Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Copywriting Tips from the Couch

How Strong is Your Website?

Today I’m just gonna tell it like it is. No more beating around the dog bed. Your website. Let’s talk about that for a sec. In today’s modern times it’s waaaay more important than having a plush office to meet your clients in. Are you meeting with them surrounded by fancy artwork and rich leather chairs?

Who cares?

It’s the strength of your website that’s first going to determine if they’re even remotely interested in doing business with you.

Thousands of people will look at your website.

Hopefully hundreds of thousands, or even millions, if you’re doing your marketing right.

But only a small handful are ever going to set foot in your office.

So how much is it costing you to run your fancy office a year?

Uh-huh.

Now how much time and money did you invest in developing the most kick-butt website that wins people over first and then gets them stampeding to your office or setting your phone system on fire?

Hmmm, that’s what I thought. No wonder you find marketing frustrating. You’re putting the cart before the horse.

Your website is THE most important anchor piece of your marketing arsenal. It’s the first thing people are going to look at when they hear about you. And you’ve got just 3 seconds of their undivided attention to win them over… If your website isn’t up to the job then it’s time to make that a top priority in your business and give it an extreme makeover.

Wooooof!

Copywriting Tips For Bloggers

Bear the Rottie
Bear the Rottie

Copywriting Tips From The Couch - By Bear the Rottie - Chief Co-Squirrel Hunter and Head Copywriter at The Client Stampede. This week’s edition of Copywriting Tips From the Couch comes to you from the basement.  It’s been a scary week at our house with all that weather blowing over from Hurricane Sandy, and I’m not sure I’m quite ready to venture upstairs again.  Anyhow, this week here are some copywriting tips to help you write a better blog post.

  1. Pack a punch with your headline to hook the reader by talking about something important to them (not you).  Here’s the thing about blog posts.  For them to be successful and widely read, they have to written in a lively manner and they have to cover content of interest and value to your readers (not necessarily you).  Your headline should be the strongest part of your blog post – not just an after thought.  So take some time to make it impossible to ignore.
  2. Great blog posts (like great copywriting) are addictive.  They suck the reader in and leave them wanting more.  One of my mentors once told me that great copy should read like crack cocaine.  That’s the secret of developing a loyal following.
  3. It’s not true that blog posts have to be short.  They can be, but if they’re well written and entertaining (and addictive) to read, people will devour as many words as you can write.

4 Easy Marketing Tips To Rev Up Your Sales Copy

Copywriting Tips From The Couch - By Bear the Rottie - Chief Co-Squirrel Hunter and Head Copywriter at The Client Stampede. Well, Tucker and I just got outta doggie jail. There was a pesky Jack Russell who wouldn't stop yapping in the room next to us. And there was a big white fluffy foo-foo dog who was all upset because she didn't have her special heated blankie. Oh well, I’m home now and am catching up on some zzzz's on my favorite couch, which of course is the source of all my copywriting inspiration for you. This week, 4 easy marketing tips on how to rev up your sales copy.

  • Use a killer headline. Make it short. Make it interesting. Make it all about the person you’re writing to.
  • Lighten up, Larry! Make your sales copy fun to read. Who says marketing has to be boring? If it is, it’s dead in the water. Have a little fun, be quirky. Like a Rottweiler who likes chowing on banana peels (well maybe not that quirky!)
  • Check your copy for good flow. The only goal of the headline is to get them to read the sub-heading. The only goal of the sub-heading is to get them to read the first paragraph. And so on. If your copy loses momentum or your reader gets bored then your marketing is dead on arrival. They won’t know how great your product is because they never bothered to read your pitch!
  • Use pictures. Really. But here’s the master copywriting secret. Use the caption underneath to highlight a powerful selling point. Next to the headline, captions are the second most often read part of any copywriting. So make your caption pull its weight.

That’s all from me this week. I’ve hear some Milk Bones calling my name… Bear the Rottie

How To Do Stealth Selling In Your Sales Letters (No Pushy, Yucky Sales Talk)

Copywriting Tips From The Couch - By Bear the Rottie - Chief Co-Squirrel Hunter and Head Copywriter at The Client Stampede. Dear Bear the Rottie,

I’ve been reading your Copywriting Tips From the Couch each week.  But I’m disappointed.  You haven’t spilled the beans on how you write copy in your sales letters that makes people want to buy, without sounding like a slick talking sales dude.  Throw me a bone!

