Sunday, August 27, 2006

You Ought To Be In Pictures

I once took a media communications course in which I discovered an interesting example of the way the mind works.

As part of a given lesson, a videotape was shown of a televised newscast during which a journalist was about to give a live report on a forest fire that was devastating the mid-west.

The news anchor in the television newsroom said: “We now take you to Sally Smith — she’s in the station’s helicopter flying above the scene of the fire.” He then turned around to face the background screen, which gave a live bird’s-eye view of the raging fire, and asked: “Sally, tell us, how big is the fire?”

In a voice partially drowned by the whizzing sound of helicopter blades, Sally reports: “John, it’s so big, it’s covering well over 140 acres of land — that’s about 200 football fields back-to-back for you and me.”

What is this telling you?

People think in pictures, not in numbers. The mind does not think in words either — unless it is told to do exactly that. The mind is like a computer and it hates confusion. It will naturally translate words or phrases into their visual equivalent.

For instance, if I told you to think of a garbage can, you’re not going to think of the word “G-A-R-B-A-G-E.” Your mind will automatically visualize a garbage can. Right?

Why do you think Windows and MacIntosh dominate in operating systems? It is because, rather than having to type an elaborate command for your computer to execute, you can simply use your mouse, point to an icon, and click. These icons basically represent programs (a bunch of code). They contain a string of numerous commands that are in fact translated into a language the computer understands.

Our mind works in almost the same way. It instantly translates what it’s being told into something it can easily understand. Rather than tell a story, describe it. The color, the texture, the sight, the sound. Everything perceived by all the senses.

Look at it this way:

“Eat great spaghetti at Romano’s restaurant tonight.”

Try this instead:

“Michael ate spaghetti so scrumptious, with its plump pasta and succulent, spicy Arrabiata sauce made with only the freshest ingredients and chef Roberto’s secret recipe, that each morsel reminded him of walking down a trattoria-lined cobblestone street in the heart of Florence, Italy. He couldn’t believe he could get something as delicious from a local restaurant, but that’s exactly the kind of tasty adventure chef Roberto offers you each night. Call Romano’s to reserve your little Italian getaway this evening.”

In this example, I used what I call UPWORDS.

Upwords are effective in any conversation, sales call, or written message in that they simply help the message to be better understood and appreciated.

Mark Twain once said that “numbers don’t stick in the mind, pictures do.” In fact, the word “upwords” is an acronym that stands for universal picture words or relatively descriptive sentences. Upwords are examples, stories, analogies, metaphors, symbols, picture words, mental imagery, colloquialisms, etc.

Essentially, upwords are words, phrases, and expressions that help messages to be easily interpreted by their target audiences. Even jargon, buzzwords and colloquialisms are appropriate upwords if they are acceptable to, and used frequently by, a specific target audience or industry.

For example, a challenge among cosmetic surgeons is the fact that people will call for a quote over the phone when obviously the doctor needs to see the patient beforehand. Since cosmetic surgery is an uncommon process, doctors will often use the more common dental work as an analogy.

Why? Because unlike surgery, most people have had their teeth done at some point in their lives. So they can say: “Like a dentist, I can not give an estimate over the phone without any x-rays of your teeth or the knowledge of how many cavities you actually have.”

Beauticians usually face the same problem. Since many customers tend to shop around for these types of services, and since beauty is a subjective thing, then making a decision based on price alone can be detrimental to both the consumer and the business.

So, using art as an analogy, beauticians can say: “A makeover is a makeover, just like a painting is a painting, but there’s quite a difference between a preschooler’s fingerpainting and a Rembrandt.”

If you’re a computer programmer trying to sell your services to the plant manager of a farm equipment manufacturer, and in your presentation you provide complex technical data in abstract language only computer geeks would understand, you will obviously do very poorly. You must therefore mold your message in a way that it can be easily understood by farmers or plant workers.

Different words mean different things to different people.

