Hate Hard-Hitting Sales Copy? You’re Not Alone, But You’d Better Learn It Anyway! For some people, writing sales copy is going to be the most difficult step in selling your products. If you’re not one to fall for blatant sales copy, then you’re going to have to grit your teeth and write in a way that’s uncomfortable for you, but the results will be amazing.
You can certainly hire a copywriter if you want to, but be warned – they’re expensive! If you can master the task yourself, you’ll save thousands of dollars per launch. If you want more information than what I teach you here, I recommend getting Maria Veloso’s book, Web Copy That Sells: The Revolutionary Formula for Creating Killer Copy That Grabs Their Attention and Compels Them to Buy. I actually gave Maria a testimonial after receiving a pre-publication review copy of this book, and you can read it when you do a “Look Inside” before purchasing.
How I Learned to Accept In-Your-Face Selling Strategies
When one of my clients asked me to write sales copy for the first time, I thought I had done a great job. I’d dabbled in it offline for direct mail, but then he came back and said I needed to learn a new technique. He ordered books, paid for a 1-on-1 consultation for me with a big name copywriting guru online, and had me pound out dozens of sales copy letters for his niche mini sites as practice. I studied all the greats, and to be honest, I’m sharpening my skills day by day.
I’ll admit it right here – when I was writing it, I was thinking, “who would buy this stuff?” I never like hype – as a writer I can read between the lines. And I felt insulted, too. I don’t need glaring, red, bold words or superlative phrases to convince me to buy. I just want the facts. Writing sales copy makes you take a step back to process the process, if you will.
But online, it doesn’t work that way. The facts I state aren’t phony, don’t get me wrong. The technique isn’t to lie about what they’re going to get. The technique is to turn those facts into an irresistible offer.
When I was first launching the site for my writer’s product, I crafted my online sales copy according to the formula I’m about to teach you. But the various writer’s groups I belong to on the internet reviewed it and didn’t like it at all.
They hated the headline colors. They hated the font size of my headlines. They didn’t want it as long as I had written it. They were turned off immediately. So I toned it down…way down. And guess what? My site didn’t convert as well. You may say you hate hype, but you’re used to it. If copy doesn’t sizzle and sell, you won’t get inspired and reach for your credit card.
Most consumers read on an 8th grade level, they like to be spoon-fed when it comes to digesting information, and they believe incredulous headlines and outrageous claims when presented to them. How did I get rid of my disdain for hard-hitting sales copy? It was very easy when client after client showed me proof of their earnings, which were often $2500 or more per day.
I’m not on a crusade to make consumers aware of the difference between a direct approach and hyped-up one. I’m here to make money. And these online marketers are constantly testing their sales copy – so they know their sales lag when they back off and try to tone down their approach.
Online Sales Copy Follows AIDA
You’re going to have to learn how to use AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action – and once you understand this concept, I’ll show you the actual sales copy formula used in internet marketing. Writing sales copy can be broken down into a formula.
Grabbing the attention of the audience is usually done with your headlines. You’ll have your website’s primary headlines and multiple secondary headlines to break up the information within your sales copy. Many of your visitors will only be reading the headlines to determine whether or not they’ll buy. You need to make sure they’re interesting, but also informative enough to let the reader know what your product is all about – even if they don’t read anything else on your site.
Generating interest is the next ingredient in a profitable sales letter. You need to approach your audience in a tailor-made fashion. That means knowing what your niche has in mind when it comes to their expectations.
Sales copy on the internet can take many different forms. You can personalize your story, empathize with your audience, instill fear in them, become a friend, and believe it or not, be extremely rude. You can take ANY approach you want online – there are no limits.
Think about why your visitor is there. If you have a diet eBook, then they obviously want to lose weight. What might they be feeling as an overweight person? Shame? Guilt? Frustration? Sadness? Low self-esteem?
You want to make sure you speak to their particular needs. If it’s a mom who has a colicky baby, then she’s probably sleep-deprived, feeling guilty for being mad, wondering what she’s doing wrong, and desperate for a solution.
The desire for your product flows from the information you divulge within your sales copy without giving away the secrets of the product. Let’s look at some examples here:
You don’t want to write, “How Adding 100 Pages or More to Your Site Can Help Raise Your Ranking in Search Engines.” You’ve told them the secret – add 100 pages and you get a boost! Instead, you want to say, “7 Easy Ways You Can Catapult Your Site to the Top of the Search Engine Results Pages.”
