93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2005
Ms. Veloso is a specialist in writing the kind of copy which sells online courses and other one-per-website items. Because these items often have high selling prices, they take a lot of long, intense, hard selling to convince buyers to pull the trigger. If you're trying to sell a book, course, get rich quick scheme, diet plan, etc., this book will give you great advice on how to write hard-hitting sales copy.
However, if you, like me, wanted advice more about selling a bunch of products in a more traditional e'commerce catalog with hundreds of products, you won't find such info here. SOME of what she says applies to that type of writing, but if I were to use her hard-hitting sales techniques on my customers, it would put them off and make my site seem a little too miuch like a used car lot. A better choice: Catalog Copy That Sizzles by Herschell Gordon Lewis. Also Persuasive Online Copywriting by Bryan and Jeff Eisenberg will give you much of the same information but without the hard sell.
Now, that said, Veloso does give lots of information about the psychology of sales that is helpful (so do the Eisenbergs in their book Call To Action). And there are many, many tips here for other kinds of e'commerce that work WITH a catalog, partuclarly email, autoresponders, SIG files, how to avoid SPAM blockers, etc.
My goal for any business, advertising, or marketing book is to get at least one solid idea that I can put into practice...if I get at least one, the book was worth the cost. And I got a lot of "keeper" ideas from ths book. Also, I judge books by whether I feel like selling them on Amazon afterwards or whether they stay on my bookshelf as a reference. This one will stay on the shelf.
90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
I just finished reading Maria Veloso's book, 'Web Copy That Sells.' This book provides the unique skills and techniques that enable a copywriter or anyone who writes online copy to flat out sell like never before. These techniques are so powerful and dynamic it's hard to believe.
Having said that, I have to add that in my opinion, Maria's method of writing Web copy would not work for every site or product. There is not a set pattern or template that fills the bill for all sites.
For example, she proclaims that the "editorial" style of Web site copy produces the most business. This is indeed a clever tool on "some" sites. But not all. It won't work on all sites and is too awkward for some.
She also likes to use "involvement devices" on her sites. I agree that these are useful on some sites. But I noticed on one of her sites that you "involve" yourself by ticking off your desired answer only to have your e-mail client pop up. This is not good usability --- people want to know and should know when they're about to submit an e-mail. They may opt not to do that and they should know before they click the box what's going to happen.
There are a few other things of this nature that I don't buy into. But, for the most part, this is a valuable book because it offers ideas that are fresh and not readily available and that most people will find exceedingly useful.
I suggest you buy the book and take from it what will work in your own personal situation but don't take everything as "gospel".
Maria Veloso has put together a wealth of knowledge that has not been made available before as far as I know. I've read all the books on online copywriting and a few offered some valuable help and ideas. In fact, most have some good points that you can take away from your read.
But 'Web Copy That Sells' is, by far, the very best to date. I recommend this book to anyone who really wants to make their site sell or needs to understand how to write e-mail and get it through the spam filters as well as get it read. This book covers it all. Maria Veloso has done a great job and provided a valuable service.
I highly recommend this powerful book to all copywriters and anyone who needs to write copy for the Web. But, as I said, take from it what will work for you and be sure you adhere to good usability in your quest to sell.
One word of warning, at least one of the freeware products the author recommends you download is "loaded" with adware that will take your computer over. So beware.
Susanna K. Hutcheson
74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2005
Reading all these rave reviews, I bought the book, and I have to admit I was quite torn---between being pulled in and dragged down. Why? Let me explain. ;-)
When I became a freelance copywriter, I checked out every useful book and article on writing techniques I could lay my hands on, and for direct response marketing, I got thoroughly enchanted by Joe Sugarman’s "Advertising Secrets of the Written Word."
Now, Maria Veloso’s definitely good at what she does, and good at how she teaches what she does: applying direct response writing techniques to the Internet. There are some drawbacks, though. You're pulled in into the realms of thrilling writing techniques, but also deeply into the hyperbole world of dramatic sales boosts, incredible cost cuts, the truth about hair growth, weight loss, and killer marketing secrets "they" don't want you to know about---so much so that at some point you begin to feel like wanting to come up for some air. "Air" meaning two things: transforming and applying these techniques to, how should I put it, more "upmarket" products and services, and a bit more reflection on the ethics of writing than just mentioning it from time to time. If you think you can't merge killer writing techniques with upmarket products and lots of ethics into the bargain, then I urge you to read Sugarman!
Another drawback is, with the way Veloso presents her techniques, the danger of spawning legions of "copy clones" looms large. Try and check out her reference Web sites, the testimonials' Web sites, and the copywriters' Web sites who apply her techniques, and you'll see how important it is to _not_ simply take these techniques as a ready-made formula to build your house of words. (That doesn't mean that the real good examples aren't real good, mind!)