We all come from different backgrounds. Our education, experiences, and environment help to condition our thinking. Therefore, use analogies, metaphors, and picture words in your presentation that will make your message easier to understand by the other’s personal set of circumstances.

As Jack Trout once said, “A word is worth a thousand pictures.”

Now, how do you apply this to your situation?

Recently, I was watching television (which is a very rare occurrence). As summer is around the corner, a public service announcement for National Parks Canada was aired. The 30-second “commercial” centered on how to protect oneself from dangerous animals often found in Canada’s wilderness — namely bears and wolves.

The commercial particularly targeted youngsters, such as summer-camp kids.

What was interesting in this public service announcement was not so much what the narrator said, as how he said it. Specifically, he used “upwords.”

The sentence that caught my attention was, “Be safe by staying away from animals and standing back at least 3 bus lengths.” Note that the narrator didn’t say “105 feet” (assuming that a bus is about 35 feet long). Instead, he used a visual equivalent — an object easily recognized by children watching the announcement:

A school bus.

A challenge for many webmasters, designers, and marketers is to ensure a site communicates effectively to its audience. Studies have proven that most websites are misunderstood, or partially understood, by their audiences.

When the web was first created, the need to communicate in a language that the vast majority of people could understand was not important. In those days, using technical terminology, or “technolese,” was commonplace since the Internet was mostly populated by programmers and geeks.

Today, however, things have changed.

A while ago, I was at a local IBM Home Computing store buying a computer. Beside me happened to be someone shopping for her first system. I overheard the customer’s questions and the sales clerk’s explanations, and what struck me was that the shopper knew little, if anything, about computers.

Apparently, she never touched a keyboard in her life. What’s more, she really only wanted her new system for one thing. After the clerk attempted to describe all the features and different applications of the computer, with a puzzled look on her face she replied with, “But can I send email with it?”

For better or worse, this is the reality of today’s Internet population. With computers becoming more affordable and the Internet more accessible, the growing online population now consists of market segments that would have never used computers otherwise. Many users are novices, and some are even computer- or Internet-illiterate.

Granted, that segment is shrinking at an incredible speed. Even students as early as kindergarten are taught how to use computers in class in an increasing number of schools.

That said, and specifically with web copy, even users who are technologically savvy can get confused by a poorly thought-out message. And few people will buy from a website that confuses them in the slightest.

So to better your chances, talk like your audience. Think like your audience. Speak their language by molding your message in a way that makes it easy for your audience to understand.

In order to use upwords effectively in your copy, you must first develop a “perfect customer profile.” As much as possible, discover and list the demographics, psychographics, geographics, and technographics of your market.

* Demographics are the basic characteristics of your market (or the largest segment of your market). Information such as age, gender, culture, industry, income level, marital status, and so on are all part of the mix.

* Psychographics include your market’s behavioral qualities, such as purchase histories, buying patterns, trends, psychology, thought processes, interests and hobbies, associations to which your customers belong, etc.

* Geographics should include not only the locations in which your customers reside, but also the areas where they work, shop, etc.

* The term “technographics” is fairly new. Originally coined by Forrester Research, the term consists of your market’s attitudes toward technology. In other words, technographics measure the inclination to adopt (or avoid) new technology such as computers and the Internet.

Researching these four categories will give you an excellent idea of who your target audience is. Think about “a day in the life” of your perfect customer. What does she dream about at night? What keeps him awake? What’s their biggest problem? And more importantly, how do they talk about it?

Once you’ve developed your perfect customer profile, it will then be easy for you to craft compelling copy your audience will quickly and fully understand, without the need to think.

What do I mean?

My friend and top copywriter Peter Stone said it best:

They say that in selling, you should strive for “the temporary suspension of disbelief.” But in copywriting, it’s “the temporary suspension of critical thinking.”

Critical thinking leads to procrastination.

Look at it this way. Words mean different things to different people. Consequently, your challenge is to choose those words that will help get your message across as effectively and succinctly as possible. The only “thinking” they really need to do is whether or not to buy from you, not “what the heck did he mean?”

