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Why Pro Copywriters Enjoy A Million Dollar Advantage

You might have heard this mantra from me any number of times.  It is the core of effective copywriting.

It’s not a Secret.  It’s a Skill.  One shared by top copywriters around the globe.  I coined it a couple of years ago when one talented marketer put me on the spot by asking me to tell him – in one short sentence – what makes me different from the bulk of the mob of people calling themselves copywriters.

This was the sentence I burbled out – and he said, “Go with that.  That’s you.”

Once you master this system of communicating the benefits of your product with your own personality, you will increase engagement, sales, and revenue.

Now, we’ll put some meat on its bones.

About half the copywriting samples I evaluate, use mostly the right words – that is to say their copy follows the four C’s of Clear, Concise, Conversational, and Customer-oriented.

So, these writing samples show a grasp of copywriting methodology.  Then, we apply a few further tests.

  • Does it flow? Is the copy easy and pleasant to read?
  • Does it hold your interest?
  • Does it focus on the major benefits, or solutions, common to most prospects?
  • Is it memorable? Are there a few phrases that are not only completely understandable, but also serve up word groups that carve out a small place in the reader’s mind?

How Many Right Words Are Right?  There have always been battles based on copy length.  Different products need more explanation than others, be it a function of prospect awareness, competition, or price.  My rule of thumb is, “Make it as long as necessary to tell your complete story…but not one word longer.

When I worked on Madison Avenue, we were fortunate to have an art department that could do marvelous work with illustrations and photos.

Most of today’s freelance/independent writers handle the selection or creation of images themselves.  I know I do.  But too many either don’t have a good eye for illustrations or don’t place a high degree of importance on them.  This could be, and often is, ruinous to the success of a marketing piece.

  • First…the main image must be directly relevant to what you’re advertising.
  • The best images draw the reader in immediately. I like to use images of people, images of the product, or – ideally, images of people using the product.
  • Images should be “up close and personal”. I want to see people’s faces.  Please do not use group photos.  The people are too small to engage the reader.  Limit the number of people to 3 or 4 at most.  How many of you have your “avatar” on social media be a shot of your whole self set too far away to clearly see your face? 

Images are meant to connect readers to the product offering in a visceral way.

This is the bugaboo of most copywriting.

A Landing Page (or Sales Page) is most effective when it takes the reader seamlessly through the AIDA progression (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action).  An effective page usually consists of nine to twelve sections (I call them Thought Bites) arranged in an order I call Logical Thought Sequencing.

In what order should this be, exactly, must be worked out.  I have three templates I designed that cover most all situations.

  • When should you insert “price”?
  • When and how do you insert your first Call-To-Action? Too early in the sequence, and you haven’t earned the right to ask.  Too late, and you’ve missed the peak of desire.
  • What evidence is most effective for affecting “authority”, “expertise”, or “social credit”?
  • How and when do you deal with a person who may be interested, but is not yet ready to buy or commit?

All these, and more, need to be considered before your landing page or webpage is ready to go, which is why all copywriters need proven formulas to help them :

  • Save Time
  • Lessen Mistakes
  • Be More Consistent
  • Bring Better Results


Part II – Some Things You May Not Know About Copywriting Formulas

“Hey, who’s the creative guy around here?”

Question a lot of “creative” guys (and gals) about their ads, webpages and emails, there’s a good chance you may experience a reply similar to this. They are basically telling you that they are blessed with creative talents (probably true) and that used sufficiently and given free rein, those talents can sell anything to anyone (most definitely false).

Let’s see how Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, looks at it.

True Creativity Nedds the Discipline of Formulas to Be Effective in Gaining AA Million Dollar Advantage

The answer is, absolutely YES.

Some, thankfully not all, Creatives go apoplectic when it is suggested they “stifle their creativity” so it fits within the parameters and goals of a marketing formula.

They cannot accept that the successful ad writers who came before them worked with a formula. Sometimes that formula was concretely stated, sometimes the discipline came from an innate sense of what works.

For many, unfortunately, what works takes a back seat to “what will win me an award”. Try to persuade them of the good sense of your position in favor of scientific ad creation and they’ll fight you hammer and tong no matter how many truths you tell them. It reminds me of the movie A Few Good Men when Jack Nicholson yells at Tom Cruise: “You can’t handle the truth!”.

Well, I’ve got some truths I’d like to tell you and I’m betting that you, as serious marketers and copywriters, can handle it.

Who knows, you might even agree with me.

There is a need for marketing and advertising rooted in formulas or methodology. There are, for instance, an infinite number of ways you can arrange words on a page.  

Some of them make it easy to read your copy, while others create obstacles to your words being read. More on that later. Here now, the truths.

