Copy Online: Discover the Hard-Effective and Fast Rules for Best Copy

"Copy Online - Discover the Hard and Fast Rules for Best Copy Online Writing With High-Impact for Generating BIG Sales-Subscriptions-Click-throughs- in SMALL Spaces"    

Copy Online

We all know that well-written copy online is one of the most highly effective methods of getting people's attention and attracting them to your product or service- but the importance of this fact is often overlooked.

A lot of people don't even realize that things like their navigation menus, links, or even their newsletter subscription offers ARE copy online and require careful consideration.

Ironically, this kind of copy online is One Of The Most Valuable Tools You Have. Think about your...

- Banners
- Classified ads
- Newsletter subscription offers
- Navigation menus
- Links ("click here," "buy now")

This sort of copy online is typically asking people to take some sort of action that is vital to your business: Visit your web site, Request details, Subscribe to your newsletter, Click through, Buy the product... which is why it requires so much more attention than it tends to receive.

Of course it's more difficult to get your message across when you have limited space, but copy online is The Glue That Holds Your Marketing Campaign Together.

And if every button on your menu, every ad, every link isn't as compelling and effective as it can be, you're not going to get the results you're hoping for, be it more sales, more subscriptions, more referrals, etc...

So we will show you Four Hard And Fast Rules of copywriting that must be followed in even the shortest of best copy to guarantee you always make the most profitable use of the little space you have.

Hard And Fast Rule #1: You Must Emphasize Benefits, Not Features

I know, I know, you've heard this one before. But I so often see copy online- short and long- that neglects to even MENTION how the features of a product or service will benefit customers that I'm guessing a good number of you aren't sure what this really means.
So let me clarify for you...

- A Feature is one of the components or functions of your product or service. For example, if your toothbrushes come packaged with glow-in-the-dark toothpaste, that's a feature - not a benefit.

- A Benefit is something your product or service will do for your buyer to somehow offer a solution to a problem. So if your toothbrushes that come with glow-in-the-dark toothpaste make stubborn kids thrilled to brush their teeth before they go to bed, then you've got yourself a benefit!

Are you following me? An online real estate agent advertising "real-time mortgage calculations" is advertising a feature of her site; however, if she writes, "Avoid wasting time haggling at the bank with my real-time mortgage calculator," then she's advertising a benefit.

Emphasizing benefits is the number-one most overlooked rule of best copywriting, and this lack of emphasis is one of the top reasons advertising falls flat.

Short copy is no exception- and you don't need a lot of room to do it right. Let's take a look at a short classified ad.

If you posted an ad that read:

Real estate on the Internet. Plenty of listings. Shop at your convenience. probably wouldn't get the greatest response. The ad is brief and to the point, but it lacks clarity.

First of all, what kind of property is being advertised? Are the listings for commercial buildings or family homes? What part of the world does the ad refer to? How many listings is "plenty"? How do we get to see these listings? And, most important, how does this service benefit me?

There is a vague reference to the benefit of "convenience" in this ad- but it's not really explained. Let's dress it up a bit:

Take a personal tour of 375+ of Seattle's hottest, most affordable Single-Family Homes

Skip the hassles of house hunting when you search our huge online database of single-family homes:

- 375+ homes with pictures, video tours, and detailed descriptions!

- Search by price, location, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and more!

- Get local school reports, neighborhood information, and mortgage calculations!

To begin searching our online database of Seattle's hottest, most affordable family homes- without leaving your computer- visit:

This version expands on the benefit of convenience and details the different ways this convenience offers Solutions to the house-hunter's problems. So the benefits we're clarifying for the reader are:

- House hunting is a hassle and now you can avoid it.

- Physically going to see 375 homes would be practically impossible but you can easily do it online.

- You can search the database by very specific criteria to effortlessly find exactly what you want.

- Plus you'll get free reports that detail all the information you'll want to know about a new home and neighborhood that you wouldn't get even if you went there in person.

Also note that this ad targets a specific niche: single- family home buyers in the Seattle area. Targeting your advertising is the only way to get your benefits in front of your best potential customers, as we'll discover in the next section...

