Copywriter writingWhether you are writing your own marketing copy or hiring a professional copywriter, knowing what makes for effective marketing copy will improve your end results. Follow these steps to create effective copywriting.

Step 1 – Clearly define the goal

Your copy cannot be effective unless you know the goal that you are hoping to achieve. The way that you write will differ depending on if you are trying to increase your brand awareness, create leads, or sell more products or services. Effective copywriting will be the copy that best achieves that goal. If you try to accomplish multiple goals with one piece of copy, it will not accomplish either goal as well as copy that is geared toward accomplishing only a single goal.

Step 2 – Clearly define the medium

There are different methods for writing effective copy depending on the medium in which that copy will be consumed. How you write a brochure is different from how you write a web page which is different from how you write a direct mail package. Therefore, you need to know how your copy is going to be used. You can create marketing campaigns that are used in multiple mediums, or you can use pieces of a master campaign depending on which are most appropriate for that medium. Specifically for Internet marketing, you would write a squeeze page differently from an email, which would be different from a blog, which would be different from a Twitter tweet or a Pinterest pin.

Step 3 – Understand your product and competition

Before you start writing, you need to understand what features and benefits of your product or service, or elements of your brand, you are going to base your marketing campaign upon. Some of the things to consider are what benefits you have that your competitors do not, and what the major concerns or problems of your customers are and how you can help them solve those concerns or problems. Consider what keywords someone trying to solve that problem or concern might search for.

Step 4 – Understand your customer

The final thing to know before you start writing is the customer that you are aiming your marketing at. This will determine everything from what language you use, to the tone of your piece, to the analogies that illustrate your point. Some of the things to consider are age, marital status, sex, and other demographic information. However, you also should consider what activities your customers participate in, and what hobbies they pursue. By slanting the writing toward a specific customer, you will be able to use your words and images to first capture their attention, then to effectively accomplish your goal that you defined in step 1.






Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Morguefile)

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)

excellenceWith the high volume of content that must be created for your company every day, week, and month, it is easy to focus on the quantity of marketing content that you create. In any given month, you may have the time to create only one really great piece of content. Fortunately, there are seven simple ways to elevate the quality of the rest of your marketing content that do not take much time.

1. Numbers, trends, and other facts

The easiest way to punch up the quality of your marketing content is with specific details, such as statistics, trends, or other facts. The quality increase is only as good as the quality of these details, therefore you should always check any facts you include. If you do not have the time to independently check the facts, include the source of your information with a footnote, hyperlink, or mention in the text. Adding quality details will give added weight to your opinions, raising the overall quality of your marketing content.

2. Infographics and visuals

If you are citing statistics, these can be easily pulled out and turned into an infographic. Other common visuals are process flows, decision trees, and organisational structures, using templates in presentation creation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint. If you are referring to software or websites, you can create simple annotated screen shots with the free screen capture tool Jing. This can be repurposed for visually oriented social media such as Pinterest with links back to your original content.

3. Illustrate complex points

Your content can almost always be made clearer and more compelling by including an example. These can be hypothetical examples, such as the classic “Imagine what you would do with an extra £10,000.” Or they could be real examples, drawn from your business and personal life.

4. Use simple language

You never know who will be looking at your content, and what jargon or lingo they will understand. Sure, it’s faster and easier to type “SERP”. However, more people will understand you if you say “search engine results placement” or even “where you rank in the search engine results”.  The easier it is for someone to understand you, the higher the perceived quality of your marketing content.

5. Include sound bites

Sound bites are those pithy comments favoured by magazines and television which condense an entire complex topic into a single memorable message. Find an expert or other quotable luminary, and get a sound bite from them that can be included in your content. You can even repurpose quotes that have been used elsewhere, so long as you reference the original source.

6. Format for readability

Include bullet points and bold subheads that allow people to quickly scan your content to determine the gist of your message. If they’re interested – and they should be or your content has bigger problems – they will go back and read it more carefully.

7. Get a second set of eyes

You are too close to your own content. Have someone else give it a once-over before you publish it, to make sure that the words you thought you typed actually appear in the text, and the logic of your argument flows the way you expected.






Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Stock Xchng)

Adding a takeaway is important when writing your sales letter. A takeaway is anything that makes your product/service scarce. And most people want what they cannot have, so adding scarcity or takeways can increase your sales when using them ethically.

