Copywriting Secrets that Will Massively Increase Your Sales
Copywriting is without doubt one of the most valuable skills you can learn. Discover the secrets of persuasion and conversion.
A Million-Dollar Skill
It’s no accident that top copywriters are some of the most highly-paid professionals in the world. A first-class copywriter can bank more than a brain surgeon, a corporate lawyer or a CEO. And there is a simple reason for that: great copywriting sells products like crazy.
The world of marketing has changed beyond all recognition in the last few decades. Selling through TV, newspapers and magazines has given way to selling online. But while the technology has changed, the science of copywriting has not. The same copywriting skills and techniques that once sold millions of dollars of soap powder on TV are now selling millions of dollars of products online.
As a blogger, you can benefit greatly from improving your copywriting skills. You can make your blog posts more engaging, your emails more compelling and your product sales pages more riveting. That means more visitors, more page views and more sales.
How to Write Great Copy
Writing compelling copy is a skill that can be learned. If you are a reasonable writer now, a little effort invested in improving your skills can turn you into a copywriter who can really persuade, convince and convert.
If you are selling products on your blog, this video gives a fantastic summary of the basics of sales copywriting. The video might seem a little dated, but the information is bang up to date and guaranteed to work:
…and we really get to the punch in part two:
That’s a great formula if you have your own products to sell. Now let’s take a look at how you can improve your copywriting in a more general sense. Most of what follows is relevant for all kinds of writing, from blog posts and emails, to product pages and video sales letters.
#1: Know Your Audience
This is a big mistake that many beginner-level copywriters make. Don’t assume that your readers are the same as you. Do some research and find out exactly who your readers are. Make sure you cover the following questions:
- What do they care about?
- What problems are they facing?
- And what are their fears and frustrations?
- Where are they in life right now?
- What would change their lives for the better?
#2: Determine Your Value Proposition
Once you know who your readers are, you can decide what you have to offer them. How will they benefit from reading this piece of copy? What change do you intend to bring about in their lives?
Is what you have to offer worth the time and trouble of reading your copy? Your readers should be better off in some way after reading your copy, compared to their situation before. Even if you are only offering information, it should be information that has real value.
#3: Find Your Unique Selling Proposition
This applies as much to writing blog posts as to selling products. There is little point in producing another ‘me too’ creation. Try to figure out how what you have to offer is different – and hopefully better – than what is already available.
#4: Establish Your Objective
Every piece of writing should have a clear objective. This could be to:
- Impart information
- Give advice
- Influence opinion
- Cause an action (such as opting in)
- Make a sale
Before you start writing, you must understand exactly what you want to achieve in this piece of copy, and then write in such a way that your objective is clearly achieved.
#5: Write a Great Headline
David Ogilvy, one of the world’s most successful copywriters ever, said:
“On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
You should spend more time working on your headline (or subject line) than on any other part of the copy. However, the job of the headline is not to sell the product, but rather to sell the reader on reading the next sentence.
For example, one of the most successful headlines in advertising history was for a course in improving your English grammar. The same ad ran for many decades in magazines across America, and sold millions of dollars of products. The headline read:
Do You Make These Mistakes in English?
There is no mention of the product, and no attempt to sell anything. But people who read the headline could not resist reading the rest of the ad to see what the mistakes were, and if they were indeed making them.
As a result, readers read all the way through the ad and were sold on the benefits of the product – and it sold like crazy.
#6: Be Simple and Direct
Writers often make the mistake of trying to impress with flowery and extravagant prose. But this is counter-productive. Writing is much more effective when it is simple, concise and to the point. When I was doing freelance copywriting for Apple, they told me to aim for ‘one step up from a conversation in a bar.’ That approach worked very well, and I have followed it ever since.
Cut out ‘weasel words’ such as may, maybe, hope, wish, try, but, could, perhaps and strive. Instead, use positive words like will and can.
#7: Write in the Active Tense
Copywriting is much more powerful if sentences are written in the active tense, rather than the passive tense. Instead of saying:
‘The robber was captured by the police’
…it is better to say…
‘The police captured the robber.’
#8: Provide Solid Proof
It’s easy to make claims, but they don’t mean anything unless you can back them up. Always try to prove your assertions with quotes or statistics from reliable sources – the more reliable the better.
Proof from sources such as news broadcasters or reputable blogs in your niche is fantastic. Testimonials and social proof from users or others associated with the matter are also very helpful.
#9: Learn from Your Competitors
The simplest way to learn what is working in your niche is to check out your competitors. Look at their blog, their sales pages and their ads and analyze:
- What are the headlines on the posts in their ‘Most Popular Posts’ section?
- Which titles are they ranking well for in Google?
- What ads do they keep running consistently?
Of course, you don’t want to copy any of their work word for word. But this kind of competitive research can give you a clearer understanding of which messages get results in your niche.
#10: Test and Improve
As with everything in marketing, testing is the key to success. Don’t be content with the first headline or title you come up with. Keep testing new ideas to see if you can improve performance. The more you test and improve, the more extra money you will make.
Your Most Valuable Skill
It takes time and effort to become a good copywriter, but the investment is definitely worthwhile. The way products and services are marketed is certain to change dramatically in the future. But we can be sure that sound copywriting will still be at the heart of every sales message.
If you take the trouble to master copywriting, you will have a skill that can make you money for decades to come.