Be a Better Copywriter: 7 Lessons From 4 Legendary Books

copywriting

Although digital copywriting is relatively new, copywriting has been used for hundreds of years to sell products.

Some of the best books on copywriting I have ever read were written decades ago. Some are even older than that.

And it’s a shame that they don’t get the attention they deserve—mainly because we often equate new with better.

But a lot of the new marketing and copywriting lessons and techniques you read about on blogs aren’t new at all.

In this article, I’m going to break down seven lessons from the following four books:

In my mind, these four books have all achieved legendary status.

Every section of each book is gold, which is why I encourage you to read them.

That being said, I’ve picked out some of the most important lessons that I think will apply to your online marketing and business. I’ll bring any dated advice into the 21st century with some current examples of it in action.

Download this cheat sheet for being a better copywriter.

Let’s get started… 

1. You should read the rest of this article because it’ll make you a better copywriter

Animals instinctively react to certain noises in a specific way because more often than not, that action pays off.

It turns out that even though humans might be a little higher on the sophistication scale, they too have these automatic reactions.

Dr. Ellen Langer, a renowned social scientist, conducted a study in 1978 to find out how everyday people react to certain words. She had actors approach a line of people waiting to use a Xerox (copy) machine. She instructed them to use one of the following three sentences to try to get in front of the line:

  1. Request only: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
  2. Real information: “Excuse me, I have five pages.  May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”
  3. Nonsense information: “Excuse me, I have five pages.  May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make copies?”

What do you think happened?

When no reason was given, 60% of people still allowed the actor to go ahead of them and use the Xerox machine. I’m a little surprised that it was that high.

What about when the actors said they were in a rush? Ninety-four percent of people let them go ahead.

Wow.

So, clearly you just need to come up with a great reason and you can get what you want, right?

Not quite. The final line that the actors used produced some surprising results. An incredible 93% of people still let them skip ahead.

Go back and read the line they used (#3). Their reason for jumping the line was because they needed to make copies… But of course, they needed to make copies! Why else would they want to use the copy machine?

So what can we conclude about this? It turns out that people—when not paying close attention—often follow simple scripts, just like animals.

In this case, since the favor was fairly small, the people followed this script:

favor asked > reason given > comply

But there’s one thing I left out: another part of the experiment was making a larger request. The actors used the same lines but asked to copy 20 instead of five pages.

When they did this, the actors had the following success rates:

    • Request only: 24%
    • Real information: 42%
    • Nonsense information: 24%

In this case, the request was large enough to get people to consciously pay attention and evaluate the request. Since the last explanation was silly, it made no difference in people’s response rate compared to the request-only scenario.

Here’s the conclusion: When making a small request of readers, give any reason why they should do it.

For example:

  • Could you share this article on Twitter because I would like more people to see it?
  • You should read the rest of this because(hint: go look at the headline for this section)
  • Please leave a comment below because I’d like to hear what you think.

Does that make sense?

image17

Let’s look at using “because” in action.

I’ve noticed that Pat Flynn has used this in his post introductions in the past. For the long posts (asking more), he comes up with detailed (good) reasons why the reader should read:

image07

If it was a shorter post, he could give a briefer and less convincing reason.

The reason why “because” works is because people like to have a reason for what they’re doing. It just seems logical.

You can use this concept in blog posts, landing pages, widgets, social media, or even in emails.

I took a look at Brian Dean’s latest sales page for his course. He used the word “because” a whopping 17 times:

image14

Does it have to be “because”? I know you’re thinking it, and it’s a great question. That original experiment only tested the word “because,” but the conclusion shows that the word doesn’t really matter.

It’s the principle that matters.

For small requests, as long as you provide a reason (any reason), readers will be more likely to comply.

2. Your product matters more than your talent

Have you ever heard the phrase:

He could sell ice to an Eskimo.

It’s often used to describe the perfect salesman: the guy who could sell someone something that they don’t need.

If there was one lesson from Scientific Advertising that you should take to heart (there are many), it’s this:

The main reason for a lack of success from advertising is selling people what they do not want.

If your conversion isn’t good, chances are it’s not because you’re not an expert salesman.

Sure, being good at selling will help you maximize your conversion rate, but the main factor behind your conversion rate is the value you provide:

image03

So why does this matter to you and your business?

The next time you see that your conversion rates aren’t great, take a hard look at your offer.

You don’t need to read more blog posts about the latest tips and techniques to make a great landing page. You need to learn more about your visitors.

And this goes for anything, not just a landing page. If you’re trying to get visitors to click something, watch something, sign up for something… anything that requires them to give up something valuable (email address, money, a lot of time), you need to provide value.

If people aren’t signing up for your email list, instead of trying a different color button, try a different lead magnet. The more your visitors want it, the higher your conversion rate will be.

