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5 Tips for Injecting the Like-Factor into Your Sales Copy

by Kathryn Aragon

It’s true. We buy from people we like.

Not the ones who give us the best deal or the best service. Not the ones who do the best work. But the ones we like the best.

That being the case, getting your prospects to like you is an important part of the selling process.

So how do you become likable in digital marketing, where you may never meet with or talk to your customers?

More specifically, how do you do that on a single sales page?

There are five things you can do to up the like-factor of your sales copy. Let’s take a look at them now…

1. Connect with your readers

“In everything be guided by what you would do if you met the buyer face-to-face.” Claude Hopkins.

Your first goal in writing sales copy is to find a way to connect with your readers. Your goal? Rapport.

According to Collins Dictionary, rapport is “a close or sympathetic relationship; agreement; harmony.” It’s the realization that the other person understands you, which makes you feel more receptive to what they say.

How do you do that in sales copy?

It’s as simple as being a person and not a salesperson. In short, write like you talk.

Pretend your reader is standing in line with you at your favorite coffee shop, and you’re chatting about the latest news. Be friendly. Look for areas where you connect.

You can build rapport with your readers simply by being real.

Like this Casey Research promotion:

rapport - casey research

Tips for building rapport

Talk directly to your reader, using “I” and “you” (or “we”).

Don’t worry about how well you write. Shoot for a conversational style, with stories, incomplete sentences, parenthetical statements, and slang. Your goal is agreement, not an “A” from your English teacher.

Let your personality show. Your prospects are more apt to like a real person who talks like they do.

2. Show that you “get” them

“The advertising man studies the consumer. He tries to place himself in the position of the buyer. His success largely depends on doing that to the exclusion of everything else.” Claude Hopkins

When you talk to people face-to-face, you can build rapport by mimicking facial expressions and attitudes.

In copy you use the same technique. But not with facial expression. Instead, you mimic your customer’s likes, dislikes, and attitudes.

To be able to do this, you need to know what makes your ideal customers tick.

Simply by adopting those same attitudes in your writing, you communicate that you’re on the same page, that you agree with them about the things that matter.

Here’s how AWAI does it in this sales page:

get your readers

Tips for showing you “get” your readers

“Getting” someone is more about attitude than vocabulary. So pay attention to the attitudes expressed by your ideal customers.

Focus on topics that your readers care about — not what they should care about, but what they really, honestly care about. Then talk about those issues with the same attitude.

When people see their own thoughts and attitudes expressed in your sales copy, it builds an immediate connection that can begin to break through their sales resistance.

3. Talk like they talk

“Address the people you seek, and them only.” Claude Hopkins

At first glance, this may sound like I’m contradicting myself. Earlier I said you need to talk like yourself, and now I’m telling you to talk like your readers.

What’s up with that?

Your goal is to connect with your readers. So you need to talk like yourself, letting your own personality shine through. But you need to use similar language and style as your ideal customers.

It’s an adaptation you probably do naturally when you talk face-to-face, but you need to be just as sensitive in your sales copy. This builds a sense of familiarity, which helps people like you.

So for instance, if you target Baby Boomers, you talk differently than you would to Gen Xers. Take this example from Health & Healing (summer 2005):

talk like your readers talk

Tips for talking like your customer

How do you know how your readers talk? Spend time with them.

When you’re at the grocery, purposely get in the long line behind people who match your target audience. Strike up a conversation, or listen in as they talk to one another.

Read the magazines they read.  Visit the forums where they hang out.

The idea is to get input from people who are your ideal customers. Try to capture the phrases and words that they use to talk about your topic, so you can write copy that catches their interest and resonates with them.

4. Tone down the hype

“Superlatives… are usually damaging. They suggest looseness of expression, a tendency to exaggerate, a carelessness of truth. They lead readers to discount all the statements that you make.” Claude Hopkins

To build the like-factor in your sales copy, you need to develop a connection with your readers. Any tactic that seems pushy or manipulative won’t work.

So tone down the hype. You don’t need to wind up your customers to make the sale. You only need to give proof that you can deliver as promised.

How do you avoid hype? Use specifics instead. Facts sell. Logic persuades. And both convey that you are someone worth listening to.

Take a look at this excerpt from Drayton Bird, and you’ll see what I mean. By piling on specific numbers, he makes his offer irresistibly compelling:

no hype

Tips for being persuasive without hype

No one likes to be man-handled. So replace hype with clear, detailed information.

  • Use specific numbers. (Don’t round them off.)
  • Make comparisons that relate unknown information to something familiar, like the price of a meal for two.
  • Pull facts from studies and quotes from authorities to add weight to your own statements.

This level of detail, when combined with a genuine desire to connect, tends to generate trust and likeability. As a bonus, they create a compelling presentation that’s hard to resist.

5. Respect your readers

“Any studied attempt to sell, if apparent, creates corresponding resistance.” Claude Hopkins

The key to selling is not to sell. You can move people to action better by giving them information they need to make a good decision.

Share your knowledge. Empower people to make wise decisions. Give them resources they need. And in doing so, you become a trusted friend.

But to be able to do this, you must respect your customers. You can’t see them as a dollar sign, but as people with needs.

In this old sales letter by Nature’s Scientific Discoveries (Summer 1999), you can see this type of respect. Notice the compassion. A customer’s story is told, not to draw attention to Maureen, but to illustrate the pain that customers often deal with.

compassion and respect 2

Tips for respecting your customers

There are a lot of ways to respect your readers:

  • Being understanding.
  • Avoiding blame.
  • Showing compassion.
  • Sincerely desiring to make their life better.

You must genuinely understand your prospects’ problems and desire to help them. Get to that point, and respect is natural.

Be sure to let it show in the stories you tell and your word choice when talking about the issues your customers deal with.

One caveat…

Being likable is about putting others first. Ironically, trying to convey that in writing can cause you to talk more about yourself than your prospects’ problems.

So be genuine and transparent. Connect with and respect your readers. But don’t lean heavily on this tactic. It should be the seasoning, not the special sauce, in your sales copy.

That said, the best way to create the like-factor is to be genuinely interested in helping your prospects.

As Claude Hopkins once said, “We cannot go after thousands of men until we learn how to win one.”



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Kathryn Aragon

Kathryn Aragon is the former editor of The Daily Egg. She's a content strategist and consultant on mission to help content marketers get measurable results from their content. Learn more at Follow her on Twitter.


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  1. May 10, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Another excellent piece of information. Thank you very much – your content is very useful.. .please keep it up. Wishing you still had a daily email send rather than weekly, it keeps me in the right copywriting ‘mindset’.

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