Good sales copy is at the heart of any marketing effort. Without persuasive, gripping text, many campaigns will fail – no matter how great they look.
But writing effective copy can be a difficult task. The art of the advertising copywriter is a dark one, but it is one that you will have to learn if you are to make the most of your marketing efforts.
Simply putting pen to paper is often the hardest part of the process. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Pique the interest
Your sales copy will inevitably be competing with a slew of other pitches from other firms in your industry – so you need to make sure that it stands out from the very beginning.
A great headline is the first step to great copy. Headlines should grab the reader by appealing to their basic needs. Depending on the nature of your business this might mean their physical, personal needs, or their business requirements.
2. Concentrate on benefits
Potential customers, at least in the B2B arena, do not care about how shiny your product is – they care about the benefits it can bring to their business.
Before you talk about how great your widget is, and how it is so much better designed than any other widget, on the market, make clear to your customers what the widget can do for them. You can help this process by using the ‘so what?’ method. After each sentence, imagine your customer asking – so what? Relate everything to your customer’s business to increase your chances of making a sale.
3. Don’t use CRAZY CAPITALS
There is nothing worse, or more instantly unprofessional, than sales copy littered with unnecessary capital letters. Shouting at your customers will not help you convert.
Likewise, squiggly underlines and comedy fonts are unlikely to maximise trust in your organisation. Stick to writing great copy – don’t dilute it with gimmicks.
4. Break up text
Large, uninterrupted blocks of text are the quickest way to put off a potential customers. Most people simply will not read your entire pitch; instead, they want to be able to get at the relevant information quickly. Good subheadings can help you achieve this.
Break up your text with informative, hooky subheadings that explain exactly what your next section is trying to say. These subheadings should also encourage the customer to read on – so concentrate on their needs in the same way as you did with the headlines.
5. Provide testimonials
Nothing sells like success – and potential customers will want to know that your product or service has been a success for others.
Make sure that you provide testimonials from relevant customers or clients. These should be brief and, where possible, should give the customer’s full details – at least a business name. Your testimonials must be believable. If potentially customers believe that you are making up your own testimonials, you are highly unlikely to make a sale.
6. Make it personal
Your copy should be as targeted as possible. Make sure you address it specifically to the customer – don’t talk about ‘businesses’ in general; instead, talk about ‘you’ and ‘your business’.
If you are selling a technical or complex product, you should remember that your potential customers may not be au fait with its intricacies. Make sure that you explain what the product can do for your customers in a simple, direct manner.
7. Remember contact details
Having written your sparkling, brilliantly effective sales copy, you must remember to let prospective customers know how to get in touch with you. Make sure that you include details of as many contact methods as possible.
Depending on the nature of your advertising campaign, you may also consider adding a code for respondents to quote when they get in touch. This will help you to track responses, and judge the success of different campaigns.
Finally, you should remember that there is great inspiration for sales copy all around you. Chances are you probably passed dozens of sales pitches on your way to the office this morning, or received a pile of marketing materials through the post. Pick up a random sample and consider what works and what does not.
Writing copy is a task that many business owners put off. But, unless you are willing to bear the expense of a marketing agency or copywriter, it is one that you will have to tackle. Have a go and see what comes out – you might surprise yourself.