10 Tips for Writing Good Sales Copy
Writing an ad? The tips below -- and the important warning that
follows -- will help you to get the very best response.
- Start by choosing a single benefit of your product or service
that you wish to highlight above everything else. This is
your "principle selling position". To choose this, ask
yourself what specific benefit makes your product or service
different, better, or special. Is it the price?, the
convenience? the reliability? How are you different from
- Write attention-grabbing headlines. This is very important.
People are overloaded with information, so they skim read --
particularly on the Internet. If your headline doesn't get
their attention everything else may go unread. Your headline
will often highlight your principle selling position.
- Write a list of all the features of your product or service
then translate each of these into a benefit for the customer.
One way to do this is to look at each feature in turn then
ask yourself "So what?" Imagine you're a customer; why should
you care about this feature? Ask yourself, "What will it do
For example, don't just say that you product is fast (a
feature) tell the customer that it will give them more free
time (a benefit). Better still, paint a picture of them
using their free time to go to the beach, read a book, or
- Write copy that emphasises the benefits in a way that makes
an emotional connection. For example, let's say you're
selling toothpaste. A feature might be that it contains
fluoride. Sure, but that's boring. Rather, say it "Lessens
Tooth Decay!" or even better: "Brush with Boffo and Avoid
the Dentist's Drill!" See? You've turned a dull feature
into a strong emotional benefit linked to people's fear of
dental procedures. Isn't that more effective than "Contains
- Start with your strongest selling points. The first few
paragraphs are particularly important. Use them to create a
desire for your product or service by briefly touching on
the major benefits it will bring the customer. You don't
have to go into too much detail up front as you can expand
on these benefits later. Do try to get your big guns in
- Testimonials sell. Good, believable testimonials from real
people will help sales, particularly on the web where
establishing credibility is a tough job. For even better
credibility, ask your testimonial writers if you can
include their contact details along with their testimonial.
- Write with a natural style. Don't try to be pretentious or
over friendly. Just write it the way you'd say it.
- Decide who you're writing for and why. What tone are you
trying to convey: light hearted or serious? What level of
jargon are you going to employ? Suit your language to your
- The final sales pitch can be strengthened with some or all of
the following techniques:
- A good deal; e.g. "20% off".
- Urgency; e.g. "This week only".
- Risk free; e.g. "Comes with a money-back guarantee!"
- End by telling the reader what to do; e.g. "Ring now" or
"Click here to order now for immediate delivery". Needless
to say, ordering details must be clearly visible and simple
Looking at these tips, it may seem that good advertising
involves manipulating the emotions of your customers. Yes, it
does. Selling is a blatant form of emotional manipulation that
involves convincing your customer that they want to buy your
product or service, and they want to do it now.
Is this unethical? Well, it can be. It depends where you draw the
line. In point 9 I said that your sales message could include a
sense of urgency. A common ploy on the web is to include a claim
like "Offer closes this Saturday". If you go back to the site the
following week, though, the offer is still available. If you were
tricked by such a claim, would you order from that company again?
So, by all means, use the tips above to write as persuasively as
you can, but remember that if you attract sales by deceiving your
customers you risk legal action, poor word of mouth, no repeat
business and refund requests.
So, be as persuasive as you can possibly be, but avoid the
temptation to be "too" persuasive.
Written by Tim North. You'll find over 200 tips like this in Tim North's much applauded
e-book BETTER WRITING SKILLS. It's just $19.95 and comes with a
90-day, money-back guarantee. Download a sample chapter here.