What's your main focus when writing sales copy?

26 replies
Is it...

Your offer?

The benefits of your product or service?

Using the right words, or fancy adjectives, to make your copy sound exciting?


All of those are good answers. But they shouldn't be the "main" focus of your sales piece.

(Note: This post is for the less experienced sales writers among us, because the more experienced copywriters already know this stuff...)


So, If you're writing your sales piece, and you're unsure what your main focus should be... Then pull up a chair, and grab yourself a snack.
Because in the next couple minutes I'm gonna throw down some gospel for you.



First, let me start with a preamble, just to set the mood...


There was thread started a couple weeks ago, from AnneE who wanted advice on how to increase donations, to her crowdfunding page.

One of the replies that came from GordonJ (a wise member of this forum) contained the following passage...

(Note: You can read the entire post here, but I'm just focusing on this one part for the moment)...


Originally Posted by GordonJ View Post

In addition to the feedback you have already rec'd, my opinion for faster fund raising results is to refocus your campaign on the traffic that comes there, and of course, the SOURCE of this traffic and I think they are more interested in your goodies at the different levels.

Crowd fund raising investors, outside of family friends, want to see what is in it for them,

^^^ That blurb contains a brilliant bit of advice right there!!! ^^^


I've tried to tell people this, over and over (and over again). Sometimes they get it...Sometimes they don't!


ALWAYS start (and finish) writing with the focus of "Who is your audience? And, what's in it for them?"

Because that's what most of your audience is looking for, when they're reading (or listening to, or watching) your message.



This goes for ANY piece of writing, where you want your audience to take some action. (From a full on sales piece, to a fundraising piece, to a sales video, to an email, down to a simple opt-in form on a website)



Whether it's something that will improve their lives, or just something that gives them a good feeling of doing a good deed (like a charitable donation)

If you want people to "take action" you need to give them a reason that means something to "THEM"


I can't even count how many times I've started working with a business, who's previous ads were all about the company. (i.e. - here's how great our product or service is... we have a bunch of happy customers... our past clients love us... you should buy from us because we're great... etc. etc. blah blah blah!)

Seriously, when I read sales copy like that, all I can do is is shake my head and wonder how they manage to get any new customers at all?







Simply put, if you ever find yourself creating an ad... and you start thinking "what can I say to convince people how great my product or service is?"


STOP!... Back up... Regroup... And reverse your direction...



And instead, start with "who is my audience, what do they want, and how does my offer help them get it?"


When you start (and finish) your sales piece, with this state of mind, your sales copy and your response rates, will only get better!

Sumthin' to think about...


Here's to writing better winners, more often.

All the best,
SAR



Note from above: I said "most" of the time, your audience only wants to know "how your offer benefits them."

But, there is an exception...

If any of the experts on this forum are critiquing your copy, at your request, we're probably not looking to buy whatever your selling.

All we're really looking for, is you to show some appreciation for the time and effort we've freely given you, to help you make your sales copy better.
And you can either reply with some words of gratitude, or at least click that little "thanks" button under our reply.


Bottom line folks... None of us are gettin' paid to help you here. And we're often giving you thousands of dollars worth of insight, and help... for free.
So if you don't show any appreciation this time around... next time, we might not reply to your request for help.

(Sumthin' else for you to think about...)
#copy #focus #main #sales #writing
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by SARubin View Post



    Bottom line folks... None of us are gettin' paid to help you here. And we're often giving you thousands of dollars worth of insight, and help... for free.
    So if you don't show any appreciation this time around... next time, we might not reply to your request for help.

    (Sumthin' else for you to think about...)
    Appreciation? What's that? LOL

    Seriously, appreciation is in short supply in the world today, so save yourself the emotional let down and stop expecting it.

    Sure, the occasional poster expresses gratitude, but most don't.

    To be candid, I've been posting here since 2007 for only two reasons: 1) to position myself as an expert, and 2) because I enjoy talking about this stuff.

    In my opinion, our posts help very little. If you really want to help rookie copywriters, enter into a one-on-one coaching relationship with them. I've found the experience to be personally very rewarding... and very helpful to the individuals I've coached.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author SARubin
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      Seriously, appreciation is in short supply in the world today, so save yourself the emotional let down and stop expecting it.
      Well, it's not really an "emotional let down" (seeing as how I'm not all that emotionally invested).

