Copywriting is, arguably, the most important skill for a marketer.
But copy that sells is not just about writing catchy headlines and irresistible sales pitches. It’s also about calling out to your audience in a relatable way.
This starts with understanding their buying process so you have an idea of where they start and what information might be relevant to them at different stages along the journey to purchase decision and conversion.
Copywriting is writing that convinces your audience of the value of what you are selling or the benefits of doing business with you. This might be in the form of an advertisement, a blog post, or even a social media update. The purpose of all copies is to sell, so it’s important to keep this in mind when crafting your words. In order to make sure your copy is effective, use the 5C formula: clear, concise, credible, compelling, and call to action.
Copywriting isn’t just about crafting persuasive sentences. It also depends on the type of content you are writing. For example, if you are writing a website landing page, your goal is to get people to sign up for your email list or purchase your product. In this case, your copy would need to be clear and concise so that people can quickly understand why they should sign up. However, if you are writing a blog post, your goal might be to inform your audience about a new product or to get them to visit your website. In this case, you would want to write credible and compelling copy that engages your readers and encourages them to pay attention or view your website.
Good sales copy is essential for any business. This text persuades consumers to buy a product or service, and in many cases, it’s too dry. Sales copy should be interesting and persuasive, yet it also needs to be direct and to the point. The goal is to convince the visitor to buy your product or service, so you need to tap into their desire for what you’re selling on an emotional, visceral level.
A sales pitch is not a sales pitch without good, well-written sales copy. The goal of good sales copy is to sell your product or service without using gimmicky language that can turn off potential customers. A good way to start the process of writing better copy is by reading your current text out loud and seeing if it sounds like a car dealership commercial from the 1990s. If it does, then you need to rewrite your text so that it does sound more up-to-date and trustworthy. Avoid using generic adjectives that don’t tell potential customers anything about your product.
Let’s look at paper towels as an example. If your copy says that your paper towels are “the most amazing paper towels on the market, guaranteed,” we still don’t know anything about them. Why should we trust that they’re the best if you’ve given us no reason to back up your claim? Try saying something concrete about how fewer paper towels are needed to easily clean.
Have you ever been in a situation where a salesperson sold you something by getting you excited about the product and making it more enticing for you to buy? In order to do this, tools like feature-benefit copy or questions are useful.
Feature-benefit copy is when you try to get your reader excited about a product or service by using the benefits of that product or service to describe what they’ll get out of it. For example, if you were selling a car and you wanted to convince someone to buy it, you might say “It’s got leather seats for comfort!” This is a feature-benefit copy.
You may also try to address readers’ concerns about buying your product by asking questions like “What are you worried about?” or “What do you think this will do for your business?” This technique is also called a “soft objection.”
For an appliance, a salesperson may also try to address a reader’s objections by comparing the energy consumption of a 10-year-old unit to one manufactured today. They might even work around objections by picking up on what they’re thinking or feeling.
Choosing the right words for your marketing copy can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Your goal is to create a compelling and captivating message that will ultimately lead people to take action: to buy, share, or sign up for your product.
A powerful statement is evocative and paints a picture in your audience’s mind with just a few words. It captures their attention and inspires them to want more information, which then compels them to take action. Here are some examples from Airtable.
The first powerful statement:
“Manage your most important business processes.”
This captures the imagination of the audience with a single sentence. It’s also concise, making it easy for people to read.
The second powerful statement:
“One source of truth. Endless solutions.”
This statement hits on a pain point that people are likely already experiencing and then provides them with an alternative.
Creating a sense of urgency is an important part of any sales funnel. It is not enough to make people want your product. You also have to get them excited about the journey that they will go on from here, whether it’s buying your product or learning more about it. If you can create a sense of anticipation, then your audience will be much more willing to listen and take action with what you are offering.
In the beginning stages of the funnel, when customers are just starting to learn about your product, they may not care about what you do as much as they care about how they can use the product.
Adjectives are a great way to create appealing sales copy and make your product or service more marketable. Strong verbs and adjectives can be used when describing the quality of a product or service. The key to using adjectives is to avoid using too many. Adjectives have a tendency to become cliched if they are overused, so keep it fresh by also using storytelling techniques such as metaphors and analogies.
Strong adjectives can be used to describe a product or service for many reasons. They are typically used to create an appealing image and make the company more marketable. They can also show how the product or service is innovative, helpful, and easy to use.
Your offer should be unique, not just a money-back guarantee. You should cater this specifically to your audience and set it apart from similar offers. For example, if you are selling a book on dog training, consider offering a free video or bonus item as an incentive.
This is a popular tactic that lowers the risk of purchase and makes it more likely for people to buy. In general, offering a money-back guarantee is one way to ensure your offer stands out in the crowd since other companies will not always give this option.
Just like any other sales tactic, building rapport with your audience is key to ensuring they are interested and have the trust needed to make a purchase. Grab attention with a strong opening sentence, and keep your tone consistent throughout.
