+=+=+=+= SIM's INSIDER REPORT =+=+=+=+

November 19, 2002

E-Zine #104

SIM's INSIDER REPORT is a free biweekly newsletter dedicated to helping readers succeed online while saving both time and money with cutting-edge tools, tips and strategies for internet marketing, online advertising and website promotion.

==> Tip of the Week
==> Tips, Tools & Resources
==> Affiliate Spotlight
==> SIM's Weekly Reports
==> Feedback & Contributions
==> Food for Thought
==> Classifieds
==> Administrivia

SIM's Insider Report free marketing newsletter

This week's Tip of the Week comes to you compliments of Tim North and is titled "10 Steps to Writing Successful Ad Copy." Tim has a lot of solid time-tested advice here that you won't want to miss...

You'll also want to take a look at this week's Feedback and Contributions - Bob Osgoodby offers us cutting-edge tips, tricks and insights on structuring a newsletter properly.

Your comments are always welcome.

Dan Porteous

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10 Steps to Writing Successful Ad Copy

Writing an ad? The tips below - and the important warning that follows - will help you to get the very best response.

1. Start by choosing a single benefit of your product or service that you wish to highlight above everything else. This is your "principle selling position" or PSP. To choose this, ask yourself what specific benefit makes your product or service different, better, or special. Is it the price?, the convenience? the reliability?

2. Write attention-grabbing headlines. This is very important. People are overloaded with information, so they skim read, particularly on the Internet. If your headline doesn't get their attention everything else is probably wasted because it won't be read. Your headline will often be based around your PSP.

3. Write a list of all the features of your product or service then translate each of these into a benefit for the customer. One way to do this is to look at each feature in turn then ask yourself "So what?" Imagine you're a customer; why should you care about this feature? Ask "What will it do for me?"
For example, don't just say that you product is fast (a feature), tell the customer that it will give them more free time (a benefit). Better still, paint a picture of them using their free time to go to the beach, read a book, or relax.
4. Write copy that emphasises the benefits in a way that makes an emotional connection. For example, let's say you're selling toothpaste. A feature might be that it contains fluoride. Sure, but that's boring. Rather, say it "Lessens Tooth Decay!" or even better: "Brush with Boffo and Avoid the Dentist's Drill!" See? You've turned a dull feature into a strong emotional benefit linked to people's fear of dental procedures. Isn't that more effective than "Contains fluoride"?

5. Start with your strongest selling points. The first few paragraphs are particularly important. Use them to create a desire for your product or service by briefly touching on the major benefits it will bring the customer. You don't have to go into too much detail up front as you can expand on these benefits later. Do try to get your big guns in early, though.

6. Testimonials sell. Good, believable testimonials from real people will help sales, particularly on the web where establishing credibility is a tough job. For even better credibility, ask your testimonial writers if you can include their contact details along with their testimonial.

7. Write with a natural style. Don't try to be pretentious or over friendly. Just write it the way you'd say it.

8. Decide who you're writing for and why. What tone are you trying to convey: light hearted?, serious? What level of jargon are you going to employ? Suit your language to your intended audience.

9. The final sales pitch, when it comes, must have three specific parts:
  • It must incorporate a good deal; e.g. "40% off!"
  • It must be urgent; e.g. "Only seven more days!"
  • It must be risk free; e.g. "Backed by a 90-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee!"
10. End by telling the reader what to do; e.g. "Ring now" or "Click here to order now for immediate delivery!" Needless to say, ordering details must be clearly visible and simple to follow.

Looking at these tips, it may seem that good advertising involves manipulating the emotions of your customers. Yes, it does.

Selling is a blatant form of emotional manipulation that involves convincing your customer that they want to buy your product or service, and they want to do it now.

Is this unethical? Well, it can be. It depends where you draw the line. In point 9 I said that your sales message must include a sense of urgency. A common ploy on the web is to include a claim like "Offer closes this Saturday". If you go back to the site the following week, though, the offer is still available. If you were tricked by such a claim, would you order from that company again?

So, by all means, use the 10 tips above to write as persuasively as you can, but remember that if you attract sales by deceiving your customers you risk not only legal action but poor word of mouth, no repeat business, and more refund requests. So, be as persuasive as you can possibly be, but avoid the temptation to be "too" persuasive.

. . .

