Saturday, December 2, 2017

Is Your Copy Ducky?

There once was an ugly duckling.

And if you read to the end, you'll learn how he dealt with his handicap.

But first, let me ask: Do you know how to guarantee readers won't abandon your copy?

Copywriter Joe Sugarman has two rules:
  • Start with a story. It creates an emotional bond with readers.
Sugarman also urges you to start your story with a short sentence.

Short spurs curiosity.

Short openers are the novelist's trick, as Anthony Doerr demonstrates in the first sentence of All the Light We Cannot See:

At dusk they pour from the sky.

And a short opener can be even stronger, Sugarman says, if it jibes with readers' feelings:

There once was an ugly duckling
Poor guy. Would you like to be called ugly?

Once you've started your story, to urge readers on, you must continue to play to their curiosity.

You do so with hooks, like this one:

Now here comes the good part.

Hooks work because the human mind doesn't like unfinished business.

That's why TV series like Stranger Things exploit cliffhangers. They prompt viewers to binge.

You want readers to binge on your copy.

Otherwise, they'll never buy a thing.

And things could get ugly for you. 


But, you say, B2B doesn't work like that! B2B is boring.


Tell it to Farmers Insurance. 

Here's the opener of an email I just received from the company:

I'm a small business owner, and I visit my clients' offices often.
I pretty much live on the road. Here's my challenge.

Hooked yet?

You'd laugh, if I told you the email promotes a Certificate of Insurance.

How boring is that?

Now back to our duck...

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