10 Tips for writing Content and Ad copy that Sells
10 Essential Selling tips for a Successful Website,
How to have a Successful Web Business.
A message sponsored by Web-Successtn and BG Design"

These 10 Tips show how to integrate professional selling techniques of writing "Ad Copy" into tests of appeals (in Adwords ads) to later incorporate that "ad copy" into content of your website to refine it in steps called testing and campaigns.

Selling is a subtle art and science. A few wrong words can put a prospect off and put their defenses up. Slightly incongruent or strange wording can destroy credibility. Even colors and images can put people off. These things are not to be taken lightly.

Most important are key words that present and outline the appeals of your headlines, sections and content. These key words appear in certain sections of your site relating benefits to product features.

How to create Website Content that Sells

If you missed the heart of these articles, it is about creating an affordable reliable website that SELLS. This section revisits the important SELLING part.

A lot of the articles explain why we suggest building a website designed to be reliable and allow inexpensive changes each 2 or 3 months for about 2 years, and why it must integrate marketing and promotion with the design using testing and campaigns.

But SELLING is about what goes into a) content and b) Ad Copy.

Ad copy will be used in

  • testing headlines and ads to find appeals that work,
  • incorporating those into your website content, and
  • testing that again in campaigns, to improve it.

The best selling messages revolve AROUND the product and its features BUT talk more about fulfilling “benefits”, needs, motivations, solving specific problems.

There are FIVE STEPS in the actual selling process, which you find by thinking, surveying and TESTING:
  1. Get attention based on targeting and appeals in headlines and pictures. (Don’t use incredible offers than yell “I AM SELLING YOU”).
  2. Talk about the benefits, motivations and solutions, known as appeals (involvement)
  3. Get the prospect to visualize themselves using the solution and feeling the benefits (show the product in use-talk about them using it).
  4. Convince them why your solution-products and company are better or at least equal to the best and near-cheapest selling this solution and benefits.
  5. All the time build credibility, that your company is legitimate, safe to buy from, a leader in your niche with customer service. (Something as small as mis-spelling a word or using improper English can blow your whole effort.) Any incongruity or incredible statement or “sales talk” destroys sales.

Getting attention is all about pictures and headlines and sub-heads at the top of pages, tops of sections, and in test ads.

10 Tips to guide Content and Copy writing for web selling:

1) Content and copy all begin with learning to write Ad Copy and Headlines, and testing. To become good at this requires study and practice, or hiring an expert. The essence of writing ad copy revolves around naming specific audience and finding what feelings and needs motivate them. Copy writing also requires brevity and crucial phrase placement, naming a problem and solution in one phrase and sometimes teasing to create curiosity. That is NOT easy to do in a few words (patience on loading that PDF document), such as 6 Headline words and 8 subhead words.

To keep focus on where you are headed, when you start also review your "unique selling proposition" and concise description of the website based on keywords from your web marketing strategy and competition research.

Testing of appeals of Ad copy and headlines helps decide website content and MUST relate to your core all-important website Title and Description, the primary few words that describe your site and your business. As we say: "Get that right" if you don't get anything else right.

Our second "commandment", if you don't get anything else is: TEST IT. If you can't get your copy to pass the tests of "pulling", get some expert who can write headlines and sub-heads.

2) Segment your target market: Think first about types of buyer prospects you may have, called your audience, and the behaviors of each segment, how they might find you, when they might think of needing your product, what they think about and their needs in relation to your product. You write headlines, ad copy and content for a particular "audience" that you clearly identify-name, grab their attention and create interest, curiosity and credibility immediately---while not putting them off with too salesy or incredible and offering. That is a tall order and takes study and practice. Understanding that will make more difference in success than almost anything else a website owner does.

3) Always refer to your business strategy in composing copy and content, based on research of competition and your all important niche focus and differentiation. What space do you want to own? How are you different? What special talent, highly effective product or lovable personality (at the least, which isn't much to go on) do you offer? Your content of your site is always about those key concepts relating to the needs, feelings and behaviors of your target segments in relation to your niche and special abilities to solve their problem and give prospects specific benefits.

Compare your ads and content to competitors', especially their paid ads that run a long time. Remember to target the segment-audience in the headlines and tout benefits in both headline and sub headings. In the web site, similar Headlines and bulleted lists and Sub-heads link benefits to product features. Normally our ads need to be a lot like our competitors, or highly differentiated, such as "positioning" against well-known competition, like the classic 7-Up commercial, the "UnCola". Your business strategy dictates this.

4) Talk about benefits, emotions, feelings, ultimate needs and behaviors of your prospect and rapidly relate them to product features and company strengths.

5) Be cautious to not make incredible sales talk offers, like too incredible give aways, or saying "we aren't selling you anything" and other defenses-raising wording. Be straight. Put your main points in bullets - sub-headlines and lists, which can link down to "drill down" to interesting details for those more analystical types like engineers.

6) Read up on classic high-performing ads and direct marketing techniques: Using your target segments, begin to write headlines naming the target audience: "Corn Sufferers: Relief overnight" is the classic headline that sits up and speaks to a segment in dire need. Of course show the prospect using the feature in a picture if possible, pleased with results. Nowdays you can end sections talking about benefits with a short video of a satisfied customer.

