Killing Them Softly - With Great Copy

Killer sales copy is often the difference between profit and loss, between success and failure. While there is certainly no shortage of opinions as to what constitutes great copywriting, there are a few structural points that remain universal. When used correctly, they can cast a rhythmic spell over the reader, and entice them to make a purchasing decision.

"I Heard He Sang a Good Song, I Heard He Had a Style..."*

Perhaps a prospect has landed on your page because of an advertisement or offer that they have seen. Some may be referred by a friend or colleague. Regardless of what brought them to you, once they have arrived, you have precious little time to gain their attention. Your choice of headline is crucial to the success of your writing. It must grab the attention of the audience, and draw them in. There are various structures you can use to create a winning headline.

"Strumming My Pain With His Fingers..."

You are offering a product or service to fill a need; that said, you should focus on capitalizing on the prospect's need for what you have to offer. Are they losing sales? Missing out on finding their soulmate? Shine a bright spotlight on their problem - whatever that may be - then show them how you can solve it. This structure makes your readers believe they are being given access to information that someone is trying to keep from them.

Make sure your first sentence follows on from your headline and doesn't disappoint your readers. If your headline promises something, make sure your first sentence supports the idea that you are going to deliver on that promise. Once a headline has captured interest, the supporting sentences must build upon that interest.

"Singing My Life With His Words..."*

To create killer copy, you must be able to visualize your audience. Your copy should read as if you are speaking directly to the prospect. To do this, you must zero in on your target customer. How old is your target audience? Are they male or female? What is their average income level and what is their level of intellect likely to be? Speak to them directly, as if they were sitting across from you. Speak to them, not at them. Telling them stories offers an effective way to convey details in a manner that is far more palatable than a blatant sales pitch.

Your readers will make up their minds whether to carry on looking at your webpage in less than ten seconds - use that ten seconds to convey clearly and concisely why they need what you have to offer, and how they will improve their situation as a result of purchasing.

"And There He Was This Young Boy... a Stranger to My Eyes..."*

Customers purchase from people that they know, like and trust. There are a number of elements you can add to your writing to increase its credibility, including the following:

* Testimonials

* Detailed Case Studies

* A Powerful Guarantee

* Free Bonus Material

No matter how well your copy sells your product, your customers will be more convinced by other people's opinions, real life examples of how the product will work for them, the possibility of getting their money back if they are not satisfied, and the offer of free material.

The Song That Never Ends

Opinions are divided over whether long or short copy is more effective at increasing sales. Both offer some advantages, and which one you opt for may depend on what you are trying to sell. It may be worth testing both long and short versions to see which produces the greatest amount of conversions.

Long copy gives your customer more information and may reduce any anxiety they feel about buying the product. It might also reduce your customer service obligations by giving them the facts upfront. You can use bold phrases with long copy to allow skim reading if your customers don't want to read the whole page.

Short copy gets your message across quickly without losing the interest of your reader. It keeps your page neat and sleek, without that feeling that it goes on forever. You can include links with additional information for those that want to read more detail. Shorter copy avoids the perception of an overly repetitive and hyped sales pitch.

The things to bear in mind when writing killer product descriptions are your structure, style, length, and grammar. Make sure you are selling directly to your target audience, and that you include some additional elements that will make your customers feel more comfortable about buying from you. Incorporating these tips into your copy will help you turn more prospects into buyers.


* "Killing Me Softly with His Song" is a 1971 song composed by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. Lori Lieberman was the first to record Fox and Gimbel's song, in 1971, but it became a bigger hit when covered by Roberta Flack in 1973. Her version won three Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female Performer and it was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks.

In 1975, an instrumental version of "Killing Me Softly" served as the main musical theme of the film The Drowning Pool, starring Paul Newman.


Traci Hayner Vanover, aka The Promo Diva(R), is a freelance copywriter, publicist, coach and consultant that specializes in working with authors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. Drawing on over twenty years experience, Traci is a one-stop source for all of your marketing and promotional needs -- with plans for every project and budget. Traci's blog, located at, blends helpful tips and resources with a healthy dose of humor. Traci i...

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