The Elements of Copy

The Elements of Copy

A well conceived piece of online copy will almost always consist of the following elements.

  1. headline
  2. sub-headline
  3. body copy
  4. use of testimonials
  5. bonus gift
  6. guarantee
  7. call to action
  8. price
  9. P.S. line

Right now, your goal is simply to create a working draft that you can put online and then make improvements and tweaks from there. It’s important to use your best material at the beginning and end of your copy. A weak ending will leave a lasting impression and cancel out all the good stuff you may have said in the beginning. A good beginning starts with a great headline.

The Headline

Use your headlines to grab the attention of your customers by aiming to solve their problem. You don’t need to take time to write an introduction, just get directly to the meat. Use short to medium length sentences with punchy, active words. Your headlines are what draw customers in, and the rest of the copy has to keep them interested.

Your headline must be catchy enough to make customers want to read the rest of your copy. Use “What if?” “Think back” or “Imagine what would happen if…” to introduce the possibility of something to customers and allow them to paint their own pictures and draw their own conclusions. Try this versus a straightforward factual claim like “You can increase revenue by 25%” which readers may not believe.

According to many copywriting experts, the headline is the SINGLE most important element of your page.

In another tactic about headlines we’ll provide a detailed framework to create a great headline and apply testing methodologies to make sure your headline works and converts well.

The Sub-headline

The sub-headline sits below the headline and further stimulates the customer to stay on the page. If you don’t use a sub-headline, be sure to make an impression with the first paragraph. This is crucial. Customers may not go beyond this.

Immediately demonstrate there are reasons to keep reading. It doesn’t have to be long—you can use short, punchy sentences as long as they keep the customer’s attention. A good strategy is to ask a question that will spark the interest of your customers and make them continue reading to find the answer.

The Product Image

The product image is a must! Eye-tracking studies show that it’s one of the most looked at points of a website (we cover the placement principles of the product image in another tactic on landing page design).

If you’re selling a virtual product like an ebook or audio it helps to create a virtual cover (we talk more about this in another tactic as well).

The Body Copy

Remember that the headline is part of your overall copy. That’s why the first sentence of your body copy should flow naturally from the headline. After reading your headline, your customers expect you to immediately give them information, so give your customers what they want! Don’t chat away the first three paragraphs with nonsense because your customer will probably not continue reading.

Know the difference between features and benefits. Features are attributes, properties, or characteristics of your product. Benefits are what you can do, what you can have, or what you can be because of those features. People buy benefits, not features. Keep your eye on the benefits and use wording like “this means to you that” or “with this you can”.

Use of Testimonials

Scatter testimonials all over the main page of your site. Testimonials with pictures help most. We cover the process of getting and using testimonials in another tactic.

The Bonus

The bonus gift is used to strategically raise the perceived value of your product. We will talk more about this in another tactic.

The Guarantee

The guarantee is a powerful tool used to build trust and to get customers to take action and buy your product. We cover this in detail in a separate tactic.

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