Here are 4 takeaway ideas for your next sales letter:

1) Limited Quantity

This is the easiest and most used. Essentially, you limit the amount of product/service so people have to hurry to purchase.

It is best if you give a reason for the limited quantity.  For example, if you are selling seminar seats you can say you are limiting participants to 100 people because that’s all the seminar room will hold.

2) Deadline

You can test lowering the price by a certain time. And when the time passes, you can tell people you are raising the price. This is best if you have a one-time offer or are planning on raising the price of your product.

3) Unknown Availability

This is perfect for a hard-to-get product or service. You can say you’re not sure if quantities will last…or if a service will be available at that price for very long. This uncertainty can work in your favor and get you more sales.

4) Test Price

This is where you explain what the product is worth, and then go into the fact that you are offering a test price for a limited time. Explain why the lower test price is being offered And then tell them that when the test is over the price will be raised to the higher level.

It is very important that you use takeaways ethically. If you are going to limit quantity you should really do it. You can lose the respect of your customers if you say you’re going to sell 100 widgets but keep selling more afterwards.

So use these takeaway ideas in your sales copy!

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

One of the most important things you’ll do as a marketer is determine the voice and “tone” of your target market.

Let me give you an example:

In the self-defense market, it is mostly made of guys. It’s a very testosterone-based market; therefore, when selling to this market, you need to adjust your tone so you communicate the way they talk.

That means using a lot of slang and some hype. If you know who John Carlton is, he’s one of the top copywriters out there. He used to write a lot of ads to the self-defense market so he knew how to talk to the market.

Whereas if you’re selling to corporate CEOs, you want to adjust your tone so that it matches the target. That means a lot of “corporate-speak” and vocabulary that’s perhaps higher than the average grade reading level.

And if you’re selling to medical professionals who are doctors, you will want to use a lot of big words and long medical terms the doctors will recognize.

The way you’ll ruin your pitch is to talk to a doctor like he’s a target prospect in the self-defense market. That’s the sure way to end up losing the sale.

The most critical part of copywriting is research. The great copywriter Gary Halbert once said that 90 percent of writing copy is research.

And part of that research is determining how your target audience talks. It’s easier if you are in that target market yourself.  For example, if you’re a golfer, you can effectively sell to golfers since you know how they talk.

But if you’re an outsider, you need to do a lot of research to determine the tone of your market.

The best way to do this is to look at proven sales letters in your market. Copywriters have already done most of the research, all you have to do is get yourself a nice “swipe file” of these letters and study them.

Further, you need to talk to people in that market as much as possible. Get into their heads and discover what makes them tick.  Another great copywriter Mike Morgan  needed to write a letter targeting women, so he sat in a hair salon for 3 hours to listen to women talk.

So are you 100% confident you know your market’s voice? If you have a shred of doubt, you better start doing your research. Because knowing how your market talks is critical to success!

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

If you’re using a video sales letter to sell your product, you’re joining a whole host of marketers who are jumping on the video sales letter bandwagon.

And if you’re thinking about testing video sales letters, there are 3 guidelines you have to follow, or you’ll end up with disappointing results.

1) Copywriting Rules Still Apply

Some people think doing a video sales letter means they can say whatever they want. They think that since they don’t have to use a written sales letter, they will have an easier time selling their prospect with a video sales letter.

This cannot be further from the truth. Video sales letters still require you to get your prospect’s attention, melt their objections, and explain the benefits. The medium of delivery is just different.

In fact some marketers just read their written sales letter into the video. So if you already have a sales letter that converts, you can do this easily.

2)Don’t Allow The Video To Show How Much Time Is Left!

One technique you can test with your video sales letters is to leave out the controls for the video–enabling your prospects to be able to only pause the video.

Further, do not reveal the length of the video.

Why is this? Because it forces the prospect to watch the entire video without being able to skip ahead. It’s like a live sales presentation from stage or the television–you cannot hit the “pause” button.

This might sound underhanded, but it really isn’t. You’re still giving them the ability to pause the video. This is something you can test with your own videos–as it keeps prospects glued to the video screen.

3) Don’t Have The Order Page Pop Down Until The Call To Action!

At the end of your video sales letter when you’re asking for the order, have the order form pop down below the video.

This is a simple programming tweak.  And it prevents the prospect from seeing the price of the product before they watch the video. As if they were watching a live sales presentation from the stage!

Implement these 3 video sales letter tips and your conversions can skyrocket.

