Whether you write copy yourself, have copywriting talent in-house, or use outside copywriting resources, you should know how to recognize copy that really SELLS.

  • If you review and approve copy – you should know the key elements to look for, those key elements that create copy that really SELLS!
  • If you hire agencies or copywriters – you should be able to identify killer copy when you see it (in about 1 minute!)
  • If you’re developing copy yourself – the following tips will help you build more “sell” into every email message, web page, direct mail piece, print ad – and more

Use 6 Steps in the Sales Process for Copy that SELLS

Does your copy need to drive a response (maybe you’re driving leads, direct sales, retail traffic, or web traffic)?

What makes the difference between copy that effectively drives prospects to register or buyers to buy — and copy that doesn’t?  Copy that really SELLS addresses the 6 specific steps in the sales process.  You say you’re not a salesperson?  Here’s what every copywriter needs to know to write copy that SELLS . . .

For copy that sells — ask a salesperson

When you read the copy on your web site, or in your direct mail, email, or print ads, are you convinced the copy really sells?   If you’re actually trying to sell in your copy, why not follow the sales process that every effective salesperson knows?

Selling is selling:  the process doesn’t change with the medium

If I make a sales call (either in person or by phone) to try to sell you my product, I will likely follow a particular sales process.  And that particular set of steps are effective in selling, whether I’m selling face-to-face, over the phone, on a web site, in a direct mail piece, or in any other medium where you’re trying to drive a response.

So what are those steps in the sales process?

Step 1:  Build early rapport using a “pain/pleasure” lead-in

A good salesperson would never start their pitch with “Since 1999, we’ve been serving the needs . . .”   Yet, how many web pages and direct mail letters start this way?  (Way too many.)

An effective “lead” typically uses the “pain/pleasure” combination“Are you having trouble with . . .”   (the pain) “What if you could . . .”   (the pleasure)

This highly effective lead-in is what you’d say to me if selling in person or by phone.  And it’s absolutely the best way to draw readers into your website, direct mail, email marketing, or print ad – whether you’re selling to consumers or businesses.

Step 2:  Introduce the solution

Once you’ve reminded prospects of the pain your product or service solves, and hinted at the major benefit it delivers, now you introduce your solution.

Step 3:   Reveal the benefits of your solution

Now introduce the major reasons WHY they should buy – the “what’s in it for me” points.  This is a great place for bulleted copy.

Step 4:  Answer objections

This is the single most common overlooked point in most copy.  If I was selling face-to-face or over the phone, I’d have the opportunity to ask you if you had any questions, what might prevent you from following through immediately, etc.

Unless you’re having a direct conversation with one person (by email or texting), you won’t be able to identify objections.  So your copy needs to anticipate the most common objections and address them.  If you don’t, you leave unanswered questions in the prospect’s mind: “Gee, I wonder if that means . . .”   or “I wonder if it includes . . .”

As soon as unanswered questions remain in a prospect’s mind, the prospect is unlikely to act.  And you’ve just wasted your marketing dollars and reduced your website conversion. With a website, there’s no excuse for leaving unanswered questions.  You’ve got room to provide the information — link to more information, FAQs, etc.  Be sure the full story is available online.

Step 5:  Pitch your Offer for prompt action

The best way to get your prospect to take prompt action is to include a reason to act NOW.  If you’re selling by e-commerce, include a time limit on your special Offer (“the deal” or first response step) to motivate the action.  Or make your lead generation Offer sound so enticing (i.e., “merchandise” your Offer), your prospect won’t be able to pass it up.  Mention what the prospect is missing every day they delay.

Step 6:  Close with a clear call to action

In your print ads, television ads, direct mail, and email marketing messages, be sure to tell prospects how to take the next step.  If you want to drive leads to your web site, mention the landing page prominently.   If you’re driving traffic to an 800 number, mention the 800 number prominently.  If you’re selling via e-commerce, include a prominent “Add to Cart” button high up on each product page.  And if you’re generating leads, be sure your response button includes the benefit, like “Get the Special Report My Competition Doesn’t Want Me to See.”

Now do you think you can recognize copy that really SELLS?  Is it on your website?

If you missed part 1 of this 3-part copywriting series:  4 Test of Website Copy that Sells

Part 2:  6 Tests to Evaluate Your Headlines