When I first learned copywriting, I was terrified to apply the lessons to my copy. My first website was about careers (it’s still there) and my clients were professionals with advanced degrees. So I figured, “These folks are serious! They won’t tolerate lively copy. They’ll see through sales pitches.I’d better tread softly.”
As it happened, in my first copywriting class, we were assigned to rewrite a sales letter using what we had learned. I tried it out on my Report, 21-Day Extreme Career Makeover, (which has now been revised many times and appears on Amazon as a kindle book). This Report originally was called something exciting like, “9 Steps to a New Career,” so you can see I’d come a long way.
I applied the tactics from the copywriting class. I was sure they’d all leave my list and hate me.
But that didn’t happen. In fact, that’s when I discovered that serious clients want to be sold. After all, when you think about it, most clients are serious. They’re in pain. They hire services only when they experience a “last straw” moment.
And that’s not all (another common copywriting phrase, right?).
My clients expected me to apply these tactics.
When I didn’t, they were waiting for the other shoe to drop. They figured out that I was in business to sell … so why wasn’t this happening?
This reaction isn’t unusual. One of my first clients was dismayed when he saw the copy for his website. He was sure he’d come across as sales-y and pushy.
I suggested he show the new website to some clients. To his surprise, they were very positive. “You sound so friendly,” they said.
Here are five components your prospects and clients expect to see:
(1) A strong headline that grabs attention and communicates, “I know where you’re coming from.”
(2) Beefy bullets — short phrases — that connect features and benefits: “Follow-up calls (feature) so you won’t be left on your own to figure things out (benefit).”
These days your readers expect concrete phrases that paint word pictures, so you can go beyond the old promises to “take it to the next level.”
(3) A clear call to action. Serious prospects know you’re not setting up these pages for fun. Otherwise you’d be at Disney World. They know you’re selling. Even if they aren’t buying, they expect to see “Special Offer” or “We take credit cards.”
(4) Realistic path to a positive outcome. Sure, you’re going to keep it real. You won’t promise overnight wealth or magical relationships. You won’t tell a Cinderella story, which depends on a fairy godmother to get the results they want. (I go into this in detail in my new book, Grow Your Business One Story At A Time.)
But if you honestly help clients get closer to their dream, they expect you to tell them.
(5) Conversational style.
Even if your target market reads textbooks for breakfast and research journals for lunch, they want a sales letter to be friendly. They want someone to recognize them as an old friend. That’s why a lot of copywriting phrases seem simple: that’s how real people connect.
And that’s why more and more solo-preneurs, independent professionals and small businesses feature stories on their website.
By the way, does this list sounds like a set of unpleasant chores? Are you too busy working with clients to develop marketing content? Or do you have a draft but feel you could make it more persuasive … if you just had more time?
I can help! My most popular offer is the Story Consultation. It’s designed to free up time for you to work directly with clients, get offers out faster, and earn more revenue in a shorter time period. Some clients earn back the fees with just a couple of consultations or product sales — and they have more space to do the power marketing: make calls, network and even renew their creativity with time off. When you decide on done-for-you copy — with me doing the work — you deduct your consultation from the copywriting fees. A win-win for all.