Bear the Rottie
Bear the Rottie

Signed “Frustrated Ed”

Yo Ed.  I hear ya.  Who wants to read a sales letter that’s filled with pushy sales sounding garbage.  What you’re actually asking me to spill, is how to persuade people to take action, without turning them off along the way. Here are some copywriting tips on “stealth selling” using sales letters that are just for you:

  • First you’ve got to talk to them in their own language.  Forget boring, cold corporate speak.  When they read your sales letter in their head, they have to feel like it’s a buddy who “gets them.”  Not some lunatic who’s trying to shout information at them (ahem, which is where most people go awry with their marketing).
  • Keep it light and fun.  Who says writing  sales letters has to be serious.  If I could spell, I’m pretty sure that would spell boring.
  • With me so far?  OK, good.  Now here’s the kind of tricky part.  Once you’ve got them reading your sales letter, you’ve got to keep em’!  That means it has grab them by the eyeballs from the first word you write to the PS at the end.  If they have a call of nature in the middle then it’s your sales letter they’ll be taking with them to keep reading.  You get the idea.  It’s about creating rapport which is just a fancy word for saying becoming friends.  That’s how your sales letters have to make em' feel.  Like it’s their best buddy writing to them (or best dog as the case may be).

Hope that helps Frustrated Ed.  Bark at ya later! Bear.

Does Your Copywriting Pass the Flea Test?

Bear the Rottie
Bear the Rottie

Copywriting Tips From The Couch - By Bear the Rottie - Chief Co-Squirrel Hunter and Head Copywriter at The Client Stampede. As the Chief Direct Response Copywriter at the Client Stampede, I devised this ingenious, quick direct response copywriting test (not half bad for a Rottie!)

Plug your copy through it and it will instantly boost the response rate.

Here’s my Flea Test.

A look at this ad for Frontline (A foul smelling treatment Tucker and I get subjected to every couple of months in the summer):

  • This dog’s got problems. Tons of them. And in this ad there’s no denying them. Oooh that makes me want to scratch just looking at this ad. Does your copywriting do the same (put the pain front and center?). It needs to. People move away from pain just as quickly as they move away from fleas (quicker even). Don’t let people forget the pain your business solves.
  • Is your copywriting making them itch? You gotta rub that pain in a bit! Hit the point home.
  • Now it’s time to show them the treatment. How does your product or service help to get rid of those nasty critters? Dangle the treatment in front of them.
  • Then use a direct response copywriting ninja trick. Now that they’re panting for what you’re offering, give 'em an offer they can’t refuse. Seriously. One so good they deserve to have fleas in their bed if they don’t act on it right away.

How To Get Your Direct Mail Opened By Biz Execs

Copywriting Tips From The Couch - By Bear the Rottie -Chief Co-Squirrel Hunter and Head Copywriter at

The Client Stampede

.

I’m gonna talk some nuts and bolts with you today about direct mail – Tips on how to mail your direct mail sequence to Executives and Business owners, and get them to actually open it.

Now because these guys are super busy and everyone wants a piece of em', you have to be extra careful about how you mail to them. They’re successful and they like dealing with successful people too. But don’t forget that you’ll usually have a bunch of “little dogs” you have to win over first before your letter will get passed to the big dog (like the mail guy, the top gun secretary and the annoying brown noser who lurks around the "c suites" ).

So here are a few insider tips:

1) Make your direct mail piece look like it’s a private letter – something that the secretary wouldn’t dare open, if her life depended on it. Pink envelope, smells good, cute stamp – that kind of thing.

2) Create a direct mailing piece that’s so cute and brag worthy, any assistant will take it and show it to everyone in the office first before handing it to the boss. This is when you need to let your creativity shine e.g. we did a mailing that was written by a “church mouse”, sent in a box (a cute stuffed mouse) with a wedge of cheese and a great sales letter. Beats receiving boring old UPS packages all day long.

3) Go “upper crust.” Top notch stationery (with a watermark preferably). Great quality letterhead that feels heavy to the touch with direct mail. And incorporate prestige appeals in your sales letter like “superior”, “ownership preferred,” “exclusive,” “worthwhile.” Including little plastic membership cards work well in this kind of mailing too.

