How to structure persuasive sales copy

As a micro business owner, customers are key to your success.

And that means you’ve got to make your sales literature persuasive. After all, it may be your only chance to connect with a prospect. So how do you make it cut?

There’s lots to consider. Things like images and layout all help attract and convince your customer.

But never ever skimp on the words. 

You can probably reel off this famous quote.

“The pen is mightier than the sword”.

This poetic notion also applies to the words in your sales copy. In fact, whether you’re writing a blog post, sales letter or web copy, get the words right and their impact is all powerful.

Let’s explore five copywriting techniques that use words to persuade. 

1.  It all starts with the headline.

I’m a big fan of Copyblogger Brian Clark. Here’s what he has to say about headlines.

“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest”.

There’s no getting away from it. You’ve simply got to crack your headline.

To cope with the constant stream of information, customers filter out uninteresting, irrelevant stuff. So while headlines have always been important, perhaps in this digital age they’re even more critical.

The headline is your tool to stand out from all the competing noise and distractions.

Get  it right and you’ll hook your prospect.

Get it wrong and that drive-by traffic will accelerate by.

Always invest the time needed to write a cracking headline. It doesn’t need to be clever and it doesn’t have to be unique. Instead your headline must promise something that makes your target audience interested enough to start reading the rest of your content.

2.  But what’s in it for me?

Your headline stirred up curiosity and your reader is ploughing into your copy.

The next test is whether your reader knows why they’ll benefit from reading your words?

As soon as readers question the value of your message – you’ve lost.  So always deliver a compelling reason to keep reading. Don’t be a turn off! Customers have well honed BS detectors and will move on if something smells.

Here are five ideas to get you going:

  1. Present an offer that’s worth finding out about.
  2. Offer a solution to customer concerns or pain points.
  3. Provide valuable information which your audience can apply and benefit from.
  4. Appeal to a human driver like success, time, money or happiness.
  5. Explain benefits with relevant testimonials and statistics.

The key is to remain laser focused on your target reader.

Don’t fall into the trap of writing for everyone – and don’t make the mistake of believing what interests you will interest your customers.

I’ll repeat – write for the person you want to attract to your business. And write only for them. Know in detail who they are and do whatever you can to stoke their passion.

3.  Set up a slippery slope to your call to action

Your headline hooked and you created stickiness with a strong premise.

But that’s only the start of the road.

The aim of each sentence is simple – to get the next one read.

And that’s why writing compelling sales copy is an art.

It’s no good churning out any old words. Instead you’ve got to craft copy that transports your reader from the headline to your call to action. Here’s where the slippery slope analogy fits.

Reading sales copy is not like reading a bestselling book or a gossip magazine. In fact sales copy can be unwelcome and intrusive (even if you do have a fab product to promote). And that means you must make it as easy as possible for your readers to arrive at your call to action.

Here are five strategies that help set-up a slippery slope:

  1. Ensure your words flow: You want your reader to hop into your text and be tugged along without resistance.
  2. Write to be understood: Avoid jargon and never use a long, complicated word where a short, simple one will suffice.
  3. Signpost your reader: Break up long paragraphs of text into short sentences with scannable subheads that work for skimmers.
  4. Chunk it: With easy to read bullet points and numbered lists. They successfully break up a long piece of text and make it less intimidating.
  5. Make it worthwhile: Keep your target customer in mind at all times. If what you’ve written is of little interest – cut it.

4. Write for retention

Your reader may be moving along your slippery slope. But will your message be remembered?

Here are three tricks for getting your content more than a fleeting glimpse.

  1. Tell a story:  Humans are programmed to retain stories meaning sales copy written in this format can be incredibly compelling. Copyblogger has some great articles like this Crash Course in Marketing With Stories if you’d like to discover more.
  2. Use an analogy: Analogies are very effective if you need to communicate something a little more complex. Compare it with something familiar, and your reader can hook new information onto something they already understand.
  3. Create an activity: If a reader actively applies your information, they’re more likely to remember. This tip works great with blog posts. Instead of allowing your audience to passively absorb your words, task them to apply your message in practice.

5. Ask your readers to respond

You hooked a reader, propelled them to your call to action with your premise and slippery slope and included retention strategies. Brilliant!

But that’s not the end.

Persuasive copy aims to convert prospects into buyers – whether that’s by leaving a comment, downloading a white paper or buying your product.

Use words like “buy now”, “click here” or “download this”. In fact the more specific you are, the higher your response rate will be.

The lesson is don’t fall at the last hurdle. Instead work hard to make your call to action clear, specific and strong. And if it’s not getting the results you want – re-phrase it.

Here’s a challenge for you.

As you’ve seen, persuasive copy is multi-dimensional. It takes time, effort and focus to order words which successfully compel customers into action.

Before you go, are you up for seeing how persuasive your sales copy is?

  1. Pick a piece of content.
  2. Have an honest read through.
  3. Identify which persuasive strategy you could employ to improve it.

Now tell me what you’re going to do in the comments box below. Go on. Write your ideas to me now. I might even dive in and give you some feedback to help you write words that sell.

Until next time…

 

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