The Sales Professional’s Guide to Copywriting Success 101
So, you got a job in sales.
Maybe you’re a sales development representative (SDR), an account executive (AE) or, perhaps, you find yourself in a myriad of other roles that impact revenue every day.
If you are like many other sales professionals, you can quickly say you didn’t choose the sales life.
The sales life chose you.
Like countless other sales pros, you began your career wanting to make a difference and make an impact. You wanted to move the needle toward progress, crush your goals and establish a great career. A career that was sure to challenge you professionally, while rewarding you greatly.
Here’s what else you likely knew:
- You knew it would be a grind. But you also knew how to grind.
- You knew it would require a lot from you. But you also knew how to give a lot more.
- You knew it would mandate exceptional people skills. But you also have an exceptional knack for people.
- You knew it would demand incredible copywriting skills. But you also knew how to copy – er, um…what?
Hold up. Let’s back up a second… You knew it would require incredible copywriting skills.
“Wait, I did?” You may be thinking.
At this point, you could be scratching your head — or, perhaps if you are one of our more seasoned friends, you might be nodding your head.
“Tara, I signed up for a job in sales,” most of you all are probably thinking. “I’m not a marketer. I don’t write our blogs. I didn’t write our website. I’m an SDR. I’m an AE. I’m most certainly not a copywriter.”
Fair enough, friends. I get it. And I agree: That line on the job description only said applicants “must have a strong command of communication skills.” There was zero mention of copywriting.
Before I lose you, let’s take a second to define what I mean when I say “copywriting.” There are a ton of definitions out there. And, honestly, most of them are vague at best.
However, this one pretty much nails it:
“Copywriting is the art and science of strategically delivering words (whether written or spoken) that get people to take some form of action.”
Replace “copywriting” with “sales communication,” and I’d say we are getting closer to the target here.
No matter if you are just starting out in your career or are a seasoned sales professional, there’s always room to learn more when it comes to communicating well in general — whether you want to call it copywriting or not.
Here’s my guide to succeed.
ABCs of C-O-P-Y
Before we dive in to talk about copywriting for all modes of communication, it’s time to get a little elementary by practicing the basics of planning your effective outreach.
Assess Your Who
Who …is your audience?
CFO? Sales leader? Client success? A hiring manager? Get super clear on your “who.” A.k.a, know your audience like the back of your hand.
Break Down Your What
What …do you want your audience to do?
Now that you know the who, dive deep into the what. As in, what action do you want them to take when it’s all said and done?
Craft Your Why
Why …are you reaching out?
Is this a connection-only video? Client welcome email? SDR-to-AE handoff? Cold pitch? Before you hit send, ask yourself why you are sending this communication. Why do you want them to take a certain action? Behind your who and what lies your ultimate goal: Write with this – your why – in mind.
Now that we’ve tackled our Preschool Pre-game and you’re armed with your ABCs, let’s get down to business.
Copywriting for Sales Pros 101 class is now in session.
Email Copywriting 101
We all have received those emails. Yes, those.
The ones that are copy-and-pasted templates. The ones that lack any personalizing details. The ones riddled with fact errors, title errors, misspelled words or — gasp — a misspelled name…your name, in fact.
Oh yeah, and SUPER boring, with zero relevance, compelling you to do nothing other than hit delete as quickly as possible.
… If you even opened it to begin with.
It’s safe to say you would never get caught dead sending those emails. I mean, that ship has sailed, so there’s not much else to say other than take time to research and personalize, right?
There are so many emails being sent and received these days. It’s no longer effective for sales professionals to simply avoid common errors, sprinkle in some personalization and not copy-and-paste prospects to death.
To put it simply, taking a copywriting approach to crafting effective, inspiring emails is the only way to write them.
Copywriting is the art of writing words that move others to act. Writing compelling copy is an act of commission rather than simply an act of omission.
No matter your role, we can all agree we want others to act. And act — in most cases — yesterday.
Let’s break down the basics:
Email Copywriting Tips
- Subject line: If this isn’t on point, your email has about a 0.0% chance of getting opened. Make this compelling with an element of curiosity.
- Preview text: Is this relevant and personal to your prospect? If you aren’t sure, send it to yourself. Would you open this? If not, head back to the drawing board.
- Opening hook: Do the first few lines pull your reader in? Is it about them? Or is it all about you/your company? Hint: It should be about them only.
- Body copy: Is the bulk of your email interesting? Readable? Simple? Jargon-free? Include white space? Short? Ultimately, is it crystal clear why you are reaching out to them in particular?
- Call to Action: Did you end with clear next steps — even if the next step is no next step? Are you educating only? Do you want them to reply? Fill out a form? Attend an event? Book a demo? Whether you want them to do something or not, make it simple. Remove any guessing games as to what you are asking them to do… or, in some cases, not do.
Let’s be clear, people are going to take action when they receive your email.
The question is, what action will it be? Will it be to archive for later, forward along or press delete? Or, will it be to follow the actionable steps you’ve clearly communicated?
