Even the best copywriters can boost the selling power of their marketing and advertising copy by asking the right question…

Yesterday I revealed my Automatic Copywriting process.

I explained how you need to write as fast as possible, letting your subconscious or unconscious mind do most of the work of coming up with what to write next.

Creating successful copy with the Automatic Copywriting process does assume three things…

— First, it assumes you have the right foundation of copywriting skills.  You understand the basics about writing to persuade.

— Second, it assumes you have a general idea of what you’re going to write about.  You’ve throughly researched your topic, and are prepared to let your ideas flow.

—Third, it assumes you’re going to come back and edit.  Some of the editing is basic cleaning up of typos, rough language, and so on.  But sometimes, the edits can go deeper.

Today I want to talk about deeper edits to your copy.  This is for after you’ve written your first draft.  And you’re ready to really look back at the copy critically, to make sure it’s as good as it can possibly be.

What follows are 11 questions, with my explanation, that are designed to show you exactly where you can improve your copy.  Ask these questions about your completed copy.  Answer honestly.  And because that can be difficult, consider getting the honest opinions of others — others who aren’t afraid to tell you painful truths.

Without any further ado…

  1. Does the copy read quick enough?

A-list copywriter John Carlton says your copy should be a greased chute toward the sale.  Once you suck them in with the hook, it should be easier to keep reading to the end than it is to stop.  Where do you slow down or get distracted?  Can you streamline that, or do you just need to cut it?

  1. Does it all feel new and never-before-seen?

We have an insatiable appetite for the new — and for your copy to be interesting, it must feel like it provides something new.  A new idea.  A new perspective.  New opportunity.  A new solution to a nagging problem.  New, new, new.  Even if your offer doesn’t feel all that new, what can you do to present it in a new and exciting way?

  1. Is everything specific enough, with tangible detail and supporting proof where necessary?

You know what sounds like vague?  Vagrant.  Another word for someone who is homeless, and lives as a beggar.  If you don’t want to be a vagrant, replace your vague and meaningless ideas with specifics that make your product feel real.  Engage your reader’s visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (touch/feeling) senses.  Prove your claims with specifics.  Speak with credible authority by showing that you know the details.

  1. Am I doing everything I can do visually to demonstrate and to close the sale?

As copywriters, our go-to is words.  That’s good, because our words stimulate the inner dialog that will ultimately lead to the purchasing decision.  Ads based exclusively in images pretty much never actually create sales.  BUT…  Images can be used to supplement your selling messages — and should be!  Consider a visual demonstration of your product’s benefits, where it makes sense.  Before and after pictures.  Charts.  Graphs.  Diagrams of important features at work.  And so on…

  1. Have I created a huge dramatization around before/after, with/without?

Ultimately, we buy because we believe buying will make our life better.  What have you done to make that abundantly clear?  How have you made inaction feel like an incredibly stupid decision.  And how have you made action feel like the only possible path that makes sense?

  1. Is the voice of the copy one of authority and status?

Umm.  I think you should, maybe, perhaps agree with this.  I mean, if you really think it’s a good idea.  Stop!  Your voice should be one of unshakable confidence.  Your prospect will not have confidence in moving forward with your offer if you don’t have confidence in presenting it.  There should be total congruence, in every fiber of your being, as you tell your prospect to take action NOW because it will make their life better.

  1. Is this presented so that the only reasonable conclusion is that they should buy our product?

You need to set up your offer as a clear solution to the problem or challenge they wish to overcome.  But more than that, you need to lay out all the other options available, and invalidate each.  And in invalidating the other options with a good reason why, you’re establishing buying criteria that favor your product.  Do this right, and the only possible conclusion is that they need to take advantage of YOUR offer, because no other offer will do.

  1. Is this copy weighed down by rational arguments? Can we increase the emotional appeal?

Your prospect will not buy because you make a good logical, rational case.  They will buy because you’ve plucked their heart strings with an emotional appeal that made them decide.  Then they’ll take action on that buying decision because you’ve given them at least enough of a rational basis that they can justify the purchase.  Your copy MUST be driven by the emotional appeal, and only supported by a logical narrative.

  1. Is this copy exciting enough? Or does it seek to educate too much?

Marty Edelston, the man who founded the $100MM+ direct marketing giant Boardroom, asked this one question of copy: “Does it make me VIBRATE?”  He knew if it stirred up a feeling in his gut, it would be good.  I love it when I write a video sales letter, and in reviewing the video, I feel the emotions I most wanted the prospects to feel.  Then I know it’s going to be good.  You MUST make your copy excite emotions and agitate feelings — it must make the prospect vibrate.  And you do not get that by spending too much time educating your prospect.

  1. Is the next expected step in the sales process crystal-clear as a result of reading this copy?

Not all copy needs to make a sale.  But it should propel your prospect through the sales cycle.  You should know before you write a word of copy what action you want the reader to take as a result.  When you have this level of clarity, it should come through in your copy.  And if it doesn’t, make sure you write this in!

  1. Is this copy focused on the reader and how they benefit?

Your reader doesn’t give a rat’s behind about you, your company, your offer, or anything else…  Except in what you can do for them.  So make sure when you’re talking about yourself, you’re immediately connecting statements about yourself to relevant benefits they offer for the prospect.  A great sales letter doesn’t feel like it’s about the person writing it, or the product — but about the prospect.

Ask these questions and make edits based on what you find, and you’ll likely see a huge improvement in the selling power of your copy.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr