The shameful reason I write such great sales copy

Fundamentally, sales copy is about 3 things:

  1. The pain, struggle, frustration, obstacle, agony, irritation, problem your reader is wrestling right now,

  2. What life could be like once they get past the pain,

  3. How your product/offer/solution solves that exact problem and places that better life within reach.

That’s the gist of it.

I mean, there’s other stuff layered on… relatable stories, establishing trust, honest & true language, reasons to act, etc. etc…. But the main argument is: you’re stuck here; you wanna be there; here’s how I’ll help you with that.  

That first step -- describing the pain, problem or struggle your reader is having -- is where I see most sales copy go wrong.

It’s short and it’s shallow and it doesn’t fully describe that excruciating problem in the kind of detail that proves the writer really understands.

Which makes sense… Most of us don’t like thinking about, let alone writing about, pain. It doesn’t feel nice. It seems kinda heartless. It’s an uncomfortable place to hang out.

It’s also hard to get the words just right -- to write from vulnerability, to get deep into your reader’s heart and head, imagine the hole, feel the pain, and describe the agony of being stuck there.

Agony: my super power.

Yes I DO lie awake at night wondering ‘was I meant for more’? I DO want to stop emotional eating and learn to love the body I’m in. Why yes, I’d definitely benefit from a better morning ritual. I DO want more confidence. I DO want to sell with ease. I DO wonder if I’m recycling properly. I DO need to update my will…

When it’s time to write copy on behalf of a client and I have to imagine their clients’ pain, it’s a little scary how quickly I can shift into frustrated, irritated, discouraged, disheartened, foiled and despairing. I’m there. I’m in it. It’s the ultimate “I feel for you, man.”

Like the med student who gets every symptom in their disease textbook, I slide very easily into the pain and shame of almost any problem that someone has created a solution to address.

I’m not sure it’s healthy how easily I shift into places of darkness and self-doubt. I know I’m not alone, because I learned from Ry Schwartz, Launch Copywriter and Creator of the "Coaching The Conversion" Method that he never starts writing conversion copy until he feels “really really shitty.”

(I wonder how long it’s supposed to take me to come out of it…)

I’m pretty dead set to buy whatever I’m writing about by the time I’ve finished Draft One of the sales page. I actually had to make a rule: No pulling out my credit card before the Sales Page goes live…

At least I can put my super-suggestibility for my own (real and imagined) shortcomings to use: finding the words that attract fellow-sufferers.

Because I feel you, man. And I know of a program that will definitely help.

Kate Bonnycastle