copywriting-secret

Part 2 – The secret to writing persuasive sales copy

Reading Time: About 5 minutes

 

Well let’s just dive right in and pick up where we left off in part 1 of this post, the secret to writing persuasive sales copy

Last time we ended with the age old proverb…

People buy on emotions and then justify the decision with facts.

And more than 20 years of sales experience has taught me it’s true about most people (Probably everyone, but I try to steer clear from making absolute statements about people. Especially when it comes to personality traits).

So most people buy on emotion and justify the decision with logic. And most marketers understand selling on emotion.

But I still see a shit ton of copy out there that neglects the “logic” part…

 

All the hypey, vague copy might be fine when we’re selling something that only costs a few dollars, because impulse buys don’t need much more than an exciting catch-phrase and a flashy wrapper to make the sale.

But if I want people to hand over more than a few dollars I need to start with a reason why they should.

 

And depending on what we’re selling… Including the logic part in our sales pitch is actually doing our reader a favor, because it helps them justify the purchase. Not only to themselves, but to any friends and family who ask “why did you buy that?”.

Most people want to feel like they made a smart choice. And almost nobody wants to admit they made a foolish purchase. (to themselves, or others).

 

Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact ratio and tell you to make your copy 80% emotion and 20% logic, or 70-30, because it depends on too many factors. Like who your market is and what your selling for starters.

This is where testing, experience, and the “art” of selling comes into play. And it’s different for different markets. All I can tell you is this… copywriting is 70% science and 30% art (or was that 65% science and 35% art?)

 

The best, and easiest way I’ve discovered to infuse buying logic in my copy is with proof elements.

Proof elements still lean on emotion (the emotion of trust) but their real power lies in engaging the logical side of our brain.
In a skeptical world, full of people who have seen and heard all the claims before, proof is the acknowledgement that what you’re saying is true.

 

Testimonials are a proof element.
Testimonials say that other people have trusted you, and were happy with the result. (social proof)
But testimonials are a bit weak these days because most people know they can be bought, faked, or manipulated… But adding a few legitimate testimonials to your copy doesn’t hurt. And it can usually help.

Third party endorsements (from a recognized expert) are also a good form of testimonial.

 

A powerful guarantee is a better proof element.
Because if you’re willing to guarantee your offer, then you must believe in what you’re selling, right?

But we’re not talking about just the standard “30 day, no risk money back guarantee”. Almost everyone offers a guarantee like that, to the point where it’s become a neutral factor in persuasion.

When I say “guarantee” I mean a real guarantee that puts people’s mind at ease. And gives them confidence in buying from you.

 

If everyone else is offering a 30 day money back guarantee, I’ll offer a 1 FULL YEAR guarantee.

Which one do you think instills more confidence in the consumer?

 

If you’re offering any free bonuses (free report, free gift, free whatever) with the purchase of your product, the bonus guarantee can be as simple as…

“Try our product for 90 days and if you decide to return it, keep the bonuses as our free gift”

Or…

“If after 1 year you’re not convinced this service has improved your life, simply let us know and I’ll refund your purchase price AND give you an extra $100 for your honest feedback”.

 

Now I can already hear the naysayers whining… “But Steve, offering a full year is insane. We can’t give people that long to demand their money back. And people will take advantage of me and request a refund just to get the free bonus, or the $100”.

And you’re right… Some people will take advantage of your generous offer.

But historically speaking, that’s always been a small percentage compared to the huge increase in sales from making a “better than average” guarantee.

Rather than dwell on this subject, I’ll just point you to another post I wrote a while ago, specifically about guarantees …

 

How to craft a powerful guarantee in your sales copy… And increase conversions

 

A better proof element is making the advertisement itself valuable.
When the ad is valuable, it’s harder for people to put it down. And it’s easier for them to engage with your offer.

If it’s an info product give them a taste of the info, right there in the ad. (the first chapter of a book has been proven to sell a lot more books)

Or, if you’re selling an exercise program, give people a simple exercise they can try, while your ad is still right there in front of them.

 

Basically, the more proof you can offer about your product, the quicker your readers will start to trust you. When they trust you, their defenses start coming down. And when their defenses come down, your message can become a welcome part of their day.

And when that happens, your sales numbers go up.

 

OK, I can go on for another hour just talking about proof elements, because it’s that important when it comes to writing persuasive copy.

But this is a simple post, not a full length book, so let me wrap this post up with one more (ultimately important) strategy I use when it comes to writing persuasive sales copy…

 

Stay focused on the one big idea

When I first started writing copy I would try to pack as many things as possible into every ad I wrote. I figured since we never really know what causes different people to buy from us, I should just throw everything I had at them, and hope something would stick.

Through trial and error, and studying other great copywriters, I soon discovered the flaw with that way of thinking…
What I was doing with my “chop suey” style of writing was watering down the entire message, and turning it into a bland mix of nothing special.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with weaving multiple benefits into our copy (in fact, I recommend it) but the overall message should revolve around only one (1) main idea.

Sticking with one main idea allows us to focus on presenting our offer as big and important to a specific issue, instead of just a blur of mixed chatter that has no real impact.

 

Quick example: If we’re selling a weigth-loss product to 65 year old men, then our big idea could be the health benefits. We can focus primarily on the reduced risk of diabetes or heart attacks, and having more energy to play with the grandkids.

We can still toss in a blurb about “looking sexier for your partner”, just to lighten the mood, but the main concern for 90% of that demographic is “health”.

 

On the other hand… Sell that same product to 20 year old women and it might be the opposite “Big Idea”.

A better sales pitch for this group could be to talk about “looking sexy” (at the beach, out in public, for their partner, etc.) Then we can also include the health benefits as an extra bonus.

And if our market is a young, health conscious crowd, we could talk a bit more about staying healthy.

 

The point is this… when someone reads our ad it’s because our offer (called out by the Headline and Lede copy) has captured their interest.

It touched on a problem they want fixed, or a benefit they want to have.

And if that’s what interests them, then that’s what we need to stay focused on.

Because it’s not about us and our product… It’s all about our reader and what they want.

 

 

OK, I’m going to end this post here. I’ve got a lot more,  but we all need to get back to work.

I thank you for sharing these past few minutes with me. And my greatest hope is that between this post, and part one of “The secret to writing persuasive sales copy“, you’ve found something you can use in your own copywriting process.

 

Here’s to writing better sales copy, more often.

All the best,
Steven R.

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Posted in Copywriting Fundamentals, Writing Mindset.

2 Comments

    • Hey Doug, glad you liked the article.

      To answer your question…

      I always aspired to the old school copywrirting legends. Masters like Robert Collier, Claude Hopkins, Eugene Schwartz… Just to name a few.

      I could also name a few recent masters that I admire (Gary Halbert and John Carlton are the first 2 that come to mind)

      The old school masters knew their shit, and understood that good copy is about understanding people and connecting our offer to what the market already wants (not just about hyped up words with vague benefits and dubious promises)

      That’s not to say there are no brilliant new copywriters around today, but most of what I try to emulate comes from the timeless classical masters.

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