14 Tips On How to Write Copy that Sells

Tip 1: Before you write one word of copy make a benefits list. Benefits according to the customer, not according to what you think they are. The question you should ask is what is in it for them? (Them is your customer) And why should they be interested in what you have to say? Ask your current customers this question – What are the best things you get from our product or service?

Don’t assume you know what it is because if you do it can cost you a lot of money. Make this list ongoing so you are adding to it and updating it constantly. Once you compile the list, then reorganize it so you have your most beneficial benefits at the top and your least beneficial benefits at the bottom. Remember – Customer-Oriented Benefits.

Tip 2: Now that you have compiled your benefits list you can start writing headlines. Headlines need to be compelling and grab the reader’s attention. Most successful copywriters and Marketers spend 70 – 80% of their time writing headlines.

Take out your benefits list and focus on the top 3 or 4 benefits. Write 40 to 50 headlines from your top 3-4 benefits. The advantage of writing so many is that you don’t get caught up in trying to make just the “right” headline on your first try. Don’t worry about what you come up with, just focus on writing headlines that are packed with your most beneficial benefits, and have fun with it. Now, you have a nice list of headlines to work with.

Tip 3: Now take your list of headlines and ask your friends, family, associates, and customers which headlines grab them the most.

You can send an email to your current customers and get them involved by saying something like, “I am grateful to have you as a customer and I value your opinion. I would like to ask your opinion on which of the following headlines you like best. Your response will determine how I can better serve you in the future.” The results from this will save you time and money.

You could make it more enticing to your customer by saying something like this “If we decide to use the headline you picked as #1, you will get a discount (or a free gift), on you next purchase.”

Tip 4: From the feedback you get from friends, family, and customers you should have a handful of powerful headlines (5-10). Now you can begin to write your copy. It is so much easier to write copy from good headlines then trying to write copy from the top of your head. It gives you a structure and keeps you focused on the most important thing – Customer-Oriented Benefits.

Tip 5: Put your best headline up front on the front page for everyone to see. Put your headlines in a slightly larger font than your copy. Highlight your headlines in bold.

Tip 6: Write short paragraphs. Your first paragraph should be extra short. That first paragraph should be no more than 2 or 3 sentences at the most. You can increase your sentences as you go, but try not to go beyond 4 sentences in one paragraph.

Try to keep your sentences limited to 20 words. So, no more than 4 sentences per paragraph and no more than 20 words per sentence. If you go beyond this your copy will be too long and difficult to read. If you follow this rule, it makes it easier for you to write because it breaks information down into small manageable chunks. You can use this tip to go back and edit your copy. This will keep your copy tight.

Tip 7: Have a sub-heading every 3 to 5 paragraphs to keep the reader involved. Your sub-headings will be packed with benefits. Remember – you already have a list of 40-50 headlines, which you narrowed down to 10. Use those extra Headlines as sub-headlines.

Tip 8: Always indent your paragraphs. Whether you are writing a newsletter, a webpage, an email, etc… Indenting a paragraph makes reading easier. It gives the reader a place to start reading.

Tip 9: Be specific. When writing your headlines the more specific you can be, the better the headline will be. Tell them precisely how your product will save them money or benefit them. Be careful you don’t want to give too much away, just enough to make them want to read what you wrote.

Tip 10: Be Clear. Make sure that it is easily understood by all that read it. Don’t try to be clever or tricky. Use conversational type language. Use words that everyone can understand.

Make sure you are writing in a style that is the same as your target audience. If you are writing to Business Executives then write in a formal, professional style. If you are writing to Skateboarders, then write in a radical and awesome style.

Tip 11: Be honest. Tell the simple truth. We live in the age of skepticism and when people read things they are full of skepticism. Most people doubt you from the start and the only way you can begin to gain their trust is by being honest. If you are not completely honest, people will resent it once they find out the truth.

Tip 12: Be careful when asking questions in your copy. Why? Asking a question is a powerful way to involve the reader and a good technique. However, when you ask a question you need to think of all the possible answers. If “no” is a possible answer and you want the reader to answer “yes”, then reword the question so the only answer can be “yes.”

If you do ask a question then give the reader options, don’t let them come up with their own. Asking a question that gives the reader an option makes the reader feel in control. In other words don’t ask, “Would you like to buy a new car with no money down?” Although this is compelling, “no” is a possible answer. Instead you would ask, “Would you rather buy a new or used car with no money down?” The reader can not answer this question with a “no” because there are only 2 choices – new or used.

Tip 13: Verbs sell better than adjectives. Adjectives usually end up just being self-puffery and not really saying anything other than look at how beautiful, magnificent, wonderful, fantastic, outrageous, stupendous, superb, great, and excellent my product is. Can you feel how these words can – ironically – have the effect of draining copy?

Don’t get me wrong, an occasional adjective here and there is ok, but too many start to make it sound too good to be true. Use Adjectives to add a little bit of color, but use very little.

Verbs are selling words. Why? Because verbs puts the reader in the present tense and makes reading active, alive, compelling, fresh, and current.

The difference between adjectives and verbs is this…Adjectives talk about you and how “wonderful and amazing” your product is. Verbs talk about what your product “can and will” do for your customer.

Tip 14: Use the word “YOU” in your copy. The word “you” involves the reader. If it’s used correctly it places the reader in the present position of using or benefiting from your product. Couple the word “you” with a verb and “You will be selling your product.”