10 Ways To Improve Your Website Sales Copy

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There are a number of ways to make improvements on
your website sales copy. You do have persuasive
sales copy don’t you? Only about 10% of the e-
commerce websites on the Internet actually incorporate
good sales copy. This weeks article will focus on 10
ways that you can improve your sales copy. If you don’t
have copy you can use these tips to aid you in the
development of your copy. The ticket to producing the
ultimate sales copy is to test different versions to see
which one results in the most sales.

#10 Make use of bulleted lists

When people come to your website they scan it to find
what they’re looking for. Notice I said scan and not read.
Your site’s visitors time is limited so they will end up
quickly scanning your site for reasons why they should
stick around your website and possibly make a purchase
from you. One of the best ways to do this is to make use
of a bulleted list. As a general rule don’t make your
bulleted lists longer then 5 bullets at a time. The longer
they are the less effective they become. Using bulleted
lists is a great way to get benefits in front of your site’s
visitors. Another good use for them is product/service
features. I’m sure there are others, use your imagination
and you’ll come up with some great ideas.

#9 Steer clear of using italics and ALL CAPS

I’m sure you’ve been to plenty of sites who have used too
much ALL CAPS. Perhaps you’ve chatted with someone
online and they’ve used all caps. The fact is using ALL CAPS
makes reading so much more difficult, it slows the
reader down. And as a result it drives people away or
they just avoid reading it. Don’t get me wrong, using all
caps can be beneficial, just don’t overuse it. Also, don’t
make a habit of making full sentences in all caps, rather
only 1 to 3 words at the max.

Same goes with italics. It may appear on your computer
just fine, but on other peoples computers it can come out
unclear and difficult to read. Instead of using italics to
make your point, use bold instead. Even make the bold
highlighted words in a different font color, usually red.
Which brings up one other important thing you should
note. Don’t over do using different font colors, not only
can it be difficult to read it will also make your sales copy
look unprofessional. As a general rule for using font
colors stick to only 2 font colors at the most (black for
regular text, red for highlighted words or phrases). And
use red (or any other color you use to make a specific
point) to a minimum. Used correctly it can really draw in
your potential client when they are scanning your
website.

#8 Use specific keywords in your hyperlinks

When people are scanning a webpage many of them
scan for hyperlinks to other areas of the site. They look
for information to answer their questions. Here’s an
example of how you can use hyperlinks to your
advantage to get visitors to look at the other pages of
your site.

Which one of these would you rather click:

“Benefits”

“Drive your visitors to purchase from you”

If it were me, I’d click the 2nd one before I’d click the first
one. Why? As I mentioned in the MerchantNewz issue two
weeks ago it persuades them to purchase from you. It
draws visitors to look closer. That’s one of the biggest
things you want to do when writing your sales copy. Draw
interest. If not, don’t expect your visitors to go past your
home page.

Oh, one more thing I almost forgot. Make sure your
hyperlinks are the standard blue color and underlined.
People, especially newbies to Internet are more familiar
with the standard blue colored hyperlinks. This makes them
easier to locate as when people are scanning your site
they are looking in particular for those blue hyperlinks
and if yours are in any other color people just may miss
them.

#7 Use specific headings and write in short “blocks”

The most important heading is the one at the very top of
your main page. This heading will “set the tone” so to
speak and draw the visitor in. I’ve seen a number of
headings, like the ones below:

“Welcome”
“Introduction”
“Lose 10 lbs. in only ONE WEEK!”

The first two are too general, plain and uninteresting.
However, the third one is right on the money. Those who
are interested in losing a few extra pounds will be “drawn
in” to read what the site has to offer if they use a similar
heading like the third one above. Going back to what was
mentioned earlier, it attacks the emotional side of the
visitor. It’s like bait to a shark. Perhaps you may be able
to come up with an intriguing sub-heading to add support
to the main heading. Use headings frequently throughout
your pages to keep up interest. No one wants to read
one long paragraph with no breaks or headings. Use
each heading to draw people in to what your about to
“talk” about in the coming paragraphs. Headings are
a great way to give a “heads up” on what people are
about to read.

When you’re at the grocery store next time, go over to the
periodicals section and look at some of the headings on a
few magazines, you’ll quickly see how the editors use
effective headings to get people to open and read the
different articles inside. On a piece of paper write down
some good, effective headings and test them out, see
which ones result in more sales.

A paragraph or two back I mentioned the word “breaks.”
This is another key issue in getting people to read your
sales copy. Write in paragraph blocks of three to five
sentences long. Keep your sentences short and to the
point. The breaks, often called “white space,” aid the
reader. It is generally much easier to read in short
paragraph blocks than it is one huge paragraph.

#6 Your first paragraph can make the difference between
a sale and no sale

Ok, so you’ve got yourself a killer heading (and maybe a
good supporting sub-heading). Great! But it doesn’t stop
there. The next 1 to 3 sentences are THE most
important part of your sales copy. In those few beginning
sentences you have to tell them why they have to have
your product. Yep, you guessed it, back to the point of
attacking their emotional side. Like I mentioned in the
last issue of MerchantNewz, people buy with their
emotions rather than logic. In those introductory
sentences give them beneficial reasons as to why they
can’t live without your product/service. Once you’ve done
that, hook, line and sinker…you’ve got them. Now it’s just
leading out from that point into explaining what some
more of those reasons are why they need what you have.

