Be an Ethical Entrepreneur, Marketer, and Business Builder

How to write strong sales copy for your website

If you don’t currently have a sales pitch, or you’re trying to improve it, here’s a quick outline of how to put one together for your website.

The first thing I do when writing is start with an outline and I highly recommend it. Use an outline (or mind map) to just jot-down all your ideas and thoughts on the subject. It doesn’t have to make sense or flow smoothly. Not everything in your outline will make the final draft and a few things that weren’t in your outline will get added. From there, here are the steps to creating great copy.

Like catching this Yellowstone National Park geyser in action, finding quality sales copy is rare.

  1. Define your target customer. How old are they? What do they wear? Where do the shop? What do they drive? What motivates them? What do they absolutely love? What do they absolutely hate?
  2. Define what would you like the customer to do once hearing/seeing/reading your pitch. What’s the goal? Enter their email… Purchase a product… Contact you…
  3. Utilize the 4.5 Points of Marketing. Problem, Solution, Why us?, Why now?, Risk-Free
  4. Consider possible responses and questions. Don’t create a FAQ… With a FAQ you can’t control the dialogue. Step the reader through the 4.5 points of marketing while addressing all of their questions as they go along.
  5. Offer third-party testimonials and reference third-party resources. Those testimonials can be written or video. Include them along the side of your page so they’re viewable the whole time. Also, be careful when referencing third-party web pages. Generally you’re better to site the resource without a direct-link because you don’t really want someone leaving your web page to check out the resource and then never come back. However, in some instances it does make sense to provide the link; so use common sense.
  6. Pretend you’re sitting next to someone talking to them. Once you have that vision, take your outline and start writing sentences in the Conversational Marketing style as if you’re talking face-to-face.
  7. Highlight key points for the readers who will just skim. Also use numbered and bulleted lists as well as paragraph breaks, graphics, charts, and pictures to highlight important details that you don’t want the reader to miss.
  8. Test and Measure to determine which copy is most effective. In other words, have multiple landing pages and track your analytics to determine which page is achieving your goal from step 2 most often per visitor.
  9. Sign your letter, postcard, website, or marketing piece. People don’t buy from businesses. They buy from people. If you’re a small business use that personal touch to highlight how you’re different and therefore BETTER than dealing with a large faceless corporation.
  10. Include your most important part in the P.S. Whether you’re creating a newspaper ad, direct-mail postcard, writing an email, or direct-mail letter, studies have shown that people read the headline first; then they read the sub-heading; next they check out the pictures; and finally they read the P.S. or whatever is at the bottom of your ad.

Don’t forget to tell the truth! Which one are you more likely to believe and therefore respond to?

Everything must go!” OR “Our purchasing department made a mistake and ordered too much inventory so we need to clear out some stock.” Just don’t be that furniture company down the road that’s been having the “Going out of business! Must liquidate everything!” sale for the past 3 years. That’s not honest or ethical.

While we’re on the topic of ethics, your marketing should always be honest and up front. Don’t bait-and-switch… Don’t stretch the truth… Don’t tell little fibs that no one will ever notice… In the short term people will notice it and be put off… In the long run it’s toxic. It’s like a cancer lead by the marketing (or sales) department that keeps getting worse but that no one notices until it’s too late. It will eventually catch up with you and ultimately it’s never the most profitable way to run a business of any size.

To your success in writing sales copy, Bryan

P.S. My last 2 blogs were a bit long so I figured I’d shorten this one for you. My next blog on your Marketing Manual might exceed my 1,000 word limit, so consider yourself warned.

The 5 simple steps to writing the perfect phone script…

This could be a script for anything. Sales, service, scheduling, answering questions, etc. etc. etc. Keep in mind that just about every script is doing some sort of selling and so we’ll use some basic sales and marketing techniques to effectively write.

Before we review how to write a script, let’s summarize why every business needs scripts for any question or process that occurs on a regular basis.

  1. It’s the only way to ensure consistent, quality responses to all of your customers every time.
  2. It’s the best way to quickly train a new teammate and bring him up to speed on your business.
  3. It’s the only way to be sure that you’re maximizing the chances of a sale, appointment, happy customer etc. with every interaction.
  4. It’s a great way to replicate all of the best, most powerful knowledge in the business and share it with the whole team and even with your other businesses.
  5. It’s required if you ever want to step away from your business because you’ve set it up to run by itself

There are probably a lot more reasons for scripts, however you get the idea. Scripts are a key to successfully growing your business.

