If you’ve been keeping an eye on my blog lately, you’ll know I’m focusing on the preparation part of writing sensational sales pages. So far, I’ve talked about how to identify your ideal reader, and what to ask them once you know who they are.
But it’s important to realise that feedback is about more than just concepts. Of course it’s important to listen to what your ideal readers say. It’s just as important, however, to listen to how they say it.
Listening to the “what” will take you 75-80% of the way towards getting the information you need to write a compelling-yet-compassionate sales page. Listening to the “how”, though? That’ll take you the rest of the distance.
The “how” will help you to build a relationship with your reader that makes them feel seen, witnessed and understood. And that’s where you start to create the “like” and “trust” in your “know, like and trust” factor.
Here are three specific things you should listen for when you’re interviewing your ideal readers (and what to do with the information).
Important: before we start, please realise that a little non-verbal knowledge is a dangerous thing. It’s very easy to notice a single sign in isolation, assume you know exactly what it means, and get it horribly, horribly wrong.
That said, if the ideal reader you’re interviewing has been speaking easily and relaxedly, and then suddenly starts showing some of these signs:
… chances are that something you’ve asked them (or that they’ve said unprompted) has made them feel uncomfortable or embarrassed.
So what do you do if that happens?
English is an amazingly varied and nuanced language. Especially when it comes to emotions, we have many words that mean the same general thing, but with wildly different levels of intensity. For example, think of the difference between feeling:
Listen to the words your readers use. If they most often use terms like “furious” or “dreading”, don’t weaken your descriptions to “miffed” or “twitchy”. If you do, your readers will feel like you don’t really get the extent of their problem.
Ditto if your readers tend to use weaker descriptions. In that case, using more intense words can make them feel as though you’re trying to manipulate them by overstating their pain points.
Either way: notice the levels of intensity that your ideal readers use and match them in your copy.
Several copywriting experts tell you to avoid using industry jargon and acronyms altogether; and there’s a reason for this. Especially if you have industry training (or years of experience in a given sector) that your readers don’t, jargon that’s second nature for you can completely confuse and annoy them.
BUT. If you and your ideal readers share a common background, and they naturally use certain jargon terms or acronyms as they’re answering your questions? Chances are that other ideal readers will be just as familiar with the terms. And that, in turn means that using them in your copy could not only help to build rapport, but boost your credibility with them too.
What if you’re not sure that every ideal reader will know a jargon term?
In that case, it’s a good idea to explain the term in plain language the first time you use it in your copy.
NOTE: This is actually a good idea for acronyms, regardless of how familiar your readers may be with them. The same acronym can have MANY different meanings (just look at the 27 meanings of EFT!)
Of course, after you’ve explained a term initially, feel free to use it as often as you want in the rest of your copy.
Next week, I’ll be running a free workshop all about how to set yourself up to write a sensational sales page with less stress.
In it, I’ll talk about the three things that will make the process of writing your sales page SO MUCH simpler if you sort them out before you sit down to write.
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