Sales copy matters more than you might think.
Sales isn’t all cold calls and meetings. In order to be good at sales, you have to know how to write persuasive, engaging copy that converts prospects into customers.
The words on your page or email have a powerful impact on what potential customers do. Sometimes you’ll know what you want to say, but it’s hard to find the right words.
That’s where this guide comes in. Want to write sales copy that actually converts prospects into customers? You've come to the right place.
What is sales copy?
Sales copy aims to convince a reader to take a specific action. It’s the writing used in emails, web pages, or sales brochures. It can be used to persuade readers to buy a product, sign up for a mailing list, download content, or take any further action that will help your business achieve its sales goals.
Sales copy is aimed at driving sales. The best sales copy focuses on how the end customer can benefit from whatever you’re selling.
In many cases, though, sales copy is too dry for consumption. It puts the reader to sleep. We've all read sales copy like this before. It's the kind that makes us completely disinterested in whatever they're trying to sell us.
So how do you ensure you avoid the trap of writing dry sales copy and write copy that really wows your audience?
1. Define your goal
Before you start writing, you need to define your goals. You can use your sales copy to push your audience toward the desired action.
If you haven’t heard of the SMART acronym when it comes to setting goals, here’s what you need to know. A SMART goal should be:
- S = Specific - The goals should be as specific as possible. "Increase revenue" is not a specific goal. "Increase outbound sales engagement by 10%" is
- M = Measurable - Your goals should have metrics. How many more people are opening our emails? How many more clicks on our website are we getting?
- A = Achievable - Your goal also needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. In other words, it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.
- R = Relevant to your long-term strategy - This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it also aligns with other relevant goals.
- T = Time-based - Every goal needs a target date, so that you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward.
Once your goals are clearly defined it will be much easier to get started writing copy that produces results. When you have a specific sales copy goal, it will be easy to engage your audience and measure your results.
2. Choose your target audience
To come up with a brilliant sales copy, you should understand who you are selling to and why they would care. Get specific. College students will react differently to sales copy than family-focused suburban residents, for instance. What are their pain points, dreams, and desires? What is so special about your offer? How do you fill a need that they have in their lives?
One of the best ways to do this is to create a customer persona. A fictional person who represents your ideal customer. While the persona may be fictional, it should be based on real data collected from:
- Customer surveys
- Web analytics
- Social media analytics
- Other online research
Your buyer persona should be as specific as possible. Give them a name. What does Gary do on the weekends? Where does he work? What does he like to do in his free time? What are his friends like?
It may seem silly at first, but the more specific you can get when crafting your customer persona, the more effectively you'll be able to write copy that will grab their attention and convert them into a customer.
Once you’ve got a buyer persona, you’ll understand your prospective customer’s influences, pain points, challenges, and motivations so you can create copy that addresses them.
3. Choose one focus
Now that you know your specific goal and your target audience, you need to create a streamlined focus. Your target audience has a specific pain point, goal, and desire. They might have secondary pain points, goals, and desires, but you need to focus on one to send the point home.
What do you want this copy to compel someone to do? Do you want them to go to a website to make a purchase? Do you want them to sign up for more information?
You might mention each of these, but focus on one based on your buyer personas and your customer data collection. That way, you are not overwhelming your audience with too much information.
4. Use customer testimonials
Customer testimonials are extremely important to any sales copy. A lot of people skim through the sales copy and dive right into the actual testimonials and reviews before deciding to never consider the product again or scroll back up to look at the sales copy again. A staggering 92% of people read online reviews. And it is proven that the presence of customer testimonials can drive revenue up by 62%!
Think about it. How often have you bought something just because your favorite influencer swears by it? Or when you read a testimonial by someone who struggled with the exact same issue that you have and managed to overcome it with this product?
Even if it’s only one testimonial, include it! Obviously the more the better, but any customer feedback you can include will make your copy just that much more compelling.
5. Use emotion
Emotion is the common thread that runs behind motivation. Humans want power and security. They want to avoid disconnection, alienation, and fear. So it’s important to use emotion when you’re writing.
