Red planet

Four Steps to Sell Just About Anything

Writing better sales copy is an easy process to learn, but takes time to master. Try these four simple steps to immediately improve your sales copy. Don't fall into the same traps other companies make. Turn readers into engaged users and engaged users into customers.
Space capsule

Writing better sales copy is an easy process to learn, but takes time to master.

Early in my career I discovered a little-known website called eBay. At that time eBay had less than 100,000 users, tiny by today’s standards. I began experimenting selling a few household items to raise a little extra cash. Most of them are gifts that my wife and I received as a wedding gifts that had not yet been out of their boxes as we approached our third anniversary.

Over the next few years, I’ve built my first small business based on acquiring new customers on eBay. Within a few years, it grew to a quarter million dollar per year venture selling licensed NFL and NASCAR merchandise.

So what did I learn writing more than 12,000 auctions listings. I developed a four step process that works universally when writing advertising copy.

Writing Great Sales Copy in Four Easy Steps.

Step #1 — The Hook — The very first sentence of great sales copy captures the attention of your audience. The goal for your first sentence is one thing, and one thing only. Get them to read the second sentence!

Engaging someone for more than 30 seconds makes your sales process exponentially easier. This in no means closes the sale, but it can stop a sale in its tracks.

Consider these when writing the hook:

  • Ask a question.
  • Offer unique insight.
  • Say something controversial.
  • Make a bold statement.
  • Just be weird.

When writing for the web, remember the hook also needs to include your keywords for better SEO.

Step #2 – Give Them All The Info – There is a technique today that’s just plain wrong! Many websites offer general information, but require people to sign up to get more. This is a great way of collecting email addresses of people who will likely ignore you. These users have a tendency to sign up for lots of websites. These users have short attention spans and rarely become engaged long-term.

Engaged users build businesses. The best way to engage users is to offer them lots of compelling information about your products or services. Educated visitors become long-term customers.

Furthermore, this isn’t a once and done step. Communicate with your best customers and learn about gaps in your content. If you keep hearing the same questions from engaged users, putting those answers on your website or in your other advertising will attract more and better customers.

Step #3 – Call to Action – The call to action, specific instructions on how to buy, is one of the fundamental elements of marketing. Yet, I’m amazed at how often companies forget to ask people to buy.

Content marketing is powerful. Providing great information about your products and services engages users. But, none of it matters if they forget to buy.

Every page of your website or every piece of marketing collateral should have a very specific action that it requests of users.

  • Call us today…
  • Request a demo…
  • Make a donation…
  • Advertise here…
  • Order now…

These simple statements are often the difference between an educated user and an educated buyer!

Step #4 – Give Them Something FREE – Often you hook a user, give them good information, call them to action and they still pause. You’ve pushed them to the brink, now nudge them over.

When I sold merchandise on eBay, offering a small freebie, even free shipping, ensured a dramatically higher close rate. Even in situations where I was selling the same item for more money, these freebies often put me ahead of the competition.

In other businesses, freebies aren’t an option, but find some incentive to encourage people to act.

Remember, your call to action isn’t always a purchase. Whatever you use as an incentive, it should be a reward for answering your call.

In today’s economy, information is often a great incentive. “Request a demo, and get a free whitepaper.” Your giveaway doesn’t have to be a physical product.

Free shipping is a great incentive, because it encourages people to purchase something online that is available in brick and mortar stores.

Be cautious about discounts. Discounts on products that have a distinct value is a good idea, however, discounts that are overused tend to reduce the perceived value of your product. This is particularly true when selling information based products.

Great copywriting is less about talent than it is about process. Learn the steps, and your closing rate will immediately improve.

For a free evaluation of your web copy or marketing materials, call Mediastead today and ask Jason Tweed for a complimentary sales copy review.  Reach Jason at 215-253-3737 or at jason@mediastead.com.


Keeping PACE: Marketing tips and tech news for SMBs