laptop with buy now and basket

If you’ve ever read one of those really, really long sales pages you could be forgiven for muttering about l-o-n-g copy.  Why do those online marketers feel the need to write SO MUCH?

If you attend any online marketing conference you’ll hear many of the experts say “Everyone hates long copy [long pause], but it works!” 

Many of these online marketers have converted their l-o-n-g written sales pages into video presentations – often taking anything from 5 minutes to an hour or more of your time to get through.  Some of these sales funnels are presented as a ‘webinar’ that you can’t afford to miss and promises you lots of essential information your business MUST have to survive!

As they are the people who make a substantial income from their online sales, they must know what they’re talking about.  However, long copy (or video content) does not necessarily equal good copy.

The guys who know their stuff create really effective sales messages – but there is some rubbish out there too.  I once came across a sales page that was over 9000 words – probably longer than the ebook it was promoting.  I’ve also seen some quite short pages that work extremely well too.

Many years ago I invested a considerable amount of money in learning how to construct a successful sales page.  There is a formula – and it requires a fair bit of work to get it right.

Who is it for?

If you’ve ever been in corporate-land you may have come across Honey & Mumford’s Learning Styles, one of many tests that identifies that we’re all different! We process information depending on our natural preferences – are you:

  • An ‘I want it now’ person?
  • A ‘So how will that work for me?’ type?
  • A ‘Let me think about things a bit’ sort of guy?
  • A ‘That’s all very interesting, but I need the detail before I can make a decision’ individual.

A good sales letter addresses all those approaches – it doesn’t just ramble on and on.

You need to know your target audience – what their problems are, what they want (rather than what they need) and what they will judge to be real benefits.  This will help you to write great headlines and include content that will really hit the hot spots.

Your credibility

If you’ve ever met a business coach who was struggling to make ends meet or an image consultant who looked like she’s fallen out of bed and put on whatever came handy, you’ll know that we need to have reason to trust the people we buy from.

Once you have your reader’s attention you need to assure them that you know what you’re talking about.  Introduce yourself, establish your expertise, knowledge and track record.  Most online marketers use their own ‘rags-to-riches’ or ‘dummy-to-expert’ story to convince their audience of the validity of what they say.  Proof is powerful!

That’s why you should also include testimonials) to convince the reader that they’re onto a good thing.  Third party validation is a strong support (but never, ever make them up).

Pain and gain

The main part of the content needs to be benefit-rich (what’s in it for me?) and focus on the problems that your audience experience, the pitfalls that are typical and then give them an indication that you can solve all those and give them … whatever benefits you know they’ll value.

The icing on the cake

Guarantees, bonuses and other goodies are all part of the mix.   

  • What guarantee are you willing to give? Believe it or not, very few people access a satisfaction guaranteed offer, but it is reassuring for the customer to know it’s there.
  • If people buy your offer right now, what else will they get to make it worth hitting that buy now button? These might include additional material, a buy one-get one free deal, a bring a friend for half price offer,  The bonuses will need tons of perceived value – so if you’re asking people to pay £100, for instance, a bonus worth £10 probably won’t swing it.  But if they’re getting bonuses worth £500 – it’s a no-brainer.
  • You might offer a ‘buy now’ and get a 50% price reduction for a limited period. If someone is getting £100 worth of product for only £50, most will grab it.

All of this applies to both written copy and video content and the structure is the same. 

Don’t forget that all-important ‘buy now’ button too.  Make sure it’s easy for people to take action and offer more than one opportunity for them to do so.  You need to remember that you’re satisfying the needs of all those different ‘types’.  The action man doesn’t want to have to scroll down acres of text to get to it, or get to the end of a longish video to find out what the punchline is.

Most decent sales scripts are somewhere upwards of 1000 words – it may seem like a lot, but remember, IT WORKS!