005 What is Sales Copy?


Sales copy. The dream. Somebody comes to your website, reads your copy, and bam, instant customer giving you thousands of dollars. In episode two, we talked about “What is selling?”

Basically, selling is the positioning of your product or service in a way that meets the motivations of the buyer. It’s that intersect between where what you offer and what the buyer’s looking for overlaps. Sales copy is an extension of that. Of course, with sales copy, you don’t have the advantages of a direct face-to-face conversation where the buyer can ask questions and you can have some back-and-forth dialog to get clear on what it is the buyer is looking for and what you offer.

With sales copy, that all needs to be set up beforehand. The main feature of sales copy is the call to action. The call to action is critical because both you and the buyer are getting something out of it. The buyer has come to your sales copy for some reason. They were interested in an ad or an article and so they’re at least partially interested. The buyer is trying to figure out, by reading your sales copy, whether this is a good use of their time to continue or not. Call to action from your point of view is to get the buyer to move along the sales process.

Now, it’s important to realize that the call to action may not be to make a complete sale. If you have a simple product or service, say selling for a few dollars online, then sure, you can go ahead and the call to action may be to purchase right away. Because after all, the buyers that you want will not want to waste time asking in Q&A about your product, if it’s just for a few dollars. They’ll just say, “Okay, I’ll just buy it and try it out and see what it is.”

However, if you’re a consultant that’s offering services for tens of thousands of dollars, that’s very different. Virtually no one is going to just read a website about your services and then sign up and say, “Okay, I will take what you’re selling.” So, the call to action should be, “What is the smallest next step that the buyer needs to take in order to get to the end goal of making a sale?” So, for example, if you play a sport, say like soccer or ice hockey or football, where the goal is to move down the field to get points, in these sports, there’s lots of little wins that get you to your end goal.

So, for example, I play ice hockey. And if the puck is in your defensive own zone, well, there’s first the goal, the next step of getting the puck, getting control of the puck. Then there’s the next step of getting the puck out of your zone. Then there’s the next step of moving it up the ice. Then there’s the next step of setting up in the offensive zone. And then there’s the next step of getting into a good scoring position and trying for a goal.

Think about your sales copy the same way. What is the minimum next step that this piece of copy is trying to do for the buyer? And put that as your call to action.

The other main point about sales copy is based on two pieces of advice that you hear a lot for sales. One is that you should talk to customers or prospects, and the other is that you should niche down.

So I actually don’t like the advice of talk to customers. I prefer to listen to customers. By listening to customers, you’ll start to notice language that they use. Basically, what they are saying should go into your sales copy. Anytime somebody raises a question or objection, that goes into your copy. Any time they use different language that you haven’t heard before, that should go into your copy somewhere. Basically, you want your sales copy to reach the broadest audience possible, that people can feel that they can relate to it.

At the beginning, your sales copy will basically be a guess. It will be written by you and it will probably be in your own voice, which is okay for a start. Basically, at the beginning, you’re probably only going to attract customers that are like you, because they’ll read your copy. The copy will be in your own voice, identifying the points that you think are important. And if people happen to meet those points, then great, they’ll sign up. But one thing you want to do is refine the sales copy over time by listening to the customers. They are giving you hints and tips for what can go into your sales copy.

One of the reasons that long copy tends to work so well is because everything is in there. When you read it…first of all, people don’t actually read long copy. They tend to skim it and they find areas or sections that they identify with. This is basically what you want from your sales copy. You want people to read it, feel that they relate to what you’re saying, and then have a clear call to action where they can take the next step.

So, sales copy doesn’t have to be that difficult. Basically what you’re doing is you’re taking all the conversations that you’ve had with customers and trying to generalize it so that any new prospects that come to your website will identify with it, see themselves in the situation that you’ve presented, and then say, “Yes,” they want to take the next step and move on in the sales process.

Published by

Matt McCormick

Matt is the host of "7 Minute Sales" - a podcast from the perspective of a developer-founder who is learning to sell and market more effectively. Follow my journey and lessons learned at blog.touchingbase.io. Matt is also the founder of TouchingBase.io - A Better Follow Up System for Gmail.