You’d be forgiven for thinking sales copy and creative writing aren’t connected. The former is about getting customers and conversions, while the latter is about telling stories and stimulating the imagination. But often, these two disparate disciplines overlap. Combining one with the other can increase your sales and get you more customers. There are countless creative writing techniques that the best writers use to get results. Here are just a few examples of things we can learn from creative writing that you can use in your sales copy today.

The most prolific writers don’t just write for themselves — they write for their target readers. John Grisham knows his readers relish the intricacies of legalese, Stephen King understands his audience’s love of tension slowly mounting into terror, and so on.

Similarly, so too should you know your target customer. Understanding who they are means you know how to talk to them, and what they will respond to.

But this goes beyond knowing their pain points and needs. It’s also about knowing the kind of language they will engage with, the references they will know, and so on. Write for your customer, and your sales message will reach them better as a result.

Try building out your buyer personas through customer interviews, data analysis, and social media trawling. Identify how your customers speak, what their pain points are, what other accounts they interact with online, and so on; you can use this information to guide your sales copy toward specific customers, rather than all and sundry.

Think of your favorite sentence from a book, and you’ll likely find that the ones that stay with you often aren’t particularly meaningful — they just sound nice. They have a sense of poetry that stays with us, long after we’ve finished reading a book.

In the sales and marketing sphere, poetry can be used to create powerful copy that stays with consumers, long after they’ve experienced an advert.

Take for instance the creative writing technique the rule of three. This refers to the notion that things sound better (and thus are more memorable) in threes — for example, the fire safety technique “stop, drop, and roll.” Presenting your sales message in a group of three reinforces it in your customers’ minds, its natural poetry giving it longevity.

Another technique you can use to create sales poetry is repetition. Repeating certain words (for example, “have a break, have a Kit Kat”) can create memorable phrases that will stay with customers for longer.

Try finding a list of famous quotations and rewriting them as concisely as possible to improve your sales poetry skills. Get rid of superfluous words and use repetition and the rule of three to give them a sense of poetry.

Nothing stays with us quite like a good story, whether it’s a childhood story a grandparent used to tell us or a book we recently read that we just can’t get out of our heads. A good story provokes thought and plays on our emotions, having a powerful effect on us.

Consequently, telling stories is an effective sales tactic that makes for powerful sales copy. Simply listing hard facts about your product such as price, variations, or production method won’t make customers engage with your product.

But weaving a story around your brand or product and placing your customer at the center of it captivates your audience on a deeper level. It breathes life into an otherwise flat concept, creating a connection between your product and your customer that drives sales as a result.

Just like a story in a book or a play, your product story or your sales email should have a compelling plot — a beginning, a middle, and an end to tie it all up nicely. Create a plot outline with your customer as the protagonist, for example, they’re facing an issue — perhaps they want to pay less for their energy, or they want to live greener — and your product is the knight in shining armor.

Your engaging, empathetic story will appeal to your leads’ and customers’ emotions.

Origin stories for products are always effective — where the idea came from, why your product matters, how it’s made, and so on. Similarly, telling a story around your customers’ needs and presenting your product as the solution helps your target market connect with your sales message.

The techniques outlined above are just a few examples that you can use to get started today. But to really enhance your sales copy, you need to come to grips with the basics. Here’s how.

Sometimes, the old methods are the best. There are countless books available that teach you the essentials of creative writing. These aren’t just popular with budding authors either — plenty of marketers use these books to guide their own sales copy.

Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes gives you a sales- and marketing-oriented crash course on creating content that convinces and converts.

Set aside at least half an hour each day to read. Many books offer exercises you can do to hone your skills, so you’ll be writing better sales copy in no time.

Taking an online writing course is an effective means of improving your copy outside of your typical sales webinars. Online creative writing courses provide expert advice combined with constructive criticism to help you hone your storytelling techniques.

The best online writing courses, just like college courses, teach you the basic building blocks of good writing. Become more confident with the basics, and you will better leverage them in your sales copy as a result.

We’re exposed to sales copy all the time, from push notifications on our cell phones to posters on the subway into work, though we often disregard them. But taking the time to pick apart other brands’ sales copy gives you an insight into what works — and what doesn’t. Keep an eye out for effective ads that you particularly like and pinpoint what makes them so good. It might be the language they use or an engaging story that grabs your attention.

Similarly, look out for sales copy that fails to inspire you and consider how you’d do it differently. You could even have a go at rewriting it yourself.

The most prolific writers don’t just write for themselves — they write for their target readers.”

Laura Slingo | Digital Campaign Manager, Seeker Digital
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