How to write damn good sales copy in 7 minutes or less.
Writing copy and more specifically sales copy can be daunting, especially for someone that’s new to the word-slinging world of copywriting.
And, while I always think it’s a good idea for brands to hire an actual copywriter to write their copy, many times startups still making a name for themselves can’t yet afford it.
So, to all of you new and audaciously awesome startups, my hope is that you will walk away from this article with a good understanding of how to write sales copy yourself, without having to hire a professional.
If you keep reading, I am going to share with you what I consider to be the most important aspect of writing sales copy. Can you guess what it is?
The lesser-known secret to writing sales copy.
Believe it or not, it's as simple as writing conversationally versus sales-y. I know... I know... it's a bit counterintuitive. Writing good sales copy actually focuses less on selling and more on having an easy casual conversation with a prospective customer.
I can feel your skepticism like daggers through the screen. So, allow me to explain myself further by giving you two examples of "salesmen" you have surely run into at some point during your life.
Salesman #1: The relentless kiosk vendor
You’re walking through the mall when suddenly you lock eyes with a sales representative manning a kiosk. You immediately feel a pang of anxiety well up inside of you realizing you just gave him the signal to approach you, “Would you like to try a shampoo elixir? It will make your hair glisten.”
After a quick glance at the bottle, you politely say no and continue walking. Right when you think you've lost him, he steps in front of you, squirts some of the purple goop in the palm of his hand and says, "Seriously, you should try it. Here's a free sample. You will fall in love with your hair again!"
At this point, you feel yourself getting extremely annoyed and give a firm (borderline rude) No! and then break into an awkward walk-run as you attempt to get as far away as possible from the vendor. While you've finally lost the salesman and his purple shampoo elixir, you still find yourself frustrated with the experience.
Salesman #2: Your best friend
You and your best friend are sitting across from one another at a local coffee shop, enjoying each other's company and catching up. You haven't seen your best friend in a while and she looks great. Her hair looks like it has grown six inches in a few short months and is practically glistening. You ask her, "What have you done with your hair since I've last seen you? It looks great."
Your best friend smiles and says, "I actually have been using this shampoo called "Purple" that I bought online. I absolutely love it –– it smells like fresh lavender and is the prettiest of purple hews. I won't lie, it's definitely more expensive than what I would want to pay. But, I actually feel like it works. You should totally try some. Do you want me to send you a link? Both of us will get like 25% off our next purchase."
You have to hold yourself back from pulling out your wallet and giving all your money to your friend as she makes the offer. That night, you spend a few minutes buying your first bottle of "Purple" and find yourself obsessively checking your mailbox over the next few days, excited about its arrival.
What these two salespeople can teach you about writing sales copy.
Upon reading the last two scenarios, let me ask you this –– which of those two people would you be more likely to buy from? Unless you have a real soft spot for kiosk vendors, 100% of people are going to say their best friend.
But, why? Both the kiosk vendor and your best friend were selling you the same product, so what made the difference between who you bought from?
The answer is simple –– the difference was the conversation you had. While yes, trust certainly had something to do with you buying from your best friend, the conversation was ultimately what dominated your decision to buy from her.
We as people love to buy things but we hate being sold to. That's ridiculously important, so I am going to repeat it one more time for good measure. We as people love to buy things but we hate being sold to.
Many times when writing sales copy, brands make the mistake of writing like the kiosk vendor versus like the best friend –– they try to hard and end up writing something that doesn't feel like a conversation at all. It feels like you're being sold to. Again, nobody likes to be sold to.
Now, I understand this idea is a bit conceptual. So, in the next section, I am going to give you very focused tactics you can utilize to write sales copy that is conversational versus sales-y.
How to write sales copy conversationally.
1. If there is an easier word to use, use it.
Writing sales copy isn't like writing an English paper. Unlike your professor, the customer isn't impressed by fancy words and jargon they can't understand. When writing sales copy, you should use language you would use in a conversation with your friend over coffee.
Would you use the word assist or help? Help.
Would you use the word numerous or many? Many.
Would use the word remainder or rest? Rest.
If you find yourself getting fancy in your copy, pull a thesaurus out and find an easier word to use. People don't buy fancy words and phrases, they buy what they understand. Write your sales copy so that your customers can understand it.
2. Don't ramble on in your sales copy, nobody likes a rambler.
We all know the person that can't shut up. That just talks and talks and talks until everybody's eyes are so glazed over they look they've been tied to a Krispy Kreme conveyor belt. All of us also know the person that says less but everything they say is noteworthy. When writing sales copy you should seek to be the wise introvert versus the shit-spewing rambler.
Believe it or not, it's easier to be a rambler when writing because nobody is around to tell you to shut the hell up. When you're writing sales copy, upon completing it, read it to your friend and watch when his eyes glaze over. When they do, grab your pen and start crossing things out.
3. Don't be afraid to include short punchy sentences in your sales copy.
In boxing, a fighter's greatest weapon is her jab. If she can jab and jab well, she can keep her competitor on her toes and at a safe distance away. While jabs are far less exciting than the big wind-up haymakers, they are many times what ultimately win a fight. They're short. They're punchy. They're quick. And, they stick with the person they land on.
The same can be said for the short punchy sentence. When used correctly in sales copy, it's a very effective way to convey a point quickly to the reader. Read the previous paragraph one more time through and feel the rhythm of the short punchy sentences I included towards the end. How did they feel? Did they focus in on the point I was trying to make? Did they keep you on your toes? That's the power of the short sentence.
4. Bring something to the table for the reader.
Your best friend doesn't take advantage of you. If she did, she wouldn't be your best friend. Think back to the scenario I shared earlier where your best friend offered you a 25% off discount for the purple shampoo. She gave you something.
I believe sales copy should always be written with an offer to the customer. Maybe this offer is a 7-day free trial. Or, perhaps, it's a free consultation. The specific offer does not matter. What matters is whether or not it's valuable and whether or not it is there. Many brands write sales copy without ever offering something of value to the customer.
I once wrote an article that discussed how Chinese restaurants in malls will use this strategy when selling to their customers by offering a free sample. What is your free sample? For me and my copywriting services, it's this article and my newsletter. Create your free sample and bring it to the conversation you have with the customer.
That's all he wrote, for now.
Alright, that's all I've got for today. Not bad for an afternoon writing session, eh? In all seriousness, I thoroughly enjoyed this and hope you did too. And, more importantly, I hope that you find some way to apply the tactics in this article to sell more of whatever you're selling. If there is ever a time you need a word-slinging copywriter to take the reigns, just give me a shout here.
By Cole Schafer.
You gotta check this out -- Sticky Notes is my email list reserved strictly for entrepreneurs and creatives looking to sell like a Florida Snow Cone Vendor on the hottest day of the year.