Is learning about selling and CRO pointless? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that CRO and sales techniques are useless, but they are a much smaller part of the puzzle than the value you provide.

You’ll be better off:

  1. knowing exactly whom you’re targeting (hint: build a buyer persona)
  2. testing different offers (find out what they value)

After you’ve done that and achieved a solid conversion rate, then start split testing your headlines, copy, and buttons.

3. Successful marketing is not guesswork

Another lesson from Scientific Advertising I wanted to include in this post is this:

Successful marketing does not involve guessing. Ever.

It sounds simple, but many “marketers” spout BS about their results without ever measuring the impact of their work.

Let me share a few stats with you…

Almost 80% of marketers do not directly track their email ROI. That’s shocking. Email marketing is one of the easier types of marketing to track.

A study found that only 44% of companies are able to measure paid search ROI effectively.

That just gives you an indication of how much low-quality work is out there. If traffic goes up over a few months, how do you know you had anything to do with it if you didn’t track it? You don’t.

If you don’t track your ROI, you could be throwing money down the drain by pursuing marketing methods that don’t produce tangible results while missing real opportunities.

Step 1: Start tracking

If you’re a marketer, you should be tracking everything you do on a client’s or your company’s site. If you’re a site owner, this would be a good time to start.

Having too much data is better than not having enough.

What do you need to track?

At the very minimum, you need to track:

  • money spent
  • conversions

That’s it. You can do that with free software such as Google Analytics, or you can get a little more advanced with KISSmetrics.

But what about referral traffic, search engine traffic, click-through rate on ads, etc.?

The answer is that you sometimes need to track them, and it’s usually a good idea to track them all the time. It really depends on your focus.

If 95% of your conversions come from PPC ads, then search engine traffic isn’t a big concern.

The good news is that most of this data is collected automatically by your analytics software or ad platform.

Step 2: Determine marketing ROI

Return on investment is a simple concept. You can calculate it with a simple formula:

ROI = ($ of profit)/($ of cost) * 100%

If you’re tracking your ad spend, content cost, or whatever your marketing campaign consists of, figuring out the cost is easy.

Assuming you’re tracking your sales correctly through your analytics software, it’s also fairly easy to see which sales came from your campaign.

A marketing ROI of 5-10% is your goal, but if you’re able to exceed that, you’re doing great.

Step 3: Revise marketing strategy based on ROI 

The results of a marketing campaign will tell you if you need to adjust your marketing strategy.

If you break even on your ROI, you can usually continue the campaign. Once you optimize it, you can typically achieve profitability.

If you get a negative ROI, your time and resources are probably better spent on other marketing tactics. Re-adjust your overall marketing strategy to reflect this.

4. Commit your prospect to buying

Are you a hypocrite?

Ask anyone, and they will tell you: “Of course, not!”

Which is strange when you consider that hypocrites are everywhere. In fact, most people (including myself) can point out an instance when their behavior might have been hypocritical.

So, what does this all mean? It means that sometimes people behave like hypocrites without even realizing it. But if you brought their beliefs to their attention right before that potential hypocritical action, they wouldn’t take that action.

This is a principle called consistency, explained in Cialdini’s Influence.

People like to act consistently with their principles and beliefs.

And it makes sense. The reason why we believe in and value things is because we think we’re right—we think we know what’s logical and important. So, of course, we’re going to try to act consistently with those principles and beliefs whenever we get the chance.

Use consistency in your copy: Before you ask a reader to do anything (share, answer, purchase), mention a related principle or belief. Sometimes you don’t even need to mention it explicitly. All you need to do is frame your request in terms of that principle or belief.

image10

This is a lesson that I’ve seen many bloggers pick up on fairly recently, particularly in pop-ups.

For example, if you go to ConversionXL, you get the following pop-up:

image12

If you’re at the blog, it’s because you’re interested in learning about optimization from some of the best pros on the topic.

It’s easy to brush off most pop-ups, but when you actually have to choose: “No, I prefer to suck at optimization,” it changes things. To choose that option, you’d have to act against your primary motivation.

Of course, exiting the pop-up doesn’t mean you suck at optimization, but this phrase alone will help the site collect an extra percent or two of its visitors’ email addresses.

5. ALL people care about these 8 things

Humans are complicated, right?

Everyone’s their own special snowflake, right?

Not quite.

Although each of us is unique in some way, we share many of the same traits.

In Cashvertising, Whitman lists the “life force 8”, which are 8 motivations of all people. At our core, we’re driven by the same things, and you can use that to write better copy.

Here are the life force 8 motivations:

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension.
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages.
  3. Freedom from fear, pain, and danger.
  4. Sexual companionship.
  5. Comfortable living conditions.
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the Jones.
  7. Care and protection of loved ones.
  8. Social approval.

