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copywriting ultimately is about fulfilling human desires and needs

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The first paragraph is crucial because it is where readers are likely to stop reading if you don’t provide them with sufficient reason to continue. 

Ideally, it should immediately demonstrate that there are desirable rewards for reading on.

There’s no need to be lengthy or elaborate. Often, short, punchy, easy-to-read sentences suffice as long as they hold the viewer’s attention. 

One device that some leading copywriters use is to ask a question that will grip the readers’ interest and compel them to continue reading.

The Offer You Can’t Refuse
The offer is the very heart of your copy.  It is the reason the copy is being written.  When writing copy for offline consumption, once you have captured the attention of your readers you need to present your offer as soon as possible to let them know what you are selling and what kind of deal you’ll be making. 

When writing web copy for direct-response offers, that’s not necessarily the case.  Particularly when writing editorial-style web copy, you must be careful not to uncover your hidden selling too soon. 

If you do, you will remove all doubt that your editorial is actually an ad in disguise.
Whether you are writing copy for on- or offline use, your offer needs to be clear, concise, and above all irresistible. 

For example: Own this deluxe set of knives that never need sharpening for just $19.95–and you’ll never buy another set of knives again. 

It comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee.  In the unlikely event that any of these knives should break–we will replace any or all of them free of charge–forever.

Your offer must align with your target audience’s desires and needs and, as you know, must appeal to their emotions.

What motivates people to buy?  Steven Reiss, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University, in his book Who Am I? 

The 16 Basic Desires That Motivate Out Action and Define Our Personalities, describes his theory of human motivation. 

Reiss, who spent five years conducting studies involving 6,000 people, discovered that these 16 desires–power, independence, curiosity, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family, status, vengeance, romance, eating, physical exercise, and tranquility–motivate all human behavior. 

Other studies add the desire to belong, security, integrity, consistency, ownership, exclusivity, safety, admiration, and acknowledgment.

All of these complex human desires can be grouped into two basic human needs:  the desire to gain pleasure and avoid pain.

Since copywriting ultimately is about fulfilling human desires and needs, the more successful you are at representing your product or service in a way that plays to those desires and needs, the more successful your sales copy will be. 

When articulating the offer, your primary viewpoint should always be that of your reader.  In other words, you need to focus entirely on your reader. 

One of the best ways to pull your reader into your copy is by weaving the words you, your, or yourself throughout. 

This gets your readers involved in what you are saying and makes them feel as though you are writing to them. 

Your offer must summarize the key benefits and advantages of the product or service you’re selling. 

This is effectively done through bullet points–to make the copy more readable and inviting.  Following are examples of bullet points for a software program aimed at novel writers:

  Walks you, step-by-step, through the process of writing your story–it’s like having a personal writing mentor and tutor interactively showing you how to write a great novel.
  Simplifies the process of developing a solidly constructed plot and outline for your novel–the plot generator gives you instant access to thousands of suggested plots from virtually all kinds of stories.
  Enables you to create rich, dynamic characters with the easy-to-use character developer.
  Allows you to instantly find answers to specific questions, and get targeted advice for resolving problems while you write.
  Provides suggestions to over 100 stumbling blocks that frequently face beginning novelists.
  Includes a troubleshooter function that takes you from your writing problem to its remedy with a click of the mouse.

Testimonials: It Can Happen To You
Testimonials add credibility because they are the actual words of real people, not actors or spokespeople. 

They can be quite disarming because your readers are able to identify with other people’s experiences with your product or service.

You can obtain testimonials by simply asking for them when you fulfill orders, or by calling or e-mailing customers and asking for their comments. 

What was their experience with your product or service:  Did they enjoy it?  Are they glad they purchased it?  When you get positive comments, ask permission to use them in your ad, and don’t forget to get a signed release.

The best testimonials are the ones that are specific and, preferably, quantifiable.
With the ABC product, I lost 10 pounds in 9 days without dieting.

I earned 5 times my salary in my spare time by following the ABC system.

Talking About Money:  How To Introduce The Price
First and most important, you must never introduce the price until you’ve stated the offer.  If you do, the majority of your readers might click away before ever learning the more salient points of your offer. 

Second, when you do introduce the price, equate it with a ridiculously minor purchase, or reduce it to a daily cost.

Minor-Purchase Technique
Here’s how the minor-purchase technique was used to introduce the price of a book about how to write news releases:

Bottom line is, for a few bucks more than the price of a movie for two (with pop.com), you can get your hands on the secrets that would mean truckloads of hot leads, sales that would make your head spin, a surge of cash flowing into your business, and first-rate recognition for you and your product that money just can’t buy.

Daily-Cost Technique
Here’s how the price was introduced for a shopping cart service that costs $29 per month:
For just $1 a day, you can now automate your . . .
  order processing
  e-mail marketing
  ad tracking
  credit card processing
  recurring billing
  affiliate program
  the digital delivery of your electronic products

. . . and all other e-commerce activities your website requires.

This tactic, known as equating also can be used when you are conveying a time frame in your web copy. 

For instance, “In the time it takes you to brew a cup of coffee, you’re done with your marketing for the day.”
What else do you do to meet your web copy readers’ desire and needs?

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