It’s true that in many cases, the more you tell the more you sell. But are there ways to make sure you’re providing the right sales path for various types of prospects?
Sonia’s excellent post about the ruthless sales machine that is long copy sparked an idea for a post I’ve wanted to write for awhile. That is, how do you avoid having your readers simply “fall off the path” when they’re reading your long sales copy?
While you’re online, there are a dozen things that are competing for your attention at any one time. Despite copy that implores you to “unplug the phone, grab a cup of coffee and settle in for the most important letter you will ever read…” – you still can’t help but check your email, glance at Twitter, or think about what you’ll be making for dinner later, right?
The fact is, no matter how great the offer, we’re all looking for something – anything that will distract us from whatever task we’re doing. Preferably something that’s more fun or more interesting. As a writer, it becomes your job to make your long copy as interesting and captivating as possible. There are several ways to keep your readers hooked – such as:
Minimizing Distractions and Links
It never ceases to amaze me how many perfectly good and compelling sales letters are ruined by outbound links. Contextual advertising is the worst offender here. Where else but the internet do we have such a fixation on making money from clicks that we’ll shuttle our readers off to a competitor’s site just for a few extra cents? The same goes for navigation links. Much like the same narrow focus you need for your landing pages, you’ll want to strip out all unnecessary navigation that prevents your visitors from focusing on your sales letter as well.
Place Your Call to Action in Several Spots
I may be a reader who sees the first few paragraphs and instantly knows — this is what I want. That’s why it’s worth testing putting your call-to-action “above the fold” (in the first third of the screen area) for those impulsive buyers, especially if you’ve warmed them up with launch or pre-sell content. Not only there, but after every major statement you make showcasing your product as the solution. I may not need to read all of the case studies, testimonials or bonuses to decide I want to buy – and yet many sales letters drag you through these obligatory segments before they even ask for the order!
Add a Splash of Color with Photos and Charts
It’s been proven that our eyes tire quicker reading text on screen than on a page, which is why direct mail copywriters can get away with 9 page sales letters! Since screen real estate is much smaller – we’ve got a lot less space to work with. Break up your long copy with photos, charts or details that add to the message rather than detract away from it. Consider adding bullets, boxes and other embellishments to break up the monotony of black and white.
Offer a Quick Fix for Those that are Short on Time
One of the best options I’ve tested in sales letters for clients has been the “tour” option. If it’s a long sales letter and you just don’t have the time, there’s a “quick 1-minute tour” that will lead you through the major selling points of the offer. I’ve found that having both options appeals to the skimmers and scanners who want relevancy NOW, as well as the information-gatherers who will study the page more fully to make sure it meets their needs.
So if you’re convinced that long copy is the way to go, and you want to avoid losing customers, test out your copy with some of these suggestions and measure the response. You may discover that when you make it easy for your customers to act, they in turn make it easy for you to do more business!