Remember: words are not the message — they only communicate it. So, the manner in which you encode (i.e., or word) your message is absolutely critical. To explain, here’s an illustration:

Sender ► Encoding ► Message ► Decoding ► Receiver

Your objective, therefore, is to encode the message in a way that the chances of it being decoded and interpreted in the same way are higher.

To that end, you must first know your “receiver” — and if you’ve done your research, you do. Then, you must use the words that will help paint vivid pictures in her mind.

The mind hates confusion. It will naturally translate words into their visual equivalent. A youngster understands the length of a school bus far more than he understands “105 feet.”

So, regardless of what you sell, it must be explained in a way that is understood by the people you hope will buy it. If your market consists of artists, use art examples. If your market consists of managers, use business analogies. If your market consists of florists, use metaphors that florists can understand.

Let’s expand on the latter with an example.

Say, your site sells an email management software specifically geared toward florists. The copy might read as follows:

“Email messages from your clients are like fresh-cut roses. They need to be handled promptly and efficiently. If not, clients can prick you and hurt your business — or they can wither away, never to return.”

Using metaphors is just one of many ways to apply upwords to your website copy. There are many more.

Granted, using upwords can be a challenge for the less confident writer. But by clearly defining your audience, you simplify the task of encoding your message by knowing, beforehand, how your audience will decode it, interpret it and act upon it.

Knowing how to reach your target audience begins with knowing who they are. The more you know, the more writing compelling copy that sells will be like “a walk in the park,” “a piece of cake” or “as easy as pie.”

“Get the picture?”

About the Author

Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter, author, speaker and consultant. Watch him rewrite copy on video each month, and get tips and tested conversion strategies proven to boost response in his membership site at

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Basic Web Copywriting Checklist
By: Gabriel Adams

Copywriting is one of the most important parts of internet marketing. Once you get visitors to your site, you must depend largely on your sales copy to convert the visitors into customers.

Sadly, many webmasters neglect the art of web copywriting. Copywriting truly is an art, but have a checklist of important points is also helpful. Here are some of the major components of good web copywriting.

1 – Your Headline
Does your headline grab the readers' attention and compel them to read further? It is essential that your headline do that. Web surfers generally move about on the internet very quickly. Research says that you have a matter of seconds to catch your website readers' attention, or they will move on. That is why your headline is so important.

2 – Your Introductory Copy
Do the first few paragraphs of your sales copy reinforce the headline, and convince readers to continue reading?

3 – Benefits
Does your sales copy sell the features or the benefits of your product or service? For example, does your site try to convince your readers that your vitamin C product is the best, or does your site try to convince your readers that your vitamin C product will give them the most health benefits?

4 – Call To Action
Does your sales copy clearly and compellingly tell your customer what action they should take after reading your website? (usually the desired action will be to buy your product)

5 – Assurances
Your prospects will only buy if they feel comfortable doing so. There are several things you can do to make them feel more comfortable buying from you, such as:

A: Displaying your picture
B: Displaying your contact data
C: A membership with the Better Business Bureau, etc
D: A Guarantee
E: A secure server logo

These 5 points are only a few of the most important parts of web copywriting. If you want to convert as many of your visitors as possible, study the art of copywriting and learn how to become a master copywriter!

Article Source:

Evolution Internet, Internet Marketing,Link Building and Web Copywriting

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Simple 8 Step Formula For Testing Your Headlines
By: Edward Green

I am going to let you in on a secret? The successful entrepreneurs are not successful because they know things that you don’t know. They are successful because they TEST every advertising campaign they embark on first before they start spending "big" money on effective forms of newsletter and ezine ads.

Ezine Ads

Placing ezine ads is one of the most effective form of advertising on the Internet today purely because you can advertise/market exactly to your target groups.

But if you don't know which of your headlines, your benefits and your offers are the ones that will make you money, you will probably not even be able to get the money back that you have to spend on your ezine ads.

