These 6 Essentials of Effective Sales Copy are Still Perfect Almost

There is a formula for how we’re supposed to sell. It’s the magic formula that makes excellent copy what it is and has padded the pockets of every get salesperson and copywriter since the beginning of the universe.

Even the budding copywriter can get results by religiously following these six items.

Here’s the list:

Get Attention

Create Interest

Stress Benefits

Give Proof

Call for Action

Increase Immediacy

Unless this is the first time you’ve seen it, there is nothing revolutionary about this list. Master copywriters have been using this sequence for years and years. Caples, Halbert, Kenned, all the masters have used this, and there’s no reason for us to change it now.

So why should you waste your time reading about it all over again? Because the old formula is no longer quite enough. There’s an improvement we need to make, and it’s an improvement that’s been frowned upon for a long, long time.

Our world has changed since Caples strutted his stuff on the world marketing stage. Maybe not a lot, but the changes there have been are significant, most notably:

  • Everything is available in large quantities
  • Rarity is getting rarer and rarer
  • People are growing more and more suspicious of the quality

What do these have to do with sales? Quite a bit.

Oh, Look, Just Another Widget

This could very well be the mindset of your potential customer.

You’ve undoubtedly noticed, and so have your customers, that where there once was only Amazon.com, there are now hundreds of Amazon wannabes. Where online stores were once an expensive item for lucky web admins, they can now be set up on the cheap with a few mouse clicks. And where the creator of a product once peddled his own wares, an army of affiliates may now sell the same thing.

What are you going to do about this? How are you going to set yourself apart? How is anyone going to know you created this great product instead of thinking you’re just another affiliate? Is your ebook the same as a hundred others?

What Makes Your Product Different?

It was once considered bad form or at least bad copywriting to list the features of a product in sales copy. “Always stress the benefits, not the features,” we’ve been told.

Don’t say, “the pencil is sharp,” when you could say, “you will never again have to waste time sharpening a pencil.”

Don’t say, “this ebook is full of tips,” when you could say, “you will learn everything you need to know right from step one.”

That may have been true yesterday, but the thing is, your customers want to know that stuff now. Why? Because there are dozens, hundreds, and possibly thousands of similar products on the market.

Let’s say you’ve got a customer who is 100% sold. He needs your widget (or your competitor’s) and will not be leaving without it, no matter what. You could burn your sales letter and not say another word, and he will still buy. He’s got his money in his hand, but who will he give it to? You? One of your dozens of competitors? How will he choose?

Features, that’s how. In the next post, we’ll cover exactly how to make the most of your product’s characteristics.