Categories
SEO

Outsource SEO Content Writing With This Simple Template

The other day, a client asked me about my content outsourcing process to create content for SEO content writing purposes. I explained the various steps and enclosed a content writing template. I realized that this might be helpful to you, too.

Before I fill out this template and order content for my clients, I first conduct a complete audit, keyword research, and topical pagematch.

The pagematch document helps me to map topics to specific pages on my client's website. Sometimes, they have all the pages already that simply need to be refreshed, massaged or edited, or rewritten entirely to fit the matched topic.

But other times, we need to create new content from scratch. This is where I fill out a content order form that I send to content writers to whom I outsource.

Now, if my client is a good enough of a writer (or they prefer writing their own content), I still fill out the order template as a way of guiding them. It's to suggest the kind of content I recommend for their blogs in order to achieve the traction they want, and the things I want the article to include.

More often than not, however, I will have the content reviewed and edited by SEO content editors. It's not about diluting the content's value by stuffing it with keywords. It's about adding all the other elements that go into the article, such as tags, images, links, formatting, etc.

I'd rather have quality content that's useful and relevant to the audience than SEO-driven content. As it should be with you, too.

SEO Content Writing Order Template

Here's a look at what I typically include in my content writing orders. Using “cosmetic surgery” as an example, an order form can look something like this:

  1. Tile (60 characters maximum): 5 things to consider when choosing a cosmetic surgery procedure
  2. Topic: cosmetic surgery
  3. Primary Keyword: cosmetic surgery procedure
  4. Secondary Keywords (comma separated): plastic surgery, cosmetic surgeon, plastic surgeon
  5. Links: anchor texts must include primary keyword in one of them.
    • https://www.webmd.com/beauty/ss/slideshow-cosmetic-surgery
    • https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/patient-resources/cosmetic-surgery-vs-plastic-surgery/
  6. Inclusions: photo of a woman in her 50s looking in the mirror, contemplating doing something about her appearance.
  7. Size: 1,200 words
  8. Additional: include in content pricing considerations, doctor credentials, importance of before-and-after photos.
  9. Description (160 characters maximum): write meta-description and include primary keyword.
  10. Headers: include 2-5 H2 tags with secondary keywords, and add them where they make sense.

Explanation of Each Content Order Item

  1. The title is both the title tag and H1 HTML tag unless specified otherwise. Title tags are no more than 60 characters in length. Either I write the title for them or give the writer an idea of what I want as a title.
  2. The topic is the main topic of the article. Typically, it's the core idea or theme (e.g., topical cluster or parent topic), which can sometimes be the blog category that the article will be filed under. But not always.
  3. The primary keyword was determined while doing research with my tools, either Ahrefs or SEM Rush. Using Rank Math plugin in WordPress, for example, it's labeled as “Focused Keyword.” It's also the word that the tool uses to measure its SEO score and offer suggestions for.
  4. The secondary keywords are variations of the primary keyword or keywords that fall within the same topical cluster. They could also be other non-related keywords but that support other posts, or keywords for creating context and internal links.
  5. Any links, either internal links to other blogs on the same website or external links to supporting documentation, articles, or related reading. A great tactic is, if you have an FAQ on your site, you can link to a question and answer regarding a term that may be unfamiliar to the reader.
  6. Inclusions are anything I want to be added to the article, such as images, embeds (video or audio), graphics, quotes, snippets, or scripts.
  7. Size of the article. Pretty self-explanatory.
  8. The additional section is anything else I want the writer to include, watch out for, or avoid in their article. For example, “Do not talk about [this] but be sure to describe [that].” (If the content is for a licensed professional, I'll add critical instructions to avoid breaking any regulations or to respect any ethical boundaries.)
  9. The article description is meant for the HTML's meta-description, which is up to a maximum of 160 characters. It's also perfect to add as the article excerpt and content to be used when social sharing. Again, Rank Math offers this ability, where you can include the exact content you want to be used when readers share your post on social media.
  10. Any headers throughout the content, either written for them or instructions on what they should involve.

Quick and Dirty “Reverse” SEO Hack

A final comment, and it's related to the last point (#10). A really cool technique is to reverse engineer content that's outranking you by using winning content as a way to add more content or to improve your existing posts.

Steve Toth, owner of SEO Notebook, describes this process as follows:

  1. Google the main keyword you want to rank for.
  2. Open the top ranking blogs and note their H1-H3s.
  3. Rephrase the headings/topics that you like.
  4. Write 200 words of copy for each new heading.
  5. Do this for 3-5 headings (creating a new 1,000-word post).
  6. Publish the post and submit it to the search engines.

Remember, earlier I said you can edit and refresh older articles to make them more palatable and SEO-friendly. Well, if you're a bit more of an SEO geek, here's a way to use Steve's technique above but with existing content:

  1. Open up Google Search Console.
  2. Find a keyword with high clicks and impressions but not ranking well.
  3. Copy the link to your article that's associated with those results.
  4. Google the keyword and look at the first 3-5 top-ranked search results.
  5. Visit them, and look at their H1, H2, and H3 tags. Note them somewhere.
  6. Compare them to the headings you already have in your article.
  7. Select 3-5 topics you haven't covered that have decent search volume (either check them with your SEO tool or use your intuition).
  8. Go back to your article, rephrase and include the headings you've selected where they make sense.
  9. Write 200 words for each of those topics and make them H2s.

According to Steve, he used this technique by adding these new sections even at the bottom of the article, and it was quite effective in doubling traffic to existing content. If you want to use this technique, Steve has graciously offered a link to his Blog Accelerator Technique with more detailed instructions.

Categories
SEO

Stop Writing For SEO, Do These 3 Things Instead

On ClientCon, hosted by Liston Witherill, presenter Margo Aaron gave a great presentation on writing for one's audience. An Inc.com contributing writer and talented copywriter, she had a lot to say on the topic.

During the Q&A at the end, an audience member asked about writing for SEO when trying to write for one's audience. Her question was:

“There seems to be so much emphasis on writing stuff that will have better SEO, but that’s not really what I want to write about and I get stuck there. Any tips? I just want to be recognized as a trusted advisor in my niche.”

Margo's response was spot-on.

She said to write for the user, not the search engines. You can go back and edit or “massage” the content to fit SEO later, and I agree.

But to that, I would add this:

Writing for the search engines is actually old-school.

It’s the way we used to write content. We would stuff the content with keywords as we write, refine the jargon to match exact keyphrases, and even rewrite and twist it so much that it compromised its quality, comprehension level, and intent just to appeal to search bots.

