Email marketing copy critique

email marketing fail
Here's the actual spam they sent me this morning.
Click on the image to enlarge

I'm not really a fan of email marketing. Do you want to know why?

I get better mileage using other forms of direct marketing.

If I were to run a mail campaign, I'd rather go for snail mail rather than spam. It's more costly, but people these days look forward to getting something in their real life mail box.

To get more business from the internet, I'd rather use a combination of paid search and content marketing than to send spam to my target audience.

Spam fail
I recently gave my trashmail address to sign up for a real estate webinar here in NZ. At the last moment, they cancelled. They have been sending me spam since.

Trashmail automatically creates a disposable email address that will forward all emails to your real address. In this case, I registered with It is set to expire in 30 days, or 10 emails, whichever comes first.

In the meantime, I am going to use their spam as fodder for my website critiques.

Here is the latest spam that I got from them. The copywriting is lame, if you ask me. It looks like it was written by someone in their office, probably the head of the sales or marketing department.

Message analysis
The subject line on my inbox reads... "The Clock Says Buy!"

More often than not, the reader's reaction to this is, "So what?"

If that attention grabber got you interested enough to open the email, their first 5-second message goes...
"As property moves through its normal cycle, successful investors look for the next area to invest in (often beyond their own backyard), to catch a rising market and fast-track their investing results".

More "so what" copywriting, isn't it?

I'm a copywriter. It's my job to analyze messages like these. Digging deeper into their sales message, these experts will get a better response if they spent an hour or two crafting their attention grabbers from these...
"Right now, QV are predicting continuing price growth for 2012 in Auckland. We've seen sales volumes increase 36% in Auckland, and 6% in Wellington. In both Wellington and Auckland, days on market have shortened and we've also seen another 1.5% growth in the last quarter in Wellington and 4% in Auckland."

I made this critique because I found that the rest of their message was well written. They gave enough facts to support their claims, and the writer did not use too much hype.

Here's the take-away.
First 5-seconds... if your message fails to hold your prospect's attention, the rest of your message will never be read.

To make it work, find out what it is they want, then tell them how to get it.

Marketing in the age of google

Now reading... Marketing in the Age of Google, Revised and Updated: Your Online Strategy IS Your Business Strategy

book: marketing in the age of google

Here's an excerpt from the opening chapters of the book...

"The Keys to an Effective Search Strategy
To incorporate search into your organization:
  • Add search metrics to your data mix to better understand your audience, see industry trends, and build a better product strategy
  • Integrate offline and online marketing activities to capitalize on your offline advertising efforts and to keep from losing potential customers that your offline advertising efforts are driving to search engines
  • Develop a search acquisition strategy that fully harnesses the searching behavior of your potential customers

To successfully execute your search strategy, you should build its importance into every aspect of the organization—not just marketing. A successful search strategy depends on
  • IT and Engineering
  • Product Marketing
  • Business Development
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • PR
  • Customer Support
  • User Research
  • User Interaction Design
  • ...and any other department that thinks about the business, customers, product, or Web site

Marketing in the Age of Google will guide you toward building a successful search strategy and extending the process for execution throughout your entire organization."

One page 10, I found these gems...

Even those retailers who don’t sell products online or who have substantial offline sales are still impacted by search. Online advertising triggers $6 to be spent offline for every dollar spent online14 and the in-store sales boost from search is three times greater than online display advertising. Considering that those numbers were calculated for paid search, how much of a greater impact can organic search have with 85 percent of the clicks?

Sixty-three percent of search-related purchases occur offline,15 and for some categories, this number is even higher.16 What about local businesses? In a WebVisible/Nielson study, 82 percent of respondents said that they’ve used the internet to find local businesses; 80 percent say they’ve researched a product or service online before buying it locally.

Yet, only 44 percent of small businesses even have a Web site.17 If you have a business, you need to be visible in search engines whether you sell online or not.

Headline critique - Clown text

Someone in the copywriting forum asked for our opinion about her ad. Here's the headline...


Personally, I don't like it.

It reads like a salesman wearing a red and green suit asking you to buy something, right?

"Send your conversion through the roof..." I don't get where these people get ideas for headlines like these. Maybe they look at their competitor's ads and think, "I can beat their ad by making a more awesome headline."

And so, they did.

Your website is your salesperson, working 24/7. As much as possible, you do not want to turn people off. You want them to stay for as long as possible. This way, your can deliver your sales pitch and motivate them to do what you want them to do--buy, subscribe, bookmark or share.

Get it right
Last I checked, google has indexed 7 BILLION websites. That's a lot of websites out there that wants to get your prospect's attention as much as you do.

In the first five seconds that your prospect finds your website and your message fails to get their attention, they're gone. What's worse, it will be that much harder for you to get them to stay the next time they find your site.

They are going to think... "I've seen this site before. There's nothing here that interests me."

How I would do it differently
Don't make big promises in your headlines. Use something else that's more believable.

What does "conversion" mean anyway?

I'm sure that you know what conversion means, but what about your prospect? Does conversion mean more subscribers? What if they are not looking for subscribers, but sales? Do not make them think. Get to the point.

