How to Trim the Fat From Your Sales Copy

How to Trim the Fat From Your Sales Copy

You have only a brief window of opportunity for your sales copy to catch the attention of your audience. With an average attention span of 8 seconds, people will give your ad no more than a quick glance. The sales copy needs to be compelling enough for them to linger for a moment longer and read what you have to say.

Not only do humans have attention spans that are shorter than that of a goldfish (which is said to be nine seconds), but humans are easily distracted. Between mobile devices, constant alerts, and competing demands, it’s no wonder that it is hard to get someone’s attention.

It’s tempting to say a lot. After all, you want your audience to have as much information as possible. But effective digital sales copy is about saying a lot with fewer words. The message needs to be strong enough that the audience wants to learn more but short enough to be absorbed quickly.

Before You Begin

It can be hard to know what content to include in digital sales copy. On the one hand, you want to provide as much information as possible. On the other hand, your message needs to be focused and evoke a reaction from your audience.

Your best approach is to show the audience how your product or service can benefit them. You need to present a problem and your product or service as a solution. 

Your copy also needs to point out why you are the best solution. Why should the audience choose you over your competitors? What sets you apart?

Making sure you have copy that hits the mark involves asking yourself some questions before you even start writing.

Know Your Audience

Your copy needs to resonate with your target audience. Research it well and know what is going to grab that audience. If you have an option in platforms, select the medium where your audience spends the most time.

Different demographics will respond in different ways. Age, household income, geographical region, income level… these factors all play into how people perceive the “problem” you’re trying to solve. You want a message that speaks to them.

Define Your Goal

What is the outcome that you want from your sales copy? Are you trying to get the reader to make a purchase? Or have your reader make a call or schedule a demo?

Without a clear goal, you will not be able to write effective sales copy. The whole point of an ad is to convince the reader to take action. Everything within the ad should be in support of that goal.

Of course, advertising is not only about a single ad. If your goals are more long-term, the copy will look different. Sales copy can also support building brand awareness so that you can increase your customer base over time.

Choose an Approach

You can write an ad from many angles, but you will lose your readers if you throw too much at them. Instead, it is better to focus on one approach within a single ad. For example, you can:

  • Appeal to an Emotion: Try to create an emotional response, like excitement, fear, or FOMO
  • Present an Idea: Introduce your reader to a problem or a change in behavior
  • Tell a Story: You want your reader to be connected to an experience

People buy because they see themselves in what you are presenting. It is either a current pain point or an aspiration. Focus your copy on the approach that will best speak to the reader.

Features vs. Benefits

Sales will always have objections or reasons not to buy. “Too expensive,” “too complicated,” and “not now” are common objections.

It can be tempting in sales copy to overcome all objections by listing a bunch of features, but this is a mistake. Readers may not understand all of the features or become too lost in the details.

Instead, focus on the benefit. You have already identified the approach. Now how will the customer benefit from your product or service?

For example, if your approach is to create excitement, how can you tap into that excitement with a benefit? Why should the readers’ excitement drive them to a purchase?

Create a Call to Action

The ultimate result of your sales copy should be that the reader takes action. Whether it is visiting a website, signing up for a newsletter, or adding to cart, the action is the immediate response that your ad should encourage.

Your goals, approach, and benefits should all be in sync with what you are asking the reader to do. It might be that you work out your call to action first and then build the rest of the copy around it. Then come back and tweak your call to action once you have the rest of the copy figured out.

Your call to action should be strong, but at the same time, people don’t like to be “sold.” They want to feel like they have reached the decision to take the next step on their own.

Now Trim That Copy!

Many platforms don’t merely encourage short copy: they require it. Depending on your medium, you need to find ways to be concise and compelling at the same time. 

The cleaner your copy, the more likely you can reach your audience. Here are some tips:

  1. Revise multiple times – it likely won’t be perfect in the first attempt
  2. Think about the medium and cater your message to that platform
  3. Use compelling words that flow well and are easy to understand
  4. Cut the fluff and remove unnecessary words
  5. Test different versions of your copy and track results

Improving Your Sales Copy

Writing powerful sales takes practice. We’re not all Don Draper from Mad Men who could spin the perfect tagline by instinct. Effective sales copy is a combination of playing with words, testing out your audience’s reactions, and adjusting the messaging as needed.

Writing across multiple channels means not only having effective copy but also having a consistent message and tone.

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