This week we will continue with the writing of your killer sales copy, with a focus on holding the reader’s attention.
8) Keep It Simple
It’s usually safest to keep your industry’s jargon and any gobbledygook out of your sales copy. But, there are times when it’s both necessary and appropriate to call things by their correct names. In those instances, you don’t want to make your reader look words up in a dictionary, pop out to “Google” the term or leave your site in frustration. Where you feel it’s important to include an ‘techie’ or industry term, try to make the meaning apparent from the context, without dumbing the content down so the reader feels stupid.
The first time you use an acronym, it can be helpful to place the full text in brackets, underlining the letters used in abbreviated form.
9) Write for Lazy Readers
Many of my most memorable hours have been spent fly fishing for steelhead in the crystal clear frigid waters of the Chehalis River in winter. These enormous trout hold in pools to rest before continuing their journey upstream. They’re on a mission, and not particularly hungry. Conserving energy for the arduous uphill trip is important. But if a very easy meal presents itself they may be willing to move an inch or two to sip it in. Carefully drifting a bright fly within inches of their nose — often repeatedly — can eventually provoke a strike. I’ve had steelhead take the fly on the fifth or sixth bump on the nose.
Your web visitor doesn’t want to work for your answer to their problem or desire, so make it ridiculously simple to identify the benefits of your offering and grab it.
10) Use Chunking
Your readers have short attention spans, thanks to scanning entirely too many emails, blog posts and letters like yours. So, avoid overwhelming your prospective customers by making them slog through long blocks of text. Keep paragraphs short and punchy. A good rule of thumb is to limit paragraphs to four sentence chunks and keep sentences down to twelve words or less.
Trying to be too clever or creative requires your reader to think. Web searchers are on the hunt, so making them stop and process content can be distracting, or even annoying. Keep paragraphs short, simple and easy to scan.
‘Sign post’ your content with illuminating subheadings. Key points will benefit from bold, italic, underlined or highlighted text.
Consider breaking some of the paragraphs into bullet points. In some cases bullet points can be effectively linked to corresponding subsections lower in the page, using ‘#anchor’ tags.
11) Be Conversational
This isn’t high school English class. When most of us speak face to face or on the phone, we use contractions and begin sentences with “But”, “And” or “Because”. I know… horrible! In copywriting it’s also okay. To make a sale, you want to begin a conversation, so use that tone as you write.
12) Don’t Bore Them
You are never going to bore someone into making a purchasing decision.
Last week, I covered the placement of your most important information. Your prospects are unlikely to absorb your entire message, although some will occasionally read a traditional long sales letter top to bottom. If it’s unrealistic to expect their undivided attention, so you want to keep every paragraph exciting and on point.
Remember the ‘price/promise’ trade-off. People will pay the “price” of reading your copy, if the “promise” of gain or prevented loss is great enough. Referring to the answer about to be revealed — holding the prize in front of them — can keep them engaged.
Spice it up with power words like “easy”, “simple”, “hurry”, “faster”, “now”, “free”, “special offer” and “suddenly”. They make an impact. Avoid the passive tense and too much repetition.
To be continued next week, as we move into the close…
Conversion Ratio Optimization (CRO)
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