6 Tantalizing Techniques for Writing Seductive Sales Copy

by 11 06/11/2013

It happens to all of us.

We’ve developed a new product. We’ve worked hard to get the product right. We’ve slaved for hours to get the launch prepared. A new brochure has been designed and a web page is almost ready to be published.

And now we only have to write the product description. It’s the last thing we want to do. Because writing a product description is boring.

Product descriptions are indeed often dull. But they don’t have to be.

To seduce your web visitors to buy, don’t just describe your product. Sell your product. Sell your product with imagination.

A good product description transports readers to a different world where they can visualize what it would be like to use your product. Make their eyes shine and their mouse almost automatically goes to the buy button.

Sounds good?

Let’s have a look at how to write seductive sales copy.

1. Use the power of imagination

The copywriters at Innocent Drinks understand the copywriting tricks that make you yearn for their smoothies, juices, and vegetable pots. They don’t just sell healthy drinks. They sell you an experience:

malaysian rendang Rice noodles with red peppers in a creamy, spicy, coconut sauce  Take your senses on a trip to a bustling, colourful Malaysian foodmarket, teeming with mangosteens, papaya and galangal, and let the aroma of coconut and spices waft up your nose. Ahhh. In Malaysia, rendang is often lovingly prepared for special occasions, festivals and the like. But our tasty vegetarian version works just as well on a regular weeknight or lunch break. Feel free to dress up in your finery to enjoy it, though.

Can you smell the aroma of coconut and spices when reading that paragraph? Can you hear the noises of a bustling market? Do you picture a colorful market?

Research has proven that if people imagine holding a product, the desire to own that product increases. It works the same with the description of this Innocent dish – the sensory experience of reading the tantalizing product description makes you crave the Malaysian Rendang.

The power of imagination works for non-food brands, too. Here’s an example of Apple:

Imagine side-splitting, adventure-filled, must-see flicks produced by you and shot on iPhone 5.

Copywriting tip:
Spice up your product descriptions. Help your reader imagine what it would be like to own or use or eat your product. Use sensory and emotion-rich words.

2. Use a conversational tone of voice

What’s easier to read: sales copy full of gobbledygook or a simple description?

Sometimes we try to make ourselves sound better than we are. Or we are stuck for words, so we add overused words like groundbreaking, cutting-edge, or innovative. These words are fillers that slow your reader down. Why request such an effort from your reader when your copy can be simple and easy to read?

Consider this description by Innocent Drinks:

strawberries & bananas How can a drink taste this good? Easy – just pop some strawberries and bananas into a bottle and drink it when it's nice and cold.  Bananas for thickness and sweetness, and strawberries for pretending to be posh – a winning combination. And that 'blush pink' goes very nicely with your lipstick. Say no more!

You’d probably fail a writing exam with the above text. But who cares? This copy is about selling – not about passing your exams. The text is easy to read and makes you want to read on.

Innocent copywriters start a conversation with their readers by asking a question (How can a drink taste this good?). Asking a question and presenting an answer is more persuasive than just stating This drink tastes fabulously good.

Innocent doesn’t worry about writing whole sentences nor are they concerned about starting a sentence with And. They enjoy using casual language like pop some strawberries and bananas into a bottle and Say no more!

Dropbox uses simple language but slightly less casual:

Even if you accidentally spill a latte on your laptop, have no fear! You can relax knowing that Dropbox always has you covered, and none of your stuff will ever be lost.

Copywriting tip:
What’s the right tone of voice for you? Consider how you speak to customers and prospects and try to emulate how you talk in your writing.  And remember: Don’t let your high-school education get in the way of writing clear, persuasive English.

3. Increase credibility with specifics

“Anybody who works on tested advertising will tell you how important it is to be specific in your copy.” ~ John Caples

John Caples tells a story about the power of specifics in his book Tested Advertising Methods. A mill initially advertised their quality standard was 52.7% higher than the official standard required. When the approach was softened and the figure lowered to 50%, demand fell to fraction of what it was before. 52.7% is more specific and more credible than 50%.

This is how Innocent includes specifics in its copy (note the second bullet point):

a blend of 9 oranges and 3/4 of a crushed mango

9 oranges and ¾ of a crushed mango sounds more credible than oranges and mango.

Amazon is also specific about the weight of the Kindle Paperwhite:

Weighing only 7.5 ounces, Kindle Paperwhite weighs less than a typical paperback.

Copywriting tip:
General claims sound like marketer speak. Specific details sound like a fact. Find specifics you can include in your sales copy such as numbers, dates, or names of materials used.

4. Steal copywriting tricks from poets

Nursery rhymes are easy to remember because of the smooth sounds of rhyming words.

Techniques like rhyme and rhythm can make your statements stand out. For example:

This kids' smoothie has zing, ping and probably some ker-din.

The above sentence maybe sounds like a nursery rhyme, but rhyming doesn’t have to be childish. Apple also uses rhyme and alliteration:

The world’s largest – and smartest – collection of apps.

A display that’s not just smaller. It’s smarter.

Copywriting tip:
Read your sentences aloud. Where do you stumble? How can you make your copy smoother and more rhythmic?

5. Engage with mini-stories

Innocent Drinks was founded by three friends. They weren’t sure whether they should leave their jobs to set up their own business. So they went to a festival to sell their smoothies and asked customers to help with their decision and dump their empty bottles in a “yes” or “no” bin. Almost all bottles ended up in the “yes” bin, so the next day the three friends resigned from their jobs and started Innocent Drinks.

There are many great stories about how companies were founded, but what about stories that explain why and how products were developed?

Innocent uses mini-stories in product descriptions:

We asked kids what recipe they wanted us to make and this is what they came up with.  One of the challenges of making it was that lots of kids' drinks use synthetically strawberry flavoured things, so some of them have forgotten what proper strawberries taste like. Thankfully, we've come up with a recipe that tastes great to kids. And mums are happy because their kids are drinking real, pure fruit, rather than synthetically strawberryized stuff. Thank goodness for that.

The above mini-story highlights the following benefits of the product in a non-pushy way:

  • It’s based on a mix of ingredients children have asked for (so this is something they’ll definitely drink!).
  • Unlike many other drinks this smoothie isn’t synthetically flavored. This smoothie contains real fruit.

Apple writes a short story about the testing of the iPhone earphones:

Apple engineers asked more than 600 people to test over 100 iterations of the Apple EarPods. Testers ran on treadmills in extreme heat and extreme cold. They performed various cardio workouts. They were even asked to shake their heads side to side, up and down. The result: Apple EarPods provide stronger protection from sweat and water, and they’re remarkably stable in the ear. Which means they stay in, even when you’re on the go.

Copywriting tip:
Which stories can you tell about why or how you developed your products? How can these stories highlight features or benefits of your products?

6. Don’t forget to address objections

If you want to sell your products, you need to address all objections to buying your product.

Some people think using fruit in curries is weird. This is how Innocent addresses this:

Some people think putting fruit in a curry is a bit weird, but we’ve found it makes for a very tasty dish. Admittedly we do like Hawaiian pizzas (which aren’t really from Hawaii but are very popular in Australia, where they also like to put beetroot in burgers), but even if you’re not fond of pineapple on pizza we’re sure you’ll like this veg pot. Give it a go and let us know what you think.

One of the big concerns of e-readers is that they’re difficult to read in sunlight. This is how Amazon takes away this objection for the Kindle:

Kindle Paperwhite has a matte screen that reflects light like ordinary paper so you can read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room with no glare.

Copywriting tip:
Organize a brainstorming session with a few colleagues. Create a list of all potential objections to buying from you. If you’re not sure, ask your customers why they hesitated to buy from you. Once you have a full list of objections, discuss how you can address them.

The truth about your product descriptions

When you next write your product descriptions stop boring your readers to tears. Quit listing your features. Stop blabbing about your specifications. Stop boasting you’re the best.

Spice up your copy. Write tantalizing sentences. Use delicious words. Make your reader feel something.

Stop describing your product. Start a conversation with your reader.

Delight your readers. Enchant them and seduce them.

About 

Henneke Duistermaat is a marketer and copywriter, who's on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make faceless companies charming. To receive her free copywriting and content marketing tips, sign up at Enchanting Marketing.

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11 COMMENTS

Joris

Nice read. Although a more fit Title for the artcile would be:
‘How to write copy like Innocent Smoothies. Examples from Apple included’

June 11, 2013 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Maybe so, but Henneke’s tips could have been drawn from any brand. Innocent just lucked out. They got a professional review for free. :)

    June 11, 2013 Reply

Kirsten Nelson

Loved this, Henneke. I think one of my favorite things about writing copy is that it’s more effective when you break the rules of grammar and “proper” language. And you can use words like “stuff” and change the entire tone of a page, giving it a unique voice. Thanks for putting this reference together!

June 12, 2013 Reply

Carmen Rane Hudson

As a testament to the effectiveness of this technique, I now want a smoothie. From these guys. Perhaps exclusively from these guys!

June 12, 2013 Reply

Ferdinand F. Colon

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a novice, it’s always important to strengthen your editorial skills and make sure your e-mail marketing communications contain valuable information. Good copy helps your readers understand your offer–and how to respond. The following copywriting tips are ones that pros know well. Keeping these “commandments” in front of you when you write will help you create compelling copy that engages your readers, conveys your business message and creates effective calls for action.

June 19, 2013 Reply

Theo

Very in depth article. I knew copywriting played an important role in selling, and that’s what lead me here to find ways on improving. Very useful!

November 17, 2013 Reply


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