How to write better sales copy in five simple steps

Hi there and come closer.

I’m about to reveal some insider copywriting secrets that will help you write better content.  

As you know words are a powerful way to communicate with customers.

Get it right and you’ll build rapport and persuade your audience to take action.

Get it wrong and your customer will quickstep to the competition.

Regular readers who tune into your messages and return to your blog are like gold dust.

So you need to keep customers fascinated and avoid turning them off. Here’s how to write better sales copy.

1.  Map out a solid structure

When you’ve got a mountainous to do list, it’s tempting to rack up the words and move on to your next pressing priority.

But if you do this, instead of creating clear, compelling copy, you’re more likely to publish a tangle of ideas that fail to convince anyone.

The answer is to plan quality writing time.

You’ll want to start by creating a clear outline. Try out this simple structure…

  1. Pinpoint the essence of your message. This is the essential information you want customers to know.
  2. Next identify key points. Aim to summarise these into informative subheads then flesh out your ideas with notes, lists and bullet points.
  3. Finally confirm your call to action.  It’s worth getting crystal clear on what you want customers to do after reading your copy. That way you can craft a word route to take them there.

2.  Create a neck snapping, eye hijacking headline

OK these are strong words but your headline simply has to make a fierce impact.

And to do that it’s got to shout out and grab your reader’s attention – no easy task considering the mass of competing information.

Because your headline is the route to drawing your reader in, you’ve got to spend time getting it right. So however tempting never settle for the first idea that pops into your head.

Instead think about it, jot down several options and work out which one is most likely to tempt your target audience to discover more.

And if you need inspiration look at the tabloids or gossip magazines. They are headline kings and are packed with head turning words that get each publication flying off the shelves.

3.  Write for your audience (not for you)

Great copy is written firmly from your customer’s world.

And to do that you have to get into their shoes, notice their pain points and get clear about how your business adds value.

Always write about benefits. For sure features are important because they define the product. However they just don’t get a reader excited like benefits do.

Moving on, think then write like a customer. Answer their questions and above all be genuine and convincing.

A great tip is to write as if you are talking to your ideal prospect. Remember great copy is conversational so build a vivid image and fascinate with stories, case studies, metaphors and analogies. You’ll find they’ll help embed your message in your customer’s subconscious4.  Hand over to your subconscious

Unless it’s absolutely unavoidable never publish anything until you’ve stepped away.

Copy improves if you allow your subconscious mind to ponder what you’ve created. When you return:

  1. You’ll spot typos and other “silly” errors.
  2. New thoughts will emerge and you’ll spot new ideas to work in.
  3. Fresh eyes will help you re-visit, edit and revise to hone your copy and massively improve it.

5.  Then cut the *rap!

  • The delete button is your best friend. So use it ferociously!
  • Look over a draft with a ruthless eye. Cut anything that doesn’t hone your message.
  • Scrap waffle and slice up long sentences to reduce the word count.
  • Use the return button to make paragraphs shorter.
  • And erase any hint of repetition or talk that makes your customer’s attention deviate.
  • Keep your goal in mind and double-check your copy has delivered what you started out to achieve.

Bonus idea: Keep a notepad to capture inspiration

OK I’m a stickler for nice stationery and my notebook is always tucked into my bag. That way if I have an idea I can capture it. I use my notebook a lot. Call it creative research. In my book you’ll find:

  • Blog post ideas and outlines,
  • Creative thoughts and ideas,
  • Examples of interesting use of language that I hear and read,
  • Hooking headlines,
  • Metaphors and images that grab my attention etc.

In fact anything useful.

My aim is to create a reference tool to dip into. It enhances the quality of my work. What’s more my “creative research” feeds my subconscious. Ideas get chewed and developed then in turn I write better copy for my customers.

Creativity comes from staying inspired. So I also read, watch films, ask questions, talk with my customers and take time to brainstorm ideas.

Another invaluable tip is to read what the thought leaders in your field are saying. I’m an avid fan of Copyblogger and Pushing Social. I’ll gobble up and reflect on anything they publish.

Another great tip is to read and critique your competition’s copy. You’ll quickly work out what works and what doesn’t. Even better you’ll get some ideas to use for your own business.

So that was 5 ways to write better copy.

But how do you write copy that sells? What techniques do you use to get customers to your door. What ways have you used words to wow clients? Share your ideas by leaving a comment.

P.S: If you liked what you read make sure you click the RSS feed. In return you’ll get all Gem Writing posts delivered directly to your inbox each week. Thanks for reading.

 

This is the fifth instalment in a series of posts called Hire a freelance copywriter and get rid of ineffective sale copy once and for all.

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