Sales copy: what it is and how to write to sell online

Writing a sales copy is the art of copywriting, an English term that means writing advertising texts to attract the user and encourage them to make a purchase. The sales copy is the text that the copywriter (the person in charge of writing) creates to present the product or service.

If you want to learn how to write to sell, keep on reading this article, and you will find many useful tips to refine your technique. And to delve deeper into the subject, I recommend you take the SEO Specialist Course by Digital Coach®.

But let’s get back to it… in the next paragraphs, you are going to find:

  • an explanation of what sales copy is and how to use it
  • how to write persuasive sales copy for online selling
  • some useful advice for writing converting sales texts
  • what storytelling and how it can help you sell
  • some secret techniques for writing sales copy for social media posts, newsletters, and ads.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Sales copy: what it is and why you should use it

First of all, let’s clarify a possible doubt: sales copy is not just a description of a product or service, but rather content created by a professional, the copywriter, who possesses linguistic skills, creativity, and in-depth knowledge of marketing, above all, is an expert in persuasive writing. All advertising materials aim to persuade the customer to make a purchase, so the text that the copywriter creates should prompt the potential customer to take action. This action doesn’t necessarily mean a sale; before making a purchase, the customer will most likely want to gather more information, primarily online. Therefore, all the texts prepared to sell that specific product or service should be written coherently and, above all, address the specific needs of the customer-user.

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The main goal of a sales copy, therefore, is to promote a product/service or a brand. It serves as one of the best sales techniques in marketing or, more generally, to convey specific characteristics and features through the conscious and structured use of words. The text produced by a copywriter must capture attention and evoke emotions; it must possess what the Romans called “fascinatio“, a sort of ”enchantment” that captivates the reader and leads them to make a purchase. Some may consider this negative, as copywriting is not considered an art because when we write to sell, we are not expressing our inner selves, but rather aiming to “enter the mind” of the customer-user to prompt action.

In reality, those who write to sell constantly appeal to creativity: being professionals of words means having mastery of language and its uses to play with words and create images and emotions.

Copywriting is a marketing activity that requires specific skills, analysis of objectives, target audience, and the market being addressed. It demands both creativity and “scientificity” in the sense that writing must follow a specific method, with content organized in a certain way, while never losing sight of the ultimate goal: making a sale.

Writing sales copy means dealing with not only texts but also images, videos, and graphical content such as social media posts. Each of these contents requires words, and therefore, the copywriter must possess Digital Marketing skills to promote the brand online.

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How to write persuasive sales copy for online selling

You may think it’s an impossible mission, but I can assure you that if you keep reading the next paragraphs, you will learn an effective writing method that you can apply every time you need to write an online sales copy.

use of sales copy

Before you start writing, there’s a fundamental step that requires the right amount of time and some analysis, and it involves:

  • in-depth knowledge of the product or service you need to promote, you will have to analyze all the elements that characterize it and understand who it is aimed at and what needs to be fulfilled
  • defining the “tone of voice” with which to set the text. This will help you stand out from competitors and give an identity to the brand for easy recognition.

At this point, you can move on to the next step: writing. But even here, you need to pay attention to a series of elements that require care and specific know-how. Here are ten essential ones if you want to write a top-notch sales copy:

  1. the choice of words should be functional, meaning it should evoke emotions and feelings in the customer-user that will make them focus on the text.
  2. use rhetorical figures such as metaphors, similes, and synesthesia to create communicative strength that persuades the reader. Here, a mention of neuromarketing should be done, the discipline that investigates unconscious human behavior in the purchasing process. It has become an increasingly influential paradigm for companies looking to maximize their sales.
  3. pay attention to ordering the words in the way we use them: sales copy should be structured as a process that guides the customer-user towards the sale. The text should be smooth to read, easy to understand, and not require interpretation from the reader.
  4. curate the introduction and conclusion: the introduction should leverage the “WOW” effect to attract attention, while the conclusion should be memorable and leave a positive impression of the brand in the reader’s mind, including a call to action (“click here,” “buy now,” etc.).
  5. include in the text the questions that you think the customer-user might ask about the product/service and provide the right answers.
  6. structure the sentences in an affirmative form, as negative meaning can create disturbance and have the opposite effect. Highlight the product’s benefits and advantages for the customer.
  7. whenever possible, incorporate numbers and statistics in the text to convey value and credibility.
  8. avoid using overly sophisticated terms unless required by the product/service. The text should be simple and prevent misunderstandings.
  9. a highly effective technique to use is “scarcity”: expressions that convey urgency encourage the reader to take immediate action. Phrases like “only for today” or “you only have 24 hours to” capture attention and leverage the need to have that product/service at a favorable processing but limited price (FOMO Marketing strategy).
  10. don’t forget to build a relationship between the brand and the customer-user through transparent communication. You can gain trust and brand loyalty by using authentic words that inspire credibility.

