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How to Write Better Sales Copy (Use This One Tip)

A friend asked me for help. She’s a coach, and she sells a high end coaching package… But she needed help with her sales copy.

I fired up her page and that’s when I saw it. A HUGE mistake. A mistake that’s so detrimental she may as well have flushed her chances of making sales down the toilet.

I share the mistake (and more important, how to fix it), in this video. And if you want to generate more leads and sales from your site…

…watch it right now:

Do You Make This Mistake Writing Your Sales Copy

The short of it? People know their products and services inside out. And they are often very good at what they do. They can hop on the phone and explain why people would LOVE their service…

…but when it comes to explaining it on a web page, it’s almost as if they run around the house screaming, “I DONT KNOW WHAT TO WRITE!”

And that’s because writing sales copy is weird. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever done – and that’s why people make these silly mistakes.

Also:

P.S. Do you struggle with writing sales copy? If the answer is yes, I’d love for you to share your BIGGEST issue with it in the comment section.

Do you struggle with headlines? Openings? Leads? Email copy? Please describe the issue in detail. I’ll read every single one.

And if you’re looking for an EVEN BETTER WAY to improve your sales copy, I highly suggest you download this free guide.

Improve your sales copy TODAY by writing a persuasive guarantee. Download this FREE ebook and I’ll give you 39 (copy and paste) scripts for your next guarantee.

What’s next? Watch this video:

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68 comments Leave a comment
Jack

This is awesome. Love this post on sales copy. We are starting a new company and I use this guide to developing my skill as a copy writer. I have never learnt copy writing in school although I have a masters degree from a university. So thanks Derek. Appreciate it. Keep sharing!!!

Peggy

I loved watching your video. It perked up my interest so I could not stop watch this great video and learn all this awesome information and inspiration. I provide the impossible; I actually teach people how to talk with a local Canadian Accent (it works for standard American too). This is not a band aide; my clients are often mistaken for local people. The ‘so that ‘ statements are brilliant! Derek I have been on your mailing list for a long time.
Maybe this video is the video that converts me t! Can I use your video people?

Aksel

Hmm my tagline still is :

Riches That Stick: Resources you can tap on for a lifetime.

Now that I think about it, that seems a too abstract. I kinda took the advice from another post you have that says to.

Riches That Stick: I crash test online courses so you don’t have to.

Michele

This is cool. What I do is always add some variation of ‘so that…’, for example you get an hour with me SO THAT you can ask any questions, etc. etc. Valuable advice, thanks Derek. 🙂

Cathy Mayhue

You are right knowing your products and services inside out is one thing and expressing them on paper or webpage effectively is a completely different ballgame. When it comes to sales copy half the battle is won just by a cursory glance at first few sentences, if a visitor gets what is looking for there, then only they will bother to read further and even go to the extent of doing business with you.

Eden

Helpful tips and videos Derek, and much needed! Thanks man

James Hughes

Love this post on sales copy. Great content all round.

Thanks for sharing.

James

James

On my freebie landing page (temporarily offline as I retweak) it “One 5 minute tip to build your willpower muscle daily” But, you’re right, it doesn’t say why that is important.

A rough draft of a better improvement: “One 5 minute daily exercise to build your willpower muscle so you can get things done more effortlessly” Again – a rough draft but you pointed me in the right direction. Thanks!

Nicole

Thank you! This timely video got me brainstorming to write some copy that will advertise my artwork as a gift. Here is what I came up with but I’m sure it could use some tweaking.

“You’re the kind of person who likes to give a beautiful, contemporary wedding or birthday gift. An original artwork is a gift that will be adored for a lifetime, reminding the recipient of both the special event and you, the giver. “

Camilla

Love this blog post. So useful.

Amanda

FROM:
“Crash Course in Cooking Fundamentals for Home Cooks”

TO:
“Crash Course: How to Become a Better Cook in 7 Days”

Pearl

I just changed: “Unlike most copywriters, I write in dialogue WITH you, not FOR you.”
to
“I write in dialogue WITH you, not FOR you. Together, we work through your biggest writing blocks and get shit done fast.”

Max

I’d love to hear what you think of the copy on this page. It’s the landing page for the majority of my Google Ads. Don’t worry it’s pretty short.

http://www.maxbridge.co.uk/location-photography-portfolio-2/

On a similar note do you have any advice for writing good copy for Google ads? I’m about to re-do this but a little stuck. A lot of people say you HAVE to include the keyword in the copy but it limits you so much and sounds spammy to me.