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

It’s no secret that having one time offers can boost your bottom line. Offering more of your products and services after the initial sale is a perfect time to get more people to buy from you.

However, most marketers really mess it up when it comes to writing copy for one time offers. Especially offers that are made immediately after the order, or “one click upsells” where people can automatically add more products to their shopping cart.

Here are some copywriting tips that could boost the conversions of your one-time offers.

First of all, people who buy your one time offers are already going to be “warmed up” to you. After all, they have already bought from you and all you need to do is carry on the sales conversation.

This may seem simple but a lot of marketers sell their one time offers like their lead product: with a lot of information and benefits about the seller to boost desire in the product.

The tested way to start off a one-time offer is to continue the conversation in your customer’s head. This is done by simply thanking her for the previous purchase and that you want to present another way they can solve their problem or better their life.

In other words, they are already a “warm” prospect. You don’t need to warm them up by talking to them as if they have never heard of you before.

As a result, expect your upsell copy to be shorter than usual.  Unless you are selling an item that’s way more expensive then your initial offer, your sales copy will be shorter in length.

It is a also a good idea to talk about the previous product/service they purchased in the copy.

For example, if you are selling an information product and you are upselling your customer on a more expensive home study course, you can tell your customer the upsell will show them the “HOW” of what the initial product covers—that they will get more of the benefits they want to experience. This is why they bought your lead product in the first place.

So take action on these copywriting tips for upsells. They could really boost your upsell conversions through the roof!

Live, Love, Laugh!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

Most people when they write a sales letter just stare at a blank screen and don’t know when to start writing. Just seeing that cursor sitting there blinking at them can be intimidating.

However, there is a proven way you can start sales letters so you don’t have to bang your head wondering how to open your letter. You can simply use the famous opener that goes like this:

If you ever wanted to (insert niche) then this will be the most important message you’ll ever read!

Of course, you would substitute the (insert niche) with the market.

This opening has been used by the famous copywriter Gary Halbert for years. It is effective because it gets right to the point regarding what the letter is going to be about.

Most copywriters and marketers will start a letter as if they are starting a short story or novel…a lot of description about the setting and characters but failure to get to the point.

This opening gets right to the point and tells your audience what they are going to read about. It’s like they just sat down in front of you and started talking to you immediately at a bar or restaurant.

And of course, this is what a sales letter should be…a conversation between a salesman and a prospect.

Of course, you can always modify this opener so it says fundamentally the same thing but in different language. For example, you can say:

If you’ve ever wanted to lose weight without diet and exercise, then this message will cut to the chase and give you the answers you’re looking for!

This line says the same thing, but in different language.

The point is you have to get right to the point when it comes to writing a sales letter. And the best way is to use a version of the Gary Halbert opener for your next letter.

Your conversions will thank you.

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

It’s no secret that writing good sales copy is critical to getting more sales in your business. That applies if you’re writing sales copy yourself or hiring someone else to do it for you. You have to know the basics of writing sales copy to tell if someone else did a decent job.

There are 5 copywriters you need to be familiar with and study if you’re going to write better sales copy. These are the masters of copy and it would be beneficial to study their ads.

1) Gary Halbert

Perhaps on of the best copywriters ever, Gary wrote for many clients including several infomercial companies. He gladly doled out copywriting advice in his newsletter, “The Gary Halbert Letter” you can see here:

2) Jobn Carlton

John Carlton is alive and well and is still one of the best copywriters on the planet. His famous One Legged Golfer letter you can read here is the best example of copy that has a perfect hook I discussed here.  He has some of the best copywriting courses out there so if you’re serious about getting better at writing copy you need to get a hold of them.

3) Gary Bencivenga

Now retired, Gary wrote copy for some of the largest mailing houses in the world, including Boardroom, Weiss, Rodale, and others. His letters are hard to find online, but if you Google his name, you could run into several of his works online.

4) Brian Keith Voiles

Brian is one of the best copywriters online who writes mostly for the financial markets. He sold his course “Ad Magic” for years and currently runs his own info-marketing business where he writes copy for himself.

5) Robert Collier

He wrote the famous “Robert Collier Letter Book” that is one of the best copywriting books around.  He wasn’t a copywriter as a profession, but wrote his own copy to sell his self-help books.  This is definitely a book you need to get if you want to write better copy.

This is just an introduction into copywriters you need to be familiar with if you want to write better copy. Learning from the Masters of copy will help shortcut your learning curve so you can start making higher conversions.

Keep Selling!


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy