Learn copywriting and convert words to cash
Learn copywriting and convert words to cash

Copy that Sells: 7 Brilliant Copywriting Tips from Joseph Sugarman

Copywriting is one of the most frustrating and pleasant parts of my job as a marketing professional.

How can something be pleasant and frustrating you ask?

Well! the truth is, I enjoy the skill of selling and convincing prospects to purchase a product.

 Cold calling can be awkward and uncomfortable.  So, for years I have been looking for ways to write quality sales emails which is a more non-intrusive way to sell products in my estimation.

 The art of positioning a product through words can be quite daunting and might seem like something reserved for the talented like Ogilvy & Sugarman.

Prospects have different motivations, needs and wants. Using one script to sell to all of them may seem like a stretch especially for products that have a broad appeal. 

Writing quality copy can lead to a lot of brain racking especially for learners like myself and without persistence there’s the likelihood for writing sloppy copy.

Copywriting is a useful skill a marketer needs and is relevant across all forms of marketing communications because any form of marketing communication requires ad copy to go with it.

Print Radio Internet TV
Newspaper, Magazines, Journals, Newsletters,   Ads, Live Presenter Mentions (LPM),   Display ads, Social Media Posting, e-mail marketing, All forms of Content Marketing   Commercials, Live Presenter Mentions (LPM)

My interest in copywriting has led me to read diverse literature on the subject especially books recommended by Neville Medhora on his Kopywriting Kourse Blog.

One of the books that stand tall amongst most copywriting books is Adweek Copywriting Handbook written by Joseph Sugarman, CEO of one of the biggest and most profitable Direct Mail companies in America in the 70s JS&A Group.

Joseph Sugarman is a multi-talented and multi-faceted creative who is one of the pioneers of the American mail order business.

He wrote captivating direct mail ad copies that resulted in millions of sales for his company’s products

 I first heard about Sugarman on the Mixergy Podcast hosted by Andrew Warner In that interview, he talked about his career successes in the Direct Mail Order business.  

Adweek Copywriting Handbook has become my bible to writing quality copy and I’ve transported some of the knowledge in writing good copy.

The book is jam-packed with knowledge on client behavior, psychology, motivations etc.

Joseph Sugarman’s Adweek Copywriting Handbook

 My top lessons for copywriting from the legend.

The Slippery Slope

 Have you ever read a piece of copywriting so good you read it all?

Especially when you were not interested in the product?

The concept of the slippery slope is an art of making ad copy so fluid that readers immediately move to the next paragraph. The art of the slippery slope is important to keep the reader glued to a piece of writing.

Whether the prospect intends to buy or not, getting them to read till the end of an ad copy comes with an advantage.

Scientific research suggests everything we ever hear, read or experience is recorded in our subconscious somewhere and all it takes is a conversation, an experience to bring it rushing back.

Long Sales Copy from James Altucher, so good you read it all

 if your copywriting is locked in the mind of a prospect who wasn’t ready at the time of reading, and later the need for the product comes, guess who they’re going to contact?

The Seeds of Curiosity

Leading readers on till the end of an ad copy is a difficult task to achieve yet, with practice and persistence it can be done. An effective way of doing this taught by Sugarman is by sowing seeds of curiosity.

How?

Read On!! (I just did it)

By finding a powerful link that connects the current paragraph to the next paragraph. Connecting phrases can be used to do that. Below are examples of such phrases.

There’s more

Let me explain

Here’s how

Etc.

The seeds of curiosity when embedded within the copy proves to be an effective way of getting prospects to read to the bottom.

Harmonize with the Reader

We harmonize with our readers by, stating correct obvious sentences that will get the prospect to nod their heads and agree with us.

Opening a piece of ad copy with a sentence such as “we all hate traffic” will get the prospect to agree.

Because we all actually do hate sitting in traffic as a matter of fact.

Making a series of statements that the reader agrees with combined with a slippery slope creates a powerful ad copy. Every human is prejudiced and gravitates towards people they believe they share something in common with.

The more a reader likes you because you share their perspectives, opinions and values, the likelier they are to listen, read and agree with what you say.

Building that rapport with prospects increases the chance of the prospect patronizing your product.

The Power of Short Sentences

 I didn’t realise the length of sentences had such an impact on readers until I started critically examining my own reading habits after Sugarman pointed It out to me.

 When the opening paragraphs of any piece of literary work have long winding sentences, I roll my eyes.

My subconscious tells me this is going to be a difficult read and I mostly gloss over the words and not necessarily read for full comprehension.

I was never able to put a reason to that habit till Sugarman pointed out its importance.

Keeping the sentences of an opening paragraph short forces the reader to move to the next sentence which provides the opportunity to build the slippery slope.

As Sugarman puts it, the purpose of the first sentence of an ad copy is to get the reader to read the second sentence and the purpose of the second sentence is to get the reader to read the third sentence and so on.

Eg.1

Ghana is a country blessed with resources such as Gold, cocoa, timber and oil which fetches an estimated 234 million in revenue at a growth rate of 4%.

Using Sugarman’s method I’ll write

Ghana is blessed with resources such as Gold, Cocoa timber and diamond.

These resources fetch the country an estimated 234 million at a growth rate of 4%.

This text makes the article reading process easier and more digestible.

Expert Position

In writing copy for a piece of equipment, prospects would like to believe that the expense is worth the amount, therefore, there’s the need to prove that worth with technical information.

Technical information although may confuse the average reader has an effect on the minds of the reader. It gives you, the writer credibility and instantly makes you an expert in their eyes.

The sweet spot is dedicating a paragraph to technical information, prospects want to see proof before they accept someone’s authority, therefore, positioning yourself as an expert is a way to go to get past this mindset. 

If you walk into a hospital and 2 people, one in a white coat and the other without approach you. You will most definitely think the one with the white coat is the doctor and will most likely follow their instructions. Expert positioning is the “white coat” for ad copy content.

It is important this is done it right because too much technicality can turn prospects off.

Guaranteed Returns

No business person sells with the aim of making a loss.

Hence providing the prospect a money-back guarantee seems scary for small business operators, yet it is one of the best routes to take in order to make the client secured in the trade.

That is why it is on us as entrepreneurs to provide the best quality goods we know will serve the needs of our clients.

This lesson from Joseph Sugarman is imperative because even if we cannot provide our clients a full refund, finding a way to state in our ad copy that there is a way to resolve dissatisfaction with products put prospects at ease. This should be highlighted in the ad copy

Edit Relentlessly

Editing the ad copy we write is the final stage of writing good copy. Sugarman teaches us that the first draft of copy will not look impressive, it will be riddled with mistakes and nonsense especially for beginners.

 Reading out ad copy loud or having someone else to review it brings about new insights that will further help us write better. Sugarman teaches us to edit and make the best of our work.

Being ruthless in our ad copy editing is the only way we can create quality copywriting and sell our products and services.

After learning the many principles on copywriting that Joseph Sugarman shares on this great resource, copywriting does not seem like a chore and I’ve come around to enjoy it and look forward to writing as much as possible.

My copywriting has improved ever since I made a conscious effort to apply the principles in the book. Copywriting has become such a pleasurable pastime so much that I constantly catch myself re-drafting sales letters and ad copy that I come in contact with.

Have you read the Adweek Copywriting Handbook? What were some of your favorite tips?

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Writing Winning Proposals – 4 Important Things to Know

The past few months has been eye opening for me in terms of proposal writing and what makes a good Business Proposal. I started writing Business Proposal for friends as a means of sharpening my writing skills and earning extra income.

I’ve been hooked ever since.

I have now transitioned to working for various business clients by helping them write Business proposals for fund raising purposes.

My intense focus on Proposal writing skills has given me insights into what investors are looking for when they request a proposal and how that can be fine-tuned for success.

Your product has to be compelling

Investors are looking for new markets, virgin territory and a unique concept where there’s opportunity for growth. If your Business idea stated in the Proposal looks like any other business, there’s a likelihood for it to be thrown out of the window.