Would love to hear your thoughts on both of those!

Thanks 🙂

    James Hughes

    Max, great site. Great photo’s!

      Max

      Thanks James!

    Amy

    Nice site and great photography work!! You are very talented!!

      Max

      Thanks Amy! That’s very nice of you to say. I designed the site myself (couldn’t afford to pay someone) but the copy definitely needs work!

Iulia

Hi Derek,

Thank you for sharing this video. I work in a software company, and in the first page we have written Software solutions for increasing productivity in the business! Do you think it is a title too long? If you could share your thought will be great. Thank you.

AJ & Serenity Services

Hey Derek great video on improving sales copy! Although I’m in the process of redesigning my online business site, I know in the past I’ve been guilty of telling people what they’ll be getting without explaining the benefits (how and why it will benefit them). I’ve also done this with email opt in forms. In all my product descriptions and email opt in forms, I will remember to always spell out the benefits.

Dave

On my sales page in bold, the main heading reads, “Buy my shit !!!”

It’s been working alright, but I think it sounds a little rude so I’m going to change to “Buy my shit please!!!”

i think that is a little more polite and will show that I have manners too. What do you think?

    James

    I think that’s perfect, Dave LOL

Pippa

Totally made this mistake every time. Just assumed they realised the value. Now though, I tease-out EVERY benefit I can when I describe my products – much easier to justify the price that way BUT also, it helps people make the choice to buy – their may be one little idea they’ve always wanted and this is my chance to show them they’ve found it.

    Deb

    You should also edit your copy so that you are using the correct their, there and they’re.
    Thier – belongs to a person (possession)
    There – its location (I left my book there) or an abstract (there may be a better idea)
    They’re- contraction of they are (they’re coming to my party.)

      Derek Halpern

      You should also edit yours to ensure you don’t spell Their as Thier ;-).

      They obviously made a mistake. A mistake they likely would have caught had they had the chance to edit these comments.

        Deb

        I wasn’t being catty, it’s a common mistake which often goes unchecked. Spell checker doesn’t work in comment boxes but there is no grammar checker for most web design tools.

Mridu

Brilliantly said! Thank you!

Christian

Useful as always Derek.

Love more of the Topic selection side.

Will share it on Twitter and favorite it so as to get the chance to look up to it when am stuck.

Mike Barrett

Hi as a company we provide a carpet and oven cleaning service using the headline:

“The cleanest clean ever seen or it’s FREE”

What would improve this please?

    Lacy

    Mike, ask yourself why they need the cleanest clean?

    Maybe it’s because you’re not just getting the visible stains, but the invisible grodies in the carpet pad.

    Maybe you’re getting not just the stain, but the odors and germs.

    Maybe they want the cleanest clean so that it passes their mother’s sniff test or is a hygienic place for baby to play.

    What you have might be OK as a headline, but you need to answer the “why” “how” and “who cares” questions in the rest of your copy.

      Nata

      This is excellent! I’m not in the carpet cleaning business, but it’s awesome how you’ve just brainstormed so many great ideas on the go.

Rich Brooks

Derek, the timing of your video couldn’t have been better. I’ve been struggling with the registration page for Agents of Change (where you spoke back in 2012!)

I was talking about the inspiration keynotes and the type of breakout sessions, but now I’m also going to include what a full day digital marketing conference can do for the attendees in terms of professional growth and the ability to take on greater challenges at work with confidence.

As well as “what they’re going to get.” I’ll let yo know how it turns out.

Mckenna

Yowza! Your replies are often just as important as your main posts, Derek! “Just Say No” to bullet points! (Yippee! I am doing a happy dance!) I try to use them sparingly, but now…I am going to do a big rethink on that strategy altogether. I knew something was “off” with that concept and now I can put my finger on it: we are only “too busy” if we are not being compelled by the information. Bullet points don’t make things more compelling. THANKS!

MEANWHILE, back to your request: I just advertised an event and sent out emails ( doing a live seminar tomorrow ) and realize that this entire sales pitch missed the mark. Doh! Too late to fix that copy, but heading to my site to fix as much content there as I possibly can! This was a great reminder. I teach sales and this is sales 101! It’s easy to get off track when writing sales copy. THANKS for putting my train back on the rails!