We’ve known for a long time that people buy based on emotion, not logic.

If you can relate your product to any of the life force 8 factors, you can stir up emotions in your reader that will help you improve your sales and conversion rates.

I’m going to break down each of the life force 8 motivations and give you examples of how you can use them in your marketing.

1. Survival comes first: Unless someone has a mental health issue, they will do almost anything to survive.

You might have heard of or seen the movie 127 Hours. It’s based on Aron Ralston’s real-life adventure. He was exploring a canyon in Utah when he slipped and his arm became trapped between a bolder and a wall.

After exhausting all possibilities and unable to free himself, Ralston thought he was going to die. But he didn’t. Ralston amputated his own arm with a dull blade.

People will go to great lengths to survive.

If you have a product that could potentially save someone’s life, show it. If you can get a visitor to see themselves in a dangerous situation, you’ll make your sale much easier.

In one article on the Home Security Superstore website, the author writes about how pepper spray can be used to protect oneself:

Our first example today is from San Diego where a man grabbed a female pedestrian from a local roadside and sexually assaulted her until she pepper sprayed him and broke free. The assailant jumped the woman as she was leaving her car. After she sprayed him he let her go and ran off.

If you’re a guy, you might not understand how much of a common fear this is. In big cities, particularly in certain areas, assault of any kind is a serious risk for (typically) smaller women.

Every time a woman reads the above passage, it brings her very real fear to life.

They soon get to the end of the article, which has multiple links to products and reviews on the site:

image02

Guess what most readers will do now?

If you guessed go to the store and check out pepper sprays, you’re right.

I think a short video illustration would be even more effective. The more “real” you can make it seem, the more emotional your reader will be.

2. Food is an easy sell: We are wired to like food. It’s not surprising that as food has become easier to get and more reliable to produce, people have gotten more obese.

image05

If you have a delicious food product, you should have a pretty easy time selling it.

Describe the flavor and experience of eating your product, and people will be ready to buy it in an instant. Pictures or video will make it easy for people to imagine the taste.

Even though pizza commercials haven’t changed much in decades, they still work. All they need to do is show a few different types of pizzas, and the goal is accomplished. For example:

Are you hungry now?

However, you can easily apply this offline as well. If you do marketing for a bakery, offer free samples to people walking by. After one bite, most people won’t be able to resist walking inside and buying something. This is a big part of many big bakery chains’ marketing plans.

Finally, don’t be afraid to associate your product with food. Food will get your visitors’ attention, and if you can convince them that your product will make their meal better, they’ll buy. You can sell, for example, cookware, dishware, furniture, TVs (to watch while eating), etc.

3. No one likes fear or pain: People go to great lengths to avoid pain, and fear is just an extension of pain. Being afraid is natural when you think something bad is about to happen.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that fears and pains are based on physical problems—just as many are mental.

Again, anything you can do to clarify fears and pains and then show how your product can relieve them will help sales.

Take Logitech for example. They know that most parents fear leaving their children with babysitters, even those they trust. That’s why they market their home security cameras by speaking directly to this fear:

image13

4. No one wants to be alone: If you’ve ever stepped foot into an Internet marketing forum, you know how popular the dating niche is. Online dating is a $2.1 billion industry.

Although most products don’t directly help people find a partner, many help indirectly. Think about products and services such as:

  • clothes
  • gyms/fitness classes
  • personal trainers
  • cosmetics
  • flower shops

Basically, any product that can be framed as a tool to help you appear more appealing to the opposite sex, will awaken an emotional response.

When you see an advertisement for a gym, do you see overweight, unfit people in it? No, you see attractive models, and you feel the desire to look like them.

image15

5. Comfort is underrated: “Comfortable living conditions” is what Whitman calls it, but I like to think of it more as a lack of stress.

Think about a time where you weren’t sure how you were going to pay rent or worried that you were going to be laid off. These are extremely stressful and worrying times. And at those times, you would have given anything to know that your bills were taken care of and that you had a steady income.

If your product helps solve a problem for people in uncomfortable situations, show it.

This is really what the insurance industry is all about. They portray their products to make you feel anxious if you don’t have them.

image00

6. People like to win: Even though we might try not to, we constantly compare ourselves to others. We look at others to see:

  • how much money they make
  • how big their house is
  • how happy they are
  • and so on…

This is one of the biggest factors behind word-of-mouth marketing.

It’s one of the hardest emotional drivers to market to, but it can be done if you have a “high status” product.

Essentially, you need to create a product or brand that, when seen, will make others envious and cause them to want to purchase it.

Apple has done this extremely well by making electronics that are slightly more expensive than those of competitors’ but with a great look.

