A lot of today’s top copywriters got their start in direct mail, broadcasting and catalog pieces. Back then, the medium was strictly rooted in the “Push” era – we shovel out the content, you take it all in and buy this widget.
When the web started coming of age, people realized that they didn’t have to “take it all in” – they could comparison shop, read reviews and judge ratings. Even in the last few years we’ve gained the ability to ask friends, groups and followers for their thoughts and recommendations over social networks and get the answers we need almost instantly wherever we are.
The “Push” Era is over. But the Share Era is just getting started.
The question is – is your content keeping up with the times?
So many sales letters on the web are still crafted the “old fashioned way” – they assault your eyes with huge red fonts and bright yellow highlighters (all probably stemming from what some direct mail copywriter swore worked like magic back in the 1960’s). They do nothing but push, push, push – and hope that they’ll sound like an authority long enough for you to grab your credit card and order.
Don’t Write “At” Your Readers – Write “To” Them
The best way to get in on this gigantic wave of share marketing is to explain your product or service to your reader as if they were sitting in the room with you now. Grab a tape recorder and record yourself – since you’ll talk very differently than you write. Don’t be afraid to “be yourself” either – be enthusiastic and excited about your offer.
If your product or service is truly as great and as helpful as you believe it is, this will come through in your voice – and in your writing. These are the kinds of “real life” tidbits you want to include. Not hype, not fluff, but believability and sincerity. Throw out the larger-than-life, stiff suit you and let people see the real you.
Don’t worry about what they’ll think – because your visitors, subscribers and customers are people just like you. If you’re afraid of turning people away by “being yourself” – that’s good. Those people would’ve likely gone elsewhere anyway. Let them go. Focus on the ones that stay – those are your real fans.
“You’re Just Like Me!”
Take a good, strong look at your copy. Clear out anything that smacks of temptation, manipulation or arm-twisting persuasion. You don’t need it. What you do need – as I’ve seen happen time and time again for truly great products, is enough strength to say “I’ve tried this, and it really helped me. Here’s how I did it and here’s why I think you’ll like it too…”
Make that person reading your copy exclaim, “Hey! You’re just like me!” And being able to reach people on that kind of “real life” level is something that no bright red font or yellow highlighter can ever match!
Sherice Jacob helps site owners improve website performance and increase conversions through her blog and custom design service at iElectrify. You can also follow @sherice on Twitter for more big bangs of inspiration and design coolness.