Kay Ross

Brilliant as always, Derek! I’m a copywriter, and I always ask my clients: “What do people get to have, do, be and FEEL as a result of using your product or service?”

    Michael

    You nailed it Kay – exactly what I was thinking!

    It’s so easy to forget the end state that we should be selling.
    Case in point – Pampers…
    No, P&G’ does NOT say, show or imply they are simply selling diapers!

    Instead, they are selling COMFORT for the baby… but wait, there’s more.
    And so what could be the subtext of P&G’s ads, you ask?

    They are actually selling CONVENIENCE to Moms.
    After all, Pampers are EASY to put on, EASY to dispose…

    And to your point Kay, now Mom FEELS smarter…
    and maybe a bit sexier as well !

    And of all places, where did I hear this story?
    From Scott Cook, CEO of Inuit who founded Quicken!
    Scott formerly was the Product Manager of P&Gs Pampers line.
    But on the cusp of bankruptcy, he learned his Quicken value proposition was failing.
    He really wasn’t competing against Andrew Tobias’ double-entry ledger program.
    So who was his main competition?
    The checkbook and the pen – the poor dude trying to balance their checkbook.
    Once he got it the value proposition, the pitch, the marketing and sales was transformed.
    Once again, he was really selling CONVENIENCE.
    And once again, his customers were FEELING smart and sexy!

    Look under the hood of winning brands…
    Isn’t that what google is selling?
    Isn’t that what Apple is really selling?
    Isn’t that what Derek is selling?
    Isn’t that what you should be selling, too?

      Kay Ross

      Thanks Michael! I love the examples you shared.

Alex

Totally guilty of this – great reminder, thanks Derek.

I just started a daily podcast and have been making bullet points of the conversation to include in my email to subscribers.

One of my bullet points looked like this:

[In this podcast we cover] Jesse’s recently released book, entitled “Explore: How To Travel The World Full Time While You’re Still Young” + link

I changed it to:

[In this podcast we cover] Jesse’s recently released book, entitled “Explore: How To Travel The World Full Time While You’re Still Young” + tips from the book to save thousands of dollars on the road + link

Definitely better 🙂

Jon Bowes

Pretty classic features and benefits. “So you can….” is the best copy phrase EVER! Every feature should be followed up by so you can…

“Get three logo variations you’ll love, so you can find the look that’s JUST RIGHT for your site!”

“You’ll get a one-on-one call with me every month, where we’ll discover the biggest place your funnel is “leaking money” and plug those holes, so you can earn more from the traffic you’re currently getting.”

Dude, right on the friggin’ money with this one! I’m a copywriter, and it drives me NUTS when I see all these people just talking about feature after feature after blah blah blah.

The biggest thing I see is that people don’t focus on the IDEA behind the product.

Small minds talk about people, average minds talk about ideas, great minds talk about ideas.

I think it’s the same with companies, small companies sell themselves “We have 32 years of experience, I used to be a logistics manager, I work now with mid-sized shipping companies” WEAK COPY – > Crappy conversions.

Medium companies sell things: “We have the best widget in this category, because our widget can do this, and this and this and none of our competitors offer that.”
MEDIUM COPY -> Medium conversions. (If you’re dealing with technicians and engineers, they often think this is all they need to say)

Big companies sell BIG ideas, here’s a wonderful example from Simon Sinek’s TED talk about Apple: “If you’re the type of person who appreciates beauty, who challenges the status quo and you refuse to settle for ordinary, we’re just like you. We make computers (and iPods, tablets, watches etc.) that embody this philosophy…they’re intuitive, personal and innovative so you can do things NO-ONE with a PC can do… want to buy one? They’ll make you stand out, they’ll make you part of an in crowd and you’ll get all the prestige that goes with it.”

It’s one step MORE than just creating a great product, and selling the features (and even the benefits) it’s a benefit to your entire life really! It’s a movement, a statement, something more than just a great product. It’s a cult essentially. Us VS Them. This big idea underlies their sales copy, products, events, launches, design…. absolutely everything.

This is what many *almost* great companies are missing… and it’s what I want to help them find and sell… that BIG IDEA!

    Michael Karp

    Love what you’re saying Jon. You should write an article about this, unless you have already?