I'd say, yes, do buy the book. But be ready for the hard work to develop your own ideas, to build on these techniques, and to apply them for your customers in ways that look authentic, feel genuine, sport less hyberbole, and comply with your ethical standards.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2006
This book is absolutely priceless. I hear what some of the critical comments say. The fact is they are not grasping the brilliant lessons and enormous time savers Maria shares in this book that apply across the board to writing copy and marketing on line. First off, she makes it very clear her book is about what it says, writing web copy that sells, not writing web content. The whole point and value of this book are the formulas that will save INCREDIBLE amounts of time while ensuring you address every element that goes into capturing paying customers online. THAT'S the value. The actual words you use in writing your own specific copy are up to you. You don't have to sound like a snake oil salesman. I sell upscale b2b, business owners and senior executives and what I learned in the book is indeed killer. Practical lessons that I can immediately apply. Read this book and combine what you learn with Frank Rumbauskas Never Cold Call Again (and I haven't in the past 6 months), Metaphorically Selling by Anne Miller, and Richard Koch's The 80/20 Principle, The Secret of Achieving More With Less, and then work hard (sorry) and you'll be a lean mean money machine.
One thing I am very cautious about is all the copywriters that have made the change to copy writing over priced self generated programs on how to get rich copy writing (i.e. Bly, Masterson, Silver and others). Do a search on google to find good resources to seriously research the feasibility and process to make such a transition and your head will spin clicking on all the sites by these gurus with $500 to $2,000. This seems to be a whole niche that has become popular today to go side by side with network marketing. Get rich easy and quick with my magic formula to becoming a copywriter. (I do NOT put this book in that category, like I said this book is easily worth multiples of its price). I am also NOT saying that the money to be made in the industry is not accurate. Just like in network marketing where I did in fact make 6 figures a year in that industry for a while. The reality was it took HARK WORK, which terrifies most of the folks looking for the ever elusive easy buck. And as P.T. Barnum always knew, there are plenty of folks who want to believe it be so. When ever someone truly discovers the secret to becoming rich plugging into some formula system is the day everyone you know will be rich. The reality is if anything worked like that you couldn't stop it from sweeping the country. No one would be poor anymore...and I guess the new poor would be the least rich, right?
Bottom line, buy this book. If you use the principles, formulas and concepts Maria teaches you, you will indeed make a lot more money than you are now. If it sits on a shelf gathering dust waiting for the someday you are going to use some of the stuff it won't make you one single cent.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2006
As others have briefly mentioned here, what you get out of Web Copy That Sells will really depend on what you want to sell and how new you are to the field of advertising and the internet.
My biggest complaint about the book was that it comes off as a circle jerk. Meaning, the book concentrates on web copy for selling "revolutionary" courses on how to get rich and how to make mega bucks online. It could be said it's written for an audience that hopes to to sell to themselves.
For those wanting to sell products, rather than 'How To' guides, you might gain a little from this book, yet I suspect those of you who are working in an internet related field will cringe at some of the content. There are even parody websites of some of the advertising styles suggested throughout the book. It really is about writing web copy for a new-to-the-web customer.
It is unfortunate that Veloso spends most of her time discussing copy for actual web sites (even worse is that they are websites selling something aimed at those wanting to get rich), when the reality is that a lot of web copy needs to be written for actual online ads. Online ads for physical products or actual services. This is where many of Veloso's techniques fall flat.
Summary: If you want to learn how to sell an e-book, buy this book. Otherwise look elsewhere.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Web Copy That Sells is well written, easy to read and a great resource for improving your web copy.
There are a number of points that Maria makes regarding web copy that apply equally to all areas of business as well as life. For example, she points out that you cannot simply model some successful website and expect the same results. You must model the process. That is go through the same process that the creator of the successful website went through.
The book is not only a resource for web copy that sells, it is also a very good marketing course. She points out that potential customers must know you, like you and ultimately trust you before they will do business with you. She provides a step by step method to accomplish this.
Maria is right on when she talks about the importance of the first screen and why you must concentrate on what's in it for the viewer. The website should not be designed as an ego boosting medium. You must keep the viewer's point of view in mind.
She provides a good list of dos and don'ts for web copy. There are plenty of other tools such as a formula to evaluate any website.
Scattered throughout the book are excellent marketing lessons - words tell, emotion sells - fear of loss is a better motivator than desire for gain. You would do well to read and understand these very valuable marketing lessons.
