How to Craft Online Marketing Copy That Sells

April 25, 2017 Content Marketing 2 comments

The single biggest challenge faced by many online marketer and sales persons?

They cannot write or design for nuts.

And that is a major problem in today’s copy-centric digital age.

With everybody perpetually glued to their screens, the best way to make a sale is to craft a high impact email, send your audiences to a high converting landing page, or move them with a powerful post on your blog.

But how you can craft such a piece – considering that you haven’t attended copywriting or communication school?

Ray Edwards To The Rescue!

Enter Ray Edwards’ wonderful book “How To Write Copy That Sells”.

In a chapter titled “The Magic Building Blocks of the Perfect Sales Letter”, you’ll learn what the 15 building blocks to a perfect sales letter is.

In this blog post, I’ve taken the liberty to adapt it slightly so that it fits the copy format for digital sales and marketing platforms.

#1 Pre-Head

Targets the prime prospect for your message and grabs his or her attention.

This could be addressed directly to the specific customer persona whom you are reaching. The size of the text is normally smaller than the headline, and could be in italics so that they stand out.

Here are some examples:

  • Hey SME bosses, this is for you!
  • Specially for Medical Doctors and Dentists
  • Attention: car owners!

#2 Headline

What Ray considers as the “ad for the rest of the ad”, the role of the headline is to get your audience to keep on reading.

There are five points which a compelling headline achieves:

  1. Grab the attention of your reader
  2. Screens and prequalifies your prospect
  3. Draws readers into your copy
  4. Communicate a “Big Idea”
  5. Establish credibility

Here are examples of strong headlines:

  • Wonder Why Your Sales Letters Are Not Converting? Read On…
  • The One Thing Your Mechanic Isn’t Telling You About Extending The Life Span Of Your Car Engine
  • Double Your Sales in Three Months With Less Than $1 a Day…

#3 Deck

The deck copy usually comes between the headline and the rest of the body copy. It is usually written in a different font type (usually bold), and has a couple of bullet points.

To make it stand out, you may wish to enclose it in a standalone box in your email or web page.

An example of this is shown below:

The Number One Tool used by accountants to reduce their error rates by 30%, which is now available to small business owners like yourself.

#4 Lead

The lead sets the criteria of who this letter is for, and what they stand to gain be reading it. This is normally either the first sentence or paragraph of your content piece BEFORE the actual body copy itself.

A powerful lead could take the form of…

  • A compelling fact or statistic: “80% of housewives prefer to use this method of cooking their vegetables.”
  • A question targeted at a problem or pain point which your prospect cares about: “When was the last time you enjoyed talking to tech support for your IT problems? Probably never.”
  • A quote from a customer or personality: “US President Barack Obama says that the number one reason why Americans are overpaying for healthcare is because of….”

#5 Body

Now, this forms the bulk of your text. In a digital world, it makes sense to break this up into as many different “fragments” as possible so that you’ll avoid the “wall of text”.

Nobody wishes to plough through that wall. Thus, it is in your interest to serve them different bite-sized “pieces” in your copy.

#6 Subheads

These are the smaller headlines separating the major sections of your web or email copy.

Ray calls this the “bucket brigade” of your copy as it helps to call attention to the different offers and benefits that your product gives.

Strong subheads are usually individual features of your product or service. The body copy below these would then elaborate on what these features are, and how they help your prospect.

#7 Rapport

Building rapport helps you to show how well you know your reader. It reveals that you can empathise with their pain points as well as the things which bring them delight.

A good way to establish rapport is to offer little anecdotes of your experience. Zoom in on the specific issues which your customer face. Or describe how and why you are qualified to help them with their problems.

#8 Bullet Points

These are the brief statements that may arouse the curiosity of the reader.

There are multiple ways to do so. However, the key thing here is that they should be easy to read, trigger interest, and excite your readers to want to know more.

#9 Credibility

Answers that all important question – “Why should I listen to this person?”

Here are some ways to establish your credibility and improve trust:

  • Highlight the number of customers you’ve served, or the amount of sales which you’ve generated
  • Include testimonials of happy customers (see below)
  • Include any accolades or awards which you or your business has won
  • Include any media mentions and stories
  • Include your educational or professional certificates if they are relevant to your trade

#10 Testimonials

Testimonials are extremely powerful in closing your sale. These are third-party proof by your former customers, partners and associates that your solution does what you claim.

The best testimonials come with the following features:

  • A photo of your customer, as well as his/her age, designation and role
  • A video testimonial would be awesome. However, these are usually harder to get.

#11 Value Justification

Remember to reiterate the value of your offer several times in your content piece, and contrast the customer benefits which your prospect will get favourably with the price which they will be pay.

#12 Risk Reversal

This removes the biggest obstacle which we all face in getting an order:


The more you can reduce this, the better.  A good way to do so is to incorporate unconditional 100% money-back guarantees, product warranties, technical support, on-going training and consulting services.

The longer your period of support and guarantee, the lower the perceived risks from your prospect. This significantly increases the chances of converting them to be a customer. However, you need to be sure that you can fulfill these promises!

#13 Bonuses

Everybody loves extra goodies. Especially if they are unanticipated.

Bonuses are the unexpected gifts that could enhance the value of your offer. They could come AFTER your customer has pressed the “Buy Now” button.

By doing so, you give your customers a good reason to share your deal on social media or through emails. And that is a great way to trigger Word Of Mouth (WOM).

#14 Online Call To Action

It is important to “ask for the order.” Give your readers very detailed step-by-step instructions on what to do.

On a web page or an email, your Call To Action or CTA is normally signified by a brightly coloured button or differentiated text.

The easier you make it to buy or sign up for your target audiences, the higher your chances of converting!

#15 PS

This is a good place to summarize all the top benefits of your product or service. You can use to draw readers to become your customers.

PS-es are also eye-catching. They are one of the places which your readers’ eyes are drawn to as they scan and skim through your copy.

A PS ensures that you hit them right at the bottom, before their eyes move up again.

Ready to Convert?

As you can see, crafting a high converting piece of copy does require lots of sweat. However, you can construct your copy piece by piece using the formula above.

There is a whole lot more in “How To Write Copy That Sells” by Ray Edwards, and I strongly encourage you to grab a copy.

Let me know if the above hints help you in crafting killer copy that helps to convert visitors to prospects, and prospects to customers.

PS – If you need professional help to spruce up your content, drop me an email or leave a comment below. As a content marketing specialists working with over 53 clients (to date), we’re well placed to help you with your online copywriting needs.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


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