“They were easier to read than ignore” – Victor Schwab
It’s often said that copywriting can’t be too long, just too boring.
And sales writing is often only tolerated at the best of times. So if your copy is to weave its magic it needs to be light, easy to read and captivating.
Here are 15 tips for making your sales writing more punchy and compelling for readers:
1. Aim for an average sentence length of around 16 words.
2. Vary between short and long sentences to give your writing rhythm.
3. Split long sentences into two if they’ll survive on their own. Use connecting words such as ‘so’, ‘and’ or ‘because’.
4. Wield an axe to flabby language and unnecessary words. As Anton Chekhov put it, ‘Brevity is the sister of talent.’
5. Sales writing isn’t blessed with a reader’s patience. So ensure every word and sentence means something to the reader and adds to your argument. Don’t waffle or descend into a longwinded diatribe that’s of little interest to anybody but you.
6. Leave long paragraphs to novelists, and limit yours to a single thought. Two or three sentences is adequate.
7. Showy writing isn’t sales writing. Don’t use words just because they sound impressive. And leave jargon and corporate claptrap for the brochure (if you must use them at all).
8. Use positive inspiring language on what the reader ‘can’ achieve and ‘will’ be able to do. Avoid negative terms that might dampen their spirits.
9. Break up up your page with subheads and bullets to aid skim reading.
10. Use power words to charge up your writing’s impact, such as ‘revealed’, ‘proven’, ‘scientific’ and ‘breakthrough’.
11. Write in your reader’s language and the style they’re comfortable with. Read your target market’s magazines and newspapers to gauge the pitch.
12. People are hardwired to respond to stories. Use storytelling on how your product has solved someone’s problem to trigger the reader’s imagination and emotions.
13. Use facts or personal history to build rapport, empathy and to show the reader that you feel their pain.
14. Ask the reader a simple question early on they’ll say ‘yes’ to. This will precondition them to be more likely to agree with you and say ‘yes’ to your offer later on.
15. Sales writing is often compared to a conversation with a pal in a bar. So it should be conversational and sound similar to how you’d speak. Read it aloud to hear whether it flows smoothly.
Another tip I’d add is to keep a swipe file of the best sales writing you find. Study it, highlight key phrases and copy it out by hand to gain an understanding of how to write punchy copywriting that generates sales.