Sales copy is like the fruit at the bottom of a yogurt cup. The whole thing is delicious, but it's nice to have a little something special at the end of the experience.
The content is what you came to consume. It's good for you. It's heavy on the stuff you need and it goes down easy.
Then you get to the sales copy. That's the solution to your problem; the tasty nugget of “if you take this action, you will be better off.”
Ideally, interesting content and sales copy work in tandem throughout the marketing process, each being used as necessary to earn trust and complete the next step.
Sometimes you need to sell an idea using persuasion, and sometimes you need to plant the seed and let it blossom on its own, using a variety of content.
Knowing which tactic to use, and using it at the right time, is critical to success. You have to imagine what your buyer needs and expects, and that’s not always easy.
Answering the following questions may help.
Who is my client?
This is a topic on its own, but basically, the more you know about who you’re trying to impress, the easier it is to write for that person in a way that feels like you’re speaking directly to him.
Where is the message being consumed?
Print or online? In a sales letter or a press release? Your website or an ad?
If, for example, you’re communicating by newsletter, you’re talking to those who have already requested information from you, so you can assume a degree of familiarity with your specific company and interest in its services.
On your website home page, on the other hand, you can’t assume any familiarity at all, so you need more persuasive elements, such as a headline that keeps the buyer reading and copy that illustrates benefits.
How did the buyer find my company?
- Link shared from online media
- Ad in a magazine
- Newsletter subscriber
- Sales letter recipient
- Link from a pay-per-click ad
Multiple access points mean prospects come to you from different places, and you have to be aware of differences in perspectives and tailor communications appropriately.
Where is the prospect in the buying cycle?
You must take into account where the buyer is likely to be in the buying cycle when they’re looking at your material.
Few people respond well to a strong sales pitch on first meeting, but neglecting a call to action when someone’s ready to buy can kill any hope of a sale.
Copy and content work in synergy, and sometimes the line between the two is blurred. As long as you understand how it will work for you in the bigger marketing picture, and produce it as part of a strategic, cohesive plan, it doesn’t really matter if you call it copy or call it content.
It only matters that you give your readers what they want or need, and that you tell them how to take the next step.