Hard And Fast Copyy Online Rule #2: You Must Write To A Targeted Audinence

The fact is, your product or service is just not going to appeal to everyone. And if you try to market it to everyone, you'll wind up with far fewer sales than if you choose a select group to direct your copy online to.

So once you've defined your target market, you need to turn your attention toward making sure your copy online addresses them directly.

For example, let's look at pay-per-click advertising. Let's say you bid 17 cents per click in for the key phrase "single-family homes." Because you pay every time someone clicks through this link, whether they purchase from you or not, you want to make sure that your ad carefully Targets Your Best Potential Customers.

Given that you're targeting single-family home buyers in the Seattle area, you'd want to make sure your ad includes this vital piece of information. That way, you can be sure you won't waste money on people searching for single-family homes in San Diego!

And if you bid 41 cents per click for the key phrase "Seattle homes," you'd want to make sure to write an ad that clearly states that your site features single-family homes... so you don't waste your advertising dollars on condo-seekers or recreational property buyers.

By writing a separate ad for each of your keywords that carefully targets your market, you'll ensure that you Attract The Most Buyers For The Least Cost.

Of course, if you're writing copy online for banner ads, your approach will need to be a bit different. Whether you're:

1. Purchasing blocks of impressions (i.e. you pay a set dollar amount for your banner to be displayed 1,000... 10,000... etc... times on other web sites), OR

2. Participating in a banner exchange (i.e. you're trading banner impressions with a network of other site owners)'ve paid for your advertising up front, so you'll want to do everything you can to attract viewers' attention and persuade them to click through to your site. And this means you'll want your ad copy online to be a bit more general, to ensure it attracts the Highest Number of click-throughs.

The title of the above classified ad would make a great banner:

"Take a Personal Tour of 375+ of Seattle's Hottest, Most Affordable Single-Family Homes! Click here now..."

...You're targeting your best potential customers! But you might also try testing banners with more general copy online that read something like this:

"Search HUGE online database of 375+ Seattle Dream Homes and skip the house-hunting headaches! Click here now..."

The first ad is going to Attract The Most Qualified Audience -- those people who are looking for a single-family home in Seattle for a reasonable price.

The second version, however, will attract a slightly broader audience. Still in Seattle and still looking for homes, this group is not necessarily looking for a single-family dwelling, and they're not necessarily worried about price. They're just checking out homes in the Seattle area and they're attracted by the size and convenience of the online database.

While the first ad may Generate A Higher Visitor-To-Sale Conversion Rate (the percentage of people clicking through who then sign up for the service) because it is more specific, the second ad will probably solicit more click-throughs in total, because it has a more general appeal.

You'd have to test to see which version would pull the most sign-ups altogether.

Hard And Fast Copy Online Rule #3: You Must Include A Call To Action

Okay, easy enough. BUY NOW! There's a call to action.

But hold on a minute. If it were that simple, everyone marketing online would be rich, and every online shopper would have to move into a bigger home to accommodate all that happily purchased stuff.

There are two very important things that you must include in your call to action:

1. You must determine exactly what action you want people to take, and

2. You must provide a reason why people should take that action.

Isn't Buy Now exactly the action you want? Not necessarily. Think about what exactly it is that you are trying to do. Are you trying to generate leads? Do you want people to sign up for your free newsletter? Are you trying to attract a specific audience and hoping to convert as many of those people as possible into sales?

It is important to understand that All copy online, if possible, should contain a call to action that clearly identifies what action is desired. I can't emphasize this enough.

Think about the buttons on your site menu. Each one is a call to action! And they are all very important! If they're not as direct as possible, telling visitors specifically what to do, they will be useless.

For example, if you have a button that is labeled "sales," you are doing nothing but confusing your visitors, leaving them guessing whether you are referring to product sales (i.e., online ordering), products that are on sale (i.e., specials or discounts), or maybe the opportunity to sell your product (i.e., merchandising opportunities).

But your visitors won't guess for long- why would they bother? They'll just leave your site.

If you change the button copy from "sales" to "order online," you are now asking viewers to take an action- to order your product. This clarifies the purpose of the button and tells the viewer what to do to get your product.

Another example: instead of writing "E-mail," you could ask your viewers to "Contact Us"- again, you're asking your visitors to take a specific action!

Of course, you will not always be able to include a call to action in every button; you won't always have the space. Your best bet in this case is to be As Clear As Possible.