Well, gotta go bark at a squirrel.

Later!

5 Easy Copywriting Tips to Connect with Your Audience

Ruff! How’s your August shaping up?  Gotta go buy the kids new gear for school?  I’ve put in a special request for a new dog bed for fall but I think I might be SOL… I might just have to start chewing the corners and blame it on Tucker…. This week I wanted to share 5 easy ways to check that your copy is connecting with your clients and “not missing the mark” as that’s what this week’s ezine is all about.

Here goes:

Copywriting Tip #1 - Make sure when copywriting that you use friendly, easy to understand language.  Imagine you’re chewing the fat with a new friend – how would you speak to them?  Write your copy as if it’s only being written to one person, not broadcast to the masses. Copywriting Tip #2 - Keep yourself in check.  Stop talking about you and your business and start talking about the customer.  Walk a mile in their slippers as I say. Copywriting Tip #3 - Ditch the fancy words.  Write for a 5th grader.  People (and dogs), know a lot less than you give ‘em credit for.  Yes, this applies even if you’re an attorney or financial planner.  The real skill is in taking the complex and making it brain dead simple.  Any twit can turn up something complex. Copywriting Tip #4 - Use short paragraphs in your copywriting to make reading easy on the eye Copywriting Tip #5 - Use a powerful headline and intro paragraph to sock ‘em between the eyes and keep them hanging onto the edge of their seats ‘til the very last word you write.

That’s all from me – ‘til next week

Woof!

How to Beat the Blank Page Blues

Staring at that horrid white page when you’ve got a deadline to meet or a campaign to run is about as much fun as a trip to the vet to get your temperature checked. So here’s a handy, dandy summary of a few shortcuts to keep your creative copywriting juices flowing and that sales letter written:

  1. Use a swipe file. Start collecting copies of any ads you love or great marketing you receive. Go do some research on the internet and print out copies of old ads (there’s gold in those old things I’m telling ya). The easiest way to write a new ad is to rewrite an existing one. Even if it’s just a starting point. My Mom’s swipe file is 3 filing cabinets full already. Start swiping (but swipe responsibly). Never plagiarize or the boogey man will get you. Never copy someone else’s stuff – get inspiration from it, yes. But steal? No.
    1. Read forums and trade magazines. This is a good way to find out what your customers are thinking about (and it will help you get out of your own head too). A copywriting tip – it’s not what you think that matters, it only matters what your customers think!
    2. Devour great copy. Fill your head with the best stuff you can find. Certainly anything that I’ve written makes the grade, oh and what my Mom writes, of course. But go back to the old masters like Robert Collier, David Ogilvy, Gary Halbert and start studying the old dudes.
    3. Avoid reading bad marketing like the plague. Garbage in, garbage out. That’s all I’m gonna say on this one.
    4. Don’t look at what your competitors are doing for inspiration. This only results in you creating more of the same boring marketing that everyone else is doing.
    5. Subscribe to a great marketing newsletter. This is a no brainer. You’re never going to get better at marketing unless you start investing in a real marketing education. Being a Gold Stampede member would be a darn good start and would get you a copy of our full color, 10-page plus marketing newsletter that rocks da house (plus a bunch of other cool stuff every month). Find out more about Gold Stampede!

Gotta scoot!

Bear

The 5 Helpful Marketing Tips to Write Better Ad Copy

Tucker the American Bulldog (my other partner in crime) has been hurling his guts out for the last couple of days.  Must have eaten something iffy.  So I have to make this week’s article short – I’ve got one eye on him now to make sure he doesn’t chuck up on Bella, (my favorite bean bag) while I’m talking to you. Short n’ Sweet, here it is: 5 Copywriting Tips to Write Better Sales Copy.

  1. Fall in love with your product or service.  If you don’t love it, you can’t sell it.  Ask my Mom about that one (she refuses to work with any client who doesn’t wholeheartedly believe in what they’re selling).
  2. Know your target market.  Study ‘em, sniff ‘em, scout ‘em out.  If you don’t really understand them you can’t sell to them
  3. Don’t ever be boring.  If your first paragraph doesn’t get you all hot and heavy and lathered up into a frenzy, then don’t expect your prospects to feel any differently.
  4. Don’t try and impress with big fancy words. Using big words don’t make you look like a Top Dawg, they make you look like a douche.  Talk so people can understand you.
  5. Be very clear what action you want someone to take.  Should they go fetch a stick?  Bark at the neighbor’s dog next door?  You decide what that is, but whatever it is, spell-it-out.  People aren’t as smart as you think.

