How To Increase Sales With Your Copywriting

Are you providing the right sort of info needed for someone to make a buying decision? Without this, the best affiliate product in the world can’t fly.

Because increasing conversions is all about increasing trust, and creating reassurance, what you present as content and how you present it is vital.

In this post, we’re going to show you some ways to format and craft your copy so that it works with the way users view the web, rather than against it.

We’ll also look at some of the most important things that need to be covered off to gain the trust you need for sales.

Your affiliate site wants to reflect you as someone who can be trusted. Being transparent and providing great value content is a smart way to help achieve this. As we go through the following tips, you’ll find most of the things we’ll cover have the principles of trust at the core of them.

So - let’s take a look at some of the things you may need to take action with in this area.


Decide Whether You Need Long Copy or Short Copy

There will always be cheerleaders for both sides with this one!

But some things do you need to consider before you write are:

•    how expensive your product is
•    how knowledgeable the market is about your product
•    what part of the sales cycle you’re aiming for
•    how many other similar products there are on the market

For example, if you have an expensive product, research has shown that you need longer sales copy than if you have a cheap one. When you think about it, persuading people to shell out for a Mercedes will always need to cover more bases than selling a can of soda.
 
If you have a generic product that people know a lot about already, you’re not going to write as much as you would for a product less well known.

However much you decide to write, you need to head off any and all likely objections. 

Brainstorm all the possibilities here, make a list of what you come up with, and then tick them off one by one to make sure you cover all the bases on your site.
 
You want to make sure that all info someone could possibly need to make a buying decision is there for them. This doesn’t all need to be on your main product page, but should be there in strategically placed spots.

The idea is to get as much relevant information and as many persuasive arguments into the minimum amount of copy. If you don’t need a word, get rid of it. Ask yourself if there’s a shorter way to say something.

Sometimes you have to be brutally honest with yourself and ask “Is this fluff or is it helpful?”

And act on it!


Use Powerful Headlines

Headlines are extremely important. If your visitor doesn’t like the headline, they won’t read any further.

An effective way to create headlines is to include your main message in a headline that is:

•    specific, not general
•    focused on the benefits to the customer (not the product's features)
•    believable - by offering some sort of proof
•    demonstrating that it's easy to get results (ideally)

Sometimes the line between features and benefits seems to get a little blurry. 

Here’s an exercise to make really sure that you’re giving benefits rather than features in your copy!

First, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Then ask (as that customer) as you look at your headline: “What’s in that for me?”

Then think about the way you (as an affiliate) would then answer this question. The answer you come back with is more than likely to be a benefit.


PreSell With Your Copy

What you write in your copy directly affects how many people click through to buy from you.

Yet before your prospect even thinks of clicking on your affiliate link to buy, they'll need to be pre-sold first.

Preselling warms up and builds respect with a prospect - a fundamental requirement for selling online. It's the art of connecting with your visitor in authentic and personal way - the online version of relationship building.

People like buying from people they know, like and trust. Preselling helps build that all-important trust, and makes them feel comfortable about the idea of doing business with you.

The thing to remember about your website visitors is that most people are not looking to buy something when they begin a search online. They're just looking for information.

This is why it's important to keep your visitors interested enough to hear what you have to say, rather than "sell" them straight away. Based on the information a prospect finds, they will then decide to make a purchase - or not. And this is why preselling is so important.

As an affiliate, your role is to warm up your visitors and put them in a "willing to buy" frame of mind before you send them to an affiliate merchant's website.

You need to become an expert in the eyes of your visitor by delivering great information. For example, you could focus your content on relevant case studies, a review, a personal experience or story, or talk about an announcement. It could even cover all of these.

Ken Evoy is famous for being the guy who pioneered the term "preselling" online, and increasing conversions through this process. Ken's company is SiteSell, and is unusual in that about 99% of its sales are achieved by its affiliates. He's a guy who really knows what affiliates need to do to succeed online.

Ken wrote a short, easy to read book on the topic. You can download it free and find out why preselling is such an important tool for every affiliate.


Make your most important stuff stand out

Web users don’t read. Instead, they scan for information, and read quite differently compared to when they’re offline.

Your content needs to be geared up for web user behavior patterns.

You want to make sure that your most important points are easily taken out by a busy viewer.

Here’s how to do this!

•    Use bold type
•    Use italics
•    Highlight important points or words
•    Hand-drawn annotations are good for flagging attention too!

You can see in the following example how the problems that someone is facing (and presumably looking for an answer on) are well covered here:


Speed PPC example
The way SpeedPPC formats copy for web users.

If the viewer’s particular problem is low conversion rates or having their minimum bids too high, this flags them down that this product has a solution to their problem.
 
The word “solve” is also highlighted before the list to emphasize to the viewer that this is a solution to the whole list of problems they have before them.


•    Use simple easy to understand language

Short simple sentences will work with every audience, no matter how well-educated or sophisticated they may be. What doesn’t work online are long lengthy sentences. Because online readers scan rather than read, you want to make sure that your paragraphs aren’t more than 4-5 sentences long. This makes them easily scannable, and helps comprehension.