8 Easy Steps To More Effective Headlines

To be capable of determining the most effective adverts, you need a system. I will show you one system how it can be easily done. Of course, there are literally thousands of different systems that could do the task as well. But if you want to analysis without spending too much money, then my way of testing will be an invaluable help for you.

The structure Consists Of 8 Easy Steps :

1.) Write down the benefits of your product and contemplate the advantages for your target group, not yourself. A bit of brainstorming is required here to see which ones immediately come to mind.

2.) Turn them into a set of 10 different headlines. If you sell an e-book about Dog Training and one of your ebooks benefits is that even first time dog owners can understand how to do it, then tell them about it in the headline

e.g. :

"A Step-By-Step Guide Teaches You Everything You Need To Know About Training Your Dog - If You Can Read, You Can Implement A Quick and Easy Dog Training Routine ! "

3.) Write 2-3 different versions of your ad copy. Focus on one or two other essential benefits. Get the reader curious and excited about your offer. Your aim is to make the prospect click on your link !

4.) Create a few different tracking links (that lead to your sales letter) for each ezine you want to submit your ad to. You must be able to decide exactly which ads and more importantly headlines are successful, and where the responses are coming from or you will be shooting in the dark.

You can use these 2 free services for this : and they are both outstanding free services.

5.) Use one and the same headline for all your free ezine ad sub- missions and send out your free ezine ads to at least 10 ezines.

There are plenty of free well established ezines which give you free subscriber ads if you join their mailing list. You need publications with at least 1000 subscribers for a decent test of your ad.

6.) Look for the ezines with the most number of clicks. Only choose the most successful ezines. Now send 10 different headlines to be published in the next issue and one and the same ad copy to these ezines.

7.) By now, you should be familiar with which headlines work and you can change over to paid forms of ezine advertising in the knowledge that the ad you use with give it your best shot. Order Top Sponsor Ads and Solos in ezines with high circulation 10000 + subscribers.

If you get an acceptable amount of clicks but little sales, try changing your copy in the body of the ad and maybe your price as well. Is it too cheap or too expensive. Selling cheap don’t work.

You can find out if you :

8.) TEST, TEST and, you guessed it : TEST...!

Edward Green is the owner and operator of a successful online business. Ed has over 15 years in corporate business operations which include guerrilla marketing skills, customer service and Professional networking capabilities.

Article Source:

Edward Green is a Network Marketing Consultant with a successful downline team. Edward invites you to join his team for unrivled support and success coaching. visit us here

Sunday, August 06, 2006

9 Tips for Better Copywriting
by: Alex A. Kecskes

Avoid the wimpy verbs—is and be.

These “do-little” verbs only occupy space and state that something exists. So don’t write, “There is one simple omission that can transform a sentence from boring to brilliant.” Do write, “One simple omission can transform a sentence from boring to brilliant.” Similarly, avoid, “We will be running the new program from our Dallas office.” Instead, opt for “We will run the new program from our Dallas office.”

Place the longest item at the end of a series.

Start with the simple and work toward the complex. It’s less confusing and makes a more memorable ending to the sentence. If you have a series like “He was always later that Joan, loud and boring.” Opt for “He was loud, boring and always later that Joan.”

Specifics are more convincing.

Unless you must for legal reasons, don’t use words like many, several, approximately, nearly and other such mushy weasel modifiers. Specifics tell your audience that you know what your product can do based on tests, research, results, etc.

Modify thy neighbor.

Neighboring clause, that is. Make sure your modifiers apply directly to the pertinent clause in question. Do this and you’ll avoid such gaffes as “I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way. (The truck wasn’t coming the other way, it was stationary.) Better to tell the judge “I was coming the other way and collided with a stationary truck.”

(You’ll still pay the penalty for running into a truck, but at least you’ll come across as sober.)

Use single verbs to avoid doublespeak.

