“Does sales copy always have to be so hypey? Does everything have to be so life-changing? Even a notebook?”
This question came through recently on a webinar for improving sales copy.
It’s a valid point.
People say they are sick of seeing long sales pages, or highlighter pens in adverts or long lists of bullets of features, benefits and promises.
But’ it’s a lie.
People don’t really hate any of those individual things.
Customers don’t hate sales pages, they hate BAD copywriting – Tweet this to shake up your Twitter feed.
So What Makes Bad Sales Copywriting?
And why is it associated with “hyped” sales pages?
Here’s just a few reasons…
- Vague promises with no proof: “Sky-rocket Your Business and Attract a Never-Ending Flow of High-Paying Clients!”
- Company focused benefits / self-indulgent promotion: “As I write to you from my mansion in Malibu, adjusting my Gucci glasses I’m thinking how blessed I am to share my knowledge with you…”
- Irrelevant details or metaphors in marketing: “This public-speaking course is as essential to you as a pilot needs a system to fly a plane. You wouldn’t want to board a transatlantic flight knowing the pilot was only “hoping” to have some success of flying would you? (Really, I’m not going to kill hundreds of people if I flunk at toastmasters one week…)
- Vague / fluffy testimonials: “I recommend you work with Jim, he gets a thumbs up from me!” (For what? changing a lightbulb? walking your dog?)
- Copy that doesn’t target a specific audience: “If you want to make this your best year ever, then take this personal-development course.” (Does this work if I’m a mum? A teenager? A salesman?)
This always happens when you neglect rule number 1 in the 10 commandments of copywriting:
ALWAYS Focus On Your Reader.
Great sales copywriting is not a particular format or style, it doesn’t “look” a certain way.
It’s whatever makes the sale between a great product and its ideal customer.
Your sales copy will take shape based on the following:
- Who your ideal customer is
- What their problem is
- What questions they need answering about your product
- The emotional triggers that spur them into taking action
If your customers are impulsive, love the latest trends, influenced by others and looking for a “right now” solution, then one of those peppy, upbeat and energetic sales pages may just do the trick.
But let’s come back to our ‘life-changing’ notebook.
I get the point.
A notebook is pretty ordinary, how can you possibly spend a lot of time claiming this notebook is going to change someone’s life?
Well this is where we need to factor in a few things:
- Is the notebook remarkable?
- Will it excite your reader?
If the notebook is crappy then no, it does not deserve a lot of copy telling the reader how amazing it is.
And let’s say you’re selling this crappy notebook to a student who just wants to get things down on paper. Of course you’re not going to advertise the notebook with reams and reams of copy including testimonials etc.
But what if it was the most exciting notebook in the world… to the RIGHT person?
Let’s picture another scenario.
This notebook is a bit special. It’s interesting, and it’s well made.
It includes a simple, unique format that lets you organize all your activities in one place, and it promises to make you more efficient than if you used similar products on the market.
The customer is an executive who no matter how fancy a day planner she has, always seem to be using extra scraps of paper and tablets to jot things down.
She doesn’t t like computers to plan her day. She likes good old-fashioned pen to paper but she just can’t seem to find a notebook that has the “right” format for her to be as productive as she wants.
Now you have a situation for sales copy about a life-changing notebook.
And a copywriter I greatly admire did just that.
Bob Bly wrote a direct mail package including:
- 4 page letter
- 4 page brochure
- Lift note
- Buck slip
- Order form
All to sell a “planner pad” notebook to help organise your week.
For the target market, this WAS the most exciting notebook in the world.
To make sure your sales copy stays on track, constantly check in and ask yourself:
“What does my customer find so exciting about my product?”
Keep answering and writing around this topic and your customers will love your sales copy.
Want to get up to speed with some of the basic questions in copywriting?
Check out the FREE Fast Track to Copywriting guide which gives you the 10 Commandments of Copywriting, answers the question: “Is Copywriting Manipulative?” and provides a glossary of copywriting terms to keep you up to speed with the lingo.