On Tuesday, I hosted the DirectMarketingIQ webinar, Words that Get Opens — for Envelopes and Emails, sponsored by Silverpop. Featuring the magnetic and renowned copywriter Herschell Gordon Lewis, it was a high-paced, information-filled hour that any copywriter would benefit from. It's still available for the next days via this link.
Lewis is a copywriter with several grand controls under his belt (or should I say, "on"?), and he's the author of "On the Art of Writing Copy" (third edition), the recent "Creative Rules for the 21st Century — the Richest Resource of Copywriting Secrets for Today's Market" and the just-published "Internet Marketing Tips, Tricks, and Tactics." During the hour, he first tackled the four trends in the 21st century:
1. Increasing informality — need to write the way people speak, rather than employ antiquated prose.
2. Increasingly emphatic persuasion.
3. Inclusion of validation — those people out there no longer believe what marketers have to say, because there are so many charlatans out there.
4. Promise of fast action — "we will send your package in the next 45 days." As Lewis says, "What planet are these people on?!" A very slooowww planet, and certainly not ours.
Then Lewis digs into the so-called "4 great laws." He says that you can't write bad copy if you follow these:
1. Reach and influence, at the lowest possible cost, the most people who can and will respond. Not this Madison Avenue idea of "reaching the most people." We don't want the most people, we want the most people who can and will respond.
2. In this Age of Skepticism, cleverness for the sake of cleverness may well be a liability, rather than an asset. For example, when copy is "straight" and a photo is "cute," the mismatch damages impact. Cleverness often drives up skepticism a lot more than sales.