8 Tips for Effective Copywriting - Get Inspired to Be a Clear, Authentic, Fearless Writer
Unless your business is fortunate enough to employ a full-time copywriter, that responsibility typically falls on you, the integrated marketer. But if that’s not your only responsibility, or you do it a lot, your creative well may be beginning to run dry.
Fear not! Marketing Sherpa has compiled a list of 8 tips for developing effective marketing copy. Think of these tips as inspiration or guidance for your next copywriting project.
1. Avoid “Me-Centric” Copy
It’s easy to get caught up in writing about how great your business, product or service is, but your audience is more interested in how you can help them. Be customer-centric instead of me-centric. Focus on how you can eliminate the audience’s pain points. Write about your company within the context of the customer; appeal to them by explaining how your business meets their needs for freeing up time, producing higher quality images, or making a better widget.
2. Strive for Copy Clarity, Not Confusion
Writing simple and clear copy, without weighing it down with too many details, is a big task. You will find that it is well worth your time to carefully construct your messaging. Write, review, and edit your copy as much as you need to make sure that you are successfully communicating your message. Good, clean copy leaves no room for confusion and encourages customers to engage with you. Consider using humor or giving your audience an “inside peek” into your industry or business to encourage their trust and confidence.
3. Make the Right Ask at the Right Time
Conversion is about getting your customers to say “yes” to a sequence of touchpoints with the ultimate goal of getting them to say “yes” to buying your product or service. To achieve this, make sure your copy is addressing the audience where they are in the sequence. If you ask them to buy your widget on your first communication—when they just want to learn about your widget—you may lose them. Instead, take the time to understand the customer’s journey and create a flow that makes sense so that when next you pop the question, the answer will be “yes!”.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of the Ask
Your audience is smart, but they still need you to tell them what action you want them to take. This can mean following a sequence of touchpoints or clicking a button for more information in an email. When you believe the customer is ready to act, don’t be afraid to make the ask. While you don’t want to be too aggressive with your messaging, you also don’t want to miss a conversion opportunity.
5. Copy Must Focus on the Recipient
While at first glance it looks like we are restating number 1 (customer-centric copy), this tip is about how you target your audience. Now is the time to micro-target your customers, get inside their heads and discover the messaging that best resonates with them. Copy should reflect how your business ultimately helps your customers’ customers. Just as you are courting your audience to make a sale, your customers are doing the very same thing with their audience. When you truly understand your customers and their motivations, you can extrapolate how best to communicate with them for engagement and conversion.
6. Be Authentically You
Your copywriting should provide real value, reflecting your business' branding, vision, mission, and goals. What does your company care about? What gets your employees out of bed every morning? Write irresistibly honest copy that eliminates barriers between you and your audience. Build relationships and encourage loyalty by writing in your company’s real, unique, and powerful voice.
7. Don’t Be Afraid of Long-Form Copy
You often seen dire warnings about customers only wanting to read brief, even terse, copy. This isn’t always the case. Consider the customer who is considering buying your costliest widget; how will they know that the widget is right for them unless they can easily find a lot of information in one place? In this case, a long blog post or landing page may be the perfect solution for meeting the customer’s needs. Long-form pages may also help boost SEO if the content is relevant and useful with a lot of audience engagement.
8. Show, Don’t Tell
Finally, an oldie but a goodie. An old copywriting adage tells integrated marketers to show readers what you want to communicate, don’t just tell them. For example, consider the difference between these sentences: a) “it was night,” or b) “it was a dark, moonless night. Her heart was racing dangerously and every sound in that damp, musty corridor seemed to be telling her to run.” Similarly, don’t tell your audience how great your product or service is, show them through your copy.
Truly effective copywriting incorporates all of the elements outlined above, from a thorough understanding of your customers and their motivations to the sequence of touches needed to take them from interested, to clamoring to buy. Set your business apart from your competition and establish it as the ideal match for your customers’ needs by taking advantage of these eight copywriting tips.