(Margo herself mentioned this was a common occurrence at Inc.com, where they would edit her articles into something completely different than what she initially wrote, which diluted some of the points she was trying to make.)

Yes, there is a certain level of SEO that's intrinsic to the content. But it’s mostly related to signals, and to the assurance that those signals are captured.

Now that is true SEO. 

You want to make sure the content is crawlable, readable, and understandable by the search engines. It's what SEO is meant to do. A part of it is technical, and another is subjective to the degree that the content is contextually relevant to and authoritative enough for its intended audience.

Simply, SEO should not and never be the focus in your writing. At least not in the first draft. Both you and Google serve the same customer. So always — always! — write for the user, and you will automatically write for Google, too.

It's not about keywords, stuffing content, or making content click-worthy.

Google’s algorithms no longer rely on keywords alone. Its machine-learning algorithm, called Rankbrain, focuses on the topic, relevance, and authority of a piece of content. Its natural language processing algorithm, called BERT, focuses on patterns, context, and intent.

So keywords and SEO hacks are becoming less relevant. Content, particularly quality content, is more important. And context, which helps to match the content with the user's search intent, is equally important.

So write as an authority on the subject matter and write for your audience.

The rest will fall into place naturally.

In other words, if you write for your audience first, your SEO will be halfway there.

To echo what Margo said, saying “write first, edit later” is not just applicable to content, style, or grammar. It also includes SEO. If you want to improve the SEO, you can apply tweaks after you’re done writing.

As she said, go back and use better keywords, include headers, add images with proper tags, etc. (But even then, these things are minimal and secondary.)

If you focus on the quality of your content, which means the content is relevant, authoritative, and valuable to your audience (i.e., it’s useful or meaningful to them), Google will send more traffic your way as a result.

What you want is to focus on the signals, not the content.

In other words, when your content is done, and if it's good, then focus on getting it noticed — not on what it says. That’s why, when I create an SEO strategy for my clients, I typically focus on the following three key areas:

  1. The quality of the content,
  2. The quality of the user experience, and
  3. The amplification of the signals to both #1 and #2.

I already talked a lot about the first two. Signals communicate to the search engines that your content and user experience are of high quality. They can be internal and external. They include things like (and this is just a partial list):

  • Content quality signals (e.g., credentials, author bios, citations, references, supporting research, fact-checking, article length, website age, etc).
  • Content validation signals (e.g., audience engagement, external reviews, backlinks, social proof, brand mentions, domain authority, etc).
  • User experience signals (e.g, site architecture, navigation, bounce rates, security, page speed, usability, accessibility, mobile responsiveness, etc).
  • Search intent signals (e.g., schema markup, headers, formatting, images, HTML tags, meta information, topical relationships, content proximity, etc).

And so on.

Signal amplification is where you increase the signals so that the search engines can find, determine, and rank your content for its relevancy, authoritativeness, and valuableness.

For example, to increase social signals, you want to share your content on social media, and get others to share your content and engage with it.

Doing so, you are telling Google that your content may be worthy.

In some cases, paying for amplification, such as boosting your content on social media, for example, can help maximize the exposure to (and invite the amplification of) those signals. It’s a kickstart, but not always necessary.

You can also target and engage with specific people, profiles, pages, or personalities (such as influencers and micro-influencers in your niche) to engage with your content and, hopefully, reshare it, too.

Let’s not forget groups, forums, and communities, too, like Reddit and Quora. Answering questions on them and pointing to your content for added support or further learning will also boost its amplification.

You can do it through repurposing, too, such as offering the same (or parts of your) content through email courses, drip campaigns, hosted videos, podcasts, interviews, infographics, carousels, guest blogs, press releases, and so on.

Ultimately, the goal is to increase signals alerting Google that your content is quality content. Often, the best way to do that is to leverage other people’s efforts and assets to amplify your content.

Because, by doing so, you are piggybacking on and leveraging the credibility, clout, and seeming objectivity of third parties (through their backlinks, brand mentions, and engagement levels from their audiences, for example).

Categories
SEO

What Google Wants With Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)

As a professional, your content is your beacon. It’s your magnet. It’s what gets people to notice you; it gets them to learn more about you; and it gets them interested in you, in what you have to say, and in what you do.

But your content alone is not enough.

Google, in an attempt to curb spammers and dubious content, updated its database in August of 2018 with an algorithm that both awarded good content providers and penalized poor ones.

Called “EAT,” which is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, the update focused on the three pillars upon which Google evaluates a piece of content, and the content's validity and veracity.

Also dubbed the “Medic Update,” because medical and health-related sites were the ones most affected, it also applied to anything related to your money or your life, also called “YMYL pages.”

Lots of acronyms, I know.

Basically, any page with content that could potentially negatively impact the quality of a person’s health, happiness, finances, or safety is targeted in the update. This includes content related to law, health, nutrition, finances, news, safety, jobs, shopping, fitness, and so on.

Obviously, professionals fall into that category.

Everything a professional does is related to YMYL in some way. Even when professionals are in B2B, it still applies, as people are still the ones making purchasing decisions and not businesses.

Professionals most affected are doctors and healthcare practitioners, but the update also affected dentists, chiropractors, accountants, financial advisors, lawyers, nutritionists, personal trainers, engineers, consultants, and so on.

In short, if you offer any advice that's meant to help people but also runs the risk of hurting them, too, your content is affected in some way.

With the rise of fake news and the manipulation of search results, it’s no wonder Google wants to deliver the best and most relevant content to its users. But it also wants to give them the most reliable results, too.

Results that users can trust.

Because, when you think about it, after someone gets bad advice or has a bad experience with a website they found on Google, the user will blame Google to some degree. Even if it's indirectly or unconsciously.

So what can you do to improve your content’s EAT?

Ultimately, Google wants websites filled with content. But it wants content written or reviewed by experts.

But how does Google evaluate expertness?

If you have published books and articles that are reviewed, particularly peer-reviewed, and if you have profiles and credentials on your website as well as other reliable websites, all these “signals” and more leave a digital footprint that Google uses to validate your expertise.

In fact, Google has published its guidelines, which are freely available.

