Tips for Writing Effective Sales Copy: Part 2/2 (Page 1 of 2 )
Pay particular attention to your headlines. This is where you sell the sizzle, not the steak. Your headline must articulate a benefit, a USP! Many ad copy writers spend more time refining their headline than they do the body copy of the ad. And, don't be afraid to test different headlines against each other while leaving the rest of your offer the same.
Also important is that first paragraph. Studies have shown that if you can attract the readers interest with the headline and then maintain interest throughout the first paragraph, then chances are far greater they will complete your entire sales presentation (tour). The first paragraph of your sales copy should solve a problem or clearly articulate what benefits are forthcoming once a customer becomes involved with your product or service.
Use credible testimonials. Encourage them from your customers and place them strategically along the "tour" to help validate certain points of your sales presentation. Of course, the testimonials must be legitimate. There are laws that forbid fabricating testimonials.
Avoid using abbreviations and trade terms. Use the language that your least informed customers might use and be sure to expand acronyms. The last thing you want your prospects to feel is "stupid" and confusing them is also bad for business. Even the most sophisticated prospect will not object to your spelling things out by explaining in terms that anyone can understand.
A word on long sales copy. It's okay to have long copy as long as it isn't b-o-r-i-n-g! Tests have shown that honest-to-gosh, cash- in-hand buyers will read long copy for as long as they aren't bored. That's why ALL copy must be succinct, to the point, but tell the whole story with the precision of a surgeon performing a delicate operation.
Obviously, this takes practice. Start by writing everything that you want to say and then start whittling it down, combining it, and organizing it into a lean, mean, benefit-oriented sales presentation that tells the whole story without a single wasted word. Your goal is to keep your qualified prospects excited about the solution they are about to possess as a result of doing business with you.
Truth-be-known, qualified prospects will read everything as long as it isn't boring. On the other hand, tire kickers (the unqualified prospects) will not read long copy. But, neither will they read short copy. And from a sales perspective, who cares they weren't going to buy anyway.
So, when it comes to long copy, you must first ask yourself who's reading it? ...and then strive to capture and captivate the interest of the qualified prospects only.
Make the text easy to read. Know your market and fashion the text to fit their eyes. Studies have shown that 12pt Times New Roman is easiest to read in paper and ink format. However, the Internet is different. When reading from a computer, people prefer 12pt Arial or, when smaller, 10pt Verdana.
Break the paragraphs into easy-to-read pieces. Use bulleted or numbered lists, mini headings, bold type, and heading tags to further facilitate the one-bite-at-a-time, easy-to-chew page appearance.
These layout strategies enable the reader to skim quickly through your sales page while comprehending a great deal of your presentation without having to actually read every single word.
Closing strategies: depending on the nature of your product or service, you might find it beneficial to offer a bonus, a guarantee, or a payment plan to further define your USP and to help close sales.
Remember the call to action! Never assume a prospect will know what to do next. You must tell them. Spell it out clearly what you want them to do next.
pick up the phone and call
complete the order form
sign up for the newsletter
join our forum
Then proceed to explain what will happen once they've completed the process, and take a moment to review the benefits, bonuses, and guarantees.
Last but not least, I'll share a tip that most professional ad copy writers use and one I highly recommend.
Read everything you write out loud
The idea is to ferret out the sections that cause word stumbling. Restructure and reword them so your readers won't stumble too. Be on the lookout for overused words and listen carefully to the rhythm and tone of the message as you connect with the general flow of the content in its entirety.
Remember also to apply the "so what ...who cares" argument to test the validity of your presentation points. Trust me, your customers will. So, you might as well give your sales copy the acid-test ahead of them. Here's where you must seek and destroy those self-serving company platitudes and overtly impressive credentials that tend to bore the motivated prospects who (rightfully) care only about themselves. In other words, put your credentials on an 'About Us' page and focus your sales message on solutions and benefits for the customer.