Everyone knows that Apple products are stylish, which is why people stand in massive lines for each product release. People want the latest product that puts them ahead of the curve:

image18

7. We protect one another: Just as we don’t want to be alone, we also don’t want those close to us to be taken away from us or hurt.

One way of marketing your product is to tie it to the happiness of others.

In the weeks leading up to all major consumer holidays, including Valentine’s Day, companies frame their products as a way for you to show the people in your life you care about them.

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8. People just want to be accepted: Yes, people want to be loved and to find a mate, but they also just want to be accepted and liked by others.

You can tap into this by marketing your product as a way for your site visitors to fit in with others or become part of a tight-knit group.

One great example of this is Tough Mudder. It’s a company that puts on insane obstacle courses. People run through water and mud, and over massive obstacles. But the real appeal is the comradery:

image06

The event requires you to sign up and complete the challenge as a team.

In essence, the company is offering an experience that makes you think along the lines of:

“Yes, I’m paying for something that’s grueling, painful, and unpleasant. But we’re doing it together, so it’ll be fun. We’ll help each other, suffer together, and celebrate in the end together.”

6. Simplicity always wins

The hardest thing for most marketers to understand is that your visitors don’t have the same level of knowledge as you do.

You’ve likely spent years reading about marketing and learning about your product or service. This makes it really easy to talk over the head of your visitors.

The problem is that if a visitor can’t understand what you’re offering, they won’t buy.

Whitman summarizes the 4 concepts of successful simple writing in Cashvertising. Here’s my take on them:

  1. Use short, simple words. There’s no need for fancy, rarely-used words. Whitman recommends writing at a 5th grade reading level. I actually write at just below a 4th grade level. You can test your writing level by pasting some of your writing into this online calculator.image16
  2. The shorter your sentences, the better. I rarely write long sentences because that’s when they get confusing. Try to limit sentences to 10-15 words.
  3. The short, short paragraph trick. Whitman correctly advises to limit regular paragraphs to 4-5 short sentences. Having even fewer is better. Most of my paragraphs consist of 1-2 sentences, which makes skimming easier.
  4. Pile on personal pronouns (e.g., I, you, me, he, she, him, they, them, etc.). Writing in a conversational tone helps you connect with your readers. It helps your writing feel personal instead of it sounding like another corporate message.

While all these rules apply to print copy, they apply even more to web writing. I’ve addressed similar points in the past.

7. How to stand out from (any) competition

The final lesson is from Breakthrough Advertising, and it’s about 4 states of sophistication.

In plain terms, that means that there are 4 stages that a market can develop into. They go from stage 1 to 4:

1. You are first in your market: When you’re the absolute first to cover a topic or create a product, your copy can be simple and direct.

Put the need your product fulfills, or a claim of what it does, in the headline. That’s all you need to do to attract attention.

For example, when SEO was first starting to get popular, a simple 400-word article with “What is SEO?” in the headline was all that was needed to get traffic:

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2. Second in your market: If you’re not quite the first, but you’ve caught a topic early, just take the direct claim a bit further.image11

For example, Buffer’s guide to beginner SEO talks about how search engines work at a basic level. It’s a good explanation of why SEO is important and how it essentially works.

3. Prospects have heard all the claims, all the extremes: Once most visitors know the basics, you need to include more practical information to sell them your product or servce.

In other words: show, don’t tell.

A guide to SEO on Search Engine Land goes through all the basics of how SEO works using videos, text, and pictures. But the creators go one step further and include links to SEO tactics and techniques.image08

4. Elaboration and enlargement: Once everyone meets those minimum standards, you need to go all out. You need to expand on all aspects of the content or product and make it better.

You could make it easier, quicker, more reliable, simpler, or add extra useful features to it.

To continue with our example, the SEO niche is pretty advanced now. When I created the “Advanced Guide to SEO,” I included everything about the topic. There were tons of current tactics that worked, accompanied by step-by-step instructions.image04

These 4 stages are essentially the Skyscraper Technique in action, except that they were written about many years ago.

Each stage of maturity for a topic or product raises the bar. Make things substantially better, and you will get attention from customers.

Either create something before it gets popular, or take it to the next level.

Conclusion

I’d like to finish this article by giving you one additional lesson: you can learn a lot from the past.

Whenever you’re learning about a new subject, whether it’s copywriting, marketing, design, or something completely different, don’t head to the most popular blogs right away.

Instead, read through some of the highest rated books of the past, no matter how old they are. You’ll learn about how some of the fundamental concepts of the field came to be. It’s those lessons that you can build upon so that you can become more adept in a particular field.

I’ve given you seven lessons that are jam-packed with useful copywriting and marketing knowledge, but I haven’t even scraped the surface of these four legendary books.

If you learned a few new things from this article, I strongly encourage you to read or re-read any or all of those books.