  1. Marketing is a blend of Science and Art.
  2. Working with a sound, proven formula will produce winning marketing a lot more often than relying on innate creativity and gut feelings.
  3. Highly creative people gravitate to Marketing, Copywriting and Advertising.
  4. Often creative people aren’t very disciplined.
  5. Undisciplined creativity can leave your marketing “…sliding on the slippery surface of irrelevant brilliance.” (Frank Ogilvy)
  6. Rather than being the driver of success, Creativity often gets in the way of the marketing message, limiting success.
  7. How creative you can be is often directly related to the amount of money you have to spend.

These seven statements point out the need for having marketing formulas you can go by. As a copywriter, I consider myself to be a creative person. I choose, however, to discipline my creativity so there’s a greater chance of it being effective.

And effectiveness brings better results.

A formula (aka model, method, or system) is simply a guide – or template, if you will – you use to make sure your marketing piece includes all the elements that will work to make it successful.  And includes them in the right order.

One of the most significant “Musts” for a marketer or copywriter is Differentiate.  It’s one of the two central tenets of my7-step Intelligent Creativity method.

Intelligent Creativity consists of seven deadly sins of marketing and copywriting introduced in my first book, The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing…And How To Avoid Them.

It’s as true now as when I created it in 2007. 

The book’s Table of Contents:

  1. Myopia – Taking the Narrow view of Marketing
  2. Imitation – If it’s good enough for Coca-Cola
  3. Sameness – Choices Are Made On Differences, Not Sameness
  4. Arrogance – “Formula? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Formula”
  5. Ego – Write Copy For Sales, Not Style
  6. Ignore-ance – Ignoring 94% Of Your Market
  7. Apathy – “I Don’t Know And I Don’t Care”

In keeping with our theme of Formulas, we’ll focus on the 4th Deadly Sin and how it relates to the topic we’re discussing here.

Once you’ve successfully identified your differentiators/USPs, it’s time to begin turning concepts into copy.

The reason you spend time and money on marketing communications is to sell your products. This is true no matter what type of advertising you do. From Direct Response (including websites and emails), where your goal of a sale is immediate, to Corporate Image – or Institutional – advertising where the objective is to engender respect and admiration for the corporation rather than sell a specific product. The ultimate goal is still the same—more clients and increased sales.

It follows, as night follows day, that when we communicate it’s critical that people pay attention to what we’re saying. The first function of marketing communication is to get as many prospects as possible to read what you have to say.

Would you not agree?

Rather than unleashing uncurbed creativity we rely on a “formula” that tells us what page structure has been particularly effective in getting readers to experience all of your wonderous copy.

The 11- Thought Bite sections I lay out on the following template are for a webpage, email, brochure, or direct response piece.  These four marketing pieces make up about 90% of a typical small business’ marketing mix.

This structure, paired with superior copywriting has produced more stronger results than any other I’ve used in my almost 40-year career.  One overarching reason for this success is that, as readers scroll down the page, they are, in effect, giving you a “mini-yes” each time they move from one Thought Bite to the next, until they reach the Call-To-Action.

Match the content of the Thought Bites on  list below, with the numbers on the following illustration.

  1. WHAT you do and HOW you can help your customer.
  3. WHY someone should buy from you, rather than your competitors, regardless of price.
  4. EVIDENCE that backs up your WHY claims. These first four thoughts make up your Unique Marketing Message.
  5. Your Story – how you came to this business, your reason for being, your passions?
  6. Benefits for Buyers – what problems can you solve, what wants can you fulfill?
  7. Motivating Offer – what “special” deal can buyers receive?
  8. Call-To-Action (CTA) – what are you asking your readers to do now? Buy? Go to a webinar? Request Free Information? Watch this Video?
  9. Risk Reducers – The first CTA is there for that small percentage of readers who have enough positive information to make a buy decision…but not all do that. They have doubts and anxieties. They need reassurance so we give them Risk Reducers like Money Back Guarantees, Easy returns, etc.
  10. CTA #2 – Now that you’ve answered their questions and quelled their anxieties, you present a second call to action combined with…
  11. Testimonial – testimonials are good practice on your webpage, but even more so at the point you ask for the “Big Yes” – your CTA.

Why has this template (or Formula) yielded such superior results?  The order of the Thought Bites are psychologically sound, the eye track takes the reader straight to the Calls-To-Action, and there are precious few distractions along the way.

This Page Formula Contributes to obtaining your Million Dollar Advantage
TEMPLATE 11 sections 2024
  • Copywriters MUST acquire the ability to use the Right Words and the Right Images, in the Right Order if they are to be successful in their career.
  • The best, quickest, and often least expensive way to do this, is by taking courses with extensive material you can use for your entire career. PLUS, a good coach to evaluate your work and your progress (especially in the beginning).
  • The Right Words and Right Images are the copywriting parts of the formula and that, my friends, would require a mountain of my videos, audios, and guides.
  • All the “Thought Bite Sections” are designed for one thought or concept only. It’s an absolutely, positively, unbreakable rule.

Please visit my Website for more info and content.

When you’re there, you can get a $1, 7-Day Trial subscription to the “How To Write Copy” System.

To your Astounding Success.

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