Thursday, October 24th, 2013
When you hear it, you probably think it’s one of those words that translates literally – and that it means the act of writing copy.
Well, sort of – but not exactly.
Copywriting does mean writing copy, but it refers to a specific kind of copy with a specific purpose, not just your garden variety content that’s written for purely informational purposes.
Copywriting refers to writing copy that has the sole purpose of advertising or marketing a product, service, person or business.
Sales pages, email marketing materials, product pages, flyers and printed ads are all types of copywriting and they all have that one single goal in common – to sell, sell and sell some more.
It’s important to realize that it takes a very different skill set to produce effective sales copy than it takes to create articles, blog entries, press releases or social media posts.
True, all those things can be used as marketing copy as well, but they often lack lots of crucial elements required for stirring readers into action.
If you’ve been trying to come up with some effective written copy to sell your product or service, but haven’t been able to come up with just the right angle, don’t worry. There are many tips and tricks you can use to create fabulous sales copy that will boost your profits in no time. We’re going to share some of those tips and tricks with you in this article.
1. Speak directly to the reader.
Do this by using “you”, “your” and “you’re” every chance you get in the article. This ads a personal touch to your message and makes the reader think you created it just for them.
2. Focus on the ‘new’.
New is one of those words that creates a sense of excitement. It implies people are seeing something for the first time, something that nobody else knows about or has access to. This creates a level of exclusivity that can be very appealing to your readers so be sure to use it as one of your main adjectives in your copy.
3. Make it scannable.
Highlight important points with bullets or bolded fonts. Use numbered lists, too, if possible. This kind of formatting makes it easy for readers to skim and scan the copy for the information they seek without having to weed through every word to get to (what they think is) the important stuff.
4. Incorporate real pictures into your copy.
People are drawn to colorful images so be sure to include those in your copy. Stick to just a couple high quality images of real people, real products or even infographics for the best results. Refrain from using cheesy clip art or word art saying things like “Buy Now!” or “Sale!” because they look cartoonish and create a very unprofessional tone.
5. Provide real numbers, not guesstimates.
If your service has helped 398 businesses since its release, then state it has helped 398 businesses since its release. Refrain from using open-ended cliches like ‘hundreds’ or ‘thousands’ that people are tired of hearing. Be honest and let the numbers speak for themselves.
6. Don’t give them options.
Okay, this one sounds kind of harsh because everyone likes to have options, right? Well, you can’t really give them when it comes to putting out a call of action that you want people to answer. If you want people to buy your product, you’re not going to say, “If it pleases you, kindly follow this link to see my product. I would appreciate it very much if you would buy it while you are there”, right? No! You’re going to say, “Click here to purchase this amazing thing because you know you want to” – or something to that effect. The idea is to tell people exactly what you want them to do and provide an immediate way for them to do it.
7. Go easy on the adjectives.
Even though effective sales copy is bound to have some degree of flowery language, try to keep it at a bare minimum. Words like amazing, super, cool, helpful, useful and beneficial all add a nice touch, but they don’t create the sense of urgency or action that you are trying to convey. Use verbs instead to make people more inclined to act. Some examples of using verbs to replace flowery adjectives are:
8. “Free” their minds.
Free is one of those words that everybody focuses on when they see it. It draws them in and holds their attention long enough for them to discover what they could be getting for ‘free’. Maybe your product or service comes with a free trial, a free subscription, free advice or some other free perk. If it does, be sure to state that clearly – and often – in your copy for best results.
9. Cite your sources.
If you are telling people that 84% of Internet users prefer this brand over that brand or that 3 out of 4 consumers invest in this product over that product, cite your sources instead of just expecting people to take your word for it. As much as people love factual information and statistics, they also want to know where the information came from and who the source is behind it.
10. Show them, don’t tell them.
You’re just a guy (or girl) on the Internet hawking some unknown product or service while making promises about how it can improve someone’s life. Why should anyone believe you? If you’re going to make these kinds of claims, be prepared to provide proof to its credit. Show consumers how your product or service has helped clients in the past and which kind of benefits they gained from it. Show them, don’t tell them, how your product or service can do the same for them.
11. Give them a reason.
If you want people to sign up for your email list or subscribe to your newsletter – give them a compelling reason. If doing so is going to provide them with some kind of perk or benefit, clearly spell it out to them in the call to action. For example, “Sign up for our email list to learn how to create compelling content that converts” is much better than, “Sign up for our email list because we need subscribers”.
