confused computer keyboardWriting marketing copy for your website is different from writing a highly targeted sales letter, or from chatting about your subject matter on your blog. Marketing copy lets people know why they’d want to buy something from you, without trying to push it on them. The following secrets of successful copywriting will help you to improve the marketing copy you write.

Secret #1: Don’t be grammatically correct

Did you ever hear the comment attributed to Churchill in reply to a complaint that he ended sentences with prepositions? He said that arbitrary rule of grammar was “nonsense up with which I will not put”. The goal of good copywriting is to communicate emotion and ideas, not please your composition teacher with your mastery of English sentence structure. Use sentence fragments. End sentences with prepositions. Do whatever it takes to convey your emotion and ideas most effectively.

Secret #2: Use generally accepted words

A website selling “pants” in the United States would be offering something different from a website selling “pants” in England. In some locations “purse” refers to a woman’s handbag, while in some locations it refers to the container for holding money inside the handbag. Especially with Internet marketing, it is important to know which words are generally accepted throughout the English speaking world, and which have specific local meanings.

Secret #3: Appeal to broad audiences

Study the work of widely successful authors who sell far more copies of their books than average for their genre, such as Stephen King (horror), Isaac Asimov (science fiction), Nora Roberts (romance), or Ken Follett (historical fiction). The reason these stories sell so many more copies than other stories in those genres is that these authors have figured out a way to make their writing accessible to people outside of the narrow genre in which they write. You need to do the same thing for your copy, so that the broadest segment of the market will resonate to the story you tell about your product.

Secret #4: Don’t exploit bad news

Avoid taking advantage of any news-making tragedy or calamity to boost your website’s visibility or sales. That doesn’t mean you should avoid discussing events in the news. There are many valid ways to introduce recent events in your blog, which can then point to your marketing copy. That is much less offensive than appearing to capitalise on other people’s pain and suffering for your own profit. In the long run, it will also be a far more effective marketing strategy.

Secret #5: Talk to an individual

Phrase all of your marketing copy in the second person (“you”) to make it more immediate and better connect to your readers.  Write as if you are speaking to one person. Speak conversationally, but without resorting to cliché or hyperbole.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Morguefile)

sand flowerYou’ve spent a lot of time and money directing traffic to your website. Unless you can then convert that traffic to sales, all that time and money is lost. These five tips can help you to optimise your landing pages to increase your conversion rate and make sales from your traffic.

1. Eliminate confusion

People may have come to your website from many different places. If they clicked on a link in a Facebook ad, Google text ad, Twitter tweet, or other limited character advertisement, they may not be entirely certain where the link will take them. By reiterating the question posed in the ad at the top of the landing page, you’re reaffirming that they’ve arrived at someplace that will answer that question for them.

2. Clearly answer the question

People don’t want a long, convoluted explanation. They want a short, concise answer to their question. Give them that answer as quickly as possible. If the answer is complex or has multiple parts, use a bullet list to keep it brief. Most importantly, make sure that the answer focuses on the value of your product or service for the person. You can then elaborate on the elements of the answer, if they’re not convinced to click on your first call to action.

3. Streamline your page

If you want to give your landing page the same look and feel as the rest of your website, you can do so with colour, font, images, and other elements of branding. Don’t use the same navigation as the rest of your website, since it allows people to leave the landing page and explore the rest of your company website rather than focusing their progress to a converting sale. Limit the number of things that require the newest browsing platform, distracting special effects, or, even worse, things that play automatically without giving the user a way to stop them.

4. Track calls to action

Give every call to action on your page a specific link so that you can track visitor progress. Are visitors clicking at the top of the page, somewhere in the middle, or after reading the entire page? Does that behaviour change based on where the visitor came from? This also allows you to spotlight where people are abandoning your sales funnel and test the results of changes to your wording or layout more precisely.

5. Limit registration fields

Once you’ve finally convinced the prospects to buy, they can still change their minds if the registration form requires them to supply what they feel is intrusive data. It’s generally accepted that each additional field on a registration form beyond the email address loses you about a third of your prospects. Therefore, only include those fields you absolutely need to qualify the sale.

Before I sign off, here are some more articles on optimising conversion that you might be interested in:



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: MorgueFile)


3 tiered fountainSee the previous posts on Modern Email Marketing and Hot Headlines for the basics on creating compelling email marketing that is targeted and personalised, with an obvious, compelling call to action. The content of your email is not sufficient to make your potential customers take action, however. You also need to design your emails so that they are visually appealing and make it easy for your prospects to understand both the information you’re sending them and what they’re supposed to do about it.

