The Sales Pitch
For most university graduates, their writing experience has revolved primarily around structured report writing, analytical essays and potentially creative (narrative) writing. Very few people know how to write copy, nor do they realise that writing copy is fundamentally a written sales pitch that adheres to a rather rigid structure.
Writing in the language of Sales doesn’t come naturally to people, fortunately I’ve worked in various sales roles for over 10 years. I found it relatively easy to transition my verbal sales pitches to written form, so I thought it a great idea to write a little article on how to write copy.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is ‘sell benefits, not features’ – this means that rather than selling a phone that you know features a 21-megapixel camera, you sell a phone that can take great photos to preserve the memories of their children. Consumers have very little emotional attachment to a feature, but they do have an emotional connection to their children, which they now know that phone can capture in high quality, meaning they have an emotional connection to that product.
When you sell something, you are persuading someone to buy something from you. The leverage you have over the consumer is their own emotions they have subconsciously developed around wanting/needing the product/service they are looking for.
Do they need it? Do they want it? Are they reluctantly spending the money on this, or are they genuinely excited about the product? These questions need to be answered by you prior to writing your copy, and relevant to your position and customer demographic.
Implicit, Not Explicit
You may recall advertisements of yore that marketed a product as a miracle cure-all, or making some other sort of outrageous claim about the product’s effectiveness or intrinsic health benefits (think cigarettes in the early 20th century). There are now laws and best-practice guidelines that exist about representing your product factually; and while you could make unsubstantiated claims over the internet, that doesn’t mean you should.
What you should do when learning how to write copy is be implicit, rather than explicit, when writing a glowing copy around your product. This effectively means that you should imply your product is the best, without explicitly saying it is. For example: “Product X Is One Of The Finest Products Around” rather than “Product Is The Best Product.”
Of course, this adds a significant amount of length to your copy, and humans are inherently lazy, so limit your paragraphs to 2 sentences, and keep your language punchy and use a direct, authoritative tone.
Ask For The Sale
By the end of your ad copy, if people have actually got that far; you have a captive audience. You are in the unique position of being able to tell the reader exactly what they have to do next to satisfy the needs/wants that you have qualified in the copy. This is a written extension of the basic sales step of ‘asking for the sale’ you must direct the reader to what they must do next, a call-to-action or CTA.
This is a difficult concept for those not familiar with sales, particularly those of us who are natural introverts, as it can be interpreted by those learning how to write copy as pushy. What you need to realise is that you must have the last word to make a sale, direct the person to do something, be it make a phone call for a quote, or buy a product now.
Consider that if you leave your reader hanging, they may very well walk away and find something else to buy on another website. Never assume that every person reading your website is guaranteed to convert, and even less are inclined to convert if you don’t tell them to do it in the first place.
A good CTA must instil urgency and provide the user the means to take action immediately. Knowing that your reader wants to be pointed in the right direction and is already somewhat interested in your business, add a phone number or email address in the same sentence to aid them in their quest, as the presence of a contact page simply isn’t enough today.
A Balanced Diet
Even with your now solid sales pitch, you must still take into consideration that a human isn’t going to be the first entity reading your copy. Google’s crawling robots will parse the HTML markup on your page and read it, ensuring your page satisfies a combination of conditions.
The number one deciding factor for the majority of Google’s conditions for paid and organic search results is relevance. Ask yourself, is the content you’ve written relevant to the page it’s on? A website that focuses on house paint with an article about motor oil may not rank nearly as well as a motoring website with the same article.
Repetition is another key point to take away, you must pick a search phrase relevant to what you believe your audience will search for. If you run an AdWords campaign this can be fairly simple because you can pick search terms from there; but if you don’t you have to do a little guess work and use Keyword Planner if required. This phrase you pick must be repeated a number of times in the copy, heading tags and link text; and is best to be as concise as possible.
Finally, integrate your search phrase in a legible and non-jarring manner, this takes some practice and is the culprit for many re-writes of my own copy if it didn’t read right. Keep your repetition low enough, as high keyword density can negatively affect your scores and may be flagged as spam if Google interprets it as ‘spun text’.
Knowing how to write copy isn’t the easiest thing to write for most people, which is why the Digital Marketing Team at MyWork offer generous 12-month, 6-month and 3-month digital marketing packages to do the hard work for you and to help you rank well on Google. If you’re interested in learning more about this, contact our friendly team on 1300 809 424 or [email protected] today!
(see what I did there?)