Practically anything can be sold – products, services, information – so you would probably assume there is a vast range of different types of copy.

Well, if you look deeper you’ll discover there are three types of copy that fulfil just about every possible use:

  • Copy that sells to your reader
  • Copy  that attracts customers
  • Copy that builds relationships

Of course, copy doesn’t always just perform one of these uses; it normally has to achieve a combination of them.

Copy that sells to your reader

Although you could argue that all copy is designed to sell, the main formats involved in this category are:

  • Direct mail/email
  • Adverts
  • Ecommerce websites (where the user can order online immediately calling for an instant buying decision)

Each of these are used to get an immediate sale. Readers of this type of copy are persuaded to make a snap decision and so tend to contain a limited offer of sorts – limited by time, the number available or price (whereby a special offer is only available until a certain date) etc.

Copy that attracts customers

Now your copy has to generate a different kind of response. You don’t need to make a sale immediately, instead you are using this copy to lay the first foundation stone towards making the sale.

This kind of copy is used to raise awareness to something – a website or shop for example. Therefore your copy needs to arouse interest sufficiently to make your reader want to learn more about your product or service.  This type of copy is used in:

  • Print advertising
  • TV/radio adverts
  • Email marketing

Copy that builds relationships

There are certain products and services that require a certain amount of customer wooing before they will commit to buy. They may be expensive services, long term services or products that require the approval of several decision makers before a sale can be made.

Therefore your copy in this instance has to in for the long haul. You have to build credibility and educate your readers as to why your product or service is for them.

As a result your copy is going to be informative. Create an image of your product in their minds until they realise they can’t live without it. This style of copy is generally found in:

  • Press releases
  • Articles and features
  • Brochures
  • Editorials
  • White papers

Now are you beginning to see how versatile the world of the freelance copywriter is?

Why do you need to know this?

Because sales copy isn’t just about making a sale.

There are a lot of people out there who hate to be sold things – if you go in for the hard sell, they’ll just switch off. But if you can prove that your product will benefit them in some way, they are more likely to listen.