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Book Review: Write to Sell


“Write to Sell: The Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting” is a Guide to write great sales copies. Primary goal of the book is to help readers become better sales writers. The book aims to meet this goal in a very crisp and clear way.

“Write To Sell” is written by Andy Maslen. Andy is UK’s leading independent copywriter and has helped several global companies meet the sales results using written words. Andy’s hands on advices are visible throughout the book.

Andy starts by offering few fundamental advises on copywriting. Just because these advises are fundamental to copywriting does not mean sales writers use them. The first advice is to focus on your reader not you.

What I like about the book is that advises are followed by tools and techniques.
  • Define your readers as clearly as possible: gender, age, values, needs, wants.
  • What are the things they want to get away from; what are the things they want to get close to.
  • Ask yourself what keeps your readers awake at night, then target that need. If you can ask your reader or customer directly, it would be even better.
Being hands on professional, Andy is able to sense the questions that might be arising in the mind of readers. What if there are multiple readers of my sales copy? You still need to define the reader, think of typical readers who shares most attributes of the group. If you are not focusing on single reader, your copy will be confusing to all the readers. By answering these questions, the book not only succeeds in clarifying doubts, but also keeps the tone conversational.

The pattern of providing advises, followed by tools, techniques, and tricks is followed throughout the book. This approach ensures readers can immediately go back to their copies and start to apply the advices using tools and techniques.
  • Keep your copy conversational.
  • Sell benefits not features, but you still need to provide features because customers will justify their buying decision though features.
  • Before you start writing copy, you need to be clear on your goal: what do you want readers to do after reading the copy.
  • Understand what you are really selling (wrist watch or status symbol).
  • If you want to come up with ideas on what to write, play consequences: What will happen if reader does your suggested action, what will happen if reader does not do your suggested action, What won’t happen if reader does your suggested action, what won’t happen if reader does not do your suggested action.
  • If you create a 2*2 matrix on need and want, your product should ideally fall in High Need-High want quadrant.
Few tools are introduced as mnemonics. This is extremely helpful because this will help readers remember the tools and use them often.
  • You should be able to achieve KFC (Know, feel, Call to action) in your copy.
  • You need to follow a plan to write great sales copy which follows AIDCA (Attention - Interest – Desire- Conviction - Action) approach.
  • Your sales copy should be FAB (Feature – Advantage – Benefit).
The book also covers some key insights based on research. The research based facts helps convince the readers to follow advice.
  • Which type of headline performs best? Benefits headline perform best. Even better are the ones that deliver news, promise benefits, and arouse curiosity.
  • Should I write long copy or short copy? Long copy works and converts better than short copy. It should be long interesting copy though, not long boring copy.
The book ends with a crash course on good writing and punctuation rules, avoiding grammatical and writing mistakes, and improving readability statistics.
  • Don’t use noun when verbs can be used (We specialize… vs. Our specialization is…).
  • Never use a descriptive verb when a noun or verb will work.
Write to Sell: The Ultimate Guide to Great Copywriting” is a must read for anyone who wants to improve sales writing skills. The book will also be beneficial for everyone who wants to improve copywriting skills. If you spend a lot of time writing communications to get some action done, you will surely be referring to this book often to check if your copy will help you accomplish your goals.

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