How to Determine the Sales Copy You Need

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Generally, the only contact you will have with the vast majority of your potential customers is through the text in your web site -- your sales copy.  There is no face-to-face, personal interaction on the Internet, so your sales copy needs to do the job of the salesperson in an off-line traditional shop, who would help customers in person, show and explain to them the benefits of your product.

That's why it's so important that you have sales copy that will...

1.  Draw the reader in immediately with exciting benefits and enticing copy that will lead them towards the sale

2.  Establish your credibility -- after all nobody will buy from you if they don't think they can trust you.

2.   Explained the benefits of your product or service to your reader and show exactly why they need it

4.   Direct visitors through the sales process in a way that encourages the maximum number of sales

And much more…

It's amazing how many people still make a big mistake: they develop an excellent business model and put together a great web site with all the right elements -- good graphics, well organized navigation menu, a clear and simple ordering process...

…and then they neglect their sales copy!

Unless you are a huge enterprise with an established reputation that precedes you, you will need to have convincing sales copy on your web site.

About sales copy

When I talk about sales copy, I do not mean those big headlines or five word blurbs that far too many people attempt to use.  They expect this to do all the selling for them!

We've all been to a web site with a home page is that filled with a massive text that says something brief -- and generally pretty vague -- about the product or service at hand.  Though this kind of text is designed to be catchy and grab your attention, what the site owners don't realize is that it is really doing just the opposite; most often, it simply confuses the visitors, encouraging them to move on to another site.

Many people will have a couple of sentences of copy that they hope will be enough to turn the visitors into buying customers... but this doesn't do it either!

Another common mistake is using huge, bold, colorful text to greet their visitors, saying such things as…

Welcome to www.ourwebsite.com

This does not count as copy.  You can't fill your homepage with some enormous vague headline and expect it to do all of your selling for you.  Yet this is what we see all the time.

A web site for a rose nursery is colorful and bright but without the sales copy… there is absolutely nothing to make you connect with the people behind the web site and no real ‘pull’ to make you want to explore the web site further.

Lets compare it with another site, also selling flowers. Imagine this site also has some great colorful pictures but this new site has copy that pulls you in with a suggestion to get a jump start on Valentine’s Day and it leads you gently to the sale. All on the home page!

What you need is carefully constructed sales copy that takes your visitor by the hand and takes them through all the necessary steps in your sales process.

Before any person makes a purchase, off-line or online, they need to know what's in it for them... they need to be convinced of the merits of your offer.  In some cases, this will mean you need short, compelling chunks of text that describe your products or services and create excitement around your offer.

Each blurb of text will take on the specific task of presenting the benefits of each specific product or service to your audience, with the purpose of generating enough interest to persuade visitors to click through to product pages were you can present your offer in more detail.

In many other cases, it will mean you need a long sales letter.  "Long copy" on the Internet takes its cue from the direct marketing sales letters that have been tested over and over again for about a century now – and have never stopped working!

A long copy sales letter is generally about 6 to 10 pages in length -- and sometimes up to 20 or 25 pages. These highly structured letters are specifically designed to lead readers through a proven sales process.  There are a number of instances in which long, informative sales letters will outperform short copy by a wide margin...

When should you use "long copy"?

People used to think that long copy just didn't work on the Internet.  In fact if you talk to some online marketers, they will still try to tell you that online sales copy should be broken up into multiple short ‘chunks’ of text -- one per web page -- with no more than a single thought or idea presented per page.

While it may be true that short copy makes sense from a layout and design perspective, the fact of the matter is that LONG COPY SELLS.

We have done extensive testing and re-testing.  We’ve  tried both short and long copy and everything in between.  Time after time, it is our long, 8 to10 page sales letter -- and sometimes more than 20 pages -- that really pull the best results.

If your site fits into any of the following categories of online business, then you should consider using a long copy sales letter to sell your offer:

1.    If you sell one product, you need long sales copy

2.    If you sell a service, you need long sales copy

3.    If you sell one type of product with limited variation – i.e. If you sell six different kinds of water filter, all with the same benefit -- you need long sales copy

If you sell a few products, it may be worthwhile to establish different sales pages (or even websites) for each one.  That way, you can keep your sales page or site much more focused.  This makes it easier to target your market with strong, personal benefits they can connect with -- and also help optimise your site for the search engines!  Another benefit is that you don't confuse your reader with too many products.

You may be still skeptical about the need for long sales copy,  or you might think you don't need to bother when you first start out.  But the fact is, long copy works especially well for a small business -- it is one of the best ways a new start-up can begin building a customer base.

Think about it: if you were starting out online, or even if you've been online for a while now and attracted a fairly small target market, you don't have the instant credibility of a large, well branded site like Amazon or eBay.  In fact hardly anybody does -- we don't either!

Sites like eBay are so well branded they have instant credibility!

Only a handful of the top online retail giants can reasonably expect their name to sell their products for them.  The rest of us have to work at it!

With a well constructed sales letter, you can lead people through each stage of the sales process -- which we will cover in detail -- and give them exactly the right information at exactly the right time to ensure that you overcome their objections to buying.  A good sales letter will enable you to close the sale successfully.

It takes a certain amount of time and you need to implement a number of steps to create the right formula.  That's why your sales copy needs to be long, and carefully written to ‘walk’ the readers smoothly through the sales process -- so by the time they are asked to make a buying decision, they are convinced of the value of the product and are open to the offer.

Remember, any time you ask visitors to click onto a link or go elsewhere in your web site, you risk losing them.  And the more clicks you ask them to make, the more potential customers you will lose.  That's why is extremely important that you put your sales copy right on your homepage where it is the first thing visitors see.  Don't make them go looking for it, and you won’t lose a good chunk of your audience!

Long sales copy is a science, not an art.  That's because there is a very specific structure you need to follow, and there are certain tasks you need to accomplish in order to create the winning formula that you can use to SELL ANY PRODUCT OR SERVICE.