So to create a script you need to follow the 4 Basic Rules of Marketing:

  1. Create a need or problem
  2. Provide a solution
  3. Convince them that you’re company is the best one to handle that solution
  4. Entice them into taking action right now

So let’s keep those in mind while we focus on the 5 steps to creating a great script:

  1. Determine your goal or desired outcome from the conversation
  2. List all the benefits the customer/prospect will receive by saying “yes” to your script
  3. Organize the script according to the “4 Basic Rules of Marketing”
  4. Paint a picture and/or sensationalize
  5. Translate into your own words and dialect

Let’s look at an example that we recently tackled at my business. We have a recurring service that we provide for our customers where we change the filters once per year in their drinking water system so that it functions optimally. Originally that script went something like this:

“Good morning, this is Sally from The Water Company. I’m just calling to let you know that your annual filter change is due. The filters should have been changed <date>. We’d really appreciate it if you can call us back at <phone number>.”

So let’s work through our process:

  1. Determine your goal. – Perform a filter change for our customer on or about 12 months after the last one.
  2. List the benefits. Great quality water, lower long-term cost by protecting the much more expensive membrane, the filters are designed to last 12 months to ensure the best water.
  3. Organize the script according to the marketing rules. –
    1. Problem – They haven’t changed filters yet and their water quality is deteriorating
    2. Solution – A low-cost, convenient, in-home filter change.
    3. Why us? – Well since they’re already using our equipment it’s not like they’re going to call a competitor however they may think it’s better if they do it themselves. Our initial script will assume they’re either going to not do a filter change or they are.
    4. Why should I call back to schedule now? – Because we’ll be in your area and you’re already on the schedule.
  4. Paint a picture – Filters take out impurities and over time they lose their effectiveness to do so therefore delivering lower quality water.
  5. Translate – This is done overall by the script-writer but individually by each person using the script

When we put that all together into a full script this was the result:

“Good morning, this is Sally from The Water Company. The filters in your drinking water system are designed to last 12 months and its been 14 months since your last filter change. As you probably know, every day those filters are taking the impurities out of your water so each day beyond 12 months more and more impurities are able to pass through. You are on the schedule for next week when we’ll be in your area so simply call 555.1234 to confirm and we’ll take care of everything for you. We appreciate you being a part of the Water Company team. Have a fantastic day!”

Since we haven’t reviewed NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) in this blog yet, I’ll just briefly point out some things that NLP would have us correct. First, notice in the revised script how “you” and “your” are used more frequently to put more emphasis and focus on the customer.
Secondly, that last sentence jumped out at me – “We’d really appreciate it if…” What message is that sending to the customer? To me that says “you, the customer, are doing us a service by changing your filters” when in reality its a great benefit to them. Again the proper thing to do is to turn the focus to the customer and how it’s a great benefit to them. Notice how we changed that in the revised script – “You are on the schedule next week when we’ll be in your area…” What does that say. Well it assumes that of course they want a filter change and it also gives them a reason to respond almost immediately. If they don’t we might not be in their area for a while or we might show up when they don’t want us to. Either way, it’s much more likely to illicit a response.

As for the problem and benefits, we decided to pick out the points that the filters are only designed to last 12 months and that regular filter changes require good quality water. We put more specific numbers of 12 months and “14 months”, or whatever the time has been since their last change, instead of just spitting out a date. By listing a date they have to do the math and most people either won’t or it just won’t sound as urgent based on the quick math that they do in their heads.

We tried to paint a picture with our words by talking about “impurities being taken out” and “impurities passing thru”. That’s something anyone can easily visualize and we’re hoping most will automatically picture that with their minds’ eye.

Keep in mind, a script is just a starting point. It needs to flow smoothly when its being used so that it doesn’t sound like you’re reading it. In other words, you need to rearrange, add, remove, change transitional words to make it sound like you’re just talking to the customer. Everyone in your business may have a slightly different “script” because of that, so just make sure they know not to change or alter the key points.

Lastly, as with every change in your business, you need to Test and Measure the results of the new script and again Test and Measure when you improve it next time.

A secondary benefit that I derived from working on this script is that it allowed me to spend some time teaching a team member more about NLP, scripting, marketing, and business in general. Obviously it would have been a lot quicker for me to just write it myself – however if I did that, then I’m just guaranteeing myself that I’ll have to write every script forever.

To your success, Bryan