Writing Web Copy That SELLS - How It Compares With Offline Copy
Whoever said "long copy" doesn't work on the web obviously doesn't know how to sell online. In fact, online marketers are making an absolute fortune with web pages spanning 1200 or more words used to sell their software and manual products.
There's an internet marketing expert in the States who went from zip to millionaire just by promoting a book on car secrets via a very wordy online sales letter. He is now recognised as perhaps the world leading expert in internet marketing. His name is Corey Rudl.
The copy on our product pages is equally as long... and it works, delivering us many thousands of dollars in product sales without any offline promotion.
"How to Create a Sales Explosion With Every Ad and Letter You Write"... http://www.synergie.com.au/explosion.htm
"Marketing Manager's Toolkit" - http://www.synergie.com.au/marketing-forms-product.htm
"Tenders that Sell" - http://www.synergie.com.au endersthatsell.htm
The key is to get to the point early... you can have long copy on your website BUT (and I stress BUT) make sure the beginning of your message gets to the point quickly. That's where you can lose people. It's vitally important that you hook them quickly by offering strong "hit them in the face" benefits.
The difference between writing direct mail and writing web copy
I will often start a letter by relating to the main frustrations or problems that a reader faces. Sometimes I will spend two or three paragraphs getting what I call the "nod factor" happening. (This is when they are nodding their head in agreement with what you have written).
With web copy, you simply can't start your sales letter with three paragraphs of copy setting the scene.
Chop, then chop then chop again!
Even though I said writing long copy is definitely acceptable, what won't work is FLUFF. Remove all those fluffy, round-about ways of saying things and replace them with short, sharp and to the point words. You can go into great length to describe something as long as it is ABSOLUTELY critical to the sales message.
Here's a tip to help you write like a miser:
When writing online copy I avoid using a word processor. I actually go into my email program and write it in the email message window. It's a mind-set thing. Makes sense doesn't it! We all write emails in a quick, friendly, to the point way - much more economically than we do when writing snail mail. When you've written your draft THEN cut and paste it into your word processing program.
So, how do you make your words SELL online?
Follow the recipe
Remember, in other articles we talk about the AIDCA formula. Make sure you follow it in your offline and your online copy.
A - Attention - grab their attention with a powerful headline that absolutely shouts out the benefits of visiting the site
I - Gain their interest by relating to their needs or frustrations
D - Create desire by spelling out the benefits and painting a picture of how better off their lives will be by investing in your product or service.
C - Gain their conviction. Convince them that they must purchase your product. Summarise your benefits in a powerful way. Include a powerful offer that convinces them to purchase now. Implement risk reversal techniques such as a FREE trial or a money back guarantee.
A - Incite action. Put a limited time frame on your offer and tell them how to order. Make it as easy as you can to purchase. Give them a number of options.
YOU, YOU, YOU, YOU
Copywriting, whether it's offline or online is still all about YOU (or the client, that is). Write in a direct "me to you" way. Use twice as many "you's" as you do "we's". This forces you to step into the readers' shoes and by doing that you're helping them relate (really relate) to what you're saying.
Break it up!
There's nothing that will make people click away faster than long, tedious paragraphs and long sentences. Break up those sentences. Break up those paragraphs into one or two sentences (at the very most).
Put those HOT words in lights!
Every time you move on to a new point include a subheading. This breaks up the copy and makes it much easier to read. It also enables people to scan your piece. With a good web piece you should be able to scan just the subheads and be able to pick out the major selling arguments in order so you can get a good gist of what the piece is about.
Use strategically placed links to expand on points
In situations where some readers may need to find out more about a certain point, instead of including a description in the main body of your online sales letter, include a link to an explanatory paragraph. This enables you to include all the copy you need to sell something WITHOUT watering down the power of your main piece.
It might be simply a description of the meaning of a certain term.
It might be links to additional research which proves that your product delivers results.
Weave testimonials throughout your copy
Testimonials SELL. Gather as many testimonials as you can from clients and feature them in a variety of different ways. Have a testimonials or "what clients say" section. Feature these testimonials as case studies AND use them as part of the copy when making a particular point.
Eg. Your car will be so shiny it will look brand new AND be worth $000's more.
Margaret Smith of Smith and Co. Balmain agrees:
"I wanted to sell my 1995 Ford and to be honest it had been a little neglected over the years. I was given an initial trade in price from a dealer and after being rather disappointed with the price I thought I'd arrange for your detailing services. My gosh. What a result! I hardly recognised it. It looked like a brand new car. I then took it in to another dealer and they offered me $5,000 more. Thank you so much!"
This is a brief overview of how to write powerful web copy. There are a number of other key copywriting principles to consider. You can find more copywriting browsing our site.
Just remember - no matter what sales vehicle you're using, the recipe for copywriting success is the same. It's just the tone and the length that changes.
About the Author
Kris Mills of Words that Sell
a top selling copywriter and respected
author of numerous publications. For
more copywriting and direct marketing
tips, visit http://www.synergie.com.au/explosion.htm