10 Tips for Writing Better Sales Copy

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The prompt for Day 42 is to give 10 tips to help a friend write sales copy to sell her used car.

This is a fun practice. I’m framing the examples for my tips using the used car as the product, but the tips can be applied to any product or service.

If you stumbled upon this by accident, I’m blogging my way through Claudia Altucher’s book, Become an Idea Machine, [Amazon affiliate link] which is based on her husband’s comment that:

Ideas are the currency of the 21st century.

James Altucher

How to Write Better Sales Copy

Focus on the buyer’s problem.

The buyer needs a car, but perhaps the he has a tight budget or is afraid of buying a used car because it might like buying someone else’s problem.

Is your dream car the Ford Escape hybrid?

The Ford Escape Hybrid offers the perfect combination of a sporty ride with an environmentally-friendly footprint.

[I just picked the Ford Escape hybrid for an example—I don’t drive one or even know anyone who drives one.]

Describe the benefits of buying a used car, generally.

When you drive a new car off the lot, it immediately depreciates by thousands of dollars.

Describe the benefits of this particular car, not the the features.

My weekly fuel bill dropped by 30% (or whatever) after I bought the hybrid, thanks to the electric engine.

Features like color, satellite radio, on-board GPS are fine to include, but they won’t sell the car. Every other car offers some of the same features at the same, higher or lower price point.

Describe the fun times you’ve had owning the car.

Maybe talk about how you saved enough money on fuel for your commute that you were able to take a beach vacation with your best friend.

Tell a story, rather than reciting facts.

Remember that Lincoln TV ad starring Matthew McConnaughey? Yes, it was a bit over-the-top, but it was an attempt at telling a story about the kind of person the ad was intended to appeal to.

Same thing for the Chevy “Like a Rock” Truck ad campaign.

These ads throw in a few features, but they are mostly designed to tell a story about the buyer, not the vehicle.

Appeal to emotion, not logic.

New car ads are all about emotion, not logic.

Some years ago, I remember Cadillac started using a Rolling Stones song to appeal to a baby boom demographic.

Play on the buyer’s desire to avoid loss, rather than achieve gain.

This tip might appear to contradict the first two items above, but it’s simply a matter of framing.

Psychological research and economic decision-making research has found resounding evidence that says most humans would much rather avoid loss than take a risk with the potential for benefit. Prospect theory is one example.

That research is put to excellent use in advertising copywriting. You see it everywhere: “Don’t wait or you’ll miss out on…..”

Include Pictures

If you don’t want to pay for a photo ad in the classifieds, at least include a link to a Flickr gallery or webpage where you show photos of the car your selling.

Take five minutes and do video on your phone and post it to YouTube. You can delete the video after you sell the car.

Provide Maintenance Records

These records will provide the facts and reassurance, without the need to to state facts or make predictions about how the car will perform in the future.

As a seller, you don’t want to misrepresent the condition of the car, but if you can provide the maintenance and repair history you can demonstrate good faith by showing past history of maintenance and repairs.

Close the Sale

Include a specific call to action: “Buy today!”


About Sheree

Change Catalyst, Idea Explorer, Dot-Connector, Square Peg