Rob Palmer Helping you get more sales through killer copywriting, better advertising and optimal digital marketing:

Copywriter 101: Killer Copywriting Strategies that Make More Sales

8 min read

Discover how deploying copywriting skills can explode your sales and transform your business practically overnight.


The X Factor

If you don’t understand what copywriting is, and why it’s important to your business, then you are losing money. And a lot of it.

Whatever market you are in, and whatever you sell, you are sure to have lots of competitors. And in today’s world of online business, you probably have more competitors than ever before.

How can you stand out from the crowd? How can you beat the big guys who have big budgets and can just throw money at the problem to get sales?

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That’s where copywriting come in. A good copywriter can perform what seems like magic on your business - potentially turning a loss-making campaign into a huge winner. It really is the X Factor that can turn your business around, generating sales on demand and allowing you to scale your business at will.

If you are struggling to get a return on your ad spend, or you can’t obtain the price your products are truly worth, then you need help. And some good copywriting can provide the answers you need.

What is Copywriting?

The word ‘copywriting’ is perhaps a rather unfortunate description. It suggests simply copying, which is far from being a creative activity. In fact, that’s pretty much the opposite of what copywriting is. Worse still, the word is also easily confused with ‘copyright’ - which is a whole different subject altogether!

Copywriting is perhaps best described as the art of persuasion - or better still the science of persuasion. Because a good copywriter will employ a number of highly-sophisticated strategies and techniques to advance the sale. It’s all about communication. My definition is:

Copywriting is the skill of getting the right message to the right person at the right time to make a sale.

Note that all three of those element are essential. You can’t sell ‘anything to anyone’ - but you can sell the right product to people who actually need it...but only at a time when that need is pressing.

Killer Copywriting Strategies

So how do you use copywriting strategies and techniques to sell your products and services? Let’s start taking a deep dive into the core principles you need to understand if you want to get more sales.

1. Creating the Right Offer

Good copywriting is not about using the power of words to sell whatever you have. It all begins with an analysis of your offer.

First of all, it should go without saying that your offer needs to deliver real value to your customers. If you are trying to sell some kind of dubious product or service that’s not worth the price you are asking, you deserve to fail. So everything starts with the assumption that you have something of real value to offer.

Your product (or service) should be worth more to the customer than the price they have to pay. Ideally, it should be worth at least 10 times as much.

If that’s not the case, you need to go back to the drawing board and rethink your strategy from the ground up. When you have something that you are proud to sell, it’s time to move forward. Everything is so much easier when you start with quality.

2. Identifying Your Audience

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is trying to sell their products in a scatter-gun fashion. They advertise everywhere in the hope that some sales will stick. That’s no way to run a business. In fact, it’s a fast track to the poor house.

Part of that is understanding the demographics of your target buyers. What age are they, and what gender? Where do they live? You also need to understand the psychographics. What are they interested in? And what motivates them?

But most important of all, you need to identify people with the problem that your product solves. Their problem could be anything from a broken pipe flooding their bathroom to a need to feel loved. Every product exists to fulfil some kind of need.

So who is lying awake at night worrying about the problem you can solve? Who will say ‘yes, that’s just how I feel’ when you  start hitting their emotional triggers?

When you understand exactly who your potential buyers are you are ready to create the right message to reach them.

3. Crafting Your Message

In order to create the right message, you need to fully understand your prospect’s needs. And that means joining in the conversation that is already going on in their heads.

Very few marketers take the time to do this, yet it is critical to success. Many great products have failed because the marketing did not connect with what the buyers really wanted.

Equally, other products have become huge successes because they hit a raw nerve and provided a solution that people were ready to pay for. An example of this is AOL, which was one of the earliest Internet providers.

AOL set out to provide a family-friendly Internet service. Yet the part of the service that really took off was their chat room service. For the first time ever, people were able to join chats and groups where they could indulge in private ‘adult’ conversations with people around the world. And they loved it!

AOL hit an emotional hot button by accident - and their sales rocketed as a result. (Of course, you won’t read about that in their corporate history, but it’s true!)

IBM also hit gold with an unofficial catchphrase in its heyday - ‘no-one ever got fired for buying IBM.’ Although this was never an official tagline, sales reps relied on it heavily to generate sales.

While other IT vendors were pushing the features of their technology, IBM was hitting a more deep-seated need. They were reassuring Chief Technology Officers that their jobs would be safe if they went with IBM - and that message trumped everything else. IBM understood the conversation going on in their prospects’ heads - ‘what if I screw this decision up and get fired?’

So copywriting begins with understanding your prospects fears and frustrations, plus their dreams and desires. Only then can you craft a message that hits those hot buttons every time.  

Remember that those hot buttons will ultimately be emotional reactions. Engaging with your prospects emotions is the key to success in copywriting.

4. Finding the Hook

Now that you understand exactly who your prospects are, and what they are interested in, you can craft a message that targets them precisely. But in a world in which we are bombarded by advertising messages all day long, you need to make an effort to stand out.

