As some of you may know I am the world's biggest proponent of the N.A.S. Doctrine. You can read all about it here but essentially states that brands should Not Always Sell(ing) via their content marketing and/or advertising endeavors.
However, the bottom line being the bottom line there is an inherent need to sell of course.
The goal of any sales message is the following: to persuade your prospects to take a desired action. Usually, this action will be to purchase a product or service. However, the same principles necessary for persuasive sales copy can be applied to any type of promotional content - whether that's a blog or social media post, video, podcast or sales page.
How do you write in such a way that you alleviate the fears of your prospects, sufficiently explain what you have to offer, and then move them toward a purchase?
Here are some tips on how to craft an effective sales message that respectfully convinces, allays fears and ultimately, converts.
1. Evaluate the situation from your prospects' point of view.
The foundation of any good sales message is a solid understanding of the interests, desires and needs of your prospects. Before you can even begin writing your sales message, it's a good idea to visualize the thoughts and emotions they'll be experiencing as they approach your content. You'll also want to consider exactly who will be reading it.
Some questions to ask include:
You'll notice that all of these questions are related to your prospects. At this stage, your goals and needs are irrelevant; it's all about the customer. Be sure to approach your writing with these needs and pain points in mind to craft the most engaging and effective copy possible.
2. Emotion is the key to drawing them in
Once you've gotten yourself into the mindset of your target market, you'll likely notice a dominant emotion rising to the surface. While not all problems trigger intense emotions, all will have an emotional component (even if only a small one).
Here's an example: When writing sales copy for a fire alarm, the temptation may be to focus on the unique features of the product. Perhaps it holds its battery power for longer than its competitors, or maybe it has received awards for its unique design. But let's face it: Fire alarms aren't sexy, and no amount of copy is going to change that.
What a smart sales message can do, however, is address the underlying emotions surrounding the sale. Rather than focusing on the features of the product - or even the benefits - we can discuss how our product addresses the emotional situation connected to it. In the example of the fire alarm, we could talk about how a more reliable alarm means greater safety and security for your family. The potential for a house fire is terrifying; and while we don't necessarily want to use an outright fear appeal (i.e. arousing fear), our copy should help allay fears customers may already be experiencing.
3. Reason should follow
It's only after an emotional appeal has been made that it's time to address reason. Reason refers to the rational thoughts and ideas related to your product; in other words, the relevant facts and features, as well as any objections your readers may have.
Some elements you might want to include are:
Reason basically consists of all the informational and logistical aspects of your product and of the impending sale. It will also help to alleviate any practical concerns your readers may have by addressing common objections.
4. Credibility and social proof drive home the sale
Credibility is a subset of reason, however it can also help make an emotional connection with the reader by reducing the sense of risk. The goal is to allay the fears of your readers by showing that your product actually works and that others have benefited from it in the past. Here are some elements you can use according to Due founder John Rampton:
4 bonus tips for effective sales copy
The 4 elements above will give you a good start at crafting an effective sales message. Here are a few bonus tips that will help you take your copy a step further.
I think we often get hung up on following someone else's "proven" copywriting template or framework. While the elements above work effectively for me and many others, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for writing persuasive copy.
Keep in mind that what works in one niche may not work in another, so it's important to test out a variety of copywriting strategies. The strategies above are a great starting point, but use them flexibly to create copy that's right for your audience.
What strategies or elements do you use for creating persuasive sales content marketing copy? Any examples you can share?