Ahoy and happy Monday!
Welcome to another week of Start Writing Online—where we stare down 1 of the 10 biggest problems every writer faces.
- Generating ideas
- Impostor syndrome
- Writing consistently
- Finding time to write
- Loose feedback loops
This week we want to help you build confidence when writing sales copy.
Here’s the deal, the best sales copy doesn’t sell—it connects.
When you strike a chord with your audience and speak to their needs, your words become irresistible. Crafting addictive sales copy isn't about manipulation or deception, but rather about building a genuine connection with your readers and customers. By understanding their pains and desires, you can communicate with them in a way that is authentic (and trustworthy).
Today we are breaking down 5 simple but powerful tips for writing sales copy that you can use to resonate with your audience, without feeling like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Let’s dive in.
Tip #1: Write For 1 Reader
When was the last time you felt truly engaged by a message that addressed a faceless, nameless crowd?
It’s tempting to write something that captures “everyone’s” attention. And who doesn’t want their message to reach the masses? The problem is when you address the crowd, “Hey everyone!” you make each individual feel unseen, unheard, and ignored. This means your reader immediately thinks, “This isn’t for me.” Then they're off to find something specifically for THEM.
Instead, write directly to one person in the crowd. “Hey, YOU.”
Visualize one person in front of you. Now imagine talking directly to them, as if you're offering advice to a friend. Address your friend “John,” not the “ideal” version of John, but John specifically. Then speak to John’s fears, frustrations, dreams, and wants.
- Instead of “Breathe” say “Take a deep breath, so you put a pause on the rising rage in your stomach every time your boss messages you 30 seconds before your Monday status meeting and asks you to lead it for them.”
- Instead of “Be flexible” say “You’ll be more flexible, so you stop getting those 2 P.M. cramps in your hip flexor muscles, sitting in your rigid computer chair.”
- Instead of “Take care of yourself” say “Take care of yourself and save hundreds of wasted hours each year from all the times when you’ve burned out in the past.”
When you speak directly to the reader—a very specific type of reader, you are saying: “I understand you. I get you. I know the little problems you experience on a day-to-day basis.”
Suddenly, you’ll make every reader feel like the center of the universe.
Tip #2: Don’t Use Formal Language
You are the customer's friend—not a distant expert.
Casual language makes your writing relatable. And if you're recommending a product or service, speak plainly. Your goal is to make your reader feel comfortable and understood.
- Use contractions: "It's" instead of “it is" or "you’re" instead of "you are."
- Drop the formality: “Use” instead of "utilize" or “help” instead of "facilitate."
- Use simple sentences: If you can say it in 3 words, do it.
For example, if your friend asked you for a vacuum recommendation, you most certainly would not say, “This device synchronizes efficiencies across multi-level floor plan designs.” Who talks like that? Nobody.
Instead, you’d say, “Let me tell you. My dog got into the mud and tracked it all over my house. I thought it was going to be a nightmare to clean, but my Dyson vacuum picked up every last bit of dirt and now my carpet looks brand new!” See how much more natural that sounds?!
Think about how you would explain your ideas to a friend, and then write that down.
Tip #3: Separate Writing For Insiders And Outsiders
Insiders speak the language of your niche—Outsiders don’t.
When speaking to Insiders, you can use niche/industry language. But Outsiders are beginners. And they aren’t fluent yet in the languaging, terms, phrases, and jargon used in your category.
Let's say you're writing about the benefits of meditation for reducing stress. Outsiders won’t understand "cortisol levels" or "the sympathetic nervous system." But they are much more likely to identify with "You know that feeling you get when you're walking alone in a dark alley and you suddenly hear a strange noise? Your heart races, your breathing gets faster, and your muscles tense up - that's your body's way of preparing to either fight off an attacker or run away from danger."
Make sure your readers can understand what you're saying.
You don't want them to feel confused or left out.
Tip #4: Don’t Inflate The Problem (Or The Solution)
Resist the urge to exaggerate problems or solutions.
Instead, keep it simple and straightforward. Present the problem and offer the solution without unnecessary fanfare. Your reader will appreciate your honesty and directness.
“Have you ever had an impossible, excruciating, mind-bogglingly frustrating time finding something to watch on TV?” There is no need for all this description. Just say: “Can’t find anything to watch?”
And when it comes time to tell the customer “the answer,” don’t feel the need to do a big song and dance. Just tell them: to solve X, you need Y. “And Y is what we specialize in.” Don’t overcomplicate it.
Just say what the problem or the solution is.
Tip #5: Teach, Don’t Sell
You aren’t selling anything—you are opening the door to change.
- Nobody buys an electric car until they LEARN why it’s good for the environment.
- Nobody buys a Peloton until they LEARN why working out from home is so efficient.
- Nobody buys a writing course until they LEARN why writing online is so beneficial.
Which is why your number one goal is to educate your readers.
Help them understand WHY your product or service is relevant to them and what benefits they will receive for buying or reading. This builds trust. And when you build trust, people are more likely to purchase from you or return to you for even more education in the future.
The most successful writers and copywriters don't think of themselves as “salespeople”—they see themselves as educators, helping their audience solve problems and achieve their goals.
That's it for today's Digital Writing Compass!
Chat next week!
–Dickie Bush & Nicolas Cole
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