      Jon Bowes

      Michael, I’ll be creating a LOT of content around this actually. I’m expanding out from doing freelance marketing and copywriting into a full-service marketing company called…. you guessed it, Sell Big Ideas.

      Plus on top of that all my clients will be helping the world and doing a lot of GOOD!

      I have the .com and a logo designed, you’ll be seeing something about this movement in the next month or two. Guaranteed!

        Michael Karp

        That’s awesome Jon. It sounds like you and I might have similar philosophies about business and its purpose. Might be cool to follow each other’s work as we move forward.

        Just added you on Twitter.

Mania

Hello from Greece!
Thanks for the great content!
But this time, I was happy to realize that I have already done what you talked about in this video, with my website’s copy and my business flyers.
I am an architect and interior designer who designs homes that can make people happy, by studying the impact of color and environment in human psychology.
One year ago, before I subscribed to your blog and a few other nice guys’ blogs, I knew nothing about selling myself. I was confident about my designing skills, but not at all about my selling skills.
I thought designing nice homes is what matters more.
And I was wrong!
Now people ask me to design their homes, before they’ve even seen my work! Only because they talked to me and read some of my blog posts.
It’s a great success, because I believed that “selling your work” is something you are born with and not something you can learn. And I thought I wasn’t born with that talent.
So, you and a few other bloggers, made me change my mind and have results.
Thanks again, I owe you a lot!

    Natascha

    Hi Mania, do you mind sharing ‘few other nice guys’? I want to expand my sales skills aswell 🙂 Regards from Switzerland

Susanne

Derek, Enjoyed this video both in content and presentation. We must continually be reminded to get out of our own heads when writing and consider the mindset of the audience. This is a necessary but not always easy exercise. Thanks!

richard

Excellent point, articulately made – as always.

I tend to refer to the FAB acronym when looking at sales pitches (Features > Advantages > Benefits). Your product has features, which create advantages to your customers, but it’s the benefits these advantages deliver that really resonate. Your customers might derive DIFFERENT benefits from the same advantage (and hour saved each day is a great advantage, but the benefit might mean an hour in the gym for me, or the chance to pick the kids up from school to someone else) – so the more personal you can make those benefits, the more likely it is you can convert that customer.

Ebony

I enjoyed the points you made, thanks for sharing! My favorite part of the whole video was .50-55. Though! Watched those 5 seconds 3 times. I love how I not just learn something with each video, but I am usually entertained too! 🙂

Michael Karp

Nice video Derek. I think it’s easy to default to what people are getting and neglect what your product/service is actually going to do for them.

I like to keep a cheat sheet next to me, just to make sure I stay on top of what’s most important in the copy.

MIchelle

I’m commenting (and I never comment anywhere, anytime) because your email put a huge smile on my face. I loved the image of me running around the house screaming “I don’t know what to write!” That, my friend, was good writing.

    Derek Halpern

    I’ve been there…

Leo Alvarenga

Hey, Derek!

Awesome video (as usual)…

One of my friends is launching and he was doing exactly what you say it’s wrong. I simply told him: Focus on the benefits!

He changed the headline and BOOM. Up on conversions!!!

Thanks for this video, man.

P.s: You DON’T look skinny!! :p

Trisha

How do you reconcile this with the need to provide a short, bullet point style list of what you offer? People are in a hurry, so listing what you offer in a concise manner is important too, so they can scan through it and don’t leave before reading everything you’ve written.

Do you think it would work to first show the shorter, bullet point style list? Then go into more detail about how they can benefit from what you are offering?

Or is it necessary to find a way to write in a more concise manner what they what they will benefit from your services?

    Derek Halpern

    Funny that you think people are in a hurry. If you’re offering to solve a problem someoen has, and that problem is important to them, guess what: they’ll take the time read 5 pages… or 50 pages. If you’re selling something that cost a sizeable amount of money, believe me. People will do their due diligence. And short bullet points is not the answer.

Craig

Great, simple and straight-to-the-point video, Derek.

When I write/edit content for my clients, I use my “5-year-old method”: ask “why” and “how” several times, over and over.

Whether you’re selling pizza, guitars, archery equipment or heavy machinery, why? And how will it help me? And how will it help your customers/clients/family? And why is that good?

Like Derek said, it’s “not common sense”, but it’s a sensible start to a tricky problem.

    Derek Halpern

    There you go. That’s good insight. You do need to always ask those questions. And maybe add one more… “who cares?”

