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 used these lessons to write a sales letter for an ebook, 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.
My sales letter sounded, well, sales-y.
I was sure all my followers would 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 sell. Yours do too.
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?
When you hire a copywriter, you might have the same reaction.
In fact, one of my first clients expressed dismay when he first saw the copy for his website home page. He was sure he’d come across as sales-y and pushy.
But he showed the draft to his current clients. To his surprise, they were very positive. “You sound so friendly,” they said.
So what do your prospects and clients expect to see on a sales letter, website or promotion?
(1) A strong headline that grabs attention and makes a promise.
For example: “Get more sales from your blog posts by telling stories.”
The promise won’t seem sales-y if it’s accurate, believable and (most important) directed to a problem the reader is eager to solve.
(2) Beefy bullets — short phrases — that connect features and benefits.
“Recordings of the calls so you won’t have to take notes.”
“You’ll get step-by-step instructions so you won’t waste time trying to figure out what to do next.”
Here you’re explaining what you deliver (benefits) and how you deliver (features). You’re telling your readers exactly what they can expect, realistically. You reassure them that you’re not just making idle promises.
(4) A 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.
But if you honestly help clients get closer to their dream, they expect you to tell them.
(4) 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.
So they expect to see phrases like, “Special Offer” or, “We take credit cards.”
(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 businesses feature stories on their website.
Your prospects don’t read your sales letter the same way you do.
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.