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Don't Let Hyped Copywriting Destroy Your Business
Technical industrial business marketing library and tutorials
by Robert Warren

Read more articles by Robert Warren
Sometimes we get impatient being patient. We don't want it a year from now; we want it now. We don't want to hear that most businesses take over two years to establish a good enough relationship with their market to turn a profit. That's not good enough for us. There has to be a quicker way, and there are some copywriters out there offering one:

"You will make $10,000 in JUST ONE MONTH - GUARANTEED!"

"Not making sales? Not sure what to do? Buy this book and it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!"

"CLICK NOW for the secrets of the MASTERS!"

"I went from rags to riches in just a week WITH THIS GREAT SYSTEM!!"

No doubt you've read these taglines as often as I have. It's hype, the first sign of a lazy and incompetent copywriter - and, if you're not careful, it'll destroy your business.

The appeal of this kind of writing is easy to see. It "reaches out and grabs the reader". It "drives the reader to a buying decision". It's easier to grasp and definitely easier to implement than a well-considered marketing plan. It's "now".

That's the entire appeal of hyped copywriting: the hope that aggressive "buy it now" promotional language will suddenly make reality go away, replacing it with the land of leprechauns and pots of gold.

Unfortunately, hyped copywriting doesn't expand your market. It cannibalizes it. If your business depends on immediate impulse sales, you might - stress: might - get a temporary jump in conversions, but at the expense of rapidly shrinking your range of available prospects. While a few people here and there may actually believe what you're writing, most educated and skeptical adults will be turned off by it, steering clear and never giving your business another thought. Except, maybe, to pass along to friends for a good laugh.. which isn't the kind of publicity you want.

Are you struggling with hype in your business? Try these tips:

Don't use "all or nothing" absolutist claims, and don't guarantee more than you can reasonably deliver. Beware making any claim that has no exceptions. Few things are always or never, and you aren't in a position to predict the future; never guarantee results that you can't personally deliver. You'll only ruin your credibility and, if you're not careful, run afoul of the law for deceptive advertising.

Target your writing to the real needs of a specific market. Hyped copywriting is purely lowest-common-denominator stuff, geared towards anyone willing to read it. This accomplishes two things: it lowers expectations as far as they can go, and it ensures that your product or service stays mired in bargain-basement pricing. Markets willing to pay higher prices will go somewhere else.

Aspire to something greater in your copywriting. Target the real needs of specific markets, and deliver your message in an intelligent way that appeals to the psychological needs at their roots. Deliver a presentation that an intelligent person can trust, and intelligent people will trust you.

Sacrifice the immediate sale in favor of the long-term relationship. If you want repeat and referral business, don't try to sell with your copy. Instead, educate. Inform. Build trust by being honest and establish relationships by being respectful, and save the sale for the personal contact. Hyped copy tells the reader that your interest in them stops once you have their money - probably not the best message you could deliver.

Quality copy is an important sales tool, but in the end it's still just a tool. Use it to support your salesmanship, not replace it.

Don't resort to style tricks. You don't need to capitalize letters or use lots of exclamation points to get your message across. Just be simple and direct with your words, and deliver a finely-tuned presentation to a well-researched market: that's all it takes. Leave the gimmicks at home.

Be patient. The root cause of copy hype is the unwillingness to invest the hard time and money in building a sturdy business. It's a shortcut, and a bad one. Instead of using the written word to try rushing the sale, use it instead to create the space your prospect needs to make an informed decision. It takes longer, but the rewards are far greater. Just keep working and be patient.

There's no question that hyped copywriting makes sales. It sells lowest-cost items to indiscriminate audiences who will never come back for a second sale, while alienating higher-quality markets and maybe even attracting a lawsuit or criminal judgment. It makes sales, but it destroys businesses.

You decide which means more to you.

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(c) Robert Warren, Writer and Editor - Freelance Technical Copywriter, California and Florida - T/ 209.232.4219
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