I have a confession to make…
When I write sales copy, I give it all I’ve got, as many copywriters do. I lean in and apply all I know about conversational writing, persuasion psychology, and good old-fashioned selling. So, when I finish a draft, I sometimes give myself a congratulatory pat on the back and think, “This copy is pretty darn good!”
How’s that for vanity?
However, when I go back to edit the draft, something important happens.
I almost always find ways to make it better.
In fact, during the editing process, I’ll often see areas where I can make the copy stronger — and, therefore, more likely to increase conversions, leads, or sales.
With that in mind, here are five editing tips that, in my experience, make the biggest impact on the effectiveness of your marketing copy.
Tip #1: Check the front burner
Prospects will read (or scan) your sales copy because they believe it might offer a solution to a problem or desire.
But here’s the challenge: Your prospects have many problems and desires. You can’t know for sure which of those are on their front burners at the moment.
So, when editing your copy, check that you’re highlighting the problem or desire in a way that agitates or excites the prospect — and whets their appetite for your offer.
Put the problem or desire on the prospect’s front burner!
Tip #2: Let “Mr. So What” be your co-editor
Mr. So What is definitely a nag. As you review your sales copy, he’ll constantly be chiming in with, “So what?” “Who cares?” “What’s in it for me?”
But as annoying as this imaginary co-editor is, he’ll help make your copy more persuasive. That’s because he’ll point to opportunities where you can present more meaningful benefits — the kind of benefits likely to sway prospects.
So, don’t shoo away Mr. So What. Invite him to scrutinize your copy to ensure you’ve fleshed out the most enticing benefits and are communicating those with power and impact.
Tip #3: Add oomph to your call-to-action
If prospects don’t click, call, or otherwise respond, your sales copy has failed, no matter how well written you thought it was. So, check that your call-to-action has enough oomph to motivate prospects to take that step.
A simple Learn More or Order Now might suffice. But more likely than not, you’ll need to do a bit more persuading and reassuring, by:
- Adding a “reminder” benefit.
- Highlighting the guarantee.
- Emphasizing the consequences of not responding. (Example: Why struggle even one more day with this [insert problem]…)
- Making the price seem cheap compared to the value. (Example: For the cost of a Starbucks latte each day, you can be enjoying…)
- Incorporating a testimonial or other form of social proof.
When editing, check that your call-to-action is going to do the job. If it isn’t, add more oomph.
Tip #4: Take the 5% challenge
Nothing will kill your sales copy faster than wordiness. Even one long-winded passage can cause prospects to bail and, therefore, not respond to your offer. So, you need to make your copy tight, tight, tight!
A simple way to do that is to take the 5% challenge.
As you edit your copy, challenge yourself to cut 5% of the word count, without sacrificing key messages or the conversational flow. This may require you to think of a shorter way to say something, which often ends up being a better way to say it.
Whenever I do this 5% thing, the copy almost always ends up being more crisp and persuasive.
Tip #5: Imagine you’re the prospect and ask, “Would this sell me?”
This is probably the most effective editing technique of all. Imagine you’re the prospect and read the copy as they would. As you do…
- Notice if the headline grabs you.
- Notice if the opener pulls you into the message.
- Notice if the features and benefits persuade you.
- Notice how motivated you feel when you get to the call-to-action.
Ask yourself, as the prospect, “Does this message build my interest in the offer and motivate me to take the next step? If not, what would need to change about this copy for me to feel that way?”
Just like Mr. So What, your imaginary prospect is also a great co-editor!
A famous writer once said, “You can write your way to good, but you can only rewrite your way to great.” Editing is rewriting. So, try these tips the next time you write sales copy you think is good. Take another pass to make it great!