Practice Project: Write a Powerful, 83-Word Email About a Vacuum Cleaner

Writing every day is the secret to getting better. But inevitably, the next question is: What do I write?

Today, I’ve set up a practice project, so you get hands-on experience writing for the Web.

Follow these instructions and you’ll get a sense of what it feels like to be given a brief to write copy for a real client.

Do this practice project, and you could end up with a solid piece for your portfolio — something that shows a prospective client what you can do.

Are you game?

Here’s How It Works …

First, keep reading.

I’m going to brief you on the job, just like a real client would.

Then I’m going to give you some tips on how to write the copy.

Follow these instructions, and you’ll have a solid new piece you can put in your portfolio!

And it’s a great opportunity to get a sense of what it feels like to be given a brief to write copy for a real client.

Use this practice project to learn good strategies, hone your skills, and build your confidence.

Okay, let’s get started.

Here’s Your Brief …

Your job is to write promotional copy for iRoboclean — a voice-controlled, robotic vacuum cleaner.

This copy is going to appear in an email.

There’ll be a headline of 8 words or less that appears at the top of the body of the email itself.

Then a photo of the iRoboclean on a living room floor, then up to 75 words of text, followed by a button for readers to click if they want to learn more.

You probably get emails like this yourself … selling clothes, vacations, books, household items, and so on.

To be clear …

Headline of up to 8 words

[photo of iRoboclean]

Up to 75 words of body text

[The More Info button]

Don’t worry about the photo or the More Info button. And don’t worry about the email subject line.

Your task is just to write the headline and 75 words of compelling text.

Basic Product Info

Your client will always give you some briefing information like this, whatever you’re going to be writing.

The product name is: iRoboclean (I made the name up. But it’s based on a real product!)

Target Audience: Homeowners who care about keeping a clean home, and like electronics too … because iRoboclean is controlled from your phone or smart home system.

Product: This is the latest edition of a robotic vacuum. It looks like most other self-cleaning vacuums.

Features:

  • Clean your house remotely from anywhere using the iRoboclean app available for any iOS or Android device.
  • Schedule cleanings via the app to keep your home debris-free.
  • Runs for up to two hours before automatically stopping to self-charge.
  • Multiple cleaning modes and vacuuming times.
  • Pre-select the areas you want cleaned using the app.
  • Brushless motor reduces standard vacuuming noise by 10%.
  • Anti-collision, infrared sensors tell iRoboclean to work harder on concentrated areas of dirt and helps direct the robot under furniture for a better clean.
  • Connect to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices or other smart home devices.

What’s unique: This robo-cleaner offers more features than most of its competitors. There are a few other voice-activated robo-cleaners out there, but not many.

Price: This is a $400 purchase. More than most vacuum cleaners, but less than some of the higher-quality editions.

(Pro tip: Don’t mention the price in your copy. The price will be revealed on the website, after readers have clicked through from your email copy.)

How to Research and Prepare

Copy and print out the briefing information above.

Then go to Amazon and look at the features and descriptions of other vacuum cleaners …

Take notes. Get a feel for the products and the buyers.

In other words, do your homework!

This is how it goes with real clients. They give you a briefing, then you do your own research too, digging deeper and immersing yourself in the product or service.

Pro Tips for Making Your Copy Better

Once you’ve done all that research, you might think it’s time to start writing.

Not so fast!

That’s just Step One.

Step Two is to immerse yourself in the lives of your buyers.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the home of someone who might be interested in buying a iRoboclean.

Will this be their first purchase of this kind or product? What’s motivating them? Why now?

Are they motivated mostly by the idea of a clean home? Or the actual convenience of being able to control the vacuum from their phone? Or is it more about loving the latest tech-enabled gadgets?

Not sure how to answer those questions?

Here’s a special pro tip for you …

Go back to those Amazon listings. Now, instead of reading the product descriptions, read the buyer reviews!

THAT’S where you get to know how it feels to be in your prospects’ shoes.

Totally immerse yourself in those reviews and opinions. Get a feel for the language buyers use when talking about these products.

Do that and THEN you’ll be ready to start writing.

Remember … nobody truly NEEDS an iRoboclean. We’ve all managed to survive without a robotic vacuum in our homes! But a lot of people might WANT one.

Why? Why do we want them?

Answer that question and you’ll be well on your way to writing some great copy.

Three More Important Tips

First …

I’ve been a professional copywriter for 40 years now.

But still, after all those years, my first draft is NEVER my best draft.

So, keep writing new drafts until it’s the best you can do.

Second …

Almost every purchase we make is driven more by our hearts than our brains. We buy stuff to satisfy our emotions. We buy stuff to make ourselves feel good.

So … don’t focus just on the tech features … give thought to the emotional triggers too.

Third …

You’re not trying to close the sale with this copy. There’s no buy button.

Your task is to make the reader want to click through to a sales page on the company website.

The purpose of the email copy is to make people interested enough to want to learn more.

Make them click that More Info button!

Remember, the real value here lies in the practice, and in having a piece of writing for your portfolio.

Final tip: If you belong to a private online copywriter’s group, you could post your copy and ask for feedback.

Now, it’s time to dive in …

Practice your writing every day, and you will improve. Guaranteed.

Do you have any questions about getting started? Let us know in the comments below.

Find out the winners of Nick’s 83 Words of Online Copy Writing Contest!

Web Copywriting 2.0

Web Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts

Learn how to become an in-demand online copywriter for companies big and small. Online copywriting expert Nick Usborne shows you how to write web copy that converts. Learn More »


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Published: December 20, 2019

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