      It's more about simple etiquette. It doesn't take that long to say "thank you," when someone helps us. And it takes less than 1/4 second to click the "thanks" button.

      If someone can't spare at least that much of their time... Well then next time maybe we don't spare any of our time, to help them out.


      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      In my opinion, our posts help very little. If you really want to help rookie copywriters, enter into a one-on-one coaching relationship with them. I've found the experience to be personally very rewarding... and very helpful to the individuals I've coached.

      Alex

      Yeah, lately I've been considering doing some one-on-one coaching, with some rookie copywriters. Right now I've got a pretty full plate, with all I have going on. But maybe that'll be one of the next phases of my life?

      All the best,
      SAR

      P.S. Just for the record, Alex... I "appreciate" you replying to this thread
      .
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by SARubin View Post

        Well, it's not really an "emotional let down" (seeing as how I'm not all that emotionally invested).

        It's more about simple etiquette. It doesn't take that long to say "thank you," when someone helps us. And it takes less than 1/4 second to click the "thanks" button.

        If someone can't spare at least that much of their time... Well then next time maybe we don't spare any of our time, to help them out.
        If you have ANY amount of expectation, there's an emotion attached.




        Yeah, lately I've been considering doing some one-on-one coaching, with some rookie copywriters. Right now I've got a pretty full plate, with all I have going on. But maybe that'll be one of the next phases of my life?
        Yes, it's time consuming. For a student to get real value, you have to review their work and make helpful suggestions.


        All the best,
        SAR

        P.S. Just for the record, Alex... I "appreciate" you replying to this thread
        .
        Well thank you! I feel all squishy inside! lol

        Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
      Like your post, Alex!
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Excellent advice. For me, writing sales copy comes down to being authentic. My readers are clear on what I have to offer because I offer it in simple, clear and direct fashion. No manipulating, no trying to get people to buy. They know me. More importantly, they know I am intending to help them through my offer so when I put myself in their shoes and cut to the end game, my copy does A-OK.
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    • Profile picture of the author SARubin
      Originally Posted by ryanbiddulph View Post

      No manipulating, no trying to get people to buy. They know me. More importantly, they know I am intending to help them through my offer so when I put myself in their shoes and cut to the end game, my copy does A-OK.
      I knew you'd get it, Ryan,

      You write with the intent of trying to help people get what THEY want.

      Doesn't that make it so much easier? When we're not spending all our time trying to manipulate people into the sale?

      It takes a little more work upfront, to learn how our market feels, and thinks. But I find it almost always makes the sales flow more smoothly.

      All the best,
      SAR
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      • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
        I noted in another post that the word 'manipulation' was being bandied about a bit and I just want to say that I believe the word 'manipulation' may not really have a place in selling because I feel it expresses that you are trying to mold the client's attitude toward what you want them to do, not what may be in their true best practical interest.

        What I want to do is educate the client about my product only after I feel that it is a product they themselves have initially sought out of their own volition, a product they really need. I don't want to try to educate or try to sell a product to someone once I have learned it may simply not be something they don't really need or it doesn't fit their budget at this time.

        For instance, I work for a water softener company. We not only sell water softeners but we also sell regular drinking water filtration and air filtration systems. Our softwater systems use salt or potassium chloride to "soften" the water. Many people simply don't want a soft water system that uses salt. I may then mention that you can also purchase a system that uses potassium chloride, instead.

        If I start getting resistance from the client against either the salt-based or potassium-based system, in good conscience, I would not continue to try 'manipulating' or 'persuading' the client to purchase. I would mention some of our other drinking water filtration systems that do not use salt or potassium and maybe talk about our new alkaline water systems, as well.

        I would strongly be against trying to 'manipulate' or 'persuade' anyone that is showing a great lack of interest as I believe that would not be good business, morally or ethically.

        I say this because I have had feedback from more than a few clients who state that they have said no to our sales reps and some reps simply do not know how to accept the fact that the client is just not going to budge and the sales rep should just pack up and go home. Continuing to try and manipulate the client into saying yes has its limits and we need to learn that there is a time to chalk it up and call it a day.
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    • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
      I like what you have to say, Ryan, and that's what I want to do. I have never attempted copywriting but I believe that I have the ability and skills to do it. I'm what you call a 'diamond in the rough' and I have to be polished. In my case, I will have to do the polishing and I hope it will be easier to do that, in here. It appears there is a lot of skill and help in here, so I will see.

      In my initial visit here, tonight, i am feeling good that I have come to the 'write place.'
      I am 100% in agreement with you. There is no better way to 'sell' a product than by not trying to 'sell'. My philosophy from what I have been studying about content marketing is that you educate first and the rest can be all downhill. And, yes, getting people to 'know' you.

      My approach to this is not worked out, yet - because I am going to be 'marketing' an offline product. Softwater systems, along with various water and air filtration systems. I know one of the first things I need to do is to learn all I can about the products and then educate people first and foremost and get to know the people or at least to make them feel they can contact me with any questions they have.

      This is a little new to me, so I'm still thinking it out. This is all in kind of a pre-planning stage as far as how I am going to kick it off. That is why I am in here. Copywriting and content marketing will be my first tools in my 'toolbox.' I would like to say that it is nice to meet you and thank you for your insights.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
    As for me, I am VERY GRATEFUL to be here. I want so much in my heart to be a copywriter, to be great, sure - but right now I will settle for all the help I can get in here and I will hope to just get better as time goes along.

    I am 73 years old and I am of the philosophy that if you believe you can, you will - and if you believe you can't, you won't; either way, you're right and I would prefer to be WRITE.
    Anyway, I am new here and I am thankful already and have barely scratched the surface of what people here have to say.

    I am very appreciative and I would like to say thanks to all of you in here who so FREELY give of your time to help those of us in search of a better life for our families.
    Like I said I am 73 [no obstacle to me] and I am hoping that copywriting can become my new career.

    My need is because I don't want to leave my wife here[ when I pass on] without financial support and with the money we presently make, including our social security, well, let's just say, my new focus on copywriting as a career path is a necessity.

    What's that saying? Necessity is the mother of invention or something like that. Well, my necessity is coming out all over the place and my invention is, I hope, my honing up on my writing skills - so, here I be.
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  • Profile picture of the author ezjob
    Writing about the benefits and how they are a huge asset to the buyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
    To cut to the chase, I am a Rainsoft water softener surveyor in a few Home Depots in southern California. I am 73 years young and so far being on my feet 5 hours a days 5 days a week has been a breeze, When I first started doing the surveys, my feet would kill me. Now, my feet seem to be "taking it in stride."

    But, I don't plan to keep on 'truckin' around Home Depots forever, and I firmly believe that I have the skills to become a very good copywriter. I know it may take time and I take every day as a new beginning so I don't feel any pressure to become a Joe Sugarman or Caples, tomorrow. But, I believe I have enough "on the ball" to get there soon.

    What I would like to do is eventually work from home and get clients for my company using content marketing and copywriting techniques. I just have to determine the best approach. I do know I need to learn as much as I can about the products as well as learn as much as I can about the proper approach techniques with copywriting and content marketing.

    I have read a lot and have been studying a lot of material from the Content Marketing Institute as well as various other online content marketing-focused companies. I am also reading a lot of materials from Joe Sugarman, John Caples and others.

    I will be reading much of the material here in the copywriting section of the Warrior Forum and I am sure that will help me a lot. I am very amenable to listening to anyone who is a professional copywriter. Your advice would be a treasure to me. I would also love hearing from those of you trying to learn like me.

    I have to say, though, that I do not want to pay anyone for coaching at this time. I just don't have the cash. If I can develop my skills into a solid product that can be sold on the market, though, then I would be very open to investing in programs that I know could help me.

    For now, I am willing to be a part of this community and absorb the knowledge, the advice and camaraderie. Feel free to reply to me with your ideas or friendship. Anything that will help me get closer to learning how to be a marketable copywriter is gratefully appreciated.

    Cordially,

    John Vance
    [writeasrain]
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    • Profile picture of the author SARubin
      Originally Posted by writeasrain View Post

      I am also reading a lot of materials from Joe Sugarman, John Caples and others.
      Welcome John [writeasrain] ,

      Reading the classics is a good start. The next step (your true education) comes from when you actually try to sell something from the written word.

      That's when you'll know if the market responds to your writing (or not)

      If the market doesn't respond to your copy, don't get discouraged. Because that's when you get to start testing different things... and that's when the fun (and learning) really begins.

      If the market does respond to your copy, then congratulations... your a copywriter. (But just don't get too cocky, because nobody hits winners every time. And the next one may, or may not, work)



      All the best,
      SAR
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      • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
        SAR,
        Thanks for your feedback. Very appreciated. I am willing to learn and I believe, I know, I have the ability. I just have to keep moving forward and listening to good copywriting and content marketing experts. I don't have years as I am 74 but I am an optimist, so the years don't impact me as much as some people.
        I could kick the bucket in the next few minutes and that just isn't part of my equation, I live in the now! Be here now! Who wrote that. I read that. I believe that. Ram Dass, I believe, from yrs ago.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by writeasrain View Post

      To cut to the chase, I am a Rainsoft water softener surveyor in a few Home Depots in southern California. I am 73 years young and so far being on my feet 5 hours a days 5 days a week has been a breeze, When I first started doing the surveys, my feet would kill me. Now, my feet seem to be "taking it in stride."

      But, I don't plan to keep on 'truckin' around Home Depots forever, and I firmly believe that I have the skills to become a very good copywriter. I know it may take time and I take every day as a new beginning so I don't feel any pressure to become a Joe Sugarman or Caples, tomorrow. But, I believe I have enough "on the ball" to get there soon.

      What I would like to do is eventually work from home and get clients for my company using content marketing and copywriting techniques. I just have to determine the best approach. I do know I need to learn as much as I can about the products as well as learn as much as I can about the proper approach techniques with copywriting and content marketing.

      I have read a lot and have been studying a lot of material from the Content Marketing Institute as well as various other online content marketing-focused companies. I am also reading a lot of materials from Joe Sugarman, John Caples and others.

      I will be reading much of the material here in the copywriting section of the Warrior Forum and I am sure that will help me a lot. I am very amenable to listening to anyone who is a professional copywriter. Your advice would be a treasure to me. I would also love hearing from those of you trying to learn like me.

      I have to say, though, that I do not want to pay anyone for coaching at this time. I just don't have the cash. If I can develop my skills into a solid product that can be sold on the market, though, then I would be very open to investing in programs that I know could help me.

      For now, I am willing to be a part of this community and absorb the knowledge, the advice and camaraderie. Feel free to reply to me with your ideas or friendship. Anything that will help me get closer to learning how to be a marketable copywriter is gratefully appreciated.

      Cordially,

      John Vance
      [writeasrain]
      John, if you'd like some help learning, just let me know. I'm now semi-retired, but I do enjoy taking on a motivated student from time to time. The coaching would be free... no obligation.

      Alex
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  • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
    I would just like to say that I am 100% grateful and I feel very privileged to even be in here with, what appear to be, some very knowledgeable and helpful, experienced copywriting folks. I do not take it for granted at all and I know that every bit of information about copywriting that helps me to reach my goals in becoming better at this art, is strongly appreciated and I am very, very thankful to those of you who take the time to impart the same on all our behalves. Not sure if I said that in a clear enough and correct manner, and I do hope you get my drift.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bella Lopez
    Great advice. My major focus while creating a sales copy is to focus on the audience and describing how the product (or service) can solve their problem or bring fun to their life.

    People like to hear the solutions we have to offer and click to know more quite often.
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  • Profile picture of the author winwordz
    Nicely written. Really useful information. It is very pertinent point where you say focus on your audience when writing.
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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    RE: What's your main focus when writing sales copy?

    My 'main' focus is to make sure that I am following a tried and trusted formula and not just winging it.

    From time to time we all get carried away with our own creative genius and forget that what we should be doing is sticking to a proven set of 'rules'.

    There are of course different formulas that have been created, some are in fashion at any given time and some are not (just the same with certain gooroos)

    I've found that by getting folks to have a proven copywriting formula they get more success than just 'being creative'
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    Making Calls To Sell Something? What are you actually saying?
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    • Profile picture of the author SARubin
      Absolutely. And most of the best "formulas" start with the focus of the market first.

      Even the old classic AIDA (which is really one of the most basic formulas) starts with...

      Getting the Attention of the target audience
      Then building the Interest of the target audience
      Then creating a Desire with the audience, for our offer
      Leading to the Action we want the audience to take


      So a proven formula, or set of rules, is a great place to start. As long as we keep our focus on what's in it for our audience.

      If we simply tell people we want them to buy, because we just want their money, it doesn't really seem to have the same impact as telling them "what's in it for them."

      All the best,
      SAR




      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      RE: What's your main focus when writing sales copy?

      My 'main' focus is to make sure that I am following a tried and trusted formula and not just winging it.

      From time to time we all get carried away with our own creative genius and forget that what we should be doing is sticking to a proven set of 'rules'.

      There are of course different formulas that have been created, some are in fashion at any given time and some are not (just the same with certain gooroos)

      I've found that by getting folks to have a proven copywriting formula they get more success than just 'being creative'
      Signature

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  • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
    However, I should add as a newbie I did appreciate what was said and I am very thankful for the post information. Hope my thanks will suffice.
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  • You're dead on.

    To build on that:

    Not just "what's in it for them," but...

    "My offer satisfies their biggest desire."

    The mindset I keep when writing copy is that my prospect needs to think, "If you can give me that, than I'm in."
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  • And of course, thanks for posting.

    I only check in to WF once in a while, but it's great to see someone new offering solid advice and sparking great discussions.
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  • Profile picture of the author dmrson
    The headline is the main focus for me. I personally think 90% of conversions or lack of are down to the headline (alongside quality product images and a well designed website)
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  • Profile picture of the author R0b328
    The main focus for me is the problem that the reader is facing and hitting that pain point with the headline and body. One thing that REALLY helps me is getting excited about what I'm selling. To me, that's just as important if not more important than what words go where or the technical aspects of the sales page.

    You can't transfer to others that which you do not have, therefore if you're not excited, it'll be really tough to sell anything. If I'm not excited and super enthused about what I'm selling, nothing else about the sales page structure will matter.

    Once I get that genuine enthusiasm piece in order, then everything else can simply be organized into the right structure on the page. Excitement/enthusiasm is KEY for me.

    Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author writeasrain
    I just wrote my first ad for my own redworm business and I would love anyone's feedback, please. I am learning slowly but surely the rules of
    copywriting. Please let me know the good and the bads of this ad.
    This is NOT to promote my ad, just for your critique. Thanks.
    The subheadings are all bolded in the ad.

    WORM CASTINGS - GARDEN GOLD [HEADLINE]

    MUST TEXT ME AT: [760] 798-6960 I DON'T SEEM TO BE GETTING
    CRAIGSLIST EMAILS! PLEASE DO NOT CALL ME, TEXT ONLY!!!!

    FRESH VEGETABLES WITHOUT CHEMICALS [SUBHEADING]
    Sound Good to You? That's Right. No Chemicals.
    Pure and Organic. 100%.

    JUICY TOMATOES AND LEAFY GREENS [SUBHEADING]
    Beautiful, Firm, Red Tomatoes. Crispy, Leafy
    Romaine and Butter Lettuce.

    BLACK GOLD BOUNTIFUL HARVEST [SUBHEADING]
    There is No Secret to Such Goodness. You
    Can Do It. Black Gold or WormCastings.
    A Cupful Per Seedling And You are on Your
    Way.

    REDWORM DIET OF VEGGIE SCRAPS AND HORSIE MANURE [SUBHDNG]
    Castings You Purchase are 100% Organic and Worms Thrive on
    a Diet of Veggie Scraps and Horse Manure. Redworms Produce
    a Fresh, Earthy-Smelling, Nutritious Plant Food that You Just
    Cannot Purchase in Any Store. I Guarantee It!

    5 gal. bucket of castings is $30.

    PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN 5 GAL BUCKETS.
    HOME DEPOT HAS 5 GAL BUCKETS FOR $3

    Castings can be picked up 7 days a week - TEXT for times.
    Must have a couple of days notice as I work a regular job, too.
    TESTIMONIALS:

    "If you are in need of great quality worm castings or looking to start a
    worm compost bin of your own, then John is your guy! He is extremely
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    I have been getting castings and worms from John for a little over a year
    now and I would not think to go anywhere other than Redwoms Rock!

    The castings are always rich and clean smelling. I use the castings mainly
    to build a living soil from scratch but they are excellent for making microbe
    tea as well. I consider John an exemplary humanitarian, public servant and
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    -Matt V. from San Marcos

    ______________________

    Excellent product! I love what these castings do for my plants.
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    John is friendly and generous with his knowledge. Thanks again!

    Terrie P. --- Escondido

    __________________

    Redworms Rock is located in San Marcos. I have been raising redworms
    since 2012. My name is John - reply to this ad for more info and directions
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  • Profile picture of the author SEOptimization@1
    Good post, thanks for sharing.
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