May 14, 2020 | Sean Foo
Get your sales copy right – your entire business could very well depend on it!
Your product is awesome, your sales funnel is set up and you have traffic flooding to your website, but will your product sell?
When it comes to marketing online, there is a temptation to only concentrate on making the design great or tweaking the traffic source to target the right audience.
Don’t get me wrong, all those are necessary.
But at the end of the day, it will be your sales copy that will make your reader open their wallets and buy!
It’s all about closing the sale!
Unfortunately, on most landing pages and product pages, the sales copy is written so uninspiringly and just so downright boring that most readers will just click away never to return.
You don’t want to suffer that fate!
In this article, we will take you through some of the most important sales copywriting principles and tips you must remember to convert your prospects into red hot sales.
Sales copy is the written content on your marketing materials (such as a landing page) that convinces your reader to take the desired action that you want – most of the time it is to buy!
A powerful sales copy appeals to both the logical mind as well as the emotions of your prospect.
It acknowledges the challenges they face, it addresses the doubts in their minds and reels them in with hard-hitting benefits.
It hooks them into reading line after line, building their desire to experience the benefits of your product and make the sale a no brainer.
Sales copy doesn’t just have to be paragraphs after paragraphs of text, it can be overlaid on images, placed on the sides or below visual graphics or even on your call-to-action buttons as well.
As long as it is written to persuade, convince and compel your reader to buy, it is sales copy!
Your sales copy has only one objective – getting the reader to buy!
1. Present One Big Idea
2. Craft Masterful Headlines That Excite
3. Find Out What Really Motivates Your Customer
4. Tell Stories To Captivate
5. Inject Energy – Use The Active Voice
6. Lead With The Benefits, Justify With The Features
7. Weave In Highly Relatable Testimonials
8. Use Analogies To Explain Ideas
9. Pre-empt & Address Their Objections
10. Keep Your Sentences Short & Language Simple
11. Utilize Memorable Soundbites
12. Make Your Offer Irresistible (Triple The Benefits)
13. Tie A Benefit To Your Call-To-Actions
14. Paint A Picture Of Success
While it can be tempting to write out an entire list of your best product benefits – don’t!
Great sales copy understands that while the reader has multiple desires, goals and needs, there is one overarching desire that truly matters.
That’s what you need to address – you need to capture their attention and convince them fully you can fulfil their primary desire.
Let’s say you are selling a new sports shoe that has a new revolutionary design that allows the wearer to:
– Run for longer periods of time during marathons
– Jump two inches higher, especially great for basketball
– Responsive cushioning to reduce injuries during sports-session
Depending on the customer you are trying to target, you should only be championing one of these benefits and build your entire sales copy and story around it.
AppSumo focuses on just one big benefit their business does for its customers – discounts for their software subscriptions.
While they could highlight on their wide range of software options or their awesome refund policy, they knew what their audience (new and bootstrap entrepreneurs) were frustrated about – paying too much for a software tool or not being able to afford it!
A good headline is clear in its message and addresses a pain point that matters.
A magnificent headline not only hits on a desire, but it also arouses curiosity and stokes an incredible urge to discover more.
While it is important for your headline to provide key information and be precise, a masterful headline will capture attention and reel in the reader deeper into the sales copy.
Your writing has to suck them in like a black-hole!
Clickfunnels does a fantastic job with their sales landing page’s main headline.
While it might be a little on the longer side, this is one action-packed headline that isn’t boring, it makes their readers think either “It’s that even possible?” or “That’s awesome!”.
Either way, they accomplish their objective, capturing the reader’s attention and making them read on to discover how it is possible.
But you don’t always need a long headline to create an enticing mystery.
With just a four-word headline, BigCommerce leaves readers wanting more, in a good way.
In the ultra-mega-hyper competitive space of e-commerce platforms, customers have mostly seen every trick in the book.
Their headline “Create An Unfair Advantage” stirs the imagination, inflaming the reader’s desire to discover how this can be done.
And to do this, they have to read on and get deeper into the sales copy – mission accomplished!
How well do you understand your ideal customer?
No…really, do you understand:
– What are their daily challenges?
– What does their ideal success scenario look like?
– Who really influences them? Family, friends or even a celebrity?
– What are their dreams and aspirations?
– How do they typically solve their problems?
With a good profile of your customers, you will be able to see a roadmap to their desires and how exactly you would need to strategize your sales copy.
The key is to fully understand who they are as a person and address their fears, hopes and dreams in the sales copy.
Barkbox understands that their customers (the dog lovers, not the dogs themselves!) treat their furry little pets as part of the family and wants nothing but the best to keep them happy.
