Going Beyond “Chameleon” Copywriting

Recently a marketer came to us for help. He’d pulled the plug on a high-profile launch – with some heavy-hitting JV partners – because the sales copy he’d paid good money for turned out to be sub-par.

Scratch that.

Frankly, the copy sucked.

Rather go into a major launch armed with a pea-shooter, he decided to get the copy rewritten.

He was up-front about the fact that he was interviewing several copywriters, and asked for samples from our portfolio. We obliged.

A sticking point was he wasn’t sure our copy samples gave him a feel for our ability to write an effective sales letter for this particular project. One of the key demographic descriptors being “independent professionals.”

To be fair many of the samples in our online portfolio are geared to Internet Marketing niches. We do that for a couple reasons. One is because some of those letters have been extremely successful, and we’re justifiably proud of them.

Another is that many of the letters were written for marketers with high name recognition. So even if someone isn’t primarily marketing to the IM market, it’s likely they’ve heard of or even bought products from marketers we’ve worked with.

But as we state on our website, “If you prefer to see samples of non-salesletter copy, such as standard websites, direct mail pieces, magalogs, autoresponder email series, TV infomercials, advertorials, or other, contact us and ask for a specific example of what you want to see.”

I sent over some other samples not featured on our website that were well outside of the market in question. In fact, the samples I sent were in a market I’d previously not written for.

But They Were for a Similar Demographic.

And the clients were quite pleased with the response we achieved.

After drilling down a bit more in our discussions, our marketer asked us this:

“Many copywriters have told us that a good copywriter can be sort of a ‘chameleon’ in their ability to emulate the client’s own style of communication.

So we’re wondering if you would take a real good look at our sales letter and let us know if you think you can write copy that will harmonize with our style.”

This was my response,

“There is always a balance that needs to be struck when writing direct response sales copy.

By way of illustrating that balance, let me speak to the notion of “chameleon” copy. It’s a term I’ve used myself.

“And if by ‘chameleon copy, you mean the ability to write to several different markets, I have no problem with it.

But to be frank it’s a notion that doesn’t really capture what a direct response copywriter’s main job is, which is to make the sale and advance the relationship with the buyer.

The Primary Purpose of Becoming a “Copy Chameleon” is Not to Blend in to The Background

The primary purpose is to enter the conversation going on in the prospects mind.

It’s to discover the deep desires, wants, fears and needs that keep the prospect up at night, and present the product as the fulfillment of those desires.

Yes, it’s also very important to maintain integrity with the seller, to make sure that the style and tone of the sales message does not betray the “brand” and does not sell in a way that alienates the target market.

But the primary motivation must always be to make the sale in such a way as to leave the buyer excited about the product (even if that product is a person or brand) and to ensure they want to business again in the future.

cut across many target markets, from Realtors, to self-help coaching clients, to Internet Marketers, and otherwise wealthy, successful professionals seeking alcoholism treatment.

In each case, our task was to elicit the desired response, whether that be a phone call, signing up for a Seminar or buying a product. Of course it was important to make sure our sales message was consistent with the client’s brand.

Most of our clients have taken years to build a personal relationship with their markets

And they value that relationship immensely.

Sometimes they also found in the process of working with us that just a slight modification in their voice meant an increase in sales. But in all the cases I presented to you, our client’s have always been satisfied that we wrote the letter as if it was coming from them.

So there is often a bit of give and take as we harmonize the message with the client’s. We keep that in mind at all times.

Even more importantly, we want to resonate with the prospect’s interior conversation.

It’s the prospects ear that is always of primary importance. As important as it is to emulate the client’s voice, the primary virtue of “chameleon copy” is to speak to the prospect in the voice that triggers their “buy buttons” – while being consistent with the client’s image.

I know I went on a bit, but this is something I feel strongly about. Part of our job is to develop a strong sales message that the client can call his own.

But even More Important, Our Job Is Not Only To Write Chameleon Copy.

Our job is craft a message that motivates the reader to take the desired action.

It’s really that just that simple.

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