The article below is taken from SaaS Mag Issue 3. To order your free copy, click here.
Sales copy matters more than you might think. It’s important to supplement your text with images and video, but words on the page have a powerful impact on what consumers do.
A photograph of a smartphone doesn’t tell you its specs. A video about a running shoe can’t attract search traffic without intriguing copy to go with it. You need the copywriting portion of your sales page to compel action.
Unfortunately, far too many marketers don’t know what sales copy is or why it matters. Worse, they write uninspired copy that turns off consumers and gives their competitors the advantage.
As you’ll learn from this guide, writing sales copy isn’t a one-and-done practice. Your copy needs to change and evolve with your target audience, and the only way to know what works is to test it.
Sure, refining and testing copy takes more time. But if it results in more revenue for your business, you’ll want to do it the right way.
What is Sales Copy?
Sales copy is a text that persuades consumers to buy a product or service. You can write sales copy in paragraph form, create lists, or overlay it on an image.
The best sales copy focuses on how the end consumer can benefit from whatever you’re selling.
In many cases, though, sales copy is too dry for consumption. It puts the reader to sleep. While you don’t need to turn your sales page into the next techno-thriller novel, you should play with language and voice to give visitors a reason to keep reading.
The goal of sales copy is to convince the visitor to buy your product or service. It needs to present what you’re selling in such an attractive light that the consumer can’t say “no.”
Easier said than done.
Where many marketers go wrong with sales copy is allowing the product or service to speak for itself. If the consumer hasn’t worn a pair of your shoes or tried your service, they don’t have a frame of reference.
Consequently, you need to reach them on an emotional, visceral level and tap into their desire for what you’re selling. This means hitting pain points, calling out qualities that beat the competition, and appealing to your target demographic.
How to Write Killer Sales Copy – The Best Tips
Many people mistakenly believe that design alone sells products. That’s not true. Sales copy is essential for helping consumers make educated decisions and for highlighting the top benefits your target audience can enjoy by investing in what you’re selling.
Yes, design matters. However, without sales copy, it won’t produce revenue for your business.
We’ve come up with the best tips for producing eye-catching, persuasive, engaging sales copy, whether you’re selling sneakers or a SaaS product. You can use these strategies to learn how to write copy that sells, wripen existing sales copy or to start over from scratch.
For demonstration purposes, we’ll use a fictitious company that sells HVAC products and services.
1. Choose one focus
Your target audience has one specific pain point, one goal, one desire. They might have secondary pain points, goals, and desires, but you need to focus on one to send the point home.
A prospective HVAC customer whose air conditioning system has begun to fail might have one of many pain points:
- High electricity bills
- Uneven cooling
- Frustration with non environmentally-friendly ACs
- No communication between air conditioner and thermostat
You might mention each of these, but focus on one based on your buyer personas and your customer data collection. That way you are not overwhelming your audience with too much information.
2. Define your goal
Yes, you want to sell something, but do you have a specific sales goal for the page? For instance, do you want to sell one particular product, a product bundle, or a more expensive version of your product? You can use your sales copy to push your audience toward the desired action.
It’s also important to define your goal in terms of conversions.
Before you write your sales copy, test it, and put it in front of lots of consumers, you should get an idea of your baseline conversion rate. Based on historical sales data or an educated guess, what percentage of your visitors currently convert on your sales page?
Knowing where you’re starting from is the only way you’ll know whether the changes you make are improving your desired metrics.
One last thing to keep in mind, especially in an industry like HVAC: Make sure you’re not muddying your goals. For instance, do you want to sell new AC units? Get your visitors to sign up for service maintenance agreements? Every sales page needs a specific, well-defined goal.
3. Identify your target audience
You need to know exactly what your target audience expects from your product or service. If you’re not able to speak to those desires, you’ll wind up with sales copy that never converts.
Picture your ideal customer in your mind when writing sales copy. Think about the following:
- What challenges that person faces
- How he/she overcomes obstacles
- What goals he/she’s trying to reach
- How you can help
Specifically, tie your product’s or service’s benefits directly to those qualities.
Maybe you know that the majority of your customers are scared off by the high cost of replacing their HVAC systems. Describe how they can save money over time with a net gain for their pocketbooks.
If you can present this information with hard data, you’ll convert more prospects.
4. Use compelling words
Boring language will bore your readers right off the page. Think about ways to captivate your audience’s imagination through evocative prose.
Consider these two pieces of sales copy designed to convince a consumer to buy a new AC unit:
- Are you ready to replace your old AC unit? We have a wide range of products to fit your needs, and we offer free in-home consultations with our licensed technicians. Select your new AC unit today and start reaping the benefits of chilled air.
- It’s late afternoon on the hottest day of the summer, and suddenly there’s no air coming through your vents. All the fans in the world won’t keep you from sweating in your home, so you’re scrambling to get someone to fix or replace your AC. Don’t let this happen to you!
The second one paints a picture. It hits a pain point. If the target consumer lives in a Southern state, he or she will immediately connect to the panic they would feel after an AC disaster.
5. Make it readable
Too many marketers write sales copy that’s not only boring, but also inscrutable. Lists of specs that a layperson couldn’t possibly understand, for instance, will never inspire a consumer to convert. The same goes for a thick chunk of text.
Readability comes down to several factors:
- Relatable language
- Lots of negative space
- Bold or larger copy to indicate important points
Selling an air conditioning unit can take a lot of sales copy. Interrupt your words with illustrative visuals, and consider using an infographic-style format to further engage your audience.
