Last updated: March 4th, 2014
One of the key aspects of web development, affiliate marketing, and digital marketing generally, is content. It’s vital that the words on your site don’t just make sense but are also genuinely interesting, engaging, and persuasive.
It’s up to you to make sure that your site’s content is all of these things and if you think you might need a little help on that front, we’ll be spending the next 500 or so words explaining exactly how you could up your sales copy skills by following these few simple rules.
Be persuasive but don’t be too pushy
Nobody likes to feel like they’re being forced into a decision so ease off the accelerator a bit if you feel like your prose might be a little ‘forceful’. As the old saying goes, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”. Of course this doesn’t mean you should be too passive either. One of the most convincing forms of sales copy is a ‘review’ of the product or service you’re trying to sell. This way you can come across as sounding quite impartial and your words will hold a lot more weight with your audience as a result.
Engage your audience
Make sure that the lion’s share of your copy focuses on the primary benefits your affiliate’s product or service can offer them. If you’re more aware of your audience, this will obviously prove that much easier, which is why affiliate marketers are advised to focus on affiliate services and products that they themselves have real world experience with.
Be clear and concise
If your copy is too flowery or difficult to read, nobody is going to take it seriously. The artistry of sales copy is in finding that perfect balance between colloquial and formal language, and in making sure that it makes sense to people from all backgrounds; but particularly to your target audience. Even if you target audience tend to communicate through convoluted ‘text speak’ though you should never stoop to their level as affiliates will expect a certain level of quality. Thorough spelling and grammar checks are obviously also highly recommended.
Pick a commanding headline
Not only is the headline the first thing that visitors to your site will see, it’s also the piece of text they will use as an instant litmus test to judge whether or not they bother to read the article beneath. Try to weave the product or services most obvious and intriguing benefit into the headline somehow and make the copy focus specifically on that benefit. For example, if your affiliate was selling a new phone that boasted unprecedented camera quality you could use something akin to “Make clearer, sharper, better memories with the ‘Phone X’, the camera phone to end all camera phones”.
Keep it short
Whilst you were probably taught back in school that short, broken sentences were the stuff of the devil, in sales copy it’s generally quite venerated. Shorter sentences are simply easier to read than long sentences which often go nowhere. Take technology giants ‘Apple’ for example. Nearly all of their sales copy is kept as brief as possible, befitting their minimalist design ethos. There’s a ‘staccato’ rhythm to short sentences, sound bites and quotes, which draws more attention to the individual words contained within and will ultimately make much more of an impact.
Use technical specifications, but use them sparingly
Including a few of the products more impressive ‘tech specs’ will really help sell it, especially to more technically minded consumers. It’s important not to go overboard however as you might alienate the more casual consumers. For example, going back to phones again, you’ll definitely want to include the memory, processor speed, and the megapixel density in the specs as these are figures buyers use to compare and contrast products. Including incredibly precise technical information though will make your copy almost sound like a science lesson and might turn prospective buyers off.
Of course these are just guidelines that you can feel free to add to or detract from. More than anything though your copy needs to tell a story and steer clear of cheap gimmicks such as unfavourable product comparisons and easy jokes.
Writing excellent sales copy is an art, and as with any art it requires practice, but with these tips hopefully that practice should prove just that extra pinch more fruitful.
Guest Post: Amy is a digital marketer that started her career writing online sales copy for small brands. She now regularly works with affiliate marketers to assist them in all aspects of their organic marketing. Today Amy writes for ClickSure; read more from them here.