Instead of making a big promise, I would use a headline that will illustrate the point...

"Improve conversion by 321% with this simple plan"

"734 clicked on our buy button in the first three days. Here's how"

Get the idea?

For what it's worth, do not make your message to look like an ad. People do not like being sold to. They want solutions to their problems. Format your message like an article first. Tell them as much as you can about the solution that you offer.

That means, use black text on white background when possible. Red and green bold text will only make your message read like a clown. You don't want that. When was the last time you bought something from a clown?

How a good sales webpage looks like

Print ad in Reader's Digest, November 2011

And here is the website copy on the website. Click on the image to enlarge.

govmint website critique
govmint website critique
govmint website critique
govmint website critique

Notice that this ad does not have a lot of hype. In fact, there's too much text that it looks boring, doesn't it? Can you identify the subtle hints and appeals to the emotion?

I do not have access to their traffic and conversion stats, but if you were's target audience, I wouldn't be surprised if you too, read every word of that ad.

Website critique - Logo design company

jim syyap copywriting website analysis

Hi Jim, We need help generating leads for our website. We are a group of logo designer, we have a website and we design logos for 50$. Revisions are free for all the logos we design. Our website use plimus and a payment gateway. also, SEO is done on the website.

Help wanted
Put yourself in your prospect's shoes for a moment.

You own a small business. Like almost all business owners, you are always trying to meet deadlines. Today, you decide to get help creating a logo for your business.

You do a search for "logo design", and you get these...

...and that's just the first page.

Search engine optimized
You mentioned that your website has been "optimized" for search engines, so we are going to assume that your website is able to land on page one for your chosen keywords.

In the first five seconds that your prospect finds your site, there is nothing on your landing page to motivate them to stay and look around. Sure, you have these...
About us. Whether you own a small private business or a large corporation, we’ve got you covered. We guarantee you top notch logo design services down to the tiniest detail. You can count on us to make sure our custom logos and company logo design will have people chasing you down the street screaming “LET ME DO BUSINESS WITH YOU!” although, we are not liable if any of your car windows get broken, sorry. We have an incredible passion for design, heightened by our obsession with quality and perfection, and this is further fueled by the 200% dedication we put into each and every custom logos we design. We, as a team with talent and commitment, provide logo design services for you, our valued customer, and we do this with every bit of heart we can muster. Prior to the development phase we compare different up to date technologies and possible pitfalls and choose the most suitable and cost effective solution.

... but do you think the busy small business owner will have the patience to wade through all that text looking for what he/she is looking for?

Your foot in the door
In the first five seconds, BAM--Give them your best message...
  • Which one of their urgent problems can you help them with?
  • What makes you unique?
  • How can you convince them that you are what you claim to be?

You can use your answer to any of the above questions as your attention grabber.

Your "About Us" copy only talks about who you are and what you do. Almost everyone else not making money with internet marketing is doing that.

Everyone else can claim that "We have an incredible passion for design, heightened by our obsession with quality and perfection, and this is further fueled by the 200% dedication we put into each and every custom logos we design."

Don't make 'em think
Instead of making claims, show us.

Why not make a video of the projects you have made in the past?

Show us your album or portfolio.

If your team were that "talented and committed," making a 15-minute video wouldn't be too much trouble, don't you think?

And don't talk to your prospect using big words, such as, "we compare different up to date technologies and possible pitfalls and choose the most suitable and cost effective solution."

What does that mean?

Don't make them think. Show them.

Looking for a good clickbank ad

curly hair

These past few weeks, I have been busy optimizing a few of my websites for affiliate marketing.

It's exciting to see that a website can generate income on its own, even if it were just a few cents per day.

There are a number of merchants that I can use on clickbank, but most of the ads offer too much hype. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of affiliate ads in there to choose from. The one that I picked for my affiliate site offered less hype, but still did not match my taste.

Maybe I should contact these merchants and offer them my copywriting service.

The problem with their ads? They all look the same. It's like it was written by one copywriter. Here, see for yourself...

Go through the clickbank marketplace, click on a few of the products and you will see what I mean.

You will find these a common theme:
  • Headline in red, bold font
  • A sales video
  • Bullets as checkmarks
  • A "buy now" button showing credit cards accepted
  • Glowing testimonials
  • Too much hype

What's wrong with ads like these?

Let's face it. There's just too many ads out there. Way too much. Wouldn't it be nice to just find the information I want without being sold to? That's what everyone else wants. To get their attention, provide value information first, not as a bait.

It's inevitable that you are going to sell them something, that's how we make money. If so, why make your ad read like everyone else's?

The majority of ads on clickbank, they sound too good to be true. As the affiliate, I am going to have to put up with a lot of dead-weight just to gain my audience's trust to get them to buy the product.

Besides, if you are like me, we all know the kind of information that's being given away for free in exchange for an email address--information that you probably already know from doing your own research.

What's annoying about this ad featured above is that it takes four clicks just to close that webpage. It keeps coming up with "wait--here's more!"

Soon as I find my ideal clickbank product and ad, I'll post them here.

I found one. You will find it in the navigation bar above--"Youtube Marketing"