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October 27, 2016
Content Marketing  |  7 min read

11 Steps for Writing Copy That Really Sells

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Matt Brennan

Writing copy is an investment in time. But when you learn how to produce the type of content that sells, you can truly improve your business.

You have to learn how to value your content and understand its significance when it comes to engaging your readers and creating new business.

This is what writing copy that sells looks like…

Know your benefits—Writing copy that sells means understanding its value. What are the ways you are making your customers’ lives better? What does your product or service do that your competition does not?

Your website copy is kind of like those persuasive essays you used to have to write in school. You’re convincing someone that they need to take action. The best way to do that is hit them with the strongest benefit (also your strongest argument) right away.

Understanding the difference between features and benefits is crucial. Listing features is what you do when you talk shop with other industry geeks. It’s the computer processor components or the parts of a car engine.

You want to focus your energy not on the V8 engine but instead on how your buyer will feel cruising down the highway at 70 miles per hour with the top down.

Write conversationally—Your reader has options. Your content is not the only thing that popped up in the search results. In order to convince them to pull the trigger, they have to like you. It always helps to make them feel like they are doing business with a friend.

How do you accomplish this? Write how you talk. Picture your customer or client sitting across from you at a coffee shop. Write to this person, in this moment.

You can be professional and informal at the same time. Mash your words together and create contractions. They keep your writing less stuffy. Ask questions in your copy and encourage your readers to respond in the comments.

You can also get personal where it’s appropriate. For example, the back cover of my book openly states that I’m a sucker for Cubs baseball. I’ve mentioned my obsessions with sports and music in my blog. I’ve talked about my three-year-old son. All of these things lead to icebreaker conversations with potential clients.

Provide value—Your readers found you because they’re looking for an answer to their question. Providing answers to those questions is a big part of writing copy that sells.

Think back to the questions you are frequently asked in person by customers and clients. Try writing blog posts that answer those questions. Chances are online readers are wondering the same things.

You can create how-to posts, give professional advice, and write opinions on popular industry news items. You can tell people how to use your products and services for the best results, or anything else they need to know in your industry.

All of these strategies help build trust and create relationships, a key component for writing copy in the digital age.

Include the social proof—You can make all the claims you want in your content. You can talk about how successful your business is and how awesome your products and services are on your website pages. These kinds of claims are often met with lukewarm reception.

You know what works better? When your customers brag about you. When they’re willing to go on the record about the wonderful experience you provided them or how your product helped them solve their problem.

Don’t discount the word of others in writing your copy. Make sure you have testimonials in a prominent location on your website.

Keep it simple—Make sure you understand what it is you are trying to say to your readers. Develop your central point for any page or blog post that you are working on. As you are writing copy, ask yourself if what you are saying bolsters this point.

If it does, then great, keep it. If it doesn’t, then it needs to be deleted. If you like what you wrote, maybe it is simply out of place and belongs somewhere else on your website.

Keep your writing sharp, focused, and simple. People always have choices beyond what you provided. Make it easy for them to stick with you.

State the goal—Your readers aren’t dumb. Be respectful and direct. State your main point. State what you want them to do. Keep your writing efficient and work your way toward that end.

Avoid jargon, acronyms, and other stopping points—Chances are your customers don’t know your industry geek speak as well as you do. If you don’t have to include all the jargon, acronyms, and other heady stuff, then leave it out. If you need to include a term or acronym, do it sparingly, and be sure to define it.

Remember, every time your reader wonders what the heck you’re talking about, they’re detracted from your main point. Do this enough times, and they'll stop reading—probably never to return.

Your marketing writing is not the place to show how smart you are. If you’re looking to write about the inner workings of what you do, consider an industry magazine. This would involve a more analytical type of writing.

Perfect your headline—Your headline is the single most important factor in whether someone reads your post. Think about it. This is the only piece of information that shows up in the news feed or search results.

If you want an audience that’s invested in your writing at all, you’ll have to learn how to write powerful headlines. Make an enticing promise. Consider your word choice.

Spend some time here. It will be worth it.

Know your audience—As you established your business, did you spend time thinking about your ideal buyer? If not, you probably should. It’s important to know what your ideal buyer’s needs are. It’s important to note what kind of questions they have. As you are writing copy, keep this person in mind.

Value your content—Too often businesses treat their content as an afterthought. They spend thousands on new web design. This enhances the user experience and improves your business’s brand. But it is your content that sells. Writing copy that engages your customer will help you sell.

Include a call to action—When you are writing copy, it is not the time to be shy. It’s the time to connect with your audience. If you’ve done your job through the rest of the content, including a powerful call to action can close the deal.

Your readers won’t know what you want them to do unless you ask. You can ask them to comment, download, register, share, or buy. If you’ve written a powerful blog post, there is no harm in spending a sentence or two at the end of the post asking for the sale.

Make sure you are clear and direct, and your reader knows exactly what you want them to do. This means one call to action per page or blog post.

Wrapping it up

The better you are at these individual steps, the more likely your copy is to sell. Remember, writing copy is a crucial step in finding online marketing success.

Make sure that you are investing the time to get better at writing.

This article originally appeared in Matthew L Brennan.

This article was written by Matt Brennan from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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