Effective copywriting, almost regardless of what type of marketing text it is, follows the same structure. Read almost any effective sales page, advertisement, or email, and you see the same structure in use.
There are other effective copywriting options. But they’re rare and relatively hard to use, so if you’re thinking of breaking the rule (rule: “use this structure”), be careful—it doesn’t usually end well.
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More details for the structure (based on what people asked about)…
Effective copywriting is about predicting how a conversation will unfold
Imagine you walk up to two people having a conversation. You don’t know them, and they don’t know you.
What happens if you ask them to listen to you talk about X? They’re unlikely to be interested. If they can, they find a way to get rid of you.
What happens if, instead, you say something interesting related to the topic they’re talking about? It’s still a weird situation, but at least you have a chance to join in.
That’s the idea with joining their conversation in copywriting, although you join a conversation in someone’s head—not between two people.
In marketing, the usual way to go about doing it is to describe their situation, their problems, their dreams, or something else they’re already thinking of. In the video I mentioned you can describe “what they see.” The point is, don’t start with your perspective. Rather, join in on what they already think and believe. Just like if you want to join a conversation between strangers, your odds of getting heard go up if you make it clear immediately that you agree with their perspective.
For example, imagine they’re having a conversation (in their head) about how to find the time to make healthy food for their family. How could you join that conversation? Would you talk about 10 reasons healthy food is great? I hope not. Instead, you could say, “Here are 10 ways to make healthy food faster.”
Copywriting isn’t that different from talking with someone. It only seems different.
It might seem impossible to have a conversation with someone when you don’t actually get to respond to what they say. It might seem impossible to know what they would think, what they would ask, and what they would need to hear—and in what order—to feel like it’s a conversation.
A great sales page is like one side of a natural conversation. The writer predicted what the other side would think and say. If the prediction was off, the conversation doesn’t make sense, and the page doesn’t convert.
Even though you aren’t there, you can direct the conversation where you want it to go
It’s not like you wouldn’t have a lot of power to direct the conversation as the writer. Just like in a normal conversation, we direct conversations all the time.
When you tell a friend a funny story about something you saw earlier that day, you direct the conversation. When you point out what they misunderstand about something, you direct the conversation. When you tell them you believe they can reach their goals, you direct the conversation.
When you tell the reader a story, correct a misunderstanding, or show how to reach an outcome, you direct the conversation in a sales page.
For example, if I say, “You know there’s just one thing you’re missing from your marketing, right?” you’re likely to answer, “Okay, what do you think it is? You better have good reasoning for such a bold statement.” I should then tell what I think is missing and explain why that’s the case. If I don’t—if instead I talk about something else—you’re likely to lose interest because you can’t feel like you’re a part of the conversation (because I didn’t answer your question).
That’s what effective copywriting is about. Direct the conversation to the topics and ideas you need people to understand, so they want to buy.
Show them the best way forward—then enable it
A lot of effective copywriting is based on first teaching people how to solve a problem or reach a goal and then selling them the “tool” the solution is based on.
For example, “To get the most out of exercise, you need to do it at the right intensity. Your heart rate is a key factor in that. Depending on your goals, you should aim for different heart rates. Well, here’s a heart rate monitor that comes with instructions on what heart rate you should aim for depending on what’s your goal.”
The “tool” doesn’t need to be a physical object.
For example, “Two things make the biggest difference to how quickly you move forward with your business. First, are you doing the right things? If you do things that don’t work in your situation, you’re wasting time. Second, are you doing them in the right way? Most things in marketing and business can be done in many different ways, but usually only one fits your situation. So, what about getting some marketing coaching, so you spend your time doing the right things and doing them the right way?”
In the sales page structure (in the video), I mention you need to show how your offer fits in with the way to their goals. The above examples are simplified, but that’s what they do. They show how to reach a goal and how the offer helps with it.