What other copywriting and marketing books have you read and loved? Let me know in a comment below because I’m really curious.

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Comments

  1. Be a Better Copywriter: 7 Lessons From 4 Legendary Books 🙂 Title sounds super cool.I went through all the points & I loved the few sections very much.
    One of the best thing I have seen here is “No, I prefer to suck at optimization on the Ebook :p
    -Glad to know that I learned something from your experience of reading books.I’m not the best, but I consider myself among good copywriters. 😛
    Thanks, Neil Bro for all the guidance.
    5000+ http://www.shouterbuzz.com & counting 😉 Love you, bro.

    • Deepak, I am sure everyone wants to improve — thanks for the feedback. You always find a way to comment first 😉

  2. Neil, thanks a ton.

    I have learnt a lot from this article.

    Thanks for great, Actionable tips.

    I fell short of not telling my readers what to do next and why they should do that.

    I am applying your tips on my posts on my only site modeltherich.com.

    Awesomeness!

    You have revived what I learnt from my fave copywriter, Eugene.

    Best,

    Magz

    • Magz, glad I could help. Sounds like your fave copywriter knows a lot on the subject 😉

      Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  3. Really nice thing! Tks for share.

  4. Vishal Kataria :

    Nice post Neil. Great lessons that you have pulled out for copywriters.

    A couple of books worth adding to the list of 4 that you have elaborated on are The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.

    Both give insights into the psychology of our minds, and how emotions dominate our decisions. Smart copywriters and marketers can use these insights to get more out of their efforts.

  5. Saurabh Shukla :

    Hey Neil,

    I would say, this is a complete case study ever read. Really these are the latest tips and techniques to make a great landing page. I strongly recommend this article to all marketers, specially to an affiliate marketer. I really enjoyed this article and I must read those gold books as suggested by you. 🙂

    Thank you.

    Cheers,

    • Saurabh, thanks for the feedback. Glad you found it helpful and I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  6. Awesome Post Neil sir, We always need to be updated and write unique articles to survive in this blogging world. After reading this article Hope I would become a better copywriter 🙂

  7. excellwnt stuff!

    I also recommend reading http://www.enchantingmarketing.com

    Her concise and bite-sized advices have been invaluable to me in improving my copywriting.

  8. Lots of really great advice here, as usual (I love Robert Cialdini’s book – it’s one of my favourites)!

    I’ve worked as an award-winning copywriter for 20 years and use most of the tactics here. The short sentence/paras/simple words is so important. But probably the key lesson is to get the word ‘you’ into your copy as much as possible; talk TO people, not at them.

    • Hannah, thanks for the support and it’s great to have someone of your statute comment on this blog. Let me know if you have any other insights.

  9. Thank you, Neil,

    Lovely, actionable tips.

    What I can also relate to, is that many of these copywriting tips are applicable to day to day communication and relationships.

    Thank you again and kindest regards.

  10. Hey Neil,

    Really enjoyed this one!

    As a mentalist/magician turned marketer, I’ve always been intrigued by the similar core tactics and practices both fields rely on. Whether we’re talking mentalism/magic or marketing, this overarching goal remains the same at it’s core: Get a group of people to think, feel, or do something through spoken/written word and or suggestion.

    As you point out, there’s nothing really new and revolutionary here. Marketers are just tapping into the human psyche to get people to buy, just like a mentalist/magician does when trying to “read minds” or get an audience to believe something happened that didn’t.

    Thanks for the post. Definitely adding some of these books to my reading list!

    -Chris

    • Chris, great to hear. If you need help with anything else let me know. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  11. Wow, thanks for the awesome tips Neil! I always learn great stuff from you. Time to get to work!

  12. I do agree that tracking is really the important part of some one investment. if they are investing without considring the output then it is useless i guess.

    Have a good day

  13. I get the psychology around using a phrase like “No, I prefer to suck at optimization” to polarize the reader’s decision about whether or not to opt in. But, I think for a small percentage of people, these messages will turn them off of opting in altogether…perhaps offsetting the 1-2% MORE who opt in because of it. Thoughts?

    • Hi @Jessica Oman.

      I tend to agree in terms of language choices for terms like ‘suck’; but it depends on the market audience.

      For example, I recently starting watching 1 minute videos on sales motivation by Steli of Close.io. I love these. Many of the quotes are ones I have copied and used myself in the past.

      However, he ‘f-bombs’ in a few; even though I’m a man who can use choice language, it conveys an unprofessional tenet to the message and I almost quit watching before getting hooked to the underlying value.

      • Jessica & Clay: I totally get what you are saying. I think at the end of the day if you find out what resonates with your audience you can go from there.

        Sometimes choice language makes you seem more approachable — which helps tremendously.

