Five Strategies to Improve Your Sales Writing
Do you want to have a breakthrough year? Develop and implement these few key strategies and you’ll put yourself on the path to bigger paying projects and more consistent income.
First, a little secret … strategies are often confused with tactics. While both are important, you need to understand the difference.
The Strategic Difference
Strategy is the overarching goal, such as “lose 15 pounds in six months.” The tactics are the “how,” such as hitting the gym 4 times a week and cutting down on carbs.
Let’s apply this to your web-writing business. Your strategy for yourself or a client might be “increase website traffic by 25%” with the goal of making 10% more sales. Tactics are your implementation. In this example, good tactics might include re-writing the web copy so it’s SEO friendly, blogging three times a week, and developing a five-part email series to bring people back to your website and develop a relationship.
See the difference? Without defining your strategy first, you wouldn’t know how well your tactics pay off or if they’re paying off at all.
Once you know (and implement) the five strategies I share with you here, you’ll:
- Write tighter copy that makes more sales so you can command higher fees
- Enjoy the feeling that you’re helping your clients make money
- Spend more time writing for the clients you most enjoy working with
- Be more marketable because you can point to your results
All good stuff, right? Read on for five strategies that will boost your sales writing and make it sizzle.
Five Key Strategies to Improve Your Sales Writing
1. Know Your Prospect — You may have heard it before but it’s true. To write effective copy, you need to know the buyer inside and out. Ask questions about the product, read the testimonials, and talk to actual buyers if possible. What makes them tick? What’s their motivation for the product or service? Don’t forget to check your client’s social media accounts — it’s a good place to meet your prospects and see what they’re saying.
2. Know the Marketing Plan — If you’re writing a sales letter, how does it fit into the overall plan? How will people find it? Is it aimed at first-time buyers (what’s called a “front-end” piece) or to people who are familiar with the company? (The latter is called a “back-end” piece.) You need to know how your potential readers will reach the letter. Are they most likely to come to it after watching a webinar or will they find it organically online? And you need to know how it will be used. Is it selling a product or building a list? Setting up a sales call or selling a subscription? All this information will help you know what approach to take in your copy.
3. Outline — Clayton Makepeace says he learned to write sales copy by outlining direct-mail letters when he worked in a print shop. If you outline your ideas, you’ll be able to fill in the gaps easier. Even if you write “Big Idea” at the top, you know you need “proof,” “credibility,” “offer,” and “guarantee.” Write what you know so far, even if it’s just bare bones. Then, as you dive into your research, you’ll know what you’re looking for and be able to pop it in where needed.
4. Layer Your Research — No matter what you’re selling, you need proof and credibility. For example, if you’re selling a chiropractic solution to back pain and you say, “According to the American Chiropractic Foundation, 31 million Americans suffer from back pain,” you’re quoting a credible source.
Facts, statistics, and anecdotes build credibility. They can also help you tell a great story, which brings us to the next strategy …
5. Tell a Story — Make those 31 million Americans in the back pain study easier to relate to. For example, “One out of every three people over 40 suffers with chronic back pain.” The more specific you can make it, the better. When Steve Jobs described the first iPod as “1,000 songs in your pocket,” he created a concrete detail everyone could grasp.
There you are, five strategies to hone your sales writing. Incorporate these into your process for easier sales writing and start delivering soaring results to your clients. And when you do, ask your clients for the results. You’ll be able to incorporate the statistics into your own marketing.
What other sales writing strategies have worked for you? Share them in the comments below.
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