Review of Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso
Book review

Review of Web Copy That Sells by Maria Veloso


Wow. Seriously, wow!

This book was incredible and is a must-buy if you want to learn how to write copy that sells digital products online.

I was browsing around in Barnes and Noble and was getting a little bit frustrated because all of the books on copywriting were outdated!

They were all talking about print advertising or writing advertorials.

I understand that some of the copywriting principles that have been used in print are certainly applicable to the web, but I didn’t want to have to figure out which ones.

When I found Web Copy That Sells I was overjoyed! Finally… a book on copywriting that I can use to write effective copy for my courses, auto-responders, sales pages, and more.

I started to browse through this textbook-style book and I wasn’t disappointed. It was chocked full of useful strategies, tips, and techniques to write effective copy for the web.

For the longest time, I have been reading a scattering of blog posts and listening to podcasts on copywriting. I never got the full picture until now.

Haha – this book is a tomb of information. If you’re a nerd like me, and you want to know everything that there is to know about this subject, then I’d grab a copy of it (no pun intended).

My Realization About Copywriting

Throughout my life, I’ve always felt like I’m hunting for buried artifacts in the desert of Egypt.

Except, rather than escavating the land for precious remnants of a ancient civilization, I’m continually trying to discover things I’m GOOD AT. 

I’m always learning new skills and trying out lots of new hobbies to see what sticks. 

By doing this, I’ve discovered my love for writing, blogging, speaking, programming, and even fun things like flying Drones and filming YouTube videos.

Today, I think I discovered something else that will dramatically accelerate my financial results online.


Finally, it feels like everything make senses. I now understand why certain bloggers speak the way they do and why sales pages are written the way they are.

This book made me realize that:

  1. I need to get good at copywriting to earn more sales of my products
  2. If I try, I can get really good at copywriting. There is a process to it and I’m already good at writing.
  3. It’s very lucrative to write copy if you know what you’re doing.

This upcoming year I want to focus on deliberately improving my copywriting skills so that I can turn more website visitors into customers.

I also want to use these techniques to persuade people in other areas of my life!

This kinda sounds silly, but I’m always asking myself “Okay… what’s my path towards becoming a millionaire.”

Given my skills, talents, and inclinations, what steps do I need to take to get to THAT destination.

How can I work backwards and achieve all of the steps that will lead me to this point in life?

There’s no doubt in my mind that copywriting is a step that I must master in order to get there.

Seeing as I want to sell educational products, this is a must for me to learn and get good at. I think it will also help a lot with my YouTube videos.

Books mentioned

  • Ogilvy on advertising.
  • Robert Collier Letter book
  • Direct response copywriting.
  • Magic Words That Bring You Riche$
  • Realty in Advertising
  • How to Write a Good Advertisement: a short course in copywriting
  • Tested Advertising Methods