It’s a long read, but there are some quick things you can do to optimize for YMYL. Here’s a partial list, which should give you some idea:

  • Make sure your content is clearly marked as written or reviewed by an expert, which is done through a variety of on-page signals:
    • “About the author” section at the bottom.
    • Author schema markup in the code.
    • Proper citations or links to references.
    • Supporting resources if necessary.
  • Have online profiles and bios of the content creator or site owner with demonstrable expertise:
    • Credentials (e.g., education, experience, certifications, awards, etc).
    • Other relevant published content on other trusted websites.
    • Expertise related exposure or work, such as speaking at conferences, guest lecturing, giving expert interviews, having media mentions, etc.
  • Make sure your content is factually accurate, and run it by Google, too.
  • Add plenty of data that support and backup your claims, and make sure that the data comes from reputable and trusted sources, too.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and valid social proof, such as seals of approval, third-party validators (e.g., security seals), and certifications.
  • Obtain and collect reviews, ratings, and recommendations from reputable sites that validate your content and/or your website.
  • Make sure your NAP (i.e., name, address, and phone) are indicated on the website, in the schema markup, and on directory and business listings to demonstrate that you are a real business with a real location.
  • Finally, avoid offering any advice in which you have no expertise, or citing or linking to advice from poor sources; doing so will harm the EAT of the website as a whole, even if other content is valid.

Remember, this is just a partial list. There are plenty of other things you can do.

What’s important is to ensure EAT is applied across the entire website, and not just on content pieces or YMYL pages. Because search engines will evaluate your content not only by itself but also according to the website as a whole.

Categories
Productivity

I Was Lying For Over 30 Years

For the better part of 30 years, I told the story of how I got into marketing and copywriting, which was completely by accident.

I only recently realized that I've been wrong all along. Well, not entirely, because the story is certainly true. What was wrong was my reason behind it.

My first career was as a licensed insurance agent. I jumped into sales because I feared rejection. I hated it with a passion, and I figured that selling would force me to beat this thing. After all, there is no better way to get rejected all the time than being in sales.

“Do the thing you fear and the death of that fear is certain,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson noted. Right? And so I did.

Plus, the lure of being your own boss, which appealed to me since I've been chronically unemployable all my life, as well as working on commission (i.e., the potential of making a lot of money) were other important factors.

In the 80s, selling insurance meant going from door to door. A few people politely refused while others yelled at me and slammed the door in my face.

The pain of rejection was so intense and debilitating, I slept in more times than I cared to count. I used every excuse in the book to stop myself from knocking on doors, including being hungover, which happened often.

Here's the part I got wrong.

I blamed my fear of rejection and intense sensitivity on my alcoholic father. He was emotionally and psychologically abusive. Luckily, he only became violent when he was sober, which was rare.

My first marriage, which failed disastrously, was to another heavy drinker — it's as if I had unconsciously married my father. But because of my sensitivity, I joined her drinking binges on occasion, hence the many hangovers.

Working on strict commission, I had no income to show for. I eventually racked up a heavy debtload of multiple credit cards and loans to provide for my young family. After the first six months on the job, I declared bankruptcy.

That's when I discovered almost entirely by chance that I could write and mail salesletters to get appointments. Prospects called me instead. The only rejection I got at that point, if any, was when I didn't close the sale.

When people are interested in what you're selling, closing is easy. In fact, I became the top salesperson in Canada for several months in a row. I loved selling and helping people. It was the prospecting bit that I hated so much.

This eventually led me to become a marketing consultant and copywriter.

The flaw in my thinking was that, all this time, I blamed my father as the cause of my sensitivity. But after my ADHD diagnosis at age 52, I learned that a common trait is something called Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD).

This completely changed my perception.

RSD is “extreme emotional sensitivity and pain triggered by the perception that a person has been rejected or criticized.” It may be triggered by a sense of falling short or failing to meet other people's expectations — including those of your alcoholic loved ones.

The reason I mention this story is to bring up an important point.

Sensitivity was both a bottleneck and a springboard for me.

It still is to this day.

In my practice, I focus on “positioning” rather than “prospecting.” It's at the heart of what I teach and consult other professionals on.

Similarly, I believe we all have to deal with some negative aspects of ourselves that are stumbling blocks in our lives or careers. But we also have both the opportunity and the capacity to turn that negative into a positive.

I don't mean something tantamount to Pollyannaism. I don't mean giving it a positive spin, either. As a copywriter, I know this all too well.

I mean turning your weakness into a strength quite literally.

In 1962, Hertz was the leading car rental company. After years of trying to compete with the market leader, Avis relented and turned its disadvantaged position into an advantage — to the benefit of their clients.

They took out a newspaper ad showing the caricature of a large fish attempting to eat a smaller one. It contained several paragraphs, but the headline read:

“When you're only No. 2, you try harder. Or else.”

After that, the best lines in the ad were the first and last ones.

The first said: “Little fish have to keep moving all of the time. The big ones never stop picking on them.” The last: “Since we're not big fish, you won't feel like a sardine when you come to our counter — we're not jammed with customers.”

The ad was a huge hit, so much so that it became the first of a series of print ads (and then TV commercials until the 90s) that focused on turning an underdog position into the best argument for better service.

It was a stroke of brilliance and marketing audacity. But it was also based on truth, because Avis really did do a lot of things differently than Hertz.

The ad agency simply saw it as a David-and-Goliath opportunity.

It wasn't as much spin as it was stating (or in this case, flaunting) the obvious. It forced Hertz to constantly fight back to stay ahead. But it was so focused on beating Avis that a little car rental company called Enterprise eventually leapfrogged over both of them.

Here's what you can take from all this.

A career coach I know teaches job-seekers how to respond to interview questions. There's one question that is almost always asked:

“What is your biggest weakness?”

She recommends not trying to skirt around the issue (or worse, lie), but to be truthful and answer the question dead-on. Say it. But like Avis, you can turn that weakness into a positive for the prospective employer. A real, bonafide benefit.

For example, she says that, if your biggest weakness is being overly critical, then it makes you meticulous and attentive, requiring little correction. You don't work well under pressure? That means you plan accordingly to avoid it, making you an excellent planner.

As a professional, positioning yourself as a recognized expert in the mind of your market will always outweigh your credentials. They are important, for sure. But if other professionals share the same credentials, you become interchangeable.

If you try to compete with other professionals, then you're always comparing yourself to them. You're always trying to focus on what makes you better.

Instead, focus on what makes you different.

Don't be better, be different.

Find something about you that's different or some way to differentiate yourself.

You can focus on a key strength that no other competitor has or can match. But if you're stuck, you can also take a weakness and use it to stand out. This is particularly helpful if that weakness is a pain-point for you and trying to correct it causes you more pain.