You need to move them in your direction rather than the direction of that dreaded inbox trash can.
Voice Messages Copywriting 101
Alright, you’ve nailed email… What’s next?
Well, you open your LinkedIn Inbox, and there it is… the Voice Memo, Voice Message, Voice Mail.
Whatever you call it, I’ll call you intrigued as you press play.
No matter what happens next, one thing is clear: With all communication, taking a little bit of time to craft your copy will help your voice message stand out from the pack.
Voice Message* Copywriting Tips
- Greeting: Say the other person’s name – with energy and enthusiasm.
- Gratitude: Thank them for connecting. After all, they don’t have to.
- Respect: Include one personal thing you admire about them / their content.
- Concise: End quickly. “Really looking forward to engaging with (you/your content), Name!”
*Similar method can be used to engage new connections via a written LinkedIn note. Key is to keep it short, impactful and compelling.
- Greeting: Greet the other person with energy and enthusiasm
- Curiosity: Letting them know why you are reaching out is important. But, giving them a taste of why THEY should care is imperative. Let them know the next 30-45 seconds will be worth it if they hang to the end.
- Concise: Get to the point. Fast. Be relevant and use your words to paint a clear picture of what’s in it for them if they take the next step.
- Call (to action): Make the ask. Whatever you want them to do, make the ask here. “Would it make sense for us to continue the conversation? Would you find value in that?”
Video Copywriting 101
Some people love ‘em. Some people… well, don’t.
My goal isn’t necessarily to win you over to video. Rather, my goal is to help you see there is an alternative to traditional methods of communication. Video can advance your goals in an unique and authentic way.
And, of course, writing compelling copy is your first step to recording compelling videos.
If you don’t convey conviction in what you are saying, why should anyone else?
So, let’s agree to put down our preconceived notion of video and, instead, pick up an open mind by agreeing on one thing: All people want to feel like they are humans connecting with other humans in the sales process.
When I began engaging with prospective clients 18 months ago at Gravy, I knew one thing for sure: I would only engage others in the ways I would want to be engaged with.
Therefore, personal, fun, informative, clear and compelling was the only way to go.
In my messaging. In my outreach. In my voice messages. And in my … videos.
Enter video as a way of life (for me, anyway).
Whether it’s on your phone, on your desktop, with an in-app recorder, or via software such as Vidyard, BombBomb, Drift Video, WarmWelcome and countless more, video is here to stay.
In fact, studies have shown that “visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, and it takes twice as long to process and recognize words.”
If that wasn’t enough to consider video, according to Wordstream: “Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.”
Mic drop. Mind blown. Read that again. And then read it again because this is text.
Our brains are wired to prefer visuals over text since it is made to desire the most efficient use of its energy. And processing videos requires exponentially less energy than processing text.
OK, let’s pause here.
This is an article about effective copywriting for sales success, not video recording for sales success, but I promise I’m not completely contradicting myself. Hang with me.
As we are seeing, the more effective your message—the more compelling your copy—the more likely others are to act in your favor.
Writing copy for videos is my absolute favorite way to communicate with others when compelling them to take action that leads to success. Let’s jump in.
Video Copywriting Tips
So, you want to make a video.
No matter where you place it in your sequence, the elements to writing compelling video copy to remain the same.
Let’s break down some sample video copy pillars:
- Affirm: Start by talking about your prospect and your prospect only. Affirm something unique — about them. Something you noticed — about them. Something amazing — about them. (Who)
- Educate: This is where you spend the time educating them on why you are reaching out and why it matters to them. Weave in social proof, data and relevance to the prospective client’s pain take center stage. (Why)
- Invite: Finally, this is where you invite them to take a very clear, compelling next step. A step into a continuation of the story you just painted for them. (What)
The point here is to nail the copywriting, then spend time practicing (maybe a lot of time at first) the delivery. In fact, there are 101 best practices when it comes to delivering a video well, but I’ll save that for another time.
However, once all the pieces come together, by starting with your copywriting, you’ll be a video pro in no time.
(Copy)write Like You Talk
So, you got a job in sales. And, perhaps as you see now, you also got a job in copywriting.
The more time you spend honing your skills to do the latter, the more success you will have in the former.
Whether you are writing copy to use for a presentation, pitch, podcast or public speaking, or any other mode of communication, if you are in sales, you are a copywriter, too.
There are countless courses, articles and resources that will help you master copywriting that converts; however, there’s one thing that the courses can’t teach you. In fact, this one thing is the best-kept secret of top copywriters…
This secret? Well, it’s actually YOU.
The more you bring yourself into your scripts, not take yourself too seriously (but take your copy very seriously) and write like you talk, the more connections, conversations and, ultimately, conversions your sales copywriting will bring.
I don’t know about you, but copywriting for sales success had me at the mere mention of conversion. And I hope it has you, too.
If you are like many other sales professionals out there, you can now say you didn’t choose the copywriting life.
Instead, like many other sales professionals out there, the copywriting life chose you.
Go ahead and #writeup.