be specific. But also…

Be Emotional!

If you want to tell people how  better or different or superior or unique your offering  is,  make  sure  you  express those claims in your sales message in a way that directly benefits your buyer and appeals to her ego.

Being different is important, but don’t focus on how better or unique you are. Focus on how that uniqueness directly benefits others, even to the point they can almost taste it.

Again,  people  buy on emotion.  They always  have  and  always  will.  They only justify their  decision with logic and  rationalize   their  feelings  about your offering with logic.

Once you accept and internalize  that fact, you’ll clearly have the first rule of copywriting (or selling, for that matter) down  pat  (Plus,  you’ll  also  gain  an edge over 98% of all other businesses and copywriters out there).

Even  when  selling  to  multinational, Fortune  500  corporations,  the buyers are people, not companies. Purchasing agents   are people. Decision-making committees  are  made  up  of  people. Even  C-level  executives  with  6 or 7-figure incomes are people.

They are Human Beings

And people always buy for personal desires, selfish reasons and self interested   motives.   Why?   Because people are people. Period. It’s been that way for millions of years.

And nothing’s changed.

So don’t try to sell to some inanimate object called a “business”  or even a “prospect.” A business is just brick and mortar, or a bunch of computer chips, in the case of online businesses and a  prospect  is  not  some  name   and address on a mailing list, or a “hit” on your website.

Remember  that it’s not businesses  or prospects that fork out the  money  or sign the checks, it’s people. Your  job  is to express  your  offer  in terms that trigger their emotions, press their hot buttons, jerk their tears, tug at their heartstrings and nudge them into taking action.

If not, you’re only telling. Not selling

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Michel Fortin

Michel Fortin is a marketing strategist, business advisor, and certified digital marketing expert. As a marketing consultant since 1991, he helps entrepreneurial professionals grow their practices with his unique combination of branding, positioning, copywriting, SEO, UX, and CRO.

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