Archives for posts with tag: copywriting

The following is a list of 5 books that every marketer should be required to have on their bookshelf (and have actually read them several times each)…

Scientific Advertising/My Life In Advertising by Claude Hopkins

Influence (Science and Practice) by Robert B. Cialdini

Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz

Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You’ve Got by Jay Abraham

The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner

Yes, you can probably add to this list (please add a comment with more from your list below) and yes, you could even replace a book or two with a different one…but the list above WILL provide you a foundational education in advertising, copywriting, and marketing…all skills critical to successful marketing online and offline.

Enjoy! And please help me out by sharing this list with others who might be starting out, or who need a boost to their business.

There’s no doubt that direct response copy, or the words that move people towards a specific action on your web page plays a large role in the success of your website.

If you don’t believe that, well, sorry…don’t call me when the money runs out.


When examining the many websites my clients use to market online, and other websites that I surf regularly…I find a common theme lying in the “weeds” of failure those websites share (i.e. when a client tells me “my website isn’t producing” etc…).

It’s almost like a disease, hence the title to this post.

What is this disease?  (translation:  “Joe, get to the damn point!” 🙂  )

I call it “Lazy-research-osis”, or LRO for short.

Symptoms include:

  • Web pages that have no call to action where they should.
  • Web pages that have the wrong call to action according to the message (copy or video) on that page, like selling way too soon for example.
  • Copy that doesn’t give an immediate feeling of “Wow, this message is directed at me!” to the people reading your message.
  • Copy that “feels” like it’s written generically…loaded with “corporate” language.  You need to write directly to the people in your audience.
  • Copy that “feels” like you didn’t even research your market at all (I mean real market research, not just combing through some Ezine Articles and calling it good).  This is a BIG problem on a good majority of websites.
  • And on, and on, and on…

So, if your website suffers from this disease in any shape or form…the “antidote” for “Lazy-research-osis” is simple…

Don’t use shortcuts when you’re researching your market.

Contrary to some advice provided on the Internet, don’t just “throw a website up” and try to sell until you’ve completed this research.

Some of the elements of complete market research include (emphasis on some) :

  • Talk to people. I can hear the clicks off of this post now, and your “shuddering” when you read that…but yes, actually talk to the people in your market.  Ask them questions about what they want when it comes to the product you’re about to bring to market.  Find out what drives them emotionally (which is the FIRST reason people buy, not logic).
  • Read articles in a number of  magazines pertaining to your market. That doesn’t mean read one and you’re done…sometimes when I’m writing copy for a client, I will read 25 – 50 articles (the Borders bookstore here almost knows me by name).
  • Develop a general curiosity about life and things in general. Read about a lot of stuff, file away interesting stuff, talk to people you don’t know (if you’re an introvert, get over this fear, people are nice for the most part).
  • And yes, part of your research can be done online. Watch the “free” information available though.  I subscribe to a few paid research sites, where info is accurate and studied.  The Extreme Searcher’s Handbook is a good place to start if you don’t know what I mean by paid subscription research sites.
  • And on, and on…don’t stop until you feel you have 5 – 10 times the info you think you would need for your website.

If your website suffers from LRO, real market research is the cure.  Arm yourself with more info than you need, because if you don’t, this disease can infect your website in even the smallest “crack” in your content.

So get to it then…I want to see some websites that sing to me people 🙂

Until the next time we look in the mirror together,

Joseph Ratliff

A big problem I see with many marketing materials on the web is what I call “flowing” copy. Now, I understand that copywriting is a very deep subject, and no one is a flawless or perfect writer…but your marketing copy has to talk.

What do I mean by this?

Well, an exercise you can do right now will tell you the answer. In fact, you should do this exercise every time you write marketing copy for any of your sites…before you put that site out on the web.

“Marketing Copy Exercise”

Step 1 – Finish writing your copy to what you determine is the “final draft” (it won’t be once you finish the exercise). Then move on to the next step.

Step 2 – Before you put out the final draft, read your copy out loud to yourself (or someone else is even better)…all the way through…and see where you naturally pause. Then move to the next step.

Step 3 – Read it out loud from beginning to end again (to yourself or another person). Get a “feel” this time for where your copy “feels” wrong or awkward…your gut will tell you.

Step 4 – Read it out loud one more time, but this time stop at each point where it “feels” wrong…and re-write that part of your letter until you can say that part of your letter smoothly.

Step 5 – Repeat step 4 until you have reached the last part of your copy…and “smoothed out” the rough spots. Then re-read it one last time to ensure you got them all.

That’s it. By doing this, you are allowing your brain to associate with your copy directly and after you complete this process your copy will start to sound like you’re “talking on paper”…which is one step closer to a winning marketing letter or piece.

Don’t skip any of the steps above.

They look very similar in nature…but there is a reason I separated this process out for you.

Once you have written a few marketing pieces this way…you will start to naturally write how you speak…and that will make it easier for you to generate results online. It’s only one step to an entire copywriting process…but it’s a critical one.