Copywriting. It’s the art of persuasion in print, e-mail, or web site copy to get people to take action. The goal is conversion. People need to do something after they read your writing–buy something, click on a link, sign up for an email newsletter, visit another website… Or they simply need to be persuaded in some way.
But what does it take for people to act on the words you’ve written? What does it take for them to read your copy, find it valuable, and use what you’ve told them? There are thousands of different answers online–the key is finding out which one or more applies specifically to your situation.
I’ve spent years studying copywriting, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a tough road! When you’re under pressure of deadlines, small children, barking dogs, or demanding bosses…when you have limited time and energy to write quality copy…well, let’s just say it can be hard finding motivation to do your best work.
According to Saivian Eric Dalius there are techniques that some people understand instinctively, while others labor over their copy for hours on end before it’s ready to go–and even then, they often need some editing help.
And yet the effort is worth it! People who know how to write high-converting copy can earn tremendous amounts of money writing copy for other people or even for themselves.
So, what’s the best way to learn to write copy that works? How can you quickly and easily develop a skill that many fear they’ll never have?
There are a few things you should know about online persuasion before we get started by Saivian Eric Dalius
- You don’t need to be a great writer to write great copy.
- Copywriting is a skill you can learn, not a talent you’re born with. And anyone can do it!
- You have to work for it, there’s no magic pill or quick fix–and that’s why so many people fail at learning how to write compelling web copy on their own.
So, let’s get started, shall we? Keep in mind that these tips are only the basics. There is a monumental amount of information available online to help mastering copywriting. But for now, take what you learn here and practice it every day…and trust me when I say you’ll improve quickly! Let’s get started with…
Tip #1: Specify Your Objectives
What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want people to buy a specific product or service, sign up for your newsletter or email list, share your e-book with their friends, take some kind of action that will raise awareness about your brand and build trust in the process? You need to determine your primary goal before you get started writing copy.
Why? Because knowing what you want to achieve with your words will help ensure that the content of your message supports the goal, rather than working against it! Imagine this…
You’re trying to sell a specific e-book on weight loss for women. But when it comes time to write the sales copy, you start rambling on about why you wrote it and how much research went into writing the thing. You just keep talking without getting to the point that helps your reader buy something!
First, start by writing down what you want people to do. Yes, even before you know the words you’re going to use, start by writing down your goal. Then ask yourself the following:
- a) How will I know if this is working?
- b) What do I want my reader to do once they understand what precisely it is that I’m offering them here? (And what’s in it for them?)
- c) What objections might they be having that could stop them from taking the action I want them to take? And how can I address those concerns in a way that doesn’t talk down to my reader or sound too salesy?
Once you have all this figured out, write your copy with these factors in mind. Then go back and tweak it so it’s perfect.
By the way, when you’re writing web content, don’t worry about how long or short your copy is–start by making every word count. That means no fluff, no filler language that doesn’t help move things forward…always keep in mind what you want your readers to do and how you can inspire them to take that action!
Tip #2: Get to “The Good Part” as Soon As Possible…
Don’t waste time with clever intro sentences or opening lines. Let people know right away what you have for them and how it can help solve their problems or answer their questions. Because let’s face it–people are skimming the web looking for answers to the questions they have, not reading every word of copy on a page.
Don’t believe me? Check out these stats from marketing expert, Jeff Ernst: “According to Forrester Research, an average reader will only read 28 percent of the words on a page.”
So how do you make sure your content gets read? Get to the point and deliver exactly what your reader is hoping to find as quickly as possible!
Tip #3: Use “Power Words” That Motivate Your Readers to Take Action
What’s a power word? This term gets thrown around a lot, so here’s my simple definition: A power word isn’t just any old word that you would find in a thesaurus–it’s a word that encourages your readers to take action and move closer toward your goal.
If you’re trying to get people to buy something, then use words that inspire trust or create urgency. If you want them to click through for more information, surprise them with something they weren’t expecting. While power words tend to elicit a direct response, they can also be used to soften the blow if you want to do something a bit controversial.
For example, let’s say you have a favorite charity that’s been going through some rough times lately. You want people to read about the issues your cause is facing and understand what it would mean for them if this charity did go under.
…Telling people “Donate before it’s too late” might get them to take action, but adding a bit of empathy and urgency with something like: “this is your last chance to donate and help save the children” could inspire more giving. When you use words that provoke the reader to reconsider the situation and take action, you’re using power words to get them to respond.
Tip #4: Write for Your Audience
If your goal is to sell something, then that means you should be writing for your target market–and not just anyone who happens to visit the page. If you want people to actually buy what it is that you’re offering, you’ll need to speak their language and in a way that aligns with what they expect. The words you use should reflect the type of person who’s actually likely to buy.
The best way to do this is by knowing your audience inside and out. What kinds of words does your typical customer use? How much money do they make? How educated are they? What do they need help with most in their life right now? What types of language do your competitors use?
Once you have a solid understanding of your target market, you’ll be able to speak their language without coming off as pandering or speaking down to them. And the more personal you make copy feel, the better.
Tip #5: Pique Your Readers’ Curiosity with Questions
Asking questions can be a great way to get people to pay attention and think about what you’re saying. “How do I increase conversions on my site?” or “What should I do about this problem with my SEO?” are just two examples of the types of questions that can get your readers to dive a bit deeper.
People love to answer questions and this technique works well because it’s more likely to get them reviewing the words on the page rather than skipping right over. But you have to use power words here too, of course…so instead of asking “what should I do about my SEO problem,” try something like “how do I fix my website’s SEO?”
And remember that you can use questions in your headlines too! Tip #6: Sell Benefits, Not Features
You know what people really care about? Themselves. If they’re buying, it means they want to improve their life somehow–you just have to figure out how. That’s why it’s so important to sell the benefits of whatever it is you’re offering, not just the features.
If your product or service solves one problem, for example, then mention that first–but move quickly on to how it will benefit them. Not only does this increase your credibility by showing how their life will be better once they buy, but it also has the power to provoke action by highlighting what’s in it for them. You can even drive this point home in your copy by using phrases like “you will” or “for you.”
Some people are born with the gift of being able to write well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to use power words in your own content. The successful businesses around us are always making small tweaks to their copy in order to generate more leads or sales–just look at how many times they use action verbs when describing what they have to offer. You can learn to do the same thing by looking at their examples and analyzing what makes them good.