• Email Copywriting
  • 5 copywriting tips from a comic book artist

    Whenever I see the words “storytelling secrets” on a book I’m all over it, even if the book isn’t about copywriting.

    Such was the case with Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by comic geek Scott McCloud.

    I loved comic books as a kid and my daughter is a manga (Japanese comics) fan so I figured this book would shed some light on the magic of this art form.

    As it turns out, there are some email copywriting tips here for you too, even if you’re not a fan of comics.

    Scott says that each cartoonist must make five choices before drawing a cartoon.

    As a copywriter you should try to make these same five choices before writing an email:

    1. Choice of Moment – This is about showing the moments that matter and cutting those that don’t.

    While writing email copy you could call this Choice of Benefit. Focus on only one product benefit in the email. Save your list of bullets for the sales page.

    2. Choice of Frame – Showing readers what they need to see and creating a sense of place.

    When possible, an email should have a time and place. For example, an opening like, “The other day at Starbucks it occurred to me that…”

    This makes your email more personal and of the moment and less like a canned email.

    3. Choice of Image. Creating pictures to fill the frame and bring the world of your story to life visually.

    An email copywriter does this by deciding what he wants the reader to imagine, such as a fit body,  tomato plants overflowing with ripe, healthy tomatoes every August, etc.

    Then tell a story or use a metaphor to create a word picture about it so that the reader can visualize it.

    The word “imagine” is one of the most powerful words at an email copywriter’s disposal. For maximum impact use it at the beginning of a sentence.

    4. Choice of Word. Communicate your ideas and story in a seamless way.

    Which type of words should you use to do this? Ten cent words, of course.

    And stay away from adjectives and adverbs. Use nouns and verbs instead.

    5. Choice of Flow. Clearing your reader’s path of obstacles for a smooth reading experience.

    For an email copywriter this means using short paragraphs (one or two sentences).

    Insert links in the copy in a way that feels natural, not intrusive, and include a question before the link, such as “how does that sound?”

    Better yet, insert only one link in the body of the email, near the end.

    Use a line width of 50-65 characters for ease of reading.

    Typos and sloppy grammar interrupt flow.

    I often use this email structure to ensure a smooth flow:  An opening that sets the frame, story, transition sentence or question, short pitch, link, P. S.

    As Scott says, storytellers want  readers to understand us and we want them to stick around.

    This requires clarity and persuasion. If you follow those five tips you’ll be well on your way.

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  • Email Copywriting
  • Is email copywriting touchy feely?

    Emotions and feelings are two different things.

    A sales page is usually about emotion. The copywriter focuses on a dominant emotion people in that market have, such as fear, greed, anger and writes the copy around that emotion.

    Email copywriters focus more on feelings.

    For every emotion there are usually many different feelings beneath the surface.

    Sometimes these feelings seem very different from the outer emotion.

    For example, if someone is angry on the outside, it could mean that they are angry because they feel hurt and rejected.

    Feelings are deeper than emotion.

    When you send emails, you can address all these many feelings.

    As you send emails to your list, make sure that, over time, you tap into many different feelings.

    Sometimes a person that lands on your sales page will leave, because the emotion there seems like static on a radio.

    But your emails will help them to dial in to the right frequency and make the static go away.

  • Customer Service
  • Are your listening ears on?

    When my daughter was 7 years old she went through a knitting phase.

    A friend taught her to knit and she would curl up on the couch every evening and knit for a little while.

    Her first project was a wash cloth. It was made with a mixture of purple and blue yarn.

    After she finished it she came up to me at my desk and told me.

    I was busy writing some copy and my mind was in another place. I did not hear her at all and she walked away.

    A little while later I went to the kitchen and she said to me, with tears, “I showed you my wash cloth and you didn’t even care!”

    I felt bad, of course, and gushed about her wash cloth as if it was a masterpiece.

    Then we had a little chat about how sometimes my listening ears don’t work properly when I’m working at the computer.

    Now…how about you?

