The #1 Secret to Writing Winning Sales Copy
“Boring is the DEATH of copy.”
That’s a quote from Tim Erway, CEO at Elite Marketing Pro, and while it might sound a bit extreme, he’s not exaggerating.
Because although there’s obviously more to marketing than putting on a show, there’s no quicker way to KILL your conversions than by boring your audience to tears.
If you’re putting your readers or viewers to sleep, there’s NO possible way you can close them or compel them to take any sort of action, period.
So…the obvious solution is to be more entertaining, right?
Well, sort of.
But there’s more to it than that…
Setting the stage with strong copy
You’re not merely playing the role of “writer” whenever you compose an ad, blog post, or email, you’re also the protagonist of your tale—you’re the main character in the narrative you’re creating.In the immortal words of Shakespeare…
“All the world’s a stage and each of us is a player.”
And though Bill might not have been a master salesperson per se, he certainly understood how to captivate an audience (and continues to do so, centuries later).
The key is to make your audience put themselves in your shoes.
As even though it’s about you, it’s not actually about you!
…it’s about your audience’s wants, pains, and desires,
You’re simply serving as a surrogate for your audience’s inner world.
But first, you need to learn how to capture their attention.
Because in today’s age of “bite-sized” attention spans…
You’ve got to immediately stand out.
All eyes are on YOU and…
Your job is to grab your audience’s attention from the word “go!”
Think about the opening scenes of classic films from the past that stick with us today…
- The thumping orchestra of Star Wars that thrusts the audience right into the middle of an epic stellar battle
- The first three minutes of Jaws where an unsuspecting girl is devoured a great white
You’ll never forget seeing these for the first time, right?
These are brilliant examples of “hooks” that reel us in and encourage us to see the story through until the very end.
For more on writing a compelling opening “scene,” check out: 5 Tactics to “Hook” Your Prospects in 15 Seconds or Less!
So, returning to my opening line…
You can’t be boring!
You’ve got to whet your audience’s appetite
And encourage them to come along for the ride.Here’s the thing, though:
If you’re going to be entertaining, you have to go about it the right way.
In fact, an awesome hook that goes absolutely nowhere is perhaps the quickest way to turn your hottest prospects ice cold.
It’s like the boy who cried wolf.
So don’t make a bold promise you can’t fulfill.
Thankfully, you already have everything it takes to come up with your own killer hook.
You don’t need to be Shakespeare or Spielberg:
All you need is a quick shot of inspiration.
The link between entertainment and enthusiasm
Jordan Belfort, the infamous stockbroker behind the events of The Wolf of Wall Street, has a great quote about the most aspect of closing any deal:
If you can’t present yourself as someone who is sharp as a tack, ENTHUSIASTIC as hell, and an expert in your field, you literally cannot move your game forward. […] We all want to deal with pros, or ‘experts,’ as the phrase goes, and we want to deal with people who are sharp and on the ball, and also seem EXCITED about what they do.
In short, you should strive to be enthusiastic and so should your copy.
This advice represents some serious food for thought:
What you say and how you say it leaves a greater impression on your audience than what you’re selling.
I mean, you’re not going to listen to the guy that’s with hunched over with his hands in his pockets, doing his best Ben Stein impression, right?
Injecting a sense of excitement into your ads is crucial, but so often overlooked by marketers who think they can get by on features or benefits alone.
Truly effective marketers find ways to get their audiences engaged, regardless of how “boring” their pitches might be on the surface.
Despite popular misconception, manufacturing enthusiasm can be done.
How Volvo turned a potentially “boring” niche into viral gold
Let’s break down a brilliant example of how one clever brand took a seemingly dull subject matter and spun it into pure advertising gold.A couple of years ago, Volvo wanted to showcase their cutting-edge technology known as “Dynamic Steering.”
In a nutshell, it’s an electronically-controlled steering assist feature that adjusts approximately 2,000 times per second to create highly precise steering for drivers.
Pretty cool, but still a somewhat tough sell on the surface (especially to non-truckers).
I mean, even with those features in mind, I can’t think of many people who’d get all jazzed up about precision steering.
Obviously there were about a million different routes Volvo could have gone with their advertising campaign for this particular feature, and they were fighting an uphill battle regardless.
So, Volvo decided to play the game of “show, don’t tell” to display the power of their newfound steering action.
You see, Volvo’s Dynamic Steering allows for two truck drivers to travel side-by-side while maintaining identical speed and distance, with full trailers attached, without deviating a single inch.
Impressive, but again, the public response to such a feature on paper is little more than, “so what?”
Well, take a moment to enjoy this minute of awesomeness, featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme:
Epic stuff, huh?