    • I totally hear what you are saying. I never want my audience to feel that they “suck” at what they do. I may want them to have negative feelings such as “I’m behind in the game” My competition is better than me” or “I know I can’t do that NOW but someday I can with your help”. But for some people that is a motivator. For me it’s not. If someone tells me I suck there is no way I’m going to be a part of their business, especially if I have to fork out money. I’m more likely to go to their competition and come back and say “in your face” when I’ve accomplished what they said I couldn’t

      That being said I don’t think Neil focuses on the negative and we are all here learning from him. Kudos Neil on a great article. I’ve saved this one!

  14. As usual, Neil — you deliver!

    I’m learning a great deal and look forward to using your tools in the near future.

    A Correction, though, my friends BECAUSE: a 5-10% ROI would hurt in the marketing context, no? 5x good, 10 X great ROI on money spent…..small typo, big difference.

    As a student of how the mind works and utilizing word choices in our own brain training methods for self-growth, this advice aligns well with the research. Now, the time to apply the QuickSprout knowledge to lead more horses to drink from the fountain of mindpower.

    Peace.

  15. Great info Neil! Thank you for this. Do you make time to read books often or do you ever use audio books too? I buy lots of books, but have a hard time integrating book reading into my schedule and completing them.
    Then end up reading at night and just fall asleep. My only concern with audio would be comprehending everything I hear. What works for you?

  16. Daniel Obaike :

    Hi Neil,

    It is said that nothing is really new under the sun, and that’s what you just illustrated. i find the whole post really useful but the most practical is No 6) Simplicity Always Wins. I operate in Nigeria where Digital Marketing is still at its infant stage and i have received quite a lot of phone calls from even my friends asking what exactly i do when i say i am a digital marketer.

    I have come to the understanding that writing and even speaking at a fifth grade level is the only option for my audience to understand my message. Also, I noticed that my most engaging post come from sharing personally experiences that my readers can relate with.

    Another wonderful piece Neil.

  17. Thanks for taking the time to share… extremely useful and simplified.

  18. Triggers by Joe Sugarman is another great book on copywriting. He’s a great storyteller.

  19. Hi Neil!
    Great posts as always. To answer your question
    A wonderful book I read about advertising/ copy writing is “The 27 Most Common Mistakes in Advertising” by Alec Benn The book came out in 1978 He is a no nonsense, no bull, no frills type of writer. The common mistakes are seen even now in advertising. Such as Common mistake #12: Being over-creative with type. Who hasn’t read a sales page letter and get to the point you just scan it and look for the price of whatever it is that they are selling? I know I sure have! How about mistake #18: Failing to sufficiently arouse the right kind of emotion. Which is just a fancy way wording of your top listing “the life force 8 motivations” If you can, pick this book up. 🙂

  20. I’m really surprised no one mentioned “Made to Stick”

    • As a matter of fact, Made to Stick came to mind as I was reading this. But this synthesis really is an excellent one !

      Thanks for the post Neil. As well as all the tools you so expertly outlined in the post. Love it !

    • Shaun, thanks for the addition.

  21. Neil, you are one of few people I know that write such informative posts. I read each and every post you write and I am never disappointed! Thank you for your great work and looking forward to a new article on your blog.

  22. This post was really useful to me because I’m not a confident copywriter. Thanks Neil!

    You’ve shown to me its not always about looking into the latest techniques to make things work. It’s the simpler, long established concepts that always work well.

    I must also admit that I tend to look at CRO options first (as I’m from a designer/developer background) instead of stepping back and seeing how the related copy actually reads.

    I’ll be keeping my web copy a lot simpler in future and trying to work from the angle of the life force 8 motivations.

    P.s. My classic marketing book would be ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’

  23. Thanks for this Neil. Packed with great insights as usual.

  24. How to win friends and influence people is one of my favorite books as well. My girlfriend recommeded ‘The 22 immutable laws of marketing’ by Al Ries and Jack Trout, hopefully it’s a good read!

  25. Neil,

    Thanks for the useful post. Definitely important to have a good “reason” based off of the level of the request being made. I’ve been in talks with a large luxury retailer for a new collection I’m launching for one of my designers, next month. However, considering this retailer has hundreds of stores, one of their responses was they want to see demand for this type of product “from current clients.” That didn’t make sense, but I realized it all goes back to my original reason having been incomplete.

    So I found a product that they already sell, which is in a different product segment but falls into the same nice — and pointed that out. I also pointed how how it’s necessary for their brand to get ahead on the eco fashion space, considering the rapidly growing ethical consumer mindset.

    Baig

    • Baig, glad you found it helpful. Sounds like you provided a ton of value by using the power of savvy copywriting.

      Once you figure out what your customer’s core needs are you can use them to benefit both your client and the consumer. Sounds like you did that within the eco fashion space.