So what’s your pitch? Or in regular marketing-speak...what’s your value proposition? You need to identify how your offering stands out from the crowd. Your prospect wants to know ‘what’s in it for me?’ - and you’d better have a good answer to that question.

The traditional copywriting mantra is that it’s all about benefits, not features. Nobody cares about the latest grass seed, but they do care about getting a greener lawn. If you understand the importance of benefits, you are already ahead of most of your competitors.

But you are still only half way there. It’s not just about the benefits; it’s about the results. The reason people want a greener lawner is so they can take pride in their homes and impress their visitors. Having a greener lawn makes them feel good - and it’s feelings that drive their buying decisions.

We will pay almost anything to get away from feeling bad and towards feeling good - making that happen is what sales is all about!

5. Hit on a Hot Headline

Many things have changed in the world of advertising, but the fundamentals are still the same. And one constant factor is the importance of your headline.

This is one area you should invest a great deal of your time and effort. The job of the headline is to sell the prospect on the idea of reading (or watching) your ad. Don’t try to sell your product here. The job of the headline is simply to engage attention. That’s why curiosity-based headlines work so well.

The headline ‘Do You Make These Mistakes in English?’ sold correspondence courses for decades. Yet it did nothing to sell the product itself.

It simply engaged with the conversation people were having in their heads (‘am I making a fool of myself socially?’) Then it drew people into the ad with curiosity; readers simply had to know what the mistakes were, and if they were making them.

6. Leverage the Power of Bullets

In the online world, advertisers seem to have forgotten the art of writing bullet points. Yet they are one of the most powerful ways of getting your message across.

Bullets give you an opportunity to cover all the bases, ensuring that you answer all the prospects questions and concerns. With information products, you can also use them to hint at ‘need to know’ insights that can only be obtained by buying the product. Bullets are great for:

  • Covering every single benefit the product offers 
  • Emphasizing the outcomes these benefits deliver
  • Showing how your product is different
  • Highlighting the ‘fears and frustrations’ that will be resolved 
  • Heightening curiosity and desire to know more

Often, a single bullet point can make the difference between getting the sale and losing the sale. Lean how to write great bullet points can tip your sales copy over the edge into the powerhouse zone.

7. Gain Trust

The biggest single problem that marketers face is gaining the trust of potential buyers. With exaggerated claims made everywhere on a daily basis, why should prospects believe you?

Winning trust has to be a major goal for every copywriter. You need to backup your claims with all the credibility you can muster. Do everything you can to leverage:

  • Demonstrations (show your product in action) 
  • Testimonials (written ones are good, videos are 10 times better)
  • Case studies (show real people getting real results)
  • Endorsements (recommendations from relevant authorities) 
  • Guarantees (reverse the risk and make the buying decision easy)

8. Emphasize Logical Benefits

We’ve already seen that people buy primarily for emotional reasons. Yet we justify our decisions with logic.

A middle-aged man may buy a sporty Corvette because it makes him feel young again. But he will tell his wife that he bought it because classic cars are a good investment.

So ensure that when it comes to the close of your pitch, you have plenty of logical reasons lined up to underscore the sale. Your prospect may be sold on your product emotionally, but you need to find the right logical trigger to get the sale.

9. Add a Degree of Urgency

The biggest enemy that all copywriters and marketers face is the dreaded ‘I’ll think about it.’ You can pull out all the stops, do a fantastic job of making the sale...yet the prospect stops on the brink.

Procrastination truly is the ‘thief of sales.’ Your prospect may well be thinking, ‘yes it’s a great product, but there’s no reason to buy it right now…’

So you need to give them a reason to buy right now. Sales work well for a reason; once the sale ends the opportunity to get the discount is gone forever.

Scarcity is one of the most powerful tactics at your disposal. But it needs to be genuine. Don’t try telling people that there are only 100 copies of your digital product available. Instead, add real scarcity. This could be fast-action bonuses only available to the first 100 buyers, or a limited number of copies sold at a pre-launch price.

Used well, urgency and scarcity can send people into a buying frenzy. Learn how to leverage that to double or even triple your sales.

10. Maximize CLV

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is one of the most important yet most neglected metrics in marketing. As a copywriter, it’s your job to see that every campaign delivers the highest possible return on ad spend. And that means paying close attention to CLV.

There are a whole range of strategies you can deploy to substantially increase customer lifetime value. These include:

  • Upsells 
  • Downsells
  • Cross-sells
  • Order bumps 
  • Reclaiming abandoned carts
  • Recurring payments
  • Reducing churn

...and many more. Get good at implementing these strategies, and you will be able to deliver outstanding results that others can’t compete with.

Always Be Learning

We live in a world where technology is changing the way we market products at a frenetic pace. While the basics of copywriting will never change, the techniques and tactics we can deploy are evolving very quickly.

So in addition to implementing all the above, you need to be alert to new ideas, new strategies and new possibilities. They say that copywriting is the most valuable skill you can acquire. In today’s world, it’s more valuable than ever.

When you combine the basics of killer copywriting with advanced marketing technology, you get a sales powerhouse that delivers truly amazing results.

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Rob Palmer Helping you get more sales through killer copywriting, better advertising and optimal digital marketing:
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