Why the words in your sales copy matter

Posted: 11th May 2015

The trick to writing good sales messages is, understanding what need or desire your products fulfil for your customers.  This may vary not just between products but between customers, and even times of year.   To find this out you need to know……

How will your product enhance your customer’s life?

Anybody who has done any sales or marketing training will have heard of features and benefits.  The features of a product are descriptions of what a product is like. The benefits are how the features make the buyers life better/easier/more pleasant/cheaper or what the features do for the buyer.

However much you think you know your product, it is always worth sitting down and doing a quick review.  The economic climate may change – does this change the benefits of your product or service?

Below are the features and benefits of a pack of organic mixed salad leaves.

Features Benefits.
Fresh delivered within 24hrs of being picked. Maximum vitamin & mineral content.Maximum taste.Looks attractively crisp on your plate or in your salad bowl.

Will impress dinner guests.

Tastes good in sandwiches.

Mixture of leaves Economical – You do not have to spend more money on many different types of individually packed leaves.You can enjoy the contrast of sweet and hot without having to know which leaves to put in.Enjoy the growers use of new, oriental varieties of salad leaves, many of which you cannot buy separately.

Easy to prepare, just wash and serve.

Convenient so saves you time.

Easy to use in sandwiches, only need to wash it.

Certified Organic Not sprayed with artificial pesticides whose residues  may adversely affect some people.Grown using a sustainable form of agriculture so you can feel good about eating it.The farm is certified and inspected so you can trust that the produce is genuinely organic.
Local You can feel good about supporting a local business.You can feel good that more of your money is staying in your local area.Buying this food is not supporting the excessive use of fossil fuels to fly produce in from overseas.

You can reduce your carbon footprint by buying this locally produced item.

Low transport costs which make this salad pack increasingly competitively priced against supermarket salad packs.

Nothing added to enhance freshness. You are not supporting an energy intensive system of processing and packing.


What makes your customers tick?

Find out as much as you can about your customers.  Who are they, what is important to them, what do they get excited about? What concerns them, what reassurances are they seeking? Which of these needs does your product or service fulfil?  When we spend £45.00 on a pot of face cream we aren’t paying buying just cream.  We are paying for the possibility of rejuvenation; for most of us (sadly!), we are buying dreams.

Using your sales message

Once you have worked out the sales messages, you need to maximise them, i.e. ensure that every leaflet, poster, label, web page, makes that sales message work for you.

If your sales message is working well, i.e bringing you leads then keep using it.  If it isn’t then analyse your sales literature again.  Is your message clear, relevant and prominent.

Make sure your message sings out from the start.   A trade tip is you can often delete your first paragraph of a letter, or brochure text, once you finish the writing.  When you go back you usually find it is a little woolly and doesn’t grab the reader.  Second paragraphs with a bit of tweaking, are often much better.

Make it easy for people to get in touch.  Phone number prominently displayed on every page of copy.  Put your web address on your signboards, email signature and brochures.

Do you want people to come to your farm shop or retail outlet?  Put the postcode in and a map.

What mood is your reader in?

If you have an advert in a local paper you have about 30 seconds to grab your reader’s attention before they turn the page on your £650.00 advert.

If however your reader has clicked through to the ‘About Us’ page of your website, your reader is interested, has more time and is in a thoughtful mood.  In this situation, the reader is actively looking for more information about your product.

If your reader is on page 3 of your direct mail letter you definitely have their attention and they want to know about as many of the benefits as possible.

Hints for writing better copy.

v   Focus on the customer more than your company. If you were the customer what would you like to know?

v   Highlight benefits that will appeal to the reader.

v   Talk to your reader as though you are in their front room.

v   Keep it simple.  Long words can alienate readers.

v   Keep it lively.  Imagine you are having a conversation with your reader.

v   For websites and brochures break up the copy with sub-headings.

v   Facts including statistics are more convincing than unsubstantiated claims.

v   Keep your customers’ warm and grateful comments and use them in your publicity material.

v   Don’t forget the call to action: buy now; order hotline; go on the website or send back the coupon.

v  Make use of front pages e.g. brochures and home pages on website.  Do they make the reader want to read on?

Copywriting is endlessly fascinating (to copy writers!).  If your appetite has been whetted, www.inst.org/copy/index.htm is a great resource site to improve your own copy writing skills.

Also ‘The Copywriter’s Handbook’, Robert W. Bly reprinted 2005 is a good reference book.

If you prefer to get someone else to write effective copy in your sales literature you should spend some of your marketing budget on a good copy writer.  My details are below.

Juliet Fay offers professional copywriting services.

07904 730092


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