Instead of writing, “Why Pomegranates Are the Best Antioxidant to Contribute to Your Health,” write this instead: “The Single Most Powerful Food on the Planet to Help Lower Your Risk of Cancer!”
Do you see the difference? You want to tease them into knowing you have this information to give them, but without giving it to them for free.
Writing Sales Copy… the Formula
Feel free to use any of my website copy as a template for your own site. That doesn’t mean steal my copy – it means copy and paste it into a Word doc and wherever I have a headline, bullet point, or storyline, replace it with your own. This is a million dollar tip, I promise you.
Believe it or not, most sales copy is going to equal about 8 to 10 printed pages. Some marketers shoot for at least twenty pages on a consistent basis. Imagine if you had to pay for a printed direct mailer in color – it’d break the bank, wouldn’t it?
Make sure you use keywords relevant to your subject matter so that your site will get indexed in the search engines appropriately. Your headlines can be questions to the consumer, quotes from you or someone else, or strong statements that shock and astonish the reader.
Make sure you introduce yourself right off the bat. You have to convey authority – the “Why should I listen to you?” factor.
Some marketers use a changing date script so the consumer thinks the copy only applies to that specific day. This is usually done to give people a sense of urgency in buying “before the price goes up.” Some marketers really do go up in pricing, though!
Throw a bit of personalized story in the mix, but try to maintain a strong thread of WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). The consumer only cares about your story as far as giving him reassurance you can empathize with him. Otherwise, it’s all about what you can do to provide a solution for him.
Tease them about what’s in the product. Use bullet points liberally throughout the copy. Most of your consumers will skim for headlines and bullet points only. In Your Bullet Points, Capitalize the First Letter of Every Major Word, Like This. (Notice how I left out “the” and “of”).
Alternate using bold in your bullet points, so that one is all bold and the next isn’t. Or, bold certain powerful phrases or words within each bullet point. Your bullet points should start with powerful phrases, like “Why You Should Never…” or “17 Secrets to…”
Break your bullet point “batches” up into about 5-10 each. So you’ll have a mix of the following:
· Headlines or Sub-Headlines
· Bullet Point Batch
· More Storyline
· Another Headline…and repeat the process.
Your headlines should talk about the benefits of your product. After each one, give a little storyline and proof, if you have it.
Before you launch your information product, course, or eBook, you’ll want to send out a few review copies to get testimonials from some trusted people.
Near the finish line, toss in a few bonuses. Don’t have any? Cut something from your product and turn it into your bonus. Try to have at least 2 bonuses. Sometimes, if the bonus is long, you only need one. Writing sales copy that is effective requires a solid and proven strategy.
For each bonus, make sure you have big, bold highlighted letters that say FREE BONUS. Give each one its own title and write a short 300-word or slightly longer sales pitch for the bonus. You can use bullet points, too, if your bonus is long enough to warrant it.
Take it one step further. Tell the reader why it’s the perfect complementary item for the original report. Show them how the two ideas fit together – like social networking and social bookmarking, for instance.
Warning: I had a client who offered a scrolling list of bonus items, which were just re-hashed free viral reports he got elsewhere. His customers complained constantly about it. They probably already had the same bonus items.
Don’t get lazy with your bonuses. Create unique, one-of-a-kind bonuses no one else will have, period. Unless they order your product!
After using as much space as needed (there’s your key to length, right there), sum up your offer and give your call to action (CTA). A CTA is when you take the consumer gently by the hand and tell him what to do next.
Never assume they’ll know. You have to spell it out by saying, “Order your copy by clicking here.” In your summary, revisit the prime reasons they have to have your product and can’t live without it.
If they’re still having doubts, they soon won’t, because you’ll be offering a guarantee. If you’re on ClickBank or Warrior Plus, it’s mandatory, so you have no choice in the matter. It’s 56-days or 8 weeks, no questions asked, guarantee.
Play it up like you’re doing your niche audience a favor by offering this insane guarantee – and that you’re only doing it because you’re so super confident of your product’s quality. Some marketers go another route and give lifetime refunds, double-your-money-back refunds, and so on. It’s up to you.
When you end your sales copy, you can add your picture, a scanned image of your signature, or whatever you have to personalize it. Have at least 2 Post Scripts (P.S. and P.P.S.).
