by Tom McSherry
As a professional online copywriter, I’ve become a critic of sales pages. Any time I come across a sales letter online, I pay attention to what’s done well and where the writer has gone wrong. It’s amazing the number of basic mistakes many marketers exhibit on their sales pages which mean they lose out on sales. Applying a few basic copywriting principles to all your online sales material helps guarantee you squeeze out the best possible conversion rate.
“What’s In It For Me?”
Your reader doesn’t care how great you and your product are. At least, she only cares insofar as the greatness of your product can help her solve specific problems in her life.
In other words, don’t talk about yourself – talk about your prospects interests, hopes, wants, fears and dreams. Copywriting is a business that comes down to your ability to make the reader feel emotion.
Copy that is too self-centered is a dead giveaway of an uninitiated copywriter. Take a look at your copy and check to see if it brags too much about your company or product. If it does, take each of those bragging points and ask yourself how it directly relates to a want or need of your target market, and rephrase it from that perspective.
Speak Your Target Market’s Language
Every target market has its own language. You can’t address computer enthusiasts in the same way you’d address bodybuilders – it’s just not going to work. Generally speaking, your copy should be as free of jargon as possible. This can be a problem if you’ve been in your industry for a long time and you’re used to using technical language – although it might be second nature to you, that doesn’t mean your potential customer is going to understand and relate to technical copy.
This point relates heavily to buzz words. Many amateur copywriters use generic buzz words in the hope of inspiring emotion in readers. There are some useful generic buzz words, but you’ll find the best effects are created when your impact words are specifically chosen for the target audience. This means you need a deep and clear understanding of what motivates the potential customer you’re addressing.
Most Internet marketers learn early on that sales copy should focus on benefits, rather than features. This is often summed up by the reminder that customers want “quarter inch holes, not quarter inch drills.” In other words, the sale is made based on the end benefit of the product to the consumer, rather than the features of the product.
The problem is, many marketers don’t go deep enough when they look at the benefits each of their product’s features provide. In order to strike an emotional chord with the reader you must understand what motivates him or her at a gut level. A commonly recommend technique for achieving this level of depth is the, “So what?” In other words, look at each of your benefits and ask “So what?” from the perspective of the consumer. Rinse and repeat until you reach core level benefits that can’t be broken down any further.
Tom McSherry is a professional online copywriter and the founder of Premium Online Writing. As a writer he’s dedicated to ensuring a top quality standard of copy for his clients to increase their revenues and raise the level of value they offer to the web.