Copywriters often divide their work into two categories: content and true copywriting. The difference? Content is information that’s valuable for its own sake. True copywriting has a specific job to do: it sells. So here are 7 techniques to make your email copywriting sell.
Here’s the thing. Typing is the wrong mindset for copywriting, especially for email, which requires brevity.
What’s the right mindset? Copywriting is a thought process.
Copywriters use their craft as a way to think deeply about their subject and communicate something worthwhile to a target reader. And they dream up ways to entice readers to try or buy.
Focusing on Push
That being said, you have to get words out of your head and onto paper (or onto your disk drive.) That’s where structure comes in handy — just as an architectural drawing comes in handy when you want to build a house.
In a previous post, we talked about the 4-P structure of copywriting: Promise, Picture, Proof, and Push. It’s the Push (also known as closing the sale) that budding copywriters struggle with.
You may have heard this familiar saying:
“People like to buy, but they don’t like to be pushed into buying.”
I would agree wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, you must present a strong call-to-action to produce good conversions. But as you know, the push can backfire if carried too far.
So how do you push without seeming to push? I’m so glad you asked.
The PsC Rule of Selling
The 4-P structure is an updated version of an even older sales formula: problem, solution, close. The salesman describes a problem, presents his solution, and asks for the sale.
Notice the odd capitalization in the heading of this section — PsC. I did that on purpose. It means that effective sales people put more emphasis on the Problem and Close than on the solution.
Why? We all know how much sales people (and copywriters) love their solution. They know so much about it. They can write about it at length.
Selling the Problem
But unless readers buy the problem (they agree that they have the problem and that it’s worth solving) they’ll never buy the solution.
So before you tackle your close, make sure you are clear on exactly what problem you solve. And make sure your target market experiences that problem and wants to solve it.
Otherwise, your close will fizzle, and conversions will disappoint.
How to Close the Sale
So let’s assume that you’ve presented the problem powerfully and can articulate your solution with no problem.
Closing the sale is like walking on a razor’s edge. One misstep can spell disaster. So here’s a checklist for making a strong close.
1. Don’t forget about it
The most common problem is the failure to close.
But won’t prospects buy when they see how great your solution is? No they won’t, just as a fish won’t leap into your fishing boat and stick a hook in his mouth. You gotta reel ‘em in.
In other words, you must ask for the sale. And there’s some skill involved.
2. Make clean breaks.
The goal is to focus the reader’s full attention on the problem, so they can decide whether it’s one they care about. If the problem doesn’t resonate with them, neither will your solution.
So put some passion and creativity into describing the problem. Then fully shift their attention to your solution and let them know how it works.
Then (and only then) go into your close.
3. Reduce risk.
Here’s one you may have heard before:
“The fear of loss is a greater motivator than the desire for gain.”
So true. People would rather take the free mint at the restaurant cash register than pay a penny for a deluxe mint, even though they stand to lose only a penny!
So reducing the buyer’s risk tends to improve conversions.
Proven risk-reducers include product warranties, satisfaction guarantees and money-back guarantees. Buyers also like free samples, free demos, and free trials — like the GetResponse 30-Day Free Trial. Hey, I had to plug my favorite email marketing company, didn’t I?
4. Unplug an objection.
An objection is a prospect’s way of asking for more information. So instead of fearing objections, good salesmen use them as stepping stones.
How to do that in copywriting?
Remember that your job as a copywriter is to think on behalf of the reader. So play “devil’s advocate” and bring up a common objective. Then provide a good answer to the objection, so the reader can weigh it.
This is a great technique. I love it so much I think I’ll demonstrate it in the next tip.
5. Offer more information
But how do you fit all of that into a brief email? Aha! An objection.
Here’s my answer. For real closing power, give the reader just a bit of information then provide a link they can click to read more.
But don’t just dump the reader at your home page. The link should lead to a dedicated landing page, where you have the space to tell the full story of your value proposition. OK, two plugs.
6. Readers need a happy ending.
What can readers expect when they heed your call-to-action? Do they solve a problem? Avoid a problem? Make their lives a little better?
Fiction writers call this the “new equilibrium” step. It’s a necessary part of any story, including your sales and marketing story.
Here’s where you can circle back and restate the most compelling benefits and provide a brief testimonial.
7. Watch you language
After you’ve written your email sales message, you may be tempted to hit the “send” button — a mistake too many copywriters make.
Instead, read your email with a single question in mind:
“Are these the strongest words I can choose?”
For example, I like the word “handy”, but sometime the word “essential” seems stronger. If I were buying a parachute, I’d respond better to essential than handy.
Somehow, asking that single question makes your mental wheels start turning — often with surprising results.
One more tip
The best tip of all is to study every email you receive, especially those that are trying to sell you something.
Does it make you want to buy? Or is it just annoying?
You’ll soon begin to recognize great copywriting when you see it. Then you can copy it!
I’m not saying plagiarize. Instead, study the principles and adapt them in your own email copywriting projects.
Got any other handy essential closing techniques? I’d love it if you’d share them in the comments below.