Turn that into a marketable, beneficial-to-the-client competitive edge, like:

  • A paraplegic physical trainer specializes in helping people with spinal injuries and disabilities, and is a spokesperson for an adaptive fitness equipment manufacturer.
  • A psychologist who has gone through several failed marriages specializes in counseling couples where either partner was formerly a divorcee.
  • An ex-convicted cybehacker specializes in auditing computer systems to find vulnerabilities and consults corporate clients on security awareness.
  • A doctor who suffered physician burnout from an overburdened healthcare system specializes in coaching other doctors on how to manage their stress — and is also a patient care advocate and activist.

These are just a few examples.

You don't have to turn your weakness into a mission as some of these people have done (although you certainly can, and in such cases, the mission becomes your positioning statement).

The key is to differentiate yourself, which will make you implicitly superior. Sometimes, the way to do that is to turn a negative into a positive.

In other words, turn faults into fulcrums.

Categories
SEO

Digital Marketing Specialist: Communicate Authority by Association

In a previous article, I wrote about five different ways to build perceived value as a professional. I call them the “5 Cs.” Quickly, they are: content, credentials, case studies, community, and care.

“Community” is where you create a rassemblement of clients and peers who can share success stories and best practices, and support each other.

One subscriber asked, “How can a lawyer create a community of clients without breaking privilege?”

Having a community of existing clients in certain professions, such as lawyers and doctors, is obviously challenging if not prohibitive. But one way is to create a public community where people can follow you.

For example, create a page on social media that people can like, follow, comment on, engage with, and interact with you and your content. This gives your audience a place for knowledge and information exchange.

Social media offers the ability for people to follow you and share of their own volition. I've also seen professionals do this with private Facebook groups, Slack channels, discussion forums, blogs with comment sections, etc.

One professional (a computer engineer) has a voluntary Slack channel for clients to join, but has moderators, a set of rules to follow, and openly warns his members to refrain from posting any sensitive information.

There's also another extremely powerful way.

Over the course of my career, I've advised many professionals to start their own associations — and several have.

Sure, most professionals have memberships in associations that certify, license, set codes of conduct, and oversee their profession. But I'm referring to business associations or industry associations that can meet an unfilled need in your community.

One client of mine, a cosmetic surgeon, created his own association for the advancement of specific surgical procedures in his field. At last count, his association has 1,000 members throughout 70 countries.

He offered professional development opportunities, invited the sharing and collaboration of ideas and new techniques, gave out awards at conferences and events, and more.

But the best part is, his bio included that he was the founder and past president of the association, which he proudly displayed alongside his credentials, on his website, in his marketing materials, and in his byline when publishing articles.

Creating an association also uses the other “Cs” I mentioned earlier: not only does it create a community, showcase your content, and add to your credentials, but it also allows you to build case studies and shows you care about your industry, your profession, and your clients.

Launching your own association has three major benefits:

1. Being the leader in the first year, you have more leverage.

Leaders (i.e., director, president, chair, etc) are typically elected in subsequent years. But being the leader at the beginning, it gives you more leverage over the structure of the association and, above all, its marketing, too.

2. Being the founder will provide a great deal of implied authority.

No matter who gets into the leadership position later on (however, the chances are you will be nominated in the first few years, anyway), being the founder adds to your reputation and will stick with you pretty much for the rest of your career.

This is, by far, the greatest reason why a professional would start an association.

3. It gives you access to networking and research opportunities.

You can network with likeminded people, including competitors. The hidden benefit is that it gives you a leg up on what the industry is up to, what are your members' interests and concerns are, and if there are any unmet gaps that exist.

There are many other reasons for associations. But there are three common types I've found:

  1. Educational associations provide members with advanced training, specialized information on their industry, access to literature and special conferences, and more.
  2. Collaborative associations share news, recommendations, best practices, and a wealth of other knowledge and opportunities such as group purchasing.
  3. Advocational associations create lobbying opportunities, address issues, take a stand on law and policy that might impact their members' profession or their clients, etc.

Bottom line, being the founder of an association not only creates a community but is also one of the most powerful ways to communicate implied value, authority, and superiority. Without having to outright claim it.

Categories
Copywriting

5 Ways To Make Your Claim More Believable

Blowing your own horn can seem like a productive marketing effort, and it may seem to communicate self-confidence. But it's often done wrong, which makes it ineffective and counterproductive, and can even backfire.

Saying you're the best in your field, your claim is suspect and dismissible at best, and arrogant and disdainful at worst. Either way, you run the risk of appearing as if you're trying to make up for the lack of credibility.

The bolder the claim, the greater the risk.

However, if you communicate something where the claim is implied, it is far more believable, credible, memorable, and impactful because it feels as if it's not coming from you. After all, other people came to that conclusion on their own. They own it.

If you sell widgets and you state that your widgets are of the highest quality, that might be true. But as the saying goes, if you have to say it, it's probably not.

But if you describe the characteristics of the widget wherein the quality is implied, such as a story behind the meticulous process of choosing the finest ingredients, or the clinical results that show how the components went through and passed strict testing, then people will assume it is of high quality.

There's no need to state it.

It's the same with services. You can say that you offer a service of high value. But that will be questionable. It's better to imply it, to let others (other people or other things) do the talking for you.

Specially, you can demonstrate it through the “5 Cs:”

  1. Your content. Provide valuable content that showcases your knowledge and expertise — from blog articles and podcasts to published works such as books and online classes.
  2. Your credentials. Highlight your educational background, certifications, accreditations, memberships in associations, years of experience, licenses, number of clients, etc.
  3. Your case studies. Case studies and success stories give dimension and depth to standard testimonials; they provide comparativeness, context, and contrast, and they make them more relatable, too.
  4. Your community. Have a community where clients, peers, fans, and followers can connect with each other, and can showcase their successes, experiences, and best practices.
  5. Your care. Show that you care about, understand, and sympathize with your client's specific situation, needs, challenges, and goals. From asking questions to soliciting feedback.

In the end, it's not about making a claim but making a believable claim. If you must say it, make sure to always back it up. But an even better way is to let your five Cs do the talking for you.

Categories
Copywriting

Your Reader Wants To Know These 5 Things

The other day, one of my readers asked me the following question, which I found rather interesting: “Why should the author of a product be included in their sales copy?”

Seems like a pretty redundant question, right? Especially to any veteran copywriter or marketer worth their salt.

