If you follow my blog then you already know what copywriting is and why it’s so important to sell any product or service.
Oh, you just landed here?
Then I’ll start by explaining very briefly what copywriting is and why you should take it very seriously if you have a business.
Direct response copywriting is a writing technique which is based on taking into account the desires and emotions of customers with the aim of writing persuasive texts that seek a certain action in the reader.
This particular action can be to press the buy button, fill out a contact form, subscribe to a webinar, and so on.
Writing a good piece of copy that works is not so simple, one needs to study a lot and practice even more.
It’s very important to write without mistakes and to know how to express the reasons why the person who reads should take the action we pursue.
If you can’t hire a copywriter for budget reasons you can learn some of the techniques by reading copywriting books. (Here I recommend some).
Another excellent way to learn how to write copy is to study examples written by great copywriters and to understand the reasons why the copywriter has chosen those particular words.
It’s not about literally copying them, but to get inspiration and to learn persuasive writing techniques.
In order to get the best out of it, I have divided this post into several sections following a certain structure with the elements that make up a good piece of direct response copy.
This way we can see different examples for each of the different sections.
Are you staying with me?
Good! Let’s get to the point.
If your headline is bad, the person who has landed on your website, or on your social media post, may not get what you offer or think it will not interest them and just leave your page or continue scrolling down their feed.
So if you want them to stay and see what you offer, you have to choose that first sentence really well.
Let’s see below 3 headlines that work and why.
Fizzle is a North American company that provides resources to new entrepreneurs. It offers courses and materials for those who are just starting out and need support.
People pay a membership fee to access these courses and materials as well as forums where they can get answers to their questions.
As soon as you read this headline, if you are a person who is thinking about starting a new activity because you are sick and tired of your job, you will want to continue reading, since you feel that what this company offers may interest you.
In order to create this headline, the copywriter has previously researched the profile of the buyer persona, that is, those people for whom this service is intended.
If you want to write headlines that attract attention and curiosity, you have to know very well the wishes and concerns of your target audience.
I always insist a lot on this point, but I want you to understand that if you don’t know the person who is going to read you, you won’t be able to convince them that your product or service has been designed to make their lives easier.
The copywriter, after doing some research, will have come to the conclusion that the majority of people who start a new business is either because they don’t like what they do or don’t have a job at all.
Notice that this headline also appeals to that feeling that I’m sure you’ve had in the past doing something you didn’t like. How many times have you wondered “What the heck am I doing here?”
Because in the end human beings need to find meaning in what they do, or at least, it’s what most of us are looking for.
And the art of copywriting has a lot of psychology.
Let’s see another example of an outstanding headline.
Nadia’s Italy is a company that organizes private luxury tours in Italy.
This headline is excellent because it resolves in one sentence one of the biggest objections of the ideal customer.
The headline is so powerful that they have even registered it as a trademark so that others won’t copy it.
This simple sentence appeals to people who want an exclusive vacation, wealthy people who don’t want to go on a standard tour where they will feel like sheep.
They want to feel different, and for that they have no problem in paying whatever it takes.
The headline is telling you that this is not just any tour and it’s not for anyone.
The copywriter has found a great way of playing with words and to attract the attention of the target audience.
In the end, you don’t want to attract the attention of people who won’t want your product, you want to attract the attention of your ideal customer, the one your product is designed for.
Let’s look at another example.
Ramit Sethi created I will teach you to be rich, a company that offers courses for people who want to earn more money and get rid of their debts.
In the US the majority of the population is indebted for life and at an early age because universities are very expensive and many students are forced to take out loans.
The result is that most people are obsessed with earning more money and getting rid of their debts as soon as possible, which, on the other hand, doesn’t surprise me at all.
This headline is ground-breaking because it’s an unusual and at the same time powerful question. Have you ever wondered what your earning potential is?
I don’t think anyone had asked you this question before.
It’s a question that creates an immense curiosity because, if you think about money from time to time, as is the case of 90% of the population, you’ll want to continue reading.
Introductions that connect with the reader
If you have managed to get the person who has landed on your website, your SM post or has opened your email, continue reading after the headline, you need to keep creating interest with the introduction.
In this part of the copy, the most important thing is to create empathy, elaborating on those problems or desires this person has so that he feels we are talking directly to him because we know his situation very well.
Let’s see a couple of examples.
I’m sure you know Dropbox.
The copy on their website is very good because it appeals to those pain points their target audience has.
If you work with many files you will have suffered some of the problems that Dropbox solves.
Later on they say:
“Dropbox collects all your files in one centralized place. You can search for them easily, and they sync across all your devices so you can access them anytime, wherever you are. You no longer have to spend hours and hours looking for your job”.
