Copywriting Continuity And The Marketer’s Folly 2

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So get this: There’s two goldfish sitting in a tank, right?

And one goldfish turns to the other and says, “Do you know how to drive this thing?!”

Believe it or not, that joke was determined to be one of the best jokes IN THE EVER by a scientific study.

But the funny thing here, is, what makes the joke work would make a sales letter BOMB. And bomb BIG.

That’s because what makes the joke work is discontinuity. One situation doesn’t naturally flow to the next. The surprise of a goldfish being in an armored tank rather than a domestic fish tank is funny.

But it doesn’t make the sale…

When you’re trying to sell an advertising message, you MUST connect each piece of the sales process from one step to the next.

Because in any online offer the constant battle is to keep people from clicking away or clicking back. Is there any better way to BLOW IT than to confuse the reader?

Checking your copy for continuity will steam iron out any confusion and make for a clear, compelling offer. This often gets lost on product owners or marketers who aren’t thinking like a copywriter.

There’s an easy way to make sure you connect each piece of the sales piece together. In fact, there’s a famous rule that will do it for you. It goes like this…

Dance With The One Who Brung Ya

Meaning each portion of sales copy must match the “conversation” the preceding sales copy started.

That means the headline must match the Google Ad, or banner ad, or display ad, etc.

The promises in the copy must match the headline.

The bulleted benefits must match the promises in the copy.

The call to action must match the bulleted benefits.

The order form copy must match the call to action.

And even further, the THANK YOU page copy must match the order form copy (but that’s another story).

Each piece in the sales copy MUST match and fulfill the promises of the preceding copy. Put another way, each piece of the copy must dance with the previous piece of copy that brung the visitor this far.

This might seem obvious, but it’s often forgotten in marketing.

The Marketer’s Folly

For example, notice we said before the headline must match the Google ad. How many marketers remember that? Many marketers are happy to write an ad that gets clicks – but forget to maximize profits by preselling the headline with the google ad (or display ad, or signature file, or what have you).

But that’s absolutely essential to following Robert Collier’s golden rule.

Robert Collier taught us when you write copy, you want to join the conversation already taking place in the reader’s mind. So my first job as a copywriter is to identify WHO will be reading this sales letter.

And that’s why I ask clients for detailed information about their traffic in my copywriting questionnaire. I want to know things like:

  • What sites will you be buying display advertising on?
  • What do your banner ads say?
  • What do your PPC ads say?
  • What PPC keywords are you targeting?
  • And which are bringing the most traffic?
  • Or even better, which keywords are bringing the most BUYERS?
  • Which organic SEO keywords are bringing in traffic?
  • And which result in the most buyers?

Many times the client doesn’t know the answer and this is something we discover together during the project. Or if the ads don’t exist yet – or the ads aren’t up to par – I’ll create the banner ads and PPC ads for the client. And you better believe they’ll match the headline.

This is important because you can’t continue the conversation in their mind unless you know HOW they arrived at the sales copy.

Bonus: When you analyze traffic like this, you’ll often notice that most of your visitors are NOT sharing the same mindset. Meaning your visitors are often interested in your product for different reasons, and the conversation taking place in their minds can be quite different. Copywriters tackle this by creating different landing pages for different segments of the marketplace. Consider it!

So after we take a look at the ads that will get them to the copy, and decide that they are indeed using the right appeal to bring prospects in… THEN, and only then can we start to write the copy.

From there it’s just a matter of making sure each link in the chain dances with the link that brung the reader this far to begin with.

And then even further the order form copy should fulfill the promises made in the initial ad, headline and deck copy.

That’s copywriting continuity, and it’s essential to providing a clear message that makes it EASY to say YES to your offer.

2 thoughts on “Copywriting Continuity And The Marketer’s Folly

  1. Reply JosephRatliff Jul 9, 2011 5:30 pm

    Solid post Stephen… love the Collier reference. :)

  2. Reply Janjan Dec 4, 2011 9:19 pm

    nice read.
    true, making your readers confuse in the first place makes them click away and don’t finish reading.  You must be able to write your post with continuity & clear. Thanks for sharing.

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