The same qualities that make email attractive to legitimate advertisers also make email attractive to spammers.
To combat the ongoing flood of spam, Internet Service Providers, email marketing services, and even email program companies (such as Mozilla or Microsoft) analyze millions of messages and compile lists of “trigger” words and phrases most often associated with spam. These trigger words and phrases are then used to filter incoming messages.
This is a good thing, since it helps reduce the amount of unwanted messages we all receive. But it’s also a bad thing, since it invariably snares legitimate messages from honest advertisers.
This means that when you’re writing email messages for a client or for your own business, you face a unique challenge. Because, like it or not, seemingly innocent copy, especially in the subject line, can kill your email copy.
Here’s one example of a spam trigger word list from Vertical Response:
There’s nothing more challenging to a copywriter than taking on a sales letter assignment.
And there’s nothing more discouraging than staring at a blank screen because you have no idea how to get your sales letter started.
I try not to follow any rigid formulas for sales letters, but I do try to keep the opening line short and punchy.
Here are some popular sales letter openers that can help get your creative engine running. If you have some of your own favorites, leave a comment and share it.
The supreme calling for any copywriter is to write direct response advertising. This is a form of advertising where you make an offer and solicit a direct response from your prospect.
The offer is the key to successful direct response advertising. Specifically, you must include 3 things in your copy:
1. You must make an offer.
2. You must provide sufficient information to allow your prospect to accept your offer.
3. You must provide an easy means of responding to your offer.
A direct response ad MUST include all of these or you are not doing direct response. This is why direct response advertising is all about offers, whether it’s a direct mail piece, print ad, online sales page, or email solicitation.
Years ago, I assembled a list of offers that have been used successfully in millions of ads over the years. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of possible offers. However, these 60 are some of the most common and successful.
Good copywriting starts with thorough research. So ideally, you should be able to take as much time as you need to gather background information.
But in reality, copywriting is always done on a deadline. Too often, you barely have enough time to write about a product or service, let alone do extensive research.
The answer? A copywriting research checklist. Below is a generic checklist I’ve used for years. I’ve also developed others for specific industries or project types. You can use a checklist to collect information quickly or as a structured interview guide.
ALWAYS do as much research as you can BEFORE you brainstorm idea or write a single word. Not only will a checklist save you time on research, it can significantly reduce your writing time because you’ll have something relevant to write about.