Opening Sentences That Close the Sale
By Karon Thackston
It's one of the best pieces of copywriting
advice I've ever been given. "As often as
possible, start your paragraphs with sentences
that hook readers and drive them deeper into the
copy." Why? Because - after the headline - the
first sentence in any paragraph is what gets
read most often. After that point, customers
usually skip to the next section unless they
feel compelled to keep reading. That means your
job, as the copywriter, is to entice them into
each segment so they will consume as much of
your copy as possible.
Take your cue from Reader's Digest. They crank
out - issue after issue - exceptional opening
lines for their articles that engage then hook
readers. What happens next? The reader is pulled
into the story full force. Here are some examples:
It was a horrific display of
By the way she dressed, you would have never
guessed she was only 14.
As he reached into the box, something inside
See? Those sentences boost your curiosity. They
make you wonder what happens next. They cause
you to visualize a scene that might be taking
place. You can do the same thing from a
marketing perspective when you write your copy.
For instance, rather than starting the copy for
an email to Australian hotels like this:
"You may be aware of www.blahblah.com - we
are an Australian-owned and managed online hotel
Really capture their attention with an opening
sentence that is specific to them like this:
"Now you have the opportunity to affordably
position your hotel in front of approximately
6,000 travelers every day that are looking for
accommodations exclusively in Australia."
For an Australian hotel that depends on the
Internet to generate reservations, that sentence
gives them many reasons to keep reading.
Here are some other before-and-after examples of
BEFORE: Hello and welcome to our
website. If you
are looking for [enter product name here], you
are at the right site. (In this case, the
example is from a wedding photographer's site.)
AFTER: We don't take pictures. We capture
precious memories that you can enjoy for a
BEFORE: Our site has been online since
2000, and this marks our 6th year online providing
AFTER: How do you get the latest
designer-inspired looks without paying
BEFORE: Our cruise website offers unbeatable
rates and a diverse array of travel services
guaranteed to satisfy even the most
AFTER: Just imagine yourself on the white
beaches of Honolulu, hiking through the balmy
rainforests of Belize or whisking down a
powdery, snow-covered mountain in Aspen, all at
up to 50% off!
BEFORE: Thank you for shopping for your
corporate gifts at blahblah.com. We hope your
shopping experience is delightful.
AFTER: When you truly impress your
clients with distinctive corporate gifts, they
longer, feel a closer relationship and are more
likely to reward you with increased sales.
See the difference? The "before" sentences are
dull, average and unflattering. The "after"
sentences are intriguing, imaginative and enticing.
Don't stop after you create inviting headlines.
Keep the momentum going by writing intriguing
opening sentences, too. When you do, you'll help
convert more site visitors into paying customers.
About the Author
Karon Thackston is owner of Marketing Words,
Inc. a full-service copywriting company
specializing in search
engine copywriting. Copy not getting
results? Learn to write SEO and online
copywriting that impresses the engines and your
visitors with Karon's Copywriting Course. Register
today at Search Engine College.
Exclusive Discount Offer from Proposal Kit
As a valued subscriber of The Search
are pleased to provide you with an exclusive
discount coupon code for redemption towards the
proposal templates of your choice from
The coupon code WEBRANK will give you a
on your next purchase at Proposal Kit.
you enter coupon code WEBRANK in the
refer/upgrade field to claim your discount. So
what are you waiting for? Go choose
your templates and start closing more sales
Enter our Funny Photo Caption Competition
Got a funny caption for the photo above? Submit
the funniest and win a self study course of your
choice from Search Engine College. Here are some
"It's a bird, it's a plane, no... it's a hole
in the ozone layer!"
"Don't worry son, grandad will get off the roof
just as soon as he remembers who he is".
"Terry and his son watched in awe as the
Victoria's Secret billboard went up".
Winners announced next month. For your chance to
your own caption entry by midnight GMT on
Congratulations to David from China
Search Marketing Tour who
winning caption. David has won a free Link
Building 101 self study course at
Search Engine College.
Not Sure Why You Received This Newsletter?
You will ONLY receive this newsletter if:
1) You have subscribed directly via our email
2) You have downloaded our free
3) You have submitted an online enquiry via Live
Help or our online
4) You have submitted a free
ranking report request.
5) A friend or colleague has forwarded it to you.
For 2), 3) and 4) we make it clear on the page
that you are automatically subscribed to The
Search Light, but you may have either overlooked
this or simply forgotten.
