Quick Tips For Copy That Sells

How creative should your copy really be?


Copy needs to be creative only in the sense that it should “create sales.” Or, to reverse the equation in the words of the copywriting and advertising legend David Ogilvy:

If it doesn’t sell it isn’t creative.

Literally. It creates no sales and makes no difference — not to the world, not to your customers, not to you, and not to your bottom line. In a word: useless.

So how can you write better copy that creates more sales?

Here are three quick and dirty tips you can start applying today.

  1. Speak Like Your Client, Not Like Your Colleagues.

If you want to reach your customers, don’t use jargon, technical terminology, or obscure abbreviations only your colleagues know and understand. Your clients won’t understand. And what we don’t understand we don’t buy.

Focus on benefits, on why it matters, and on the tangible outcome for your customers. Have a non-expert read your copy and give you honest feedback: Does he understand every word on the page? If not, back to the writing table!

2. Write Naturally, Not Verbatim.

The difference between baffled readers and happy customers lies the use of copy that sounds natural and conversational.

But fool thyself not:

Natural and conversational DOESN’T mean writing exactly like you talk. No one wants to read your “ums” and “hums,” your one thousand and three “likes,” or your meandering, unprocessed thoughts. (Truth hurts, I know.)

Just like a painting or a photo that looks natural requires lots of planning and staging and lighting, so does natural writing require careful editing and deliberate structure.

The point of natural writing isn’t to annoy your readers with your speaking tics but to delight them with a story that reads so smoothly they don’t even realize they’re reading it.

3. Realize When to Stop (And When to Keep Going)

How long should good copy be? “It depends.” It’s the most annoying answer in the world, but it’s true. And to add to your frustration the only other apt answer is: “As long as it needs to be to create trust and transfer emotion.”

Why so mystical when it comes to copy length? Because the important thing in writing is NOT the words (or their count) but the impact of the piece as a whole.

And the fewer the words, the greater the impact. If you can say the same thing in five words or ten words, say it in five.

But too few words lead to confusion. You don’t want to keep the customer guessing; you want to persuade her. And to believe you, she needs the story, the whole story, and nothing but the story. Say it fully. But say it shortly.

Creative copy doesn’t use obscure turns of phrase, excessive exclamations, or lengthy explanations. That’s irrelevant copy.

Creative copy speaks clearly, naturally, and appropriately.

Can you get creative with your story and create copy that sells?

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