Today’s post is written by Matt Press of The Copywriting Couple.
I’m sure we’d all agree that copywriting is important. In business, words are the ammo we use to sell our products and services.
No matter how big your business is or which industry you’re in, you need words in order to survive and thrive.
Words convince and convert. They turn browsers into buyers. They engage, entertain, motivate, influence and persuade.
Without them, brands can’t showcase what they do.
And if they can’t do that, they can’t make money.
So, there’s a lot riding on copy.
But guess what?
You don’t need any writing experience to be a good copywriter, nor any writing qualifications.
I studied English to degree level before writing in a corporate environment and then subsequently starting my own copywriting business, so I know what I’m talking about.
In reality, quality copywriting is all about understanding human behavior and tendencies.
Of course, any copywriter should be able to spell and have a basic grasp of grammar, but there’s something very particular about crafting copy for commercial purposes.
Powerful business copy doesn’t really worry about following rules. If anything, the most effective marketing campaigns break them.
As it turns out, in order to be a good copywriter, you just need to remember you’re human, and so is your audience.
Effective copywriting is all about embracing psychology.
When you think about it, this makes perfect sense.
After all, people always buy from people (even in B2B).
All things considered, getting someone to take out their credit card from their purse or wallet is probably the hardest thing to do in business.
Even a clumsy marketing campaign can generate leads. But turning leads into paying customers is a different kettle of fish.
For someone to part with their hard-earned money, they’ll need to really trust a business.
Copy plays a huge role in establishing a necessary level of integrity. Here are a few ways that the smallest of details can unnecessarily stop a sale:
- Your website copy is riddled with spelling mistakes. The odd typo mightn’t seem a big deal, but errors indicate sloppiness. Don’t alienate a consumer before you’ve started.
- Your tone of voice is completely inappropriate for your target audience. Sometimes it’s cool when a brand speaks in a chatty, familiar way. Other times, it’s all a bit ‘dad at the disco’.
- It’s all ‘me, me, me’. Consumers don’t care whether you’ve earned a bunch of industry awards that they’ve never heard of. Always stay relevant.
- Your copy gets people reaching for the dictionary. This is business copy we’re talking about; there are no literary awards up for grabs. Keep your words simple.
- Your copy is long-winded and boring. Research shows that we’ve all got just 7 seconds to make a good impression with our websites online. Be quick and to the point.
Why good copywriting leverages our emotions.
At the heart of all this is our emotional reactions.
Humans are a funny species. On the one hand, we’re all very individual. However, our brains are quite predictable.
For instance, we all respond similarly to feelings of:
These are things we endure or enjoy in some shade every day. We’re used to these feelings, but they nevertheless get us moving.
When you’re writing copy, it’s important to tap into these different areas.
Now, clearly context is important. You don’t want to make someone angry when they’re reading about your money-back guarantee.
So, let’s talk about some of the ways you could leverage our natural human emotions for business gains.
General website copy:
The words on your website should primarily be used to install trust and confidence.
Leads will often arrive on your site courtesy of a landing page or blog post. If they hang around and want to have a peek at what you’re all about, there’s a reason for that.
At this stage of the buying journey, these are all affirmation-seeking actions.
That is to say, they’re interested in who you are and what you do. They might not be ready to buy just yet, but they want to know that you’re legit.
In my opinion, blog content is best served when it’s helpful.
As humans, we don’t want to be sold to. It’s not in our nature. Content should be created to solve (or partially solve) an issue that’s prevalent in your market.
The aim is to raise awareness, increase credibility and generate momentum.
Sales copy and email newsletters:
Traditional sales letters and email campaigns are the best places to leverage some of the ‘darker’ emotions that we all experience.
You might have an offer that’s expiring soon and want to play on a subscriber’s fear of missing out.
Maybe there’s a regulation change in your industry that could spell problems for some of your customers.
Or perhaps you’ve got a great case study that you write about and stoke up some wishful feelings.
Regardless of your approach, there’s a time and a place for everything. As with most forms of marketing, the key to success lies in formulating a clear and detailed plan.
SEO copywriting is no different.
Interestingly, having a personable and human approach to copy is vital in SEO, too.
Maintaining a clear picture of whom you’re writing for is, arguably, more important in the world of SEO than anywhere else.
With SEO, there’s such a big emphasis on data.
From keyword search volumes to click-through rates, from bounce rates to conversions, SEO is synonymous with numbers.
But we shouldn’t forget what’s actually driving SEO: the user.
If we concentrate too hard on vanity metrics, we risk alienating the searcher. And if we’re honest, at the end of the day, it’s the searches that matter most.
Ranking highly on page one might look nice. So, too, might those traffic graphs in your latest stats reports.
But are users really enjoying themselves when they’re on your site?
Are they hanging around?
Are they engaging with your content?
Are they turning into leads?
Whether we’re talking about blogs or website copy, landing pages or product descriptions, it’s essential to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
Ensure that every word is working hard and have a plan for every piece of content.
Google is paying more and more attention to user experience, which by definition places greater importance on content.
Perhaps by focusing on having more effective copy could have a huge impact on your ability to top the SERPs.
Remember that websites only have two things to do:
- Communicate with search engines
- Communicate with real people
Both jobs have to be executed.
Try to trigger a response from your readers.
It doesn’t really matter what your readers are reading. It could be an email, a brochure, a sales letter, a billboard or a flyer.
Copywriting is just about trying to generate a reaction from someone.
Stephen King once said that writing is “a form of telepathy” and I’m inclined to agree. We want to project our feelings and thoughts about a topic onto someone else.
That’s the goal.
And I just think we can achieve that goal more easily if we appreciate more about what makes humans tick.