Copywriting: learn how to write compelling copy
It's essential to learn how to write compelling copy, catching people's attention and converting them into leads or customers!
One of the biggest challenges for those who work in the digital market is persuading their target audience to perform an action, such as downloading an ebook, signing up for a newsletter, or buying an online course. Fortunately, there are copywriting techniques that can help you engage your audience!
In a saturated market, those who communicate better with their audience, stand out from competitors and sell more. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to write compelling copy, catching people’s attention, and converting them into leads or customers.
Want to understand what copywriting is and how it can help your business grow? Keep reading this article!
Copywriting is a technique for writing compelling text to engage your audience and persuade them to perform a specific action — such as signing up for a website or making a purchase.
This concept has been extensively used in digital marketing, especially by those who sell products online. But those who think that copy is used only for selling are mistaken.
Good copy can also be used to persuade your visitor to subscribe to a newsletter, watch a video, or take part in a survey, for example.
In a nutshell, copywriting is the skill that allows you to engage visitors or potential customers through text, breaking down objections and highlighting the benefits of your solution.
To give you an idea of how important copy is in sales strategies, there are professionals dedicated entirely to this job: copywriters.
Those who think the copywriter’s job is limited to written work couldn’t be more wrong. To be honest, writing is the quickest and easiest part of our job.
Before writing the text to a sales page, the copywriter needs to make a list of the relevant needs of their possible buyer, researching how to introduce the benefits of the product to their buyer persona.
It’s the role of the copywriter to know what the client expects from the product that is being offered and, especially, understand what can drive them away from the purchase: the so-called objections.
For example, when advertising for a bakery, the copywriter should research where this bakery is located, thus understanding the shopping habits of the audience who attends the establishment. Only then will the professional be able to decide if it is worth saying there are always cupcakes fresh out of the oven or to advertise that there are many donut flavors.
A good copywriter needs to decide which audience they should advertise to and what are the most important benefits that product or service brings. After all, few companies can advertise broadly and have effective results.
The secret is being specific when it comes to writing as if your text was a piece of clothing custom-made to the client.
If you’re adding to a small country town, the copy “Famous, luxurious shop opens flagship store in [Name of Town]” will have a lot more impact than “Famous, luxurious shop opens flagship store in the US”, right?
The difference between copywriting, content marketing, and advertising writing is not always clear, after all, all three work with crafting texts for brands, right? What sets these techniques apart are their goals and the instruments used to achieve them.
Copywriting works with a strong search of the needs of buyers and the analysis of performance in many details of the text, focusing on the short-term result of that action. With a good copy, it’s possible to create ads that are able to generate sales right away and simple actions to measure their success.
Content marketing worries more about the consumer’s journey, attracting new clients through materials such as blog posts, ebooks, and infographics. Usually, content marketing results are noticed mid to long-term.
Then, advertising writing is more involved with building the image of the brand, thinking about actions that will make your project be recognized by the audience.
It’s worth mentioning that, even though they have different roles, good copywriting is essential for your content marketing strategy and vice-versa.
It’s like this, if you are writing great articles, but you’re not attracting the right traffic to your page, it gets more and more difficult to become a reference in your niche and, therefore, make money with your texts. Copywriting helps attract visibility to your page and when directed in the right way, it can help you get avid readers and even consumers to your product.
It can also go the other way around. If you create awesome ads but, when they click the link users are redirected to a low-quality website, it is most likely you have a high click rate but low conversions. In this case, you need to work on your content.
Unlike many people think, copywriting is an old technique used by many companies way before the Internet was a thing.
And, besides sharing similarities with content marketing, copy materials have found their first opening in the United States with direct marketing.
Imagine a time when it was common to send sales letters (direct mail) to buyers. The professional responsible for writing these letters needed to create material that was interesting enough to attract more buyers and pay for the costs of sending hundreds of thousands of letters.
This need turned the text into a sales tool and nowadays, to achieve a positive ROI on your Internet campaigns, you need to have the same line of thought. Therefore, you need to use copywriting techniques in all interaction processes between your brand and your client.
This means your text needs to be persuasive even when you’re making free content available for your audience. After all, in many of these interactions, you’re asking your lead for their contact information in exchange for the material you’re delivering.
If your audience doesn’t attribute value to what you’re offering, it doesn’t matter whether it is a free or a paid service, it is quite unlikely they’ll become avid readers and, therefore, you’ll have fewer chances of nurturing the relationship with these users to turn them into recurring buyers.
As we’ve mentioned, before writing, we do extensive research about what our client wants and what feature in our product is the most relevant for this audience.
To do so, you need to know your buyer persona, understand them, and speak like they do in their daily life. Pay attention to the pains and dreams these users have. You’ll find the ideal language to use on your texts in comments on social media, in email replies or surveys.
How about we give you an example?
Andre is a personal trainer who is ready to open a neighborhood gym, and he’ll use Facebook to advertise the news, reaching only people who live close to the gym.
Andre considers the biggest qualities of his gym to be:
1st: the new equipment;
2nd: short-term training plan;
3rd: fitness dance lessons and strength training.
He already knows there’s only another gym in the neighborhood that’s famous for its above-average customer service; however, it has old equipment.
Before creating its ad, André went to the shops of his neighborhood, asking the owners if they had gym memberships and, if they didn’t, for what reason.
In many of the conversations, Andre was surprised to find out that the old equipment from his competition was not a problem for people in the neighborhood but, in fact, long training routines were.
With this information in hand, the personal trainer can create ads that highlight the short-term training routines he offered, being more assertive in his campaign.
This was only to show how important the profile of your customer is to attract and retain new clients.
To sum it up, before creating your copy, always have compiled:
- What bothers your possible client?
- What are their dreams, and how does your product help them reach these dreams?
- How does your persona communicate?
- In which channels do they look for information or spend more time online?
These answers, along with the demographic data gathered from Google Analytics and other tools, should serve as a starting point for you to produce content.
Here, you have only a few seconds to catch your possible buyer’s attention. Use curious information about your market, something that surprises who is reading your material, and convince them to read all your presentation.
Example: Did you know babies can tell the difference between good and bad before they are one year old?
Source, presentation, and authority
After catching their attention, you’ll need to validate the information you provided, justifying the source. This moment is used by the entrepreneur to show his authority on the subject and, especially, to reinforce his mission with that product.
Example: Example: My name is Lucia Stark and I’m a kindergarten teacher with 24 years of experience. I help first-time mothers and fathers to overcome a period filled with insecurities: the baby’s first few months.
Before creating your text or sales video, you need to come up with a list of the problems and desires of your possible buyer, showing how your problem or service can help them.
Example: I know you are dealing with the insecurity of taking care of a small human being who doesn’t know anything about the world yet.
Now it’s time to introduce the product and tell why it came into existence in the life of the possible buyer.
Example: What has been developed in these 24 years of work is a complete material that teaches how to deal with the first few months of the baby.
What does it solve?
This is the ideal moment to say which pains the problem solves, making clear it works.
Example: Learn how to identify the first signs the baby gives you, understanding when it is hungry, sleepy, or even coming down with something that is common in the time of the year.
Does the product work for me?
Here, besides reassuring the product works for people who watch the video, it’s important to validate this idea with testimonials from other buyers.
Example: The New Parents’ course is for people like you, who have little time to go to in-sight courses and are interested in giving the best care to their children.
Here’s the opinion of people who have already watched my lessons and the results they’ve got:
—testimonials from other buyers—
Benefits of the product
List the bonus of your product to people who are purchasing it.
Example: Besides all the lessons, by becoming a part of the online course New Parents, you get free access to the secret Facebook group to discuss with other mothers and fathers the most common questions.
Format, payment, access, and warranty
Show the user the format of the product, how much they will pay to purchase it, how simple it is to access it (in the case of digital products such as online courses and ebooks), besides providing information that ensures the consumer’s rights, such as return policy and warranty period.
Example: The New Parents’ course is composed of video lessons hosted on an easy-to-access website.
Payment is safe, and your banking information is protected. Right after the purchase is approved, you already get an email with your login and password to immediately access the content.
Example: I’ve come up with a method that is able to help parents, and I’m so excited and trust this product so much that I’m making it available for 30 days, so you can try it out.
Here’s how it works: subscribe to the New Parents’ course and, if within a month you give up and no longer wish to have access to my training, just cancel it and I’ll return the subscription fee.
Call to Action
After you show all the benefits of your product, it’s time to show what they need to do next through a clear call to action.
A call to action is, basically, what you expect your visitor to do after they read the content of your page, click on your ad, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.
Some studies show that an imperative call-to-action brings better results since you’re telling the user what to do. However, you’ll need to perform some tests with your audience to know if this hypothesis works well for your business model.
Example: Download the ebook on parenthood for free.
This term may seem weird, but you have definitely been hit by this technique your whole life.
Are you familiar with that sales promotion that announces the last unities of a given product? Ads in which famous people recommend a product? These two actions we’ve just mentioned are clear examples of psychological triggers.
In the first situation, the advertiser is using the scarcity principle to create urgency in the buyer, in the second, we see an example of social proof.
