Selling. It’s something many of us feel uncomfortable doing. Particularly if we’re the traditional introverted writer, happy to sit in a room all day tapping at our keyboards.

Sooner or later you’ll need to write some selling copy – perhaps your blog is part of larger corporate site offering products or services, or you want to sell your eBook, or you want to sell your consulting services.

The good news is that if you’e happy writing blog posts, you’re already somewhere along the line to writing sales copy confidently. You just need a few easy tips to get you started.

1. Start with the headline

If you’re not confident with your headline writing abilities, try this approach. It’s a little formulaic, but it’s been proved in the battlefields of direct marketing.

[Customer]? Want [the strongest and most specific benefit of your product or service]?
[You can solve it today]

Here are some examples:

  • Performance car owner? Want affordable insurance with great cover? Here’s how you can solve your problem today
  • Landlords? Want regular rent even from empty properties? We will guarantee your income from today
  • Asthmatic? Want to breath easily all summer? Solve your problem with our unique organic herbal remedy right away

See how it works?

When I was writing a lot of direct marketing, I was taught to ask ‘Where’s the pain?’ by one of the UK’s top financial services copywriters. The answer can lay things out very clearly for you.

Try it on your sales challenge. See how it can work for you.

2. Draw the reader in with your first paragraph

The biggest mistake you can make here is tell the reader what they already know. Don’t start off by saying:

You know how expensive it can be to insure your performance car. Comparison sites are usually useless and high street brokers can struggle to find you the right cover at an affordable price.

You’re wasting time and potentially boring your prospect.

Instead, plunge in. You’ve got their attention with your headline, so don’t mess about.

If you need [expand on what they’re looking for] and [secondary benefit], then I think you’ll find [product/service] [exactly what you’re looking for/perfect/useful/interesting].

3. Tell your reader about what they’re going to buy

Be clear about it. Tell it like it is:

  • What’s it called?
  • What it is – a course; a book; a fuel additive for Japanese performance cars; a revolutionary knitting needle
  • Its specifications – a 400-page eBook; 30cm long with a beautiful yellow non-slip handle; 2 litres of pure performance-enhancing advanced technology
  • What it does – teaches you the secrets of cooking game perfectly every time, with recipes from the world’s top restaurants; makes filleting sea-fresh fish as easy as opening a packet of fish fingers; increases the speed of even the most experienced knitters by 35% (just imagine, a beautiful new sweater in just a few relaxing evenings)

4. Reinforce the main benefits

Next, remind your reader about why they were interested in the first place, why the product or service you’ve told them about above solves their overriding problem.

Say something like:

[name] is just right for you because it [helps you make restaurant standard fish dishes in your own kitchen; saves you on your premiums while keeping your excesses so low].

5. Answer the reader’s objections

They’re almost certainly say ‘Yeah, but…’. Tackle them straightforwardly. You have nothing to hide.

Say:

Now, you may have questions about [what it will cost to run; whether I can learn Spanish in 24 easy hours; turn you into a professional standard seafood chef].

And just answer the questions. Don’t be pushy.

6. Use some testimonials

These are tremendously powerful. Recommendations from people who have bought what you’re offering can be the clincher.

7. Now show your confidence

Offer a guarantee.

If [your product] doesn’t turn you into a world-class tightrope walker within two weeks, we’ll refund your full purchase price and pay for your medical bills.

That’s showing your faith.

8. Next ask for the sale

In marketing-speak this is known as the call to action (CTA). Write something like:

To [concise benefit], simply click below/call XXXXXX XXXXXXX. Once you’ve clicked/called you’ll be able to download/be called back.

Here’s an example:

If you want to fillet fish like a pro, click below for our secure order form and enjoy our fully insured next-day delivery.

9. Make their order urgent

Head off any thoughts of waiting until next week or thinking about it for a while. Use a deadline.

Act now, because on 27 August the price increases by 50%. Order today and [start playing the balalaika like a pro] at a never-to-be-repeated bargain price.

10. Don’t forget the PS

This is a well-known trick from the world of direct mail letters that some people ignore on the web.

Try something along the lines of:

PS Before you leave, consider if you can afford to pass up the opportunity to save €108 on your performance car insurance. Get the best cover around at the best price by clicking here or calling XXXXXX XXXXXXX.

There you go. Ten easy steps to writing a sales page.

Let me know how you get on.

Thanks to The Consumerist for allowing me to use this image.