And undoubtedly the coolest thing you’ve seen Van Damme do in the past twenty of years.
This ad obviously has a lot going for it.
For starters, it oozes cheesy 90’s nostalgia; meanwhile, the demonstration of Volvo’s Dynamic Steering is breathtaking.
Hold up, let me watch that again…okay, back!
The beauty of it is the simplicity of the demonstration.
You don’t even need the context of who Van Damme is to appreciate the stunt itself.
Now, I know what you critical thinkers might be thinking:
“Neat, cool, okay. But did it make any money? Did it work?”
According to FastCompany, here’s how the ad performed by the numbers:
- Volvo’s campaign featuring the ad generated over 100 million views on YouTube and 8 million social shares
- The campaign created over 20,000 media reports worldwide, generating approximately $172.6 million in free publicity
- Of 2,000 truck drivers surveyed, over half of those exposed to the campaign noted that they would be more likely to choose Volvo next time they’re tasked with buying a new truck
Oh, and according to The Wall Street Journal, Volvo truck sales were up by 31% a mere month after the campaign debuted, and while Volvo only spent $3 million to produce the campaign, it resulted in $175 million in revenue.
Not a bad return on investment, huh?
Now, the lesson here isn’t that you need a multi-million dollar budget and access to celebrities to make your ads effective.
The key takeaway from Volvo’s success story is simple:
Entertainment works to sell things.
The secret to making your own copy exponentially more compelling
Okay, let’s quickly review and make something crystal clear:You do not need epic stunts to sell stuff.
All you need is something that will make your story STICK with your audience.
Let’s go back to Volvo’s campaign:
They wanted to awe their audience and they found a way to do it that was short, sweet and certainly to the point.
Watch the ad again, though, and you’ll notice something that’s perhaps more subtle.
There are two stories happening simultaneously within the ad: that of Volvo’s Dynamic Steering and that of Van Damme.
Sure, Van Damme’s display of strength is awesome, but his narration is what seals the deal.
Van Damme’s calm and cool declaration of, “I’ve had my ups and down, my fair share of bumpy roads and heavy winds,” creates a compelling parallel for the viewer.
He then talks about how his body is engineered to defy the laws of physics, and suddenly “wows” the audience with his epic split.
Van Damme’s physical metaphor represents the “ah-ha!” moment of the ad
Through this metaphor, the audience instantly understands why Van Damme’s there; meanwhile, Volvo succeeds to create a personal, human connection between their viewers and dynamic steering of all things.And that’s the entire concept of “spicing up” your copy and avoiding the trap of boredom.
When you play the role of storyteller, crafting metaphors and tales to keep your audience engaged, you go above and beyond the sales pitch.
Ever notice how so many emails and sales letters start off with small personal anecdotes?
Tales of someone turning their luck around or facing some sort of crossroads?
It’s because they work.
Every ad, email, or blog post should represent a story with a distinct hook, lesson, and payoff.
I always incorporate “morals” and “lessons” within each and every post I write to connect a story to what we’re selling.
For example, you might remember this blog post in which I linked the story of Tom Sawyer tricking his peers into doing his work for him to “tricking” people into opting into your list.
Boom, there’s your metaphor.
Or this post about the parallels between Steve Jobs charging a premium for Apple products and how marketers should “charge” people for their email address to access your list.
Luckily, creating a metaphor doesn’t require you to be a master wordsmith.
It’s just a story with an added twist.
So before you write anything on behalf of your business, spend some time thinking of the big-picture metaphor you want to get across.
Because your audience craves a good story.
Now, what sort of hooks can you come up with to get your audience interested and stick around until the end?
Ultimately, you should strive to be the entertainer and storyteller they’re hungry for.
Putting together YOUR winning sales story
It’s no secret that many marketers struggle with crafting compelling stories, metaphors and calls-to-action.This rings true whether you’re writing an ad, blog post, or email sequence.
- “Is this entertaining?”
- “Does this even make sense?”
- “Does anyone actually want to read this stuff?”
These nagging doubts can stop you in your tracks and keep you from moving forward.
Fortunately, there are some surefire strategies to figuring out whether or not your content is going to “click” with your audience and we have been fortunate enough to have a copy write master show us how become a master at our own copy-writing with their course she has put together. It is now available to you!
Simply pick up your own copy and watch the magic happen.
[mlsp-cta campaign=”copywritingmastery” popup=”false” layout=”wide” align=”left”]
Your own copy is right here, right now!
[mlsp-cta campaign=”copywritingmastery” popup=”false” layout=”wide” align=”left”]Until next time,
Your Entrepreneurial Friend