How to Write Copy that Sells

“The customer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything.” – David Ogilvy

The art of writing good copy is one that few do well. It’s a challenge to write content that is not only engaging, but that boosts sales as well. The good news is that with a little hard work and focus, you can create stellar content for your business that will boost sales. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Focus on one simple goal

To write really effective copy, you’ve got to focus your efforts. What action is it that you want your reader to take? Do you want them to sign up for your email list?   Do you want them to download a free trial? Do you want them to make a purchase?   Focusing your copywriting efforts on achieving that one goal will help add clarity to your efforts. The structure, language and action items can all be tailored to your purpose when you focus on one goal, which means that the chances of success will also increase.

Don’t bury the lead

Customers aren’t going to wait around for you to tell them why they should buy – you need to lead with the good stuff. Hook them from the beginning with the best things about your product and then once you’ve got them hooked, you can get into all the details.

Don’t talk down to your customers

No one likes the feeling of being patronized, and taking a “we know best” tone is insulting to customers and will turn them off in a heartbeat. Assume that your customer has the intelligence to understand what you’re selling. And if you are selling a product that actually is complex and a bit difficult to grasp, there are ways to educate people through your content without treating them like they are children.

Know who your target customer is

It’s so important when you are writing sales content, that you know who you are writing for. The tone, language and structure you use could vary widely based on who you’re writing for. For example, if you have a product aimed at the teen girl market, the language, graphics and content you present will be dramatically different than if you’re trying to sell something to an upper-class middle aged man. Knowing who your customer will make your content better and your sales will show it.

Understand the needs of your customer

Once you know who your target customer is, understanding what it is that your customer actually wants or needs the next step in crafting solid content. When you can identify what the need is, it becomes much easier to create content that speaks to your customers. Similar to setting your primary goal, you’re going to want to focus your efforts here. While it may be tempting to show that your product can address a wide variety of needs, you’re going to be more successful if you can show how your product takes care of the primary need of your customer.

Explain the benefits

This may seem like common-sense advice, but focusing on the benefits of a product rather than the features can be a challenge. It goes back to understanding the needs of your customer. You can run ads, create brochures and design entire websites to explain the benefits of your product, but if you don’t tell the customer how it’s going to improve their life, you’re never going to get the sale. When creating your sales content, keep the customer front and center in your mind and ask yourself, “what will my product do for you?”

Make it a conversation, not a presentation

We all remember those teachers and professors who would stand at the front of the classroom and read straight from the textbook. That type of presentation is incredibly boring and more likely to turn customers off than it is to make a sale. When creating content for sales, try to make it a conversation rather than a presentation. If it helps, bring someone else in the room to talk through the content and take some notes. How you phrase things verbally will likely sound much more relaxed than if you were to try and write it out.

Edit aggressively

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and when it comes to writing good sales content, you should make da Vinci’s phrase you personal motto. The first draft of any piece of content that you write is exactly that – a first draft. Take the time to really comb through your content and remove anything that doesn’t support your main goal or isn’t targeted at your customer. Don’t be shy about editing – the simpler your message, the easier it will be for customers to understand.

Ask for the sale

Growing up in the retail business, one of the first things I learned was that if you do your job, asking for the sale should be the easiest thing in the world. The same thing goes for your content – if you’ve done your job, asking for an email signup or a free trial download or a sale at the end of it should be feel incredibly natural. Use action words to spell out clearly what you want your customer to do and then make it incredibly easy for them to complete the process.

Finally, remember that content is important. In this day and age, crafting good content should be at the foundation of any business. Invest time and energy into getting your sales content right and it’ll have a direct impact on your bottom line.