The Birth of a Professional Web Site
Part Eight: Writing Effective Sales Copy
by Shelley Lowery
A professional looking web site is a very important part of developing a profitable Internet business. However, your sales copy is just as important — each will play a major role in your success.
The key to writing effective sales copy is simply learning how to write persuasive words specifically written for your targeted potential customer. You must feel their needs and write your copy with passion, excitement and benefits. Tell them exactly what’s in it for them by writing copy that evokes a specific emotion and stresses your product’s benefits.
Use the following formula when writing your sales copy:
A – Attention – Use a powerful headline that demands attention
I – Interest – Intrigue interest and create curiosity
D – Detail – Provide details about your product or service
A – Action – Call for action
When you begin writing your copy, your text should be written in a black, legible font with a light background. Avoid using fancy fonts or backgrounds that will make your text difficult to read. Write in small blocks of text with a space between each block. There is nothing that will make your visitor click away faster than a sea of black text –so make sure you use plenty of white space.
A great way to write your copy and come up with new benefits is to use the “so what” strategy. After each sentence, say to yourself, “so what” and then elaborate.
XYZ computers are lightning fast. (so what) They can process information faster than any other computer on the market. (so what) Your programs will instantly load on command, (so what) saving you hours of valuable time and frustration over the life of your computer.
Remember…benefits sell not features.
The first and most important part of your sales copy is the headline. If your headline doesn’t instantly capture your targeted potential customers’ attention, and arouse a specific emotion, the rest of your sales copy will be useless.
In order to write an effective headline, you must learn how to use specific words to achieve a specific reaction.
Before writing your headline, you must first learn a little bit about the basic human motivators. According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, human behavior is always the result of one or more of five basic needs. He listed these needs in a sequence that he refers to as “the hierarchy of human needs.”
He believes that until a less important need is met there won’t be any desire to pursue a more important need. Below are the five human motivators, beginning with the basic needs and continuing to the most important needs.
Physiological – Basic human needs include hunger, thirst, shelter, clothing and sex.
Safety (Security) – Human need for physical, emotional and financial security.
Social (Affiliation) – Human need for love, affection, companionship and acceptance.
Esteem (Self Esteem) – Human need for achievement, recognition, attention and respect.
Self-actualization – Human need to reach their full potential.
When you are aware of the basic human needs, you can incorporate these needs into your writing. A great headline will appeal to your potential customers’ emotions. You must feel their needs, wants and desires and write your headlines with passion and emotion.
Just as your headline is a very important part of your sales copy, the first paragraph is just as important. Studies have shown that if your headline attracts your potential customers’ attention, and you can maintain their attention through the first paragraph, chances are they’ll read the rest of your copy.
The first paragraph should clearly define the benefits that will be outlined within your sales copy — identify a problem and promote your product or service as the solution.
Subheadings are basically just smaller headlines used to break up your text blocks. They also provide your readers with important highlights of your paragraphs.
Use plenty of subheadings throughout your copy, as not all of your visitors will read your copy word for word. They’ll simply scan it and only read what catches their attention.
Remove the Risk
You must provide your potential customers with a solid, no risk, money back guarantee. In addition, provide a limited time free trial or download that will completely remove their risk. This will build your potential customers’ confidence in you and put their mind at ease.
Call for Action
Once your potential customer has read your sales copy, you must direct them to your order page by asking for the order.
Use a P.S.
When your visitor scans your sales message, chances are they’ll read your headline, sub headlines and your PostScript message. Place your most important benefits within your PS message.
Testimonials provide a great way to reassure your visitors. Blend your testimonials in with your sales message. Avoid making your visitors have to click to another page to view your testimonials — chances are, they won’t. By blending your testimonials in with your sales message, you can ensure they will be read.
Long Copy verses Short Copy
It is a proven fact that long sales copy out-sells short sales copy. However, some visitors do prefer a short sales letter. You can provide your visitors with both. For those who prefer a short sales letter, provide opportunities to click through to your order page prior to ending your sales letter.
Try to keep your sales letter all on one page. Your visitors would much rather have to scroll through your letter than click through and load another page. With each additional click, you’ll lose a percentage of your potential customers.
Your words should seamlessly flow together from your headline through to your order page. Every word, sentence and headline should have one specific purpose — to lead your potential customer to your order page. The simple, well-designed web sites with killer sales copy make the sales.
(Continued in part nine)
Copyright © Shelley Lowery
About the Author:
Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design course.