One of the biggest mistakes I see in copy written by novice copywriters is the warm-up.
It occurs when a writer takes one paragraph (or more) to “set up” the pitch instead of starting strong.
It usually goes something like this:
Every year, thousands of Americans sink deeper into credit card debt with no real way out. Without a solid plan to pay off debt, most people wind up paying thousands more in interest and take years to do so. What you need is a company that can help you climb out of debt.
There’s nothing really wrong with the copy above … it reads well enough.
But warm-up copy like that won’t sell your product or service.
It’s also boring and will lose your readers.
Direct response copy is not relaxing prose. It’s not editorial copy. It’s sales copy. It’s got to pop, grab your prospect by the shoulders, and reel them in.
Now read this opening paragraph:
You can be debt free.
Impossible?
Well, I’m about to tell you how you can pay off your credit card debt … in full … in months instead of years. And you’ll save thousands in the process.
It makes you want to keep reading, doesn’t it? It gets immediately to the point and tells you exactly what you’re reading, and what you stand to gain from it.
Here are 4 tips to cut the fat and get right to your pitch without warm-ups:

  1. What is your product or service’s #1 benefit? Tell us right away. Make that the first thing you talk about or tease. Use your strongest point first.
  1. Use short, punchy sentences at the beginning of your copy. Don’t lull your prospect into lazy reading. Jab at them with short, exciting, pitch-driven sentences.
  1. Use the “3 paragraph” rule.” After you write your opening, strike the first three paragraphs. Put it aside and come back to it later with a fresh perspective. You’ll notice you probably didn’t need those paragraphs.
  1. Use facts and figures immediately. Before you tell them why your product or service is great, tell them the amazing results. Concrete facts go a long way.

Your opening lines should convey the incredible excitement you have to share.
Think about it. If you were giving away money, would you spend two paragraphs explaining why they should take advantage of free money? No way! You’d say: “This year, I’m giving away free money!”
No doubt your prospect will keep reading. Your opening lines should be that immediate.
If you have any questions about your copy or would like a free consolation, call me at (310) 212-5727 or email me at craig@cdmginc.com

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