Keep them moving

When someone receives your email, they should be able to immediately grasp the highlights of your offer. The headline and a short list of 3 – 5 bullet points should tell them all they need to know. If the basics of your offer can’t be explained in 3 – 5 bullet points, refine your offer until it can be. The rest of the email and landing page can explain the bullet points in more detail. If the prospect likes the highlight of your offer and needs no more convincing, they should be able to easily see how to progress to getting that offer. Use call to action buttons in easily visible colours, with active verbs. When they click on the button, ensure that they are sent to a targeted offer page that describes exactly what you emailed them about, rather than sending them to a generic web page or catalogue. Make it as easy as possible for the prospect to move forward at every step of the sale.

Simplify delivery

If the prospect follows through on your offer, whether it is to sign up for a mailing list in exchange for a free ebook or report, or to actually purchase a product, continue to make the delivery as easy as possible for them. If they are getting an information product such as an ebook, make the download link clearly visible and obvious in your follow-up email. Save any further offers for smaller print after the download link. If they are getting a physical product, confirm the delivery date, delivery method, and any tracking information they will need to monitor the status of their shipment. Any further offers for additional products should be after the delivery information – or in a follow-up email sent after they have received the product.

Highlight options

If you are emailing existing customers about updates to products or services, or new products or services that may work well with their existing products or services, don’t deluge them with information. Create a list that shows a picture of each product or service, with benefit-driven headlines and a summary of the new features or offers. Your prospects can quickly scan the list to see what they might be interested in, and then click on individual entries in the list to get more information about just that product, service, or feature.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: MorgueFile)

sale experienceWhen creating a sales letter, whether it’s one that you plan to email to people, send as an auto-response when people contact you, or use as a web sales page, there are specific things that you can do to make your letter more impactful. Don’t think of it as a “sales” letter, where you are trying to sell someone something. Instead, think of it as a way of connecting your potential customers with the wonderful product or service that they already want, but just don’t know about yet. People don’t like being sold, but they love being able to buy what they want.

What does your audience want or fear?

Unless you’re a mega-brand such as Coca-Cola, you won’t be trying to appeal to everyone. Instead, you’ll choose a specific audience to write for. Your audience determines your language and style. But more than that, it determines the core offering of your sales letter. That audience will have certain things that they fear, and certain things that they want. By crafting your sales letter to show them how your product or service can prevent or do away with the things they fear, and get them more of the things they want, you’ll be better able to appeal to them.

Find the emotion

People do not respond to the facts and figures about your product or service. Instead, they will respond to the emotion in your sales letter. Tell a good story, with plenty of vivid details, that allows them to imagine themselves benefiting from your product or service. Once you have helped them to experience what it will be like to have the thing they want, or be rid of the thing they fear, they’ll be sold in their hearts. Then, you can offer the facts and figures to allow them to justify to themselves why buying your product or service is the smart thing to do.

Don’t settle for the easy answer

When trying to specify the things that your audience want and fear, don’t settle for the simple answer. For example, if your product can help someone to make more money, don’t tell them that if they want more money, you can help them. Money is not a core need. Instead, figure out what your audience wants the money for. Do they equate money with safety, and being able to provide food and shelter for their family? Do they equate money with the freedom to follow their dreams and do something significant, or freedom to travel the world and experience the full variety of things different cultures can offer? Safety, significance, and variety are all core needs, as are the needs for intellectual, spiritual, and emotional growth, to love and be loved, and to give back.






Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: MorgueFile)

Advertising copy for whiskyThere are many theories as to what makes for good advertising copy, and what makes for bad advertising copy, often in direct opposition to each other. However, the core of copywriting is straightforward. The copywriter aims to convey to the reader information about a company, product, or service, with the goal of inspiring the reader to take some action.

Identify the reader

As you can see from that description, the copywriter is not creating copy in a vacuum. The copy is being directed toward a specific reader. The more you know about the reader, the better you are able to create effective copy.

Start by identifying your reader’s general demographics. You’ll use different words and images to appeal to college professor than to a high-school dropout. You’ll choose different analogies for a world-traveller versus someone who has only left their home town to attend a championship match of the local football club.

Determine what hobbies and interests your reader is likely to have. This will also help you identify appropriate analogies and word pictures. Which image would your readers better respond to: all the instruments in a symphony playing in harmony; many varieties of flowers growing together to form a beautiful garden; or all of the players on a team working together to achieve victory?

Target your swipe files

Swipe files are excellent short cuts of words, phrases, and ideas that have worked well in the past to achieve desirable results. You can create your own swipe files from your previous work, or from acknowledged successful work written by others. There are even companies that will sell you swipe files.

The trick with using swipe files, however, is that those particular words, phrases, and ideas were successful with a specific reader. Something that works wonderfully for one campaign and is used again and again with great success may prove to be a complete flop in a different campaign.

The more specific you can be about the circumstances in which a particular word, phrase, or idea was successful, the more likely you are to be able to repeat that success. When targeting your swipe files, consider what medium they appeared in, what their target demographic was, and whether they were used in stand-alone copy, as part of a series of emails, or on a landing page.

