We all know, it’s not only about what you say, it’s about how you say it.
Writing effective sales copy requires much more than a few fancy words or evocative language. In fact, it has a lot less to do with impressive vocabulary and much more to do with clarity.
Accessible chunks of information will undoubtedly make a better sales pitch than complex jargon which alienates half of your readers. Don’t try and wow your prospects with your impressive writing skills, instead concentrate on selling the benefits of your product/service. Straightforward copy, that gets to the point quickly, is often the most effective.
The brain can only absorb so much information at a time. Before you look at the content of the copy, address how it looks on the page or screen. Are there large blocks of unbroken text? The way that you present your copy is crucial. With the constant stream of sales copy being churned out, most will only get a quick glance. It is essential that the layout tackles this by being easily digestible, and communicating the fundamental message promptly.
The Opening Paragraph
Your first paragraph should consist of only one line. Why? It will grab attention. Without being surrounded by other text, the line will immediately stand out, even at a glance. As many people only read the top and bottom lines of a letter before deciding if they are interested, make sure this is where you communicate your strongest selling point.
It’s All About Numbers
There’s no secret to finding the perfect layout for your sales copy – it’s just common sense. Producing successful marketing material is mostly about recognising the importance of accessibility. In fact, it can all be put down to numbers.
- Six To Seven Lines – Each paragraph, after the first, should consist of around six or seven lines. Any longer than this and it is likely that the text won’t be read. Short snippets of information look far less intimidating than long ones. The same is true for sentence length. Long, complex sentences that overload the reader with information are difficult to digest.
- Fourteen Words – Each sentence should aim to convey just one clear point. A sentence of around fourteen words is perfect for providing clear, easily absorbed pieces of information. It is a good way to prevent waffling, whilst adding emphasis to each point.
Five Letters – The fundamental intention of your sales copy must always be to make a sale. Therefore, it is vital that it is accessible to as many people as possible. Some years ago, the reading level of many newspapers had crept higher – the result? The readership, decreased. People realised that by setting the reading level lower, more people would be encouraged to buy the publication.
Elitist sales copy doesn’t make good sales. Many publications nowadays write copy at the reading level of a thirteen year old. Whilst there are exceptions, this is a good benchmark to start from. With this in mind, ensure that the majority of your text consists of words no longer than five letters. Remember, you’re not trying to prove how clever you are, you’re trying to maximise your response rate.
- 2 Or More Pages – If your copy is spilling into a second page, your prospect will need to be encouraged to turn over. The end of a page, for most people, seems the perfect place to stop reading, as does the end of a sentence. A good tip is to break the last sentence of the first page, so that it finishes at the top of the second page. Most people won’t leave mid-sentence, and once they’ve turned over to finish the line, chances are they’ll carry on.
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