4 Tips For Writing Better Sales Copy For Your Products Or Services
As online marketers, crafting sales copy that delivers results is a challenge that we face constantly. In this article, we are going to discuss a few techniques that are simple and easy to implement.
These are the same techniques that are taught to copywriters by the AWAI (American Writers and Artists Inc.).
If you learn these techniques and start applying them to all the sales copy that you write, you will end up with more compelling, engaging, and persuasive copy.
And the best part is that this works for content, too!
These copy-writing techniques apply to all types of marketing copy that you publish, such as:
- Web Pages
- Search Ads
- Email Campaigns
- Video Sales Letters
- Direct-Mail Campaigns
Now, let’s go through each of these techniques in more detail.
1. The Power of ONE
When it comes to great writing, a single good idea that is presented in a clear and convincing way is much better than a dozen lukewarm ideas strung together. A good copywriter is able to clearly present good ideas.
The best way to do this is by limiting yourself to just one good idea:
- Emphasize ONE good idea
- Stir ONE core emotion
- Make ONE big promise
- Tell ONE captivating story
- Direct prospects to ONE response (the action they need to take to achieve the results you promise)
This is something credible that readers can grasp immediately. It offers them a clear benefit, be it overcoming a problem or achieving a goal, and is critical to all online marketers.
It’s becoming harder and harder to make yourself heard above all the noise on the Internet these days, and a strong core idea will help you break through the marketing landscape.
Whether you’re crafting a sales message or a blog post, you need to ensure that your core idea is clearly woven throughout the message or post. When you follow the steps outlined above, you will come out with sales copy that seizes attention and sparks desire. You will also be able to create content that is gripping and persuasive for maximum conversions and sales.
2. The 4 U’s
As you know, your headlines do 90% of the heavy lifting in all sales copy. Headlines are the first thing that readers see, and they may be the only thing that they actually read.
Whenever someone opens an email or lands on a web page, they instantly make an immediate, snap decision as to whether there’s something valuable for them in the content, and if they should read it or not.
A great headline needs to grab attention, arouse interest, create desire, and motivate people to read on.
It takes a bit of skill to be able to do all that at once, and that is the reason why headlines are the hardest thing to get right. But luckily, there is a technique that you can use to craft the most powerful headlines that compel your target audience to read the rest of your message (or blog post) even if you’re not an expert copywriter:
The formula for the 4 U’s is as follows:
Every good headline needs to offer prospects something useful. For instance, if someone needs relationship advice, they would find a headline such as ‘5 Magic Words to Convince Women to Date You’ extremely useful.
Or, if you sell running shoes, a headline such as, ‘Are These the Most Comfortable Running Shoes Ever?’ would entice runners with its clearly useful benefit.
Use specific details whenever possible. This helps to make whatever it is that you’re promising more believable, real, and achievable.
So, instead of saying ‘Save Some Money on A New Car’, your headline could read, ‘Save $2,999 on a New BMW’ or something like that. Or, if you’re in the Internet marketing niche, you may want to change a headline that says ‘Boost your Profits’ to one that reads, ‘How to Achieve 2,500% ROI’.
You can bring any headline to life when you include things like:
You must clearly show that the message is time-sensitive and that it can’t be ignored. This is ideal when you actually have a deadline or a time element like ‘7 Stocks That Are Set to Take Off Prior to Election Day’. But, you can still use such a tactic even when there’s no urgent deadline.
An example of how you can build a sense of urgency into your headlines even without an actual deadline is: ‘Are you making this mistake with your weight loss? Learn about this mistake ASAP to avoid undoing all your hard work’.
The fourth ‘U’ has to do with bringing out the uniqueness of your particular message, story, or idea.
For example, a headline such as ‘How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog’ is something that you might read anywhere, but ’25 Proven Strategies to Increase Your Blog Traffic by 206%’ is a bit more unique. As a rule of thumb, a great headline should contain at least two of the four U’s mentioned here.
Once you have your powerful headline, it’s time to improve on the body copy.
3. The 4 P’s
This is a technique that you can use to determine if a piece of sales copy has all the elements that it requires to be successful. It’s a framework that you build your entire sales argument on, and it’s a structure that you must follow if you want to persuade your readers to take a particular action.
The four P’s are:
Now, let’s take a look at them in more detail:
This is (in copywriting terms) a story or real-life scenario illuminating a goal or problem that your prospects have. Great copy should get readers to visualize the benefits that they will obtain from your product or service.
It could even show them the negative outcomes that are in store for them without your help.
To help them imagine this, you can share a certain scenario by painting the picture in words. No matter what it is that you’re selling, it’s vital that your prospects are able to imagine themselves in a very real outcome.