  26. Hey Neil,

    Love your blog, brother. You didn’t mention Robert Bly at all! I wanted to ask you what your thoughts were on Robert Bly’s “The Copywriter’s Handbook?”

    I will definitely be reading through all the books recommended in your article as well as some within the comments section. Thanks again Neil!

    Best,
    Yahya

  27. Hey Neil,

    Awesome Tips I’ll definitely gonna try this

    Cheers,
    Prince 🙂

  28. Hello Neil,
    I am also trying to enter online marketing and i already read cashvertising which was amazing.
    I would like to ask about ROI. You wrote %5-10 is good.
    If i spend $1.000 on Facebook ads and i make $1050 in return, does that means my campaign is successful?
    Thank you

  29. Hey, I’m new to blogging. This article itself worth more than 10 books and my college when I take the next few months to apply-adjust-apply. Thank you so much for your generosity and hardwork!

    MM

  30. Neil, this is one of the best articles that I’ve ever read on this topic. It’s just garyhalbertesquely to-the-point and top notch. Thank you.

    I’d love to make an interview with you about copywriting and content marketing and KISSmetrics and all this epic stuff that you do (we publish a print content marketing magazine here in Hungary). This would make my day. Oh who am I kidding, this would make my week 🙂

  31. Theodore Nwangene :

    Hello Neil,
    Copy-writing is one of the most important and useful skills on the internet even though most people usually see it as a boring topic due to the fact that some of the pros made us to believe that its a very difficult subject.

    I still believe that no one was born a copywriter, it all starts from practicing and before you know it, you will become a pro.

    The books you mentioned are really very awesome, i bought Influence some time ago but have not made out time to read it but after reading this post, i can see that I’m really missing 🙂 so, i will try and go through it ASAP.

    Two other books i also bought that are also great are The Irresistible Offer and Made to Stick, i finished reading the Irresistible offer awhile ago and man, that book is really a bomb 🙂 and i will have to read and re-read it again.

    I also started reading The Gary Halbert Letter recently and its packed with lots of copy-writing tips.

    Thanks for sharing Neil.

    • Theodore, thanks for sharing those resources. I am sure they will be helpful for people moving forward. Let me know if you need help with anything else.

  32. Dear Neil
    It has been an awesome read! I love your style of putting point across. And since the discussion also involved books, the bookworm in me rejoiced as I continued reading.

    The Because point has been one of the key topics to be covered in the Language Patterns model of NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming.

    It was further a nice walk down the memory lane having to read it again. Thank you!

    I am now making notes of this blog post in my notebook. Do keep coming up with more such awesome blog posts on writing, because you are awesome! 🙂

  33. Rohan Bhardwaj :

    Hi Neil,

    You are fantastic.

    Awesome read. Its been some time, you are writing long form content in Quicksprout too.

    Any results to share?

    One more question, what is the update on product you were making because I am very eager to enjoy it.

    Have a great day ahead.

  34. Hello Neil Patel, you are just awesome man. I loved reading this article. I read a comment about a product that you are going to produce. Can explain me what that product is all about?
    Thank You.

  35. Thank you for recommending the books. Really appreciate it form you Mr patel.

    What one would you recommend first ? I just bought them from Ebay as I have a seller I’m loyal to.

    Marc.

    Ps. Please follow me back on Twitter so I can send you auto DMs and annoy the nuts out of you until you reply ???????? I would love to pick some answers offline if that’s ok with you mate ???????? @advertlines is my handle dude, I would really like your help on some things.

  36. Been following you for a long time Neil. Big fan.

    With that said, there is no way you write these posts, is there? I know your analytics may say otherwise, but they are too long for me. I tried to read the whole thing, but got about half way and skimmed the rest.

    I know with the 100K challenge you have been more transparent, and I think you should be here too. Everything you do is virtually impossible for one person, even if that one person is you. lol.

  37. Hai Neil patel,

    Really its a nice blog. Its quite interesting.Can you just tell me how can i get natural links properly? http://www.guiresoutsourcing.com

  38. Great list :-). I would also recommend the classic by James Webb Young, A Technique for Producing Ideas. It’s an advertising/copy-writing gem.

  39. I like the ” like force 8″ most. I had to screenshot that part for later use. Thanks for sharing.

  40. Thanks for this post Neil. It makes it clear you don’t need to spend hours a day reading the latest blog posts on marketing to get stuff done. Good!

  41. Thanks for sharing the information. I have always had issues with how some people present these influencing techniques. They go beyond influencing to almost verbally forcing people to do things they shouldn’t or buy things they don’t need. That’s easy to do with #5 especially. You laid them out in a positive way and I appreciate that. I need to look at incorporating #1) giving a reason, #4) commit and #5) emotions more into my copy.

