Have you ever wanted to write more effective sales copy?
If you have ever wished you could convert more of your Web site visitors into actual sales, then let's examine some superior ways to accomplish just exactly how it's done. Let's talk about working with smarter Web copy that can make a difference.
In a minute I want to come back to give you some examples, but let's talk about that word "dialogue."
We know that the term "dialogue" is really more correctly thought of as the dictionary describes:
"A conversation spoken between two or more people." If you look up synonyms for the word "dialogue" as a noun, you'll find a lot of terms that focus on "vocal expression" or "utterance" or "verbalization" in some aspect. So why do I use the term "dialogue" in terms of writing Web copy?
It's the best term I can think of to describe what I like to think of as the "flow of conversation" or nearly like writing your copy as though it was meant to be read "out loud" by voice. When I say "write for voice" I'm referring to how something is written for the radio or TV or other live media. The most prominent aspect of this, is that it makes you feel that the message is deliver just for you. It's nearly like you were hearing it from a friend or someone you personally know. Probably one of the best examples, would be from the professional broadcaster who has been trained to not only speak wonderful dialogue, but they are able to nearly project their personality right toward you through the radio, TV or whatever into your home.
Okay let's talk then about your writing style and start with a very simple example from our opening line to this article. Did you notice the very first line of this article? It was a question which asked you: "Have you ever wanted to be able to write more effective sales copy?" Questions always grab a readers attention, don't they.
The next paragraph that followed the opening line was to get you immediately reading.
On with a few tips and analysis:
Try reading this again now...right out loud:
"If you have ever wished you could convert more of your Web site visitors into actual sales, then let's examine some superior ways to accomplish exactly how it's done. Let's talk about working with smarter Web copy that really makes a difference."
Did you notice how it flows? Did you notice how it gets you reading right away? This is what is referred to as an If/Then type of statement which makes an ideal way to start your visitor reading your content.
The way it is constructed, is to start by writing: If followed by Then.
Example of If/Then:
If....(write to identify a specific challenge) followed by Then...(write to introduce the solution). Next, consider some of the other components are simply some descriptive adjectives to accent the value of the statement.
For example consider some of these words:
"If you have ever wished you could convert more of your Web site visitors into actual sales, then let's examine some superior ways to accomplish just exactly how it's done. Let's talk about working with smarter Web copy that really makes a difference."
Other great compelling phrases can be used to help your readers "visualize the benefits" of whatever product or whatever service you may be describing.
Consider trying one of these type of statements :
Now just suppose...
Can you just imagine the...
Did you ever imagine...
Example: (With adjectives)
"Now just imagine the puzzled look on your unhappy competitors face, when they notice your extraordinary new top rankings."
A statement like this paints quite a picture in your mind creatively with words, does it not? Let's explore another way you might write in order to "describe an action" in such a way, that your dialogue may cause the reader to really visualize possessing a product ahead of time, even before they order it. It's just dialogue, but if it paints a picture in your mind, it can be powerful.
In just seconds, you'll download your new book, but be sure to flip directly to page 52 where you'll immediately discover the top 100 best selling markets for this year.
What you are really doing here, is painting a picture in the reader's mind. There is a lot more to writing sales copy than just these few mechanics, but one of the best ways to refine your skills, is to study the work of an accomplished writer. By studying well crafted pages, you can build your own writing style and begin to do more of what is right and less of what is wrong.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for writing sales copy.
1. Write your copy as though you were writing to a close personal friend. Your focus is on the "delivery" of your message so that it is absorbed by the reader in an easy to read conversational style. Our dialogue often is quite different when we are speaking to a friend whether we realize it or not.
2. Try starting your page with a compelling headline that captures the visitors attention.
3. Make your dialogue flow so that it reads very naturally if you read it aloud. Try reading your work out loud or even record yourself reading your work out loud. Then play the recording back and just listen to the flow of delivery. This is an age old method that most professional broadcasters use to build their voice, but your focus in on how your writing sounds and how it flows. If it flows smoothly in a nice conversational style when you read it out loud, you can be sure it will read that way too.
4. Add in some descriptive text to help paint a vivid picture of the "benefits" in the mind of the reader. Remember that you need to accent your dialogue. Your objective is to heighten the descriptive narrative in order to flesh out the scope of the benefits so that your Web visitors can nearly visualize those benefits in their mind, just by reading them.
5. Don't forget that a sales letter must have a solid call to action. Your dialogue nearly needs to guide the reader in exactly what you would like to do on a page. Don't assume they'll know what to do, but let your dialogue guide them into a true call to action.
For example suppose you want someone to call your toll free number. (Describe step by step exactly what you want them to do.) Although it sounds crazy, this type of dialogue actually works quite well.
We've made telephone ordering so very simple. Okay, are you ready? Stop. Just walk right over to the telephone right now. Pick it up and call me personally at our Toll Free Number 1-800-XXX-XXXX.
6. Consider how you might occasionally apply a reverse approach in your dialogue. For example in stead of just talking about benefits to be gained by using a product or service, you can also describe "the results" or "negative impact" from not using a product or service. So long as your information is accurate this can also stimulate the reader's thinking too.
7. Write for the specific target audience you are aiming to attract. Use metaphors or examples that are relative to your particular audience. You can write in a way that anyone can understand or you can write just for a specific audience using terms meaningful to them in their industry or background. For example how you write for a Web site which is written for lawyers will be quite different than one that is selling baby shower gifts. Baby gifts may be targeting grandmothers, so there is a style of delivery that is just write for them. In the same way there is a way to write for Lawyers. Who is your Web site attracting? Is it written for Pilots or REALTORS or Marketers or Children or any other market. Write for the ideal audience you are aiming to attract.
In Conclusion: Practice makes perfect - focus on building and maintaining wonderful customer relationships.
Like every other aspect of search engine marketing, the more you practice the better the skills that you will build. We encourage our workshop students to test all of their ideas and make sure you take notes of your progress. If a specific style or method seems more effective to you or when you notice big responses to little changes, then benchmark your progress. Communicate more and more in a smooth flowing style that is right for your particular category of Web visitors. Regardless of whether your objective is to write more compelling content for sales, or whether you are creating valuable informational content that is useful to your readers, make your work something that you feel proud of. Something that stands on its very own merit. Never forget the component of treating your readers to your very best efforts in communication. Ultimately, you're building resources that stand the test of time and enjoy a maximum success rate because they contribute to your readers "understanding." The Internet is simply a powerful tool which can be used most effectively for doing business. But the same old rules apply for any reputable business whether online or off. Focus on delivering genuine value and maintaining wonderful relationships with your customers.
Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.
April 12, 2005
John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops with partner Robin Nobles as well as online search engine marketing courses through Online Web Training. John is author of Wordtracker Magic and co-author of the Totally Non-Technical Guide for A Successful Web Site. John and Robin are also official members of the Q&A customer support team at www.Wordtracker.com.
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