There are many skills one can pick up along the way in building an Online Business, but these two are top priority for any business serious about using the Internet to increase profits:
- Lead generation and
If you know how to get leads and you know how to sell, you pretty much ace the Internet marketing game. And if you know how to write to sell, not only do you save thousands of dollars in hiring someone else to write your copy, you can also make just as much, often times manifold. Lead generation and copywriting are two very, very worthwhile skills to learn and this is what separates the men from the boys in the marketing world.
Now if you’re shy about the idea of selling, don’t worry. The good thing about using the Internet is that you don’t have to do face-to-face selling. In fact, there is no leverage in this conventional method. I prefer to whip up a website, put my sales page on it, and let it do all the selling on my behalf. Hundreds and thousands of prospects can see the website and buy at the same time, freeing my time from having to go over them one by one.
Few people know that the sales pages you and I see online today trace their roots to direct response mailing. You know, those ‘long brochures’ that are several pages long and often has one Call To Action: Buy.
The Internet came along, and the direct response marketers basically adapted the same approach online. So you get the sales copies and even sales videos today. The skill to crank out sales copies is called Copywriting. And when you learn this priceless skill, you can apply it to writing Sales Video scripts, Landing Pages, blogs and even email campaigns.
When I was learning the ropes, I started to notice most sales letters follow a specific pattern, or formula if you will call it. Unlike selling common products that do not need lengthy explanation, selling information products more often than not require you to take the Direct Response approach.
In a nutshell, every high converting sales copy has the following elements, usually in this chronological order:
- Sub Headline
- Handling Objections
- Call To Action
Let’s go over them one by one in detail…
The headline is the most important part of the body of the sales letter. Many expert copywriters conclude that 80% of your effort should be focused on crafting an attention-grabbing headline. I agree.
The headline is the first thing your visitor sees as soon as the page is loaded, and the first impression can make or break your sale!
In your copy’s headline, you will want to share a few very important details:
- The headline must grab the attention of the prospect and most importantly, qualifies him so he must read on.
- What makes a successful headline is that you must normally have a character mentioned in the headline. It can be someone? Especially someone that your prospect can relate to.
- The next thing you want to do is show desirable results. The more specific the results are, the more attractive it is.
If you are spoiled for ideas, here are some simple headline formulas you can copy and edit:
- Who Else Wants To _________
- How To _________. No ________. No ________.
- Discover The Secrets Of _________
- Here’s How ________
For more inspiration look at this headlines research made by buzzsumo:
2. Sub Headline
This is what follows right after the Headline.
Your sub-headline serves as a “hook” that reels your prospect to read further. Often times, your Sub Headline is smaller than your Headline in font size, how the Sub Headlines throughout your sales copy summarizes your offer and gives your prospect a rough idea what it’s about. Most people scroll through your own page before reading your letter carefully.
Great! So your prospect is curious now.
You see, writing your sales letter is almost no different from writing a personal letter to a friend. You don’t have to be ‘formal’; you can adopt a casual approach. Despite your sales copy being viewed by potentially hundreds or even thousands of visitors, your writing tone should be that of a one-to-one relationship (me to you) instead of a broader address (me to you all).
So what do you cover in your Opener?
- Introduce yourself
- Address the problems your prospect is facing
- Or a goal your prospect desires
The purpose of the Opener is to qualify your prospect further. Share a little about yourself and how the prospect can relate to where you once were, and now how you can help him solve a problem or reach his goal.
At this point your prospect is thinking, who are you and why should I listen to you? Remember, this is a one-on-one talk and since you’re not there in person to close the sale or talk to him, your sales letter stands in as your ‘virtual sales man’.
Make sure you are describing his problems and challenges accurately – if he doesn’t resonate with anything you have to say, he’s not going to stay around. And it’s okay, because you want to qualify the right prospects and weed out those that don’t resonate with what you have to say.
This where we speak directly to those with an existing problem. At this point, we talk about their pain points so they can feel we are actually speaking to them specifically. There is no way you can achieve this if you don’t know your audience. That’s why great copywriting is no easy, because the writer must put him or herself on the shoes of the potential customers and not everyone has can do that.
5. Announce Your Solution
Then comes the Solution.