12. Know who you’re speaking to.
Knowing your targeted audience is an absolute must when it comes to creating compelling sales copy. Different demographics have different spending habits and different needs as well. You have to know what those spending habits are and which needs your product must meet in order to persuade people to invest in what you are offering. If you don’t know their needs, you can’t expect to fulfill them.
13. Invest most of your creative juices in the headline.
This tip seems a little crazy, but the truth is if your headline doesn’t grab their attention, the message contained inside the copy will never get the chance to. If the headline isn’t catchy, interesting, intriguing or able to some how pique their interest, they won’t be motivated to continue reading – no matter how compelling and well-written the message inside may be.
14. Appeal to their emotions with stories.
Nothing is more appealing to the emotions than a feel-good, happy ending story. Use them in your sales copy to stir your readers into action. Make sure the story is centered around your product or service so that it is relevant and readers will associate the emotions evoked by the story with your product or service.
15. Pique their curiosity.
Drop subtle hints about your product or service that appeals to a reader’s natural curiosity. Give them clues about what they will find on your website, in your ebook or in your product that will convince them that investing in it is worth the price just to see what all the ‘mystery’ is about.
16. Address their concerns upfront.
Savvy consumers will always thoroughly investigate a product or service before investing in it so you should be prepared beforehand to counter their concerns with factual information. Think of all the possible reasons for hesitation that buyers might have and address each one individually. Some examples to consider are:
17. Show them why they can – and should – trust you.
We’ve already discussed how you’re just an unknown person hawking an unknown product and why people should trust you. If you followed that tip, you’ve already shown them why and how you can promise the product will deliver what you promise. Now it’s time to put a personal touch on the message and tell them why they can trust you. Do this by telling them about yourself, your relevant experience, your background, your education, your expertise in your niche- any and all of your credentials. Not only will this go a long way toward establishing your credibility, it allows people to put a face with a product or service, which helps to foster brand loyalty.
18. Engage them and then re-engage them.
Even though you come up with a fabulous headline that’s irresistible and an opening hook that cannot be ignored, you still have to work at keeping your readers engaged until the final call to action. If they stop reading the content halfway through because it gets boring, you’re never going to make that sale. Keep the content compelling, intriguing and interesting right up to the very end for maximum results.
19. Create a sense of urgency.
When writing your copy, be sure that you do so in such a way that it makes the reader want to jump up and do exactly what you tell them to RIGHT NOW. Make them feel like they will be missing out on the best deal of their lives if they don’t answer your call to action this very instant. You want to activate that impulse buying trigger before they have time to talk themselves out of making the purchase by over-analyzing all the pros and cons in their minds.
20. Use short sentences.
Short sentences are easier to read than long ones and they help the content flow better as well. Don’t get wordy. Just state the facts. State them in concise sentences. See how we’re doing it here? You can do it, too.
21. Summarize key points and facts.
When you get to the end of your sales copy, always re-state key points and facts in a brief summary so that people know what they should have learned from reading it. The summary should be scannable, like we talked about before – so you want to use bullet points or numbered lists to create the best presentation of those points and facts.
Some people may argue that it takes someone with a true gift of gab to be a successful salesperson. We think it just takes someone with the right skill set.
An important part of that skill set is the ability to separate the wheat from the chafe when it comes to deciphering marketing jargon.
Even though it shouldn’t be considered an all-inclusive list of copywriting tips, the aforementioned points do provide a solid foundation for creating for successful sales copy.
Using short sentences is a Hemingway style of writing. Expect Nobel Prize for Literature nominations. Indeed. Good tips, though! All I can add is steer clear of business spiel, as it’s enough to make most people’s eyes glaze over in boredom. This includes stock business phrases such as, “at the end of the day”, and, “what it boils down to”.
To be a total pain you can join the two up for, “At the end of the day, what it boils down to , is yadda yadda blah”. As you may be able to tell it really gets on my nerves.
Hey Alex M.
welcome to Guest Crew and thanks for your comments,
glad you liked the article, and thanks for your input,
The tip that stood out the most was
” Invest most of your creative juices in the headline.” I find writing the headline first allows me to create more focused content. Great article!
thanks for your comments,
why don’t you get a gravatar for your profile pic, sort of looks bad with the default image,