Psychological triggers are one of the most important tools used to convince the audience to buy a product, even if they do not need it at that very moment. The most used ones are: scarcity, authority, social proof, community, reciprocity, and beliefs.
Having a limited quantity of the product available by itself makes people attribute a higher value to it and feel like, if they don’t make the purchase at that time, they won’t have another opportunity.
Example: Last unities of the spring-summer collection available
People value more the opinion of who they consider to be an authority in the subject. Think about your journey as a consumer: before buying makeup products, for example, do you look up the opinion of an influencer specialized in the topic or do you trust an extreme sports blogger’s opinion?
Example: Learn the method Khloe Kardashian uses to workout at home.
Whenever we’re buying something off the Internet, we do a quick search to know what other buyers thought of the shop or product. Positive opinions about a product can be what sets a sale made apart from a sale lost.
It’s worth mentioning that social proof needs to be true to bring the expected results. With the advance of the Internet, it’s easier than ever to identify forged social proof and trust us, if the buyer feels they were wronged, they will never buy anything off your website again.
Example: Learn about the online course that is unanimous among buyers.
One of the main reasons people buy is to become a part of a community. Just look at concepts such as family, religion, and nationality to understand that the human being is a social being.
Providing this sense of community can be an excellent strategy to attract your consumer.
Example: Become a part of the biggest online gaming community in the world.
When someone has a good experience with something they got from you, they feel obliged to retribute. So, we reinforce how important it is to add value to your clients before proposing the purchase.
If you frequently deliver useful content, your followers won’t mind paying to have access to the complete content.
Example: Download our free guide on Japanese cuisine.
Sharing your beliefs is the best way to make people who think like you relate.
Example: Do you believe that focusing is essential in your professional life? Click here and learn how to prioritize tasks in your daily life.
To make sales online, as important as having a good product is creating compelling communication that can attract users and keep them engaged until they feel secure to make the purchase.
One of the best ways to help your audience to grow and improve your conversions is by telling stories, a.k.a. Storytelling. This happens for a very simple reason: the human brain finds it easier to remember stories than data.
So, it is much easier for someone to be interested in your ad if you tell the story of a buyer who solved a problem thanks to your product than if your text focuses on characteristics such as how long the videos are, for example. Storytelling is a way to humanize the product/service and bring your brand closer to the consumer.
As you’ve seen so far, there are several essential elements for good copywriting. However, there are also some mistakes that can compromise the quality of your text and, therefore, your conversions.
Let’s get to them.
Avoid technical content
Before engaging with your content, the reader needs to understand what you’re saying. So, avoid technical language when writing about your product. This has a negative effect on the experience of your user and pushes people who want to know more about the subject away.
Some niches demand a more technical language but, in general, keep your text direct and to the point.
Avoid talking about you all the time
Imagine getting the following email
Good evening, So-and-So.
We’ve seen you accessed my website and subscribed to the email list. Would you like to purchase a course on advanced mechanics for only USD 800?
You may have noticed that, in this case, the entrepreneur shows no interest in the visitor and what made them get to the website in the first place. They are only worried about making the sale.
It may seem counterintuitive since your goal is to make a profit from your business, but the truth is that people don’t like to waste their time reading a text that talks only about a product. Users want to identify with that content and for that to happen, you should focus on the needs of your client before proposing the sale.
Don’t copy the competition
Whenever you’re writing content, it’s interesting that you analyze what your competition is doing, because it’s likely they know more than someone who’s just now entering the market.
However, this doesn’t mean you should use the same approach other companies are using to talk to your audience. Your text needs to mirror your personality and the values of your company.
This is one of the most important steps to showing credibility and building a lasting relationship with your audience.
Don’t forget to revise your text
Have you heard about vices of language? They may also happen when we are writing a text.
After a long time focused on the same project, some errors may go unnoticed, especially ones that can jeopardize the interpretation of the text.
To avoid this, you always need to revise your copy.
Those who work by themselves can choose to go over their texts 2 or 3 days after they finish it, so as not to overlook issues that may need correction.
As for people who work alongside colleagues, it is always a good idea to ask another person to go over your text. A fresh look not only helps you find grammatical errors, it can also bring about other ideas.
This is an important tip, especially for those who need copywriting for ads.
Being wordy means not being able to summarize an idea well, that is, using too many words to explain something that should be concise.
For your copy to convert more, it needs to be straightforward. Therefore, avoid being redundant, adding unnecessary phrases, or being vague.
Be mindful of the imperative
Of course, at times, you’ll need to use imperative verbs. But using too many may not be effective after all.
Therefore, try using other verb tenses that won’t be viewed by your audience as commands or requests.