Don’t use sales copy to harp on the great features of your product and service. Use it to convince your reader that you have the answer to their needs and desires.
When you are writing sales copy, picture your target customer. What does he or she want to avoid at all costs? What problems are keeping him or her up tossing and turning at night? And how can your product or service solve the problem?
Play to your reader’s emotion and use facts to make them feel good about wanting your offer.
Give them the facts — the objective, observable characteristics of your offer. But pinpoint their emotions by going beyond features and pointing out the benefits.
6. Create urgency
When you’re writing compelling copy, a great tactic to use is to increase urgency. You’ve probably seen something like this on websites. Something like “don’t miss out” or “order now!” Maybe they’re accompanied with a clock counting down.
Urgency compels people to take action. We as humans hate missing out on anything, and a time-limited offer fuels emotion, increasing conversion and sales. There needs to be some sort of impending deadline. How many seats or items are there left? Is this a limited time sale? It’s important to use urgency to create emotion in your copy.
For example, Amazon uses scarcity-based urgency all the time by highlighting products that are about to be sold out in red, by showing when deals are almost fully claimed, and adding a countdown timer for deals. This creates a sense of urgency to buy that product before it's sold out.
7. Keep it simple
Keeping your writing scannable is important. We as people are constantly getting bombarded with tons of information at all times. Whether it’s TV, our phones, or just driving around, we’re taking in words and information at all times. A big paragraph that goes on too long isn’t welcome to the eye.
Break your copy down into bit sized pieces that are easily digestible. We have a tendency to complicate things when we write. Keeping your writing simple means your core concepts are delivered clearly in as few words as possible.
Don’t use long run-on sentences. Your writing should be to the point. Use common language that is easy to read and understand.
You can't persuade people to buy from you when you make things too complex for the audience that you're serving.
One exception to this rule might be if your audience appreciates longer-form content that uses more complex language. In that case, you may consider writing more narrative focused sales copy.
8. Be compelling
Your copy should be engaging and compelling. It should make the reader feel more wrapped into your writing and almost feel like they're there.
What’s the best way to do that? Write in a conversational tone. Talk to your audience, not at them.
Your copy should be conversational in a way that makes the reader feel like you're sitting down at a coffee shop with them, telling them about your product the same way a friend would recommend a product to you. Boring language will force your reader to close your website or email right away. Talk to your audience in a way that appeals to them and their needs. Think about ways to captivate your audience’s imagination and compel them to carry out your desired action.
9. Create an attractive call to action
So at this point you should have some great sales copy that’s easy to read, grabs your readers attention, and addresses their main need or concern. Now it’s time to convert.
The purpose of your call to action is to make it easy for visitors to buy at whatever point they become convinced.
You need a very clear call to action. What this CTA looks like depends on your product, but it should direct your prospect to your end goal. A good CTA will show the benefit of clicking on your link or button, uses action or power words, and highlights value.
Depending on what you want your prospects to do your individual call to actions should have a designated purpose. Check out these 31 examples of compelling CTAs here.
10. Edit your draft mercilessly
Finally, you should proofread your copy. Of course, you should fix any grammar and punctuation mistakes. But editing isn’t just about fixing mistakes.
You might need to also add subheadings, bullet points, and spaces to make your copy easier to read. You should also scan your copy again to get rid of any unnecessary sentences. Remember, if your copy isn’t compelling or easy to read, you won’t be able to effectively reach your customers.
It's also a good practice to pretend you are your buyer persona and read your copy again. Then, think to yourself "Would I buy this? Is this the answer to X problem that I have? Am I excited to buy this?"
Remember, at its core, good sales copy is all about knowing your audience, appealing to them and their needs, and knowing how to have a conversation with them. Now that you know how to write compelling sales copy, get out there and start writing! With these tips you’ll spark conversions and create some new customers. It might not happen right away but that’s okay! Just continue to tweak your copy and you’ll eventually find the copy that resonates with your target audience. Want more tips on building your career? Check out our blog for all things professional development and career advice.
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