5 Fundamentals of Good Copywriting for Entrepreneurs
It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I first learned of the magical world of copywriting, and massive amount of money that good copywriters can earn. The first time a copywriter quoted me $5,000 to write a single sales letter, I told him he must not understand what I was asking about. So I rephrased my project description, and he gave me the exact same quote.
This conversation was a transitional moment in my business. You see up until this moment I viewed copywriting – and many of the services we were providing – as a commodity. Up until this point, a sales letter, was a sales letter, and all were fairly equal. Sure, I knew that some sales letters out performed others, but seriously $5,000 plus royalties for a single letter!
What puzzled me even more than this guy’s price, was the fact the he was so busy, that even if I had the $5,000 to pay him, he could get started for 6 weeks. How was this possible? It was this conversation that was the catalyst for me becoming a serious student of copywriting.
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting is the act of writing for the purpose of marketing and advertising. In other words, copywriting is the act of writing material that will result in the reader taking some form of action. Reread that sentence again. That is truly a scary thought. Think about everything you write: emails, letters, Facebook posts, content for your website, etc. In every case, without exception, you want your readers to take some form of action.
When posting on Facebook you’re trying to convince your friends (and yourself) that you are a certain type of person (cool, smart, funny, etc). Even when emailing a friend asking her to go to lunch, you’re trying to convince them to go to lunch with you. All of this is copywriting. Like it or not, you’re a copywriter.
Why Should Entrepreneurs Study Copywriting?
As an entrepreneur I think you’ll agree that selling your goods and services is crucial to your success. If you don’t sell, you won’t generate any revenue. If you don’t generate any revenue, you won’t be able to pay yourself. If you aren’t able to pay yourself, you can’t afford your rent. If you can’t afford your rent, you’ll be forced to live under a bridge. If you live under a bridge…. Sorry, got a little carried away, but I think you realize that you have to sell something to survive.
Now that we agree on the importance of selling, you’re forced to agree on the importance of copywriting – after all copywriting is simply salesmanship in print. If you have any printed words, whether on paper or on screen, as an entrepreneur you are going to rely on those words to convince their readers to take some form of action.
Copywriting Basics For Entrepreneurs
It doesn’t matter if you’re a master copywriter, or just beginning your study of copywriting, there are certain fundamentals that you shouldn’t forget. These fundamentals are just as important for beginners as they are for the masters of copywriting. Here are a few fundamentals you should study (and never forget).
The Headline (subject line) Must Engage.
Your headline is critical to the success of your message. If you flub your headline, the rest of your message won’t matter, because no one will read it. Dan Kennedy outlines the 3 components of a successful headline as:
- Your headline should promise a positive benefit or ask a provocative question or both.
- It’s best if it’s concise, 12 to 15 words or less.
- It should stand alone. That means it should make a complete statement by itself.
Dan’s brief article on The Most Important Part Of Any Ad is worth reading for more specifics on headline writing.
The Source Must be Trustworthy.
So, you’ve written the perfect headline – but now you must quickly establish trust with your readers. Dave Navarro, over on copyblogger.com, outlines three additional (simple) approaches for building credibility with your copy.
Enter the Conversation in Your Prospect’s Mind.
What’s happening in society right now? What are people talking about around the “water cooler”? You’re copy will be much more effective if you can integrate these subjects into your copy. Why? By entering the conversation already in your prospect’s mind your copy and message becomes immediately relevant to the reader. You “connect” with what they “care” about, and what they are talking about.
The copy must not be boring.
Boring copy kills! It kills readership. It kills your reputation. It kills conversion. Plain and simple, you cannot afford to be boring.
- The copy must answer questions/objections in the readers minds.
- The Call To Action must be clear and easy.
You Must Have a Clear Concise Call To Action.
You can perfectly execute all off the other fundamentals, but if you don’t pay careful attention to your Call To Action, all your efforts will have been in vain. Your Call To Action (CTA) is where you provide your readers with method of responding to your message. This is where and how you tell them what to do next.
Ideally your Call To Action will provide your readers with multiple ways to respond to your “offer”. You want them to be able to take action regardless of where they encounter your offer. If they are reading your message standing by the phone, you want them to be able to call. If they are reading your message on a computer, you want them to be able to respond through their computer. Your goal is to remove any barriers from their response.
One of the best ways to improve your copywriting skills is begin looking for strong, compelling copy. Find copy that sells well and study it. The best place to find copy that sells well is in national newspapers and magazine. Watch for copy intensive ads that run on a regular basis in the publication. Cut them out, study them, see how well they do with the 5 fundamentals of good copywriting for entrepreneurs.
During the next few posts we’ll explore each of the 5 fundamentals of good copywriting for entrepreneurs in more detail. Do you have any questions or topics that you would like to learn more about? Leave a comment letting me know which area you would like more information about.
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