Single verbs can often do the work of two similar verbs. Instead of “The computer was operating and running smoothly,” go for “The computer was running smoothly.” Or, instead of “He was empty and ran out of gas,” go for the more direct “He ran out of gas.”

Vary sentence length.

A string of sentences all the same length can be boring. Start with a short sentence or at least a medium-length one, then go long, short, medium or any combination thereof. Imagine a person talking in sentences that are all the same length. Robotic.

Are your sentences like the Energizer Bunny?

They go on and on. Just because you’re conveying legal or complex technical information, doesn’t mean you have to use serpentine sentences that never seem to end. Instead of saying “Laser beams, which have many properties that distinguish them from ordinary light, result from the emission of energy from atoms in the form of electromagnetic waves.” Break up and re-phrase: “Laser beams have many properties that distinguish them from ordinary light. They are produced when atoms emit energy in the form of electromagnetic waves.”

Go short and sweet.

Why use a 4- to 5-word phrase when a 1- to 2-word version will do nicely—with no loss in meaning? Statements like “in view of the fact that” can be easily reduced to “since” or “because.” Word economy is particularly important, especially when you’re paying for premium ad space in a major publication.

Don’t overstate the obvious.

Redundancy is good for space travel, but not for clear writing. Phrases like "anticipate in advance," "totally finished," or "vital essentials" will drive your readers crazy and communicate very little. The same goes for stringing two or more synonyms together like "thoughts and ideas" or "actions and behavior.” It makes readers wonder if you really meant to say two different things or just wanted to reinforce one word with a needless synonym.

About The Author

Alex Kecskes is a former ad agency Copy Chief who provides a full range of copywriting services to agencies and Fortune 500 companies. For samples and more information, please visit: akcreativeworks

Article source articlecity

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I found this article and would like to share with everyone. This article talks about persuasive writing.

How To Become A More Persuasive Writer

If you want to learn how to write so that people will not only read what you write...but also be compelled to take action based on your words, then take these steps.

You need to identify persuasive writings and examine the writing style. Think of the last time you read something which made you take action. It can be a simple headline for an ad which caught your attention or an inspiring story in the local paper.

When you identify the persuasive writings, you can can then examine it by reading actively.

It’s natural for most people to read passively. You see some text which catches your eyes and before you know it, 30 minutes have passed. At most, you get a good feeling if you’ve learned something from the text. Reading passively doesn’t build your writing skills.

Start browsing and reading things that catch and keep your attention. Study and anaylyze the text. What words are being used? What length are the sentences and paragraphs? What is the tone of the message? How does the author transition from one paragraph to the next?

What is the main point the author is trying to convey? Who is the author writing to? These are just some of the things you want to study in depth.

You want to read text from many different authors so you get a variety to examples to follow. When you approach reading actively for a while, you’ll naturally begin to write in a way which is more attractive to others but more importantly, it’s attractive to you.

If writing becomes easier for you, you will be apt to write more. As they say, the more you practice, the better you get. So the biggest stepping stone for you is to get more comfortable just writing. Once you're comfortable then you'll start writing more without hesitation.

To read more actively, write down what you’re reading. Yes, copy the words you read onto a blank sheet of paper or legal pad. This will force you to read slower and actually examine the words and sentence structure.

Persuasive writing is a skill that any marketer should perfect. Even if you outsource your copywriting, you will find that having the ability to write persuasively can win you more friends in the right places.

Article Source: article cube

Gary Huynh makes his living by creating and publishing information products to niche markets. Find out how he can help you create a six figure income doing what you love: Six Figure Marketer

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Power to Create Profits - Yanik Silver

Business optimization specialist Stephen Pierce interviews marketing and copywriting expert Yanik Silver in this episode of Power to Create Profits.

TED : Tony Robbins (2006) video

Tony Robbins is perhaps the world's best-known motivational speaker. In this talk, he explains how to unlock your true potential, and asks the audience (including Al Gore) for a bit of high-level interaction. [Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA]