In parts one and two, I showed you how to create an outline for successful web copy and also discussed various ways of adding substance. Now you have all the raw materials available to create profitable copy, the next step is to put everything together while adding a little decoration to make it stand out from the crowd. Read on to discover how to construct winning sales copy that will worry your competitors.
This the classic copywriting principle that has been used to great effect for decades. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire and Action and is based on the fact that web copy is designed to get leads, customers, sales and profit. Here is the AIDA principle in practice:
- Attention: You need to use powerful words or images to capture the attention of prospects in a world where adverts bombard the populous. An example of this is a catchy headline or a potent subject line in email marketing.
- Interest: Now that you have their attention, you have to engage with your target audience well enough to get them to spend time comprehending your message in more detail. For this to work, you need to understand the interests and expectations of your audience and this requires a certain level of marketing research which should have been performed by this stage.
- Desire: Your next goal is to make prospects ‘desire’ what you are offering and this is where you offer certain features and benefits. The main features of your product should be designed to offer benefits that are specific to your target audience. Describing a feature is not enough; you have to explain why this feature is useful. I once worked for a client who sold all-natural hormones; instead of just saying ‘this cream increases your testosterone level’, I also included benefits such as ‘this cream can enhance your level of testosterone which will increase stamina, sex drive and muscle mass’.
- Action: This is the call to action stage and you must be very clear as customers need to know exactly what you want them to do whether it is registering for a newsletter or making a purchase.
This actually stands for Unique Sales Proposition and as the name suggests, a company’s USP is a vital way of showing why it stands out in the crowded marketplace. In other words, it is supposed to be your competitive advantage that makes your company seem better than all the rest. Avis, the car rental company, came up with the brilliant ‘We’re number two. We try harder’ motto when it was clear the organisation was miles behind the number one rental company, Hertz. Rather than focus on the fact that Avis was not the top dog, it cleverly switched emphasis and told customers that *because *it wasn’t #1, it continued to work harder to catch up.
When it comes to creating a USP, there is limitless scope. To be successful, create a USP that fills a glaring hole in the market that your company is best equipped to fill. If you come up with an awesome USP like Avis, you can use it as a headline or branding tool for all future copywriting endeavours.
You’ve already heard about the importance of having an attention grabbing headline but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ve won half the battle. So many businesses write a killer headline followed by a bland first paragraph. In this instance, all the headline does is buy you a few extra seconds before customers get bored and leave! Your first paragraph must give readers a good reason to continue and show that there will be a reward for doing so or else they will leave and play World of Warcraft! A clever copywriting device is to ask a question to get the attention of readers and only answer it at the end of the page.
Be Like the Godfather!
By that I mean ‘make them an offer they can’t refuse’. In web copy, things are a little different than in print copy where the objective is to quickly outline the offer. In the world of website copy, you must try and sell without being obvious about it. Regardless of the format, your offer needs to be clear, concise and irresistible.
According to Professor Steven Reiss of Ohio State University, there are 16 desires that motivate human behaviour ranging from power to vengeance. Reiss’ lengthy period of study revealed that there are two basic human needs: desire to avoid pain and desire to feel pleasure. To be successful when writing web copy, you need to have the ability to meet these demands.
Your offer should always come from the viewpoint of the reader which is why your copy should be written in the second-person (you, your and yours). This makes your readers feel as if you are writing specifically for them and your offer should outline the advantages and benefits of your product. The use of bullet points is an effective method of creating bite-size chunks of information and makes the sales copy easier to read.
We are nowhere near finished and in the next part, I will help you determine when and how to discuss the cost of your product, why you need to add a guarantee and how to close the deal.