Sales copywriting – for your web site, landing page or blog – can be a breeze when you have the right template. I’ve always been a writer, but several years ago, when I set out to become a sales copywriter, I quickly discovered that writing sales copy is a totally different beast. So, I turned to Maria Veloso’s Web Copy That Sells, began following her copywriting outline religiously and, lo and behold, my copywriting career was launched. I’ve never once veered from this five-step blueprint because the results are jaw-droppingly (or mic-droppingly) amazing. Plus, it’s pitifully simple. This DIY 5-step primer will slash your copywriting time in half. No more writer’s block, no more anxiety and no more guesswork. Simply follow the strategy, publish your irresistible copy and SELL. It works for any type of business and any type of product or service.
But, first things first. Who is your audience? This is the first question you must answer. You can’t sell a thing if you don’t know whom you’re talking to; and if you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. So let’s get started with one vital piece of prep work before you begin outlining your sales copy:
Define your audience
Focusing on just a portion of the people who might be interested in your products will allow you to communicate and engage with that segment more deeply and meaningfully. The more you know them, the better you can capture their attention effectively and convince them to buy.
Develop a customer profile. This should include an in-depth description of who your typical customer may be and includes demographic and psychographic information:
Demographic information: age, gender, location, ethnic background, marital status, income, and more. This information will help you identify the type of person who will potentially buy your products and services.
Psychographic information: What influences, drives and motivates your customers? The answers will nail down why a potential customer may buy. Psychographic information typically includes interests, hobbies, values, attitudes behaviors, lifestyle and more.
When you partner with me (or any web copywriter), “who is your audience” is the first question you’ll be asked so be prepared with a detailed customer profile.
5-Step DIY Sales Copywriting Outline
Write down the facts to each of the following five questions. No need to get creative at this point or use marketing fluff here – just answer the questions factually. You know your product inside and out so this should be pretty painless:
1 – What is the problem that your product/service will solve?
One commonality among the human experience is that we all suffer from pains, problems and predicaments — and we all want to be free of them. The first step is to define the pain point or problem that will be resolved by your solution. In the example below, my audience is convention center catering management and I’ve underscored a very modern, very real problem facing them in their industry.
You’re in the business of showing people a great time. But with an estimated 15 million Americans that have food allergies, a large segment of convention attendees are often overlooked.
The last thing you want on the day of a big event is for an attendee’s most basic needs not to be met because the food – which you or they have paid for – could result in illness, a trip to the hospital or even death.
You’re in the business of hospitality. The last thing you want to see is someone having anything less than an amazing experience.
2 – Why hasn’t the problem been solved before?
Agitate the problem. Look at similar products/services that have tried and failed. This will help to build anticipation for the solution you’re about to reveal. Explore why the reader hasn’t been able to solve their problem and why they’re still stuck. For research, read Amazon customer reviews to identify how similar products in your niche have failed the user.
In my example below, I identify lack of food allergen training and awareness as the main culprit behind why people with food allergies get overlooked.
Among most event planners, there is no creative approach to accommodating your wide range of customers with food allergies and dietary restrictions. Furthermore, most don’t have the vital training required for dealing with food allergies. Instead, many event planners adopt a range of attitudes toward planning allergen safe menus. Some are reluctant to do so, or simply don’t know how to deliver inspiring menu options.
Unfortunately, little do these traditional event planners know that by excluding this vital population, they are leaving a ton of money on the table. Convention center catering management cannot afford to overlook this population. It’s simply not good business.
3 – What’s possible now?
Ignite their imagination with what life could be like and what could happen when your audience’s problem is eliminated. Paint a picture with words and emotion.
In my example below, I express that convention center caterers now have an option for making every attendee feel safe, cared for and confident in his or her convention experience.
There are massive advantages to accommodating allergies and other dietary restrictions of your guests. When you partner with an event planner certified in allergen training and food preparation, you can easily accommodate them in safe, surprisingly creative and mouthwateringly delicious ways.
Imagine making every convention attendee feel safe, valued and confident in their experience. That’s a step above and beyond your competition.
4 – What’s different now? What’s your unique selling proposition?
Explain who you are and how your product or service can help. To introduce your USP, compare and contrast how your solution differs from competitor offerings. Hold up your product to an old one that has tried but failed in the marketplace, or current ones that fall short of providing a complete solution. What are the differences?
Introducing Thrive – where our standard is 100% satisfaction for the full range of customers you serve. Thrive has had the pleasure of partnering with hundreds of convention center owners, catering management companies and event sponsors. The number one challenge they all have is preparing efficient-to-execute, yet tantalizing meal plans that address the unique dietary needs of guests. Thrive specializes and excels in meeting this challenge, thereby helping to set you apart in the marketplace and ensuring that every guest leaves feeling 100% delighted with their experience.
There’s no need for any of your visitors to feel excluded, diminished or relegated to a boring, tasteless menu simply because of dietary limitations outside of their control. Thrive’s approach to menu planning is rare among our peers. Unlike our peers in the marketplace, we’ve mastered the art of coordinating and executing a large, diverse and allergen-sensitive menu correctly without affecting the service and the quality of the final product. In fact, we do it all the time!
5 – What should your reader do immediately?
Your audience has enough on their minds to think about. Tell them exactly what to do to grab the sizzling solution that you’ve outlined in your copy. Start your call to action with a strong action view (i.e. claim your spot, secure your registration, seize your free download. Avoid the overused “buy now” and “order now” commands).
This copywriting cheat sheet is my one and only go-to for writing dozens of sales pages on a monthly basis. I also rely on it when I need to create ads and emails. Writing is such a breeze when I have a rich reference resource like the 5-step process on hand! Use it and the rest of your copywriting will flow from it effortlessly. Try it! What do you have to lose – except dull, disregarded web copy?