Announcing your Solution doesn’t end here though. You need to get into detail. What does your product do? What can it solve?
Features tell, benefits sell.
In the benefits section, you’re going to bold and yellow highlight only specific words, they are what I call the Benefit Words. Benefit words are results oriented words like:
- Twice the power
- $10,352.49 in 72 hours
- 38,328 unique visitors in 30 days
6. Handle Objections
You’ve told the good stuff but people are naturally skeptics. They will certainly have reservations before parting their money with you. At this point, you will do well to handle objections ahead of their concerns. Here are some of the most common reservations that need to be answered in your sales copy:
- Can you be trusted?
- Will this work for me?
- What if I need some extra guidance?
- Is there a guarantee?
- Are there bonuses?
One of my favorite ways of overcoming these objections in one fell swoop is to have an F.A.Q. table at the bottom of the sales copy.
POWER TIP #1: Include Social Proof.
People want to know they’re not alone in this. And it helps if you can get experts or previous customers to write you an endorsement or testimonial to be placed on your sales page. It is even better if you can get a video testimonial from them.
POWER TIP #2:
Have A Money Back Guarantee. Buying online is still a scary experience for many. It doesn’t help that there are stories of scams and fly-by-night operates every day. How can you convince your prospect you’re different from these rotten eggs? You can avoid being tarred by the same brush with your guarantee policy.
Here’s a typical way to write guarantees:
100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
We want you to be completely satisfied with you purchase. If you’re not satisfied with your experience in using XXX , contact our support help desk. The bonuses will be yours to keep as a token of trying. A full refund is available for cancellations made within 90 days from day of purchase. Refunds are not available for cancellations made 90 days after.
7. Call To Action
All the objections handled, here’s the crucial part: the Call to Action. This is the part where you finally name the price. Did you notice that most of the sales letters do not reveal the price finally until towards the end of the sales letter where it’s near the order form? So this is where you start naming the price.
As a rule of thumb, most products sold online, the prices normally end with the digit 7. This is especially true in most Western culture or even information products for that matter although you don’t have to necessarily confine yourself to ending your prices with 7. I have products that sell at various price points including $10, $49.95, and more.
Speaking of directing the prospect to take action now, you want to tell him to take action right now before he leaves your web page or else he would forget and may not come back again, because many other websites are shouting for his attention. You want him to do it NOW, not later.
Important: Sell The Dream!
While the prospect is contemplating, you’re going to show him a future with and without your product. What will happen if he buys today, and what happens if he doesn’t? Bonuses make good bait for fast action.
Did you know that the Post Script is the second most viewed part of the sales letter? Surprise, surprise. That’s because people tend to be ‘site scrollers’. They look at the headline first, get curious and scroll down the page real quick, and find themselves reading the fine prints in the P.S.
This might sound counter-intuitive, but I recommend putting in the same effort here as you would for your Headline and Opener.
So what do you share in your P.S.?
- Your offer summed up in 2 or 3 lines.
- Reminder about your Money Back Guarantee and Bonuses.
- Share more testimonials.
Do People Actually Read Every Word?
With lengthy sales copies that can go several pages if printed, you probably cannot help but wonder if people do read every word in your sales letter.
The short answer is: No.
However you need to send a clear message throughout your copy on the offer you are making, in the same way you can pretty much tell what’s in today’s newspaper just by glossing over the headlines and sub headlines.
Having said that, this shouldn’t be an excuse to get lazy when cranking out your copy. Although most people don’t read every single word in your sales letter, there will be some others who are obsessed with the details – probably the ones who are very interested in your product.
How Long Should A Sales Copy Be?
Which one converts better: long copy or short copy?
I have written copies that are relatively short. I have also written copies that if printed, would have spanned anywhere from 12 to even 40 pages long! That’s about the size of a small book.
The answer although subjective it really depends on the context. The approach I use when writing a blog post is much more subtle than the one I use whenever I write a landing page, and I cannot use neither one of those approaches when I’m writing a LinkedIn Profile makeover, where the word count limit is 2000 words. You only need to write as many words as needed, and remove words that don’t contribute to your conversions. Remember, copy should be long enough to cover the subject but short enough to cover the interest!
At the end of the day, it’s not about how many words you write; it’s about how you SELL. Great copy should reflect your brand’s voice.