Avoid Copy That Makes You Look Like an Ass

Avoid Copy That Makes You Look Like an Ass

Reader Comments (32)

  1. That is donkey! I missed that ass. But you should definitely avoid copy like this. I might have go over this again and think about it for awhile. Or then again and I might go watch Shrek.

  2. I try to do what you’re suggesting every time I write. Since I’m in the overcrowded make money from home niche, but trying to reach the people that are smart enough to know that only a handful of people ever make it big, I need to write articles that are about the simple, easy, fast, REAL cash generating opportunities that exist. I can’t rehash the same ideas that are all over the internet. I try to be different and give my audience what they want-the REAL deal. It’s hard sometimes to get caught up in the hype of making money online, or get rich quick ideas.

  3. Great point, James

    Taking your point one step further, I think understanding the customer by reaching out to them gains some great insights.

    That’s what I like about the internet – instant interaction (which leads to research). The real power of social media is listening to potential customers & building your offer/voice around that research.

  4. Hey James,

    One way I’ve found to really connect with what core desires someone has is have them tell you themselves.

    But not online. In an interview disguised as a call to get a testimonial. When you artfully ask questions which allow someone to open up to you, this is where the rich real life tidbits flow from.

    You get them expressing their feelings about their story of redemption. Everyone likes telling this story and talking about it over the phone is 1,000 times easier than typing the full thing out for some people.

    People like my dad. He can blab and blab and blab. But he can only type about 2 words a minute. So for him the idea of typing a story means pain.

    What also means pain for some people is the fact they believe their writing is horrible if it’s not perfect. Therefore they never even attempt to write.

    People like talking about themselves. When you call them and ask them questions that make them feel good they’ll open up to you.

    Try this out. See if you like it. I’m guessing you will.

    Note Taking Nerd #2

  5. @ Note – If you know their pain, you can sell them a band-aid. Emotional content works!

    @ Mark – Knowing your customer more than you know your own company gives people *such* valuable insight that it’s almost crazy. You see the trees and the forest at the same time.

    @ Melissa – Giving people what works for what they really want right now is a sure winner for success. We all want to make money online, sure, but how? Why? What are people’s motivators to making that money? We don’t try to make money just because, after all!

    @ Franklin – I prefer Marty, but then he’s a zebra, so what do I know, eh?

    @ Michael – Surveys rock. The trick is to avoid framing questions to get the answers we want to hear, and go after the answers that people really want to give us instead.

  6. Always need to think in the mind of your audience. This way you can better connect with them and write for them, not just to them.

  7. This is good–it’s very easy to think we know exactly what our customers want. Getting too cocky about that is a great way to make expensive business-killing mistakes.

  8. James, this is such an annoying post. Not being of the copywriterly genetic pool, now I have to go and re-read everything again. 😉 Might have to sign up for a drive by…

  9. Just to play devil’s advocate, people value authenticity and consistency online. They only way to be authentic and consistent is to be yourself, surely, rather than think into a reader’s head.

    Sure, this means that page/product won’t sell to everyone. Maybe you need a different page/product for the others?

  10. Wow, great post indeed a real eyeopener. I’m actually redesigning my entire website just because of the content. Design wise it looks pretty good but the content just doesn’t work.

    Thank you for this post

  11. James,

    Who the heck wants a quiet, comfortable existence? I thought everyone wanted to seize the spark of creativity while paying the bills?

    Seriously, I think about motivators all the time, but never quite in this way. This post did exactly what a good one should—made me think about something where I was about to say “yeah, yeah” in a really fresh way.

    Have to go ponder this now…



  12. @ Craig – Talking to someone is never as good as a great conversation between two people. Even worse is talking AT someone.

    @ Sonia – I think too many people have a vested interest and get too close to their company to be able to think straight about it. Those who can truly separate themselves tend to have better success.

    @ Paul – I have this urge to pit my donkey against your sheep and sell tickets to the brawl.

    @ Lisa – I’m sorry. Consider it a measure of my confidence in your ability that I know you’ll do just fine.

    @ Kelly – Nyah, nyah! Made ya think!

  13. “We think everyone wants what we want. We think everyone feels what we feel.”

    Especially when we take the time to start a blog on a topic we’re very passionate about 🙂

  14. I’ve had this happen several times to me – some (usually a youngish salesperson) asking me incredulously why I don’t want to “make more money” or something similar.

    The answer is, I often don’t. There are many, many things I don’t want to do to make money, and you should not take offense if one of them isn’t what you are offering.

    There are lots of reasons for this: sometimes it’s moral (I wouldn’t hurt someone innocent just to make a buck), sometimes it’s business knowledge (I may not know enough about whatever it is to get into it. Warren Buffet totally avoided the .com era, for example), sometimes it’s opportunity (I might make $50 off your deal, but then I didn’t have the time to make $100 off something else) but often it’s about focus – I do what I’m good at, and I’m good at what I do.

    As for the devils advocate position of only talking in your own voice, that’s only good if you only plan to sell to yourself. Good salespeople try to make the customer happy, not themselves. This means you need to understand what makes the customer happy – not just you.

    Great post, BTW.

  15. I think the financial security of paying each months’ bills is a good life marketing strategy, but how dull if that is all you can achieve! Help others to achieve their goals in Life! Build a business. Write a book. Travel. Comment on blogs. Read. Invent something useless. After the bills are paid, it’s oh so good to have a little energy left to make the world a brighter place! That’s assuming you want it to be different… 🙂

  16. James- My head was nodding like a silly drinking bird reading this post! AMEN – AMEN-AMEN!!!!

    I learned this lesson as I do all lessons – the HARD WAY! It was long ago and I was working as an Account Executive with an ad agency. I began working with a client whose new business was BURSTING with potential. We began an aggressive advertising campaign and in my mind achieved oustanding results. Then, about 18 months into our relationship (right after Christmas) they called a meeting and announced they were closing their doors. Seems all they wanted was to be able to pay their bills and live comfortably. I gave them double digit growth which it turned out was a lot more WORK than either of the partners wanted to engage in.

    That was the first time I got slapped in the face with projecting my “assumptions” on others!

  17. Great point, and one that’s often ignored. Knowing your customer’s desires is the first step to making a sale. A lot of the copywriters of the world target one set of emotions, where a fuller approach is to go after different cases – I know most sales in the marketing side happen due to overwhelmed managers.

  18. What motivates you? What makes you Look?
    Does a Remarkable Business Presentation make you look, trust, comfortable, create confidence in a product…?
    There is a well-proven time tested way to find out Exactly what your prospect wants everytime. Ask Them! Listen to them! Solve their problems! Sell them benefits not features!Be honest with them! Great selling is not mind reading.
    And for Gods sake, ask them for their business, (close the
    My favorite subject is me, not you and your business, all I want to know is, what you can do for me.
    If a prospect starts to look confused it’s because you’re making them think. thanks, Bob Lewis

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