Their headline and supporting copy taps into the desires of the reader – giving their doggie the perfect bunch of toys and treats customised just for their pet.
Nothing builds rapport and a relationship with your customers than to tell a great story or two in your sales copy.
The best stories are either:
– About the reader themselves (they are the star of the story after all!)
– A story about your struggle that is similar to the journey of pain your customer is going through (yes, tell your sob story)
Let’s go through both!
Instead of doing the usual benefit-driven copy, Basecamp decided to lead with a story about the reader themselves in an interesting and captivating “before & after” format.
The power of such a story is instant recognition from the reader: “Hey, that’s me! I feel that way!”, drawing them further into the story which lets them experience the benefits of their product.
Ok, so you might not be great at storytelling.
But not all hope is lost yet, my soon-to-be-inspired friend!
You can take a page out of Russell Brunson’s sales landing page for his book Traffic Secrets.
He has dedicated an entire section of the page’s sales copy to tell a story of his struggles of getting traffic to his website and how the fate of his business hung in the balance and his eventual inspiring success.
It might be dramatic stuff, but it works and his book is selling like hotcakes!
Energy! And more energy!
That is exactly what your reader has to feel as they journey through your sales copy.
One of the great ways to prevent the reader’s boredom is to be direct and confident in your tone of voice.
That means using the active voice!
So what is the active voice?
It’s simple, it is when the subject of the sentence (such as your customer) does the action or experiences something.
“You will discover the beauty of Antarctica in a thrilling helicopter ride!”
Alternatively, you can also use a verb at the start of your active voice sentence.
“Sign-up today and enjoy a 14-day free trial, no credit card needed!”
Your copy has to sound like you are selling and speaking directly to the face of your customer!
“Our program will help you experience a 100% increase in your sales in a month!”
Feel the energy? That’s the active voice!
You probably heard of the term “Sell the sizzle and not the steak” and that’s untrue – you need to sell both but in the correct order!
Leading with the benefits allows you to hook your readers and develop their interest and emotionally connect to your product.
Until they start caring about the end result, all the awesome features will just fall on deaf ears.
But once you have sold them on the end-goal and get them on-board, you have to logically convince them that you can deliver – and you do this by justifying with the features that make your solution possible!
Sweatblock leads each section of their sales copy with the benefits the user can expect from their product and then justify logically with its features.
From brand logos to media mentions of being “featured” somewhere, you probably have heard of the various types of social proof you can use.
But if you only have one type to use, utilize the most powerful form of social proof – customer testimonials.
Before you start gathering and slapping down random testimonials, you need to know the type of testimonials your customer will respond to.
Do they aspire to be a certain type of industry influencer or trust their judgement?
If yes, then featuring influencer testimonials is the smart way to go.
Ahrefs understands their customer-base, they all look up to and trust SEO industry leaders (and I bet some secretly want to be them), so they use influencer testimonials!
However, sometimes your prospect will connect to other people in their same position who has been in the struggle and now is successful after using your product or service.
MailChimp utilizes testimonials from customers that their reader will identify with, every day small business owners, and keeps the testimonial copy simple without overwhelming the reader with too many details.
Beyond just sales copy, building your testimonial pool is a great strategy to build assets that you can use and build towards creating effective case studies.
Have an idea that is so abstract and difficult to describe to your reader?
Instead of writing paragraphs upon paragraphs of copy to describe it – use analogies instead.
They are quick, effective and quickly understood.
Snapchat’s Spectacles understands that explaining the combination of two cameras coming together will be tough.
By using the analogy of the ‘human eye’, they make the concept understandable allowing the reader to understand the camera experience will be just like using your eyes where you can experience true 3D-depth.
Analogies are also great to turn a common feature into something more (basically more hype-worthy).
Apple does a fantastic job using the analogy of binge-worthy to describe the quality of battery life of its iPhone.
It allows the reader to have an idea of an interrupted movie marathon experience on the phone, making them feel the benefits of the long battery life and not just logically acknowledge it.
What are the biggest objections your customers have that will prevent them from buying?
Everyone has a variety of mental blocks that are bringing forth excuses not to buy. It could be:
– They believe the price is too steep
– Your product seems to be too simple or complicated
– Their current solution provider is good enough
– They have been burned before by your competition
– They are afraid of making an up-front commitment
A good salesman handles objections as they come along.
A smart salesman pre-empts and addresses those objections before the prospect even brings them up!
An effective sales copy will acknowledge these nagging doubts and address them comprehensively at key points such as the call-to-action.
Barkbox understands that one of the biggest fears and objections swirling in their prospect’s brain is: “What if my doggie doesn’t love the toy or treat? Will it go to waste?”
