How to do a “Sales Copy Checkup”

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A few days ago, a friend asked me to review a couple of pages on his website: one promoting his coaching services and the other selling his ebook. He wasn’t satisfied with the response he was getting with either page and hoped I could point out some improvements he could make to the copy.

I reviewed each page and, sure enough, I was able to provide him with a few suggestions he could implement right away.

My friend is a fairly motivated guy so he made the changes immediately. Yesterday he proudly sent me the links to the revised page. It’s obvious, almost at a glance, that his copy is now more persuasive. I have no doubt he’s going to see better results soon — which, for him, means more coaching prospects and ebook sales.

The interesting thing is, he could have done this “Sales Copy Checkup” on his own, even though he’s not a professional copywriter. He just needed to know what to look for.

So what did I look for when I reviewed my friend’s sales copy? Let me take you on a quick tour of the process — which, by the way, only took me a few minutes per page.

  • The first thing I look at is the headline. Does it communicate a clear benefit? Does it make a compelling offer or promise a solution to a problem? If I were a prospect, would I be motivated by the headline to read the rest of the copy?
  • Then I read the body copy. Does it contain all the information that a prospect needs to make the decision right then and there — to sign up for the newsletter, request the free report, call to discuss a need, or place an order? The biggest mistake I see in sales copy is copy that
    does not provide enough information.
  • Then I check how well the copy answers the question every prospect asks: “So what?” A product or service may have wonderful features. But what prospects really want to know is what’s in it for them — the benefits. For each feature in the copy, they’re asking, “So what?” So I check how well the copy is answering that question.
  • Then I look for opportunities to explain things with stories, scenarios, and examples. Sometimes a straightforward description of a benefit is fine. But if you can convey the same information with a story, scenario or example, that benefit will likely have much more impact.
  • Then I check how well the copy overcomes skepticism. Is the copy believable? Does it contain specifics rather than generalities? Does it include testimonials and other types of endorsement?
  • Then I review the call-to-action. Does the copy clearly explain the next step the prospect needs to take, such as signing up for something, requesting a free consultation, or placing an order? Does the copy provide a credible reason to act now?
  • Finally, I look for ways to make the copy more readable and entertaining. Is the copy easy to read? Is it interesting? Is it conversational? Is it easy to scan? If the copy is difficult to read or scan, most prospects won’t bother.

So that’s a quick look at the process. Are there other ways to improve sales copy? Of course there are. Dozens. But, in my experience, making improvements in these particular areas will tend to get you the best results.

And, as I said, you can probably do this simple sales copy checkup yourself.

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