6. Tell a story
Using a narrative to focus sales copy can yield amazing results. Tell a story around your focus to help people connect to your product and brand.
It doesn’t have to be a true story. As in the example above, you can paint a picture through an anecdote that describes a potential problem.
You can also use testimonials and case studies to tell stories. Alternatively, tell your brand story and what led you to create your product or service in the first place.
If you run an HVAC company that focuses on green energy, for instance, you might tell a story about carbon emissions and energy consumption that will appeal to other “green”-minded consumers.
However, if you’re targeting an audience that worries about indoor air quality issues, you’d approach your sales copy differently.
You might tell a story about a family who suffers from allergies and asthma and can’t find comfort in their own home.
By targeting information about the unit’s filters, you can tell a story that resonates with your intended audience.
7. Identify a buyer’s main objections and work against them
Someone will always object to buying your product or service. It doesn’t mean you’ve created a bad business. It just means that we, as consumers, are very good at either justifying purchases or finding reasons not to buy something.
If you’re able to identify objections and refute them in your sales copy, your prospects won’t think you’re hiding anything from them. Plus, you’ll get to work around their objections subconsciously.
Price is a major factor when it comes to home improvements like HVAC systems. You could refute that objection by comparing the energy consumption of a unit that’s 10 years old to one manufactured today. That’s a great way to help your prospects see the bigger picture.
8. Highlight the benefits of your offer
Too often, marketers get mired in features. For instance, the features of an AC unit could include the SEER rating, the multi-stage cooling system, the variable-speed operation, and the durable construction.
Consumers care less about those data points than what they mean for themselves as consumers.
For instance, a high SEER rating means that the AC unit uses less energy, which means the consumer pays less for energy. A variable-speed unit allows the air conditioner to adjust based on environmental factors, further saving the consumer money.
When you’re writing copy for sales, interpret the features of your product or service as benefits. In other words, what outcome will the end user get out of it? How will it improve their lives in a tangible way?
9. Create an attractive call to action
At the end of every piece of sales copy should be an attractive and easy-to-spot call to action. Consider using a button so it’s even more eye-catching.
Your call to action on a sales page that explains the benefits of a specific AC unit might look like one of these:
- Spend less on your energy bills starting today
- Discover better comfort at a lower cost
- Schedule a free consultation s
Sales Copy Examples That Will Inspire You
There’s no better teacher than the companies that are killing it with sales copy. These companies understand their audiences and know how to connect.
Take BarkBox, for instance. It demonstrates how much information you can communicate in very few words.
It’s entirely consumer focused. You’ll notice that BarkBox successfully deals with price objections by mentioning that each box costs $22, but is valued at more than $40.
If you visit the website, you’ll also notice a guarantee.
The company promises to send you a replacement product if you request one.
This is a great example of using custom illustrations to engage your audience. Additionally, the company specifically refers to its target audience through dog-based language. It sends the subtle message that BarkBox understands what pet parents want.
You’ll find another spectacular sales copy example at Basecamp.
This company knows its target audience. The unique language, including the welcoming headline, helps urge prospects toward the opportunity to start a free, 30-day trial.
This example also uses custom illustrations on the right side of the page, but the sales copy itself is concise and powerful. It incorporates humor and a deep understanding of the pain points the prospective customer faces.
Plus, it’s very clear with its value proposition. After mentioning a bunch of problems, the company says “Basecamp solves them.”
Now, let’s take a look at a straight e-commerce example of sales copy.
This comes from a farmhouse table sold on Houzz.com.
The description could be made a little bit more readable by breaking up that big paragraph, but it’s otherwise spot-on. It focuses on creating a story around the product, then introduces features disguised as benefits.
In this example, we see lots of details included in the bulleted list, but it’s not overwhelming. This is a great way to boil down lots of information while still allowing the customer to feel informed.
Understand Why Your Sales Copy Isn’t Converting
Maybe you’ve been working hard at snazzing up your sales copy, but you’re not getting anywhere. This is a common problem, but it’s one you can overcome.
In many cases, sales copy doesn’t convert because you haven’t refined it enough for your audience. The people who visit your sales pages aren’t connecting with the copy.
Fortunately, there’s a way to help your audience better understand what your product or service can do for them.
See how your audience interacts with your copy
Data is your most powerful asset when it comes to any aspect of marketing, including writing killer sales copy.
Sign up for a free trial of Crazy Egg and start generating user behavior reports to see exactly how website visitors interact with your sales pages.
You’ll get data specific to your business — not to someone else’s — and you can even A/B test different versions of your sales copy to land on just the right layout, language, and design.
Try different sales copywriting strategies
The only way to know whether your sales copy could be better is to test it. And if you can automate the data collection process, you’ll spend less time on administrative tasks and more time finding creative ways to connect with your audience.
If you’re not sure how to perfect your sales copy, sign up for the Crazy Egg newsletter.
We’re constantly sharing tips and advice on how to get to know your audience better and when to use automation for more effective data collection.
Sales copy isn’t difficult to write, but it doesn’t always work after your first draft.
In fact, it might not spark conversions until you’ve produced five or 10 — or even more — versions of the same page.
That’s okay. While you’re collecting data from your website visitors, you can continuously tweak your copy. You don’t have to take your sales pages offline or drastically alter your web design.
However, you don’t want to neglect the data collection process.
Why? Because everyone makes buying decisions differently.
Your products or services present unique solutions for your target audience, so you need to find the perfect language with which to communicate with them.