  42. Thanks for this great article Neil, people make huge amount selling stuffs which are half as good as your free articles. Adding value is perhaps the best strategy I am learning from you. Adding emotions is my fav pick from this article 🙂

  43. Great article. Lots of good references to learn more.

    Just started Napoleon Hill’s How to Sell Your Way Through Life. It’s really ancient stuff (1939) but good. Napoleon mentions 9 motivations for selling. Did we lose one somewhere?

  44. Copy is the best thing one writer can do and improve on. I have seen that with small tweaks in your lines you can tell better story, connect better, engage better and make more money. Great post Neil !

  45. Hi Neil

    Some great insights for experienced copywriters and new to the business like me. I have 2 of these books but not read them for a while. Will be revisiting them both plus checking out the other two over the coming weeks.

    Thanks

    Howard

  46. Anastasiya Shyrina :

    Thank you, Neil, for a great post!

    I have recently read a book “Inbound marketing: attract, engage, and delight customers online” by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, cofounders of Hubspot. It was interesting, but sometimes quite generic… I recommend this book to anyone who is just starting out with Internet promotion. Explains major concepts and outlines the first steps.

  47. Neil awesome posts with example . that’s why I love it.

  48. Thank you for this super comprehensive and actionable information, Neil. Copyrighting is so fascinating to me, because if we don’t know how to connect with our customers, there is no way we’ll be able to make our business succeed.

  49.  Hey guys …reach me personally via 5702908280 if you need any such hack solutions…serious inquires only please !

  50. Hello Neil,
    Really its a nice blog

  51. Thnaks Neil for providing such a good info about copyright techniques.

  52. Couldn’t stop laughing when I checked you use the word “because”, in the last sentence. And even put it in bold 😉

    Awesome Neil!

  53. I would say, this is a complete case study ever read. Really these are the latest tips and techniques to make a great landing page. I strongly recommend this article to all marketers, specially to an affiliate marketer. I really enjoyed this article and I must read those gold books as suggested by you.

  54. I would say this is really really cool and helpful. You always write in a detailed manner. I appreciate it. Thanks Neil Patel.

    • I think it’s important Melissa, especially with internet marketing topics which can feel a bit complicated and confusing at first.

  55. Hi,
    Every time i come here i learn something new. I appreciate it. You always inspire me. Thank you Neil.

    • I’m happy you’re learning something new 🙂 Let me know if there’s anything else I could help you with!

      • Hi, Neil.
        Thank you for giving opportunity for requesting.I want to know how big brands like BBC, NDTV and other major have so much traffic and how they are getting traffic?

        • Those are all networks that have been around for a long time, have high amounts of trust and credibility from back links, tv, companies and push out a ton of content.

  56. Makeyupdates :

    Lots of spending on internet is over…..Got an idea after reading everything here ……Thank you so much neil patel bro

  57. All Apps Zone :

    Can you please tell me how google finds copy write material ….

  58. hii Neil,
    great post! Thank you for sharing this post…

  59. Tech App Zone :

    Will google find it as copy write if i use the same content written in books……

    • I wouldn’t do that, that would be a copywrite violation of the books. Instead write what you learned from the books in your own perspective

  60. The Article is awesome to read.How did you get an idealistic ideas to write.

  61. Mobogenie For PC :

    cool it is nice.

  62. Mobogenie For PC :

    Hai Neil Thanks for sharing a wonderful post with us.

  63. Hai neil , Would you please tell me how to generate page views.

  64. Neil the youtube video is broken

  65. I was searching some best article on copywriting. I found this blog, awsome article about all copywriting, Thanks for this.

  66. Great article. Finally I got what I actually needed.

  67. http://www.kreditonline24.tech/ :

    che carino il look! la borsa è wow wow!il filmato del "making of" è troppo buffo! soprattutto alla fine quando butti in terra i libri e Richie ti sgrida!

  68. Thanks for sharing link Neil.

  69. very informative article i must say ,really helped me .thanks .

  70. You have a done a great job, but one thing i want to know when it comes to copy writing people shuffle the words. It will always be low quality content right ?

  71. Finally reached the desired article. Got the complete information, thanks Neil.

  72. Hello sir, Can I rank copy written content?

  73. TubeMate for PC :

    finally found complete details about the copywriter. Thanks

  74. Sir My whole article is reproduced exactly without changing 1 word…….I mean he has cloned everything even my images and internal linking too exactly and linked to my blog only. But the thing is that google may find it as duplicate content
    Original : http://www.makeyupdates.com/what-are-backlinks-seo-benefits/
    Copied : rightloaded.com/2016/01/11/what-are-backlinks-in-seo-importance-and-benefits-of-building-back-links-to-a-website/

    How to deal with this sir…..

  75. So Nice and so useful for all the people.

  76. So nice and so useful for all the features.

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