GUEST POST from Abby M. Herman

Selling is probably my least favorite thing to do. It feels sleazy and icky and it’s really uncomfortable. But without selling my services, I wouldn’t have a business. Or a roof over my head.

Thankfully, the days of knocking on the door or picking up the phone to telemarket are over, especially for those of us who do business online. (Fun fact: The worst job I ever had was selling pantyhose over the phone. Yes, for real. I lasted until lunch the second day and never went back.)

Today, we get to sell our products and services online—with our websites, through connections we make in online networking and through our email lists. And sometimes it still feels sleazy. But it doesn’t have to.

It all comes down to the angle you take in your promotional copy: Why are you selling what you’re selling and what’s in it for the end customer? From there, make it easy for your audience to read (and say yes).

Defining Your Why

Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, is a “manifesto for those who want to inspire others,” according to his website. He encourages readers to determine why they’re in business and why they chose to do whatever it is that they do. From there, you can inspire others to buy from you.

While I know that finding your why is a powerful exercise, you don’t necessarily need to define your “why” with every piece of content that’s meant to sell something. Instead, I encourage you to simply remember why you’re offering a particular product or service when you’re writing. Hint: It’s not to make money. That’s just an added perk.

Most entrepreneurs are in business because they saw a need and chose to fill it.

  • Coaches help other business owners grow.
  • Designers help business owners get their visual message out.
  • Personal stylists want to help others really look their best.
  • Health and fitness experts want to help clients learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.

You get the picture.

Think about why you’re offering a product or service as you craft content to sell it. You’ll be in a better frame of mind than simply thinking about those Benjamins, and you’ll be able to tailor your copy around what your audience needs and wants.

What’s in it for the End Customer?

People need to know what’s in it for them before they make a purchase.

  • If I pay you to develop my website for me, what am I going to get out of it? (Saved time, less frustration and a more professional-looking website.)
  • If I hire you to handle my accounting, what’s in it for me? (A balanced business account, a budget that works and hopefully a better experience with the IRS.)
  • If I pay you to watch my dogs for me while I’m out of town, what’s the benefit for me (or my dogs)? (Peace of mind that my dogs are taken care of, a fun and frolicking weekend at the dog park—for the pooches, of course.)

Make sense?

As you craft your sales pages and emails, highlight what’s in it for the end customer. Hit on their pain points and let them know how you’ll take that pain away. Doing this also illustrates you truly know where they’re coming from. And when customers feel understood, they’re more comfortable making a purchase.

Make it Readable

Traditional sales pages are longform. That means they’re usually longer than most other pages on your website. There’s so much to cover on a sales page that it’s really not possible to shorten it too much. Benefits, features, the offer, the objections, testimonials from happy customers, etc. A lot of information goes into selling a product or service, especially if it’s a premium (more expensive) offer.

Because of this, it’s important to make sure your sales copy is easy to scan. I mean, people are lazy, right? (Raising my hand.) Not every visitor to your website will read every word you offer. A sad fact for this copywriter. Your audience will scan blog posts and skim through your about page, looking for the juicy bits. They read pull-quotes, subheads, and bolded words, looking for something that jumps out to them. Break up your sales page text with bullet points and graphics and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for—what’s in it for them and the price.

The copy also needs to be conversational, like you’re talking to a friend. Not the friend you go out drinking with on Friday night necessarily, but a friend who they can confide in. Or your favorite client. A conversational tone makes your readers more comfortable. They trust you more. Which makes you less sleazy and them more willing to buy from you.

In the end, you do need to sell if you’re going to stay in business. But if you’re finding that no one is clicking on your offers, it might be time for a second opinion on your copy. Are you overselling? Illustrating what’s in it for them? Ask a mentor or coach to take a look and give you some honest feedback on what you’re including in your sales pages.

Quick Tips to Writing Great Sales Copy:

  • Start by acknowledging you know how your audience feels.
  • Touch on how you are going to solve your audience’s problem.
  • Anticipate questions and answer them—before anyone can even ask.
  • Know what objections your audience will have to buying, and counter them.
  • Write like you’re talking to your favorite client, in a friendly and conversational tone.
  • Don’t oversell. If you’re sending an email series to sell something, don’t go overboard. One email a day is plenty.
  • Establishing some scarcity is fine, but this isn’t do-or-die. Don’t overdo it.

Abby M. Herman is a copywriter and content coach and owner of Write Solutions. She lives and works in the Phoenix area, helping service-based business owners get their written message out to the masses—in their own voice and on their own terms. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.