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How to write long copy that sells part 2

Last time we posted a useful Oxygen guide on when to favour long copy as the best means of reaching and convincing your customer, and what to consider before you start to write. You can read that post here. This time, we’ll be looking at how to structure and actually draft long copy that sells.

Write a killer long copy headline

Start with your best headline. Compare it to others in the same field, noting its good and bad points, and where it works and where it doesn’t. Then come up with another. And another. Good headlines rarely come quickly. Even when they do, it takes careful consideration to work out which will be the most effective with your target audience. As every copywriter knows, 80% of people will only read your headline. With long copy, your reader may already have decided they don’t have time to trawl through the body copy. So your headline has to be even more effective at convincing them to read on. And the right headline will set the tone for the rest of the copy.

Tips for your long copy headline

A long copy headline should be easy to see. So here’s a tip for headlines that most short copy copywriters miss. Centre and bold it. It sounds obvious but actually doing this can increase your conversion rate many times over. Long copy headlines should also tap into a pain, problem or fear that the prospect experiences and promise a specific solution or benefit with as much style as you can manage.

Outline the problem

With long copy you have the opportunity to take your prospect on a journey. Your headline may already have started with the problem they face. The beginning of your body copy is the time to draw them in with a story that makes them conscious of their own pain and reminds them that they urgently need a solution. Long copy gives you a great opportunity to tell stories. That’s the key to making your copy human rather than salesy, and to drawing your reader in. Human beings find it hard to resist a good story, and storytelling is a great way to build rapport.

Neutralise the competition

Next remind your reader that they’ve probably looked for or tried other solutions which haven’t worked or aren’t good enough. Remind them again how painful their problem is. And give them hope by telling them there is a better way before….

Giving them your solution together with proof

Give them your USP and tell them why your product or service doesn’t have all the drawbacks your competitor’s products or services do. Convince them it’s the best solution and that the answer to all their problems. Offer social proof in the form of authority figure or celebrity endorsement or case studies outlining your success rate. Alternatively, use customer testimonials. These should ideally each be:

  • from your ideal customer demographic or from someone your customer aspires to be
  • illustrate one specific benefit and a ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenario
  • include a short ‘summary’ subheading so that people who scan will pick up on the important points.

Alleviate the customer’s worries about purchasing

The most common way to do this is to offer a money-back guarantee. But this is also the time to make assurances about the convenience of ordering from you, especially if they have fears about the mess or fuss of installation etc. Offering a guarantee puts the onus on you to provide a high quality service or product that won’t disappoint, or it will backfire in the number of refunds you have to provide.

Remind them what a good deal they’re getting

If you’re offering a big ticket item or service, it’s useful to provide some context. People are more likely to buy the second most expensive because they feel they’ll get quality but have also found a good deal. So explain how they’ll save time and money with you, compared to your competitors, and what makes your offer good value for money.

Throw in an incentive

At this point your prospect is almost convinced. So it’s time to push them that last little bit of the way with an incentive to order today. Offer a bonus product, service or discount. It encourages them to actually make a decision now rather than putting your copy aside and forgetting about it.

P.S. Don’t forget to order now

You don’t want the last thing your prospect reads to be your signature. That would take the heat off the emotional climax your copy has built up to. So it’s crucial to include a P.S. Some people will only read the headline and the P.S. because they’re easy to find summaries of your offer. Your P.S should restate your offer and highlight your benefits again, or offer a final incentive.

 

Long copy can be time consuming to write, but when it’s done well it really works. If you don’t have the time to create your own, let Oxygen do the hard work for you. Give us a call today on 0845 2606 255.

 

Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.

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