If you don’t know the difference between copywriting and content writing, then this article is for you. Copywriting is about writing in a way that helps sell your product or service by convincing the reader to take action. It is an extremely important element to any website, advertisement, cold email, or any other part of your marketing strategy, but it is sometimes overlooked, or thought to not be worth the time. The people who say this, are those that probably have never seen the benefits of writing good copy. For those that have gone through the transformation be it on their website, an email, or maybe a mailed advertisement, the change can be huge.
What should you be doing when you go to write copy?
People are emotional. We may not like to admit it, but we respond to emotional experiences. That Sarah Mclachlan animal rescue tv ad? Yeah you know the one. They bombard you with emotions. Those sad, injured dogs almost look like they’re crying out for you to adopt them. Some of us even change the channel because the ads are just so emotional. The ad works because it makes you remember and think, and hopefully induces you to take action. You can see that your money will go towards these poor animals, so you can’t help but donate.
Don’t be Vague
Vagueness is a killer to effective copywriting. It’s a danger that many beginners can fall prey to. Let’s go through an example. Let’s say you are looking for someone to sell your house. You could do it yourself, but you just don’t have the time. You find two prospective realtors: Mindy and Ken. Mindy’s website is full of praise for her work from past clients with quotes like “She sold our home in record time!” and “We couldn’t be happier with the price she got us.” Ken’s website also has tons of testimonials like “Ken sold our home within 3 days of listing it!” and “He was able to get us $10,000 over asking price for our home!” Now, which of these realtors would you go with? I’m sure most of you would say Ken. Why? He has the numbers! His website shows exactly what he did for clients, and you hope he can do the same for you. Mindy had great testimonials as well, but they were vague. “Record time”? We have no idea how long that is, is it 1 day or 60 days?
When possible, be as specific as you can get. Customers like hearing the hard facts. Knowing that you “halved the average sale price” for your clients doesn’t sound as good as “We got our clients an average sale price that is 53% less than the competition”. Halved, doubled, tripled all sound like made up numbers. But a cold hard number like 53% is much more concrete and believable. What about something like “We increased conversions quarter over quarter” versus “We increase conversions by 28% over last quarter which led to an increase of $3,458 in revenue”. I’m liking the sound of that last figure, and so will your customers.
Show the Benefits
What do we mean by this? Well, there’s a difference between benefits and features. Let’s use a camera for example. A camera’s features can include the shutter speed, megapixels, lenses. The benefits of the camera could be that you are able to save and remember all the best moments in your child’s life, or that you can capture those sports shots from Junior’s baseball game with the super fast shutter speed.
Now think of your product or service? How do you sell it? Are you focusing on the features or the benefits? Some people aren’t necessarily buying the camera for the shutter speed, but once you mention that the shutter speed can help you take shots of your kid’s first homerun, they’re ready to buy.
These are just some of the basics of copywriting to help get you started. There is so much more out there to read and learn about the subject. Here are a few resources to help you out.
The Definitive Guide to Copywriting by Neil Patel and Joseph Putnam
101 Copywriting Dos and Don’ts by Joanna Wiebe
Copywriting 101 from Copyblogger.com