- The smell of new leather in their brand new Cadillac Escalade ESV…
- The appreciative family as they surprise them with a vacation to the Maldives…
- The admiring glances they will get when they wear their new ankle boots…
Take a product from the dental hygiene industry, for instance.
You could sell it based on:
- A more attractive smile
- A boost in self-confidence
- Healthy gums and teeth
- Better overall health
Or you could sell it based on:
- Fear of bad breath
- Unsightly decaying teeth
- Painful gum disease
- Lack of confidence and a declining social life
If you can get the audience to visualize just how confident they would be flashing those lovely pearly whites and having people comment on how beautiful/younger/healthier/sexier they look, then your battle is won.
The picture comes first, whether in the headline or lead copy and then you move on to the next step, which is the promise.
Now that you have successfully created the picture in your prospects’ minds, it’s time to make a specific promise that shows exactly how your product can create that ideal scenario for them (or help avoid the nightmare scenario…).
This is based on whichever is the best benefit that your product or service offers. Remember, ONE big promise as opposed to multiple small ones. Still on our dental hygiene example, you could promise:
‘White, healthy teeth in just 14 days’
Just keep in mind that your single big promise must recur through the entire copy.
In order for your promise to be effective, it needs to be credible as well as achievable. This means that your sales copy has to offer solid proof backing up your claims.
Here are some things you need to include to make your prospects believe you:
Facts: Use statistics, quotes, charts, illustrations, examples, sales figures, diagrams, etc. to back up your promise.
Credentials: Who is behind the product/service? What sort of experience, expertise, or qualifications do they have?
Media Coverage: If there are instances where your products, services, or even you have been reviewed, praised, or quoted, this is the place to showcase it.
Testimonials: Showcase testimonials to prove that your product works. When sifting through your product testimonials, make sure to select those that highlight one of the product’s major benefits, rather than the ones that simply say that it was ‘great’.
Comparison: Make a comparison of your product against other types of products in terms of its pricing, speed, effectiveness, reliability, and any other factors that you can think of.
Track Record: Are there any trials, experiments, or real-life case studies that were conducted? If so, you can ‘show-and-tell’ using compelling visuals like before/after pictures, charts, and so on.
Social Influence: The people who come across your product will give more credence to it if they see others using it.
And once your point has been proven, it is time to get the readers to take some action!
Getting readers to take action is known as a call-to-action or a ‘push’. This involves three steps:
- Step #1: Remind the audience of the urgency of the issue that your product can solve
- Step #2: Tell them exactly what they have to do if they want to get the benefits that you promise (eg. Click on a link, give you a call, etc.)
- Step #3: Make it clear to them just how easy it will be to take action right now…
Now, give them a genuine reason to take that action now. Here are some things you could use:
- Special offers – that include discounts, bonuses, free deliveries, risk-free trials, and so on.
- Scarcity – such as limited releases (There are only 100 printed copies…etc)
- Time-sensitivity – For instance, ‘If you wait to do this, you may find that you’re losing a lot of traffic to your site…)
- Ease – You need to emphasize just how easy it is to order. Also, tell them how quickly their product will be delivered so they can start to enjoy the benefits, eg. ‘As soon as you click on this link, you will have instant access’
- Risk-free – Finally, assure your readers that the action that they take will not result in any risk on their part. There are many ways of creating this sort of ‘risk reversal’ such as the following:
- Trial Offers – You could offer them free trial memberships or a risk-free trial.
- Return Policy – Offer a money-back guarantee, clearly state how and when they will have their money refunded in that ‘cooling-off’ period.
- Support and Contact – Be sure to reassure your prospects with your customer service and support contact details in case they should have any issues with your product.
And that brings us to the final method:
4. The Flesch-Kincaid Score
This is a score that helps you with the readability of your text. Including this score as part of your editing process is great for these reasons:
- It makes your messages quick and easy for your readers to consume without confusion or pause. Remember, you need to write your copy in a way that a 5th grader will understand.
- It helps you tap into your readers’ emotions. To do this you must pull down the language barriers. Your copy will be more emotionally hard-hitting the more direct it is.
- It makes you more ‘trustable’ by making you sound more like ‘them’. Also, your customers trust simpler writing as it is easier to read and therefore more believable.
Make it clear what your readers need to do and why otherwise they are less likely to click on the links. Use free Flesch-Kincaid Readability Tools online to find out the score of your copy.
A Flesch-Kincaid score of less than 5.0 is ideal. It shows that your copy is very readable, but a score of over 10.0 shows poor readability and doesn’t make for great sales copy.
Things to look out for include:
- Overly long sentences
- Too many adverbs
- Flowery language that is overly poetic
- Business-speak, Jargon, or stuffy phrases
Use these four techniques to write tantalizing copy that converts even if you’re not an expert copywriter. This works for sales messages as well as blog posts and will help you get even more organic traffic to your site.
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Updated: Originally published August 14th 2018