Online Sales Copy – Show Instead Of Tell

Online Sales CopyA good novelist is taught that when writing a story, it is always better to show rather than to tell. This is the most effective way to engage your readers. It makes for a more action-packed thriller or a more emotionally charged suspense story.

The same principle holds true when it comes to writing your Online Sales Copy. Sure, it’s easy to tell someone what great things your product or service will do for a customer, but will that really make them want to buy it? Chances are it will not. Showing them the benefits is much more effective.

How To Show Rather Than Tell

Unless you are experienced in copywriting, you may not know the difference between showing and telling. Let’s look at an example.

You can catch heavy fish with an XYZ rod.

Even a forty-pound lake bass wriggling and fighting against the hook securely sunk into its cheek is no match for a sturdy XYZ rod’s superior tensile strength that allows it to bend without breaking.

In the first sentence, the reader gets some information. They are told that the XYZ rod can catch a fish. In the second sentence, the reader is shown the thrill of using his XYZ rod to catch a bass from the lake. He or she  is then able to visualise the sight of the fish thrashing at the end of the line and virtually feel the rod twitching in their hand.

Online Sales Copy – The Benefits Of Showing

Which sentence in the above example does a better job of selling? In most cases, the second one is far more evocative. The avid fisherman takes his boat out on the water because he enjoys the thrill of hooking a fish and fighting its efforts to swim away. If you sell XYZ fishing rods, that is what you want to capitalise on – the fisherman’s love of the sport.

Not only should your Online Sales Copy evoke emotion in the reader, it should show the benefits of your product or service. Another way to show, rather than tell, is by including a case study in the text. Turn a customer testimonial into a story. Give the fisherman a name, put him in a particular situation and locale, and include information about how the XYZ rod made a difference in his success rate.

When you tell a potential customer about what your product does for him or her, it is rarely given much value. Show the benefits and the reader begins to imagine how the item can make his own life better. After all, that is the number one reason people make a purchase. They want to know that the product you sell will make their life easier, will entertain them, or will save them money. Make the value proposition clear in your and you will begin to see a higher rate of conversions.

Take a tip from some of the most successful novelists, copywriters, and entrepreneurs. Showing rather than telling engages the reader, and makes him or her much more likely to buy. If you can employ these tips into your Online Sales Copy, you may find your conversion rates improve dramatically.

About Sean Rasmussen

I am a passionate blogger and have been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When I'm not with my family, you will find me doing SEO, building websites for many of my clients, and creating products out of thin air! This is a cool gig and I love it!


  1. I like this tip. Recently, at the Oscars, it was mentioned that all the short documentary makers used Apple software to make their films. Now, there’s a story for Apple to show.

  2. What a valuable article. It is always tempting to tell when you are excited about a product. However, your advice is so much more accurate.

    I am going to become one who shows. I just hope I don’t get arrested.


  3. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    Showing rather than telling seems like such simple advice. This is another time when being able to write excellent sales copy will be an advantage. I can clearly see the value in writing to show people what’s in it for them. I’m pretty sure that I will need to work at this.

    I’m going to find a way to get better at this because it seems like it will have a direct effect on my success.

  4. Hi Sean

    Just changing the way something is presented can make a vast difference to attract attention.

    We always ask the question “what’s in it for me?” when someone tries to sell us something therefore answering that question first of all is a great way to get the customers interest.

    We always like to know how a product will benefit us.