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10 Simple Steps to Writing Better Sales Copy

August 7th, 2009 : · 3 Comments ·

I’m not going to claim I am the greatest sales page writer, in fact compared to some of my buddies I downright stink.

But when I do need to write sales copy for myself, there are 2 things I know.

A: Imitate the best
B: Follow the basics of laying out good sales copy.

When I say imitate the best, I am not advocating you actually take someone elses copy, in fact if you did that I hope you get your a*s handed to you, but there are some really great sales letters in virtually every market that if you take time to study them, are literally a free master class on how to create great sales copy.

There is one thing that virtually all sales letters have in common. They all tend to follow a certain formula.

Let’s take a look at 10 basics of writing a great sales letter.

1: ATTENTION: You MUST grab the visitors attention immediately with your headline. You’ve got about 2 seconds to get their interest or they are gone. How many web sites have you seen that start out with a phrase such as “Thank you for visiting my web site. Here you will find some great products” BLAH BLAH BLAH. Bye bye visitor. I can’t imagine anyone would still write this way but there are a lot of sites that read just that way.

The headline of your site must pull the visitor in, make them want to learn more. If you don’t have a killer headline, the rest becomes somewhat irrelevant.

2: INTEREST: Once you’ve managed to convince the always skeptical visitor that they need to keep reading with your great headline, you need to start building overall interest in your product or service, how will the potential customer benefit from your product or service. Never EVER start talking about yourself, you must focus on the benefits your product can provide to the visitor.

3: BUILDUP and CREDIBILITY: So far so good, you haven’t lost them yet. Now comes the tough part. Up to this point you’ve lured them in with some great writing, but now you have to start backing up your claims. This is where you need to throw in some testimonials. Any testimonial you use must be 100% authentic. When someone sends you a nice email complimenting your product or service, thank them and ask them if it’s OK to use their words as a testimonial. Do it every time! Make sure you ask them to offer the wording they would like used and if it’s OK if you do very minor editing.

4: PROVE YOUR CREDIBILITY: I recommend you always use the person’s real name, and location in the testimonial, also asking the person giving the testimonial for a picture you can use next to their testimonial adds credibility. This one will be a bit more hit and miss but you’ll find the majority of people really don’t mind giving you their picture to use.

Testimonials that simply use someone’s initials are always looked at with a skeptical eye, and you know why, no one really knows whether they are real or bogus. Guess which is most often the case?

5: BELIEVABILITY BUILDERS: Make certain at this point you offer a no hassle guarantee. A Strong guarantee does not increase refunds, it reduces them. Make the potential customer know that you stand 100% behind what you sell and if they have a problem or are dissatisfied in any way, you are there to help them.

Don’t make your potential customers have to hunt around for contact info. A simple, ‘contact us’ link at the bottom of the page usually does the job, but don’t ever link it to an email address, link it to a support page that offers an FAQ or a form where the customer can submit questions.

Don’t make financial claims you can’t backup. If you are going to brag about how much money you have earned, you better be prepared to actually prove it. Screenshots can be easily faked. If you haven’t made $500 per day selling a given product, don’t say you have. Keep it real. But if you have some serious earnings, this is where you want to hit the visitor with that info. It creates sort of a WOW effect.

6: SCARCITY: The limited time offer has been working wonders for years, in all kinds of businesses. Now that you have them WOW’d with your earnings, you’ve got to get them to feel like they are going to lose out if they don’t take action.

Giving the visitor a deadline on pricing or membership levels, tends to build a sense of urgency. If they don’t act now they may lose out. And stick to it. Using a bogus deadline worked 7 years ago but not very well anymore. If you say you are going to raise your price or close the membership on such and such a date. DO IT!

7: ACTION: Quite simply, make it easy for the visitor to order now. ie; Call this number to order now: or, Just CLICK HERE to go to our secure order page.

Don’t make the visitor jump through hoops or have to look all over your site for a place to make an order.

8: THE WARNING: Learn to play on the visitors fears and emotions. Use a simple statement like this:

“Listen, you can go on making no money for the next year, It doesn’t matter to me, but if you’re serious about changing your life, what are you waiting for?”

(Now that is an example of really crappy sales writing, but hey, it’s just an example!)

The key is to try and touch an emotional flash point. If they’ve gotten this far into your sales letter, you obviously have their interest, so hitting those emotional buttons can be the one thing that makes that sale.

9: NOW: This is building off the emotional buttons you pressed in #8. You need to again drive home the urgency. Convince them they owe it to themselves, that they don’t have to struggle anymore, that there is a better way etc. This is pretty much the icing on the cake.

10: THE POSTSCRIPT: Always end with a PS. You can restate #6, while rewording it differently, remind them this is a limited offer. You can also use the PS to throw in added bonuses by stating that if they act now you will throw in this bonus, or that bonus. You start piling on.

If you’ve followed these 10 points you pretty much have the outline of how some of the best copy writers in the world construct copy that has turned ordinary people into millionaires.

Remember that getting the visitor to your website is just the start. Once they are there you better know what to do with them.

- Dave -

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Anthony

    Very basic but solid advice Dave. The good ol’ AIDA format.
    Cheers,
    Anthony

  • Denny

    I’m sharing this with my son, this is a great summary! I remember looking for a sales page formula years ago. Folks are going to appreciate this, it’s the real deal.

  • Gary

    It amazes me that this layout still works. You’d think people would have become numbed to this ad layout by now. It proves that there’s a sucker born at least once a minute.

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