10 Tips To Improve Your Sales Copy Today

By Guest Author

This is a guest post by Vik Tantry. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

When you are watching your favorite TV show, do you look forward to the commercials? When you open up the morning paper, are you excited to read the ads? When you listen to the radio on your way to work, are you riveting by the sales announcements you hear? If you’re like the rest of us on this planet, the answer is NO.

No one wants to pay attention to commercials. No one volunteers to be preached at, tricked, or teased by ad campaigns. We all have better things to do. It follows, then, that no one wants to read copy.

That’s where you come in. You’ve got an incredible service/product/website that you want to share with the world. What do you do if the world doesn’t want to listen? Convince them you’re worth listening to. Your copy has to be irresistible. And not only do you need people to read your copy, but you need them to take action, too, by investing their time and/or money in your company. How do you fight for their attention and affection? Here are 10 tips that will give you the edge:

1. Reel Them In

It’s statistically proven that for every 10 people that read a headline, only 2 read further. The odds of snagging a reader are already stacked against you, big time. The headline is like the gatekeeper to your copy. A weak headline is going to lock that gate forever. That’s why you need–absolutely need–a killer headline. A successful headline needs to be several things, as summarized by the American Writers & Artists’ “four Us”:

  1. Useful: your headline must promise that your copy will be useful to the reader. A great headline offers something not only useful, but essential. It should make the reader think, “I’d be stupid not to read this!”
  2. Urgent: your potential customers are busy, busy, busy. You have one chance: if they don’t read your copy now–immediately–then they never will. You must recreate this sense of urgency for them.
  3. Unique: why should they read about what you have to offer when there are millions of others offering the same thing? Show them why you’re different. Tell them, in the headline, what no one else can tell them; offer what no one else can offer; ask what no one has asked before. You need to stand out from the crowd in order to be noticed.
  4. Ultra-specific: If you ask any famous, successful actor, they will tell you that the key to a fabulous performance is making specific choices. That’s how they convince an audience that their character is believable. As a copywriter, you must be as captivating and believable as Marlon Brando or Meryl Streep. Be specific in your tactics, your offer, and your message. Be specifically useful, unique, and urgent. Your audience will reward you for it.

2. Don’t Make a Promise You Can’t Keep

When a potential consumer reads your copy, they expect to get something in return. They’ve read your headline, and now they ask themselves:
“Will reading further make me smarter/happier/healthier/richer/better off?”

The answer must be yes, or else they will stop right there. That is why your headline offers a promise to make the reader smarter, healthier, richer, etc. Of course, then you must fulfill your promise. If you promise “top tens secrets to losing ten pounds,” you’d better deliver those ten secrets. Of course, they don’t have to be secrets, just information or advice that feels exclusive and will be useful to the reader; that’s what they really care about.

There are two major pitfalls here that you must avoid:

Making an outrageous claim: if your claim is too ridiculous or impossible, the reader will dismiss you as untrustworthy from the start. It’s better to balance shock value with reality.

Making the wrong promise: if your headline promises one thing, but your copy gets off-topic, you’ve let the reader down. They won’t trust you and they won’t help you. That’s why it’s wise to begin with a strong headline and, as you write, check that your content matches it.

3. Offer Proof

Whether you’re writing a news article or a sales pitch, you need credible, citable proof that what you’re writing is accurate. Statistics, testimonials from users/customers, endorsements from certified experts, consumer reports, results of focus groups: these are all methods to prove you’re telling the truth. Sometimes proof is subjective, but it’s better than nothing.

4. Don’t Be Modest

Copywriting is competitive. You’re competing to beat out all other stimuli for a few precious moments in which your voice can be heard. That means presenting yourself/your company in the best possible light. Just as you would never degrade yourself in a job interview, you should *never* focus on the negative when discussing your product. In fact, be loud and proud about what you do best. Convince us that you’re amazing, and we just might believe it.

5. Love Lists

Lists are always a great solution. They are easy and quick to read, and a great way to summarize thoughts. They also engage users more easily than large blocks of text.

6. Make It Fun

It’s important to deliver information in your copy, but it’s equally important how you deliver it. If your copy reads like a school lecture or an instruction manual, your readers will be gone faster than you can say “class dismissed.” Reading can feel like a chore, so you need to make it fun. A conversational tone, an understanding attitude, and a touch of humor will do the trick.

7. Omit Needless Words

Standard advice, but it never gets old. Time is precious. The moment your reader feels their time is wasted, they move on. Avoid this by sharpening your copy to include only what is necessary to communicate a persuasive, precise message. Less is more.

8. Remember to Write for Humans

This seems obvious, but with the SEO crowd’s obsession over keywords, it’s worth noting. Yes, great copy must include the keywords associated with your topic. But be sensible about it. Readers aren’t dumb. They can smell keyword stuffing from a mile away, and it smells like weak writing, lazy marketing, and sketchy salesmen. No matter how many keywords you cram into your copy, it’s not worth a dime unless people read it. Quality writing trumps keyword hierarchy because it harnesses the strongest marketing tool in existence: word of mouth.

