3 Basic Copywriting Rules Not To Be Broken
If you want to separate yourself from 99% of other marketers you need to know there are 3 basic copywriting rules you should never break.
Imagine for a moment that every time you wrote an email, a blog post, or a sales letter…
… all of your readers would cling to your words like a baby baboon clinging to its mother’s back.
That’d be pretty cool huh?
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Like it or not, your readers are looking for reasons to ditch your copy and get back to doing something else.
- Taking out the trash
- Reading other emails
- Focusing back on their business
- Watching the two hour special of “The Bachelor: The Women Tell All!”
They’re always looking for an excuse to stop reading your stuff.
However, by not breaking these 3 basic copywriting rules you’ll eliminate your reader’s excuses and keep them riveted to your ideas.
No matter what you’re trying to write sales copy for, you’ll instantly benefit from the basic copywriting rules I’m about to reveal to you here in this article.
3 Basic Copywriting Rules That Most People Break
I recently read the book “Copy Logic!” by Michael Masterson and Mike Palmer.
In their book they talked about the 3 main reasons why people stop reading your copy.
- Confusing Copy
- Unbelievable Copy
- Boring Copy
As I discussed earlier, your reader is always looking for excuses to ditch your stuff in the trash and get back to something they perceive to be more interesting.
So if you wipe out their excuses by not breaking these 3 basic copywriting rules…
… you’ll be in good shape and your reader will be engaged throughout your entire piece.
1.) Confusing Copy
Confusing copy is deadly copy.
By that I mean… once confused, your opportunity to sell your readers on your product is dead.
Confusing copy will confuse your audience’s mind.
A confused mind:
- Seeks out something more familiar instead
- Makes no buying decisions at all
Think back to a time where you were in a position to make a buying decision.
Imagine that all of the sudden the sales person or sales presentation became very confusing to you.
Then you realized you weren’t so sure how the product would benefit you or even what the product was supposed to do.
Was your next question…
“Should I get it in red or blue?”
You’re next question was probably…
“How do I tell this sales person “no” without looking completely rude?”
That’s what I mean by a confused mind makes no buying decision.
In order to eliminate confusing copy you first need to eliminate esoteric points…
… in other words, too much detail about things only YOU care about.
Remember, this is not about you, it’s about the reader.
If you’re confusing your readers or talking about things that only you care about, you’ll soon find your copy in the trashcan.
Furthermore, industry specific language or jargon will tend to confuse people as well.
Just because you use these words or abbreviations every day doesn’t mean that your reader does.
Assume your reader knows very little about the specifics of your industry or products and take the time to educate them about certain jargon if you feel it’s necessary.
2.) Unbelievable Copy
The second rule on our list of basic copywriting rules you don’t want to break is…
Writing unbelievable copy.
Have you ever heard the expression…
“If you can’t prove it, you should cut it.”
Unbelievable copy is typically copy that is based on either hype or generalizations.
“This 1 strategy will get you more leads than you could ever possibly imagine!”
That is unbelievable copy.
How does the author know what the reader has imagined?
Personally, I’ve imagined what it would be like to have 12 million leads.
Is the author actually claiming that this one strategy will help me generate 12 million leads???
So how would you fix this?
“This 1 strategy resulted in a 50% increase in our lead generation in the first month we implemented it”
“This 1 strategy helped us generate over 546 leads within the first 3 weeks we started testing.”
The last two claims can be backed up whereas the first one could not.
See the difference?
3.) Boring Copy
Our 3rd of the basic copywriting rules you don’t want to break is… writing boring copy.
Don’t go on and on and on about a problem that your reader already knows they have.
You don’t need to convince a homeless person how bad it is to be homeless.
Prison inmates don’t need to be convinced of just how crappy jail can be.
Here’s the deal…
If your prospect is currently experiencing a problem, there’s a good chance they already know how much this problem stinks to have.
You don’t want to beat a dead horse.
However, a friendly reminder and a bit of agitation can do the trick nicely.
