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Copywriting Commandments: 3 Universal Laws To Write Copy By
By Zac R Nelles, 23 Jul 2013
When Hammurabi first inscribed the Code Of Hammurabi he created one of the first sets of laws for a society to live by. Copywriting has its own set of laws or commandments. Obey them if you want sales or ignore them, if… well… you don’t want or need better conversions and more sales.
Copywriting Commandment 1: ‘We sell Or Else.’
This was the mantra David Ogilvy made famous when he adapted direct response advertising to general advertising.
He is right—the sole purpose of any copy written is to sell something. It could be to sell someone on becoming a lead/opting in, making a purchase, purchasing again, purchasing more, it might be to sell someone on your ideas, your philosophy, liking you or remaining your customer longer.
To be able to write effective copy you need to know what ‘sale’ you are striving for and be able to measure it.
Copywriting Commandment 2: If it isn’t measured it can’t be improved.
Nothing drives me more nuts than not knowing the results produced. Then it frustrates me further when a client doesn't know if the results produced are ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Ultimately, what you measure you can improve through testing. Did ‘A’ or ‘B’ work better?
Right, let’s see how we can beat ‘B’.
Always aiming to improve is a good thing—however, trying to improve everything simultaneously can be a bit of a disaster, especially when you have something that is already working. This can be set on autopilot while you take another aspect of your business that is important and could be markedly improved much more easily.
Copywriting Commandment 3: History Repeats Itself
Put simply, we have a knack for doing the same thing over and over again. Harry S Dent’s work on demographics shows that we often repeat the sins of our parents. Take laundry detergent, the same advertising formula has been used since the ‘60s. “Before and after” of laundry or a product comparison, and a ‘peer’ pitch person. While in the ;60s it was almost always a ‘housewife’. Nowadays an almost identical pitch is made by today’s version of a housewife—a modern mother on the go.
After all, laundry detergent is still solving the same problem—how to get your laundry clean without having to do any hard work.
If you care to study old ads you’ll find that the core of the sales pitch for many different products and services remains the same.
Bottom Line: Obey these copywriting commandments so you can sell more.
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