Welcome to the twelfth module in the ‘Journey Into Internet Marketing’ tutorial series. This unit will concentrate on sales copy and the importance of it.
If you have not done so, it is recommended you read over Part 11 – Resell Rights Products first.
There is probably no single element of the online marketing and sales process that is undeniably more important than anything else. However, there are certain things that are pivotal, factors which dictate how successful your business will be. Sales copy is undoubtedly one of these factors.
In very simple terms, the term sales copy describes the words on your sales page that either sell the product you are promoting or don’t. For example, when you check out any Clickbank product, the words on the sales page are called the ‘sales copy’ or just ‘copy’.
The effectiveness of your sales copy ultimately dictates how many sales you will make. In the same way that an advertisement in a magazine or on TV will either convince you to buy or not, sales copy serves exactly the same purpose for online marketers. For advertising copy in the ‘real’ world of High Street and midtown businesses, read ‘sales copy’ for Internet-based marketing.
If you have no previous experience writing sales copy, the first thing to understand is that whilst putting the words down on a page is very easy, writing effective copy that sells is considerably more difficult.
The fact that the top copywriters in the business can charge five figure sums for one sales page is all the evidence you need of this.
However, if you can master copywriting, you acquire a skill that has a double benefit. The first benefit is that you can write your own sales copy knowing that it will sell. This means that the sales page costs you nothing other than your time.
The second benefit is that you have a skill which you can sell to others. Although you cannot realistically expect to charge a five figure sum straight away, you can charge several hundred dollars per sales page even though you are still learning to be a copywriter.
Of all the online marketing skills you can learn, copywriting is arguably one of the most valuable if only because creating your own copy saves hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every time.
To begin with, I’ll analyze some the most important factors to remember when writing copy in general terms, before looking at specific examples that have been mentioned previously in this tutorial course.
As suggested, top copywriters get paid top dollar and there are dozens of training courses out there that will teach you everything you need to know about writing sales copy.
This is therefore not going to be a comprehensive training course.
Instead, I want to highlight some of the most important factors to remember when writing sales copy and point you in the direction of where you can learn more.
The first thing to realize about selling online is that it is not fundamentally different to selling a product in the off-line business world. The fact is that the skills needed to persuade a customer to buy brand ‘A’ instead of brand ‘B’ when they are in the local shopping mall are exactly the same ones you need to apply to copy on your sales page.
And here’s the thing to understand.
Buying decisions are not made based on logic or on practical reasons. Instead, buying decisions are driven by emotions after which logic is used to justify the purchase.
Hence, when you write sales copy, you must focus on ‘connecting’ with your prospect on an emotional level by understanding what they want from your product. Every prospect who reads your copy is interested in how your product can do one of two things for them. Either it should make them happier, making life more enjoyable, or it should reduce or get rid of their pain.
This is what they want, ‘more pleasure’ or ‘less pain’, with the second being far more powerful than the first.
Okay, so now you know this, try to apply this thinking to the product or service you are promoting. Which of these two emotional ‘drivers’ does your product connect with and how can you put this message over to your prospect?
Next, because you need to communicate with your prospects on an emotional level if you are to land the sale, it pays to use emotive language in your sales copy whenever possible.
As an example, existing customers did not ‘like’ your product, they ‘adored’ it. They did not think that the positive changes your product made to their life were ‘interesting’, they were ‘astonishing’. Your product does not ‘teach’ them to do ABC, it enables them to ‘discover the secret’ of doing it.
This is only a very small snapshot of how to use emotive language but it gives you the idea. Search Google and you will find many sites that list emotive words and phrases like these. Use them whenever you can.
Talk to your prospects in a language that they understand. In groups of people who have a common interest, there is commonly a ‘lingua franca’, a slang or patois that everyone understands and uses.
Find the popular forum sites in your niche (Google ‘forums + topic’), follow what is going on and get involved. In this way, you uncover the best way of communicating with your prospects in a manner that ‘connects’.
Remember that in this day and age, people have increasingly shortened attention spans whilst they are also addicted to instant entertainment. Consequently, your sales copy has to be punchy and to the point. It must sizzle and sparkle, never losing the attention of your prospect.
To this end, write to gain and retain attention. Use short phrases. Throw in ‘curve-balls’, add asides and do everything you possibly can to entertain your prospect.
The secret is, don’t lose control of their attention for a minute. As soon as you do so, they are gone forever…
So, when you need to create a sales page of some description, write your copy and then put it to one side for a day or two. After that, go back and read it as if it had been written by someone else.
As you read through, question every single word and phrase you have included in the copy. Are they necessary, and more importantly, what do they add to the overall effect of the page? Do they grab and retain your attention?
If not, you can be fairly confident that your prospects will feel exactly the same way. Leave the bits that work and rewrite the parts that don’t. In this way, you will learn to write effective, profitable sales copy.
At the same time, it is important that you never stop learning.
When we were looking at using review sites earlier in this tutorial series, I highlighted that one option is to create a single review page. When you do so, the copywriting skills highlighted in this tutorial are all highly relevant.
Most commonly, the easiest single product review option is to create a story blog. To remind you, the basic story outline in this scenario will be something along the lines of ‘I had a problem, I couldn’t shift it, everything I tried failed. Then I tried XYZ and everything changed’.
This is a classic example of the ‘solving the pain’ approach to marketing, and as suggested, helping people to get rid of pain is far more powerful than enhancing their happiness.
Remember also that using emotive language makes it far easier for your prospect to see themselves in the same position.
