I thought is would be helpful to dip into the copywriting pool of knowledge and learn from the best at selling with their pens.
In this survey I visited some of the top online copywriters and sales people on the Web:
- Brian Clark (CopyBlogger.com)
- Bob Bly (Bly.com)
- Chris Brogan (ChrisBrogan.com)
- Darren Rowse (ProBlogger.com)
- Chris Garrett (ChrisG.com)
- James Chartrand (Men With Pens)
And here is what I learned:
1. Don’t forget AIDA - We are selling here so don’t stray too far from the proven sales process basics. Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action is a flow that comes quite naturally to most Web publishing platforms. Whether you are talking about blogs, Twitter, or Facebook you are attracting interested prospects, piquing their interest, creating a desire and showing them how to take action.
The key to using the AIDA sales process on with your blog or social media strategy is starting with an objective. Most people start blogging and social networking without any idea what they are selling. That can create a very confusing and inconsistent experience for your sales prospects.
Know what your products and services are and then keep a tight focus on AIDA and convincing your readers you are the best person for the job.
2. Start with the Headline - Every headline, whether it is a blog post, Tweet, or Facebook status is precious. This is your brief opportunity to accomplish several things:
- Attract attention
- Capture interest
- Convince credibility
- Encourage a click
- Promote a forward (ReTweet)
Your headline is so important to sales conversion. Study closely how to create a magnetic headlines and you will increase your opportunities.
3. Structure is Important - You have probably heard it millions of times, but it bears repeating: No one reads on the Web. That’s right we are in an attention-deficit world and the best you are likely to get is a quick scan. Therefore, you need to make that process as easy as possible.
Good structure is the key to facilitating the Internet user to quickly scan your content, but to put speed bumps that will capture and slow their eye scan at the critical parts.
Techniques like sub headings, bulleted lists, judicious bolding, and strategic italics are all ways to indicate the important parts of your content in a quick scan.
4. Chunking for Readability - Chunking (pretty sure I got this idea from Chris Brogan, but can’t find it again) is somewhat related to structure, but I take it a little beyond any single piece of content. In a single article it is important to break up your prose into short, neat, tight paragraphs and bullets. However, it is just as important to break up complex concepts into bite size morsels as well.
Popular magazines are great at this. If you scan the magazines in the grocery check-out you don’t see the fashion magazines talking about the latest fashion trends–no, they are talking about the latest in shoes, accessories, summer dresses. Likewise, health and fitness magazines are not talking about work-outs they are talking about abs busting routines or diets for that summer bikini.
Break your content and your sales process into one pain point at a view.
5. Benefits, Benefits, Benefits - Face it people buy because they get something they want. When you are writing don’t make that a secret or rely on your reader’s imagination. That is exactly what you do when you fill your writing with features–”my services include” or “my product does…” Copy like that forces me to imagine how I might turn those features into something valuable–something that gives me a return on the money I give you. Bad idea to make a sales prospect work that hard.
Concentrate on benefits! Tell them a story, paint them an ideal picture, describe success through the eyes of a purchase from you. Tell them where your products or services will take them.
6. Irresistible Offers - Okay, you got them paying attention, convinced you are someone they are interested in doing business with…How do you create Desire and Action?
Irresistible offers of course. Brian Clark is so right in this comment:
It’s troubling to see so many companies and solos trying to gain business online, yet without ever making a compelling offer. There’s no apparent reason why someone should select you from the overcrowded field, because often you’ve made no express offer at all.
And there is really not much more to say–don’t ask and you will most certainly not receive.
7. Swipe from the Best - There are somethings that just work. Why wouldn’t you try a lot of the sure things? Why wouldn’t you iterate off of a foundation of success?
That is precisely what a swipe file does for you. A swipe file is a treasure box full of idea generators and examples of headlines, emails, advertising, blog posts, and other content that was successful. When you have a new idea or project leafing through a swipe file is going to accelerate your execution and increase you chance of success.
Hope you enjoyed a quick primer on selling with your pen. Here are a few more excellent articles to continue priming your selling process:
- Copywriting 101 (CopyBlogger.com)
- A Sample Blogging Workflow (ChrisBrogan.com)
- Can You Really “Get Rich Quick” on the Internet? (Bly.com)
- 9 First Step Goals for New Bloggers (ProBlogger.net)