The best copywriting in the world won’t work if people don’t read it.
And people won’t read your copy if it looks “hard” to read.
In other words, the structure and visual design of your copy can make it or break it.
Often when I look at an online sales page the headline is too long, or the opening paragraph is too long. Or the first three paragraphs are all too long.
The outcome? The page looks like hard work. The appearance of the first screen of text signals that the reader is going to have to take a deep breath and really concentrate. They are going to have to commit to working their way through the text. Like reading a text book at school.
Sales pages that look like hard work are created by people who misunderstand the nature of people’s attention online.
If you do get someone to click through to your sales page, good for you. But once they are there, looking at the first screen, don’t imagine for a moment that your readers are fully committed to reading the whole page, nor that they are willing to put aside everything else on their minds, and focus just on your message for the next two, five or fifteen minutes.
They have other stuff calling on their attention…like their email, their favorite news sites, their social media pages.
If you want people to read your entire sales page, you have to make it easy for them to get started. Yes, that means a great hook. You have to write a great headline and a strong opening. But just as important, you have to make it LOOK easy to ready. If the page doesn’t look easy to get into, many of your visitors won’t even give it a second glance.
For an example of this same principle in action outside of sales and the web, think of the classic opening to a children’s book… “Once upon a time”. It’s an easy opening, and full of promise.
I do the same with posts and articles. Look back at the first few paragraphs of this post. They are short. Really short. This makes it easy for a reader to get started. As easy as reading a few tweets on Twitter.
Once I have my readers committed and interested, I can start expanding on my topic with longer sentences and paragraphs.
You want to do the same when writing your sales pages.
The same also goes for the closing of a sales page…those last few paragraphs and lines.
The reason here is a little different. Towards the end of the page you are not so much concerned with hooking the reader’s attention…you have already done that. But as they get close to the Buy button you do want to increase their pace and speed.
During the last three or four paragraphs you want the reader to speed up, so they have some momentum happening at the moment they come to the Buy button.
If you can visualize it, this means a simple, light and easy opening – to get them into your copy.
Then you add the meat of your message in the middle.
And finally, you get back to short paragraphs and sentences towards the end of the page to increase the speed of reading and use that momentum to push your reader through to the shopping card.
Light and easy to start…then the meat…and fast and easy at the end.
In other words, in addition to creating a compelling sales message, you also have to consider the visual design of what your text looks like.
If you want me to read your sales page, make it easy for me to start reading.
NOTE: If you have yet to receive any professional-grade training in the craft of online copywriting, find out more about my program, Copywriting 2.0. Copywriting 2.0 is published by AWAI, and you can find their information and sales page for the program here…
About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach. Read more…
If you found this post helpful, sign up for my e-newsletter and get a free copy of my 35-page guide…
Writing For The Web #1 — 7 Challenges every Writer and Copywriter faces when writing for the Web.
Sign up and I’ll send you the link for the download, and then you’ll receive my most recent post as part of my e-newsletter every Tuesday morning.
(Your email address will be used only for the purpose of sending you this newsletter, and you’ll be free to unsubscribe at any time.)