The simple test

The simple test for your copy is this: does the copy adequately and accurately convey your chosen information to your targeted reader, and does it inspire that reader to take your preferred action? If it fails to do either or both of those things, it may be the most brilliant writing in the world, but it isn’t good advertising copy.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: MorgueFile)

Sale TagsSales Letters are common to both internet and offline marketing, but they take on a greater importance for internet marketing when they are placed on your landing page. Whatever tricks you used to steer traffic to your landing page, it’s the strength of your sales letter that will convert that traffic into sales.

What’s In It For Me?

The first thing your prospect will see on your landing page is your headline. This eye-catching text needs to state up front what benefit they will obtain by reading through the sales letter and purchasing whatever it is you are selling to them. Four out of every five visitors will stop reading after the headline, so anything you can do to improve the headline has a dramatic effect on your overall conversion.

Laser Sharp Focus

If you try to make your sales letter appeal to everyone, it will appeal to no one. Determine exactly who your ideal customer is, and target the sales letter to them. Identify who your product is for in your copy, and do it in such a way that they can recognize themselves. Make sure you know what the problems are that your ideal customers suffer from, and then highlight how your product solves those problems in your copy.

Tell Them Who You Are

It’s likely that this is the first time your potential customer is interacting with your brand. You need to make sure that you present yourself and your company in your sales letter so that they form the opinion of you that you want them to form.  If you don’t tell them who you are, they’ll fill in the gaps with guesses and generalizations from their experience – and those generalities could be things such as Internet marketers being hucksters who will sell anything without knowing or caring about the product.

Make An Amazing Offer

People are used to getting “but wait, there’s more!” in sales pitches. If you don’t have a bonus of some kind, or have a weak bonus, they will not feel as compelled to purchase as if you have an amazing, time-sensitive or limited quantity bonus. Other bonuses that make customers feel like they’re getting something special are free downloads that they can use while they’re waiting for the product to reach them, or a customer forum they can join immediately upon purchase.

Stay Customer Oriented

Too often, businesses start out strong in their sales letters with a captivating headline, and finish strong with an amazing offer, but something goes wrong in between. They lose sight of the customer, and start talking about how much effort the company put into building the product, or what inspired the various functions included in it. If your copy is not directly related to either telling the customer how the product can meet their need, or offering a testimonial of how a similar customer solved a similar need with the product, that copy doesn’t belong in your sales letter.

Before I sign off, here are some more articles on writing sales copy that you might be interested in:



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Stock Xchng)

FriendsMany people think that being a good salesperson requires developing relationships with lots of “rapport” and expressions of warmth. Their goal is to develop a persona like a fishing buddy or other person with whom their customer would share many good times and personal intimacy. The internet marketing side of this comes out in how you portray yourself in social media.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with developing such relationships with your customers, it’s the wrong attitude with which to start. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your customer isn’t looking for a friend; they’re looking for an expert whom they can trust. Once they find such an expert, they expect to be told the truth, even when the truth won’t bring them closer to buying something from you. That’s what true experts do, and it’s what wins both minds and hearts.

Tell your customers the truth. Even better take the stance that you’re there to serve, not to sell. No one wants to be sold anything. People want to buy. Take the stance that you’ll find out what your customer needs, even if it isn’t something you can provide to them; even if it’s something that a competitor can provide. When you take this stance, you begin to rise above the crowd and gain a reputation for excellence and service.

If you want to really maximise the potential here, take the stance that you’ll even be willing to risk the relationship if that’s what you believe is best for the customer. This might include telling the customer that they’re about to do something that they haven’t thought through enough, or that is a mistake—and why. You can tell them this nicely, and you should always get permission first.

Those who do their level best to put the customer first, not just as a catchy slogan or catchphrase but as a way of living, will find in many cases that their customers will become enthusiastic fans who recommend them to all of their friends. They will refer business to you, and that’s always the best way to get new customers.

Once you understand that your customers need you to be the expert they can trust, you will find this leads to a variety of different behaviours. How will you dress? What will your website look like? How will you communicate with prospects? What will your stationery, business cards, and proposals look like? All of these questions can be answered by determining what will make it easiest for potential customers to view you as an expert they can trust.

Those who try to be all things to all prospects find themselves in a weak position, since it is impossible to be an expert in everything. They rarely build lasting relationships of real value.

Don’t be your customer’s friend. Be their ally and serve their true needs. See what happens. You’ll be amazed at the results.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Stock Xchng)

Most people think they can write anything on their website and get sales. This is simply not the case. You need sales copy that is going to get people’s attention, get them reading all the way to the order button, and yank out their wallet and buy.

This blog post will reveal 5 secrets to writing sales copy that can boost your conversions.

