More ways that spam can teach you about copywriting

Last week, I picked apart a spammy “SEO service” email and discussed why it was actually effective.

See, the tricky thing about spam is that it works. Sure, maybe not on a more educated buyer…but not all buyers are that educated. Instead, they’re going on pure emotion – and it’s that emotion that gets them to respond.

And that’s exactly what these companies want.

See, good spam emails get results because they follow the copywriting basics to the letter. The email is written with a certain customer persona in mind (in this case, a site owner/manager who isn’t very SEO savvy.) It includes copywriting power words like “no obligation.” It outlines typical pain points – and expertly shows how the company has the perfect solution.

Again, we may not like spam – but we know people who fall for it all the time. Here’s a couple more specific takeaways from last week’s email example…and what we can learn from them

“Requesting this report does not obligate you to buy SEO services.”

Why this works:

  • The sentence overcomes objections 
  •  A valuable service is offered  for no charge.

Ever hear something that sounds fantastic…and then your first thought is, “How much is this going to cost me.”

Yeah. me too.

The person who penned this email know that, too. That’s why the writer made it clear that the report is “no obligation” (otherwise known as “free.”)  The spammy SEO company is counting on the prospect to say, “Well, it couldn’t hurt to contact them and get the report. I may learn something. Besides, I don’t have to buy anything that I don’t want to.”

See how easily the “no obligation” blurb overcomes the objection and makes it easy for the prospect to say yes? If you don’t overcome objections in your copy, your prospects may still have that niggling bit of doubt – and that small amount of doubt could cause them to say no. The goal of your copy is to make it easy for your prospects to always say, “yes” – and take the action that you want them to take.

(As a side note…the phrase “no obligation” is used because the word “free” would have tripped spam filters. However, if you’re writing a sales page, know that “free” is a very powerful word.)

“We guarantee that from the first month of our work you will see an improvement in ranking, link popularity and traffic, which would result in higher Organic rankings, more Leads and Orders for better ROI (Return on Investment).”

Why this works:

  • A guarantee is offered, which helps remove any perceived risk.
  • The writer uses benefit statements that are important to the target audience.
  • The benefits are time-specific.

Do you offer a guarantee on your products or services? If not, you may want to reconsider. The word “guarantee” is a a very powerful word in copywriting. When there’s a guarantee, the transaction seems risk-free. The next step seems easy. And it helps the prospect keep saying, “yes” to your offer.

If the copywriter wanted to really add some marketing punch to the note, the phrase “money-back guarantee”  is even better. That signals the prospect that there is no risk  - and they have nothing to lose.

Listing the benefits help to reinforce this “no risk” scenario. With this line, you can almost see the prospect’s mind starts churning with the thought, “Wow, I’d love better search positions and more sales. Maybe these guys can actually help me.” After all, what marketer wouldn’t want more leads and higher positions?  :)  When you’re writing your copy, remember that it’s benefits – not features – that close the deal. People need to immediately know what’s in it for them – or they aren’t interested.

A better way that they could have approached this? They could have included third-party success story testimonials. It’s one thing to  read that you’ll see an “increase in ROI.” It’s another when you read how a companies service has helped drive over $10,000 of sales in the first month.

Finally, always remember that time-specific results a great selling tool. If you can (ethically) tell the prospect what they can expect – and when to expect it – you’ve calmed their fears and overcome their objections.

Yes, spam may drive us nuts – especially SEO company spam. But rather than instantly deleting it, take the time to read it over.

You may be surprised by what you’ll learn.