I’ll be the first to tell you that writing great copy is both one of the most difficult jobs in marketing and one of the simplest. The rules to good copy are fairly straight-forward; the mediums defined. When you’re writing your own copy, you’ll work with or at least collaborate with designers and subject matter experts, and have resources to find out exactly what you need to know to write a decent sales page or email campaign that engages and converts.
In order to cut through all the noise that’s out there, you’ve got to really make your copy shine. You’ve got to add some pizzazz of some sort to your copy to make it shine, to get it noticed.
In my time at the Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, we learned a ton about direct response marketing, online marketing, and copywriting in general and were mentored by the best. After that experience, I’ve worked with clients across the nation to bring amazing sales copy that breathes new life into their businesses.
I also picked up a few tips that help me write results-driven copy that have my clients coming back for more every time. Here are some of my favorites:
Every audience wants to know that the businesses they invest their money into really understand them. Show that you completely get their needs, wants, and even fears. You do this, first, by actually understanding them that well. This takes research into consumer demographics, buyer behavior, and social media engagement. Finding out what makes the audience laugh, what makes them angry, and what makes them react are all key to understanding how they tick, and how to compel them to action.
Once you understand your audience this well, you need to write so that they feel understood. Share relevant stories. Share feelings; share the journey. Show the reader that there is a person, or an entire team of people, behind the business that they support, and that these people uniquely appreciate their customers because they personally understand their customers.
Connect with the reader by engaging them in conversations. Share something you think will make them laugh, and ask for their stories in return. Focus on building a relationship with the customer, even within a one-page sales letter, before you ask for a sale. Once the reader feels connected to the person behind the business, they’ll be more ready to support that business with their time and their money.
Oftentimes, especially with higher end or more technical products, you might be tempted to use the largest words you can, as frequently as you can manage. Don’t. Just don’t do this to your reader or to yourself.
No one needs to read five dollar words to be convinced of something. They need to understand what you’re saying and what you’re asking of them, and huge words don’t do that. Complicated words create barriers, either in understanding or in connection (or both) and push the customer away.
Keep your writing simple and short, but never condescending. Explain what it is they need to know simply, without talking down to the reader. You don’t want to make them feel stupid for not knowing something already, and you do want to explain what your selling so simply that everyone will understand exactly how it benefits them.
There are things your reader wants to know about, and things they couldn’t care less about. They usually don’t care how much money you’ve invested into your business, unless there’s a point there that relates back to them. They also don’t usually care about the specifics of how a product works or how you perform your services.
They just want to know that what you’re selling will solve their problem or make their lives easier.
Roughly, you can divide these facts about your products and services into features and benefits. Focus on what they need to hear about: benefits. How a product will soothe their souls and enlighten their minds. How a service will save them time AND boost their visibility in the neighborhood.
Not features, like how many pixels a computer can display or how short you can cut their grass.
It’s fine to give the reader details about how or why a product works, but only if you can also tell them why they should care. Why they should care always involves a benefit to them.
Imagine is an incredibly powerful word. It’s both an invitation and a command… and most people actually follow it.
Exercise your creativity to take your reader on a trip, imagining their life with your product – the ease in which they’d live once they had it. How everyone will be so envious of their new sunhat or how they’ll spend all the time they’re saving by using your services.
Ask your reader what vacations they’ll be able to afford when your services boost their income 2.5x, or how much happier they’ll be with your fancy products in their lives.
Once your reader can imagine how much better their life will be with you in it, they’re basically sold. How they get the life they’re imagining is less important than when they’re getting it, and that’s where your handy CTA button comes in.
Remember back in the good old days? Does your reader remember, too?
Nostalgia is one of the easiest ways to get your reader emotional, and since most purchases are decided emotionally, not logically, that’s a great way for your readers to be. Remind them of those lazy summers, playing in the sprinklers, and how they can spend time watching their kids playing in the sprinklers since you’ll be taking care of their problems for them.
Remind them of the childhood delight of unwrapping your favorite candy, and promise that your candy tastes exactly the same.
Bring them back to the times when life was simpler, and happier, and show them how your product or service can make life just like it used to be.
Connect with all of your reader’s senses. You can use this tip when imagining and remembering, too. Be descriptive with your product and with the life your product will give your customers.
Describe exactly how it feels to unwrap your favorite present – the excitement in your belly, the feel of paper on your fingertips. Recount the spray of the ocean, warm sand beneath your feet, cold drops of water splashing as the hot sun looks down.
Use your writing to transport your reader to a place far away, or to ground them exactly where they are, a place of vivid detail – smells, sounds, tastes. When they can imagine exactly how it will feel to use your product, exactly how your product will smell, or the sound of their favorite music as they dance in the kitchen, free from stress again, they’ll be more than ready to invest in what you’re selling.
If you don’t ask your audience to do something, they won’t know you want them to do something. If you use all of the tips above to enchant, enthrall, and engage your audience, but never ask them to give you their email address or click to purchase, they won’t know that you want them to.
Make your ask clear. Put a red box around it. Draw arrows to it. Ensure that there’s no way the reader could miss your call to action – the call to do whatever it is your writing needs them to do. Even the best sales page isn’t worth the pixels it uses… unless it compels the reader to action, to spur them on! Give them clear directions to do what you need them to do.
These seven tips, used together or apart, will rock your sales copy, taking it to a completely new level of conversion and results.