1) Pretend you are taking to your prospect at a bar or restaurant.

One way to make sure your sales copy is customer-centric is to pretend you are talking to your prospect at a bar or restaurant. What happens is you will start to write like you talk and in a conversational manner. After all, a sales letter is simply a face-to-face sales pitch in disguise.

2) Use short sentences and small words.

Most people read at a sixth-grade level. Therefore you do not want to insert large words into your sales letter as your prospect could get lost in your copy!

3) Give it to someone in your market to read.

One of the best things you can do is give your sales copy to a person in your target market. If they come back to you and just say, “That’s nice”, then you need to rewrite the ad.

But if they read the sales letter and ask you, “Where can I get that!” then your sales copy should work!

4) Get right to the point.

You are not writing a novel or short story. You need to get right to the point in your letter if you are going to pull people in.

One way you can do this is by  using the famous copywriter Gary Halbert’s introduction he used to implement all the time.  It goes like this:

If you’ve ever wanted to lose weight, then this will be the most important message you’ll ever read!

See how this get’s right to the point? You can easily modify the above for your own market.

5) Keep your target audience in mind.

Your typical buyer is going to have many distractions. They could be at home with 24 different pop-ups on their computer and Twitter notifications. That’s why your advertisement has to cut straight through that to get their attention.

So implement all 5 of these tips for better copy!

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

Most marketers make the disastrous decision to tack on a headline on top of their sales letter as soon as they complete their letter.  This is a move that is almost certainly going to result in decreased response for your sales piece.

You see, the headline is what is going to get your target audience’s attention.  You cannot simply “skimp” on the headline. Because if you do, people aren’t going to read your ad and you’re going to lose sales.

So to make sure your headlines are going to jump out and grab your target audience by the lapels and force them to read your ad, here are several tips you can use to write better headlines.

Tip 1: Make sure your headlines contains your unique selling proposition.

This is extremely important because most people, “bury their USP” in the body copy and a lot of prospects miss it.

You went through all that trouble defining your unique selling proposition…what makes you stand out from the competition.  Why would you bury it in the body copy so people will miss it?

So make sure your unique selling proposition is in the headline…as it conveys the advantage prospects are going to get by doing business with you over your competition.

Tip 2:  Make sure you have a “specific” in the headline.

This specific could be a number, a percentage, or a specific claim.

For example, instead of saying, “Who Else Wants To Increase Their Income?”  you should say, “Who Else Wants To Increase Their Income By 15.4%”

Assuming this is the typical result, being more specific will get your reader’s attention more than the more general headline.

Tip 3: Make sure you write 25 headlines before you choose the one you’re going to use.

This is a very powerful technique.  Because what happens is you’ll write 3-4 headlines that are just “OK”.  Then as you warm up you’ll start writing better and better headlines until you find one that just jumps off the page!

It’s like a track runner who warms up before a race. Your mind needs to “warm up” a little before the creativity really starts to shine through. And the best way to do this is to write 25 headlines before choosing the one you are going to use!

So take action on these tips ASAP when you write your next headline. Chances are you’ll get a huge advantage over your competition!

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

There’s one rule when it comes to copywriting and advertising:

People don’t want to believe you!

They’ve already been pitched 10,000 times on how they’re going to lose weight, make more money, and grow hair using your product. Today’s customers are more skeptical than ever and you need to have more “evidence” that you know what you’re talking about if you’re going to woo them over.

The best way to do that is through case studies and testimonials. Here are some testimonial tips that should boost the social proof on your website or other marketing piece.

Make sure you have full name, website, and location.

Frequently people use testimonials with initials  like “J.K”, or a first name and last initial.  You want to make sure you have full information for each testimonial. The more information the more people are going to believe the testimonial is real.

Stay away from “pat me on the back” testimonials.

These are testimonials that aren’t results based. For example, if you said the following:

“Jim will help you make millions of dollars online.”

…and the following,

“Jim helped me make $3213.23 last year and he could help you too!”

…which testimonial is going to be more believable?

The one on the top is what I call a “pat me on the back” testimonial as it gives no indication the product is going to give the benefits it advertises.  There are no specifics or results, just someone saying so-and-so is a good guy.

Video testimonials are the way to go!

You might have noticed that videos are on the rise. More and more people are chucking their dialup connection for broadband. Which means you can put video testimonials on your site, which are a lot more effective than regular ones.

Why is this? People can see and hear the customer. They know it’s a real person, not some Photoshopped image or stock photo that’s fake. The more they know the person is real, the more the potential customer will believe the testimonial.

Thus boosting your social proof.

So take a look at your last promotion and ask yourself, “Did I put enough social proof in this piece?” Chances are your conversions were low if you didn’t put any there.

But next time make sure you have a preponderance of proof on your marketing piece.  It will boost your believability, and your sales.

Keep selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy