Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Here's Your Copy Writing Formula for Internet Sales

By Loren Beckart

Once you have created an internet sales page that works, then you have a template you can use again and again, customizing the basic formula to any product in your line. The key is to be sure to include all the elements of an effective sales page, and use a 'formula' that has been tested and is known to work.

If you are hiring a copy writer or writing the copy yourself, here is a checklist of the essential elements to help you organize and plan your next internet sales page.

Headlines: There can be up to three parts to the headline. First, there is the pre-headline, which is a note to attract your target market, letting them know you have something for them in particular. Second, is the main headline, which describes the big benefit of whatever you're offering. The main headline should be in large font, and nothing elsewhere on the page should be larger or distract from it. Third, is a post-headline, which is only necessary if you need to clarify or elaborate upon the main headline.

The story: This is an emotional grabber that pulls the
visitor into the copy so you can present your product and
make your offer. It should be benefit driven, showing the reader how they could feel or their life could be better if they owned the product.

Credibility: This is a particularly important aspect of on- line sales. The visitor needs assurance that both you and the product are for real. Give your contact information, including an address. No one will come to your door, and if someone does call, that's good, because you gain insight when talking with clients. Also for credibility, include some results-based testimonials about your service or product, and give the full name of the testifier. Giving only first names is suspicious. If possible, explain results of product tests or quote favorable third-party reviews. And if you have credentials or expertise related to the offer, include it. Throughout the sales copy use real and specific numbers rather than approximations.

Benefits of the product or service: Using bullet format, because bullets are easy to scan, itemize all the benefits (not the features). Put them in order of priority. It is better to have too many than too few because it often takes just a single benefit to inspire a prospect to purchase, but every prospect has their unique hot button.

Features and/or specifications: This is where you specifically tell the visitor exactly what they are getting. Here is where you give details about the product.

Bonuses. Always include something extra, and make sure it has value - that it could be something people would order the product just to get the bonus. Tell the specific dollar value so you can use that information in the value build- up, or close.

Value build-up: Be explicit about the reasons the price of the product is a good value. Make comparisons to other similar products that are more expensive with less gained. Offer a guarantee if at all possible. Anticipate and counter objections. Create a sense of scarcity. That is to say, give a deadline, explain why they need to act now, and keep your deadline real. Help the visitor feel the pain of not ordering~ exactly what won't change or get better unless they have your product.

Ordering: Imagine that this is the first time your new client has ever ordered online, and hold their hand through the process by making your instructions absurdly clear at each step. Also, offer purchasing options, the most common being a secure on-line credit card page, but also Pay Pal and instructions for calling in an order or sending a check, (although this will actually happen rarely). Most importantly, remember to ask for the order in the first place by saying, "Order Now."

Post Script: In effect, this is a one-paragraph summary of your sales page, including a repetition of the most important parts. Also, ask a final time for the order.

Now that you have this list of essentials, search online for good examples. You won't copy another sales page of course, not even a line, but using good models will inspire you to write your own killer copy!

Loren Beckart is Marketing VP for http://www.ClickTracs.com, a company that specializes in delivering highly targeted traffic to your website. For information, visit:


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