Twelve Steps to writing words that SELL
© 2000, Andy Brocklehurst

Do you want to make your sales copy really SELL? I would hope so, since that is the whole objective of your copy in the first place.  I've been asked to look over a fair amount of sales copy usually with a request like "please help - it's not working."  Most of the time it is simple, fundamentals that are not right.

Here are Twelve steps to ensuring your sales copy will be a success.  We need to split these 12 simple steps into two basic categories. The first category are things you MUST do before you write a single word, and the second is a list of things to do WHEN and AS you write.


1. EXAMINE your product or service. Try to look at it from the perspective of the consumer/customer. Determine the nature of the features and benefits of your product. Get your facts straight. Check out data from as many sources as you can: Marketing reports existing copy if you have it. Write a list of the top six benefits of your product in order of importance.

2. POSITION your product. How is your product different or superior to your competitors products? What do you offer that the competition doesn't? Positioning is critical if you want to develop a successful strategy in a competitive market place.

3. WHO are your audience? Who is your message aimed at? ALWAYS gear your copy to the needs, wants and tastes of your potential readers. Are they everyday consumers? Are they young professionals? Executives in your area of expertise?

4. PLAN YOUR ATTACK. How much copy will you need to convey your message? A tip here is that usually the length of copy is in proportion to the investment you or your company have in the product - but that is only a guideline, it's not always the case. If your product is simple and its benefits are self- evident you won't have much explaining to do and you can keep it short and strong.


5. NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR PRIMARY GOAL. To sell your product or service. Your copy must be more than a flat presentation of the facts - a copy writer motivates and persuades the reader. On the other hand don't get over creative and bury your message. The best efforts will fail if the reader can't remember the company name!

6. DON'T FILL YOUR COPY WITH EMPTY STATEMENTS. Using too many superlatives like 'amazing', 'incredible', 'fantastic', in a short space will destroy your credibility. You don't want the reader to ignore your claims because he considers you to be full of propaganda. Instead, through words you need to demonstrate that your product is incredible, fantastic and amazing. Make the reader say "WOW - that is amazing!"

7. KEEP IT ACCURATE. Be sure that you have all the facts straight. Never leave things open to claims of false of misleading advertising. Never twist the truth in the hope of an easy sale. Never use false testimonials. In fact if it cannot be proven - don't say it.

8. USE SPECIFICS. Don't be vague when you can create a picture in the mind of the reader using specifics. If you can say "This method bought me 1023 sales in my first week" then say it. Don't say "I got loads". Don't use "More" if you can use "341 percent increase". And avoid comparisons like "lasts longer" or "gives a better quality result" because you'll leave your reader saying "THAN WHAT?"

9. BE ORGANIZED. Your copy should have a beginning a middle and an end. It needs to proceed logically from the headline to the close and be strong and punchy all the way through.

10. CLARITY: Write in such a way that your copy is EASY to read. Write in a style that suits your target audience. Some rules apply to all copy, but there is a lot that can be done to suit the potential prospects you are aiming to get to buy. Avoid really long paragraphs. Break your copy up, above all COMMUNICATE with the reader and do all you can to ensure your copy gets read.

11. NEVER RISK OFFENDING. Make sure when you write that nothing you say can end up offending your reader. Use humor if it REALLY fits and is suitable, but don't for example joke about funerals! Individual forms of humor like sarcasm should be avoided at all costs. Don't criticize the readers choice of cloths, music, home decor or anything else that someone can get offended about. Aim to please.

12. EDIT. Always revise and edit what you have written. Cut out anything that does not really add to what you are trying to say. Every single word MUST be worth printing. Be critical of your own copy. Check all facts, spelling, and be sure you haven't left anything out.

Andy Brocklehurst is the creator of the Inner Room. A marketing super-site that's packed with practical ideas, tips and the tools you need to succeed with your own online business. This article may be reproduced as long as it is not altered and this resource box is included.


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