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Writing Effective Sales Copy for the Web and Other Smart Tips for your Site

Compass Marketing presents more Furniture Marketing Simplified

Discover how to write copy that sells

It doesn’t matter how fancy and high tech your site is, good looking graphics alone will

not build your sales. Many online marketers make the mistake of putting too

much time and energy into the design of their site, and not enough into writing

effective sales copy. Producing a site that is both professional looking and

credible is a major factor in selling online, but if your sales copy is not working,

you simply will not make money.

Writing effective sales copy is an art; good copywriters have learned how to

produce persuasive text targeted towards their particular audience. You really

need to understand your customers’ needs and produce copy that projects

emotion, passion, excitement and benefit.

Selling is also about enthusiasm, and projecting that onto your target audience.

Being excited about the product will shine through, so avoid dry, over formal copy

and let your passion for the subject flow.


The following is a tried and tested formula for writing effective sales copy, keep

this in mind while planning your copy’s beginning, middle and end.

A - Attention - Use a powerful headline that demands attention

I - Interest - Intrigue interest and create curiosity

D - Detail - Provide details about your product or service

A - Action - Call for action

Photo of Blake demonstrating AIDA
Alec Baldwin from Glengarry Glen Ross

Begin writing your copy in black, easily readable font with a light background.

Complicated fonts and dark backgrounds will make your copy difficult to read and

will put off your visitor.

Avoid using fancy fonts or backgrounds that will make your text difficult to read.

Write in small blocks of text with a space between each block. There is nothing

that will make your visitor click away faster than a sea of text - so make sure you

use plenty of white space.

Selling and Emotion

The importance of emotion needs to be fully understood before embarking on a

successful copy writing project. It is a sales cliché that customers buy benefits

and not features. This is only partly true. To take the theory a little deeper, people

buy because of how those benefits will make them feel. It is emotion that is

key to writing effective copy that sells.

"You're BS'ing yourself"

Consider the following quote from Hal Alpiar, President/CEO of Business Works:

“You may think (and have actually convinced yourself) that the SUV

you purchased was a great investment because it allows you to sit

high enough to see above traffic, it can provide more traction in

bad weather, it can go off the road, it can tow trailers, it will

take less of a hit in an accident than a sedan, it allows you to

haul more firewood and home improvement stuff, Consumer Reports

ranks it at the top of their Best Buy list, there's tons of room for

the kids and the dogs, it can pull out tree stumps, you got zero

down and zero percent, and the service warranty is spectacular.

BUT if you think for one minute that you bought that gas guzzler

for any of those reasons (or ones like them), you're BS'ing

yourself! You bought the SUV because you think you look good

driving it!”

So, in effect, sell what the surfer really wants, and establish this through

knowledge of basic human needs, which you are about to learn in the following


Human Motivators

Let’s now examine basic human motivators. Psychologist Abraham Maslow,

based human behavior around at least one basic need. His theory is that

without you addressing a less important need, there won't be any desire to

pursue a more important need.

His idea is based around "the hierarchy of human needs." Here are the five

human motivators, as he sees them, beginning with the basic, and ending with

the most important needs.

Physiological - Basics needs include hunger, thirst, shelter, clothing and sex.

Safety (Security) – The need for physical, emotional and financial security.

Social (Affiliation) – The human need for love, affection, companionship and

acceptance by their peers.

Self Esteem - Human need for achievement, recognition, attention and respect.

Self-actualization - The need for people to reach their full potential.

You should incorporate these needs into your writing. Get inside the head of

your audience, feel their needs, wants and desires and include passion and

emotion in your headlines and copy. So, sell security (social and relationship),

independence, self-confidence, achievement and not what the product does:

- Extra strong lock

- Reduces fat

- Improves appearance

- Contains (insert special ingredient name here)

These are all features. However, how will purchasing the product make the

customer feel? Concentrate on this, not on features and technical specifications.

Features and technical data can be used to back up your site’s claims - but

should not be used as the key selling tool.

So what.

An excellent technique for improving your sales copy is to ask yourself “So

What.” after each benefit claim. For example:

“Guaranteed to help you lose weight”


“…so you can invest in confidence” or “….so you can have peace of mind

while achieving your goals of a better body”

The Headline

The headline is the first and most important factor in your sales copy. This is the

A part of the AIDA model – you must grab the reader’s attention and compel them

to read on. Around 5 times as many people will read the headline than the copy


So, unless your headline sells your product immediately, the rest of your copy will

be useless. Use the headline to immediately capture your audience’s attention,

and to stimulate a specific emotion, as emotion sells.

“Feel embarrassed about your sofa?”

“What would a better night sleep mean for you?”

Asking a question is a good way of provoking thought and drawing the reader in.

Try using imperatives:

“Recline while watching your favorite show quickly and easily with product X”

“Imagine the relief of reducing your backache today”

Some tips for writing powerful headlines:

Write 20 to 30 different headlines.

Take days break to give yourself a fresh perspective and review again and choose the best power headlines.

Ask yourself how they can be improved, are they addressing your objectives.

Writing an Introduction

Ok, now you have captured your visitor’s attention, you will need to draw them

into your introduction. Keep it brief and to the point. Create a value proposition,

and let them know exactly what you are offering.

This will create the I – interest part of AIDA, and give the reader more reasons to

read on. Give the visitor reasons as to they should read on, mention what useful

info others have gotten out of your site.

Writing the bulk of your copy

You will now need to start writing the main body of your copy. Avoid using jargon

or technical terms your visitor may not understand, this will only alienate them.

Avoid negativity, hype and buzzwords, and write in as style that everyone can

understand. Try using prepositional phrases such as “As you know..,

Naturally…., Everybody knows….” Whatever follows these are more likely to be

accepted by the reader.

