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Writing to Sell Online: 5 Practical Tips

These essential principles by Sticky Content can help you create compelling, intelligent online copy writing that plays to your audience and pulls them through your sales funnel .

1. Speak to your Audience

Ask yourself three questions:
a)      Who will read this?
b)      Why do they want my product?
c)      What do I want them to do after reading?
Focus on answering these 3 questions clearly and succinctly in your copy, whatever the length of what you’re writing.
For Example
30% Off Carpentry Tools
Get a third off framing, finishing and other woodworking tools, until 12am Sunday. Best-quality only. Buy now‘
In 113 characters, we’re told who this is for – carpenters, specifically framers and finishers – and why they want it, 30% off, best quality. And, it tells them what to do to get it; buy now or before 12am Sunday.

2. Write a Clickable Headline

Don’t be too clever with your heading. Puns, flowery adjectives and obscure references might seem great in your mind, but online audiences won’t take the time to work out the joke.
According to this eye tracking study, headlines are the most viewed element of a web page – so they’re worth crafting carefully. What’s more, the headline usually serves as a link, too.If people don’t understand where the link takes them, they won’t click it, so be direct and clear. ‘Cat sat on the mat’ beats ‘feline perched atop the shagpile’ every time.
A good formula is to start with a verb, and use less than 10 words to distil the key benefit of your product.
For example
Wear catwalk designs at half the cost
Get farm-fresh veg delivered every week
‘Be in Majorca by cocktail hour: flights booking now’

3. Say it Straight

Marketing spiel, clichés, hyperbole and over-the-top promises make your product seem unrealistic. This kind of language alienates the product from the reader, making it hard for them to imagine using it and diminishing their incentive to buy.
Instead, the rules of thumb are:
ü    write in crisp, short sentences
ü    avoid adjectives unless they transmit real information
ü    write one paragraph for each point
ü    use formatting to make the page simpler – summarise the offering in bullet points and highlight important copy in bold

4. Give the Reader a Second Opinion

Peer-approval is a persuasive tool. A simple testimonial contextualises what you offer, and gives you another opportunity to communicate real-world benefits. Even using an un-credited, single line of testimonial copy inside quote marks increased conversions by 34% for WikiJobs.  Asking customers what they thought of your product via social media is a great way to source these.
User reviews – whether good or bad – have also been shown to boost conversions dramatically.
If you need more convincing, read this argument for using case studies online

5. Push your Reader Onwards

How you phrase your calls to action is vital.
Buttons and links naturally draw the eye – non-descriptive phrases like Click here, Submit, See more don’t make the most of this. What will the user get on the other side of the button? Why should they click it?
A lot of the same principles apply as those to writing headlines; a headline pulls readers onto the page, the buttons and links pull your reader further down the sales funnel.
Again, start with a verb to make it feel immediate and push readers to take action. Tell readers why to click and where they’re going, in that order. Repeat the key benefit to seal the deal.

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