5 Copywriting Tips for Marketers
Most of your results online depend on how you communicate your value to your potential clients. You want your words to be as effective as possible. Users will not give you a second chance once they form a mental image of what you are and what you can offer them. This is a short guide to help you navigate the sea of copywriting and make sure your online copy converts and grows your business.
Master the basics of copywriting
Some people think it’s just “words.” They assume everything depends on the actual product or service you have, and copy doesn’t matter. This is just wrong. If you have not found the time to study copywriting, here are a few basic concepts for your consideration.
Know your audience: It is impossible to write effective copy if you don’t know the audience you want to reach. As famous copywriter David Ogilvy said, “Research should be the most time consuming task of a writer.” It’s essential that writers discover who their audi¬ence is. How do they describe the type of product or service you offer? How do they choose what to buy? What do and don’t they care about? And, most importantly, how does your product or ser¬vice benefit them?
Compelling headlines: How do you capture the attention of your audience? Your elevator pitch moment is your headline. Clarity wins over creativity: What do you offer? Why should I care? What’s in it for me? Keep it short. Keep it simple. Describe, don’t overthink. The goal is to keep people interested and have them read more. One word can make the difference, like the Movexa headline A/B test which improved sales by 89% when the added one word, “supplement,” in the headline.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP): You have heard you need to be unique in order to succeed in business. The USP is a way to explain it to your audience, and can be crafted answering three simple ques¬tions: What is it? Who is it for? How does it help?
Persuasive writing: Your copy will convert much better if you pay attention to the science of persuasion. Research in psychology shows there are certain patterns that will increase the chances of selling with your words, namely a focus on benefits, price dis-counts, limited time offers, money-back guarantees, testimonials and bonus products.
One of the most common mistakes in copywriting is not being clear enough about the benefits of what we are selling. Some people, in fact, describe features rather than benefits. They talk about the dishwasher, the consulting service, a laptop without actually explaining how it will benefit people.
If you want your copy to be persuasive, you might want to think about these questions and translate your answers into actual copy:
How will this help people save money and time?
How will this make them feel?
What will this make them think?
What specific results will it produce?
Why will it over-deliver?
Why should people tell their friends about it?
Just to make things clear, if you are writing about a music device, you may consider features like GB of memory, USB connection and avail¬able colors. But the real benefits for this product may be comfortable listening, stylish look and ease of use.
The right copy length
Sometimes your copy is good, but it is not producing the results you expect. You think there must be something wrong in what you wrote, but that is not the case. You wrote compelling content, explained the benefits of your product and crafted an irresistible offer. What’s wrong?
Quite simply, it’s possible your copy doesn’t have the right length. Depending on the situation, users need different amounts of informa¬tion in order to make a decision. In order to decide what the right length is for your copy, there are certain elements you should take into account:
Your industry: a good starting point is assessing your competitors. What’s the standard for your industry/type of product? Take a look at your most successful competitor and get an idea. You should consider both the length of the landing page or sales letter itself and the ratio when combined with the amount of call to actions (CTAs). Infoproducts, for example, tend to perform well with a high copy to CTA ratio.
The commitment: how big is the commitment on the user’s end? Are you promoting a free web seminar or a $997 course? Are you asking for somebody’s name and email or much more information? The big¬ger the commitment, the longer your copy should be to address con¬cerns and explain benefits.
The length to call to action ratio: Are you familiar with the way most websites display download and order buttons? Not just once in the page, but several times, to make sure you get the chance to do the desired action at different stages. That’s fine, but one should not overdo it. Often there are too many CTAs, and removing some of them guarantees higher conversions.
Ask for feedback
Sometimes there’s not much we can do without input from others. Does your copy stand up to a review? Asking other people you trust might be much more effective than analyzing your own copy (expect to return the favor!) and will provide external insights from which you can benefit.
How should you do this? Asking only, “What do you think about it?” will not suffice. If you want to increase the chances of your copy converting, you should ask smart questions that are directly related to what copy needs to accomplish: keep the interest alive, explain and persuade.
Question #1: If you were a customer, would you read more?
Most people don’t realize the first trait of successful copy is that it makes you read, read, read. You don’t think you’re wasting your time as you feel the need to learn more about the subject. Start by asking a group of 5-10 people if they would actually read more after the first third of your copy.
Question #2: How would you change this?
General questions won’t cut it. “Do you like this headline?” “Yeah, pretty good”. Ask your people to suggest specific variations of your copy and why. This will teach invaluable lessons.
Question #3: What’s unbelievable, boring or confusing?
Copy Logic, a great handbook on copywriting, outlines a simple strat¬egy to reduce the risk of readers abandoning your copy once and for all. Just ask a few people to spot anything that sounds unbelievable, boring or confusing. In this way, you’ll be able to remove or fix the elements of your copy that are not producing the expected results, instantly increasing your conversions.
Technology can help
When it comes to testing your copy and refining it, technology can be really useful. Sometimes relying on what people think is not enough. You want real data that can immediately help you understand what’s going on so you can act accordingly.
A great tool for this purpose is a mouse tracking service like Crazy Egg or Mouseflow. How compelling is your copy? You’ll be able to find what percentage of users scroll down the page. Are people leaving the site at a certain point? There might be a reason.
Testing several versions of your copy along with other graphic ele¬ments on your page will give you a clear idea of what performs well and what doesn’t. Be creative and test different headlines to see what works best.
Is this overwhelming? If you want your copy to convert, you might need to step back and look at it with constructive criticism: What’s working? What’s not?
The good thing about copywriting in the digital age is that we have the chance to test it over and over. We cannot read people’s minds, but keeping in mind certain metrics will help us get better and better at writing for the audience.
Treat your copy as a product. The more time you spend with it, the faster it will improve and produce the results you expect and deserve.