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Copywriting Tips: 7 Steps to Effective Sales Copy

When I first informed a good friend of mine that I had started a new career as a copywriter, I was met with a blank stare and a dry response: “Don’t they have machines for that now?”

Despite having the habit of shamelessly borrowing great ideas from other writers, my job as a copywriter has less to do with “copying” and more to do with reframing ideas in a format that’s simple, digestible, and easy to read.

Writing copy also involves presenting your point of view in a logical way that persuades, convinces, or encourages action.

And as the average human attention span continues to shorten by the minute, making your argument quick and effective is key.

So, for those of you who already work as copywriters, are flirting with the idea, or think Xerox eliminated my career path in 1959, here are 7 tips to make your sales copy more effective:

7 Tips for Effective Sales Copy

#1: Be Bold

The first line of your sales copy serves just one purpose: getting your reader’s attention. If you fail to complete this step, the rest of your copy might as well not exist.

Use attention-grabbing, eye-popping, and shocking statements that pique the reader’s interest and make them want to learn more.

Even if you’re selling a mere toothbrush, speak about it as if you’ve just discovered the cure for cancer.

After all, if even you don’t believe in the product or service, why should anyone else?

#2: State the Problem

People buy things for two reasons: they either want it or they need it—the former being optional and the latter being necessary.

Identify the problem at hand and the list “pain points,” or undesirable results, of said problem.

Think about the reasons why you buy medicine as opposed to candy. You don’t buy it because it tastes great, but because it alleviates the painful and irritable effects of an illness.

Also, don’t assume that your reader knows what problems they have or why they have them. We all know why we buy Tylenol, but have you ever seen a commercial that doesn’t mention headaches or migraines?

Use any variety of literary techniques, such as metaphors, visualization, or short narratives, to get your point across.

#3: List the Benefits

Nobody cares if the newest smartphone on the market has an octa-core processor, 32GB of RAM, and 1 Terabyte of internal storage or if the newest SUV has a 3.9L engine and 30 MPG. Without context, all of this is just meaningless information.

Instead, consumers care about what that information means to them and how it solves their problems.

For example, a fast processor and lots of RAM means that you’ll have a faster phone and spend less time waiting for things to load. Tons of storage means you don’t have to delete any of the pictures and videos you take on family vacations.

A 3.9L engine means that you can accelerate faster and experience some excitement when you make your boring commute to work every day. 30 MPG means that you’ll burn less gas, spend less money on operating your vehicle, and have more money to go out to eat.

Get the idea?

By relating everything to the reader’s needs, you can magically transform features into benefits that convince them to buy.

#4: Make A Compelling Offer

At this point, your reader has been presented with the problem and the solution. Now, it’s time for them to evaluate what they believe your product or service is worth.

We’re no longer talking about concepts and ideas, but rather cold, hard cash.

However, the price isn’t the only thing that signals value. Limited-time offers, bundles, sales, and discounts all add to the consumer’s perception of value.

A potential customer might not be willing to buy two pairs of shoes for $150, but what about two pairs of $100 shoes with a “Buy One, Get One 50% Off” deal?

No matter how you slice it, the shoes end up costing a total of $150. Nevertheless, the prospect of “saving” 50% is extremely hard to resist.

So, in addition to setting fair prices, it’s your “special offer” that makes your value proposition more enticing.

#5: Guarantee that Offer

Everyone has the fear of getting ripped off.

Use money-back guarantees and forms of social proof, such as testimonials and customer reviews, to help your reader conquer their fears.

The good thing about money-back guarantees is that most people won’t take the time or effort to return a product they don’t like.

They simply need that extra reassurance before they make a final decision to purchase.

Indeed, we all work hard for our money. That’s why consumers need to be sure that they’re not wasting it on a product or service that’s not worth it.

#6: Provide the Next Steps

If you’ve correctly followed the first 5 steps and have convinced the reader that your product or service is worth the asking price, you need to tell them what to do next.

Do they need to click “Buy Now,” “Add to Cart,” or “Check Out?”

How do they pay? Online with a credit card or through the mail with cash or check?

Make every step clear and leave no room for ambiguity. You’ve worked so hard to get the reader to this point—don’t blow it.

#7: Make it Easy to Follow Up

Any additional time or effort required to follow the steps above increases the chances of the reader rethinking their decision.

Even the smallest snag or hic-up in the purchasing process can lead to a potential customer abandoning their cart or leaving the page.

In fact, research from SaleCycle shows that the average cart abandonment rate is 75.6% in the online retail industry.

The most common reasons for abandoning carts come down to low purchase intent (34%), high shipping costs or lack of options (23%), price comparison (18%), purchasing in-store rather than online (15%), lack of payment options (6%), or technical issues (4%).

By giving clear instructions and facilitating the ease of purchase, you can greatly reduce the chances of these issues affecting your sales.

TL;DR

Unlike writing fiction, copywriting is less of an art and more of a science.

Using proven formulas and following logical processes can instantly make an impact on the effectiveness of your sales copy.

Start by constructing an outline with these 7 steps and simply fill in the blanks as you go.

And most importantly, don’t use unnecessarily complicated words to get your point across.

Your goal should be to keep your writing at a 6th grade reading level.

Anything higher than this will force your audience to enter a critical thinking mode that makes them harder to sell to.

For more tips and tricks on digital marketing, copywriting, lead generation, B2B marketing, and other related topics, please stay tuned to salesbuddy.io.

About the Author Corey Singleton

"As a business owner, I put big money into sales and marketing without ever really knowing what results I was going to get. Tired of this ambiguity, I decided to create a new kind of sales support company: one that provides a guarantee.

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