    Are your listening ears on after you send an email to your customers?

    This doesn’t get discussed very often but sending an email is one of the best ways to listen to your customers.

    Rather than just focusing on getting them to click on your website, you should also try to write emails that they will want to reply to.

    Step back from your balance sheet and statistics once in a while and listen to your customers.

    It’s not just good for business. It’s good for you.

    After all, the whole point in growing yourself professionally is to become a better person, isn’t it?

  • Email Copywriting
  • A copywriting lesson from Andre Agassi: Which team are you on?

    I recently watched an interview with tennis player
    Andre Agassi. He admitted that he hated tennis
    his whole career.
    His father forced him to play tennis as a child even
    though he longed to play a team sport.
    During the first ten years of his career he had
    many ups and downs. He went from being #1
    player at one point to sinking so low he had
    to spend several months playing in the equivalent
    of the minor leagues in tennis.
    He was finally able to rise again and play
    at a consistent level after he had an epiphany…
    He realized he did have a team – his new prep school
    for disadvantaged children in Law Vegas.
    From the point on, he knew that every swing of the
    tennis racket was a swing for his school.
    Every victory was a victory for his school.
    This motivated him like nothing before ever did.
    Andre’s goal wasn’t to be the #1 player (that was
    always his father’s goal for him) but to win all
    four Grand Slam tournaments.
    The French Open was the one that alluded him.
    Finally, in 1999, 13 years after turning pro, he
    won this title.
    Here’s what you can learn from this:
    * Find a “team” to play for. It can be your family,
    a charity, your church, etc. Your achievements
    will have more meaning and it will be easier to
    stick to your goals if you have such a team.
    * Set your own goals – don’t become trapped
    by the expectations of others.
    * It’s never too late. In Andre’s case, many
    players aren’t still playing 13 years into their
    career. If they are, they often aren’t in peak
    condition and winning Grand Slams. If a
    particular goal has alluded you, you don’t have
    to give up.
    In addition to having a team to play for, you also
    need a team of people to help you.
    A mentor/coach and a few close friends and
    colleagues who will guide and advise you along
    the way.
    Books and workshops are useful tools too.

    In an interview on 60 Minutes, and in his book Open: An Autobiography
    , retired tennis star Andre Agassi admitted that he hated tennis.

    His father forced him to play tennis as a child even though he longed to play a team sport.

    During the first ten years of his career he had many ups and downs.

    He went from being the #1 player to sinking so low he had to spend several months playing in the equivalent of the minor leagues in tennis.

    He was finally able to rise again and play at a consistent level after he had an epiphany…

    He realized he did have a team – his new prep school for disadvantaged children in Las Vegas.

    From the point on, he knew that every swing of the tennis racket was a swing for his school.

    Every victory was a victory for his school.

    This motivated him like nothing before ever did.

    Andre’s goal wasn’t to be the #1 player (that was always his father’s goal for him) but to win all four Grand Slam tournaments.

    The French Open was the one that alluded him. Finally, in 1999, 13 years after turning pro, he won this title.

    Here’s what you can learn from this:

    * Find a “team” to play for. It can be your family, a charity, your church, etc.

    Your achievements as a copywriter/marketer will have more meaning and it will be easier to stick to your goals if you have such a team.

    * Set your own goals – don’t become trapped by the expectations of others.

    * It’s never too late. In Andre’s case, many players aren’t still playing 13 years into their career. If they are, they often aren’t in peak condition and winning Grand Slams.

    If a particular goal has alluded you, you don’t have to give up. Even if you sink into the “minor leagues” for a while, you can come roaring back.

    In addition to having a team to play for, you also need a team of people to help you.

    A mentor/coach and a few close friends and colleagues who will guide and advise you along the way.

    Books and workshops are useful tools too.

    Focusing on persuasion skills, profits, conversion rates, opt-in rates, etc. all the livelong day can get tedious. There has to be more to copywriting than that otherwise copywriting quickly becomes just another job.

    So get yourself a team if you don’t have one already.