But the question didn't stop there. The reader offered the following insight, which explains why this issue was such an important one to him, and why I felt compelled to answer:

“Specifically, why do my readers need to know who I am or what I bring to the table? How does telling them my qualifications increase the strength of my copy? My product solves a medical condition. But I am not a doctor and I have never had this condition myself. I've spent a year researching the best method to cure this condition. I have a list of 20,000 people with this condition and converse with them a lot. I know pretty much everything there is to know about this condition and have made it into an ebook.”

The answer is quite simple, actually. In fact, in his attempt to defend himself (i.e., that he's not a doctor but has lots of experience and specialized knowledge about his market), the reader answered his own question. Let me explain…

Why should people buy from you?

This is not some new concept. John E. Kennedy, a Canadian fireman back in 1905, was the person who coined the term “Reasons-Why Advertising” in a book of the same name. (He was also the person who coined the famous term “salesmanship-in-print.”)

I'm a big fan of reasons-why advertising.

I always try to add as many reasons as possible in my copy, such as why the offer is made, why the author is making it, and why it's important to the reader.

Good, successful copy tells the reader why right upfront because they always ask. If you don't tell them, the irony is they're left wondering why you left it out. It is almost always a direct advantage to tell your prospects why they should buy from you.

Additionally, people want to know five different types of reasons. They are:

  1. Why you (the reader)
  2. Why me (the author)
  3. Why this (the offer)
  4. Why now (the urgency)
  5. Why this price (the value)

1. Why You?

Your copy should qualify the reader for the product you're selling and the offer you're making. As part of this qualification process, it should address why the reader is targeted to, and suited for, them — including in reading the copy in the first place.

For example, why is this important to them? Why is this copy, product, or offer perfect for them? Who is it not appropriate for? In other words, who should not read the copy?

2. Why Me?

Credentialization is an important element in copy. Your credentials — as the author, seller, or provider — are immensely important to build credibility and lower buyer resistance, particularly in this day and age of scams, cynicism, and competitiveness.

Tell your readers why they should read what you have to say. Whether you're an accredited expert or not, the more reasons you give, then the more credible you are, the more believable your copy is, and the more apt people are to buy from you.

(This is the section to which the reader's question above relates, and I'll come back to this in a moment as it is important — especially as it pertains to the lack of credentials.)

3. Why This?

Are you selling this product just to make money? Perhaps. But whether making money is the main reason or not, either directly or indirectly, your product exists and your offer is made for specific reasons. So why not put them in your copy?

Don't assume your reader knows or doesn't care about them, no matter how trivial you may think they are. If you don't include them in your copy, left to their own devices your readers will be the ones making assumptions. (And they won't all be positive.)

4. Why Now?

Jim Rohn said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.” Whether it's direct (such as a deadline or limitation) or implied (such as missing out on something important), adding scarcity and reasons to act now is important.

But by itself, urgency is almost always suspect. So back it up with reasons why your readers should act now. Don't be shy in explaining why they must take advantage of the offer immediately, or what the consequences are if they don't.

5. Why This Price?

Why did you price your product or make the offer the way you did? Perhaps your price is based on industry averages. Or you're doing a clearance sale to make way for new stock. Maybe your product is new and you're offering an introductory price.

But do your readers know? Do they, really?

Don't be afraid to tell your readers why they should pay what you're asking for. Why is it valuable to them? At least compare your price to the ultimate cost of either buying an alternative (perhaps even competing) product, or not buying your product at all.

The bottom-line? The most important word in persuasion, according to Dr. Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion , is not “you” or “free.”

The most important word in persuasion is “because.”

Now, let me go back to the original question…

In this case, this person has quite a distinct selling point. They are what is referred to as the “anti-authority.” Non-experts. Lay people. And the fact that they are not a doctor, which means they are more like their readers, can be positioned as a major advantage.

They did all this research from a layperson's perspective. They did all the legwork for their readers, which not only saves them time but also is perceived as less biased.

They did all the searching for them. They analyzed all the data (from an outsider's vantage point) and cherrypicked the best answers. And they condensed and distilled their findings into one, easy-to-read, easy-to-find place.

Add to that the fact they conversed with over 20,000 people afflicted with this condition and know almost everything about it, makes them a lot more credible than some general practitioner who may have come across just a few hundred cases in their practice.

So this person is loaded with credentials, particularly unique ones, that definitely shouldn't be avoided or hidden from the reader. In fact, it should be not only communicated but also highlighted as a major benefit in the copy.

So, to the question “why you?” Because in the mind of the reader, you are the expert on this subject. Use your unique credibility and experience as a major selling point.

Categories
Copywriting

How to Extract Doubt From Your Sales Copy

A few years ago, something happened that provided incontrovertible proof of an infallible rule in copywriting. I knew it all along but never saw it proven to me in such a personal and direct way.

The one element that can transform flimsy, “yeah-right” copy into a sales-inducing powerhouse, is proof. Other than poor targeting, lack of proof is probably the greatest reason copy fails.

People are more educated and skeptical than ever. Everything readers see is suspect right from the start. They never believe anything at first, so to convert them into buyers you must first convert them into believers.

Persuasion has much less to do with selling than it has to do with building believability. It's about trust. You need to prove your case — and not just tell it or, worse yet, sell it. You need to provide proof. As much proof as you can muster.

Any kind. Every kind.

For instance, criminal cases win in court because of a preponderance of proof, and not just a little. Conversely, they also lose if there's reasonable doubt. That's all that's needed, and often it's not that much.

If there's reasonable doubt with your marketing message, you're going to lose the sale. Even if it's just a little. Or at best, you will only get a tiny fraction of what's possible in terms of sales, if any.

Case in point: before she passed away, my late wife was chronicling her breast cancer battle on her blog. She discussed the many hospital visits and tests she had to undergo, from MRIs to biopsies.

Soon after she started her blog, my wife posted the pathology results on her breast tissue along with the complete cancer diagnosis. She posted some of the medical terms discussed in her report, and what they meant — in general as well as to her, personally.

She included medical terms like “Intraductal Carcinoma in Situ,” “Multicentric Central Carcinoma,” “Lymphatic/Vascular Invasion,” “Invasive Tumor Necrosis,” “Modified Scarff Bloom Richardson Grade,” and more. She explained what each of them meant.

But to show how big this cancerous lump had grown, she posted a graphic (a simple circle, about the size of a baseball) that represented the actual size of the tumor, based on the dimensions described in the report.

