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Joe Sugarman’s Tricks: Write Copies Your Audience Can’t Stop Reading

Joe Sugarman is a legendary direct response copywriter and owner of the very popular BluBlocker Sunglasses.

In 1986, he wrote this ad which not only generated insane curiosity but helped his brand become very popular.

As a successful copywriter, he followed a few simple tricks to keep his audience reading his copy.

Check out these tricks and see if you’re already employing them in your copy.

Open Your Copy with a Compelling Sentence

According to Joe Sugarman, the sole purpose of the first sentence in the advertisement is get you to read the second sentence.

Indeed, the trick applies to copywriting as well.

Every captivating copy invariably starts with a compelling first sentence.

Here’s an example of an absorbing copy written by Brian Clark, the celebrated copywriter.

5 Ways to Convert More Prospects by Making Your Case   Copyblogger.png

Did you see that?

He starts with a sentence that immediately addresses the main concern of his readers.

However, according to Joe Sugarman, the first sentence doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the topic. In fact, you need not even write a complete sentence at all. The goal is to keep it short and simple while raising the curiosity level of your readers. That’s how you get them to read your next line.

Sound Conversational, Like an Email to a Friend

How do you read an email from someone you care about?

The reason why we all engage with emails deeply is not just because it’s an email but also because we know the persona behind the words. We immediately build a personal connect right from the word go.

Joe believes copywriting should also be personal and conversational in order for your readers to pay attention to and engage with it.

On the contrary, if you perceive your audience as someone who doesn’t exist or someone you’ve never met, you tend to go more formal. This affects your flow and your pitch, making your words boring, dull and unappealing.

But, you must break the mental barriers and articulate your words as best as you can.

Here are a few tricks to verify your copy and see it’s conversational.

  • Use active voice whenever possible because it’s easily comprehensible.
  • Use contractions (it’s, you’re, it’d etc) to keep your tone light and personal.
  • Use appropriate words as per your audience’s cognitive power.
  • Use the second person to make your reader feel included.

Take a look how Brian Dean writes for his blog. Here’s a screenshot of his blog.

The Backlinko SEO Blog by Brian Dean.png

The Art of Harmonizing: How to Keep ‘Em Reading Your Copy

Even as your copy is able to capture the fancy of readers, many of them drop off and don’t make it to the end.

Frustrating, eh?

Well, you’re not alone!

Your audience, today, is hardpressed for time, and suffering from short attention span, blame it on the multitude of apps and notifications they’re exposed to.

In other words, your copy is essentially vying for attention. So, if it fails to live up to the promises in the headline, or starts sounding dull after a few paragraphs, your readers might switch to something else.

The good news is you CAN prevent this from happening to your article, thanks to the technique called “Harmonizing”.

It’s a technique to get your audience to agree with your narrative, and eventually take the desired action, e.g, buy the product.

Here are a couple of things you can do to keep your audience harmonize with your narrative.

Cite Relevant Statistics: Everybody loves stats, numbers, facts, and figures. It’s the most tangible takeaway for any audience. If you know how to support your narrative with stats, it’ll resonate with your readers.

Use an Anecdote: Anecdotes are mini-stories that help put things in perspective. Everybody loves stories, and if you know when to tell a mini-story, your readers will find it interesting.

Add some visuals: Adding visuals such as an engaging image, gif or screenshot can also help keep your audience glued to your copy. It also serves as a visual break from the text and acts as an anchor.

Plant Curiosity: The Bucket Brigade Technique

Nothing drives your readers quite a like a copy that begins with a swag but, gets boring midway.

When you’re writing a long-form article, it can be hard for even the most loyal of your readers to sustain their urge to continue unless it’s your copy is ridiculously interesting.

As a matter of fact, even the best blogs fail to contain their audience every time.

So, is there any way to prevent this?

Yes! Brian Dean from Backlinko.com, recommends using what he calls the “Bucket Brigade” technique. This is essentially an engagement enhancement technique which consists of using a number of attention-grabbing words and phrases to offer your narrative a personality. It makes your readers feel as if they were listening to a real person speaking to them.

In fact, the best public speakers and successful sales professionals use this technique to keep their audience engaged.

Here are some examples of those phrases you can use in your copy.

  • There’s an interesting story behind this…
  • But, here’s the catch/deal…
  • Well, that’s not all…
  • And, here’s why it matters...

The Bucket Brigade phrases stir the curiosity of your readers and help them keep reading in anticipation. That’s why it works so well in speech as well as writing.

Think Like a Salesman: Anticipate Their Next Move

A salesman and copywriter share many things in common – they both use stories, highlight benefits, and lead the prospect to the desired action.

But, that’s where similarities end.

Unlike a salesperson, the copywriter doesn’t speak to her audience face-to-face. This makes it twice is hard for her to anticipate the next move of her audience.

While the salesperson is in an advantageous position to answer questions of her audience as they come, the copywriter has to craft her copy to addresses the potentials questions in advance.

In other words, you should design the copy to lead your prospects to ask questions you want to answer.

This might sound like the task is hard but it’s not.

With the help of a blog post outline/template, you can deal with any potential questions that your invisible readers might ask. The blog post template helps you conduct in-depth research and gather information to make your copy comprehensive enough.

So, how do you come up with a blog post outline? Here’s an example:


Final Thoughts

Keeping your audience glued to your copy has never been a piece of cake. However, the challenge has compounded in the past several years, thanks to the rising distractions and decreasing attention span. Therefore, it’s essential for copywriters to learn more about their audience and craft their copy to boost their engagement quotient.

Published on November 2, 2017