9. Make It Easy For Them

So you’ve captured that elusive 20% who saw your headline and they’ve read your copy. Now what? You want them to act on what they’ve read. It’s your job to make that next step as easy as possible. If the goal of your copy is to generate buzz, leave links to your facebook or twitter pages. If you want them to subscribe to your blog or site, make it as easy as a click of a button. Same goes for buying a good or service: buttons and links immediately following your copy make the next step obvious and effortless for your potential consumer.

10. Finish Strong

Psychological studies show that your memory of an experience is heavily influenced by how it ends. If you’ve written an excellent article but then taper off, the reader is left unimpressed and probably a little confused. You need to wow them at the end; they’ve gotten that far! Prove to them it was worth reading. Summarize the greatest benefits you’ve given them and send them home happy.

Follow these 10 pointers, and your writing will shine. Quality writing shows you value the reader’s time and want to give them a pleasant experience. So pleasant, in fact, that they barely noticing they’re reading copy. And that is how you know you’ve done your job.

About the Author: Vik Tantry is an Internet entrepreneur who writes about money and personal development at There’s Money Everywhere.

Need help getting more traffic to your website and growing your online revenues? I am taking one new consulting client right now. Click here to get the details.

Share


20 Responses to “10 Tips To Improve Your Sales Copy Today”

  • jason

    Not keeping a promise you can’t keep is absolutely true. It is especially true when you are giving advice. Don’t give bad advice either, or you will never get readers again.

  • Eduard Burt, D.C., MUAC

    Very informative post. You have delivered the goods and it appears that you practice what you preach. :)

    • Web Marketing Tips

      yes this is the matter of experience

  • Mike @ Blog Success

    Vik,

    Agreed, no one likes hear sales pitches and pushy tactics, but many of us will buy on our own, spending a good money on products that will improve our life or give solutions to our current problems.

    I like your blog “there is money everywhere”, we need to figure how to make some without losing our integrity.

    • Web Marketing Tips

      yes earning money is also an art. Many people can sell sand on thar desert

  • Winning Ideas

    This article reminds us that writing is backbone of any blog. Actually writing gets better as and when you progress in your blogging career.

    Great post. Bookmarked it :-)

    • Web Marketing Tips

      practice makes man perfect my dear friend.

      • Naveen Kulkarni @ Winning Ideas

        @ Web Marketing Tips, You are right.

        I want to emphasize on Point # 8 – Write for Humans.
        This tip is what makes the post special. What a revelation. I have seen several Bloggers who stuff the keywords in their posts and it shows. Quality of post sucks and one can’t smell from an artificial flower. Its real flower which one needs. So being original, using free flowing words and conveying the content in natural ways are something a new blogger needs to adopt and learn.

        Great post again. Kudos to Vik Tantry. Posts like this make DBT a great place to spend our online life :-)

  • Ishan

    Point #2 is something that almost no one remembers. We have ads filled with outrageous claims and this makes job difficult for the “real” marketers!
    I agree with you about lists. They are simply great! Nice post! Retweeted. :)

    • Web Marketing Tips

      Thats is the difference between top bloggers and an ordinary blogger. Because expert blogger do use seo but just to add as spice but for a normal blogger seo is the main ingredient and hence they fail.

  • jason

    Again, it is the content that keeps readers coming back to your site. If you have a great headline, that is only half of the battle, and maybe not even that much.

    • Web Marketing Tips

      yes quite agree with you. Headlines are like good packing rest depends on the quality of your product.

  • Rahul @ MazaKaro

    proofs and keeping promises are enough i think !! very good points !! of course the everything was absolutely important !!! : )

  • Web Marketing Tips

    quite useful tips. Specially no 10

  • carolee Sperry

    I JUST wrote a post about making your blog easy to read the other day – I cannot stand long, long paragraphs with no breaks in the text or graphics or something to create white space.

    I do agree on the making it fun part. I try to write with a bit of humor and as non- techy as possibe.

    As hard as it may be for some of us to believe, many people do not understand all the technical terms and techniques.

    I have read some posts where the author assumed everyone had a degree in advanced SEO…..

    I’ve been on the Internet for years and there is still stuff that stumps me- imagine coming into this new…..

    • Web Marketing Tips

      through your format i think you will be able to target more and more audience.

  • Web Marketing Tips

    more and more expert blogger now a days emphasising on two things. One blog posting and two killer headlines.

  • Keith Davis

    Hi Vik
    Like number 6 – make it fun.
    I think that’s so important.
    People will read something if they are having a good time.
    I try to add humour and involve the readers by writing as though I am having a conversation.

  • Joseph P. McClelland

    Do you think opening with a “what you will learn” section and then end up with a “what you just learned” section? You have also reminded me to add my testimonials in the sidebars. As a lawyer, I am hesitant about such bragging, even if I put them as anonymous. Great post with some tips will have to do.
    The biggest tip for me is to get away from SEOing the titles and someone actually want to read it. Thanks.

  • Virtual Avatar

    Very nice tips! I hope I can make a fun yet strong pitch to make a sale someday. Making it fun will really make an impact since it shows that it would not be boring.

Comments are closed.