Fresh ideas and unique ways of solving problems are salient points investors look out for. That’s why storytelling is important. Every mundane idea under the sun can be made interesting if it has an exciting story attached to it.

In a proposal I worked on for a Technology platform, I developed a story of an important age demographic that had growing income and I told stories of how that demographic have adopted a certain lifestyle hence the Technology Platform stood a better chance for the product to be adopted by our targeted audience.

This piqued the interest of the investors and brought them on board to fully assess the market and bring in an investment.

Create a Simple Structure

The era where Business Proposals were long and winding document that didn’t cut to the chase are days of old. Proposals in the past had many pages and could pass as a nonfiction book. Most of the time, readers are left scratching their heads in finding the essence of the proposal.

Investors may not have all the time to read several pages of a proposal so having a well-structured proposal that cuts to the chase will be better appreciated. This also accounts for why “The Elevator Pitch” is so popular. Because grand ideas behind a business should be able to be discussed by two minutes or less.

As I continue to finesse my proposal writing skills, I have deduced a simple framework that guides me in all my proposal writing.

  • Introduction                                                                              
  • Statement of the problem
  • How the proposal idea aims to solve the problem
  • The budget needed in solving the problem
  • Outcomes (what will happen after a successful roll out of the project)
  • Conclusion

Don’t make it boring

Use infographic, pictures, images etc to make the proposal reading an interactive and fun experience.

When I started writing proposals, I downloaded samples from various websites and I couldn’t read past the first few pages because they were flat out boring. It was almost as if the Proposal existed to confuse me.

This concept of your average entrepreneur rattling for hours about their business idea somehow finds itself in proposals too where the writer goes overboard in establishing the business idea. I aimed at escaping this writing trap by writing business Proposals that improves the reading experience by providing illustration, infographics and images where necessary.

Proposals should be dynamic

Business Proposals are meant to be dynamic

For many entrepreneurs, once the proposal is written there’s no flexibility for editing as it is seen as a complete document replete with data projections and financial numbers therefore there’s no room for change.

But it should be understood that things change and circumstances change therefore proposals should also have

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

5 Reasons you Need a Digital Tribe for your Brand

Many many years ago human beings used to form close tribes and communities as a way to bond, survive harsh conditions and to fight off predators and invasions from other tribes.

Fast forward hundreds of years later and tribes continue to a be a big part of human existence and experiences and bonds.

People in the same tribe share experiences, joy sorrows etc and have a tendency to protect, love and support each other. Out of the word tribe comes “tribalism” a negative stereotype that depicts people are willing to give competitive advantages or undue favour people in their tribe.

When relating tribes and their importance to digital communities the benefits that tribes in traditional communities receive reflects the benefits of tribes in digital communities.

Therefore as an entrepreneur, building a tribe around your brand is a key and surefire way to grow the brand.

Unlike the traditional communities of old, digital communities are limitless and are available to beyond international borders. Once there’s a level of commanility that can be identified within the brand and people can identify then the brand can be successful

Why you need communities

  • For a business that have a solid community you already know that there are a group of people you can count on for your basic sales
  • Then there’s the legion of community fan members who will bring in new prospects and businesses and will direct new clientele your way. This is particularly prevalent in pop music where major global artist have strong community fanbase or fandom 
  • Communities make product ideas and testing easier and quicker
  • It helps you know and understand your audience
  • Amplify brand voice and enables brands enter places they wouldn’t otherwise been known there.
Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash
Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

3 Useless Worries Every Wannabe Entrepreneur Has

Every beginner entrepreneur has worries, some of which are warranted others’s are not.

This articles looks at the top three unwarranted worries of every beginner entrepreneur

Obsession with Branding

Entrepreneurs often obsess over branding, Logo, marketing strategy etc in the beginning of the business. Building a decent brand imagery and perception from the beginning is important but it doesn’t add to revenues from the get go.

Hence obsessively worrying about these things does not impact the business in any way.