Put one-line sentence in between long paragraphs to give readers a break.

(Like that one, for example!)

Unnecessarily technical info will tend to lose eyeballs. It’s best to use more simplified and less formal words when you can.

For example:

•    “try”, rather than “endeavor”
•    “help”, rather than “enable”
•    “work together”, rather than “collaborate”

Because the Internet is a more casual environment than some other media, the other thing you want to do is make sure you use contractions online. 
So that means:

•    “We will” becomes “we’ll”
•    “You are” becomes “you’re”, etc.

Your copy needs to be focused entirely on what your customer needs and wants to see. This means any self-interest has to take a back seat for now. Don’t bang on about your mission statement, how long you’ve been in business, and how great you are. While these things have a place, they are not your focus here.

One telling way to find if you’re guilty of more being less than customer-focused is to do the following exercise:

Go through your copy in detail. Each time you find words like "we" and "our", replace these with "you" and "your” whenever this still makes sense.

How do you score?


Get Rid of Any Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

You might think people don’t really notice this stuff, or that it doesn’t really matter.

Want to bet?!

Studies have shown that bad spelling and/or grammar are actually perceived as ignorance - and worse - stupidity on behalf of the writer. (That would be considered you!)

A recent one done by goosegrade.com polled 175 online readers on how spelling and grammar affected their perceptions of a blog or website. Check out the results!

Spelling and grammar example

The importance of good spelling and grammar

Spelling and grammar shows its importance

And last, but not least:

Spelling and grammar errors
How spelling and grammar affect web user impressions of a site

You saw the results. Now go check your affiliate site with a fine toothcomb!

Better yet, get someone who's not familiar with it to do this for you. Because your brain makes your eyes see what they expect to when you're reviewing information, over-familiarity with your content makes it all too easy to miss those glaring typos. Take it from one who knows!


Use the right spelling for your target region

While this may not seem a big deal, we’re all about providing reassurance here. 

People like to buy from people like them, so you want to match their language.

If the main market you’re selling to is the US, make sure you use US spelling rather than the British spelling.
 
For example, this means:
•    “color”, rather than “colour’
•    “program”, rather than “programme”
•    “optimize”, rather than “optimise “


Repeat your offer and benefits

By the time someone gets to your shopping cart or order form, they are often in a different space than when they first got to your affiliate site. Suddenly it’s all about the money, honey!

You need to provide reassurance at this point.

Let them know the best parts of the benefits they’ll receive once they buy.
 
Some prospects click on “Buy Now” to find out what your price and shipping costs are. You want to maximize the opportunity you have here as well.

Highlight any incentives they may get, or reasons there are for buying now. Make sure you provide good reasons why they should buy now, and reward them for it. Tell them why it’s best to act promptly.

For example, you might have a one-time only offer of a valuable bonus that they will lose out on if they procrastinate. Or there may only be a certain number of products available at that very special price. Put this info on your order page and let them know what they’ll be missing out on if they pass up this opportunity!


Make sure you provide reassurance

Whenever you ask for info, give reassurance as to why you need it there and then.
 
People get cold feet very easily online - any doubts about the safety of their details and money, and they’re out of there.

For example, if you’re asking for someone’s email address when they sign up for your newsletter, make sure your privacy policy is in clear view (You do have a privacy policy, right?!). Have a statement underneath the sign up box that reassures the prospect that their details are completely safe with you.

You can also have the logos of your payment providers in full view at your shopping cart.  Let your prospect know that you use a secure server, and show the logo of the anti-hacker technology you have in place.

If you have a guarantee, make this as good as you can and have it on your order page or show it when they enter your shopping cart.

So there you have a number of ways to approach writing your copy that can help you with conversions!

We’ve looked at the sort of language that it’s best to use online, what your headlines need to focus on, and the right way to format your copy for web users.

Take a look at your affiliate website now and go through it looking for any ways that it misses the mark with these things.

Fix them up using the tips we’ve just gone through, and let us know how you get on!

Look out next week for Part 2 of this series: "5 Business-Boosting Ways To Increase Your Sales Conversion Rate".

September 13, 2009

Comments (5)

Said this on January 14, 2010 At 11:59 am
These are all excellent points and reminders. Thanks for the info!
Said this on January 14, 2010 At 02:13 pm
Excellent article, and you've followed your own advice -- short, to the point, well written, with great information and examples and other bits inserted to keep the reader's interest. Wish I'd written this one so I could send it to my readers!
Said this on January 14, 2010 At 02:51 pm
Great write up for the basics. Hope I live up to them!
Said this on January 15, 2010 At 05:48 am
I took your advice and just checked one of my sites and found a spelling mistake in the first line!

Thanks Sally - great article covering a lot of the basics which sometimes we can all forget about or take for granted

Look forward to the next in the series

Aidan
Said this on February 13, 2010 At 06:16 am
Excellent, very informative, and jammed-packed with helpful, practical advise. . .

Now to review my sales page for the gazillionth time to ensure that I've got all your points covered!

Thanks,
Sue

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