How to Write Compelling Sales Copy – Part One: The Copy Brief

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For lots of people, writing in general is tough enough, but writing sales copy? Fugetaboutit!

As such I thought I’d share the typical approach which we use when approaching a copywriting project where the end game is to generate a response – e.g.  a sale, an enquiry, an email sign up etc.

Part One – The Copy Brief

Even if you’re not hiring a professional copywriter, taking the time to write a copy brief (even if it is for yourself) will allow you to gain a clear idea of what you’re trying to write, can help with internal buy in and will allow you to approach your writing in a systematic fashion – ultimately, a little spent up front here, can make the whole writing process quicker and easier. Here’s an example of the headings we use for when pulling together a copy brief here:

Company Name

Sector/Nature of the Business

The Job – Set out precisely what it is that you’re attempting to write – e.g. homepage copy for your website, a sales brochure, an email, a letter, a promotional leaflet etc, etc.

Audience – Who is this intended for?  Are there any special considerations in terms of technical knowledge, tone of voice etc?

How will it be consumed? – This is another key consideration – people consume media in different ways – e.g. they’ll typically spend more time reading a letter than a tube advert.

How ‘warm’ are your consumers likely to be? – For example, if someone’s already a customer, they’ll probably be ‘warmer’ to you, than a prospect who you are contacting for the very first time. Think about how this might impact how you construct your copy.

Key Objectives – What do you want people to do? Buy, sign up, enquire?

What are you selling – The products/services you want to sell.

Response Mechanics – How do you want people to respond? Call, email, complete a form?

Why should they respond? – This is key. What is your unique selling proposition? Why should your customers choose you over the competition? What are the benefits to them?

Barriers to entry – Think now about why people might not want to respond/buy/enquire? Note down all of the objections you can think of – you’ll need to tackle these later!

Offers – Detail any special offers which you’re running which you want to promote. Not running any offers? Well you might consider running something – typically it will uplift your response rate.

Tone of voice – This will largely be dictated by your audience, how warm they are and how your copy will be consumed – but it’s worth thinking about nonetheless.

Other mandatories for inclusion – What else must be included – e.g. testimonials, logos, details of awards/qualifications/affiliations/accreditations, telephone numbers, addresses, legal statements, terms and conditions etc.

Whilst this might seem like a pretty labour intensive process, you should now find that you have a much clearer idea of what you need to write, and the key things which you need to tackle. In part two I’ll talk you through how to structure your copy, plus offer some tips on how to make your sales copy more compelling, and ultimately, drive a better response.

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