Working on logo, website design, brand colors etc looks like busy work, so doing them makes us feel like we’re up to something yet no money is being made.

So if your plan is to sell shoes online and you spend 3 months choosing a logo and setting up a website you need to re-evaluate your business strategy

Business Strategy

Planning and strategizing are important steps for the entrepreneurial journey. But, there comes a time where all the incessant planning and strategizing leads to fatigue and burnout. Drawing a 10-year strategy when you haven’t sold your first product is useless.

What your small business needs is product sales that makes the business viable.

I can’t begin to enlist the number of times wannabe entrepreneurs have spent with me discussing their business ideas and how they plan on rolling out unique products but they stuck in their heads about the process constantly planning and strategizing.

Fear of failure

The fear of failure is warranted given that entrepreneurship in it’s nature is risky. There’s the possibility of losing your own money and that of others. That is why it’s important to be psychologically prepared for the emotional trauma that comes with entrepreneurship.

Most upcoming entrepreneurs second guess themselves and are continuously up in arms about failure of their potential product when it’s not even on the market.

Instead of constantly worrying about your next business venture. You can

  • Revisit the drawing board and look at product-market fit
  • Do a cheap test run of product on targeted audiences etc.
  • Look for quality clients willing to pay a premium for your product/service

These actions amongst others minimizes the risk of failure.

Stop worrying and start doing…

How I Focus After Interruption

One thing I’ve been battling with ever since I made a conscious effort to pay attention to my levels of productivity, discipline and focus is how to get back unto my grind after an interruption.

In this case an interruption means the slightest inconvenience that messes with my workflow. For example going for lunch, a phone call, a quick meeting etc. Lunch is the worst culprit as I get lazy after a heavy lunch I’m not able to do much after that.

Anytime I’m interrupted because someone wanted to ask me a question or by I phone call, “I’m like let me log on to social media real quick to find out whats going on.”

Before I can say jack! I’m all sucked in and I’m hoping from one social media channel to the other.

How I salvage this problem is in various ways.

  1. I try to do all my important tasks that require deep thinking and intense focus before lunch and schedule the meetings and the mundane tasks which does not require mental fortitude after lunch.
  2. Writing as much as possible. Making mental notes and writing down my thoughts Avoiding social media when I get interrupted and get back to work
  3. Eating a light lunch or dividing my lunch into 2 parts in order to not get too full after I’ve had lunch

Its been a tough road to regain my attention and mental fortitude but I’m gradually working on it. I have noticed that building routines and getting as much as possible work done from what I can do in my peak times have been extremely productive.

Its still a challenge for me especially the social media bits and I’m learning to control it gradually as the days go by.

So far the strategies I’ve been used have been pretty straight forward

What do you do to regain concentration after your mind has been taken off a task

When to Quit

My blog post on Monday talked about the important 5-year rule that recurred in the various articles about what it takes to be successful which your small business.

The theory states that, it takes a minimum of 5-years to be successful. Within that time frame the business idea had been further developed to the level where you have a true sense of how the business operation run and a sense of revenues.

The question is what happens if after 5 years I don’t see progress?

How you decide to measure progress should be personal to you.

I used to have this 6-month rule which required that any craft or potential business opportunity I found a remote interest in, I will start learning and reading about it intensely for six months and if there’s an interest after 6 months then I continue or I quit.

For most small business ideas when to quit is highly dependent on revenue and traction.

When to quit is a reflective discussion every entrepreneur must have with himself. My thing is to investigate whether you have given it your all. If you have given it your all and you have nothing else to give then that’s a place to stop and reflect.

Because quitting after putting in so much effort comes with a big strings of what ifs?

What If I pushed myself harder?

What if I took my marketing more seriously?

What if I I had not given up when things got tough?

Getting to the “What if” is a painful point but if you’ve given your all to a project at least you walk away without a shadow of doubt that you have given it your very best.

The success we seek as entrepreneurs and business owners is within reach, what’s important is that we develop the dedication and commitment to giving it our possible best.

