A direct response copywriter must recognize one essential fact before writing anything: normally, you are not in a one-shot business. (Unless you are. There are plenty of B2C one-shot businesses that bring hefty profits for their owners. Think of affiliate-driven nutra niche and other over-the-top businesses converting low quality cold traffic into paying customers on first touch. But I digress.)
Normally, because marketers achieve their greatest profits by acquiring and retaining customers, the copywriter must review all copy with an eye for truthfulness.
School yourself with this credo:
You really are creating copy to get a long-term customer who will try you once, like you, and then have faith that he can continue to deal with you.
In your eagerness to create copy that sells, it is natural to want to describe every product in the most glowing terms you can devise.
Prospects search your performance marketing copy to find points they can disagree with, unbelievable points, obviously false claims. When they find those stretched truths, they do not buy.
If your claims are so extravagant that an unsuspecting user is convinced, buys, and then is disappointed because the product did not live up to your claims, refund requests go up… as well as hate reviews.
You can make your copy more believable, and thus create longer-term customers, by following these 12 editing techniques:
- Do not use the word “best” for every product.
- Avoid superlatives when possible.
- Avoid strings of multiple adjectives.
- Do not exaggerate.
- Eliminate puffery.
- Never knock competitive products.
- Avoid imprecise copy.
- Do not mislead to get a sale.
- Do not use subtleties or nuances that may not be understood quickly by fast readers.
- Avoid unorganized copy which confuses the reader.
- Do not overly stress the legitimateness of your company.
- Avoid excessive enthusiasm.
The 12th point is the most difficult. Without obvious enthusiasm for the product, your reader will not buy. But some performance marketing copywriters frequently go wrong by s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g.
“The most wonderfully glorious, positively beautiful, entrancing, and fashionable…”
Eliminate the first four words and your copy becomes more believable.
Another frequent problem is that your copy may be 100% truthful, but the reader’s perception of your wording leads to an impression of falsity or exaggeration.
This problem can be licked by switching to short words and phrases, often in a staccato presentation without complete sentences.
“From the very first moment that you start using this handsome executive calendar, you’ll discover how marvelous it is to have the ultimate convenience of highlighted, easily accessed, color-coded separate sections for important appointments, personal notations, expense memorandums, things-to-do listings, and staff schedules. And it’s all yours in a modern, spring-loaded loose-leaf binder so you can insert special company memos at key reminder dates.”
“Instant ring-binder convenience is yours. Add memos at key dates. Use color-coded separate sections for appointments, personal notes, expenses, reminders, schedules. Modern. Handsome executive styling.”
The edited version contains every sales point from the longer version but is less argumentative and the staccato copy implies enthusiasm, a much more convincing approach than using enthusiastic wording.
Normally, your goals are to sell while being believable, to present your products in a favorable light without overstating benefits so prospects are turned off, to create long-lasting customers instead of one-shot sales.