About the aurthor:
Tim North is the author of "BETTER WRITING SKILLS" - an easy-to- understand, jargon-free, downloadable book that can give you a competitive edge. http://www.betterwritingskills.com

SIM's "Tip of the Week" back issues available at... http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com/ezines
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Posting your email address on your site in plain text is just asking for trouble. With all the email scraping spambots out there, it won't be long before your inbox is deluged with email. What this program does is convert your email address into ASCII text that's readable by browsers, but not by many spambots who will simply skip over it because of its missing "@" symbol. http://members.aol.com/allourcats/dascii.exe

An online version of this tool that does the same thing is available at: http://emailaddresses.com/mailto_encoder.htm

A free program that links into your browser. It returns a good deal of information about sites you visit, including download speed, freshness, and info about site ownership. The visitor count is interesting, and helpful if used with care. The count is only of Alexa users who visited the site. But there are a couple million Alexa users, so the report is suggestive of actual visits. http://www.alexa.com/

Available Domains
This shareware program finds attractive domains which you can register. It greatly saves your time working in multi-threaded manner. Just define your keywords to start. You can save/load keywords and domains. Go here... http://www.alphacomsoft.com/avdomains.htm

* For more great tips and tools, visit our website:

*Mastering Search Engine Placement
*Becoming a high-earning affiliate champion
*Creating, producing and selling your very own infoproduct
*Finding the Perfect Price that will maximize your profit
*How to write sales-clinching copy on the Net

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* Check out SIM's Top "10" Affiliate Review at

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Top 10 Tips for Growing Your Business with Direct Mail Postcards
How to Attract More Visitors to Your Web Site
Work Less, Earn More
Non-Tiling Background Images
How To Send Email With Perl, Part III
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The Ideal Number

Having published a Newsletter for over 8 years we've learned a few "tricks". Probably the most important one is that people want to get their information as quickly as possible. They are not willing to wade through tomes of information, no matter how well written, to get the ideas presented in the articles.

If two identical newsletters are published, except one has a rather long article, and the other has a condensed version of the same article, there will be a disproportionate number of "unsubscribes" from the first, and few, if any, from the second. This has got to tell us all something.

The ideal number, we have found, is 750 words or less. Personally, I try to keep all the articles I write (and publish in our Newsletters) under that number. If I let my fingers get away from me, and have exceeded that number, I take a long hard look at the article. Nine times out of ten, it can either be shortened or made into two articles. People who submit articles of 1,500 words or so, are basically just wasting their time, unless it is an article they are writing under contract for a "hard copy" publication.

Articles should always be submitted in text format. While it is convenient for the author to write in a "doc" format, many publishers will automatically delete articles submitted this way due to the danger of viruses.

Most modern word processors have a word count feature. As you are developing your article, if you check this on a regular basis, you can achieve the desired size without having to go back and rewrite it.

The second, and equally important "trick" is to word wrap at 65 characters per line. If you don't, people may receive your article in a format that is very difficult to read. Many mail packages default to 65 characters per line, while others default to a higher number.

If they receive an email that is wrapped at 80 characters, and they are set for 65, they will get 65 characters on the first line and 15 on the next. The entire article will be presented like this - very distracting.

Almost all mail clients (readers) will display 65 characters per line correctly. There is also less eye movement required using the shorter line, making it easier to read. If this is the case, why would anyone consider using a longer line.

If you do not have a sophisticated word processor, "Word Pad" will serve the purpose. First - set your margins using "Page Setup" under the "Files" Tab to .25 inches on the left and 1.5 inches on the right. Select the "Courier New (Western)" font with a font size of 12. This will give you exactly 65 characters per line. Other margins and font sizes will work, but be sure you are getting the correct number of characters per line.

Now, you can estimate your word count. Figure an average of 11 words per line. There will be short lines and blank lines between paragraphs. If your article is around 70 lines long or less, you should be in the ballpark. This article, for example is 54 lines. The actual word count is 570 - close enough? You may vary a bit on the actual count, but at least you'll have an idea of the length of the article and be close to that "ideal number".

. . .

Did you know that subscribers to Bob Osgoodby's Free Ezine the "Tip of the Day" get a Free Ad for their Business at his Web Site? Great Business and Computer Tips - Monday thru Friday. Instructions on how to place your ad are in the Newsletter. Subscribe at: http://adv-marketing.com/business/subscribe2.htm

If you have a promotion tip to share (or an affiliate program that would be of interest to the rest of us) or if you have a web design tip, or a specific question, please feel free to post all tips, questions, or answers to posted questions here and I will add your email or URL with it. It's FREE promotion!

Send your tips, questions or answers to:
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One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men.
No machine can do the work of one extrordinary man.
startup marketing and website promotion-- Elbert Hubbard

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Legal Stuff

We accept no responsibility whatsoever for the content, profitability or legality of any published articles or advertisements contained within SIM's Insider Report.

Although all of the articles have been selected for their content, the publishing of such articles within this newsletter does NOT constitute a recommendation of the products or services mentioned or advertised within those articles.

Be responsible! Always do your own Due Diligence before responding to any offer.

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