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You’ve written your sales copy and are nearly ready to unleash your masterpiece of persuasion on the world … Hold on! First imagine your readers will be responding to your copy with a few rude questions. If you do you’ll uncover a little extra gold that makes your pitch stronger, and more likely to win business.

Rude Question 1: ‘What’s In It For Me?’

If there’s one truth we copywriters have to accept pretty quickly, it’s that no one reads our work for literary delight. In most cases people would rather be doing something else entirely than reading sales copy. That means you have to keep readers engaged with a promised payoff that serves their self interest. Work out what fuels that interest, deliver it with power and you’ll find your reader more likely to follow your words to the last, and respond.

Rude Question 2: ‘So What?’

You won’t galvanise a reader into action by offering weak claims and vague promises. Making shallow statements like “we have many happy customers” or “our bicycles are built to last” is unlikely to impress anyone. If you really want to influence, use some hard facts and statistics you can back up with proof. Use genuine testimonials from real people (with a photo, if you can), be specific about your product’s features and benefits and work on getting verification from an independent authority. Saying “94% of Our Customers Come Back Every Month” or showing “5 Ways Our Bicycles Travel Further” will carry much more credibility.

Rude Question 3: ‘Why Should I?’

At some point in your delivery you will want to ask your readers to do something – your call-to-action. This might encourage them to buy now, download free content or give you their email address. One of the most powerful ways to improve response rates is to give people a reason why. For example, rather than offer the insipid “sign up for our newsletter” make a promise and say “You’ll be better informed with our news updates!”

Imagine They’re Selfish and Just Don’t Care

However convincing you believe your marketing materials to be, you can sharpen your copy considerably if you first assume your readers are plain sceptical and disinterested. Put yourself in your reader’s place, remove all powers of patience and concentration and start to think up ways of convincing even the grumpiest of folk. Then see how much more convincing you become …