Have you ever wondered what makes you read a particular sales letter yet instantly discard another? Have you ever considered why you feel inclined to only open certain promotional emails when hundreds remain unread in your inbox? Ever thought about what prompts you to call that number at the bottom of the brochure?

headlines on adverts
What headlines grab your attention when you read a newsletter or advert?
(Image via Shutterstock)

Today, more than ever, we are inundated with marketing material. Whether it’s in the form of email offers, newsletters arriving with the morning post or even text messages, it seems we cannot escape the ‘promotional pursuit’. And we can’t. Because it’s working!

Despite the fact that at one time or another, most of us will complain about the amount of sales mail we receive, direct mail remains one of the most powerful selling methods in modern business, more and more people buy online than ever before ( spending 19billion last year alone!) and professional copywriters are in high demand! (There is a reason why some of the UK’s best copywriters won’t get out of bed for less than £20,000 per sales letter!)

The truth is, when we read sales material that engages with us in a way that we can relate to – when we are offered a solution that could be beneficial to us, we actually welcome being hit by the power that is the written word! When written properly, sales material can transform from being that ‘Annoying Pest’ to ‘Welcomed Guest’. After all, not many people can honestly say they enjoy being approached on a face-to-face sales mission.

So how do you ensure your content turns those browsers into buyers and prospects into profits? Here are two proven tips that you can apply to your marketing material straight away.

1. Headline before Deadline

If you take one piece of advice from this article, let it be this: YOUR HEADLINE IS EVERYTHING; ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING!  No matter how fantastically persuasive the body of your email, letter or web content may be; and even if it contains a golden ticket for a million pounds, no one will ever read it  if the headline doesn’t inform, intrigue and interest them. Remember that your prospects receive a lot of promotional material every day so your headline has to be impressive to stand a chance of being opened.

Your heading also has to be relevant, so make sure you conduct sufficient research into your target market to create a headline that whets the appetite of your prospects. How many unread emails do you have in your inbox? How many of them read along the lines of ‘This Week’s Deals’ or ‘Don’t Miss Out!?

But how would you feel if you spotted this in your inbox: “How the New Phenomenon sweeping across the country could Change Your Business!”?

You would be far more intrigued by this relevant headline that the washed-up generic sales mumbo-jumbo that you’re used to receiving.

Bear in mind, however, that the better the headline, the better the content should be.  In a phenomenon known as ‘Click Bait’, many advertisers are sensationalising their headings without delivering what they’re promising.  By filling the gap of curiosity, these engaging headlines generally enable a high click through rate, yet they leave the reader significantly disappointed when they read the actual content. Every word counts when selling a product or service – the headline is the start of your sales pitch; not the entity.

I could literally spend a day with you just talking about the science of killer headlines but for now, start applying this advice to your business. You’ll be surprised at how much your response rate will increase simply by improving your headlines.

2. Stop Talking About Yourself

Take a look at the last sales email you sent or the Homepage on your website and read the content from start to finish. What does your copywriting primarily focus on? If the answer is not your customer, then you’ve made a fatal error! A good way to see how customer-focused your material is, is to count the number of we’s compared with the number of you’s. The you’s should win hands down!

The absolute, uppermost, super super crucial thing (it really is that important) that you must show in your copywriting is that you have what the customer needs. Every single prospective customer who opens your sales emails or visits your website wants to know one thing only; what you can do for them. And with an average reading time of around 15 seconds per customer, you don’t have time to share your life story!

Many business owners make the MASSIVE MISTAKE of selling themselves before creating a need in the customer. Let me put this bluntly: at the initial stage, your prospects don’t care about you; they don’t care about how many products you sold last year and how you have built your company on word of mouth marketing alone; they don’t care about the shiny business awards sitting in your cabinet or the stack of 100% recommended feedback forms sitting on your desk. All your prospects care about is themselves; they want to know that you have the solution to their problems, so make sure you sell your benefits, not your features.

So there you have it – two very small changes that you can apply to your sales writing today to start boosting your response rate.

Remember that effective copywriting is simply great salesmanship in print.


Stephanie Jones

Award Winning Sales & Marketing Writers

Twitter LinkedIn