The 4 Essentials of Writing Copy That Sells

leslie-blog.jpgThe 4 Essentials of Writing Copy That Sells

by Leslie Hamp, Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach

If you are looking for a surefire way to market your business and increase sales, look at the copy on your website, brochures, press releases, advertising and sales letters. Good copy makes you stand out from your competition, establishes your credibility and expertise, and attracts ideal customers like a magnet.

You don’t have to have Pulitzer prize aspirations to pull words together into copy that sells. You do need to focus on four essentials:

1. convey key messages in your copy
2. speak directly to your target audience
3. paint a picture using power words, and
4. ask for the sale.

Your goal is to stop your readers in their tracks and elicit a response. Here’s how:

1. Convey Key Messages

If you want busy people to read and respond to what you have to offer, think in terms of benefits, the “what’s in it for me” perspective. Understand that buying is not a rational process; it’s an emotional one. People want to be convinced they’re making a choice that will make a positive difference in their life. They want to know they are buying the perfect solution to their challenge.

Your key messages are based on benefits, but it’s very common to confuse features with benefits. Features are inherent in your product or service. Benefits are the intangibles your buyer gets from your product or service.

For instance, driver airbags are the feature while feelings of safety and security are the benefit. A massage is the feature while stress relief and relaxation is the benefit.

Depending on the type of business you own and operate, benefits may include saving time, saving money, making money, finding success or being pain free. Identify both your features and benefits before you write one single word of copy.

2. Speak Directly to Your Target Audience

Direct your message to your target audience…those who want what you have to offer, will listen to your pitch, and ultimately take action.

You’ll likely define your target audience based on gender, age, family structure (single, married, parent) and income. Your target market will have at least four common characteristics including a particular need, access to your products and services, enough money to purchase your products or services, and decision-making power.

Write a profile of one person in your target audience, even going so far as to give that person a name, age, job and family structure. Once you’ve defined a representative of your target market, you’ll be able to write directly to that person each time you compose your copy. Actually visualize that person, and direct your message to him/her. Your words will be more personal andpersuasive… and more likely to get results.

3. Paint a Picture Using Power Words

Unleash vivid images and power words that inspire readers to take action. Power words are verbs, not adjectives, that make your copy enticing. Show your reader how valuable your product or service is with words like accelerate, boost, conquer, create, ensure, focus, leverage, profit, transform, unleash, winning. Paint a picture that captures their attention and include power words that inspire action.

4. Ask for the Sale

You are connecting with your target market. You are tapping into benefits and power words that speak directly to them. You have their attention. Now ask for the sale! Tell your reader exactly what you want him/her to do.

Few products or services sell themselves. You have to ask for the sale yet this is the most difficult challenge facing many entrepreneurs. In fact, both seller and buyer are nervous about the sale. Sellers are often worried about being rejected while buyers are worried about making the wrong decision.

Use your words to pull readers into your copy, establish trust and anticipate questions and concerns. Summarize your main points and end with a call to action – literally what you want him/her to do next.

Do you want him to call you or e-mail you for more information? Do you want her to call to schedule a free consultation? Do you want him/her to place an order now? Be clear and specific. What is the next step for the reader to take?

Your copy sells you 24/7. When you mail a brochure, hand out print materials or refer someone to your web site, your copy will act as a sales person delivering a message and influencing perceptions about your business, your brand. Make it strong. Make it accurate.  Make it sell.

(c)2006 Leslie Hamp

Leslie Hamp, Certified Guerrilla Marketing & Lifestyle Coach, collaborates with entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to achieve business success without making sacrifices in home life, health, or personal balance. Find out more at