In her blog post, she provided not one but three types of proof.

First, she provided factual proof. That is, she included actual medical terms, data, and numbers taken straight out of the pathology report.

Then, she provided evidential proof. That is, she included laboratory test results proving not only that she did have cancer, but also how big and advanced it was, and the fact that it has metastasized to her lymph nodes.

Finally, she provided perceptual proof. Facts and data are powerful proof elements. But with every one of them, she translated what those terms meant. For example, creating a graphic that demonstrated the size of the tumor was a part of it.

More importantly, she related what the data meant to her. While the data provided proof, my wife's story increased the perceived quality of that proof. It made it more credible by making the terminology easier to understand and internalize. And it made her story more concrete and real.

OK, back to my point.

Once my wife provided proof, the response to her blog shot up dramatically. It compelled people to respond. This doesn't mean they didn't believe her in her previous posts. But it did reduce if not eradicate any reasonable doubt.

This reminded me about all the elements of proof that can add more credibility and believability to your copy.

So I came up with a formula. I call it “FORCEPS.” Think of a pair of forceps, which is commonly used by surgeons for extracting. In this case, think of it as a way to “surgically extract” as much doubt as possible from your copy!

FORCEPS is an acronym that stands for:

  • factual
  • optical
  • reversal
  • credential
  • evidential
  • perceptual
  • And social

Let's take a look at what each one means.

1. Factual Proof

Factual proof is self-explanatory. Provide facts, figures, data, statistics, factoids, numbers, test results, dimensions, and so on. Facts of any kind about either the problem (i.e., anything that makes the problem more real and urgent in the mind of the reader) or the solution are powerful proof elements.

The more concrete and specific the fact, the more believable it is. For example, don't say “1,000 times greater.” Say “1,042 times.” Don't say “Hundreds of dollars.” Say, “347 dollars.” Avoid using rounded numbers or vague facts. Be specific.

2. Optical Proof

Lawyers argue that the strongest evidence is an eyewitness account. Similarly, optical (or visual) proof is the most powerful. Anything that can visually represent the product, the quality, the claims, or more importantly, the benefits gives your copy a strong advantage.

eBay reported that auctions with pictures have 400% more bids than those without pictures. Add a picture of your product or show it in action. (That's why videos are better.) Use different angles and lights, even with its original wrapping.

Best of all, use videos and before-and-afters. The more vivid the proof is and the more senses they engage, the more believable the proof will be.

With cosmetic surgeons, the most effective form of proof was showing before-and-after pictures of patients. They show not only the results but also the extent of those results through the element of contrast.

A business sells lighting fixtures. What did he do? He took a picture of a someone's living room with normal lighting in it, and then took a picture of the room with his product. Both unretouched pictures were placed, side by side, on his sales copy.

The contrast was obvious. The proof, astounding. The sales, significant.

3. Reverse Proof

Comparisons are powerful. That's why competitive analyses work so well. But this can apply to indirect competitors, too. For example, an airline's direct competitor is another airline. But an indirect competitor can be the train, automobile rental, bus, ship, etc.

But the best kind of comparison is the one that shows what can happen if people don't buy. I call it “reverse proof” because it shows the reverse effect, the potential downside in other words, if the prospect buys a competitor's product or fails to buy from you at all.

Some people call this comparing apples to oranges. You compare the price of your offer not against the price of a competitor's product (i.e., apples to apples) but against the ultimate cost of not buying yours.

For example, say you know someone who spent over $20,000 advertising a poorly written ad that had little to no response. If you sell a copywriting course for, say, $1,000, then you compare the price of your course to the cost of not knowing how to write copy.

In this case, you compare a small $1,000 investment to a potential $20,000 mistake.

4. Credentializing Proof

It's proof that demonstrate the credentials of the product, business, or person behind it. Education, expertise, certifications, associations, number of clients served, awards, mentions in the media, reviews, published articles or books, etc.

If you can namedrop someone who's a recognized authority in their field or even a known celebrity, and do it in an ethical and logical way, do so. Or better, ask them and let them do the talking for you.

In court cases, one of the most commonly subpoenaed witnesses are “expert witnesses.” Similarly, reviews from industry authorities, even endorsements from celebrities, though biased, also give your copy perceived objectivity.

For example, some of my clients have added to their copy scanned magazine covers in which articles by or about them appeared. Some even added the words “As Seen In…” before the logos of the publications.

Authoritative endorsements are powerful. A direct endorsement is one in which an authority directly endorses the product. But an indirect one is one in which there is perceived authority, or that the authority is implied, such as “9 out of 10 dentists agree.”

5. Evidential Proof

Evidential proof is evidence that compels us to accept an assertion as true. According to the dictionary, it's “a convincing or persuasive demonstration; or determination of the quality of something by testing or trial.”

Therefore, anything that can prove or test the validity of a claim, result, or promise, and anything that can justify, backup, or support a claim, in any way, is evidential proof. Like demonstrations, samples, trials, studies, tests, etc.

The author of Nothing Down, a book on how to buy property with no upfront money or collateral, Robert Allen was challenged to prove his claim. So he was randomly dropped him in the middle of nowhere with only $100 for food and water, and within 24 hours he bought several properties with nothing down.

Putting your claims to the test is evidential proof. This is similar to “controlled tests.” I'm not talking about the marketing kind. I mean tests that actually validate the process, the product, the results, the claims, etc.

You can do hard tests or soft tests. Hard tests are where you actually test your product to measure its quality. Soft tests are tests that do not directly validate the product but drive home a certain point about it or to prove an important benefit.

In the infomercial for a synthetic car oil called DuraLube, they had cars put up on cinder blocks, drained them completely of oil, and had the motor run until it seized. To fix the engine, one would have to invest in costly mechanical work.

Then they added one small bottle of DuraLube, drained it once more, and started the car, which was running on DuraLube's residue. Not only did the car start without any problems, but an elapsed timer showed the motor ran for hours without fail.

In the commercial for Oreck vacuum cleaners, they said their vacuums had unbelievable “hurricane force” suction. So they had the vacuum literally suck up a bowling ball. That's somewhat of a hard test.

The soft test was to show how lightweight it is (a benefit). So they placed the vacuum at one end of a large scale against the same bowling ball on the other. You saw the bowling ball plummet while the vacuum raised up in the air like a feather.

6. Perceptual Proof

Facts and figures can mean different things to different people. So perceptual proof helps to increase the perceived quality of the evidence, and strengthens how someone appreciates that evidence.