For instance, if you are promoting a teeth whitening product, your ideal prospect is someone who is conscious and probably ashamed of their yellow teeth. Thus, your story starts like this:
‘Back in the bad old days, I hated my rotten yellow teeth. I was ashamed to open my mouth in the mirror in the morning because I knew what horrors lurked inside…’
Words like ‘hated’ and ‘rotten’ are far more emotively powerful than ‘disliked’ and ‘pretty poor’. A start like this will have anyone who is currently ashamed of the state of their teeth thinking ‘yeah, I hear you. I know where you’re coming from…’.
Within the first two or three lines, you have connected with your prospect by creating two-way empathy.
You continue the story by stressing how strangers constantly mocked the state of your teeth whilst even friends were over-protective and faux-complimentary. Heck, it got to the stage where you were scared of opening your mouth in public, so it became easier not to be seen in public.
And so on and so forth.
You can see that telling a story in this way can be extremely effective for creating the necessary emotional connection between your sales copy and what the prospect wants from a product like yours.
Back this up with images that prove the accuracy of what you are saying or the effectiveness of the product:
And a single product ‘story’ review of this nature is an immensely powerful way of selling.
Like all the best novels and movies, the story used in a single product review develops step-by-step, gradually building to a crescendo.
You don’t have the time or space to do this when publishing several product reviews on the same page. It is therefore necessary to adopt a completely different approach if your review page compares several products.
In this case, the information that you provide on the page should still be benefit based (‘pleasure’ or ‘pain’) but the presentation of the information should be more factual and logical.
Without the time to slowly develop the story, explain the benefits and then explain why they happen as directly as you can. Furthermore, because the purpose of your page is to compare several products against one another, remember to do this in terms of benefits and downsides too. The ‘benefit price’ will also come into it.
For example, imagine that you are comparing weight loss product ‘A’ against weight loss product ‘B’. In this case, you might highlight that whilst ‘A’ is the product to choose if you want to get to a normal weight quickly (hidden subtext – your current weight is not normal – i.e. you’ve got pain), it will cost $20 a month more. Product ‘B’ is slower and gentler but using it ‘will see you as a beautiful size 10 by the summer (‘pleasure’ approach) and at far less cost’.
By definition, you have to get to the point more quickly when using multiple reviews. Nevertheless, don’t forget that it is emotion that sells.
The copy on your sales page sells your product or service. Similarly, the copy on your squeeze page must sell the idea of subscribing to your list.
The most common way of trying to convince someone to subscribe to your list is to give them some form of free gift of sufficient value to ‘bribe’ them to do so. This could be a free report, an e-book, access to a video or whatever, as long as getting this free gift appears to justify to your prospect giving up their e-mail information.
Hence, the sales copy on your squeeze page must be designed to ‘sell’ the value of your free gift. On the other hand, the copy on your squeeze page should have no reference to your main product. The idea is that your squeeze page copy sells the idea of subscribing to your list, whilst it is the free gift that you give away which sells your product.
When you create a squeeze page, you can either adopt the plain and simple approach with black text on a white background (as featured in tutorial 10) or you might go for the high impact visual approach as seen at the top of this squeeze page:
Note however that in both cases, the emphasis is on the value provided by the free gifts on offer.
Furthermore, in the example highlighted in the previous screenshot, the fact that the gift is only available for a limited period is also emphasized in an attempt to force the page viewer to take action now.
Of course, the graphics make a powerful and immediate impression, but they do not sell the offer. This is left to the copy further down the page:
From this example, you can see that part of the effect of squeeze page copy is derived from brevity. All you need to do on the squeeze page is highlight the major benefits to be gained from the gift on offer and leave it at that.
Remember, this squeeze page copy sells the free gift, whereas the free gift sells the reason why the recipient should buy your product.
As highlighted in a previous tutorial, building a mailing list for e-mail marketing purposes is a crucial element of building a successful online business. Automating mailing list building is essential, which is why you need to use an autoresponder to run this aspect of your business.
This autoresponder needs to be preloaded with a series of outgoing messages that will be sent to your subscribers at regular intervals. When creating these outgoing messages, there is again a degree of copywriting skill involved.
The biggest mistake that most online marketers make when creating an autoresponder message series is to push the sales element too hard, too soon. Whilst most subscribers will expect you to try to sell to them, there is a right and wrong way of doing this.
Get it right and your subscribers will buy from you, whereas if you get it wrong, they will stop opening your messages very quickly.
The first thing to understand is that the majority of your outgoing messages should be written in a friendly, conversational style. If on the other hand your first two or three messages are blatant sales pitches, you have lost the attention of your subscriber already.
They are subscribed to your list because they want information. This is therefore what you give them in a relaxed, conversational manner.
In the very first message that you send to them, tell them what they can expect from you. Highlight that you understand that they want information about your market that they can use and that this is what they will get from you. At the same time however, also mention that when outstanding products that offer truly exceptional value come along, you will also bring these to their attention. By doing this, you prepare them for the e-mails that are ‘selling’.
When I send information-rich messages, I include a two or three line text ad at the very top of the page for a particularly favored product. I would send perhaps 4 or 5 information packed messages for every mail that is a genuine ‘pitch’, although there should not be any regular pattern as this looks too false and contrived.
And of course, when you send out the occasional e-mail that does focus on promoting a product, this is when you need to apply the copywriting skills that you have acquired in this tutorial.
Having the ability to write effective sales copy that generates sales and makes money is one of the most important skills that any online marketer can acquire.
It is a skill that enables you to save money any time you need sales copy for a promotion you are running. It also provides you with a skill that you can sell to other online marketers who cannot write sales copy as well as you can.
It is now recommended you proceed on to Part 13 – Tracking And Testing.