This is a very good resource for anyone responsible for their own or their company's website.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2005
One of the best books for web marketers out there. Not only will you learn how to make your web copy sell but you'll learn about all the different kinds of web copy you must have. For example, Opt-In forms, Auto Responders, e-mails, etc. I had no idea that these things are responsible for the bulk of a web site's conversion rate. Very well written and organized. Step by step instructions. Get it! A great companion to this book is SEO for Dummies by Peter Kent. Talk about a one two punch!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2005
There is no doubt that the art of advertising changes over time. How we present products, and the words we use to entice our audience, will change depending on the targeted age bracket and the product. And, as you will discover in Maria Veloso's book, how we present products will also depend on *where* we advertise.
"Web Copy That Sells" makes the claim that in order to sell online, you must first understand how people use the internet, and how they read web copy. Since research has shown that most people actually do not *read* as much as they *scan* online text, this is a basic starting point for Ms. Veloso's book. Readers learn how to format their text so that key words, ideas and phrases jump out at potential customers. We learn how to use psychological devices to entice readers to become buyers. These are the very same devices that advertisers have been using for decades in print ads, but presented in a way more compatible with the online experience.
Through this book we learn other valuable information. Since we know that most people go online to get information, not to read ads, the author shows readers how to craft a web page that reads like an article, not necessarily an ad. By then partnering an enticing article/website with an opt-in email list, sellers can continue to focus in on presenting a stronger sales pitch.
The book also contains very useful information that every online seller should know: how to use terminology on a website that motivate readers to want to know more about your product; what words to avoid in an email; how to write an email subject line that makes readers want to open the email; and how to use a Unique Selling Proposition to set you, your company and your product apart from others.
Writing successful web copy is (most of the time) writing hype. Like advertising of old, it's a game of persuasion, in which you attempt to convince potential buyers that yours is the best product for the money. But this is not a license to blatantly deceive or spam individuals. "Web Copy That Sells" advocates using hype, psychology and other persuasive techniques ethically: when using an email list, always allow recipients an opportunity to opt out; always offer a money-back guarantee; do not misrepresent your company or product; and treat your potential customers with honesty and respect.
I do not suggest that "Web Copy That sells" should be the *only* book on your shelf that deals with online selling. But I do believe that it will be an invaluable addition to your how-to library. With this book you will be able to get up and running almost right away with a website that sells. Selling product, whether in a magazine, through a postal flyer, or on the radio or TV, has always been about the art of persuasion. "Web Copy That Sells" is an excellent book that tells you how online selling differs from selling in any other medium.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2008
...And even advanced copywriters will gain some valuable insights. The main point that Maria makes in "Web Copy That Sells" could be summed up in the phrase "Know your customer". Specifically, she impresses on the reader that most people surfing the web are in a very specific psychological state (information-seeking) that you have to understand so that you can structure your writing in a way that grabs their attention immediately and leads them through the sales process. The best parts of the book:
1. Maria shares her "blueprint" for writing effective copy on the web. 5 questions that you can use to essentially form the framework of your sales letter before you've even started writing.
2. Psychological devices taken from NLP and other branches of psychology that get your prospects more involved in your copy and increase conversion.
3. An easy formula for writing "mouthwatering bullets" that paint a picture of how your customers lives will improve when they purchase your product.
4. A checklist that you can use to find out if your copy has as many sales-inducing elements as possible, and how to troubleshoot if things go wrong.
All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to pursue a lucrative career in online copywriting, or anyone who just wants their copy to have an "unfair advantage" over the competition (haha marketing cliche).
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2005
Well, I just got this book a couple days ago, and I finished it within a day and a half. It's actually over 200 pages long, but it was so good, I couldn't put it down. I've actually never read anything by the author before, and since she's basically a part of the "internet marketing superstars" clan, I was just waiting to be disappointed. Thankfully this wasn't the case.
First, let me state a few things I didn't like about the book. For one, I was a little confused with some of her reasoning. At one point she would say she embraces editorial copy, and then in another point she would use as a positive example, a piece that was blatantly hyped-up advertising copy. Also, I hate seeing testimonials (especially ones that feature a first name and then just an initial. This was in the front of the book), as these remind me of those pathetic hype-filled sales websites. I also noticed a few spelling errors, as well as the writer saying the opposite of what she actually wanted to say in one part.
On to the positives. As an independent sales agent, i've been looking for a book that could help me speed up my writing and provide me with blueprints for writing good copy. This book did exactly that. It used to take me several days just to come up with one lousy page of copy. Now it takes me just a matter of a few hours to get a great sales piece together. And no, your copy doesn't have to sound the same as everyone else's unless you want it to. She provides you with a thought process that allows you to embrace your own style.
In conclusion, this is not a stand-alone product. It assumes that you already have some knowledge of writing. I suggest you pick up The Copywriter's Handbook by Robert Bly first if you've never done sales copy before. Also, the reader should embrace a wide variety of different books on internet marketing, as this book should only be used to understand web copy better. There are numerous other things to understand about selling on the web than just copy. So in the end, I give it 4 stars. I'm glad I bought it.