Photo by Webaroo.com.au on Unsplash
Photo by Webaroo.com.au on Unsplash

Improve your Marketing Skills in 2020 – The Basics You Need to Know Right Now

The goal of this website is to help you as an entrepreneurs, consultants and small business owner to succeed. Especially in  your Marketing, Public Relations and Customer Development.

As digital media growth and we continue to have access to a world that is more connected than ever, it is important to acquire certain basic Marketing skills that will be of help to your Startups.

Skills such as Copywriting, basic visual image production and photgraphy is good for beginner stages of your marketing.

Copywriting

Copywriting is a skill that is extremely useful for the modern day marketer.
One mistake many entrepreneurs face is the challenge of good copywriting on their promotional material. The number of times I’ve had to mentally correct the copywriting on some  Facebook ADs are uncountable.

Yet, people have paid for the promo which are running but I doubt they will gain equal value out of it.

The ability to encode your marketing message in a persuasive and
useful form is extremely important for conveying your marketing message.

If you need help with copywriting and writing about your products in general reach out to me kwaku@kwakuabedi.com

Visual Content Production

You should be able to put visual content together, be it an infographic detailing product development and releases, promotional memes, basic videos etc.

There are great tools out there ranging from Canva to Piktochart and free Adobe software that can be helpful in creating content for your targeted audiences.

Play around with new and upcoming forms of social media and digital
channels. Don’t be afraid to experiment. For example, look into the rise of tiktok and create an account (make it private”) experiment with how people are creating content on that platform and assess if your brand has a place in there.

Given the power of the internet, there are many avenues to acquaint
ourselves with new skills that will help shoot our marketing to the next level.

Photo by Milan Seitler on Unsplash
Photo by Milan Seitler on Unsplash

Screw Marketing, Do This Instead

Ever since Seth Godin popularized the term permission marketing, its been one of my favourite strategy to use in terms of building my personal brand and helping my clients brand grow and develop.

Yes we know Marketing is about promotion and hyping but it has to be helpful. In its helpfulness its impact is fully felt in many ways.

Imagine 2 brands existed on the social media. These 2 brands had a page on Facebook.

Brand “A” posts informative articles about how to take care of your jewelry, how to polish them. What to look out for when investing in jewelry etc. Posting commentary about celebrity jewelry on celebrity red carpets etc and responding to questions and comments. They post special offers weekly.

On the other hand we have Brand “A”s competitor which is Brand “B” that just posts images of items and prices of their products. Which of these brands will you envisage will have a higher level of engagement and will be able to build trust with the customer as the go through their buyers journey.

It definitely will be the first brand as they have shown that they care abou their clients and wants to serve them better. Unfortunately most marketing initiatives and content strategy by businesses is modeled on Brand B with no useful engagement.

When marketing comes across as genuine, not forceful and its helpful, the brand most likely stands a chance to succeed. 

So yeah!, all these insistence on technical analytics and the best time to post on social media  types of Marketing techniques are good but it takes an even better turn when appear to be helpful and look beyond profits to provide better service.

Building such a routine where prospects can vouch on your brand for quality service is a game to be played for the long haul with potentially massive future returns. Having a permissioned marketing model works for the new age of business given how congested the digital space is.

Give it a shot.

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

The 5-Year Rule for Entrepreneurship Success

Over the past few months, I’ve read many blogs post, articles and books about small businesses and how they become successful. I’ve also been reading about the concept of “solopreneurship” and the time frame to be a successful solopreneur or a consultant.

In most instances the time frame that appear to be continually persistent in the articles and blog post is 5 years.

Most of these articles state that it takes 5 years for a business venture to take off.

Therefor continually growing your business and ensuring that it persist unto the 5th year puts you on the track for massive success. On the other hand, the 5th year is a time for you to look pull the plug if the business idea does not seem to work.

Learning a valuable skill such as computer programming and coding for 2 hours everyday for 3 years, we’re looking 1095 days which amounts to 2,190 hours of practice.