My Notes

  • Rule 1: Don’t make your website look like an advertisement. Provide good information. don’t make it seem like a sales pitch. Reading news or article.
  • “Selling comes from expertly crafted copy that tilts the website visitor toward your product or service.”
  • People tune out ads but they tune into editorial information.
  • Rule 2: Stop readers dead in their tracks.
  • Headline incites curiosity. Sub-headline injects emotion, drama, and credibility.
  • Rule 3: Capture emails. Only .025 – 5 percent of your website will convert into sales. Your email captures the rest of the people. Look into direct response copywriting.
  • When you ask questions, the brain is compelled to answer. Readers are more likely to believe an answer their own brain comes up with.
  • Questions aren’t statements. Rather than making a true or false claim, they introduce a possibility and allows brain to draw conclusion/paint a picture.
  • “What if…” or “Imagine what would happen if…” or “Think back…”
  • First headline should include the words the will draw attention due to relevance of problem and not totally generic.
  • Pyramid style of writing: key points and conclusion first and then background.
  • “Fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain.”
  • Build the sale on emotions so they feel the pain and beg for the benefits.
  • Writer other people’s copy to model them.
  • Below include some intellectual questions to ask yourself as the copywriter. Blueprint for copy writing.
  • What is the problem? They might not know they have it, so they need to recognize it. You must convince them you understand their problem. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” “Hey, they really understand my problem.”
  • Why hasn’t the problem been solved? What solutions have been tried and failed. Why has it persisted.
  • What is possible? What could life be like? Use description.
  • What is different now? USP.
  • What should you do now? State clearly what you want them to do.
  • The next points are ways you can flesh out these questions.
  • Step 1: Inject emotion. Inject emotion into what’s possible. Write an emotional scenario. Gives virtual experience of owning the product with good results.
  • Step 2: Bullet points, bonuses, guarantees. To write bullets, state the benefit and then paint a picture of how their life will change when they get it. Or inject drama/emotion. Or paint picture to visualize concept. Before listing price, put customer in right frame of mind to buy.
  • People will make judgements on price if they see it first. They won’t read and be persuaded by the web copy. “Few people are predisposed to spend that much money ($297) until they understand the value of what they are getting for that investment.”
  • Buying decision times vary so catch them at every point they are likely to buy.
  • Step 3: Add credibility. Case studies, stories, testimonials, facts, quotes, stats.
  • Step 4: Add in persuasive devices or involvement ones. Cliffhanger, embedded commands, consistency, investment, etc.
  • Step 5: Replace rational words with emotional words
  • Customers buy benefits, not features. Benefits are what you can do, have or be. “What that means to you is…” or “Which means that you can…”
  • USP: “Unlike most of its competitors…”
  • “Copywriting ultimately is about fulfilling human desires and needs, the more successful you are at representing your product or service in a way that plays to those desires and needs, the more successful your sales copy will be.”
  • All desires can be grouped into gain pleasure or avoid pain.
  • Testimonials. People who support the slogan’s claim or who like the product.
  • Case studies. Case studies tell a story.
  • Price – Always equate with a minor purchase or reduce it to a daily cost.
  • Money back: do __ and if you don’t ____, then simply give us a call and we will cheerfully refund your entire purchase.
  • Close must remove all obstacles that stand in the way of reader taking action. Use urgency.
  • Always tell readers what to do, even when it’s obvious. Use verbs.
  • If your headline does not sell your product, you’ve wasted your money.
  • Headline should convey benefit of interest to target audience. Gain pleasure or avoid pain.
  • Headlines: Compelling promise, benefits to reader, what offer is, emotions, specifics, curiosity, target audience, announcement, asking question, how to.
  • You’ll get more attention if headline is framed in quotes.
  • Price line story of direct response radio. empowerment “name your price.” It gives people a taste of power. Free credit report story. Run free report.
  • “Write to the monkey  brain.” Dumb down your writing. Fancy writing can be condescending or pretentious. Don’t use tentative adjectives.
  • Compelling promise early in the copy.
  • Read every word. Solid proof. Remind reader in conclusion what you just revealed which boosts credibility for delivering on promise.
  • Drop letter improves readership by 13% Draws attention.
  • Use pricing structures. Catch people at their willingness to buy.
  • Appeal to different income promises vs just one in headline.
  • Call attention to flaws. Increases credibility.
  • Questions cause prospect to focus on what you have to say.
  • Avoid using buying or purchasing words. Come up with alternatives.
  • Understand how different buying decisions are made. Long copy outsells short copy.
  • “It is not your customers’ job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.”