See how it addresses the reader in a conversational way. This is very important when writing sales copy.
The customer has to feel that we are speaking directly to him and that we want to help him to make his life easier (or be more handsome, successful, healthy, happy).
Let’s see the following example also from Dropbox:
Notice how they talk about another great pain point that surely we have all suffered in the past, especially if you work in a team.
The changes have been made in an earlier version of the document and now not all the work is in the same final document.
Dropbox avoids this nightmare from happening again.
Let’s see another example.
Melissa Ramos is a nutritionist who has created Sexy Food Therapy, a company that offers nutritional plans for women.
This introduction is excellent because it addresses all the main pain points of her target audience in a casual language.
She wants to distance herself from that boring nutritionist cliché, who forbids you from eating anything delicious.
She assures you that she takes these problems seriously and she will help you but she’s not going to make your life miserable.
Without a doubt, an excellent introduction.
Features and Benefits of your product
There is no point in explaining all the characteristics of your product if you don’t clearly express what the customer is actually getting from it.
No one cares what kind of software you use or how fast it loads if you don’t express how those features will benefit the customer.
Will they make them richer, more handsome, more successful, will they have more free time…? Those are things we all want.
Let’s look below at examples of brands that have been able to express those benefits wonderfully.
MailChimp is one of the most successful automation platforms in the world and it’s not only because they have a free plan, but above all because they know how to explain things in a simple way.
This is fundamental when you sell this kind of service on a platform that can be complicated to use, especially at the beginning.
Their motto is clarity.
And the copy on their website follows this motto as well.
At a glance, on their home page, they already tell you what benefits you will get if you decide to work with them.
MailChimp could have just explained what kind of software they use and all the functionalities they have, but no, they concentrate on telling you what you’re going to get out of it all.
Shall we look at another example?
Adding the characteristics of your product helps to sell it better because they add a desirable aura of high quality and modern technology.
But if you don’t translate all those features into tangible benefits for your customer he will be lost because he won’t understand what you’re talking about.
The example I have chosen is from Purple, a company that manufactures mattresses.
Isn’t the above paragraph a masterpiece?
This is a great example of how presenting a technical aspect of your product that no one understands can help you sell like hot doughnuts.
Because the customer perceives that he’s buying quality and clearly understands how that technical aspect is going to make his life better.
Spectacular, without a doubt.
AppSumo is a platform that offers its subscribers savings on different apps for managing businesses.
On their website they explain what they do and how you can benefit from what they offer.
Look at the choice of words, “we run insane deals on their products” Who can resist to receiving “Insane” deals and save thousands of dollars?
Make sure your copy expresses the value of your product using strong words.
But be aware, if you use too many superlatives the result can sound fake, people might think it’s just bullshit.
The big difference between a great piece of copy and a poor one lays on the right balance of using sturdy words to form compelling sentences.
Convincing social proof
People need to be reassured that something is good, but more than from the company selling that product we need to hear it from others.
Because if a lot of people say something is great, we believe it. Isn’t that the idea?
That’s why you always have to add the best customer testimonials to every page of your website.
Waterfield is a small American company that has been manufacturing leather handbags in a traditional way for many years.
Notice how they also highlight their unique value proposition already in the tagline “Made in San Francisco”.
This sentence differentiates them from all those companies that have moved their factories to poor countries in order to reduce costs.
The fact that their bags are made in San Francisco gives the product an aura of quality and prestige.
Not only are they made in a first world country, but they are also made in San Francisco, one of the coolest cities in North America.
But I didn’t really choose this example to talk about their unique value proposition but rather the very original way they have chosen to add testimonials to their website.
They ask their clients to describe their experience with the product in just 6 words, and they get jewels like these on the picture above.
Super powerful testimonials in just a short sentence.
Let’s see another example of a master of copywriting.
Marie Forleo is a celebrity in the US. She has a TV channel, podcasts, courses, etc.
On her website (which we already talked about in this previous article) she has photos with Oprah, Richard Branson, Tony Robbins and other personalities.
But what impresses most and gives Marie more credibility as a life coach are the success stories you can find in a section (too hidden, in my opinion) on her website.
There, flesh and blood people tell how Marie has helped them to achieve their dreams and to have more confidence in themselves.
She has even rescued them in difficult moments and many times only with free material available on her TV channel.
This is an incredible sales weapon since we all can identify ourselves with some of these people’s stories.
We can also see their faces; she knows that adding photos reinforces the testimony.
What is more powerful than excellent testimonials and success stories?
Don’t get into a funk if you still don’t have a lot of testimonials, make sure you do a good job for your customers and add them little by little.
Let’s see one more example of how to use testimonials.
Enchanting Marketing is the blog of Henneke Duistermaat, one of the best content writers out there.