If you include a P.S. in a message, be sure to include a link to your order form. If you want to close the sale, make sure you have something in the P.S. that allows your customers to buy from you and provides them with a final chance to opt-out of their order if they change their mind.
You may try to convince your reader that they should purchase what you have to offer, even if it does not have any tangible benefit for them now. Instead, you’re making a promise that if they buy your product or service, they will get something in return down the road.
The idea behind this type of copy is that a customer will make the decision to purchase based on what they can gain from the product now, as well as what they can gain in the future.
In order to make your reader think about their purchase as something that will benefit them in the future, you need to use a few different tactics. First, you need to show how your product or service affects their life. For example, if you’re selling a home security system, your feature-benefit copy might say, “Imagine never having to worry about going through those stressful hours of installing new equipment.” Or you could mention “the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is protected at all times.”
The second tactic you can use to convince your readers is to show what the consequences will be if they don’t buy. The “What if…” question goes through their head when they’re trying to decide whether or not to purchase your product or service. For instance, you could say “What if your kids are sleeping and you’re trying to leave for a night shift, but you can’t because your security system is down?”
The third tactic is to show how this product or service will help them in the future. For example, you could say “Imagine going to bed every night in a house that’s all set.”
The fourth tactic is showing how your product or service is better than anything else. For instance, you could say “Imagine not having to pay $200 for installation and another $10 per month for monitoring.”
The fifth tactic would be to use some data points to make your reader feel that your product is worth their attention.
You can use keywords in your website copywriting to gain your readers’ trust. Starting with your SEO keywords, pick relevant and popular words that show that you understand what your readers are feeling.
Creative content doesn’t do any good if it doesn’t serve a purpose. For example, if you’re trying to sell someone a new type of product and you come up with some creative writing explaining its benefits, make sure you use the right vocabulary to reflect what the customer wants.
Bullet points can be more powerful than paragraphs. It is easier for readers to digest and absorb information when it is broken up into smaller parts that are easy to understand, especially in a time-sensitive situation such as an ad campaign. The serial position effect (SPE) also plays a role in how people read, so word order within sentences can influence what people pay most attention to first.
For example, during the summertime, there is a lot of air conditioning use in Southern states. This is also the time when AC failure is most painful. People will experience more panic and desperation during the summer in this region, which is where ads can play an important role.
An ad campaign for AC units can use bulleted lists to capture people’s imagination about relevant products or services. This can help them think about ways to avoid the pain of AC failure.
Successful advertising companies use simple images to symbolize easy-to-understand product benefits and values. One of the most important rules of copywriting is to “make it inviting to look at.” Some common examples of this would be an image of a person smiling as they drink a nice cold glass of water, or maybe an image that includes a beautiful sunset reflecting in the waves on a calm beach. The layout matters too: 38% of people will leave a website if they find the layout unattractive and difficult to navigate!
Eye appeal is key to content. People want to see simple fonts that are easy and big enough to read. Colors that are beneficial to the user experiences, such as blue or green, can also help boost conversions or sales. Short paragraphs of text and variations such as bold, underline, italics, or block quotes can also help improve your design. Your brand experience is more than just pretty images. You can improve your design by becoming a better designer or hiring one.
Books are a very popular product on Amazon, and that means there is a lot of competition among the authors. A great thing about shopping on Amazon is that you can compare books in the same category. This helps when trying to make decisions about how much time and effort you want to put into marketing a product.
Social proof is important in marketing. Social proof helps convince consumers that other people like their product or service and will help them make purchasing decisions. Use reviews and recommendations early on to help readers see that others are interested.
Tie your product’s or service’s benefits directly to those qualities. For example, if you’re selling a book about yoga, mention the benefits of practicing yoga on your website. If you are marketing a gardening product, including how it helps people maintain a healthy living. If you’re selling a novel, talk about the many emotions and experiences that readers can identify with.
The first step in writing copy that sells is always identifying what a customer’s pain point is. This may be challenging because there are many different ways to define pain points, and it’s important to identify the greatest one for your customer. Your customer’s number-one problem may not even be their biggest issue, but the most pressing one. Your job as a copywriter is to find out what keeps your customers awake at night and then offer them the solution.
Customers have deep-seated desires that require solutions to pain points. Some of these desires may be unknown to them until they are discovered or until you create the desire with your copywriting. Make sure to use adjectives like “frustrating” or “time-wasting” to invoke these feelings.
You want people to feel the desire to eliminate these pain points, which is why it’s important to continue the process and find out what their number one frustration is. Once you know this, offer your product as the solution.
Many CTA buttons look the same. They have a few words, maybe some colors and images, and are very simple, such as “add to cart” or “access your phone everywhere.”
These don’t evoke much emotion from the reader. One smartwatch company understands this problem, which is why their call-to-action is “Know what’s going on.”
This sentence tells the reader what they need to know: that the watch is user-friendly. The words make sense and match the feel. They are easy to understand, and the call-to-action at the bottom of the page is spot on. One can’t help but click it!
Empowering writers, not replacing them.
There are many books on copywriting, but these four offer a great starting point for understanding how to write copy that sells: