Web Marketing: How to Write Copy That Sells

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

When someone buys something from a webpage, it’s known as a conversion because the marketing methods converted the purchaser from a visitor to a paying customer. Only after you have proven yourself to your visitors can you focus on converting visitors to paying customers.

The following outline provides a step-by-step process that you can work through to create website copy that converts visitors to customers. The first letter of each step works as a mnemonic device to spell c-o-n-v-e-r-t m-e to help you remember the steps in the process. The following steps summarize the nine steps in the C.O.N.V.E.R.T. M.E. formula:

  1. Captivate visitors.

    Write a headline with a hook. The secret to a good or bad headline is testing, not the number of words.

  2. Offer just one testimonial.

    Place one testimonial under the headline. Not too many things will generate interest and hope that a solution is possible better than a well-planned testimonial. You can also use a subheadline or an interesting statistic to reinforce your headline.

  3. Now address your visitors.

    Use typical, letter-style formatting. A personalized letter allows you to have a conversation with a reader as if you’re on the phone with each other.

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  4. Validate some facts.

    Show industry percentages to reinforce the problem. Whenever possible, those facts and figures should be based on what people want most. Another way to accomplish the same task is to ask questions. The questions should keep the reader reading for a solution to his problem.

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  5. Expose your solution.

    Clearly define your problem solver and describe how it works. What kind of product or service are you offering? Use solution phrases to suggest an answer that is going to be unveiled shortly. Then, let your visitors know precisely what it is you’re going to provide to them and what problems you will help them solve.

    List your benefits clearly with bullet points and highlighting to make them easy to scan because most people won’t read them word for word. Start each benefit statement with action verbs that at have energy and enthusiasm and that encourage people to keep reading.

  6. Recapture attention.

    Solution sentences and benefits lists can get pretty long sometimes. The fact that some people scan through sales pages differently than others comes into play here. Maybe your reader skipped over the facts and figures area but started to read some of the benefits. Or, maybe the bullet points were skipped all together.

    After you expose your solutions, it’s time to recapture the attention of your visitors.

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  7. Test for action.

    Determine whether they’re ready to buy right now. At this point, you will have some readers who are convinced they should give your product or service a try. They just need one last nudge.

  8. Motivate with value and urgency.

    Add some urgency to your copy to close the deal. “But wait!” It’s for real!

  9. Energize visitors to buy.

    At this point, you have tested for action and provided all the motivation possible by adding value to the sale. Wrap things up and encourage your visitors to buy.

    Some visitors will completely bypass everything you write in a sales letter only to look at the P.S. statements at the end. Use this format to capitalize on this fact.

If you sell a product online, your merchant account provider will probably require that you have a Terms of Use page and also a privacy statement. Go the extra step and provide a Disclaimer page, especially if your product or service has the potential of improving one’s financial or health status.

Not every sales page needs to have every component. Continuous monitoring and testing are required to maximize your sales potential on the Internet.