The power of the written word has always interested me. The ability to capture, intrigue, evoke emotion and encourage action is a critical skill set, the power of which is still widely underestimated.
Considering that a large percentage of purchase decisions are made today with no human interaction, the written word is an incredibly important element to a marketing strategy.
“Every successful business person must be able to sell through the art of the written word” – Justin Ford
Today’s consumers are highly informed – capable of doing tremendous research; and their purchase decisions are guided by how well you can communicate value.
So how do you create and communicate value to your customers via your offer? Your offer is not the product or the price, it is how you sell it, you create value or perceived value through language – this is known as your ‘copy’.
The ability to write words that sell is one of the most important skills in business. Now here’s the good news, you don’t need to be a natural copywriter.
The blank white screen and blinking cursor can be intimidating, however, there are some tried and tested structures of good copywriting – you just need to make them unique to your product.
Some examples of where these techniques can be applied include sales pages and descriptions of your products, marketing material, video scripts, website text, emails (including the body and header), written sales letters, wedding and event kits and conference packages.
You can have all the fancy images and technology in the world, but that is only part of the puzzle, they must be supported by a business that knows how to create an offer and encourage sales through written words.
Before you start writing, it is important to have a very clear plan, know who your ideal customers or action-takers are and keep them at the forefront of your mind – you must know exactly what you are trying to achieve.
Below are some important copywriting tips to consider;
1: Justify the ‘Why’ at the start
You can’t just expect someone to read something – you must give them a reason – the “because”, a why they should stop and consider your offer – so the first line needs to resonate. People are busy, people are bombarded with messages.
Consider this analogy, you have been waiting in line to purchase a product and someone comes up behind you and asks if they can go ahead of you. Your initial reaction may be simply to say “no”, however, if they rephrased this as “can I go ahead of you because I need to urgently collect my sick child from school”, consider how you may feel then. Your initial reaction changed, and you are more open to this intrusion when they justified the “why”. The same needs to be applied to an offer – give the reader a reason to keep reading from the very start.
2: Who are you talking to?
For this tip you’ll need to get out of your own head and think about the problems, fears and pain points of your target audience. Who are you writing this for, if it is a particular market segment then detail specific aspects of your product relevant to them – their needs and wants.
3: Why should they care?
People want to know what is in it for them.
Why should someone choose to read your message over every other pressing task in their lives at that moment? Think about that, it is a very humbling thought.
They have jobs, families, hobbies, to-do lists, deadlines and responsibilities and you want them to put all that aside and read your copy…
There must be something in it for them that helps them get away from all of these distractions, your offering must explain how it will help them?
4: What are the benefits to them for taking action?
This is important – there is a big difference between features and benefits and this can make or break the conversions you receive from your message.
Features are the inclusions of the offer, the specifics around what they are getting…
Benefits are focused on what those features will do for them, what will they experience?
5: Why you?
You are not the only one promising the benefits of your offer to your market, you have competition which can be saturated in some markets.
You can’t expect people to be loyal to you alone unless they have a reason to be. You can spruik about all the fancy awards you’ve won, but what is more subtle and powerful are testimonials, social proof and examples of how you have helped others.
You can tell people your product is awesome until you are blue in the face, but it is far more humbling and powerful when other people say it’s great.
These don’t sell the product, but they help justify a customer’s commitment.
Once these questions have been answered, the blank page is no longer as intimidating and the creative juices can start to flow.
And finally, to really craft those copywriting skills with ninja precision, it is important to try and include story-telling, urgency and scarcity, emotion, a call-to-action, major points of difference and ensure you speak to people using language that is easily absorbed – clear and concise beats fluffy and fancy.