Copywriting – marketing with written words – has dozens of "rules." They range from keeping your copy "tight" to staying on one topic to avoiding jargon.
But there’s one rule that every marketing guru and copywriting instructor stresses and repeats - and yet I see it broken every day.
Maybe there's another rule that tops the list, but I really believe it to be the #1 most frequently broken rule of all. Unfortunately, it's the most important rule of all.
It's so important that I first learned it about a century ago, when I took a college course in business writing. It's one of the two specific pieces of information I still remember from those 4 years.
What is it?
Never, ever, ever begin a marketing message with:
To do so is to almost guarantees that your letter will be headed to the waste basket before the reader gets past the first line. If you've sent an email, it almost guarantees a fast finger on the delete button.
If you stop and think about your own reaction to the letters and email you receive, it shouldn't be too hard to understand this cold, hard truth:
Your prospects don’t care about you.
They care only about you might do for them.
So begin your letter with a "you" centered statement or question. Then continue with more about them and their concerns.
Look at the difference between these two introductory sentences to an expired listing letter:
"I see that your house just expired off the market unsold." (Yeah, so. What's it to you?)
"Are you wondering why your house didn't sell?" (Yes, I do wonder.)
Later on in the message you''ll need to mention how your service will benefit them. But even then, keep those words to a minimum. Try very hard to use a form of “you” 3 times more often than any form of “I.”
If you aren’t sure of your ratios, go to your "find" feature and count. Then if need be, go back and re-work the offending sentences to turn the focus back to your reader.
Always remember this: It isn’t about you. Ever. It is always about your prospect and the benefit he or she will gain from reading your letter and acting upon it.
For more reasons why your copy might not be getting the results you want, see: