Entries from December 2010 ↓

How to Write Effective Copy

effective copy

As a copywriter I am frequently asked by people how to write effective copy.

Creating something that is interesting, relevant and that sells isn’t always as easy as it sounds.

There are a number of factors that have to be taken into consideration when creating copy for your website, brochure, newsletter, email campaign etc.

You must think about your audience, why you’re writing, what you want to achieve from it and that’s before you start looking at it from your customers perspective.

The easiest way to explain effective copy is to look at it from a ‘questions point of view’—put on your journalist’s hat and follow me…



Who is your product going to help? This will identify your target market and help you develop the right tone and voice through which you’ll convey your message.


What am I writing about? What will it mean to my customers? This will help you identify the main benefits of your product or service. After all it’s the benefits that will persuade your reader to buy. It’s all about what it will do for them.


Will your product help them now or in the future? How long will your offer last? Timing is crucial, especially with your offer.


Where can they order or buy your product? If they don’t know how they can get hold of it, how can they buy it? This might sound obvious but you’d be amazed at how many people forget this simple detail.


Why should they buy it? Yes we’re back to those benefits again. Why is it going to make their life better?


Make sure you let them know how it works, how much it costs, how they can buy it etc.

Once you’ve covered all of those points you must also:

  • Keep it simple – write in simple language, with simple sentences. Don’t use jargon as that is a real turn-off.
  • Call to action – remember to always tell your reader what you want them to do (call now, buy now, sign up now etc.) otherwise they’ll just walk away.
  • Honesty – it really is the best policy. If you make claims about your offerings make sure they are genuine. You want to build a relationship of trust.
  • Offer – if you want your offer to appeal to your market make sure it fulfils their needs. To add extra impact make it time limited or limit it by number.

The main thing to remember when writing copy is always have your reader in mind, tell  them what they want to know, make an offer that will appeal to them and leave them in no doubt as to why their lives will be enhanced by it.

Building Relationships Through Your Newsletter

newsletter marketing

Regular contact with your customers (and prospective customers) is vital, which is why many businesses now produce a monthly (or at least regular) newsletter.

It is a great way to nurture relationships.

They can be used to convey great information, industry updates, special offers, announcements, helpful hints—anything that will add value to your customers.

By maintaining regular contact in this way you are ensuring your business name remains firmly lodged in their mind so when they are in need, it is you they will turn to.

The best way to develop your mailing list is to grow it organically—home grown will always bring in better results than a bought in list.

So how do you ensure you and your customers get the most out of your business relationship?

Well, here are 3 ways to ensure your newsletter works:

1. Opt-in

If you want someone to opt into your mailing list, you have to make it easy for them.

There’s no point in hiding your opt-in form so your reader has to search your entire website for it—because they won’t bother.

Make sure your sign-up box is highly visible, preferably on every page and simple to complete.

It would also be a good idea to quickly tell them what they can expect to receive from you, the frequency of your mailings, oh, and reassure them that you won’t share their details with anyone else.

2. Content

What you send out each month is critical.

Don’t make your content overly promotional and certainly don’t start with a sales pitch.

Kick off with a recommendation, article, or comment on industry news. Then enhance your relationship further by offering a hint or tip that your reader will find useful. Once you’ve given them something you can then bring in your offer or a case study to promote your products/services.

If you are unsure about how or what to write, it may be an idea to enlist the help of a freelance copywriter to write the content for you.

Just remember always give first and ask second.

3. Two way traffic

If you want your newsletter to enhance your relationship make sure it is easy for your reader to interact with you.

After reading your news they may want to get in touch so don’t use a “no-reply” email address. Make it simple for them.

The main thing to remember about using a regular newsletter to keep in touch with your customers is that it shouldn’t all be about selling.

Your newsletter should be used to add value to your relationship. Be generous with your information as this will develop trust and with trust comes sales.

How to Encourage People to Read Your Content

Boosting the readability of your content

As an internet marketer you are spending hour upon hour producing content to promote your business and help build links.

You have a list of topics as long as your arm and every spare minute you have is spent producing blog posts, articles and website copy.

Your dedication is admirable.

Once you’ve uploaded your fantastic value-laden information and hit publish…

…absolutely nothing happens.

No tweets (not even a re-tweet), no comments, no nothing.

Immediately you think “Argh! My writing must really suck.”

But before you enrol in a writing class, just stop and think for a moment. Your writing style is probably perfectly fine, but what about the structure?

You may look at your work and think how proud your old English Teacher would be—stop right there. That’s your problem. When writing for the web and an online audience, you can forget just about everything learnt during your school days.

You need to spend less time writing and more time thinking about how you structure your work.

Writing for an online audience

There is a peculiarity about writing for the web—most people will only scan a web page rather than read every word.

That’s because they are searching for information and if they can’t find it quickly, they’ll move on to another website.

So the trick is engaging your readers and getting them to stay with you until the bitter end.

How do you do that?

