Copywriting is a finely-tuned art.

Don’t believe me?  Go read some of the sales pitches floating around out in cyberspace!

It won’t take long for you to see that there are plenty of great salespeople who can’t sit down and write a great sales page.  You’ll also discover that there are a ton of great writers out there who can’t be convincing enough to close the sale.

Unfortunately, though, there is no margin of error when it comes to your sales copy.  It either works, or it doesn’t.  If yours isn’t working, it’s due to one of these reasons:

1.  It’s got too much hype

All too often, online marketers resort to ridiculous guarantees and absurd promises to try and grab attention.  However, your readers can see right through it.

For example, if you sell workout DVD’s, no one’s going to believe that you can spend 10 minutes a day working out, then eat whatever you want and magically slim down.  Or, if you’re pushing a work-from-home opportunity, no one’s going to believe that you can sit around in your PJ’s, do a little bit of work in between episodes of “Judge Judy”, and run a business empire on autopilot.

You’ve got to write sales copy that gives your target audience some credit.  If your copy is too hyped-up, you’ll end up looking like the stereotypical slimy snake oil salesman who’s only out for a quick buck — you know, the type of salesman that most people run screaming from.

By having sales copy that’s chock full of hype, you’re really telling readers that you think they’re stupid.  And, as you can probably guess, no one wants to do business with a company that thinks they’re stupid.

Remember, there’s a big difference between hype and genuine excitement about your products and services!

2.  It focuses on you, instead of your readers

Good sales copy tells readers how your products and services can benefit them.  The only time you should talk about yourself is to show readers how it helps them.

For example, you might say something like, “In our 20 years building websites, we’ve seen it all — so we know how to build a site for you that looks great and is easy to navigate.”  That sentence tells people that you’ve got 20 years of experience, but it’s framed in a way so that readers understand exactly how all of that experience benefits them.  In the end, it will make much more of an impact than simply saying, “We have 20 years of experience building websites.”

3.  It’s long and tedious

Lots of online marketers out there swear that the longer your sales copy is, the better it will convert.  I actually had a client tell me once that his home page had to be 2,500 words because his biggest competitor’s was 2,000 words!  In reality, the features and benefits of the product that both guys were selling could have been summed up with sales copy that was a fraction of that.

Even though there is no “magic length”, lots of website owners think the same way as my client.  That’s why you see so much long, rambling, repetitive sales copy out there!

However, quantity never beats out quality — especially when it comes to web content.  That’s because internet searchers are an impatient bunch.  They want answers and solutions RIGHT NOW.  The longer you make them scroll through winding sales copy, the higher your chances of missing out on a sale.

Bottom line — say what needs to be said and stop.  If it takes 300 words to sum everything up, so be it.  If it takes 1,000 words, great.  But if you’ve typed out thousands of words, make sure all of them really need to be included.  Chances are you’re simply making the same points over and over.

4.  It’s not specific

Just because your sales copy needs to be concise and to-the-point doesn’t mean you have to skip out on specifics.  In fact, if you do skip over specifics, your copy won’t convert very well.

For example, if you simply call your product “the best”, that doesn’t mean a whole lot.  What makes it better than the other guys’ products?  Why is your product the best buy?  Why should someone choose your product over all of the other similar products out there?  If your sales copy doesn’t give people the answers to those questions, they’re not going to be quite as inclined to buy from you.

Remember, your sales copy is asking people to spend their hard-earned money.  You need to give them compelling reasons to do it — and a bunch of vague statements isn’t going to do it.

5.  It doesn’t evoke any kind of emotion

Great sales copy generates either relief or fear in your readers.  It can make people feel relieved that you’ve got a solution that’s going to make their lives easier.  Or, it can make people afraid of what will happen if they don’t buy your product or service.

There’s no need to overdo either of these emotions (after all, that would be in direct violation of point #1!).  But if your sales copy isn’t causing some type of emotional response in your readers, it’s not going to work for you.