The 3rd element that’s missing from your online sales page.

Online copy structureAn increase of just one or two percent in the conversation rate on a product sales page can translate into a lot of extra cash in a company’s bank account.

So how can you set about adding those extra percentage points?

First, you have to catch your client’s attention – or your boss’s attention if you work in-house – and persuade him or her that it’s worth investing the time in a rewrite or edit.

Next, you have to pay attention to the 3 elements that will contribute the most to a page that converts better. The third of these is, I think, the hardest and the least understood. But the first two are essential too. So let’s go through them one by one.

The 1st Element: Get the structure right

Any successful sales process has a structure. This is true whether you are selling face-to-face or writing a sales letter or an online sales page. Some people might argue about this, and say that you should just hang loose and sell as if you weren’t selling at all. But they are wrong. They are mistaking lack of apparent structure for the lack of an underlying structure.

People use different ways to describe this structure, but I see it as the backbone behind the sales page. The skeleton, if you will. It’s what holds it all together, in sequence, from top to bottom.

First, you need a headline and opening that hooks your readers and makes them wake up, pay attention and keep reading.

Then you have to promise a unique value, or the perception of a unique value, so your readers feel there really is something in your product that’s worthy of their interest.

Next you have to build on that promise of value so your readers feel they actually want the product.

The next stage is to remove barriers to purchase by letting people know there is no risk, nothing to lose.

Finally, you have to write a strong call to action that works not only for people who definitely want to buy, but also tips over the big proportion or readers who are sitting on the fence and need a solid nudge.

That’s the short version. But this structure, and its sequence, is essential to the success of any sales page.

The 2nd Element: Create a flow and pace for your message

When you read the work of a novice copywriter, you’ll often see a lot of structure and not much else.

This doesn’t work.

When the structure is visible and obvious, your readers will not only get bored very quickly, but will also see what you’re “up to”. It’s like the car salesman going through a sales patter that is so obvious and transparent, we can’t wait to get out of the showroom.

Any sales process needs this extra layer. Without messing with the structure, you have to create a flow and pace within your copy. Each sentence and each paragraph has to flow naturally from the one before. Your persuasive message has to build and grow seamlessly, so your readers nod at every stage, thinking, “Yes, that’s true, that makes sense.”

As for pace, it has to vary. Imagine that salesman in the car showroom being replaced by a computer, which talks through the sales pitch at a totally even, monotonous pace. Never slow and easy, never fast and urgent, but always in the same spot in the middle.

It wouldn’t work, right? Your copy needs to always flow well, but also vary in its pace. And yes, the pace speeds up when you get to the call to action. At least, it should.

The 3rd Element: Put some enthusiasm and life into your copy

If the novice copywriter is all about structure, and the mid-level copywriter adds flow and pace to that structure, then the top copywriter is the one who adds this final layer…breathing life into his or her copy.

This is the element missing from so much sales copy online.

If you want to be able to add genuine enthusiasm and life to your copy, you really do need to like the product and believe in your message. This not something to manufacture. It’s something to feel and believe, as you are writing.

Think about that friend of yours who told you about a great movie she saw last week. She really loved the movie, is enthusing about it and recommends that you go see it as soon as you can.

She’ll selling the movie. She doesn’t stand to profit in any way, but she’s selling nevertheless. She’s selling because she genuinely believes the movie to be good, and really thinks you’ll enjoy it.

It’s when you get that kind of feeling in your copy that you know you are doing the job right.

The structure is there. The flow and pace are there. And finally you have the third element – which is a blend of life, honesty and a genuine enthusiasm for the product or service you’re selling.

Do all that, and you’ll have A-grade copy that converts more readers into buyers.

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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