Copywriting Guidelines

Effective copywriting equates to your “salespeople in print.”

“Print,” in this case, may be a direct mail letter, an advertisement, an email, or web sales pages.

Does your copywriting reflect experienced sales pros who will close the deal?

With the advent of 21st century marketing technologies, including good old email, some businesses get lost in the means of getting a message out, as opposed to focusing on the necessity of ensuring that their messages convert to leads or sales.

Respecting the dichotomy of marketing speed versus marketing investment and how you’re using your resources, can increase the return of your marketing investments – and good copywriting and testing are central to that theme.

One of the advantages of writing offline direct mail letters is the necessity to make every headline, every paragraph, every offer, every guarantee, indeed, every word pay off. Having spent a number of years paying attention to and testing every detail of direct mail letters has etched that in my marketing psyche for eternity.

“Testing” ever detail by mailing out letters in small batches, with different elements, and meticulously measuring their resulting performance while building larger and larger campaigns is a necessity in generating profit in the offline direct mail world.

Although this requires good organization and detailed metrics, time and time again I’ve seen its importance in making a profitable campaign much more profitable, and/or making a non-profitable test completely turn around to become profitable.

Email is much less expensive and even easier to test than direct mail, and yet, outside of the ranks of true marketing professionals, it is not as frequently utilized.

Copywriting Guidelines

Although not intended to be a complete overview of effective copywriting, the following guidelines should be included in the testing and refinement of your marketing campaigns. (Many of these points can be incorporated into articles and blog posts, as well).

  • Avoid dense copy. Sections with lots of words and very little white space are visually uninviting. Chop dense copy up into smaller sections.
  • The introduction of your message should be a short sentence: One or two lines at most.
  • Keep most of your paragraphs short, including one-, two- and three-line paragraphs.
  • Consider some one-line paragraphs that directly engage the reader’s attention, such as, “Have you ever had that problem?” Or, “What would happen if you tried this?”
  • Your copy should be presented in a way that a reader can scan your email or sales page and still get the message. This is accomplished by subheadings, underlines, boldface type and italics. Of course, effective use of hyperlinks also emphasizes certain text.
  • “Effective use” of hyperlinks needs to be carefully considered, as it can direct readers away from your sales message. On the other hand, adding hyperlinks that all lead to a shopping cart or sales page can result in increased response.
  • Use of bullet points and indenting is another way to break up the presentation of copy, add more white space, and feature important points.
  • Adding a “P.S.” is an effective way to summarize the most important points of a message, since more often than not, a reader who is scanning your copy will read the final “P.S.” (This is also another good place to include a link to your shopping cart or sales page).

Copywriting will make or break an offline marketing campaign as well as an email or online sales presentation or marketing campaign. Ideally, you would hire a professional copywriter to assure the best results.

Regardless of whether you hire a pro, or study further on the subject yourself, analytically testing and refining your copywriting elements will lead to better responses.

Isn’t that why you’re reading this?