How to Write Sales Copy When the Standards Don’t Apply

Recently, we did some work for a couple of folks with a product marketed to rock fans. Specifically, fans of one particular band. These folks needed a sales page to sell their product, and since James is a ridiculous rock freak, he was falling all over himself to oblige.

I came along for the ride. Passive observer here, people. I am just reporting the facts.

Usually, in a sales page, you want to make sure the benefits of purchasing this product are obvious to your audience. Your two go-tos are as follows:

  • This product will help you succeed at something you want to do
  • This product will make you rich

Now, this particular product was a book all about one rock band. It looked interesting, but as someone who could give a good goddamn from which poppy field in Afghanistan Kurt Cobain’s heroin overdose originated, I can tell you right now this is only interesting to people who love this band.

Like, really love this band.

Might possibly have shrines in their attics, love this band.

Which means that our normal go-tos for why people should buy this book are out the window. It’s not going to be useful to anyone’s success. It’s not going to make them rich.

How do you find a selling point, one that isn’t about your usual standards?

Here are the selling points of the book:

  • It will make other aficionados of this band weep with envy that you got a first edition and they did not.
  • It will give you even more information about a band that you already knew way, way too much about.

Those are pretty unconventional selling points.

It helps to consider the most outlandish possible ideal customer for this product. In our case, it was the guy who has the shrine in his attic. That guy is going to freak out if he has the opportunity to see just one, ONE more photo of one of the band members doing a sound check.

It doesn’t matter that he’s seen eight million photos of this band. It doesn’t matter that many of these photos are of the band doing sound checks. It doesn’t matter that he could actually recite the exact words the vocalist said into the microphone to test it before any given conference.

To this guy, any new information at all is solid gold. It’s worth the world.

New information that no one else has? It’s the Holy Grail.

Now, this customer may or may not actually exist. For all we know, no one in the world actually has a shrine to this band in his attic. But it does help to imagine the motives of the extremist. He’s not motivated by usefulness or by personal success.

He likes to feel like he has something no one else has.

It makes him feel special. It makes him feel like he’s someone important.

To him, that’s success. To him, that makes him the richest guy in the world.

It really does always boil down to those two points: money and success. The reason it boils down to those two points is because money and success are our tickets to happiness.

Sometimes, though, it helps to just cut to the chase and ask, “What would make this customer happiest? And why?”

If it’ll make your customer happiest to have one more photo of a rock band that existed before his time because it makes him feel special, then go ahead. Let him know you have just what it takes to make him happy and to feel like he’s the richest, most successful person in the world.

And the next time you have sales copy to write for a client where the standards – money and success – really do apply, ask yourself why customers want them for and for what purpose. Chances are, you can figure out what makes them happy, too.

Not a writer? Get us to write your sales copy. We know exactly how to make happiness happen.

Post by Taylor

Taylor Lindstrom (fondly known as Tei) is a twenty-something copywriter and journalist from Boulder, CO. She’s the team’s rogue woman who wowed us until our desire for her talents exceeded our desire for a good ol’ boys club. She loves the color green, micro-point Uniball pens, and medieval weaponry.

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  1. Um…Kurt Cobain died from a self inflicted shotgun wound – not a heroin overdose…

  2. Nice article. I concur that you will want to write something unique and effective if you want “This product will make you rich” part 😉

  3. Thanks. This is timely, as I’m putting together a cookbook and was wondering about selling points. It won’t make the person rich, necessarily, but it will enrich their cooking experience. This definitely gives me something to work with, anyway.

    And I know just who to model my ideal customer after.

  4. I think that this methods holds true no matter what type of product you are selling. Going for the fanatic will really whittle away the surface down to the real reason why the person is buying.

    People go crazy for just abotu any product. There is even a market for people obsessed with disposable lighters.

    If you can arrange your copy in such a way that you can show your customer that their little devil inside them will be satisfied by becoming stronger, more popular, well-liked, wealthy etc. then you can really break down those barriers of skepticism that come into the average sale.

    Your customers just want to be satisfied and if you can tweak your copy to fill that wierd little voice inside them, then you can get them to drop all of those skeptical feelings and follow their emotions towards a sale.

    Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire
    .-= Joshua Black | The Underdog Millionaire´s last blog ..Small Business Advice From a Junkie? =-.

  5. Taylor, welcome to my world. I work mostly with visual artists and craftspeople. “It’s made by hand” isn’t enough. “It’s art” isn’t enough. Many people believe the work will sell itself (some marketing types even say so). But it has to be about the connection between the buyer, the work, and the artist. In a big way.
    .-= Stacey Cornelius´s last blog ..How to find the right audience online =-.

  6. This was actually a great article.

  7. Interesting, so in a way did it make the writing the sales copy easier or harder? It seems if you are targeting an audience that already loves the band, then pretty much anything you put forth in a decent way will sell… will it not?

    Like when a band YOU love puts out an album considered “horrible” by most critics, yet you still get it. I know I’m like that, I don’t give a shit what the critics say, if Killswitch Engage releases an album… I’m buying. And no scrawny ass kid is gona get in my way!
    .-= FitJerks Fitness Blog´s last blog ..Product Review: FitDeck Combat Sports =-.

  8. What makes highlighting a limited first edition an unconventional selling point? Personally, I think it’s a conventional selling point for this type of audience. When you’re dealing with crazy collectors and raving fans, you’ll find that their motivated by the chance to have something other collectors and fans might not have because that’s their chance to be “the #1 fan.”
    .-= Derek´s last blog ..How to Increase Online Customer Loyalty By 82% =-.

  9. Solid article: “What would make this customer happiest? And why?”… that is the ultimate question isn’t it?

  10. creative article, i guess it’s more about the right brain, not logical but emotional

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