You may have heard that copywriting (writing advertisements) plays a key role in internet marketing. This is very true. And…while  most copywriters discount graphic design, I have seen clever graphic design coupled with good copy pull better in split tests than copy alone.

Much of what we do with internet marketing , advertising , and selling is to provoke consumers to act on their emotions.  Whatever way you can do this you should, whether it be graphics, ad copy, or videos, or a combination…we need to get our prospects attention and stir them to purchase our products.

Like I said, graphics are important, but more about them later. For now, let’s talk about copy. Here’s the deal. Solve your prospects greatest problem and tell them how you will do it. If you can’t solve an important problem with your product or service you probably won’t have much success.

You have to get peoples attention right from the start. Be dramatic but back things up with specifics for believability. If you are creating a sales letter write numerous headlines choose the ones you think will be most effective and then test a couple using Google analytics.

Here are some examples of headlines that have worked for me and others (you will have to adapt these to your product or service). 

How a near fatal gastric bypass victim and mother of three released (not lost) 40 pounds, and went on to loose another 87 pounds, keep them off for 3 years (and counting) and, became a role model for family and friends, and…how you can too.  

They laughed when I said I’d be famous, but guess who’s laughing now.

Or…legendary karate master will give you a free gun…just to prove he can take it from you…(there is actually a real headline stating something to the effect but I can’t find it…sorry but you get the point).

The headline is designed just to provoke you to take time from your busy – ad saturated life – and scan the rest of the copy to discover how your product will solve your greatest problem.

If I say get good at writing, I don’t mean get good in a proper English sort of way. I mean get good at talking to people in print. There may be certain markets where you will want to be less casual in your writing than others, but for the most part try and write like you are speaking to someone.  Good honest speech will go further than fluffy writing and big words (depending on the market).

Good ad copy will achieve the four pillars of advertising necessary to produce a desired outcome:


So…how do you do that with your writing? There are many formulas out there. One good way to learn how to write copy is to go on ebay and buy some magazine back issues; especially the tabloids (Enquirer, Globe, Sun) from the 1970s – 1990s and look at the full pages ads that continue to run from month to month.

The reason I say look at print ads is because print advertising costs money. And…if the copy doesn’t sell the product in print it is unlikely that the ad would have run for a long time.  Compare some of the good print ads with various online sales letters. Sometimes the differences are subtle but often those subtleties make or break the ad.

Here’s a formula that has worked well for me:

Know your market
Get their attention
Speak their language
Tune them up with a good story
Use their hopes, fears, dreams, common enemies, deep regrets etc…to paint a picture of the problem you will solve for them (your good offer).
Tell them how you will solve their problem
Tell them why and how you differ (and are better) from your competition
Admit a damning fault
Prove everything
Be specific
Counter obvious objections
Uncover hidden objections and counter them too
Scrape the chaff from the wheat (negative qualifiers)
Bring them back to dream/fear state with a good story
Create scarcity/demand
Give a better than good guarantee (what would you want?)
More scarcity/demand conditioning
Tell them the price and let them know that this offer won’t be there for long and why.
Bring them back with hypnotic techniques that return to their hopes, fears, dreams, common enemies, deep regrets etc…and the picture of the problem you will solve for them.
Slip in an a good “act now” bonus.
Summarize with some good postscript statements.

This is definitely not the only formula out there. But…as you look through different ads and online sales letters review the above 22 steps you’ll be surprised how many letters follow that pattern.

Doug Hughes is an internet marketer and strategist who helps people get what they want from life by helping others do the same. Subscribe to my blog and get 15 killer list building tips and a free 5 day course on email marketing at

By screenfilesystems on 2007-07-27 11:16:08
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