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September 10, 2020

How to write (web) copy that sells.

For the past five months, I must’ve heard the same sentence around fifty times.

It goes something like “Copy is the best entrepreneurial skill you can learn.”.

In my opinion this a whole lotta bull. Selling your services and networking are by far more important than writing pretty words.

And this comes straight from a copywriter.

But enough about my beliefs on business. You’re here to learn how to write better copy and sell more of whatever the hell you’re selling to the people you’re selling (that was a mouthful).

And who better to learn from than Gary Halbert? The guy has practically made more money with his writing than any other marketer out there. Dead or living.

Writing (web) copy that sells is all about having a system.

Very few copywriters are worth their money. Even fewer are worth their weight in gold.

But those who are, have an ace up their sleeve. It’s their system. Do you have a system? I do. David Ogilvy did. Gary Halbert did too.

Now, I’m not comparing myself to the all-time greats by any means. Maybe one day, but at the time of writing this, I’m a 23-years-old with a lot of shit to learn still.

And that’s what I do. I learn from them. I’ve inspired my writing, and more importantly my workflow from both Ogilvy and Halbert.

Both have built systems that allow them to write otherworldly copy every time they put pen to paper. David Ogilvy spent two weeks immersing himself in the world of his client. Gary Halbert made 14-page long fact-sheets. I do both.

The best thing is, you can take their systems and see what works for you.

The Gary Halbert system that will help you write (web) copy that sells.

Whether you’re writing the copy for your website, or you’re doing your first-ever print interview, writing copy that sells is not that complicated.

Yes, very few do it well, but that’s because most don’t even bother learning.

If I had to TL;DR it to you, writing web copy that sells can be boiled down to three main things.

  1. Create a mile-long fact sheet.
    It will help you better understand your product and generate ideas when the time to write comes.
  2. Derive benefits from the fact sheet.
    Facts are useful, but benefits will make people buy whatever you’re selling.
  3. Sweeten the deal properly.
    It’s all about having the best product and then some. Great copywriters are great because they know how to sweeten the deal.

And that’s not coming from me. That’s Gary Halbert’s system. He also has a secret very few know, which I’ll go over in a bit, but you’ll have to keep reading if you want to learn it.

Create a mile-long fact-sheet.

Copywriters thrive on facts.

It’s where we come up with ideas to market your product.

If I have to compare it to something, fact-sheets for marketers are what cookbooks are for chefs.

Let’s work off of examples and let’s say you have your own SaaS business. In fact, you’re helping marketers manage social media for brands. Let’s just say you own Buffer.

What facts about Buffer can you list, that has made their product superior?

  • They have a “schedule” option; (fact)
  • They have in-depth analytics; (fact)
  • Their tools save marketers time. (fact)

Okay, we have three undeniable facts that we can use. But we’re only halfway there. Every social media now allows marketers to schedule their posts and access detailed reports.

Now it’s time for step two of the process (or system).

Turn facts into benefits.

People pay for benefits, not facts.

We left off with three facts about Buffer. If you’ve skimmed to here, shame on you, scroll back and read them.

Now, how do Buffer market these facts? I won’t beat around the bush.

  • They have a “schedule” option. (fact)
    Their tools allow marketers to coordinate creative campaigns visually. (benefit);
  • They have in-depth analytics. (fact)
    Marketers can measure their performance and adjust campaigns accordingly. (benefit);
  • Their tools save marketers time. (fact)
    You can schedule the same post across multiple channels, unifying your brand message. (benefit)

You can do this with any product, as long as you’re well aware of what you’re selling.

Now it’s time for step number three.

Sweeten the deal.

All three benefits are amazing. But they aren’t anything unique. There are other tools online that do the same thing.

But the team at Buffer, they know how to sweeten the deal. Add that special sauce that will make you shell out a thousand bucks for their tool.

In their case, there are multiple deal sweeteners.

For one, you get 14 days of free trial for their premium tool. You can opt-out at any time.

For two, you get $200 off if you pay for the full year, not on a monthly basis.

And finally, you can always downgrade to their free plan, before paying, if you find yourself not needing all the premium tools.

Now that’s something that makes me click the “Start free trial” button. At worst, I get to use a product for 14 days for free. At best, the Buffer tools fit perfectly in my workflow, so I keep using it.

Every copywriter who knows what they’re doing can sweeten the deal.

Now, for the secret, I told you I’m going to give you.

There’s a secret, fourth step in Gary Halbert’s process of creating copy that sells.

Steal like an artist.

Now that you’ve done your prep, you’ve got your fact-sheet, you’ve got your benefits figured out, and you’ve got your special sauce, it’s time to… well, see what other marketers and copywriters are doing.

Everyone who’s made their name marketing and advertising a product knows how to inspire themselves from peers.

You won’t re-invent the wheel. In fact, the most you’ll do is waste your time trying things that don’t necessarily work. Some may, most won’t.

Keep your favorite ads, go back to them, and inspire yourself from them. Find ways to build upon what was already done. Don’t copy. Inspire.

While we all love to romanticize on copywriting as some magical craft, only a few can do, the reality is much different. The good among us just have processes and systems set in place that allow them to produce great results over and over again.

But that’s another topic for another time.

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Posted in Copywriting