Terrie Look

Thank you! Based upon this terrific advice, I have changed my package deal header from just

“DEALS: MORE WELLNESS FOR LESS INVESTMENT!”

to

“DEALS: MORE WELLNESS FOR LESS INVESTMENT!
If you are like most people in this society, you have layered stress upon stress in your life over a long period of time. Even one wellness session will help you relax and reset your balance and is a gift well worth giving to yourself. However, committing to regular wellness-building time for yourself is a smart way to release long-term, deep-set imbalances and to build noticeable and sustainable resiliency in your life. Here are a few ways to help you keep yourself accountable to your own commitment to your health & well-being – while saving yourself some money! A Win-Win!”

I am brand new at my website and I’ve been playing around with it, just (finally) at least getting stuff up there. There is a lot of editing, rethinking, planning and execution of ideas left to do – and many (many) more great tips to add to my site structure and copy. Step by step…

Thank you for all you do to help people clear the path to manifest their goals and dreams!

~ Terrie

Harshajyoti Das

Hey Derek,

Common sense is not common. You have proved it once again.

It might be a great idea to work on our lead pages. Instead of syaing you will get this ebook or this free report, one should say why they should get this free ebook or report. The conversion will obviously increase.

Great going Derek. Waiting for your next video..

Signing off from India !
Harshajyoti Das (Harsh)

Karen

I am in the process of updating my site, so this video was really helpful! Thank you, Derek!

i just changed part of my copy from this: “What’s included: 3 weekly coaching calls — The first call will last 60-90 minutes. The second two calls will last 60 minutes. We will connect via the magic of the internet (Skype!) or by phone/ FaceTime.”

To this:
“What’s included: 3 weekly coaching calls — We will clarify where you are now and what you want, clear the blocks that are holding you back, and start moving your forward into the dream you have for yourself.”

What do you think? Do I need to be even more specific? Thanks!

Catherine

Yes, you look amazing, Derek.
And, thanks for the reminder. I try hard to make sure my copy includes a “so that.” (One-on-one time with me SO THAT we can find YOUR particular gift when it comes to speaking, amp that up and minimize whatever holds you back.) And, I know sometimes I forget the “so that” isn’t obvious; I really do have to spell it out.

Gabe Johansson

One of my ebook giveaway pitches was:

“Subscribe and get this 16 page ebook for free.”

Of course the results were minimal because I didn’t describe why anyone should or how it would benefit them.

Now I explain that they’ll learn exactly how to diet and exercise to reach their own specific goals. The description is still quite short but it’s converted at nearly 40% with paid traffic, so I’d say that’s pretty good!

I’m sure there is plenty of room for improvement, but it does make a major difference by answering “what’s in it for me?” for your prospects and customers.

Sam Miller

I’ve seen a lot more of the opposite. Many client sites I look at have walls of text for their sales copy that explains every single detail about their products and services without clearly defining what it is in a single line of text. I often recommend distilling down the sales copy from 500-1000 words to ~100 with a short title for each offering. I agree 100% with what you’ve presented for those situations, however in my experience people need more help with the “less is more” concept.

Also great production quality on these videos. You look super skinny 😉

Gary

I tell a lot about a line of toys, but I don’t tell how kids can use them or how and why they’ll have fun with them. That will change ASAP.

Thanks, Derek.

    Mckenna

    Gary… you might want to think in an additional “layer”. The kids are not the “buyers”. They influence their parent(s). Your copy needs to be directed at the parents. So, features like fun to bounce might be great, but benefits like easy to clean need to be in their, too!

      Mckenna

      LOL… just read the whole exchange about the their, there, they’re up there in the comments and there I went and did it myself. Or did I?:

      Editing on the fly and left out a word: “…need to be in their THOUGHTS, too.” LOL!

Kirk

Brilliant Derek. Brilliant. Thank you so much.

Kirk

Susan

Hi, Derek,

It’s great to see you looking so fit, trim and healthy! And, of course, your content always rocks!

Sarah Kelly

This is clever! I only tell people what they get in my packages! I am so on this today!

Ben

Typo: “I’d love for yoiu to share”

    Patrick

    Great point Derek. It’s always useful to remember that the potential lead/client is asking himself or herself “what’s in it for me?” — answer that question upfront with the benefit and you are well on your way.

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