7) Organize what you are doing by creating an outline aided by using checklists like this one. We want to end up with an outline of a website that will likely be rewritten at least twice by the time it is perfected in about one year. This outline is crucial to tie content to appeals and products, and to build content after testing appeals and testing content and appeals in campaigns. Use a main points outline to write content, much like writing a theme or research paper in school, but with more BLUF- Bottom Line Up Front - the big points and conclusions are more up front, with more of a "Drill-Down" layout.

The outline is crucial also to aid your website designer to design the website and help you develop it's "personality". A good designer and their marketing group will critique your progress, make suggestions, and help integrate the many elements including images, graphics, colors, logos and trade dress that better result in the "style" and look that is the personality reflecting your niche. Done right, you will have a theme, a look and copy/content and headlines to match which creates a memorable brand with a unique personality, much like a memorable special capable uniquely-talented and eloquent person--- the right "person" for their job.

8) Use features of your products to help create sections of your site, with hooks-benefits in sections within product, likely on product pages connecting benefits to features. Your testing phase to find headlines and appeals helps later to create these landing pages or anchor bookmarked text sections with headings.

Google recommends creating promotion campaigns around products or product features. If we have done our homework and tested appeals in outlining and writing content for the site, this all integrates the website with appeals to make more effective campaigns, narrowly targeted to the audience and features and therefore less expensive on keyword costs, or easier to expand upon if soley organic promotion (we don't usually recommend).

9) Use the headline and sub-head testing phase (likely using Google Adwords) to find more clearly what motivates each target segment buyer. We can not over-stress the importance of these steps to success, just like study of competition and pricing to refine your Business Strategy and niche to create a unique selling proposition with a focus and differentiation. You can effectively use short surveys on issues your target should care about to find their priorities. Part of headline writing is also to not give away the entire idea, but to use a slight "teaser" approach to "learn more". (like news stations: "Dog eats man. More at 11:00).

Really good ad copy writing is beyond the scope of this article. Read a classic book on headlines and ad copy writing. If you are lazy and skip that step, you increase your odds of failure greatly. There are just too many tricks, trade secrets and crucial subtleties to convey here.

10) The extent of effort on content writing is partly determined by whether you are using paid or organic promotion. Either way you are setting out appeals like different bait on different hooks.

Use alternate hooks to screen, target and draw prospects. Finding what motivates buyers in each segment is called appeals or "hooks", like going fishing. Some like some bait, others like other bait. Whether we go more organic or paid promotion route, we still have to do the basic outline and sectioning of parts of the site around these hooks, for when the prospect gets there. The paid promotion approach can actually be easier and more friendly to prospects who don't read much, such as many younger audiences prefering very brief points and pictures or video. It requires less content writing for search engines to recognize what you are about. See our articles on promoting a website. Remember, a web business will not fly without strong promotion.

Remember to emphasize credibility. If you have not been in business long, offer a guarantee, or have a seal or membership in a credentialing or business verification firm like BBB. Don't forget testimonials, which are important, and samples of work or product. Each of those can actually be part of ad copy or content.

Headline Writing- Emulate Direct Marketers!

Headlines are the most difficult to write, to get right and MUST be tested, in parallel tests to save time. Users of Direct email campaigns do such testing expertly, using “subject lines”. They find that better headlines pull way over twice what just good headlines pull. That has always been true in advertising, and the difference between a great headline and weak one can easily be 3 or 4 times in pulling-selling power.

Choosing the right pictures can be very difficult and time-consuming.

Some pictures are like headlines, or work with headlines to grab attention and create interest. You may have to actually take some pictures yourself, using appealing models or showing products in use, and /or facilities, like this smart business-to business company, FLOROCK (A client of our web-design group BGdesign). In a few seconds, FLOROCK shows the beauty, durability and wide acceptance of its products, at the same time building great credibility, showing they are the leader in their field. Those pictures required 3 months and several retakes to get right. You find yourself curious to see the next beautiful floor.

You need to work with an expert web-designer with a marketing arm who already knows this approach to help critique your process or your existing web site. Fluffy sales talk and a shotgun approach no longer work. They certainly will not gain you a niche on Google and important “mind position” in prospects.

We guarantee results: We guarantee that, unless you have the hottest sell-itself fad product available from nobody but you, that anything less than following most of the pointers on this Web-Success website will result in a mediocre not-very-successful website.

NOTE: 1 Avoid amateurs and wanna-be's in web designers and SEO and PPC management. Let your experienced web designer help you through this morass.

NOTE 2: Be cautious to not much change a site that is working. Minor changes can sometimes reduce sales. This is doubly important for organic ranking. A completely organic approach can utilize some of this testing which will have more affect on selling when prospects arrive than it would getting traffic.


Note: For more helpful information about starting a website or a web business, read our other information guides on our menu above: 11 Web Business Success Tips, Starting a Web Business Checklist, How to Choose a Domain Name, How to Choose a Domain Registration Company, How to Choose a Hosting Company, Tips for Designing a Website, How to Get My Website Working, How to Promote Your Website, 10 Website Improvement Tips and others.

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