Date Read: 7/11/2020
Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews
Selling is essentially a transfer of feelings. – Zig Ziglar
Copywriting isn’t telling.
And like Mr. Ziglar says in the quote above, it’s all about the feelz…
How To Write Copy That Sells helps you arouse those warm and fuzzies, and then, through a very deliberate process, transform them into cold hard stacks of cash.
With everything from the basic foundations of copywriting to crafting a sales letter–this book is overflowing with gems.
In the review below, I provide a brief summary of the book along with standout ideas and insights you can apply to grow your business.
How To Write Copy That Sells Summary
How To Write Copy That Sales is your one and done copywriting book.
Taking the reader from the basic premises of copywriting, all the way to the intricacies of psychology involved in writing a winning sales letter, it’s a crash course on writing badass copy for the very accessible price of fifteen bucks or so.
And for the record, I don’t think you need to be a “copywriter” or marketer to enjoy this. I can see this book being picked up by everyday business owners or anyone wondering what the heck copywritng is as well. It gives you a really great deep-dive but does it in a way that makes you say, “Yea, that makes total sense.”
Another great aspect is that it’s an easy read. At less than 200 pages, you can devour this thing in a day (like I did) or two.
Key Points And Ideas
A core concept I like–and one that many marketers seem to forget–is the concept of a value proposition.
How To Write Copy That Sells author, Ray Edwards, applies this concept to copy. He refers to it as the “copy thesis.”
Without it, he says, your copy is doomed.
Here’s the formula:
Any [YOUR AUDIENCE] CAN [SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM] BY USING [YOUR PRODUCT], because [HOW IT SOLVES THE PROBLEM].
Here’s are some examples (pulled from the book):
- Any PARENT can IMPROVE THEIR CHILD’S BEHAVIOR by using YOUR BEST KID NOW, because IT MAKES GOOD BEHAVIOR AUTOMATIC.
- Any BABY BOOMER can BUILD A BUSINESS FROM HOME by using THE PROFIT FROM WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW COURSE, because it SHOWS YOU HOW TO TURN YOUR KNOWLEDGE INTO PROFITS.
How many companies mess up on this when writing their copy? How many neglect to address it all? My guess is a whole lot…
P.A.S.T.O.R. Your Customers
A good Shepard pastors his flock. So does a great copywriter .
You do this through the P.A.S.T.O.R. formula.
This is an easy to remember formula that turns prospects into buyers.
Here’s how you use it:
P. – Person, Problem, Pain.
In the opening sequences of the copy, you want to address the person, their problem, and the pain it’s causing them.
A. – Amplify and aspirations.
This is where you aggravate their pain by telling the reader what they are losing because of the pain. This works best by putting a numerical value on things (i.e. losing 10k in sales…). You then want to paint a picture of a better state (paradise).
S. – Story, Solution, and System.
After amplifying the pain and painting a picture of paradise, it’s now time to introduce a solution.
Think of a story in your business that explains how your product or service has solved this pain for people. You can introduce your solution or system here as well.
T. – Transformation and Testimonials
This is where you lay on the proof. The best way to do this is through testimonials that describe the transformation that your product or service produces.
O. – Offer
The offer is where you describe exactly what the person gets. Once again, this area focuses on the benefits and the transformation, not so much the product or features themselves.
This is the ask. Well, more like a tell.
You want to tell the customer EXACTLY what you want them to do in order to buy your product or service.
So there it is. P.A.S.T.O.R. Easy to remember and deliver.
The D.S.I. Formula
The D.S.I. formula was my favorite part of the book.
D.S.I. stands for dominant story idea. The premise is that you should think of your copy as a movie trailer.
Here’s how you do it:
- Dominant story idea: Imagine you’re making a movie trailer. How would you sum up your story?
- Sample feelings: How can you show the emotions your product or service invoke? This helps your reader see themselves in the end state your product or service creates.
- Proof the product works: Show proof using testimonials
Here’s an example of a movie broken down using D.S.I. (pulled from the book)
Movie: The Firm starring Tom Cruise
Dominant Story Idea: Young lawyer passes the bar and gets his dream job–with great pay and even a free BMW. Seems to good to be true. In fact, it is: he’s working for the Mob. And he wants out, they’re going to kill him.
Sample Feelings: We see Mith McDeer in his innocent phase… we see him winning the new job, the car, and the status he so desperately wants… we see him getting seduced by money, power, and very hot women… and then we see him getting into some really scary trouble. Will he prevail?
Proof: proven actors include Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Hal Holbrook.
Use this formula to give your copy clarity. Also, as Edwards mentions in the book, this is a great way to give your copy a “theme.”
Insights and Takeaways
This book rocks.
It’s quick and to the point. But it’s also pretty damn deep.
I really like the end of chapter recaps. Instead of having to scour each and every page for the main points on a given topic, it’s all there at the chapter close.
This book leaves you with a lot to think about. There’s quite a bit of overlap with the book Copywriting Secrets. I’m still trying to process where they converge and digress…
Overall, this book helped me THINK differently about copywriting. It reminded me to think more about copy in the form of storytelling and the hero’s journey. Sure, the formulas and “hacks’ are great, but this book gets more to the WHY of things.
This book is worth it’s weight in gold. If you don’t have it, get it. You one-hundred percent won’t regret picking this guy up.
You can Grab it here.
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