For example, it would be difficult to include a call to action in a button of your navigation menu that leads to your newsletter back issues. There would not be room to say "click here now to read our newsletter back issues."

In this case, you'd just want to make sure that your copy online is clear. Label the button "Newsletter Back Issues" instead of "More" or "Old Stuff."

Now let's think about your links. Supposing "buy now" is the action you want... You have to give people a Reason Why they should buy. Huge, garishly colored words on a screen won't do the trick; added benefits will.

And in your links, you have a little more room to move. The call to action should remain the central focus of the link, but pack in as many benefits as possible around it.

Something like...

"Click Here Now to claim your 'Golfer's Guide to the Green' and instantly receive the downloadable video that features up-close-and-personal interviews with Pro Golfers who reveal their hottest golfing secrets, guaranteed to improve your game in 2 weeks or you don't pay!"

...will win out every time over "Buy now."

Hard And Fast Rule #4: You Must Pay Attention To Layout

Making the most of your layout is especially important when you're writing copy online.
The right blend of emphasis and information is the best way to attract viewers.
Don't underestimate the effectiveness of bolding, italics, underlining, color, and white space.

But don't overdo it either!

For example, an offer to subscribe to your newsletter must be Brief, Compelling, And Effective.
It will not be the main feature of your web page or anyone else's, so it must be attractive enough to grab the attention of a distracted reader.
But it also needs to remain readable and informative, without a gross misuse of formatting tricks.

If your ad has too much going on in it, it will look unattractive, unappealing, and unprofessional- and the clutter will detract from the meaning of your message.

On the other hand, too little emphasis leaves you in danger of never catching anyone's eye. If your ad is totally boring, no one will ever even see it- and if they somehow do, they probably won't look at it long enough to find out what it's about.

Of course, some of the formatting techniques discussed here are available only to people formatting their ads in HTML. Obviously, you have more options in HTML and can do pretty much whatever you like. But in text format, you don't have the choice of adding color, bold, italics, etc.

You DO, however, have the ability to use characters, spacing, capitalization, and indentation for effect.

So if we're formatting an ad for a newsletter subscription in text, we need to try to draw the reader's attention but not distract them once they're there.
With the right blend of emphasis and information, visual appeal and readability, it might look like this:

"Free Subscription to 'Potato Farmer's' Newsletter"

Subscribe today and on the first Tuesday of each month you'll receive tips and strategies from Industry Leaders who'll reveal...

- Secrets for selling your crops for the Highest Profits!

- Tricks for cutting down the time you spend in the field!

- Cost-effective strategies for Tripling Your Crop Yield!

- Plus much, much more!

Each issue contains tons of easy-to-implement techniques, guaranteed to Reduce Your Expences while dramatically Increasing Your Aannual Income!

Visit to subscribe!

Because we don't have the option of using bold, color, or underlining in the title, I've put the capitalized "FREE" at the very beginning to attract attention. I've also enclosed the headline in quotation marks for emphasis, and put the newsletter title in single quotes (which should always be used inside double quotes).

The main Features of the newsletter- what you'll learn from the experts- are emphasized by the use of bullet points and a nice amount of white space.
And all the Benefits of the newsletter are capitalized so that they're as eye-catching as possible. (Be careful with your use of caps, however- too many makes your ad unreadable.)

Last but not least is the call to action, and because it comes at the end of the ad, it is supported by all the benefits that came before it.

Final Thoughts on Copy Online

Now that you know the secrets of fitting high-impact copy online into small spaces, I'll let you in on another little secret... there's a lot more to learn!

In fact, this article itself has been an exercise in fitting tons of information into a relatively small space!

Writing copy online, designing banner ads, writing powerful classified ads, putting together an effective newsletter subscription offer... these are all topics that I've devoted entire lessons.

However, now that you have some of the basics under your belt, you should be able to Start Making Dramatic Improvements to your short copy online... improvements that will attract a much bigger response and increased sales! If all your copy online is written with the rules of benefits, audience, calls to action, and layout in mind, you simply can't lose.

And remember: no amount of copy online is so small that it can be overlooked... every link, button, banner, and classified ad is either making or breaking your marketing campaign as we speak!

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