In the first one, give them some reason to feel empty in the pit of their stomach if they don’t get it now. In the second, restate what they get, and for what value, not cost.
You can go to any website that you find on the ‘net that you personally find compelling and copy the format. That doesn’t mean copy the words. Just the layout of where headlines, bullet points, testimonials, and the other important ingredients belong.
After you write your first draft of sales copy, make sure you let it sit before you post it. You may want to edit yourself down to the fewest words possible, but online, you don’t have to!
Once you have your sales copy in place, you want to split-test every element until it’s performing to its best ability. For instance, let’s say your index.html file (your home page) has one sales letter with a question for a headline.
You can create index2.html with a shocking statement headline and drive equal amounts of traffic to both landing pages. You can also get software to help track your changes, like the one at Split Testing Pro.
You want to test to see which headline performs better. Writing sales copy is more of an art than an exact science. Then you go on to test another element – maybe the price point or the guarantee. Would $69 actually sell more product than $29? It’s possible, because the consumer may feel there’s more perceived value with a higher-priced product. If you saw two television sets sitting on a shelf and one was $25 and the other $2,500, you’d instinctively believe the $2,500 one was better, wouldn’t you?
You always want to be testing your sales copy. Test it for about three weeks and then test a new element of the site. This is one area many ‘net marketers fail to carry out, and they’re missing out on more sales because of it. Making serious income online takes time, effort, patience, and lots of testing.
When writing your sales copy, don’t forget that you can be conversational. You can use slang, you can add an audio file if you want to so that you greet your prospects to your website. The possibilities are endless.
How Will You Price Your Information Products and eBooks?
How-to eBooks and information products aren’t just books and information. They’re investments in your business. Instead of hiring me as your mentor to guide you through this process, or shelling out hundreds of dollars to hear me speak at a seminar, you and a whole bunch of other people are getting a bulk discount for the written version. It’s also tax deductible!
Your customers, whether they’re buying a how-to business guide or a solution for their child’s temper tantrum are paying for insight – forget traditional publishing. If Barnes and Noble didn’t have bulk buying power, those $14.95 how-to books on their shelves would suddenly cost you $49, too!
A mom who’s been told her son can’t come back to daycare because little Johnny bites the other kids and won’t play nice will pay $49 for you to tell her how to cure it if it works. There’s your litmus test.
Does your product do what you say it’s going to do? Don’t be like all those marketers who hype themselves into fantasyland. A few have put out so many products so fast that now, that everything their name touches is looked at by the masses as “just another hyped up product.”
Before you slap a sales page up on your domain, sit down with your sales copy and eBook or info product side by side. I did. I went through every line and if I made a claim, I checked to see if it was in my eBook.
A guru or two told me that as long as your product is powerful, you have to charge at least $49 for it to be successful. What’s so magic about $49? It’s the lowest possible number that affiliates will consider when they’re looking for products to promote.
After the payment processor takes their cut of fees, the affiliate and product owner will split it at no less than 50/50. Affiliates are taught in all of the affiliate guides not to even look at a product that gives them less than $20 per sale.
Will $39 sell more? Yes – for those who land on your site. But you won’t have even a fraction of the traffic at $39 that you will when you attract affiliates with a $49 price point. What about $69, $79, $99 and those pie-in-the-sky $500 and $1,000 products? Once you have a solid following, test the higher prices. As your expertise becomes known in your niche, people may go up to those higher prices.
Forget the media you’re buying. Look at the knowledge contained in the product. When you’re developing a product for your consumers, use the reverse approach – what would you consider valuable if you were a buyer?
Last note: The lucky #7 or #8? A decade ago most of us went to ending our prices with the number 9? Why? It’s more mainstream. And $49 is low enough to make you feel like you got a bargain because you didn’t have to go up to the next ten-buck level. $49? At least it’s not $50. $99? Whew! Just under a hundred! You’re a marketer – you’re savvy enough to know better. Your average buyer? He’s not. Writing sales copy that converts is a worthy goal, to be sure.
I’m bestselling USA Today and Wall Street Journal author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and my goal is to connect with you if you have more than just a passing interest in getting started with an online business. I most recently released Really Simple SEO Tips and Keywords for Beginners and this is an excellent place to begin. Please take a look while it’s still at its introductory pricing.