Basic copywriting skills are essential for any business owner. You can write an ad today, have it published in newspapers or online tomorrow and will get sales the same day.
Discover how to write ads with a simple formula: HPSA. It’s an acronym for Headline, Pain, Solution, Action. HPSA works for any kind of ad, from a simple classified ad to a long direct response sales letter, whether for the Web or print.
Think you can’t write ads and that you need a copywriter? If you can talk, you can write. Certainly you’ll want to use a pro copywriter for long direct response letters in which you’ll invest a lot of money for printing and postage, but you’ll be amazed what you can accomplish yourself when you pick up the skills of writing everyday copy.
The major benefit of do-it-yourself copywriting is that you can get an ad selling for you fast – you won’t have to wait for your favorite copywriter to fit you into his busy schedule.
Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes
The more you can put yourself in the shoes of your customers, the more easily you’ll sell.
So start by making a list of the benefits of your product. Customers buy benefits, not features.
For example, if you’re selling a dog bed, a feature might be that the bed has ten inches of foam cushioning. So what? Your customer thinks. Sell the benefit of the foam, which is: the luxurious foam relieves pressure on sore or arthritic joints ensuring that the bed’s comfortable for aging, arthritic dogs.
The easiest way to list benefits is to write down all the features of a product, then beside each feature, make a list of the benefits the feature provides.
You can even get your customers to help you with this. From now on, ask each customer which particular feature of your product caused them to buy – what benefits particularly attracted him?
Got Benefits? Now You Can Use Headline, Pain, Solution, Action
Your ad’s headline does two things: it stops your customer in his tracks, and classifies him. When he stops and reads “Dog Arthritis? Your Faithful Friend Rests Easy On Our Dog Beds”, the customer will keep reading if he’s your target audience.
The more specific you can make your headline, the better.
Next, remind your customer of his Pain, which in our dog bed example, is his pain when he sees his dog whine when the dog tries to lie down, and get up again, because he’s old and his joints are sore.
Tell a story here, about how your luxury dog bed helped a particular old dog – you can include a customer testimonial too, if you have sufficient space in the ad.
Now you’ve targeted your customer, and have reminded him of why he needs a good dog bed, you can describe the benefits of the dog bed – why your dog bed is the Solution to the customer’s problem.
Finally, tell your customer how he can take Action – how he can buy the dog bed – and you’re done.