Her tips on how to write blog posts are really helpful and you can learn a lot for free.
Her paid copywriting and blogging online courses are sold out in just a few hours, so no need to tell you more about how good she is.
As soon as you land on her site you can read 3 testimonials from renowned sites about SEO and content.
These 3 people are well known in the industry so being praised by people like them is a way to multiply your credibility by 1000.
We can’t all have these kinds of testimonials, it’s true, but if you do a good job people will have no problem recommending you and praising your results.
An Irresistible Offer
Sometimes it may be convenient to include an offer in our sales copy to convince those who are still hesitating.
A reduced price, an offer valid only for a few days, free extras, etc.
Writing good offers is an art since you shouldn't sound gimmicky.
The offer has to be credible and explain the reasons why you’ve lowered the price or why you’re giving something for free, like here:
Drip is an eCommerce and automation platform and they offer videos, MP3s, documents etc as lead magnet.
A lead magnet is that free content you offer in exchange for people’s emails.
If you want to know more about how to write email sequences with a lead magnet, in this article I explain in more detail how they work.
But let’s go back to our example.
In order to justify the fact that Drip sends you so much material for free, they explain the reasons behind.
They are offering you a concrete benefit, to grow your list of subscribers, so that you can also subscribe to their list and be able to convince you later to use their paid products.
One of the best ways of convincing those who are on the fence, is to offer a reduced price for a limited time:
However, if you choose this option, make sure that the offer disappears after the time limit.
Another way to increase sales with an offer is with a discount when you refer a friend.
Many brands opt for it because it’s a way to increase the number of customers.
Aveda knows it too:
An original and effective call to action
If we don’t add a clear and inciting call to action, all the effort you put into writing a powerful piece of sales copy may be wasted.
Because you’re not telling your potential customer what to do to get all those benefits.
The call to action is that button that you want people to press because it leads them to buy your product or service, or sign up for your mailing list.
In the CTA you need to remind the potential customer why they have to click that button.
As in the following example:
REI sells outdoors clothing and accessories.
In the CTA they assure you that Salomon running shoes will be a treat for your feet.
Zoom is a digital communication platform. In their CTA they remind you that you can create an account for free.
Netflix copywriters know very well how to create effective calls to action.
Who can resist all these benefits?
Add a summary at the end of your text
Sometimes our sales copy can be quite long.
It all depends on the degree of awareness our target customer has, i.e., whether they already know the product we sell and what kind of problems it solves.
This important concept was coined by the famous publicist Eugene M. Schwartz in the 1960s and is still of much relevance today.
The greater the level of awareness, the less extensive a text needs to be since we don’t need to argue so much why our product is what the customer needs.
For example, Apple doesn’t need to give you a lot of arguments to buy its latest iPhone model if you’re one of their fans.
However, a company that no one knows anything about will need to argue and justify the purchase much more.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Don’t worry because I plan to write an article delving deeper into this important concept so you can write better copy to obtain results.
With all this, what I mean is that very often we will have to repeat the offer at the end of the text in order to remind the potential customer of all the benefits he will get if he decides to buy.
On this last summary we will also make sure we overcome any objections people might have.
Like Moo, a company which designs and prints cool business cards.
In the example below Sweat Block reminds you that you can combine it with your favourite deodorant, that is made in the US (again they mention here the country of origin to guarantee quality and appeal to loyalty to the economy of your own country), 30-day money-back guarantee, etc.
Canva reminds you that you have 30 days to try this service for free and that you will be notified 3 days before the trial period ends and you start to charge monthly fees.
In short, for your piece of copy to provide the results you want, you need to make sure you have countered all possible objections the customer may have before buying from you and also remind her of all the benefits she will get.
Well, I’ve already shown you 21 of the best copywriting examples that swarm the internet to inspire you and create your own sales copy.
I advise you to read a lot about writing copy and every time you buy something or search for information, notice how the copy is written and if you think you can learn something from it.
You can study not only web copy, but also sales copy on the press, on television or billboards.
The examples we have seen today are direct response copywriting, where the seller seeks an immediate reaction from the potential customer, hence the inclusion of a CTA.
Copy on TV and billboards doesn’t necessarily seek an immediate response, but rather to make a brand known so that you recognize it and decide to buy it when you see it at the supermarket.
The copy of your website or social media posts has to be of direct response since you don’t have thousands of euros to spend on TV ads during football games.
To obtain that response from the buyer you need to master direct response copywriting techniques and this takes a lot of time of study and practice.
So get to work!
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I write web copy and engaging content for businesses without borders. I live in the Netherlands, I write everywhere. I love arthouse films and books that make me think. Tolstoy and Chekhov are my life coaches.