Nine tips to help you write online sales copy that sells

Just as copywriters the world over had perfected the art of online copywriting along came the Internet and turned everything on its head. Writing online sales copy isn’t exactly the same as writing offline sales copy. Here are a few of my favourite tips and techniques for writing online sales copy that sells:

Out and out sales copy is more of a turn off than ever. And let’s be honest it always was a bit of a turn off. Nine out of ten people say they positively try to avoid reading (or watching) advertising. It’s almost like the more you try to sell something the les people will want it.

Editorial-style copy is usually best. Readers like the fact that they’re discovering something useful, even if you’re secretly selling them something alongside. So imagine you’re writing a newspaper or magazine report. Offer information and even news, opinion, analysis.

The most effective techniques of successful online copywriting are …. well, pretty much the same as the most effective principles of successful offline copywriting. If I had to pick one, then selling the benefits rather than the product (or the sizzle rather than the sausage as it’s often known) would be the most effective one.

More is more …. unfortunately. In a world awash with online information consumers don’t seem to think your content is credible unless you have lots (and lots) of it for the them to read. Long copy also serves a practical purpose in keeping customers on your site.

This doesn’t mean your copy can be verbose or padded however. You need to make every word count.

My reader …. my friend. In online copy it’s OK, if not essential, to cultivate a closer relationship with your reader than you ever dared possible in offline copy. Write your copy like you’re writing a letter (or an email) to someone you already know.

Listen …. don’t lecture. Online selling is a two way street. People like to feel you understand what they want and need and that their point of view is just as important as yours. The question is a wonderfully effective technique in online content. Ask your reader what they think, and ask for their feedback. (This is probably what clever Internet marketers would call engagement.)

Keep it simple. Simple to read that is. Online content can be hard to read, especially on a phone or tablet. Break your copy up into bit-sized chunks. You’ll make it much easier to digest, and increase the chances your message will get through by breaking it up into short sections. Don’t be afraid to use one sentence paragraphs sometimes.

Justify what you’re saying. Consumers are increasingly sceptical and won’t take what you write as gospel. Worse still, it’s easy for them to check out your claims, facts and figures. If, for example, you say that your Mk10 widget is the most powerful on the market provide some justification to support that.

If you can convince them what you’re saying is right you’ll begin to convince them that your product or service is right too.

End with a call to action. This is another online copywriting technique which can be successfully lifted from the offline world. When a reader is reading your content online there are so many distractions that you really need to make it clear what you’d like them to do next. Whether you want them to enquire, fill in a form, click a link or place an order then make it crystal clear that action should be.

I hope you find these tips useful and that they’ll help you to improve your online copywriting skills. If you’d like some help with writing your online content don’t hesitate to get in touch with me: Mark Hempshell