In “The Basics of Effective Website Copywriting Part I,” you learned how to plan and organize your ideas to prepare for the creation of your sales copy. In this article, we’ll be covering some specific techniques for writing persuasive copy using the seven-part structure from article one:

  1. Attention: the sole purpose of this section is to grab the customer’s attention.
  2. Problem: this is the section where the problem is in which the product is going to solve, often accompanied by emotional language which describes the pain caused by the problem.
  3. Solution: this section is where the solution to the problem is sold to the customer, but before the actual product details are revealed.
  4. Product: this section includes just enough details about the product to give the customer idea of what they are purchasing, while still leaving them curious about many of its features.
  5. Proof: this section consists of product testimonials as well as statistics and facts which support the claims made by the product. This is also where potential objections are dealt with.
  6. Offer: this section justifies the price of the product and offers limited-time bonuses as well as overcoming the customer’s desire to delay the purchase.
  7. Action: this section tells the customer four things: what to do next, what will happen when they do it, why they need to do it (by reminding them of the benefit) and gives an additional PS at the bottom of the letter to remind them of the urgency of the offer.

These are techniques that can also be applied to writing sales copy for email marketing, article marketing, or any other persuasive writing.

Techniques for Getting Attention

Effective Headline Construction

There are three components that your headline needs to be effective in getting your reader’s attention: curiosity, a promised benefit, and brevity. Take this headline for example:

“How Did This Ordinary Couple Pay off $14,432.00 of Debt in Just Three Months?”

As you can see, the headline creates curiosity about how the benefit (getting out of debt) was actually accomplished. It gets the message across and gets the attention of the reader quickly so that they can get on to reading the “meat” of the letter.

So as you’re creating your headline, make sure that you’re meeting all three of these criteria. For best results, come up with three variations for the sake of split testing and determining the most effective one.

Preparation for Coming Decision

Preparing your customer for a buying decision (which will come later in the letter) serves two purposes: it helps to filter out the non-buyers and it establishes trust with your customer by telling them upfront what they can expect. Some professional copywriters refer to this as “future pacing” the reader. The best way to do this is to use a promised benefit (see underlined text in the example below):

Dear Reader,

“If you’re hopelessly in debt and looking for a way out, this couple’s story might hold just the answer you’re looking for…but that’s not all.  By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be able to decide exactly how this solution can empower you to reset your financial life…starting today…”

 As you can see, the curiosity and suggested benefit from the headline is used to tie them to a decision that will come at the end of the letter. By deciding to keep reading, they’ve already committed in their mind that they’re open to making a decision to receive the benefit.

Now you’re ready to move them to the next stage of the sales letter.

Addressing the Problem

In order to effectively sell any product, you have to demonstrate that you understand the customer’s problem. In sales writing, this is accomplished by addressing both the problem and the pain caused by it. There are two ways to do this:

Addressing the Reader Directly

This technique involves making the reader’s pain personal through questions or in-depth descriptions. For example:

“Are you worn out with struggling to get ahead financially while being constantly suffocated by credit card debt?”

Of course, other sentences would follow which specifically and graphically address the pain which is being caused by the problem the product is going to solve.

Empathetic Stories

This is a bit of a softer approach where you address the pain which the reader is in using someone else’s story. For example:

“Three years ago, Dave and Becky Johnson’s marriage nearly came to a bitter end. The cause: constant money fights. Loaded down with credit card debt and student loans, this young American couple had nearly given up all hope…”

As you can see, this example addresses the pain caused by debt worries using someone else’s story. Again, more details would follow, and would eventually lead to a transition such as:

“That was until they discovered the revolutionary solution which got them out of debt and gave them a completely new hope for their financial future…”

This benefits-focused transition then uses curiosity to prepare the reader for the next segment of the sales letter…

Presenting the Solution

This section is where you present the solution and sell the customer on that before you actually introduce the product. Presenting the actual product at this stage could distract the customer from being sold on the solution first. Here is an example of how this is accomplished:

“Believe it or not, you don’t have to put your life on hold to get out of debt. In the past few decades, more and more consumers have discovered a simple solution for getting rid of debt known as: “the debt liquidation principle…”*

*This is an imaginary principle created simply for the sake of this example.

This section would then continue with an explanation of how “the debt liquidation principle” worked, without giving away the specific details which would be covered in the product. As the solution was “sold,” examples would be given of benefits that the reader could expect from using it.

This prepares them for being sold on the actual product, which uses the principle that was described in the “solution” section….

Presenting the Product

As long as the solution has been described clearly, the reader ought to be well prepared for the presentation of the product. This would be accomplished by describing the product and how it uses the already described solution to achieve the benefits which have been detailed since the beginning of the sales letter.

For example:

“If you’re ready to discover how “the debt liquidation principle” can work in your life, then “The Debt Escape” will make it simple. “The Debt Escape” is a simple do-it-yourself multi-media system that will walk you step by step through the process of getting out of debt…fast. Here is what you’ll get when you download “The Debt Escape.”

What would follow the above paragraph would be a detailed description of the features of the product, followed by the benefit of each feature. For example:

“Lifetime access to six financial calculators: discover exactly where your money is going so that you can direct it towards building financial security with “the budget calculator.” Discover exactly what you need to pay and in what order…”

As you can see, the calculators are the feature and each one is being “sold” by describing the exact benefits which the reader can expect. The remainder of the product presentation would follow in this manner, always keeping the detailed descriptions focused on the benefits.

With these segments completed, you can now move on to the final three segments of your letter: proof offer and action. These will be covered in the third article of this series…

Continue to Part III of this Series