The Simplest Way to Captivate With Your Sales Copy

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You’d be amazed how many times businesses fail to do this. It’s so simple; blindingly obvious.

In fact, you’ve been staring it in the face. A powerful technique guaranteed to keep your readers glued to every word.

What is it, do you think? Have you guessed yet? OK – a clue. Have you noticed I’ve used it five times already? (Six, now) It’s short… It’s powerful… It’s a word that never fails to attract attention.

Before all is revealed, you need a sprinkling of psychology, an ounce of common sense and a bucket load of simplicity before you read on. Ready?

Ditch the jargon, put all those awards/experience/qualifications to one side, and listen carefully.

Never fails to work… You’ll wonder how you ever managed without it. Now you’re wondering it’s that good, why haven’t you used it before?

All about you

Just this week, I stumbled across an online business selling what I was looking for. Because I’d not quite decided which product to buy, I read on.

Did I click the ‘add to cart’ link? No. Why not? Simple really. The very first word on the landing page was ‘we,’ followed by a long list of services that ‘we’ offer.

No mention of me, my needs, or what the product could do for me. It was all about the business. Left me cold…

Yes, but that’s what you do, I hear you cry. You need to tell the reader what you sell, or they’ll have no idea. This is true, of course…

Perhaps I’m being picky? After all, the business was reputable; they had exactly what I was looking for. But the missing ingredient put me off.

As a business, it’s natural to rattle off a list of everything you offer buyers. The trouble is, if you don’t write directly to the customer, including that magical ‘you’ word, you’ll fail.

There’s you thinking writing copy is easy. It’s not – as you need to understand human nature, psychology and how certain words trigger responses.

Give them what they want

It’s true. Your readers don’t care how long you’ve been running a business; in fact, they don’t initially care about ‘you’ at all. They do care about:

  • What’s in it for them (benefits)
  • How your product will make a difference to their lives
  • Whether your service meets their needs

If copy doesn’t satisfy those deep desires, if you don’t offer a solution to their problem, prospects will look elsewhere. Fast!

Another easy strategy to check whether you are on the right lines, is to say ‘so what?’ If you write a feature and say ‘so what’ to yourself, it prompts you to find a reason for buying.

Try it… And if you haven’t found your USP yet, this is a great way of identifying it!

What can you do now?

  • Test your copy. Is the focus on ‘we’ or ‘I’, rather than ‘you’ and ‘yours’ ? If so, shift the emphasis. Use five times many ‘you’ words to ‘we.’
  • Do you just write about features of your business, without mentioning benefits to the reader? Adjust straight away. Promote the benefits first.
  • If all this seems too much, ask a professional to write your copy. Another pair of eyes can pay dividends … and help you successfully market your business.

In the meantime, have a look at your sales copy and try the ‘you, our’ test. See how your copy compares to the 5:1 ratio. Good luck, and let me know how you get on.

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6 Responses to The Simplest Way to Captivate With Your Sales Copy

  1. Steve Logan says:

    Very well said Nikki. It’s amazing how shifting the focus of a piece of copy from ‘we’ (or worse, a completely neutral, third party style) to a more personalised ‘you’, can reach out and grab the attention of a reader.

    I always try to avoid ‘you will be’ (and other variants) though, that always feels like an assumption. So if you were shifting the focus from ‘We offer the greatest range of…’ and changed that to ‘You will be blown away by the range of’ it just has too much force almost (maybe that’s just me though). ‘You will benefit from…’ is fine of course, but when talking to the reader, there is a chance that you can overstep the mark and make it appear to be a lecture or a demand.

    Anyway, great post and a good reminder for us all.

  2. Jayne M Cox says:

    When you stare at your own website it’s so difficult to see it as others do. Your insightful posts are so helpful. Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge Nikki! Jayne

  3. Nikki says:

    Totally agree Steve. What I’ve learnt is one size doesn’t fit all… Specific rules can be broken to suit the tone/message. Also, you can write in the first person and yet still be focused on the reader.

    As you say, there is nothing worse than a website written in the third person – so dry and cold. I do wonder what businesses hope to gain when they sound like everyone else, and have no distinctive online ‘voice.’ Thanks for your thoughtful response Steve.

    That’s very true Jayne. Another pair of eyes is invaluable!

  4. “Give them what they want” – Absolutely right. A lot of starting out businesses think they need to fill their content with “We’re experts, we do this, we do that.” It rocks their world to find out the customers don’t care about their business as much as what their business can do for them.

    I do empathize: running a business can be so consuming, that it’s hard for the average business person to imagine that others wouldn’t be captivated hearing about all it’s achievements and merits.

  5. Nikki says:

    Hi Danielle

    Thanks for dropping by. Yes, that shift in emphasis from ‘we’ to ‘you’ is so powerful. A simple technique, and yet overlooked by many.

  6. Pingback: The Easy answer to search engine optimisation | Copy Break

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