That’s it from me!  Adios-ruff!

Bear

Creating Word Pictures

I’m writing you this week’s ezine from my jail cell at the Doggie kennels again. Can’t believe they’ve got the audacity to call this place a pet hotel – I can’t even watch my favorite Alf reruns without getting neck strain (seriously who attaches tvs to ceilings – even in a dog room). Right, back to the business of helping you build yours… let’s talk about the copywriting technique of creating word pictures that make people want your product so bad!  Not sure if you know this or not but we all think in pictures (even us dogs).  If you can get your reader to visualize your idea so clearly that in his own mind he’s built it block by and until a castle emerged – you’ll have successfully created that “burning desire” my Mom talks so much about.

Just picture this: “He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow sloping shoulders, long, lanky arms and legs; and hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves.  His whole framework hung loosely together like a poorly made quilt.  His head was small…”

Can’t you just picture a gawky, awkward figure resembling the old scarecrow by the barn where my Mom keeps her horse?

Or how about this description of ham (my favorite):

Deep-sheathed in a thick layer of ivory white fat, it’s succulent rosy meat…”

Thousands of sales have been lost, millions of dollars haven’t been spent simply because so few people know how paint a picture in words allowing their reader to visualize the product being sold.  You see, your sale must first be made in the reader’s mind before it can be made anywhere else!

Oooh! Oprah reruns are starting…gotta scoot.

Bear!

Be Sure to Include a Slippery Slide!

This week I’d like to help ya understand the importance of using great flow when you write your copy by introducing you to one of my favs - the slippery slide. There is a great copywriter – guy by the name of Joe Sugarman – who my Mom says was the brains behind the Blu Blockers infomercials that were so darn successful.  Anyway – he talks about your copy needing to be a “slippery slide.”  I agree.  Now, what he means by slippery slide is that every word you use, every sentence you write, has just ONE job: to get your prospect to read the next sentence.  And the job of that sentence is to get ‘em to read the next one.  And so on.

Before you know it, your prospect’s eyeballs are glued to the page and they can’t put your sales letter down – even if someone happened to put a big roast chicken right under their nose and (like me) they were the chicken eating type! Well, maybe then they’d multi-task and read and chow down at the same time.

The lesson is this – when writing your copy, make sure it passes the slippery slide test, ‘cuz remember – there’s no sin worse than b-o-r-i-n-g copy!

Woof! Talk to ya later!

Does Length Really Matter?

Alright fellow marketers, this week’s topic is all about length – of copy that is.  How many words should your email be?  How long should a sales letter be?  My Mom routinely writes sales letters for her clients that are 16+ pages long – oooh I can see you wincing and asking “Isn’t that too long, does anyone bother to read that much nowadays?” Let me clear up some confusion, and perhaps remove a little mystery, from this whole copywriting process. In fact, lemme ask you a question: have you ever been glued to a book that you couldn’t put down?  Maybe dinner was on the table, or (in my case), you had a giant bone waiting for you, calling your name… but you still couldn’t put the book down because you were glued to the pages?

You did? Great!

And did it matter whether the book was 10 pages or 500 pages long?

No?

I didn’t think so.

When you’re glued to reading something – you’re really glued.  Transfixed I call it.  You could have one of those darn squirrels come and tap on the window and dance a little Irish jig in a tutu but you’d still be oblivious to it.

The same goes for writing great copy.  It’s a compelling read.  Your prospects just can’t put it down.

So then does it matter whether you’ve written just a few short paragraphs or a 30 page special report?

Heck no.  As long as it grabs them by the eyeballs and doesn’t let them go ‘til the end.

So here’s the bulletproof copywriting formula my Mom was talking about to decide how long your copy should be:

It should be just as long as you need to tell your story, build momentum and desire, and ask for the sale.  No longer, no shorter.  Sometimes that might take a lotta pages.  Sometimes just a few.  It’s not the length that matters – it’s the quality of what you’ve written. Your prospects will read it – no matter how long it is – providing it’s interesting and relevant to them.

Ruff! I think I’ve doubled my word quota for this week.

Talk to ya next week.