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4 Myths About “Copy That Sells”

12 December 2014 Svetlana Kuznetsova
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As a rule, when marketing experts talk about commercial copies they understand that it’s almost impossible to give a straight definition of them. But it’s obvious that to be able to communicate with customers, it is necessary to know something about biz copies both for a customer and writer. Let’s try to understand the characteristics of biz copies using a negative proof. Here are some widespread myths about them.

Myth 1. Commercial copies make you want to buy a product

Don’t try to apply outbound techniques to the inbound marketing.

You must understand one thing: in the 60’s of XX century in the USA (best time for advertisers) this statement was close to the truth. People were watching video ads just like movies (of course, it’s an exaggeration, but people were not tired of advertisement). These were the years of the idea that ads can make any person buy what they don’t actually need.

Marketers should understand that people don’t want to watch boring ads. They want to be surprised or to get profits. They want to save money, look great, lower the labor, wear good clothes, and eat tasty dishes… But they’ll never find out how to do it if you don’t tell them.

The goal of outbound marketing is to make you buy a product using noticeable pictures and CTAs
The goal of outbound marketing is to make you buy a product using noticeable pictures and CTAs

This approach doesn’t work anymore. World changes fast. Unfortunately, our reaction is not as fast. Marketers are always one step behind their customers’ needs.

And these needs have changed. Nowadays people are tired of obtrusion. They don’t want to see outbound ads anymore. They face another challenge – finding answers to their questions. This battle for a customer is won by those who produce the most relevant content which helps make a choice. It is called inbound marketing. People search information by themselves. And they will decide whether they need your product or competitor’s one relying on the given information.

So, the task of a commercial copy is not to create a need but to give an audience helpful information. A commercial copy assures (if it contains facts) your buyer persona that they should buy your product.

Myth 2. There are recipes for commercial copies

Many people believe that you can successfully sell your product on the Internet if:

  • You will tell about its exclusiveness (Jennifer Lopez wears the same one).
  • You will give a reason to buy it (a great gift for your mother).
  • You will learn how to object (customer says: “You competitor has the same statue but made of bronze, not of gold like yours. It’s cheaper”. And you say: “But our statue shines brighter!”).
Each copywriter has a unique answer to the question of writing great copies
Each copywriter has a unique answer to the question of writing great copies

There are also some more recipes:

  1. Develop your buyer persona.
  2. Specify what you want to get from them and what you can offer.
  3. Take a piece of paper and pen and write them a letter (using pen and paper will help you to feel the effect of psychological authenticity – it feels like writing a confidential letter).
  4. Type this letter in Word and then edit and correct stylistic mistakes.

There is one problem – if it would be possible to write a good copy just following the instructions, then any copywriter could write something like “War and Peace” or “The Lord of The Rings”. Why not? To write a good copy, you must understand a topic as an expert (you must research it) and spend years to improve your writing skills. A simple step-by-step instruction is a good thing (if made by professional), but it won’t give you anything alone.

Myth 3. Commercial copies are copies that make it to the Google top

Thinking this way is the same to comparing something cold with something sour.

Of course, nowadays, when search engines made a giant step in understanding semantic relevance, interesting content plays a big role in search engine marketing. A good copy is as useful as an SEO copy is useless (just because search engines understand whether a copy was written for people or robots). That’s why online marketing is not only about filling websites with content, but it is also about a complex work that aims at improving websites in all respects. And content must be a priori good. It’s a must for modern search engine marketing.

Myth 4. Landings are the most striking examples of commercial copies

Does it mean that you must keep landing pages best practices in mind when writing a copy?

Yes, landing pages really give results if you know how to use them. But it’s not so simple.

Landing page is like a puzzle: it is made of pieces of “commercial” elements
Landing page is like a puzzle: it is made of pieces of “commercial” elements

What are these elements that improve a copy’s “sales-ability”?

  • Headline – splashy and making a clear offer to your target audience.
  • A clearly stated offer.
  • Unique selling proposition.
  • Call to action.
  • Social proof – customer reviews and so on.
  • Some visual elements: triggers, images, background, and so on – the beauty in design from a header to footer.

Landing pages best practices are the same to of infographics’. But you must understand that they are not perfect.

Wherein, you must remember that obtrusive landing page message is what connects it with traditional advertising. Some part of the audience is already tired of offline ads.

Landing pages don’t work alone. They can’t persuade people who have doubts whether they need a product or not. They search for additional information that will help them make a decision. Landing page is not a tool to persuade these people.

Perhaps there is no such thing as commercial copies?

That's right. In some way.

Any copy can become a commercial one. Under one condition. Guess what condition? If it really sells (even indirectly – inspiring a reader’s trust, making them more loyal to your brand). It doesn’t matter how to achieve it. There are a lot of opportunities to write copies that sell.

Moreover, there is one more super important thing that you can’t ignore – the purpose of writing a commercial copy is not to sell here and now. In most cases, great copies work on a long distance. It means that they can generate you a lead anytime.

It’s not creativity and CTAs that make your copy commercial. It’s a great content, convincing arguments, and confidential tone.

© “Texterra”, At full or partial copying of materials reference to the source is obligatory.

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Former editor at Texterra online marketing agency. She is a graduate of The Maxim Gorky Literature Institute. Svetalan started working at "glossies", then turned to PR, where she worked for a long time in different structures promoting the "ConsultantPlus" brand.. She has been engaged in online marketing since 2010. Favourite thing to do is to work with copies. Unfavorite thing to do is to do nothing.
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© «TexTerra», At full or partial copying of materials reference to the source is obligatory.
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