I used to hear how important becoming a leader and learning direct response copywriting was for being successful in business. The more I kept learning, the more I realized that copywriting is crucial for your business’ success.
As Important as it is,
ironically many people don’t understand what Copywriting is, let alone why it is important for the Success of their business.
John Maxwell Has been famously quoted that everything rises and falls on leadership, But did you know, He also has said to me at a conference, everything also rises and falls on communication.
Communication is Very Very Important in business, as it is in Life.
Direct Response Copywriting is Writing in a Certain
way to Produce a Desired Results.
Being able to Effectively Communicate and more importantly, CONNECT with people, clients and prospects is probably one of the Most important skills there are. Without communication and connections, there would be No Leadership.
Have you ever been in a conversation, and all parties involved are talking about them self or different topics, and the conversation goes around and around?
Or have you ever been with a sales person that was not very good at moving the prospect thru a process and helping the gently move thru that process and close a deal? The most important thing to remember when communicating is to have a desired outcome. Are you learning about the other people, Talking about a Solution, trying to Make a Sale, Or Talking about yourself? What is the Point???
Just like everything we do as Innovative Marketers, we try to incorporate the Innovative Marketing Trinity in everything. Leadership, Customer Value Optimization and Systems.
Copywriting falls into all three of these categories in my humble opinion.
You will use it in everything you produce as far as your marketing and communications go.
You will use it in your leadership and also you will use it when building your communication systems and training materials.
This Direct Response Copywriting Topic is one of my favorite besides Leadership, Because it is so important, and so deep and wide with different categories of skills.
I will discuss today only the different fundamental skills, and area that copywriting has. I can’t go in depth on training here, but I will focus on each on at later times in the future. As always, If you have questions, you can comment below, or you can join our private facebook group and post questions there.
The History of Direct Response Copywriting goes back over a span of 110+ years. Back in history, the Term
“Salesmanship in Print” was first coined by John E. Kennedy when discussing what advertising was to Ambrose Thomas, who was a senior partner of Lord & Thomas Advertising agency.
Before 1904, most advertising was done in the form of news articles. The writers would talk about all the facts of the product, thinking that with all the facts they would be able to understand and make a decision to buy it.
Kennedy went on to forever lay the foundations of copywriting, because he designed something called “Reason-Why” advertising. This big idea is what paved the way for benefit-driven copywriting. Which is why copywriters focus on the benefits first, and features last when writing.
So, I wanted to share that little bit of history, and I have tons of stories that I will share in later episodes, but I wanted you to understand how Old Copywriting is.
It amazes me that not very many people understand what copywriting is, or how old this skill is.
They don’t realize that the Business World would not be where it is today if it weren’t for this Crucial Skill.
I believe every business should have a copywriter, if they don’t, the owner of their business should be their copywriter. All businesses need to be publishing content, putting out advertising, and that takes the skill of a copywriter. When you publish ads, Every time your run ads, you are spending a certain amount of money that should produce a certain amount of business and return on that money. When you publish content, your goal is to build an audience that finds your content useful, engaging and helpful, and that cost you money to produce that content, and you should be able to expect a predictable results from that content.
So, it only makes sense to Master this important Craft. If you can’t, then find a master or a Novice copywriter and train them to be on your team.
So, Hopefully I have done a good job of explaining what direct response copywriting is, how old it is. I studied it for a long time before I really understood the history and purpose of what it was. At the very core, It is not just about writing persuasively or getting someone to take a certain action. It is more of an overall Strategy for the entire customer value journey in your marketing and sales process. Don’t think of it as one conversation that you are having with a prospect at one time. Think about the entire relationship of meeting a stranger, building a relationship with that person adding value, and continually nurturing and helping that person out. You always want to be unconditionally adding value and getting feed back from your clients.
