Define the audience before you define the product.

All too often, people create a product or service and then go looking for an audience they think will want what they’re selling.
Do it the other way around. First identify an audience and see what they have or what pain they need to be rid of. Then reverse-engineer the product or service to fit that need.
Example: My “Need-to-Know Marketing Sites From Web Digest For Marketers” wasn’t created simply because we had the content (although we did). I first had to ask, “Why would someone pay good money in bad times for this thing?” The answer was they would pay money to not have to sift through millions of search results when all they’re looking for are a handful of relevant sites, fast.
Once you’ve got the audience and thereafter the raison d’etre for the product defined, the writing, offer, and list purchase will seem a whole lot easier. LC

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Repeat Yourself. Repeat Yourself

Repetition helps reinforce key benefits in the mind of the prospect. Too many writers think it insulting to repeat key benefits. You don’t have to hammer the same point home in lockstep sequence. That can be perceived as talking down to readers, which will have them leaving your copy or Web page quickly.
Repeating key benefits throughout your copy or website not only underscores benefits, it also makes sure that readers see them no matter where they enter your package, be it a brochure or website. You don’t know where readers/surfers come into you. In a brochure, it could easily be on the fifth or eighth panel. The same is true for a website, where a search engine is likely to show a page on your site that’s six layers down instead of the top level home page. This makes sense, since there’s probably more content on that sixth level page than on your home page.
Repeating yourself is also a good idea when you ask surfers or readers to click on a link. You want to reinforce that they’ve clicked over to the right place. So in your newsletter you may say “Click Here to Get Your Free Download on Email Marketing Tips.” On that landing page, it helps to say “Welcome! Here Are Your Free Email Marketing Tips – Click Here to Download.”
So, remember, repeat yourself. LC

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Ask Questions?

Absolutely. Whether you’re writing a headline, body copy, or doing a “trial close” on a real live prospect, engage your target by asking one or more questions.
When you ask a question, no matter the medium, you get the target to participate. If you’re on a live sales call, you can see how you’re doing by the response or lack thereof you get from your prospect.
Asking a question also stops the barage of copy or sales points that often seem overwhelming and therefore can sour the closing effort. So start asking questions today. What are you waiting for? LC

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Because You Deserve It?

One of the most effective direct response copy approaches is appealing to the reader’s innate sense of entitlement.
Why should you spend $45,000 on a car that gets you from here to there? Because you deserve a car that fancy, no? Of course the reader is going to agree with that copy and be grateful for the recognition, whether from an email, website or whatever.
This technique appeals to the ego and may not be as prevalent in B2B marketing, because the expenditure is usually a company’s fund, not one’s personal funds. But the expenditure of company funds does need to be justified to someone other than the reader (unless it’s his/her own business).
If the item or service sold is time-saving or money-saving by nature, the justification can be explained to one’s self and others.
Sometimes there’s a rationale for something that really is emotion or ego-based. LC

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The Non-Linear Crosssell

As DM legend Mac Ross once told me, some of the most appealing crossselling items have little or nothing to do with the original item purchased.
As a deal closer, you might offer the potential subscriber to a politically conservative newsletter a gold panda coin, instead of something in the political vain. The unobvious gold coin incentive is unpredictable and can delight the potential subscriber.
After all, you’ve already addressed his or her need for something in the political realm. Perhaps the non-linear gold coin can spark delight in the mind of the prospect and start him or her thinking about giving such a coin to a nephew,as a keepsake. And that line of unexpected thinking can serve as the catalyst to close the deal for the newsletter.
So, when you’re thinking about crossselling or adding an incentive to close the deal, think outside the box, and then test it to see if your non-linear closer is a winner. LC

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Are You on Your Reader’s Wavelength?

Do your ads use the same language your audience would use if they were talking about the subject of your ad? If you’re speaking another language, or “missing the mark” with the approach you’re employing, you’re leaving money on the table.
PPC copy does well when it mimics the words used by the person conducting a search. Solo email subject lines need to resonate with the recipient or it’s delete city for that solo email. The same is true in all media. It’s just online, you see the results right away. That’s a good thing because then you can instantly adjust until you hit your mark. LC

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Write Your Copy Backwards

Ted Nicholas, the direct marketing zillioniare, writes his copy backwards. That is, he first writes the order form and thereafter backs into the rest of the sales letter or pitch. For the reader as well as for you, he says it is most important that you write a simply-worded offer that crisply outlines the value the reader is getting for his/her money. It is surprising how often the value proposition is not evident in sales copy, often because the writer or firm isn’t quite clear on this critical point itself. LC

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Make Your Copy Inviting

Make your copy so inviting that it’s easier to read than not. This tip actually came from the controversial editor Arthur Brisbane who sold millions of newspapers for his boss William Randolph Hearst. LC

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