The most important part of any sales copy is undoubtedly the start. It is where you hook your reader in, plant some keywords for SEO, and put forward your proposition. Most readers will have decided whether or not to read an entire copy within the first paragraph and so, while the main section of content and calls to action are important, the start of your copy acts as a gateway to readers continuing onto further content.
So what techniques can you use to hook your reader in?
Sexing-up the Title
You have probably noticed that when you click through to any online content or email it is often due to an eye-catchingly interesting title or subject line. This can be difficult to achieve within direct marketing emails without coming across too 'sales-y' – putting people off before they have even opened it. However, slightly sensationalising your header can help arousing curiosity and stimulate readership.
One cautionary note, however, is to keep your title relevant to your content. Over-sensationalising titles to the point that they barely relate to the content may make readers feel duped and they may click-off on principle, or simply because they don't feel as interested in the actual content.
Your opening lines should relate the rest of the article both back to your title and to your target audience. The first line should aim to accomplish three things: Introduce the article, relate is to your target audience, and explain your catchy title.
For example, the first line of this article 'The most important part of any sales copy is undoubtedly the start' explains what the article will focus on, the fact that we are looking primarily at sales copy, and also demystifies the title. What it does not do is give away the conclusion (although in the case of this article there is no single conclusion), which keeps the audience reading to discover it for themselves.
Questions are a great way of luring readers to read on. They challenge the reader, thereby keeping them engaged, and present the central question/s that the article will, by the end, have answered. They also provide an easy transition from your introductory paragraph to the main body of text, a transition that can prove quite difficult for some writers.
While the introduction sets the scene and provides background information, a well-placed question acts as both a summary and an introduction to the main text.
The key to hooking a reader generally is to write clearly and with purpose. If people understand the purpose of your article, email, sales pitch etc. and feel they will benefit from reading the full article then they will read on. If you are vague about your aims and purpose people will not invest the time and effort to continue reading. If you promise more than you deliver then, while they may read on, people will end up disappointed and disenchanted and will unlikely become repeat readers.
Struggling to piece all these aspects together? Or perhaps you are simply unsure as to whether it has been achieved successfully. Contact us today to see how we can help or take a look at our writing services.