 

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Do you know the secret of the best salesperson? Building empathy with the customer. And when it comes to sales copy, nothing changes. Creating a relationship with your potential customer remains the primary goal, and you can do it by strengthening the trust relationship through storytelling about your brand’s values.

How? Thanks to storytelling, which is the narrative that emotionally engages the customer. Describing the characteristics of a product/service through storytelling is a powerful technique that can reach the deep emotions of the consumer.

Telling stories is both an art and a science or, better yet, a method. Storytelling also requires respecting precise rules. If the goal is to “stay in the customer’s mind”, what better way than to write “memorable” stories that leverage emotions?

Writing corporate stories involves designing emotions, which means the symbolic and value-based construction of the product/service that is becoming an increasingly utilized technique by companies to build their brand’s story and engage fans.

Do you want to know how to build a compelling story? Here are the “4 i’s” you should always include in your storytelling design:

  • interest: if the story doesn’t generate interest in the customer-user, there won’t be any interaction
  • instruct: the story we tell should convey a fundamental lesson
  • involve: it’s necessary to engage people in our story by leveraging imagination, creativity, and curiosity
  • inspire: the story should motivate the customer-user to take action, meaning we should always include the call to action.

Copywriting and storytelling, together with the broader concept of content marketing, should be seen not as separate sectors but as integrated components of the company’s strategic marketing plan, each with its characteristics.

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Types and techniques of sales copy

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering: how can I put all this information into practice?

Here are some useful tips for creating sales copy suitable for various online communication channels. Each channel requires specific stylistic considerations to be truly effective and encourage potential customers to take action. The text should feel as natural as possible, whether we are writing sales copy for a social media post, a newsletter, a digital advertising campaign, or even the text for an e-commerce website. Remember: if you want to sell online, you need to be creative, empathetic, and original.

There are essential characteristics for all these types of sales copy:

  • always keep the user’s needs at the center of your communication strategy
  • try to appeal to the customer’s emotions
  • stimulate the user, evoke passion, and try to establish connections.

Create engaging copy for social networks

The main objective when using social media channels is to create engagement. Therefore, it’s important to create content that is ”tailored” to our customer-user. When preparing a copy for a social media post, the first thing to do is to have a clear objective for the sale. If the post is intended to prompt the customer-user to take action, it’s important to define the call to action from the beginning. If the goal is to create engagement, we can give the narrative text more space using storytelling techniques that leverage emotions.

sales copy tecnhiques

Each social media platform has its limitations that restrict ”the copywriter’s space”. For example, when writing sales copy for Twitter, we must pay attention to the character count, while if we want to publish a post on Facebook or Instagram, we have more freedom to incorporate visuals and pay attention to where we position the text, integrating it with the image, and use hashtags and links carefully. All these elements are part of writing a sales post, and it is the copywriter’s responsibility to ensure they meet the communication objectives.

Therefore, I recommend that you always check the following elements of your post:

  • text length
  • effectiveness of the title
  • integration of the copy with the visual
  • colors used.

 

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Want to write a converting promotional email?

Here’s how to do it! First, you need to learn email marketing techniques, which involve writing promotional newsletters to be sent via email, to create personalized contact with potential or existing customers.

