The 3 Unbreakable Rules of Copywriting

Most people think that copywriting is about convincing people to buy a product or service, but that isn’t the case. Great copy is about relating much more than it is about convincing.

At it’s core, great copy is comprised of 3 unbreakable rules. If you follow these 3 rules, you will be in the top 80% of copywriters.

Rule 1 - Clarity First

Great copy has a clear message before anything else.

  • what are you selling?

  • who are you selling it to?

  • how will your product benefit your potential customer?

  • what’s the product called?

Never sacrifice clarity for nuance or cleverness.

Rule 2 - Speak Their Language

People all have a tribal nature and we like to identify as certain things.

  • I’m a baker

  • I’m an entrepreneur

  • I’m a gardener

When you belong to a group, you also belong to a set of unspoken agreements.

“I’m a gardener and gardeners do and say things in a certain way.”

If I am writing sales copy for a gardening product, I want to use language that gardeners use. It sounds self explanatory, but we make this mistake too often because we try too hard to sound fancy or smart.

Your copy should identify with your ideal customer, it should make them feel like you and them are part of the same tribe.

Rule 3 - Make Your Writing Short and Evocative

One of my favorite writing quotes is “if I had more time, I would have wrote a shorter book.”

The practice of having the most impact in the least amount of words is a true artform. It’s probably the skill I work on more than any other in my writing.

Your writing should be short and direct. One of the best ways to make your writing direct is to be evocative.

Evocativeness is the opposite of abstraction.

When something is evocative, it means that it describes something in a way that is in line with our senses. An evocative sentence helps your target customer feel the product in their hands, or smell the aroma of the perfume your selling.

Abstraction is describing something that doesn’t appeal directly to our human senses, but rather requires an understanding of a concept.

Evocative: The apple fell from the tree.

Abstraction: Gravity.

Evocative copy will always convert better because it appeals to our primal nature of humans. It helps us to understand the cause and effect nature of what our product or service is selling.

“If I buy this product, this thing will happen to me.”

Our brains aren’t wired for abstraction, they are wired for cause and effect.