If your reader is suffering from a specific problem and your goal is to use your copy to sell them on a solution then I recommend you use the following formula.
- Address pain
- Agitate the pain (pour a bit of salt on the wound to make it sting)
- Share story about how you or someone else experienced the same pain (feel, felt, found)
- Present solution
- Call to Action
Using this formula will help you to avoid getting off topic or spend too much time on a particular topic that might become boring to your readers.
How Do You Fix This??
Fixing confusing, unbelievable, or boring copy is not as hard as you might think.
The following 3 basic copywriting rules will help you craft more compelling and engaging copy that your readers will enjoy.
Write To One Person
In addition to the basic copywriting rules listed above, you should always write to one person.
Assuming you’ve defined your customer avatar that’s who you should be writing to whenever you write copy.
Whether it’s a blog post, a video, an email to your list or a sales letter you should always write to your specific customer avatar.
This is why your customer avatar is not a demographic but rather a specific person with a name, a family, and specific details about their situation.
If you haven’t created your customer avatar yet I encourage you to go here to learn how to create your customer avatar.
So what does writing to one person look like?
Instead of saying phrases like “you all” or “everyone” or “them” or “hey guys/hey everybody”…
… you should use words like “you” and “you’re” and “you will” and “when you…”
The more you use the word “you” in your copywriting… the better you’re writing to one person.
Bottom line is this…
It can be overwhelming if you try to write to the masses.
There are too many moving parts and opinions when you try to write for the masses and you could end up trying to please too many people.
Selling to the masses is a very difficult thing to do and you could end up muddying the waters of your message.
However, when you write to one person (presumably your customer avatar) you can personalize your writing more.
As a result, you’re able to establish rapport because you can connect with that one person through your writing.
Does this sound like something you could do?
I remember when I used to sell Kirby vacuums door to door.
As soon as I would get into a person’s home I would immediately yank the Kirby out of it’s box and start vacuuming their floor.
I’d enthusiastically show them how amazing the Kirby was at cleaning their house.
I became fired up when I showed them all of the different attachments and the different ways they could clean.
These people couldn’t help but get swept up by my excitement (no pun intended).
They were thinking:
“Gee… if this guy is THIS excited about cleaning our home with this vacuum, imagine how excited we’ll be to use this vacuum to clean our home.”
My point is this…
My excitement was contagious and that helped to sell them on the idea of purchasing the Kirby vacuum for their home.
Effective copywriting is no different.
Transfer the excitement you have towards your product into the words you put down on paper.
So how do you do this?
You add emotion to your words and sentences.
Let go… allow yourself to write what you feel.
Don’t be held back by what you think you’re supposed to write.
Instead, allow your feelings to flow from your heart, through to your veins, out of your finger tips, and onto your computer.
When you write with excitement (and follow the 3 basic copywriting rules listed above) you’ll engage your readers and keep them interested in your copy.
Ask Questions That Lead To A “Yes”
Assuming your reader is interested in what you’re promoting you can persuade your readers by asking them questions that lead them to say “yes”.
Check out the following questions to see what I mean:
- “If I could give you a marketing strategy that is guaranteed to bring in more leads and sales would you be interested?”
- “If I could get you a new cell phone with all of the features you’re looking for plus with enough monthly minutes and data for your entire family that falls within your monthly budget would you be interested in seeing it?”
- (this one’s completely generic) “If I could provide you a monthly service that provided you everything you need at a price you could afford would you be open to looking at it?”
The goal with these questions is to get your reader to say “yes” as they’re reading the question.
(It’s even better if they actually nod their head in approval as they’re reading)
By asking questions in this type of manner you’re readers are subconsciously agreeing with you and moving closer towards saying “yes” to an actual buying decision.
Can you see yourself doing this?
Now that you have an understanding of these 3 basic copywriting rules you’re well on your way to creating engaging copy that will persuade your readers.
However, there’s a chance that you’re still struggling to consistently crank out high quality blog posts.
If this sounds like you then get your hands on my FREE report… “The Ultimate Blog Post Writing Formula”.