The Power of Words

Here are some tips on using alternative words with for better association. These

are not set in stone and open to debate, but provide an interesting insight into the

power of words. Every word counts, so ensure you incorporate potency:

Buy— This implies people have to pay money — experiment with alternative

try using claim e.g. “click here to claim your membership to … ) or invest

(Visit to invest in a better future … ). This is contrary to when

marketing must have a clear call to action i.e. “buy now” so only use

alternatives where applicable, within the body of your text for example.

Learn — This implies there is work involved – try using discover “discover

the secrets behind…. …”

Tell — Nobody like to be told what to do – use reveal “This site will reveal

the effectiveness of...”, “we will show you…”

Avoid lazy words like:

Things — EG “Show you things” — Instead use tips, tricks & techniques

(.. discover tips, tricks & techniques that will …

Stuff— EG “…show you stuff, tell you stuff” — Use something juicier, like -

insider secrets (We will reveal insider secrets that only the …)

Creating effective web copy will not win you any creative writing prizes or

journalism awards but it will make you money. These tips are open to debate

but highlight the power of words in turning your visitor on or off.

Use Plenty of Subheadings

Your next step will be to add subheadings. Subheadings are basically just

smaller headlines used to break up your text blocks. They also provide your

readers with important highlights of your paragraphs.

Use plenty of subheadings throughout your copy, as not all your visitors will read

your copy word for word. They'll simply scan it and only read what catches their

attention. So, give each section a juicy subheading and a reason for the visitor to

read on.

Create USP’s

You need to set the product you are promoting apart from every other competitor

in a positive way. Using a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) will make your offering

more valuable than competitor’s and negate the need for the surfer to shop

around. This will make up part of the D details of AIDA

A strong USP is an absolute must in giving your audience a compelling reason to

buy from your site. A great way to develop a USP is by commencing: “Unlike the

majority of its competitors….

“Unlike the majority of memory foam mattresses “product Z” will help (insert benefit with emotion)

“Unlike other power bases, “brand X” uses a combination of 2 proprietary systems

that are proven to prevent you and your sleep partner from snoring”

The main purpose of a USP is to address a hole in the marketplace that the

product can really fill. Don’t forget that a USP can be incorporated into a headline

or subheader in your copy writing.

Limit the Risk

All (enter your company name here) products come with a rock-solid money back guarantee for 6 months. You must hammer this home as it makes for a soft easy sell. Display

the guarantee in bold text and highlight with a graphic - 6 months is longer than

most products in the online industry, point this out and make it a unique selling

point. The more you remove the risk, the more chance of the sale.

You may also want to highlight the secure ordering processes, data protection

and privacy, and discreet packaging. Preempt their objections to buy and

address them, build your potential customers' confidence and put them at


Use a Postscript (p.s.)

Visitors scan your copy on websites; they will read your headline, sub-headlines

and the Postscript message more than anything else. Place your most important

benefits within your P.S. message. Summarize the main points, the benefits &

the emotions that these will provide - it will be read.

Call to Action (CTA)

Ask for the business! The crucial A part of AIDA. A common mistake with selling is not

asking for the business at the end of a pitch. Don’t just

hope they decide to buy - prompt your visitor to buy with a clear CTA – if you

don’t ask you won’t get! At the end of each review page, article, or product

feature always, always include a clear link to order here are some examples:

“Take control of your sleep, order your TempurPedic mattress today”

“Discover how to recline with ease, explore the power motion section of our site today”

Some General Tips for a successful site

Speed of Loading

Ok this may be stating the obvious - You literally have seconds to grab your

surfers’ attention. So, it is very important to ensure your site loads as quickly as


 Optimize your image files for faster download

 Don’t over complicate the site

 Choose a reliable host

 Avoid heavy use of Flash or other outdates tech

Target your market

A successful website will cater specifically to the needs of your potential

customer. When designing your site, keep this in mind. Know your audience and

get inside their head, try and think like your potential customer - examine their

hopes fears and desires.

Next, ask others, test and survey. What you think is the right approach won’t

necessarily be the same for everybody. For example, if you are targeting women

(and we know we are), talk to women, what’s important to them, what emotion drives

them to buy furniture to renew the look of their home.


The focus of your websites is to inform and more importantly to sell. Don’t try to

sell lots of unrelated products on your site, keep it targeted. If you want to feature

different products then build separate pages and areas for each one.


More money is being spent on the internet than ever. Potential customers can

still be apprehensive about parting with their credit card details online. You can

build credibility by providing detailed information on:

 Policies - Such as privacy and Spam

 Privacy Statement

 Procedures

 Real contact information and physical address.

 Where possible, include testimonials from customers

 Research the products yourself. Maybe you use the same battery charger for your motion sofas on your sales floor and can share the pros and cons to encourage customers to buy these kinds of products yourself. You can then say that your organization has tested the products.

Some of these factors will also assist in your Google quality score and drive your

AdWords PPC cost down.

Ease of Navigation

Ok, again, it may seem obvious but the quickest way to kill a sale is to present a

confusing web site. Surfers are impatient and easily frustrated. If they cannot

find what they are looking for quickly they will go elsewhere.

So keep your navigation:

 Simple

 Clean and easily readable

 Accessible from every page of the site

They ask for apples give them apples

Don’t try and con your surfer. If you offer a link to “top reviewed hybrid mattresses”

then don’t just link to a product site. Your surfer will be looking for a comparison,

so, send them to a review page or feeder site that will give them the “top reviewed

hybrid mattresses”. Not giving the surfer what they are asking for is a sure shot way

to get them to hit the red X.

We hope this post has given you something to think about and more importantly, something to act on. Stay tuned for more articles monthly on how to better marketing your message and continue to simplify your marketing with Compass Marketing Group.

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