If there’s one marketing skill you should focus on developing above all others it is copywriting. Here we explain why.
The ability to passionately sell a product or service in the written word is something that will never go out of fashion. And the reality is that few people will be able to do it as well for your business as you.
Yes, you can pay a copywriter to create the content for your new website or write a sales letter. But you have it within you to do a better job yourself. Your business gets your full focus day in, day out, so you are more likely to understand it properly and convey it more passionately to other people.
All you need to do is follow these seven simple copywriting secrets to write copy (another word for content) that potential buyers just can’t resist;
1. Sell the benefits not the features
How your product or service does something is not as important as the benefits it brings to customers.
For example, look at ByteStart. The main feature is that it has hundreds of articles written by experts, all dedicated to helping you start up your own business.
But it’s the benefit that is more exciting. The benefit is that in one place you can learn everything you need to successfully start, market and run your own business. That’s a more attractive proposition for people than the feature of the product.
2. Think like your audience
Before you can really understand the benefits of what you do, you first have to get inside the heads of your audience. These are the people your copy is aimed at. The benefits must relate specifically to them. And ideally, they will solve a problem your audience has.
For example, let’s say you ran a mobile valeting company and you want to pick up more corporate work. Your target audience is busy executives who don’t have time to clean their car themselves. That’s a problem they need to solve.
The feature of your service is you driving your valet van to the customer’s workplace.
The benefit is that their car gets cleaned while they are at work.
So you don’t try to pick up work from these people by saying that you drive to their workplace to clean their car. Your marketing message is that they have their car cleaned while they are at their desk.
You must think like your audience and consider what problems they have that you can solve.
A good trick is to put yourself in your customers shoes and ask yourself, “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM). Customers want you to solve problems, and don’t care too much about what process you have to go through to do this.
3. You, you, you (never we, we, we)
Your copy must talk directly to your audience – and that means using the word “you” a lot. It’s not unprofessional to use this word; it actually helps you connect directly with the person reading your letter or leaflet.
Avoid using the word “we” too often. Ideally, you should use “you” about four times for every “we”. Remember that your audience doesn’t care at all about you and your business, compared to how much they care about themselves and their own problems.
4. Prove your claims
Whatever claims you make in your copy, it’s down to you to provide an abundance of proof that they are true. The easiest way to do this is with the use of customer testimonials. You almost can’t use too many testimonials. They should be scattered throughout your copy as proof that you do what you say you do.
A testimonial only really has power if you put a real name and business name / town next to it. Seeing that “Mrs J” recommends you doesn’t cut the mustard any more. If you really want to add some power, add a photo of your customer or better still get a video testimonial on the internet.
And how do you get testimonials? Just ask your customers! The majority of people who have had a positive experience with a business will be happy to endorse it.
5. AIDA and KISS
The AIDA and KISS acronyms are great ways to remember two golden rules of copywriting.
AIDA is a formula for structuring copy. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Your copy should catch people’s Attention with a great headline (that’s relevant to them and helps solve a problem). You then develop their Interest by explaining the problem and your proposed solution, develop Desire with the use of testimonials and more detail about the solution, then get them to take Action.
KISS is a rule for marketing in general… Keep It Simple, Stupid!
6. Make it crystal clear what you want them to do
Action is the thing that many people doing their own copywriting forget. Having built up someone’s interest in something you sell, you need to tell them exactly what you want them to do now.
It could be to request more information, pick up the phone, or push this button and buy now. Spell out the action step and don’t forget to specifically ask them to do it.
7. Test and measure
As with all marketing it is essential you judge the performance of your copy by testing and measuring. This means trying a piece of copy out on a small scale to see how it performs.
If you send a sales letter to 500 people and you get no response, it’s likely you’ll get the same response sending it to 5,000 people.
When you have found a piece of copy that works try improving parts of it and testing it against the original. Send the original to 1,000 people and the new version to a different 1,000. With all other factors staying equal, which one performs the best?
Last updated - 21st June, 2016