If you don't wish to receive any more of our
newsletters, simply press the "SafeUnsubscribe"
link at the bottom of this page and you will be
permanently removed. Have a great day!
Are we heading into another dot com boom? With Google
shares hitting $500 and more
tech start-ups launching each month than you can
poke a stick at, it sure seems like it. Hope
you're getting your piece of the dotcom action.
I have just started a new share portfolio and
I'm quite excited about it. I'm not quite keen
enough to buy Google shares while they're so high,
but there are a lot of interesting tech stocks
that are worth investing in.
Speaking of good investments, one thing you
should always invest in is decent copywriting
for your site. A gal that knows all about this
is copy genius (and SEC tutor) Karon Thackston.
Karon's our Guest Author this month with her
how to use knock-out opening sentences. Just one
look at the before and after examples should get
your creative juices flowing.
Another treat we have for you this month is the
launch of our new affiliate program for
You are one of the first people to hear about this
program, so get in quick! By simply adding a
small image or text link to your web site, you
can earn big bucks by referring traffic to
Search Engine College. You earn 15%
for every student that successfully registers
for a course after clicking on your link. This
includes our Pathways courses that range up to
USD 1,195, so this could become your most
profitable affiliate program ever! See the bottom of
this newsletter for information on how to join
as soon as the program is launched.
Enjoy this issue and remember to visit the daily
Search Engine Advice Column to check out
my answers to frequently asked search engine
questions or submit one of your own.
Till next time - wishing you clicks and
|FAQ1: How do I add keywords to my individual blog pages?|
I have a doubt plz help me. I think you can
help. How do we add different keywords to each
page of a blog like we do in a website? this
blog has done it. How did he do it?
To add tailored Title and META Tags to your blog
pages, or to optimize them for keywords, you
need to edit the HTML template for your blog. If
you use Blogger, you simply access the tab
marked "Template". For other blog templates,
article should help you.
|FAQ2: Has our site been penalized by Google?|
An excellent website! have found many useful
articles in the "ask kalena" section.
I was curious as to whether our website
www.simondelasalle.com has been penalized for
some reason. We have recently changed our
navigation from image based to text links to
increase the amount of keywords on the page. Is
it possible this website has been "sandboxed"?
It looks like Google's indexing of the site is
weak compared to MSN. Any feedback you could
provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time and have an excellent day.
Thank you for the coffee! The caffeine is
I've had a look at your site and the first thing
that strikes me is that there is no Google cache
for many of the pages. Your home page has a
healthy Toolbar PageRank of 5 out of 10 so there
is no penalty. Next, I entered your URL into Google's
new Site Status Tool. Bingo! I found
1) Googlebot last successfully accessed your
home page on Jul 29, 2006 (which explains the
2) Google does not know about all the pages of
I'm not sure when your major re-design occurred,
but if it was around the end of July, then it's
highly likely the site has since been sandboxed,
as you guessed. Best course of action is to prepare
and submit an XML sitemap to Google
Sitemaps and wait till Googlebot travels your
After verifying your site with Google, you can check
if Googlebot struck errors during his last
|FAQ3: How does Ask.com rank compared to other search engines?|
How does Ask.com rank compared to other search
I am assuming by "rank" you mean popularity with
searchers? This can be measured via search
market share. According to the latest figures,
Ask.com holds somewhere between 3 and 6 percent
of the US search market right now.
Why the range? Well unfortunately, search market
stats can be less than accurate, as Danny
Sullivan points out in his recent post Search
Popularity Stats: Sliced and Diced.
|FAQ4: Something keeps redirecting my searches. What is it?|
Something is redirecting my searches to sites I
don't want and suggesting links I don't want.
What could cause that?
Sounds like you have a serious case of
your hands. Better invest in some spyware
removal tools, pronto!
|FAQ5: Can you recommend any SEO companies?|
Can you recommend any SEO companies and/or
consultants? Preferably affordable ones.
I'm not in the habit of recommending one SEO
firm over another (especially as I run my own
What you probably want is a list
of sites that each have a substantial list of
recommended SEO/SEM companies.
|EARN CASH from your web site!|
Got a web site? Like to earn extra bucks simply
by having a text link or image on it?|
Then become a
Search Engine College affiliate and
earn up to $179 per conversion. That's
right! You earn 15% commission
from every course registration that results from
Pre-register to become an affiliate and we will
send you the sign up link as soon as it goes
live. Then you can grab a banner, logo or text
link for your site. So how do you pre-register? By
completing our short contact
form and typing AFFILIATE
in the comments field.