The headline is the most important aspect of the sales letter.
Why, you ask?
Because … if the headline does not interest the reader, they won’t continue reading. The headline should grab the reader’s attention and induce them to continue reading. The headline must therefore be relevant to your prospect’s needs, desires, or wishes. It should also be distinctive enough to stand out.
All of this assumes that you are targeting the right audience. Your message must be relevant to your reader, or you won’t make sales.
Ask yourself, which headlines have caused you to keep reading a sales letter? Try and break down the methods used by the writer. What emotions were appealed to? What grammatical constructions (such as alliteration) were used?
In your swipe file, either on paper or electronically, you should keep a collection of headlines that work.
Entire books have been written on the subject of headlines, and for good reason.
Headlines are the hook by which you reel your fish in.
Some common techniques that are often effective:
If you want to start working as a copywriter, take stock of what abilities and advantages you already have. Are you working in a job where you can get work as a copywriter? Or where you can work on your salesmanship skills?
Salesmanship is a skill; it can therefore be learned. It can also be applied in almost any situation to persuade others to accept your point of view.
If you are looking for a new job, see if you can rewrite your resume based upon what you are learning about copywriting. Or maybe you can help a friend with a resume. Always ask for a testimonial, especially if you are not otherwise getting paid.
Is there a non-profit in your area that could use help with their fund-raising letters? Offer to re-write one in exchange for a testimonial. Do your best to get testimonials that contain specific measurable results: “Jason’s copy improved our response rate by at least 25%”.
Start with your current life and work, and begin using your newly-acquired copywriting skills within familiar territory. You may be surprised at the results. Remember that “copywriting” is not limited to the written word, despite the name. It can also apply to scripts and verbal techniques used to encourage others to understand and adopt your position.
Let’s focus on some of the technical or administrative aspects to starting your copywriting business.
There a few details that you must not overlook, but please don’t get bogged down with the details until you have figured out how to get clients! I don’t want you spending your time and money on activities that aren’t going to bring in a return.
As soon as you can afford it, set up a legal entity under which you will operate. For many people this will mean a “C” corporation, an “S” corporation, or an LLC (Limited Liability Company). The main objective is to provide legal protection for your assets in case one of your clients decides to sue you. Other considerations include tax benefits.
You should probably get professional advice on which way to go, depending on your individual circumstances. You can pay an attorney to get his or her advice, and it wouldn’t hurt to ask a tax professional too. Or you can hire an attorney who is also a CPA. If you want, you can still do all the legwork yourself of filling out the forms, etc, although it would be a lot less stressful if you let the pros do it.
You will have to have a ID number set up with the IRS, and probably apply to your state to form your corporation or LLC. This may cost $200.00 or more just for the filing fees.
You should also open a separate checking account for your business.
Always have your clients pay you in your business name, not your name, and deposit the money into your business checking account.
Another item you will want to take care of early on is business cards. I’ll talk more about this later. Make it easy for the prospect to see what you can do and why it will benefit them.
Direct response advertising is not advertising that builds a brand image.
It is advertising that asks for some type of response.
The requested response doesn’t have to be to buy. It can be to ask for a free special report, or a free consultation.
What you are doing is asking the prospect for a yes or no answer. If they say yes, they are placed into your “sales funnel”. Once they enter your sales funnel, you can start building a relationship with them. And guess what? People are much more willing to buy from someone they have a relationship with.
Also remember that people are more willing to buy something expensive from you if they have previously bought something less expensive from you first.
Direct response copywriting or advertising can be tracked. And that is where is really gets fun because you can evaluate the response of customers and prospects, do more of what works, and stop doing what doesn’t work.
It’s all about providing value.
The answer is easy – you ask for them.
Actually it’s not really that easy. But it may be easier than you think.
What is not recommended for most people is bidding on one of those boards where the lowest bidder gets the job. That’s not a very good way to get started unless you know what are doing.
If you are part of a mentoring group, often he or she will pass leads onto you when they feel you are ready. This is one of the best ways to get work at this stage because you have a trained professional avaiable to help you.
A second way is to approach local businesses and casually ask about their marketing. It can work best with companies that you have already done business with.
A third way would be to position yourself as an eBay expert and write copy for eBay auctions.
These are certainly not the only methods.
Whatever method or methods you choose, always ask for a testimonial. Once you get two or three good testimonials, keep them on file and use them in your marketing. You will want to put the best ones on your website.
At this stage you should also have business cards. Think of a domain name that helps you stand out in some way, and get a basic webpage up. Once you are reasonable satisfied with the site, begin giving out your card to prospects.
In all of your marketing, focus on the customer’s needs and desires. Don’t focus on you. The saying goes: Everyone’s radio station is tuned to WII-FM: What’s In It For Me?