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Twelve steps in writing a truly compelling sales copy

February 6, 2004

If you have finally succeeded in positioning your website to the top of the search engines and if it brings in a lot of good and well targeted traffic, your next step is to write or have your site designer write compelling and powerful sales copy that will convince your visitors to buy your products and services.

Being creative, composing and writing marketing sales copy that will convert your site visitors into buyers and long-term customers requires planning, careful preparation, attention to detail and, more than anything, it requires following these twelve easy steps you are about to read. To be truly successful, as I have said many times before, there are to be no shortcuts.

Step number One
Present unique and convincing reasons to do business with your company

For most of us, one of the first questions that come to mind when visiting any website for the first time is: "Why should I do business with you?" "What does your company have that the others don't?" "What makes your product or service truly unique from your competitors?". The answers to these questions may not always be easy to answer.

Nevertheless, you must try to be creative and find the right words and write them in an articulate fashion, which, in the end, will be the right compelling answers for your visiting public.

Here are easy examples that come to mind:

      Do you offer the best warranty in the business?
      Is this the ONLY place to get it?
      Do you really offer the lowest price?
      Do you really have it in stock?
      Do you offer the fastest delivery?

You should always remember that the majority of the people that visit your website are, for the most part, selfish people. I am not saying this to be negative, on the contrary. It's just a fact of life.

Most of your visitors arrive at your site, have a quick look at the display, they might read the first line or the first two lines of text on your homepage and then they might ask themselves: "OK- what's in it for ME?" This is a well-known fact of marketing that is as old as marketing itself.

In this context, it becomes easier to see that finding the right compelling words and then articulating them in a powerful way in your sales copy can literally make all the difference between success and failure. Never underestimate the real power of writing strong and convincing reasons to do business with your company than your competition. This first step is THE most important.

Step number Two
People will buy benefits not features

Always remember that most visiting prospects that convert into buying customers do so by buying the benefits and not the features. In the world of marketing today, features have a basic purpose or benefit. One word of caution here: you should never assume that your visiting prospects might effectively grind out for themselves what that purpose or benefit is. It is YOUR job to do that, not theirs.

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If your company sells industrial machinery for a specialized field in particular, use some strong wording that will sell them on the benefits THEY want to hear, namely: Major cost savings, increased productivity, no down-time, the longest warranty in the industry, on-site maintenance 24 hours a day, etc. Don't tell them that your machinery boasts x amount of horsepower or x amount of Watts, etc. What they want to hear is: "Tell me what's in it for ME, not your technical stuff".

Step number Three
Always view your product from the visitor's point of view

Once you have finished writing your sales copy, always review what you have written and now is the time to put your sales copy to what I call "the Acid Test" by asking:

         So what?
         Who cares?
         I don't give a hoot!
         Ok, big deal!

Why? Because your customers will, that's why! If you think about it, we all do. Don't we all read most sales copy with a grain of salt? Yes we do and the stats all prove it too. This underscores the great importance of re-reading all of your sales copy, line by line. It's also a great idea to have other people in your organization read it too. Make certain you explain to them the importance of reading it through "the eyes of the visitor", as I have just done for you.

Step number Four
Write your text so that it is easy to read

You should always "know your market" and "customize" your text to "fit" their eyes. For years, studies have shown that 12pt Times New Roman is easiest to read in paper and ink format. You should break the paragraphs into easy-to-read pieces. It's always best to make shorter paragraphs than paragraphs that are too long and scroll on most of the screen. Also, many of the experts recommend using bulleted or numbered lists, bold type, mini headings, italics and heading tags to further facilitate their reading experience.

Step number Five
Make certain your site loads in 20 seconds or less

Contrary to what many people still believe, even today, the majority of people connected to the Internet still use phone-modem dial-up connections that are still slow and sometimes inefficient. This is especially the case in many North-American rural areas, many of the European countries, most of Russia, almost all of China, some parts of Japan and just about anywhere in Africa. At best, that leaves only about 15 to 20% of your visiting public that have access to high-speed ADSL or cable.

Even if your site ranks number one in the search engines, and no matter how compelling your sales copy is, if your site visitors have to wait more than 20 seconds for your homepage to load, the sad news is you will lose them. Always remember that we live in an increasingly impatient "connected world" where time is getting more and more precious. There are many visitors out there that might think there's something wrong with a slow loading website and they don't want to do business with "losers". It is a sad fact in deed but one we have to come to grips with, if we want to make a site as best as it can be.

For all intents and purposes, this almost rules out sites that were designed using Flash technology or make heavy use of a lot of graphics or large images that are slow loading and don't really contribute significantly to the real value of your content. Besides, sites using Flash technology are never recommended in the first place, as they present many challenges in the proper optimizing for the search engines, apart from the fact that they cost significantly much more to design.

Step number Six
Equally important is that very first paragraph

Many past studies have clearly indicated that if you can attract your visitor's interest with a powerful headline and then maintain that interest throughout the very first paragraph, then the chances are real good they will probably go through all your entire sales copy. The first paragraph of your presentation text should answer a direct need, answer a specific question or clearly articulate the real true benefits that are forthcoming, once a visitor becomes interested with your product or service.

He or she will then most likely completely read all your page and will normally go on to his or her next step, which could mean either contacting you or visiting the second page he or she feels is necessary in gaining more information about your company. Either way, this technique is proven and works in the majority of cases.

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Article written by Serge Thibodeau,
President & CEO,
Rank for $ales
Copyright (c) Serge Thibodeau 2003, 2004

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