  • “The real selling starts after the first sale is made, by multiplying that one sale into many, many more repeat sales and upsells.”
  • “People develop a bond with you because they see a reflection of themselves in you. An effective way to do this is by mirroring the language in which your target audience communicates, which allows you to gain instant rapport with them.”
  • “When we know someone likes us, we believe that they won’t cheat, lie, or take advantage of us, but instead give us the best possible arrangement or deal.”
  • Fill in the blank information
  • “The word this in the subject line of an email is proven to get a recipient to open their email.”
  • Other good ones are “here” and “about your…”
  • Ellipsis points = incompleteness
  • What, why, and how in subject line.
  • Don’t use email headlines that reek of commerce. Only good in email copy.
  • Don’t use subject line to identify who you are.
  • Put most important info in beginning of email
  • Zeigarnik effect: People remember what is incomplete or unfinished. There is mental tension and unbalance with uncompleted tasks.
  • “Since the brain is unable to pay full attention to the topic at hand until those other tasks are completed, this can create a problem.” Minimize links.
  • Use cliffhangers to your advantage.
  • Use embedded commands.
  • “What will you do with the extra $2,500 you’ll earn next month?” assumes you’ll earn $2,500 next month.
  • Leading questions imply the existence of something when, in fact, its existence has not been established.
  • Other leading techniques: “As you know” “I’m sure you know” “Everybody knows.” Clearly, obviously, evidently, undoubtedly, easily, readily, automatically, and naturally.
  • “Any statement you put after any of these words if more likely to be received or accepted by your reader without resistance.”
  • Linguistic bind: state something true and then attach it to what you want the reader to think, say, or do.
  • Reframing: changing context in which it’s viewed. Shift focus to desirable or hidden aspect of disadvantage. “You’ll earn twice as much on your…”
  • Consistency: “Earlier I asked… If you’re still reading…”
  • Contradictory thinking: Cognitive dissonance is distressing mental state when things don’t fit with what they know or they have opinions that conflict with others they have. By changing attitude, you’ll maintain an acceptable explanation for behavior.
  • Give reasons for the reader to buy early on. Any doubts will be overcome by original belief.
  • “A sale is made based on the salesperson’s ability to stir as many emotions in the prospective buyer as possible.” Deliver an emotional experience.
  • “When you’re able to satisfy them emotionally during the sales process, the virtues of your product or service become secondary.”
  • “When you engage your prospect’s imagination successfully, it often eclipses the gratification they get from actually having your product or service.”
  • Make their heart beat faster.
  • “What people actually bought was that emotional buzz, that temporary high that made them feel how they want to feel.”
  • Capture people’s imagination. The more you imagine, the more you’re being sold on something or someone.
  • People like people who like them.
  • “Emotionally satisfied customers are also likely to ignore or underestimate the fault sof the product or service.”
  • If you fail to emotionally satisfy, you fail to make the sale.
  • Stimulate people’s emotions and the world will beat a path to your website.
  • How to change minds: offer three forms of representation. Helps customer satisfaction.
  • When you arouse emotions, you also alter mental representation of reality.
  • “The more emotional your prospect’s commitment is to an existing belief, the more difficult it is to change his or her mind. Conversely, the more emotionally engaging your web copy is, the easier it is to install a belief that endears your product or service to your prospect.”
  • Emotional resonance: It feels right. Feel similar to you. Resonate with your ideas. Model behavior around yours. “To the extent that you’re able to have your prospects believe that you’re just like them or that you understand their problems, pain, and predicaments you have the power to influence what they will believe and how they will act.”
  • Redefinition: Proposition becomes more convincing to the extent you can re-define understanding of a concept. See in a brand new way (your way). Narrative. Quantitative. Logic. Appeal to these three ways.
  • “If you don’t get them to read the free chapters, they’ll never buy the entire course. If you never get them to read x, they’ll never buy y.”
  • Minimize buyer’s remorse.
  • Don’t mention product or service in advertorial.
  • Pillow benefits story. Reason clients buy were not mentioned in infomercial. sleep better and comfort vs. neck pain, sleeplessness, or spouse snored.
  • Questions to ask: “What are the reasons you bought this product or service or what motivated you to buy?”
  • “Can you list the top benefits of the product or services that convinced you to act?””here are a few of the benefits of our product or service. Please rank the in order of importance.”
  • “Why didn’t you buy” “What, if anything ,was confusing about the offer?” “Why did you return the product?”
  • Copywriting fees: $2,000 – $3,000 for a sales page. Or flat fee if sales. $125 – $235 per hour.
  • IP – yours. Fee. Your responsibility to prove it generates more sales.
  • 5 to 10 percent of gross revenues less marking costs.
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