Closings Start at the Begining and End With a Conversion
All good things come to an end sooner or later. When they do, copywriters need to sum things up with a great closing that will usually involve some sort of call to action. In order for a call to action to be heard clearly, you need to not only write effectively, but close effectively. In sales parlance, if you do not ask for the sale then you should not complain when you do not get it. Since sales is a numbers game and copywriting is a sales process, then you need to figure out how to target the majority of your audience before you even start crafting closings.
Consider Your Audience When Thinking of Closings
You probably have a fairly good grasp on your demographic(s) by now, but it would be worth reviewing any hard facts you have on them. If hard data is not available, then you are going to need to make estimates based on what you are selling. Unfortunately, estimates not nearly as accurate as real statistics, and that may be something you should look into acquiring via establishing a mailing list or some VIP content that requires viewers to submit their age and/or location.
The next step is the same regardless if you are estimating or operating with hard facts: it is time to put yourself in their shoes. In a previous post we talked about removing fears, teaching, and pointing out dangers, but now you need to start applying this to build a closing. Believe it or not, your closing will actually start with the first few words you type in many cases, because you have to set the process up over time.
Here’s an example, and I do apologize in advance if perhaps it seems a little stereotypical: Target customers tend to be middle-aged men who suffer from male pattern baldness. The seller is writing copy that will try to do the following:
- Remove fears that their product will not work.
- Point out warning signs of ‘other’ products that are more scam than useful.
- Sadly, it seems that no skill teaching is likely in this particular pitch.
What are the fears? If you put yourself in those shoes then you probably could guess most of them fairly easily: fear of losing a wife, girlfriend, mistress, or any combination of those. Afraid of being emasculated, looked down upon, surrendering to age, and other similar fears are going to be very common. Thankfully, they all have a single answer: whatever you are selling. The problem is that the underlying fear is that most hair loss products have a negative public image, particularly in the ‘they do not often work’ department. So you get your choice with what to lead with: fear of products not working or fears related to the potential side effects of hair loss. Start with this and hammer that point home again and again. At some point, you need to introduce the solution and explain how it works. It should almost be like a scale that weighs fear on one side and confidence (that a product will do what it says it will) on the other. At the start, the fear side of the scale needs to be weighed heavily in this case,but that balance should be the exact opposite by the end of the piece. Knowing what your closing is going to be will help you start a piece out on the right foot so that you do not end up switching gears in the middle of the content.
Selling with fear is dangerous, but many do it abstractly with something less personal: risk. Risk is a lot like fear, but you can selectively use personal pronouns for negative points and different personal pronouns for positive points. This is especially important in closing, but here are a pair of examples:
You could go out of business if you do not have a cool new Apple iThis-or-that. Get your iThis-or-that now!
This is strongly worded and is too personal with the negative points for the kind of crowd that can afford Apple hardware. This might be better:
PC went out of business because he was always spending too much time fixing problems with his registry! Mac went on a corporate vacation to the Bahamas. Do you want to go with Mac or solve registry problems?
Sadly, this might actually be an Apple commercial one day, but the point is still that controlling personal pronouns is important, especially at the end where the pitch is. You can build authority by discussing others as an object lesson, but then let loose with a few personal pronouns directed at the reader during the pitch. Doing so before then will require some thought.
So, How Does This Get Back to the Closing?
In order to end up with a solid closing, you need to start with a format that is not very different than a school essay. This means an introduction where the key points are laid out first, then addressed in detail individually, followed by a closing summation that covers everything. The logical ordering of ideas and solution to problems/fears alone will hopefully give people a reason to want to buy, but take it a step further and integrate those fears (or your teaching/warnings) into the closing pitch. In this case, something like this would probably work:
If you don’t want to suffer from male pattern baldness one more day, then get your 30-day kit of so-and-so-hair-remedy-stuff right now!
A Little Something Extra
A popular way to motivate sales is to add another paragraph before asking for the sale. Repetition works wonders, especially if you ask questions that have a positive/yes answer. Imagine a paragraph like closing out copy for a hair loss remedy:
Are you tired of that bald spot getting bigger every day? [If they have read this far, you know that they are going to say ‘yes’ to this in their head] Are you tired of products that lack something-special-covered-in-one-of-the-talking-points-earlier not delivering on their hair restoration promises? [Oh boy am I!] Do you want to restore your youthful head of hair? [who wouldn’t!?] Do you want to restore you confidence and lost libido? [SIGN ME UP ALREADY!! I’M NOT EVEN BALD BUT I WANT THIS!] Are you ready to do something about your hair loss? If so, then call 1-800-555-1234 right now and don’t suffer another day of male pattern baldness!
The repetition of questions with yes answers really set up the sale, but they are not appropriate for all target audiences.
Here’s What You Need to Remember:
- Never be afraid to ask for the sale on pieces that are supposed to convert.
- Asking for sales is best in the closing paragraph or two.
- Try an essay-like format if you are debunking myths/assuaging fears.
- Start your closing in the first few words. If you start with fear, then end with fear. If you start with teaching, then end with teaching. If you start with something else, end with it. The entire piece should be one smooth flow from the first words to the closing sentences.
- Repetition can set up an easy sale with certain audiences. Use it intelligently to manage tempo near the point where you ask for a sale for best effect.
- Know when and where to let your personal pronouns free to do their job.
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