That's where anecdotes, stories, analogies, examples, metaphors, and personal accounts help to not only expand on and solidify the proof given, but also relate them to the reader and increase their level of appreciation.

My late wife didn't just list all the medical details and explained what they meant. She told them in the form of a story, and included a few metaphors to help her readers understand and appreciate what it meant to her. It made the proof more real and concrete.

7. Social Proof

We tend to give more credence to an idea or behavior when we see the masses approving or doing it. Social proof occurs when we make the assumption that others, especially by their numbers, possess more knowledge and therefore we deem their behavior as appropriate.

People tend to assume an idea is valid not by its objective evidence but by its popularity, following, or acceptance by others. The more people talk about it, endorse it, or buy it, the assumption is the more valid and relevant it must be.

Forms of social proof include testimonials, case studies, sales numbers, clientele size, number of endorsements, fan base size, and so forth. The more real you make them, the more believable they are (such as testimonials with audio, video, pictures, signatures, screenshots, graphs, etc).

Even the engagement level on blogs, forums, and social media are widely recognized and used as effective forms of social proof. If you have a post related to you, your product, or your business that's been liked and commented on by a large number of people, include it, too.

So, there you have it.

These are just some ideas. The bottom line is, the more proof you provide, and the more you backup your claims with proof of any kind, whether they are hard or soft, or objective or subjective, the more believable — and profitable — your copy will be.

Categories
Copywriting

The Seven Deadly Sins of Website Copy

Throughout my research, I'm always surprised when I stumble onto websites that are professionally designed and seem to offer great products and services, but lack or fail in certain important elements.

Elements that, with just a few short changes, can help multiply the results almost instantaneously.

Generally, I have found that there are seven common mistakes. I call them the “Seven Deadly Sins.” Is your website committing any one of these?

1) They Fail to Connect

Traffic has been long touted to be the key to online success, but that's not true. If your site is not pulling sales, inquiries or results, then why would it need more traffic?

The key is to turn curious browsers into serious buyers. Aside from the quality of the copy, the number one reason why a website doesn't convert is that the copy is targeting the wrong audience or fails to connect with them.

First, create a “perfect prospect profile.” List all the attributes, characteristics and qualities of your most profitable and accessible market.

Don't just stick with things like demographics and psychographics. Try to get to know them.

Who are they, really? What are their most pressing problems? What keeps them up at night? How do they talk about their problems? Where do they hang out?

Then, target your market by centering on a major theme, benefit or outcome so that, when you generate pre-qualified traffic, your hit ratio and your sales will increase dramatically.

Finally, ensure that your copy connects with them. Intimately. It speaks their language, talks about their problems, and tells stories they can easily appreciate and relate to.

Since this is the most common error that marketers and copywriters commit, and to help you, follow the following formulas.

The OATH formula helps you to understand the stage of awareness your market is at. (How aware of the problem are they, really?)

The QUEST formula guides you in qualifying and empathizing with them. And the UPWORDS formula teaches you how to choose the appropriate language your market can easily understand, appreciate and respond to.

2) They Lack a Compelling Offer

“Making an offer you can't refuse” seems like an old cliché, but don't discount its relevance and power. Especially in this day and age where most offers are so anemic, lifeless, and like every other offer out there.

Too many business believe that simply offering a product or service, and mentioning the price, are good enough. But what they fail to realize is that people need to intimately understand the full value (the real value and, more importantly, the perceived value) behind the offer.

Sometimes, all you need is to offer some premiums, incentives and bonuses to make the offer more palatable and hard to ignore. (Very often, people buy products and services for the premiums alone.)

Other times, you need to create what is called a “value buildup.”

(In fact, premiums are not mandatory in all cases, particularly when the offer itself is solid enough. But building value almost always is.)

Essentially, you compare the price of your offer not with the price of some other competing offer or alternative, but with the ultimate cost of not buying — and enjoying — your product or service.

This may include the price of an alternative. But “ultimate cost” goes far beyond price. Dan Kennedy calls this “apples to oranges” comparisons.

For example, let's say you sell an ebook on how to grow better tomatoes. That might sound simple, and your initial inclination might be to compare it to other “tomatoe-growing” ebooks or viable alternatives.

But also look at the the time it took for you to learn the best ways to grow tomatoes. Look at the amount of money you invested in trying all the different fertilizers, seeds and techniques to finally determine which ones are the best.

Don't forget the time, money and energy (including emotional energy) people save from not having to learn these by themselves. Add the cost of doing it wrong and buying solutions that are either more expensive or inappropriate.

That's what makes an offer valuable. One people can't refuse.

3) They Lack “Reasons Why”

While some websites are well-designed and provide great content, and they might even have great copy, they fail because they don't offer enough reasons for people to buy — or at least read the copy in the first place.

Visitors are often left clueless. In other words, why should they buy? Why should they buy that particular product? Why should they buy that product from that particular site? And more important, why should they buy now?

What makes your product so unique, different and special? What's in it for your customers that they can't get anywhere else? Not answering those questions will deter clients and impede sales.

John E. Kennedy, a Canadian fireman and copywriter at the turn of the last century, talked a lot about the power of adding “reasons why.” His wisdom still rings true to this day, and we know this from experience.

Once, my wife had a client whose website offered natural supplements.

It offered a free bottle (i.e., 30-day supply). But response was abysmal. Aside from being in a highly competitive industry, the copy failed to allay the prospect's fears. They thought it might be a scam or that there's a catch.

So all she did was tell her client to add the following paragraph:

“Why are we offering this free bottle? Because we want you to try it. We're so confident that you will see visible results within 30 days that you will come back and order more.”

Response more than tripled.

Similarly, add “reasons why” to your copy. To help you, make sure that it covers all the bases by answering the following “5 why's:”

  • Why me? (Why should they listen to you?)
  • Why you? (Who is perfect for this offer?)
  • Why this? (Why is this product perfect for them?)
  • Why this price? (Why is this offer so valuable?)
  • Why now? (Why must they not wait?)

4) They Lack Scarcity

Speaking of “why now,” this is probably the most important reason of all.

A quote from Jim Rohn says it all, and I force myself to think about it each time I craft an offer. He said, “Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value.”

People fear making bad decisions. With spams, scams and snake oils being rampant on the Internet, people tend to procrastinate, and they do so even when the copy is good, the offer is perfect and they're qualified for it.