By addressing this front and centre in their sales copy, Barkbox soothes the fears of the reader while showing that they care!
One of the biggest sins you can commit in your sales copy is making your reader’s experience tedious and painful through long-winded sentences and rambling on.
Awesome sales copy is concise, punch and gets to the point straight away.
By writing concisely, you help improve readability and lower the chances of your reader drowning in a sea of words.
Here are 3 guidelines to follow:
– If you can use fewer words to make a point, do so
– Keep each sentence in your copy below 25 words
– Use simpler language, remove any complex words
Perhaps the master of short and simple copywriting, Apple’s sales copy for their Apple Watch Series 5 is all about minimalistic, straight to the point and punchy copy.
By using a mixture of broken sentences and short sentences, Apple’s sales copy isn’t boring and leaves the user feeling a sense of energy and freedom as they read through the page.
Want your readers to better remember your sales message?
Then it’s time to sprinkle sound bites around your sales copy.
Sound bites cut through the noise, stand out in a sea of words and are easily quotable!
Great sound bites have 3 characteristics:
– They are brief
– They are catchy and easy to remember
– They communicate one idea
Here are some examples of sound bites you probably have heard before:
“Trust but verify”
“What you hear is not what you see”
“Eat less, run more. Drink less, sleep more”
Samsung uses soundbites in their sales copy to emphasize the security benefit of their phones to make it memorable and sink in fast.
Making your offer irresistible happens throughout your sales copy – that means stacking all the benefits and tripling down on delivering value to your customers.
By the time the reader comes down to your offer, you want him or her to think: “Wow, this product is packed with so much value and will improve my life so much….plz, take my money!”
Here is a quick 6 pointer question checklist to see if you have created enough value (and lowered enough risk) to have a really enticing offer:
– Have I showcased the most impactful benefits that matter to my customer?
– Have I addressed their fears and doubts sufficiently?
– Is my brand credible enough? (Have I showcased enough social proof?)
– Are my customer testimonials relatable to my audience?
– Are there complimentary services and additional bonuses I can throw in?
– Is there a guarantee that I can offer to my customer?
There are 2 rules to writing a compelling call-to-action for your sales copy.
Yes, just two!
Rule #1: Make it clear. Tell them what they will get once they take action.
Rule #2: Tie in a benefit them and let them remember or experience their end goal
Shopify does this well with an effective call-to-action ‘Start Free Trial’, which makes it enticing to start, but what really compels the reader to start is the reminder of why they are even here in the first place – starting their business.
Showcasing benefits in your sales copy isn’t enough as it only checks the logical boxes in your reader’s minds.
Effective sales copy hooks readers by their emotions.
People buy on emotions and the greatest way to appeal to their subconscious is to sell the lifestyle and the feeling of success.
According to ConversionXL, there are five core factors that drive our emotion-deciding reptilian brain and the most powerful three are:
Powerful sales copywriting understands the need to play up all of these throughout the copy and by painting a picture of success you are essentially ‘taking them away from fear and pain and feeding their ego’.
A 3 in 1 combo!
Convertkit paints a wonderful picture of success that their prospects are seeking – turning their passion into a full-time career.
Just that line ‘Make a living doing work you love’, transport the reader into their personal heaven and speak to their hearts desire.
(Cartoon Fun + On-point & Concise Sales Copy)
Sales copy doesn’t have to be boring – in fact, it can be downright fun to read when you tie them in with the right visuals and illustrations that help bring your message to life.
The custom illustrations showcasing team members as different species of animals helps to engage the audience and paints a picture of ‘everyone is different’ immediately.
This allows the sales copy to be simple, concise and straightforward.
By using cartoons, they help lighten the mood for the sales copy which is trying to explain a problem which might otherwise seem too heavy.
(The right use of testimonials & copy)
Targeting potential hosts in London, Airbnb chooses their testimonials strategically and nails it with their selection, quote and the accompanying sales copy that helps sell the idea to the reader.
Instead of writing their copy in a straight-up benefit-driven way such as “Host in London & Earn More Money” or “Flexible hosting whenever you want”.
They choose to make it personable by introducing the hosts and why they are doing it for: “Dennis hosts in London for the flexibility it provides” – letting the reader know Airbnb cares for their hosts as individuals and their motivations for joining.
Writing killer sales copy takes effort and practice, however, if you are serious about bringing in the dollars and getting a return, this is one aspect you will have to get right.
At the end of the day, it is about addressing the needs and wants of your customer in a way that empowers them and gets them riled up emotionally.
The more you connect with them emotionally while removing objections one by one, the deeper your reader will sink into your story and world.
And when that happens – ta-da! The wallet opens!
Poof – money!
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