1. Snappy

Your writing should be relatively short (long enough to cover your subject). So if you’re writing about a very complex issue it may be worth breaking it down into several posts. Not only will that make it much easier for your reader to follow, it will also encourage them to return to your site for your subsequent posts.

Also when you’re writing start with your conclusion—sounds odd, but by doing that you are immediately giving your readers what they want.  Once you’ve done that, follow up with supporting evidence point by point.

2. White space

Does your finished article, blog post or web copy look like a page from a novel?

If your text is in one long, or several long paragraphs it won’t look very inviting.

Lighten it by increasing the amount of white space on your page. Break it down into small paragraphs (no more than 3 or 4 sentences each).

Or go really mad and use a single sentence paragraph.

3. Sub headings

While you’re following step 2, insert some informative sub headings between your paragraphs. This will help your reader get the gist of your post while they are scanning the page.

4. Bullets

  • Using bullet points creates interest
  • Highlights important points
  • Are instantly scan-able
  • Draw the reader’s eye as they break up the rest of the text

5. Links

Don’t only use your post to generate links to your own website. If you have researched your content well you’ll probably have an external source to link to. This will show your reader that your information is well considered (and it may also generate a link from your source too).

6. Bold

Use the bold function to pick out important concepts within your post. These, coupled with the sub headings, should help your reader fully understand the topic you are covering and whether it will be of interest to them.

But don’t go mad—you don’t want to confuse your reader.

7. Numbers

Some people have said that the days of the numbered posts—such as “8 Top Tips to Improve Your Copywriting” are gone. But reader’s still love them.

They help to grab attention and, once reading, retain your reader because they’ll want to make sure they learn everything.

8. Check and check again

Before hitting the publish button, read through your work and make sure it makes sense. Do the headings and bolded words make sense and convey the overall concept of your work?

Of course this read-through should also pick up any typos and other errors.

So there you have it—writing informative posts is one thing, but if you want people to read them they must be presented in a way that:

  • Gets your concept over immediately
  • Looks attractive and readable
  • Gets to the point

Is Your Email Marketing List Feeling Its Age?

email marketing - old

Email marketing can be an incredibly effective way of communicating with your customers and prospective customers.

When someone initially opts-in to your marketing list they wait in eager anticipation for your first email to land in their inbox. They continue to welcome your communications with open arms until, one day, the honeymoon period is over.

As time progresses you realise that your emails aren’t being opened as often (or at all); your messages are now unloved, unopened and unwanted.

What do you do?


Send flowers?

Nope. When this happens it’s time to take action.

What to do when you get email marketing list fatigue

1. Look at your frequency

When they originally opted-in, you would have made it clear how often they would hear from you.  Are you now sending emails more frequently?

If so, begin to scale back. There are only so many times people will want to see you in their inbox. Don’t be that nosy neighbour who’s always popping in – you know, the one you hide from under the kitchen table so they think you’re out.

2. Gone stale

Take a look at your past few emails. Are you covering the same type of information? Is their layout and content becoming too predictable? If so you may find that the perceived value of your emails has dwindled so it could be time to rethink your strategy.

3. Incoming!

Don’t bombard your readers. If you are launching new products or offers, stagger them. It’s never a good idea to announce 4 or 5 within the same month. Firstly people won’t want that number of emails from you and secondly, they’ll get confused.

4. What’s your subject line?

Have you gotten sloppy with your subject lines?

These hold the key to people opening your emails so if they are no longer appealing, your emails won’t get opened. Perhaps it’s time to have a rethink about your subject line approach (or call in a copywriter to help you generate fresh and appealing content).

5. No one’s home

We all, from time to time, change our email addresses.

If one of your recipients hasn’t engaged with your mailings (i.e. they haven’t opened it) for 6 months or more, send out a ‘reengagement’ email – something that forces an action if they want to remain on your list.

If you don’t hear anything it’s safe to say that either:

  • The email address is no longer active, or
  • They no longer want to receive your emails

So it may be time to remove them from your list.

6. Spam

When was the last time you checked your emails against spam filters?

It could well be that something is triggering your recipients spam filters so your emails aren’t even reaching their in box.

If you want your email marketing to continue to be successful, regular list maintenance is essential to ensure that:

  • Your readers are happy with their content
  • All email addresses are active
  • You are avoiding spam triggers
  • Your subject lines are being effective

WordPress All In One SEO Pack Plugin

SEO all in one plug in pack

If you use WordPress as your blogging platform you probably are already familiar with the All In One SEO Pack Plugin.

It’s a handy little tool to help you boost your blog posts’ SEO capabilities.

The only problem with it is that, although you may have already downloaded it into your blog, you probably haven’t really got to grips with using it.

It’s a bit like paying for yoru gym membership but never going – you’re not going to get fit. If you have it but don’t use it, your posts and blog may not be optimised to their maximum potential.

To help you out I found this post on seohosting.com which looks at What you can do with the all in one SEO pack plugin for WordPress?

It’s well worth a read and could help you blog better and smarter.