#5 Lead your potential customers to the next step

Don’t take for granted that people are going to hit the
order button and purchase from you. Lead them by the
hand to that end result. At the end of your sales copy on
a particular page, use effective hyperlinks to draw them
to the next step, then the next, all the way up to
purchasing your product/service. A good way to
persuade people to continue on is to focus your
concluding paragraph on a given page on what will be talked
about on the following page. A good introduction to what’s
to come is another key to getting people to click on to the
next page.

#4 Keep graphics to a minimum

Graphics are good, they can really liven up your website
and make it look professional. Just don’t overuse them.
Too many graphics and it will cause your page download
time to soar. People aren’t going to wait around all
afternoon for your website to load up. All the flashy
graphics may look nice, but the fact is, graphics don’t
make people buy, words do. Another thing about
graphics, stay away from animated graphics, not only are
they large in size, but they also distract the potential
customer and can be very annoying. Stick with small,
static (non-animated) graphics as a general rule. Use
graphics that compliment your site and it’s products or
else they will do more harm then good.

#3 Talk to the person, not to a group of people

When you write your sales copy you want to be able to
connect with that person whose reading it. Even though
hundreds to thousands of people will be reading it you
have to talk like you’re speaking right to that person on a
one-to-one basis. This is how you can really connect
with that person and get their attention focused on what
you want them to know about your product/service. In
this article, I’ve tried my hardest to be able to connect
with my readers, like yourself. Of all the words in the
article, the word that is probably used the most times is
the word “you.” When developing your sales copy be
sure to include the word “you.” I can’t say it enough,
connection is key here. Without making a connection
with the visitor they will never see what you want them to
see. Stay focused and don’t veer off the specific topic you
are writing about. While speaking of writing your sales
copy one important note I want to run by you is, when you
are brainstorming and typing up your rough draft copy,
think of what customers might be thinking at that point in
your sales copy. Put yourself in their shoes and look to
see if you’re explaining yourself clearly. Would your
visitors have any questions at that point you can think of?
If so, answer them accordingly and move on with your
sales copy.

#2 Make your potential customers feel secure about
doing business with you

In an age where hackers are taking advantage of people
by capturing their personal information (especially credit
card information) it’s important to make your customers
feel secure about doing business with you. In the last
issue of MerchantNewz I mentioned just how important
having a secure order form is. I want to reiterate the
fact of how important the security of your customers
information is. If you want people to continue to
purchase from you, making them feel secure about doing
purchases with you is vital. Not only is having your order
form secure important, but also assuring people you
won’t sell their contact information to third parties. There’s
nothing more that I hate then getting spam e-mail.
Where does a lot of this come from? People selling their
mailing lists to third parties. How can you reassure your
visitors you won’t sell their information? Make up a
privacy policy page and let them know you won’t, under
any circumstances sell, give or rent their information.
Don’t just have a link to it at the top, bottom or side of
your website, include a link to it on your order form and in
your sales copy too. For an example visit any of your
favorite sites and view their privacy policy to get an idea
of what to put together for yours.

#1 Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Arguably I’ve saved the most important for last. There’s
nothing more embarrassing then getting e-mails from
people telling you how your spelling is incorrect and your
grammar usage is wrong. I know from experience. When
I first launched the beta test of MerchantSeek back in
August I received three or four e-mails from people telling
me how I really needed to proofread my website. That
was a very embarrassing moment for me. If left uncorrected
these things can kill your credibility in a moment.
I cannot stress the importance of having carefully
proofread sales copy on your website. Don’t expect your
spellchecker to pick up all the mistakes.

If you’re like me, you may not be a very sound writer when
it comes to grammar and spelling. So what can you do?
Have a co-worker look it over and make corrections, hire
a college kid strong in proofreading or outsource your
work to a company who specializes in copywriting and
proofreading. I learned from my mistake. I got in contact
with my buddy James Cole of Perfect Impressions. He’s my Quality
Assurance Specialist for MerchantSeek and this e-zine.
Each time a new page or e-zine is published I have
James look it over to make corrections. If you’re looking
for someone to review your sales copy or e-zine you can
contact James at mailto:JamesCole@Perfect-Impression.com
His rates are VERY cheap (probably the cheapest around).
Check out his website and e-mail him with what you need
to have done. I highly recommend him.

So in conclusion, when looking over your sales copy see
if you’re incorporating each of the 10 tips listed above to
the fullest. If you don’t have any sales copy, get some.
You will see a rise in your sales like you’ve never seen
before. As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, test
your headlines, tweak them and see if you can acquire
more sales. You would be surprised to see what a few
changes of words can do to your sales. Are you going to
be of the majority who don’t make use of good sales
copy, or become one of the minority who are making good
income because they took the time to make good
connections with their site visitors? Regardless of what
anyone says, success does come with a price tag, and
that price tag is time. Are you willing to take the time
needed to become successful? Only you can answer
that question.

—————————————–
Jim Conley II is the CEO/Founder of MerchantSeek. MerchantSeek allows merchants from around the world to search FREE for a Merchant Account Provider that best fits their businesses needs and budget. Visit us at http://www.merchantseek.com/

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