If you understand what it is, and how old it dates back, it makes more sense why direct response copywriting is crucial for your business’ success. It honestly gives you the power to influence and build relationships with very large groups of people. It helps form a bond
Next, I want to Dive in shallow waters and give you an idea of all the areas that you will need to focus on to produce solid and persuasive direct response copywriting. This is a Really basic explanation of some of the stages that you will want to go thru and I also want to discuss some basic fundamentals and principles of writing persuasively.
There is a Ton of topics, Tricks, Tips and Skills when discussing Direct Response Copywriting. I can’t name them all here, and I can’t get into to much detail, but here are the top ones worth noting in my professional opinion. IF you are new to this new skill, this is a Very good foundation for getting you moving on the right track and will instantly get you results as soon as you start to use them.
This is the first step in any type of copywriting Work, Or any projects at all for that matter. Always Research and Look at what type of work has been done similar to what you are doing before you start. You want to Look at this Project from Every Angle you can think of.
When Researching for copy, I try to divide this up into 3 sections.
- The Competition
- The target market> customer Avatar
- Content and Advertising
I want to see what the competition is doing. I want to see what their Value Statement is, What is their Unique Selling Proposition. Can I Find any areas where my Strengths will position my offer and company as a better choice.
Also, Who is the Face of the Competition? Can I position Myself or the Leader of the company I represent as a Better Fit? People Buy from people, not companies. Remember you want to be able to build a better relationship with clients, more than just out self the competition. People buy from those they know, like and trust. The best Products don’t always win.
I want to get a great feel for the target market, how they talk, what they want, what they are spending money on now, and also, I will list the Top Customer Avatars, so I Can speak Directly To Them in my copy or communications.
I want to look at what type of content and advertising are being produced, for several reasons. I want to see what Offers they have, if they use any bundled packages. I also want to see what is working, and what types of audiences do they have. The good thing about researching other content, you can usually generate a lot of traffic very quickly, because traffic is never created.
Traffic is already out there. It is your job to find where it is and place your ads, content and messages right next to the competitions. You can see this when you look at Home Depot’s and Lowes, and also Quik Trip and RaceTrac Gas stations. They don’t create the traffic, They just build their stores right next to their competitions and reap the rewards.
Research is probably the most important step, You can do the rest right, but with out great research, your message will be in front of the wrong people. Even the best offer and headline cant convert the wrong prospect into a sale.
Direct Response Copywriting Fundamentals
There are so many fundamentals and I want to make sure that I present the most important ones here in an easy to understand format. If you don’t know anything about direct response, you should be able to take what I briefly mention here and put it to good use in your own marketing materials.
Before I get into the Fundamentals, let me briefly mention there are a lot of different types of Niches of copywriters. Think of copywriters like Carpenters.
You have many different types of projects that carpenters can do. You have Framers, and Finish carpenters. You have Cabinet Carpenters, and Siding Crews. Window Installers and Door installers. You would never want a rough framer to install very detailed finish trim work. The Same Goes for Copywriting.
Copywriting is also very niche specific. I will Spare the Details of Industry and go straight into the type of Copywriting Work.
- Sales Letters
- Digital Ads
- Website Copywriting
- Email Copywriting
- SEO copywriting
- Landing Page Copywriting
- B2B Copywriting
- Slide Decks
- Video Scripts
- Speaking Scripts
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Blog Posts
- Social Media
Now, each one of these areas requires certain skills, and you will want to learn those specific skills or hire the right type of copywriter before completing the work.
The 6 Components of a Sales Letter or Promotion
This is very basic, and some people will have things to change up in here, but this is the basic structure of any type of sales copy you do.. It should cover this basic format.
- Lead- or intro into the body copy
- Close- call to action
Direct Response Copywriting Trips and Tricks from the Pro’s
I have learned the most about Direct Response Copywriting from AWAI. They are the Premiere direct response copywriting training organization on the planet. So everything that I have learned was based off of them, or their teachings.. I just want to give credit where credit is due.
So, here are some Tricks that I have Learned over the years from the Best.