So far, we’ve given some tips to create attractive content for your target audience. Now, we’ll teach you how to optimize your page to catch the attention of search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing, and improve your position in the rankings. We’re talking about SEO copywriting.
Focus on the experience
There’s no purpose in creating memorable content if the person needs to wait a long time for it to load, if the menu isn’t intuitive or if you use a light-blue font in your texts.
It may seem nonsense, but all the items above are essential for the user experience and impact how the audience engages with the content.
Ensuring a positive user experience is one of the greatest necessities for those who wish to attract more traffic and become an authority in the market. You need to provide an incentive for the visitor to become an avid reader of your page because when faced with so many options online, it’s a lot easier for the user to close your page and look for another blog that talks about the same topic.
Choose good keywords
The keyword is the term that summarizes the topic your blog or website is talking about. It’s ideal that the keyword is specific enough to the point that helps the visitor to solve a problem and is still relevant to attract traffic.
One of the best ways to find out good keywords is to research the terms that are most searched, and which are related to the topic you are talking about. To do so, you can use tools such as Google Trends, Search Console, and Google Keyword Planner, all these services are free and available for people who have a Google account.
After you choose your keyword, make sure you use it in the title of your article, the meta-description, and the body of the text so that the search engine mechanisms identify the content you’re talking about in that piece.
Create scannable content
Whenever you create content, think of alternatives to make the reading as fluid as possible for your visitor.
Avoid big blocks of text and use images to enrich your explanation. This is an important factor, especially for mobile users, who view your content on smaller screens.
Adding links to the text can help in understanding the topic and enrich the reader’s experience. A brief example: a post about content marketing can have links for more specific content, such as social media, ebooks, and others.
It’s essential to set up your content management system so that the links open in a different window to avoid the person getting distracted from the reading and abandoning your page. If you take this precaution, the links will help your reader, guiding them to topics that can be of their interest.
Now that you know a lot more about copywriting, it’s high time you started writing more persuasive texts.
To help you do that, here are 5 great books we’ve set aside. Check them out!
1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion [Robert B. Cialdini]
This is an acclaimed book that helps you understand the reasons for people saying yes, how to apply this knowledge to your business and at the same time, it shows you how not to be influenced.
In a didactic manner, the author talks about how we are persuaded on a daily basis, especially from his own experience with salespeople, and tells us how to avoid traps.
In addition, Robert Cialdini presents the 6 psychological principles that guide human behavior when making a decision, which are:
- Commitment and Consistency
- Social Proof
2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die [Chip Heath e Dan Heath]
Regardless of the type of tasks you do in your daily life, it’s very important to be able to clearly convey your ideas in order to make your ideas stick. How often do we see bogus stories and fake news being spread effortlessly while great ideas seem to fade and disappear?
In this book, the authors talk about the core aspects of ideas that work and how persuasive communication is key.
3. The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells [Robert W. Bly ]
This book is meant for all those who work or wish to work with copy. It’s a comprehensive, clear guide to persuasive writing.
It’ll offer tips on how to make your copy more readable and concise, how to grab your readers’ attention and how to adapt your copy to the digital era.
4. May I Have Your Attention, Please? Your Guide to Business Writing That Charms, Captivates and Converts [Mish Slade]
Mish Slade goes straight to the point: she finds that most business writing is monotonous and uninteresting.
With that in mind, she goes over 12 simple principles that help entrepreneurs attract customers.
Written in a humorous, dynamic manner, the author shows how business owners can build a connection with their customers that can make them stand out in the market.
5. Epic content marketing [Joe Pulizzi]
The book’s cover already says a lot about what you’ll learn from this book: “how to tell a different story, breakthrough the clutter, and win more customers by marketing less”.
One thing Joe Pulizzi talks about a lot in his book is the need to create more customer-focused texts, not just trying to sell something they don’t care about.
The book talks about everything from discovering and developing your content marketing goals to the process of measuring the performance of what you’re writing.
In addition, the author brings case studies such as Lego and Coca-Cola to help us understand what these market giants do to generate epic sales.
Can anyone write copy?
Despite what many people think, the ability to write well isn’t something we are born knowing how to do, and, just like a muscle, the best way to perfect this ability is to exercise it.
So, if we could give advice to entrepreneurs who wish to create content, it would be: start writing. Create a blog or a profile on social media, share texts with your followers, and only then you’ll have a better parameter to know the subjects that please your audience the most and the best ways to introduce your product.
In the case of copywriting for ads, we recommend you start with lower investments and perform some tests with your audience so you don’t waste your budget on campaigns that don’t bring results to your business.
This post was originally published in October 2017 and has since been updated to convey more complete, accurate information.