At the end of the day, copywriting is simply marketing with words.
In good copywriting the words are persuasive and seductive, whilst at the same time promoting a company, product or service. A picture may indeed speak a thousand words, and images are vital to advertising, but it is the words used in marketing campaigns which create a desire in the reader.
Copywriting describes the process of producing crafty slogans and those long sales letters (which I personally hate) and everything in between. It is arguably one of the most important aspects of marketing and anyone who wants to run a successful marketing campaign for a product, service or company needs to understand the basics of good copywriting if their campaign is to be a success.
The purpose of producing marketing copy is to sell – to create a desire to buy within the reader. In addition, any copy that is to be used on the WWW has the added task of attracting good search engine rankings for the appropriate key phrases featured within the copy.
Good copywriting is compelling; it draws the reader in from the headline and keeps them reading right the way down to the most wanted action. It allows no means of escape. As each sentence or paragraph finishes there is a hook which maintains the reader’s attention and ensures they read on.
A good copywriter knows how to use words to their own advantage. They know how to sow seeds in the reader’s subconscious mind, which rapidly germinate and bloom into a desire to buy.
Good copywriting stirs up a desire so strong that there is no question in the reader’s mind left unanswered, no doubts – they just have to do what the copywriter wants them to do.
Running a web based business is challenging. The WWW is a large place, which is growing on an hourly basis. To enjoy success of any kind it is essential that your business attracts the attention of likely customers. Having attracted a stream of visitor traffic to your business website still does not guarantee success; those visitors need to be converted into customers.
It is the website copy which distinguishes one business from another. By populating their website with carefully crafted, effective marketing copy, successful business owners can
- find their site promoted in the organic search engine listings, thereby increasing traffic volumes
- reduce visitor bounce rate, meaning visitors stay on the site for longer
- increase conversion rates, turning a higher percentage of their website traffic into customers
Effective copy speaks to the target audience – it offers something of value that captivates them.
When writing copy put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Think about the language they might use. Write words which will be meaningful to them – if you don’t, they will simply click away. In many ways, the quality of your product or service is secondary. If you cannot encourage people to buy through your use of language you are not going to have any customers to worry about.
There is a fine balance to be achieved when writing copy. You of course want to tell your reader about the features of your product or service but make that information meaningful by attaching clear benefits. A reader may not care that your gizmo’s engine operates at 600rpm but they will understand that means they can complete a task in half the time when compared to using other gizmos. Make it easy for the reader to appreciate the benefits by spelling them out.
Be enthusiastic and articulate in your copy. You don’t have to use long words or blind your readers with science. Be yourself and let your passion for your product or service shine through.
Be prepared to write and rewrite your copy. It’s unlikely your first attempt will be up to scratch. Keep writing different variations of your copy, mixing and matching the content until you are not just happy with the result, but very happy! Have at least two versions of your finished copy as you will be split testing the conversion rates of these to see which best ‘speaks’ to your readers.
You can of course hire a copywriter to write your copy. Don’t be intimidated into outsourcing this job. Have a go first. There is nothing quite as compelling as copy written by someone who really knows and understands their product or service. You may surprise yourself at how well your efforts turn out. You will never know what your copywriting skills can achieve, unless you try….
Mention has been made of split testing copy and this is an essential part of the testing and tracking process. Unfortunately, it’s not a case of simply writing copy and forgetting all about it. You will need to constantly monitor the results, measure traffic, calculate conversion rates and tweak the copy until you reach a point of diminishing returns.
So that’s copywriting – or at least a whistle stop tour. There is a lot of fuss about copywriting for many reasons – not least of which is the extraordinary amounts some professional copywriters claim to earn. If you are marketing your own products and services I would urge you to have a go at writing your own copy and see for yourself what the fuss is all about!