The Big Idea
Everything needs to have a Big Idea. IF it doesn’t, People will not be drawn to it. Big Ideas make up a Large portion of your copy work. Rebecca Matter At AWAI says that your Big Idea makes up about 30% of your promo’s. When brain storming Big Ideas, make sure they are new, timely, unique, bold and Impactful
The Headlines are arguably the most important part of any promotion, because if the Headline doesn’t do it’s Job, it won’t Pull. You headlines should take up the most work, because this is where you will do your research and really get a great understanding about the Specific person that your healine will resonate with.
There are 3 types of Headlines according to John Caples that you will want to Focus on.
- Self Interest
John Caples Says you should always try to focus on self interest headlines, News, or Curiosity in that order. The Self interest headlines pull the best, and the curiosity the least.
The best thing to do for headlines is find what has worked in the past, and build a swipe file that you can use.
Leads- The Best Way to Start a Sales Message
There is a Great Book on Leads buy Michael Masterson and John Forde. It’s Called “Great Leads The Six Easiest Ways to Start Any Sales Message”
I liked it so much, I bought 2 of them. They discuss in this book there are 6 ways to start a message, based on the Prospects level of awareness. The Great Eugene Schwatz also was probably the first person to discuss the level of awareness. The Best Question to ask yourself before writing your leads are “What do your prospects already know?”
The level of awareness are measured from least aware – most aware, with 6 stages.
The more aware people are of your message, the more direct your leads should be,
So if your prospects don’t know you, it’s best to start off with an indirect approach.
The order of leads and they different types are as follows
Most Aware—————————Aware—————————-Least Aware
Promise and Offer— Invitation—problem/solution—secrets & systems—Stories— Predictions
When you are designing a promotions, remember to ask, ‘what do they already know?’ and that will help you when designing your lead for the promotion.
The 4 U’s
This is a really strong trick to help with any type of promotion, ad, or headline.
I learned this years ago by a copywriter, then i learned it from AWAI. I’m not sure who coined it, but it will strengthen anything that you are doing as far as copy. The trick is to make sure your work passes the 4U’s Test. Is it…
I’ll Spare you the details of each line, but I will say that this is really great when designing your headlines. You want your Headlines to Pass the 4 U’s, and Bullet points also.
The 4 P’s
This Test is similar for the 4 U’s and it is used for more of promotional materials. Things like Blog Posts, Emails, Sales Letters, Landing pages and short video scripts.
I will explain this a litte in detail.
The first P is the Promise. You want your promise focused on a fear or a desire. Also, tell them what you are going to do for them, how you will fulfill the desire or eliminate the fear. The more emotions you can build into your descriptions, and really get them to feel what you are saying, the better.
The Power of One
This is a writing concept, one that is hard to understand when getting started. I Still Struggle with this one, but here is how it works.
When you are writing, you want to focus on one emotion, one big idea, one engaging story, and direct them to your desired response.
One thing that makes your copy weak is to say to many things about tooo many topics.
While, You may be thinking that this is what I am doing wrong here,
We are focusing on Why direct Response Copywriting is Crucial for your Business Success.
So it is ok to list a lot of different things, but makes sure they all tie into your Big Idea, and Your Headline.
P.S in Your Sales Letters, Emails, and everywhere you can use them.
A lot of new copywriters forget to include these. These Post scripts are a powerful way to restate your benefits, Make another promise and maybe even bring up a Special benefit or offer. The P.S. give you a great spot to close the message. Sometimes people will scroll to the end without even thinking about it, so you want to make sure you provide more credibility, restate the urgency and guarantee if possible.
I Want to wrap this up,
and just say that I will dive into these topics in more detail in the future.
I know that when I started really studying Direct Response copywriting, it really helped me to start generating better qualified leads, it was easier to related to people and close deals.
Direct response copywriting is more than just writing words. It is connecting with people and learning how to Write persuasively.
If you like what you have learned so far, and want to dive into more,
Reach out to me for a Strategy Call. I do have a course that is hosted by Pam Faster from AWAI and also, I am an Affiliate with AWAI and can help lead you into the right direction if you want to find something more niche specific.