Most websites I review fail to effectively communicate a sense of urgency. If people are given the chance to wait or think it over, they will. Look at it this way: if you don't add a sense of urgency, you're inviting them to procrastinate.

Use takeaway selling in order to stop people from procrastinating and get them to take action now. In other words, shape your offer — and not just your product or service — so that it is time-sensitive or quantity-bound.

More important, give a reasonable, logical explanation to justify your urgency or else your sales tactic will be instantly discredited. Back it up with reasons as to why the need to take advantage of the offer is pressing.

Plus, a sense of urgency doesn't need to be an actual limit or a deadline. It can be just a good, plausible and compelling explanation that emphasizes the importance of acting now — as well as the consequences of not doing so.

For example, what would they lose out on if they wait? Don't limit yourself to the offer. Think of all the negative side-effects of not going ahead right now.

5) They Lack Proof

Speaking of the fear of making bad decisions, today's consumers are increasingly leery when contemplating offers on the Internet.

While many websites look professional, have an ethical sales approach, and offer proven products or services, the lack of any kind of tangible proof will still cause most visitors to at least question your offer.

The usual suspects, of course, are testimonials and guarantees. Guarantees and testimonials help to reduce the skepticism around the purchase of your product or service, and give it almost instant credibility.

(I often refuse to critique any copy that doesn't have any testimonials. It's not just to save myself time and energy. I would be wasting my client's money if the only recommendation they got from me was to add testimonials.)

Elements of proof is not just limited to guarantees and testimonials, either.

They can include the story behind your product, your credentials, actual case studies, results of tests and trials, samples and tours, statistics and factoids, photos and multimedia, “seals of approval,” and, of course, reasons why.

Even the words you choose can make a difference. Because, in addition to a sense of urgency, your copy also needs a sense of credibility.

Today, people are understandably cynical and suspicious. If your offer is suspect and your copy, at any point, gives any hint that it can be fake, misleading, untrue, too good to be true, or too exaggerated to be true…

… Then like it or not your response rate will take a nose dive.

So, help remove the risk from the buyer's mind and you will thus increase sales — and, paradoxically, reduce returns as well. Plus, don't just stick with the truth. You also need to give your copy the ring of truth.

To help you, follow my FORCEPS formula.

6) They Lack a Clear Call to Action

Answer this million-dollar, skill-testing question: “What exactly do you want your visitors to do?” Simple, isn't it? But it doesn't seem that way with the many sites I've visited.

The KISS principle (to me, it means “keep it simple and straightforward”) is immensely important on the Internet. An effective website starts with a clear objective that will lead to a specific action or outcome.

If your site is not meant to, say, sell a product, gain a customer or obtain an inquiry for more information, then what exactly must it do? Work around the answer as specifically as possible.

Focus on the “power of one.” That is:

  • One message
  • One audience
  • One outcome

If your copy tells too many irrelevant stories (irrelevant to the audience and to the advancement of the sale), you will lose your prospects' attention and interest.

If it tries to be everything to everyone (and is therefore either too generic or too complex), you will lose your prospects completely.

And if you ask your prospects to do too many things (other than “buy now” or whatever action you want them to take), you will lose sales.

Use one major theme. Make just one offer. (Sure, you can offer options, such as ordering options or different packages to choose from. But nonetheless, it's still just one offer.)

Most important, provide clear instructions on where and how to order.

Aside from the lack of a clear call to action, asking them to do too many things can be just as counterproductive. The mind hates confusion. If you try to get your visitors to do too many things, they will do nothing.

Stated differently, if you give people too many choices, they won't make one. So keep your message focused or else you will overwhelm the reader.

7) They Lack Good Copy

It may seem like this should be the number one mistake.

While it's still one of the top seven mistakes, it's last because the ones above take precedence. If you're guilty of making any of the previous six mistakes, in the end your sales will falter no matter how good your copy is.

Nevertheless, lackluster copy that fails to invoke emotions, tell compelling stories, create vivid mental imagery, and excite your prospects about your product or service is indeed one of the most common reasons websites fail.

Top sales trainer Zig Ziglar once said, “Selling is the transference of enthusiasm you have for your product into the minds of your prospects.”

Copy is selling in print. Therefore, its job is no different. In fact, since there's no human interaction that you normally get in a face-to-face sales encounter, your copy's job, therefore, has an even greater responsibility.

It must communicate that same enthusiasm that energizes your prospects, excites them about your offering and empowers them to buy.

Aside from infusing emotion into your copy, give your prospects something they can understand, believe in and act upon. Like a trial lawyer, it must tell a persuasive story, make an airtight case and remove any reasonable doubt.

Above all, it must serve your prospect.

Many sites fail to answer a person's most important question: “What's in it for me?” They get so engrossed in describing companies, products, features or advantages over competitors that they fail to appeal to the visitor specifically.

Tell the visitor what they are getting out of responding to your offer. To help you, first write down a series of bullets. Bullets are captivating, pleasing to the eye, clustered for greater impact and deliver important benefits.

(They usually follow the words “you get,” such as “With this product, you get.”)

But don't just resort to apparent or obvious benefits. Dig deeper. Think of the end-results your readers get from enjoying your product or service.

Do what my friend and copywriter Peter Stone calls the “so that” technique. Each time you state a benefit, add “so that” (or “which means”) at the end, and then complete the sentence to expand further.

Let's say your copy sells Ginko Biloba, a natural supplement that increases memory function. (I'm not a Ginko expert, so I'm guessing, here. Also, I'm being repetious for the sake of illustration.) Here's what you might get:

Ginko supports healthy brain and memory functions… so that you can be clear, sharp and focused… so that you can stay on top of everything and not miss a beat… so that you can be a lot more productive at work… so that you can advance in your career a lot faster… so that you can make more money, enjoy more freedom, and have more job security… so that (and so on).

That could have turned another way depending on the answer you give it, which is why it's good to repeat this exercise. Here's another example:

Ginko supports healthy brain and memory functions… so that you can decrease the risks of senility, Alzheimer's disease, and other degenerative diseases of the brain… so that you won't be placed in a nursing home… so that you won't place the burden of your care on your loved ones… so that you can grow old with peace of mind… so that you can enjoy a higher quality of life, especially during those later years… so that (and so on).

Remember, these are just examples pulled off the top of my head. But if you want more help with your own copy, my FAB formula is a useful guide.

Bottom line, check your copy to see if you're committing any of these seven deadly sins. If you are, your prospects won't forgive you. By not buying, that is.