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The second most important element of web copy - second to headline

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An online sales letter is a powerful way to promote your information products. It’s fast, easy, inexpensive and a great tool to expose your marketing message to people around the world.
 
The ability of your site to convert visitors into customers depends heavily on your web copy. After all it is the only means of communicating with them. We have already looked at the headline, the most important element of a sales page. Its sole purpose is to attract peoples’ attention, to get them to delve deeper into your site.
 
Your headline is a make or break copy element. 
 
As vital as the headline is, it is one thing getting your website noticed by passers-by, it’s another thing to keep them on your site. That’s where the second most important element comes into play:
 
►Identifying what your prospects want
 
Never sell to prospects you don’t understand. If there’s one piece of sales advice to take heed of, this is it. Selling is connecting and connecting is proving to your website’s visitors that you understand where they are coming from.
 
This means identifying with the challenges they are struggling with. What pain are they feeling? What frustrations do they have? You need to tell them why they are struggling and how your product or service can help them achieve their goals.
 
I came across a great formula to help weave these details throughout a site's web copy, courtesy of Jenny Hamby, founder of SeminarMarketingPro.com. (If ever you need help with your copy, she is the go-to person).
 
Jenny suggests that you use the following formula near the top of your sales letter to hold on to your reader’s attention:
 
1. Identify what benefits your prospects want.
For example, “Want to increase your business’s bottom line without letting your marketing costs run away with you?”
 
2. List the challenges and pain they’re dealing with.
“Instead, you’re spending way too much on marketing that’s showing little or no return.”
 
3. Reveal what they need to achieve their goals.
“What you need is a simple marketing system to slash the costs and keep the sales coming.”
 
4. Tell them why they’re struggling.
“Most marketing systems have focused on outdated principles and practices, until now.”
 
5. Tell them that your product or service is the solution they’re looking for.
“Introducing the small business guide to street-wise marketing.”
 
Identifying what your prospects want leads into what they will learn from you. Tell them exactly how they will benefit from your products or services.
 
Your web copy has to convince them that there is value for their money. Where the headline screams out for prospects’ attention, your list of benefits must aim to sell them on the idea of purchasing your offerings.    
 
The best way to do this is with a detailed list. The list should be meaty and prove that you have the knowledge and skills that your visitors are looking for. But it must also come across as compelling.
 
One way is to identify the ‘How to’ and ‘so what’. In other words, start each benefit statement with ‘How to’ and answer the question ‘So what’. This way the reader will know exactly what’s in it for him or her.  
Let’s say you want to sell a book on dog grooming. The first thing to do is compile a list of all the benefits that your book will teach. Your next task is to plug each benefit into the ‘How to’ ‘So what’ formula.
 
For example, in one of your book’s chapters you discuss the importance of diet in boosting your best friend’s health. The objective is to teach people about what dogs should and shouldn’t eat. That’s the benefit. Now convert it into a selling statement:
  • [How to] How to bolster your best friend’s immune system with low cost anti-oxidant rich supplements, 
  • [So what] Start your friend on a 7-step diet plan that has been scientifically shown to reduce the incidence of health-related problems and visits to the vet by over 50%.  
There are a couple of tricks you can use to make the copy really interesting:
  1. Use descriptive or colourful words, like ‘bolster’ or ‘low-cost antioxidant rich’. This will help your readers connect with the benefits.
  2. Tease your prospects. The ‘7 step diet plan’ will appeal to a dog owners sense of curiosity. This will draw their interest deeper into your offering.
  3. Use facts and numbers, ‘scientifically shown’ and ‘50%’. This adds credibility to your web copy. Just make sure you can back up your statements with the science when or if necessary.
Knowing what your prospects want and spelling out the benefits is critical to making the sale. A big mistake often made by information marketers is to skim over these sections of the web copy. Your job as a copywriter is to provide enough of a hook to maintain your readers’ interest.
 
That’s it for this week.
 
Cheers everybody.

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