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Turbo-Charge Your Sales Copy: Copywriting 101

 

 

The quality of your sales copy can make you or break you—it’s that simple.  It’s that important!  In fact, it’s an enormous element in securing your overall success—whether you are preparing content for a website or for an advertising campaign.  That’s why you need to be well acquainted with the “Big Three:” writing, editing, and proofreading.

 

You don’t have to be a writer yourself to produce great sales copy, but you should understand the underlying structure of it in order to manage the process of having it written for you.  To this end, I’ve prepared a 5-Step Shortlist loaded with tips and strategies for turbo-charging your sales copy.  It’s filled with examples of what works and what doesn’t—so let’s get started!


Copywriting 101: The 5-Step Shortlist


1.  Always write to a specific target audience.

 

Do your homework and carefully study the nature of your target market.  Catalogue everything you can about them—not just who they are, but also what it is that makes them who they are.  Then you can place them into target-audience categories and craft effective sales copy that will appeal to each group.

 

Here are some questions to get you started:  Are they male or female?  How old are they?  Are they married or single?  Do they have children?  Where do they live?  What level of education have they attained?  What do they do for a living?  What are their lifestyles?  What are their interests?  What problems do they face?  And so on, until you have built your profiles.

 

Understanding your different target audience groups is the first step to understanding what barriers there may be to their buying from you.  Once you understand these potential barriers (called “objections” in sales language), you can work to overcome the objections and lead them to a buying decision.


2.  Now turbo-charge that sales copy!

You need a real winner here—a headline or lead-in that gives your visitor a valid, enticing, and powerful reason to believe that you are going to provide them with exactly what they want.  You have the answer to their problem—and it’s right there in front of them! 

So that it’s easy to discern the differences, let’s start with the less effective approaches that many people take when writing their headlines.  Here’s how to write a truly limp headline for your weight loss product:


“How to Lose Weight with EZ Way Weight-Loss”    
or...

“Lose Weight the Easy Way with EZ Way Weight-Loss”


These headlines contain your branding, but not much else—and they violate the rule of “WIIFM.”  That’s the rule of always sticking to “What’s in It for Me?” which places the customer first, not the product first.

Customers always want to know up-front what’s in it for them. It’s only about you and your product after  they’ve determined there’s something in if for them.  I cannot emphasize this enough—it’s the cardinal rule of marketing—never to be violated!  And writing effective sales copy is nothing but marketing, editing, and proofreading to perfection.

 

So, let’s go back to the concept of creating attention-grabbing headlines.  Let’s extend this weight-loss headline idea a little further—to create a more effective lead-in than the first two examples.  Here’s the next possibility:

 

“Lose weight the easy way
and
still enjoy three meals a day with EZ Way Weight-Loss.”


Still a bit limp, don’t you think?  Okay, let’s make it more powerful and more personal—with more WIIFM in it:

 

“Have the body you want by discovering our secret to fat-burning foods! 
Super fast and simple,
ours is a revolutionary way to shed pounds the easy way. 
Get started now with EZ Way Weight-Loss.”


Can you see the difference?  Of course you can!  This last headline solves the problem your visitor wants solved.  It’s customer-centric—it talks about them. It puts you on their side because you obviously understand what they want.

 

You may think that there are too many words in this headline, but each word carries real meaning and contains the powerful, personal, and emotional language you need to draw your visitors in.

 

3.  Discuss benefits, benefits, benefits—not product features.

 

The other thing you may notice about this last headline is that it is rich in customer benefits, not product features.   It’s critical to good copywriting that you know the difference and can separate the two.

The benefits are the WIIFM elements.  The features are the particular properties of your product—how it works, why it works, how it’s constructed, research backing it up—that kind of thing.  Your potential customers primarily want to know what your product will do for them personally, so always focus on the benefits first.  Product features come next, after you’ve hooked them on the benefits. 

Here are a few more examples of headlines so you can more easily distinguish between those that are benefit-oriented and those that are feature-oriented:

 

Feature headline:  “Our revolutionary slimming system is backed by years of scientific research.”

 

Benefit headline:  “Amaze your friends with your new fat-burning system.” (notice this one also offers them “ownership” by employing the word “your”)

 

Feature headline:  “Our weight loss system has been scientifically tested and proven to produce results within one month.”

 

Benefit headline:  “Lose weight fast the natural, easy way—with super fat-burning foods.”

Note:  If you find yourself struggling with features and benefits, then always try and put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes and ask yourself, “What do I hope to achieve by buying this product?”


4.  Create a sense of urgency—it’ll activate sales.

 

Once they have seen your advertising or visited your website, many potential customers may be impressed, but still not be able to pull the trigger and make the purchase.  Precisely because the internet offers such choice, they may decide to continue to look around and compare products before deciding. 

If this happens, you may lose the sale.  So, obviously, you need to give them a reason not to go anywhere else.  This is where special offers and discounts come in.  They inject urgency into the equation.  You can use a time-restricted special offer or give away something free—sometimes absolutely free or sometimes dependent upon the size of the order.

People love to think they are getting something for nothing or something exclusive, so motivate them to stay with you with something irresistible like:


“Order NOW and we will give you an extra week’s supply absolutely FREE!   But it’s only if you order before midnight July the 31st—so don’t hesitate another minute!” 


(And then keep your date deadline very tight and updated constantly.)


5.  Establish credibility and trust.

 

Can you be trusted to tell the truth when web users know that the possibility of getting ripped off definitely exists?  You need to establish your legitimacy early on in order to hold your visitors and convert them into customers.  So what can you do to prove you can be trusted and that you’ll follow through—that yours are not just empty claims? 

Here are the tried and true methods for establishing trust and confidence: 

  • Use real-life, real-people testimonials with their names attached.
  • Guarantee your product or service.
  • Add personal touches about yourself, such as your photo and a brief life story (it can’t be a snoozer, though—make it relevant and interesting).
  • State a response time within which you will respond to customer enquiries.


So, there you go...an experienced editor’s 5-Step Shortlist for turbo-charging your sales copy.  A shortlist is not a short cut, however, because expert writing, editing, and proofreading are still the three essential elements in writing really compelling sales copy, sales copy that turbo-charges sales.    

 

 


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