Two thousand hours of practice is a freaking good level of experience and expertise to make money and to be innovative in your chosen field. Some posit that it takes 10,000 hours to be a prodigy but this article focuses on an expertise that pays the bills with something left in the bank.

Therefore with the aim of starting a business in mind, be ready to be consistent and persistent with your craft as it will take sometime before you start to see the payoff and they become visible in your everyday doings that you’re in it for the long term.

Very much the way I’ve psyched my mind to understand that I’m into copywriting, podcasting and content for the long term hence until I reach my fifth year knowing that I’ve given it my all, I’m going to keep on pushing till the goal is reached.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

Why Disciplined People Succeed

There’s a close link between success and discipline which has been a point of fascination for me.

Why does it take self discipline to be successful?

Why can’t we do whatever we want and just hope success comes our way?

Why are there so many articles on the internet talking about why we need discipline and self mastery to be successful and why we should learn and copy the ways of American Navy Seals and Yogi’s in order to study the art of discipline?

These questions are rhetorical because the link between success and discipline is clear as day.

Dieting and Exercise

Starting a business

Reaching your financial goals, all theses requires discipline.

Without discipline what happens is the high possibility to quit when the slightest challenge rears it head.

Just like when I started learning to code. I was crazy about coding classes and playing various coding games till I got the fundamentals of it. Then it got to the harder challenges and became a bit intense I quit.

If I had stuck with learning how to code properly, It will have been easier for me to update certain things on my website without necessarily having to pay for updates every time.

I’ve tried many things that I eventually quit because the motivation to do them was not there anymore and I didn’t have the self discipline to keep going either.

Ever since I realized that a lack of discipline is the reason why I wasn’t hands on with my projects in the past, I have devised strategies to keep my discipline and motivation in check. Because inspiration and motivation fades away and we’re left with our discipline which keeps us going

That is why exercising and following a strict diet is hard for many people. Because it comes back to the question of being disciplined enough to follow these diets even when you’re not seeing massive changes in your body.

How I Keep My Discipline in Check

Build Routines:

Routines help days I don’t feel like it. And those days will surely come. That is when I count on my routines to keep me going. I go to the gym 4 times a week and I have made it a point to have my gym bag with me at work which urges me to work out.

Push myself to the limit

I do this by challenging myself sometimes. At the begining of this year I stated a goal of writing 300 word article every weekday. Now that I have been consistent with it, I’m looking at inching it up to 400 words.

The will to achieve self discipline and mastery is a marathon not a sprint, so even when I fall off, I give myself a little pep talk and get back on my grind.

What are you doing to keep your discipline in check?

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Are You Sabotaging Your Success?

Money is evil

The love of money is the root of evil.

You’re passing through this world.

Your reward is in the afterlife.

If you do not de-link all these assumptions from your head, it will be hard for you to allow yourself to make money. This might seem trivial but its an important part of the success process.

Adages like “Money doesn’t grow on trees”

“Learn hard so you can get a good job”

“I’m not a bank” all these funny quips our parents made have an effect on us.

In our desire to be successful, we forget that all these sayings lurk in our minds hence it doesn’t open us up to all the possibilities. The many ways money can be available to us. Granted that money is not the only point of success but this post specifically is targeted at financial success.

Allowing yourself to be successful is the first step in creating opportunities and redeeming your mind to the myriad of ways money flows around without your realizing it.

Dealing with self sabotage is a continuous process your constantly need to check.

Our warped understanding of life sometimes leads us to say we do not deserve certain thing hence we close our minds off the possibilities of achievement and the fact that we can achieve our goals when we work hard and try at it.

I used to be a part of the group that sulked and said “life is not fair”.

Indeed life is not fair but we all do possess certain advantages in life. Its either we work hard and leverage on those advantages or we don’t move to the second level and our life literally becomes a standstill.

Allowing ourselves to be successful is the first step. Then comes the second step which is the hard work and difficult conversations we need to have with ourselves to understand that success and life in general is a journey and success will not come on a bed of roses.