There are a handfuls of simple changes you can make to improve your sales. One of those simple changes comes from tweaking the way you write content on your blog. Believe it or not, there really is a formula that copywriters use to convince people to buy products. You, too, can use that same formula on your own website to increase your audience and to improve your sales.
Present the problem
In order to more effectively reach your audience, the first step to take consists of making sure that you present the problem. Why do you need to present the problem? Well, in basic terms, without a problem in place, people have no needs to be met. Without a problem, there is no reason for anyone to take any kind of action at all. For humans, these problems come in the form of hopes, fears, dreams and desires. In my opinion, fear is the biggest driver and closely related to all problems.
As an example of what I mean, many people “hope” that they are attractive to others. But, the hope is driven by the fear that they are not attractive. For this they need a solution – a way to be more attractive. Someone may “dream” of being a famous actor – but they fear they are not talented enough. Or not skinny enough. Maybe they fear they have the wrong color of eyes. So, they are looking for a solution to overcome the fear, whether it is acting lessons, a diet or contact lenses to change eye color.
Presenting people with a problem that revolves around hopes, dreams, desires and the fear that comes from those components alerts them that they need to do something. This can be something as simple as reading your article to find solutions. It could also call for purchasing something to solve the problem.
Once your audience understands the problem you have presented, your copy should provide a way to solve that very problem. With your help, then, your audience can take the necessary action to resolve the problem you presented. In essence, you are “exposing” the problem and then presenting the solution to said problem.
Identify with your audience
First, you tell them what’s wrong. You want to write about it from the perspective of someone who totally understands what they are going through. This can be because you, too, have faced the problem. Your point of view indicates that not only have you gone through the problem, but you can also offer solutions to the problem. When writing, you do not want to alienate your audience by looking down on them. For example, if you are writing about how to get out of debt, don’t want to have an attitude that comes across as superior by saying something like, “While I would never let myself get into debt, here’s how you can get out of it.” Instead, you want to write from the “Hey – I’ve been there too” point of view.
Instead, show you audience that you understand. Let them know that you walked the same road and have felt the pain in your own life. By spending the time to establish a common bond, you build trust. You show that your solution has merit and can help them.
Provide the solution
Once you have established trust, you want to show them that there is a solution to their problem and then you present that solution. Because you have presented a problem, then your audience understands the significance of your copy. When you build trust by indicating that you too have faced the problem, you have gained trust. Then, since you are on the other side of the problem, your solution has validity. Your solution is something that your audience will want to consider.
Present the solution in digestible chunks
Your solution might seem easy to you because you have worked your way through the problem and are on the other side of it. But, to your audience, basically in the middle of the problem searching for a way out, the solution might be confusing. One of the biggest mistakes most people make when presenting sales copy with a solution is failing to break it down into bite sized chunks. You have spent time on presenting the problem and creating trust. Thus, you must spend time presenting the solution in an easy to follow format. The presentation of the solution then becomes critical.
Break your copy up into small bits of information with step-by-step directions. When words are written together in long paragraph form without breaks, readers tend to skim rather than read the content if they read it at all. Thus, they could easily miss a critical element of your solution or get confused and click away from your site without taking any action at all.
Use headlines to guide your readers
To get your solution across, write your copy in a style that flows easily. Make it easy for your audience to understand by using clean, crisp headlines for each critical point. Each headline should be followed by your story line. Next break up more complex and lengthy ideas into sub-headlines.
With significant headlines, your reader is able to skim the content. And let’s face it – that is what we all do when reading. Very few times do readers go through all the content on a page. They skim to find that information that they need before taking action – or moving on. So you want to facilitate skimming for those who are just looking for key points.
Condense ideas with bullet points
Using bullet points in your copy facilitates skimming. Bullet points serve an important purpose – they take long paragraphs and put them in an easier to read format. Paradoxically, providing key points in bullets make for easier reading that can encourage your reader to actually stay on your page longer to read more. Because it is much easier (and less daunting) to read key bullet points than it is to read huge blocks of text, the reader is more inclined to continue on your site. These bullet points immediately draw the focus of the reader and you can point out important details within each bullet point.
Provide a call to action
Once you provide the problem, build trust and then present the solution to the problem, you then want to write your call to action. People, in many cases, really do want to be told what to do next. This is what you need to do in your copy. However, you must provide this call to action in a way that promotes doing something specific.
This could be an action like clicking a link, asking for more information, buying something or signing up for a newsletter. Sometimes using the same old phrases (Buy now! or Order today!) can backfire simply because it has been seen thousands of times. When you frame your call to action to things that motivate people, then you are more likely to encourage them to act.
Jim Edwards, in his book Copywriting Secrets, provides 10 reasons people are motivated to act. As you read through the reasons, reflect on how much they might motivate you to action.
- Making money
- Saving money
- Saving time
- Avoiding effort
- Escaping pain – either mental or physical
- Getting more comfortable
- Achieving more – cleanliness or hygiene to achieve better health
- Gaining praise or recognition
- Feeling more loved
- Increasing popularity or social status
Indeed, these are powerful motivations to act. I encourage you to do a little exercise to reinforce these concepts before moving on. Write down the last five to ten things you purchased. See where they fit in the above list to motivate you to act.
Going back to the problem
As you are writing your call to action copy, look back to the original problem that you presented to your reader. Here’s where understanding what the problem is can work in the call to action. For example, if you were selling products that successfully treated acne, instead of having a “Buy Now” call to action, you could use, “Yes! I want to get rid of my ugly bumps starting today!”
As you create your call to action, put yourself into your customer’s shoes. How is the problem hurting their life? What emotions are they battling because of it? Embarrassment? Social anxiety? What fears are coming from the problem and how can your call to action eliminate those fears.
Summarize and emphasize
As you are writing your copy, don’t forget to use a PS and PPS on your page. Why is this important? Some people skip the sales copy and head straight to the price point and postscripts to see what the page is summed up about.
Let’s face it. There is truly more information out there on the Internet than we can ever consume. I am frequently guilty of skipping all the blah, blah, blah and looking for the final point. I often skip down to the bottom – sometimes to see if I even want to spend time looking at everything written at the top. If the PS and PPS is interesting enough, then I go back and read what I skipped over. So, summarizing and emphasizing your key points are critical for the end of your copy.
Finally, at the end, it is important for you to show the readers what they will risk if they don’t take advantage of your offer or your call to action. This is a great time to focus on the good things that come from action and the bad things that happen with no action. Again, focus on the motivators discussed above to show the reader what they will miss without action – whether it is losing money, wasting time, losing love or any of the other motivators related to the problem solution.
If interested in even more in depth discussion of writing good copy, I highly recommend buying Edwards book, Copywriting Secrets: How Everyone Can Use the Power of Words to Get More Clicks, Sales and Profits… Not only will his book provide outstanding assistance to improve your copywriting, he also includes multiple resources for the Internet marketer.