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Like any marketing action, before you start writing, it’s important to define the goal of your email. To do this, you need to have a clear understanding of the concept of the customer journey, which is the journey your customer must take from being aware of their need for your product/service to make the purchase. This journey involves various touchpoints, or contact points, that the consumer can have with the brand, both offline and online (website, social media, newsletters), which are analyzed during the multichannel strategy phase.

Once you have a clear sales strategy, you can define your email’s sales goal and the target customer you are addressing. After the analysis and planning phase, we move into the heart of sales copy, and here I invite you to pay close attention to four elements:

  • the email subject: If the text doesn’t attract attention, the email will be discarded by the user without even being opened.
  • the introduction should be engaging and deliver on the promise of the subject: Write a text that immediately engages the reader, establishes trust, and focuses on the real needs of your customer.
  • the call to action (CTA) should be a natural consequence of what has been described in the text and should be clear, explicit, and unambiguous.
  • the conclusion of the email should leave a positive impression on the customer, even if they don’t make an immediate purchase, as they might do so with the next email.

So, when you need to write sales copy for an email, pay attention to these points:

  • write to solve a specific problem for your customer.
  • use an engaging tone of voice but avoid unnecessary details that could bore the reader.
  • always include an element of scarcity and urgency.
  • be honest: lies don’t go far, especially on the web!
  • write in a simple, linear, and easily understandable manner.
  • avoid using too many adjectives or exclamation points as they disrupt the reading flow.

Copy for ADS: how to write it?

Promoting a product/service through online advertisements is a great way to increase sales, but it requires a lot of attention and expertise to stand out from competitors. Here are some tricks that can be useful when writing copy for an online sales campaign:

  • the first rule is to be clear: write a text that fulfils your customer’s desires using the right words that go straight to their “gut” because a purchase is always an impulse to satisfy a need.
  • the second rule is brevity: “text walls” scare readers. Use a few words that immediately spark curiosity and interest in your customer.
  • like all sales copy, ADS copy must have a goal. So, include a clear and direct call to action to prompt your customer to take action.
  • always include what is called “magic words” in your copy: “now,” “new,” “limited,” “free,” “promo valid until…” These expressions capture the customer’s attention, leveraging their emotions and motivating them to act so as not to miss out on the opportunity.

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Copy for e-commerce

Before the user clicks the “buy” button, they will carefully read the product page, the “about us” section, the return policies, and the shipping conditions. Every textual content on an e-commerce website should be written with a clear and transparent goal: to inform the user. However, we must not write in a banal and “standardized” manner, as the user won’t add anything to their cart! To guide the potential customer towards conversion, you need to prepare sales copy that not only describes the product/service or provides clear and precise information but also a text that makes the user dream, that allows them to imagine how their life would change if they purchased that product/service. And this “daydream” can be narrated by choosing words that evoke the realization of that dream.

Practically, this translates into a few considerations:

  • use indicative verbs and avoid conditionals or subjunctives.
  • use “YOU” and avoid addressing a generic “anyone.”
  • write in a simple, clear, and direct manner, reducing subordinate clauses.
  • avoid unnecessary English words unless necessary.
  • write with attention to detail: Since online buyers can’t “touch” the products, words must be evocative to satisfy all senses.

The sales copy on an e-commerce website should accompany the user throughout the entire sales funnel:

  • start the text by providing all the useful information to describe your product/service, highlighting its strengths.
  • then, include details and descriptions to convey the uniqueness of the product/service to the user.
  • before the call to action, include hype that brings attention back to the product/service and encourages the user to complete the purchase.

One last piece of advice: eliminate from your vocabulary ”filler” words and expressions like “industry leader” or “innovative product.” They add nothing to the product/service and trivialize it!

Additional tips and free consultation for you

The profession of a copywriter is complex, requiring many skills and preparation, but it opens up a world of endless words and techniques to use them. Some people talk about “manipulation” with a derogatory connotation that disturbs those who, like copywriters, work with words ethically. And here lies the crux of the matter: even when we write sales copy and put into practice our studies on neuromarketing or persuasive writing techniques, we do it to keep a promise to the customer-user. This principle should be the foundation of all communication actions. When we prepare a marketing strategy plan, we are making a promise to our customer, and all the texts we write to promote our product/service must highlight its real qualities and never lie.

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