What is copywriting?
It is the skill of writing copy for the purpose of marketing or advertising. A copy is something which is meant to persuade someone to buy a product, or simply to influence their beliefs towards something.
Copywriters are the people behind direct mail pieces, taglines, jingles and online content in the form of online ads, email templates, scripts, billboards, banners, brochures, postcards and every such piece of content which has the intent of marketing and consequent sales behind it.
The profession in itself has been a lucrative one since the concept of marketing and advertising started with the newspapers and then with radio and later expanded to digital media. Nowadays, it has taken up a whole new front with the internet and has expanded its reach to social media in the form of content marketing and social media marketing. Blog posts, tweets and posts and ads on social networking sites all have the inherent copywriting in them, trying to sell one thing or the other.
Therefore, the importance of copywriting has exponentially increased. But how can you effectively execute it. What are the basics which should be taken into focus when copywriting?
In this guide we will help to grasp the essence of copywriting which will help you with better implementation and realization of your sales targets.
Here are 10 steps on how to effectively execute copywriting
1) Know your target audience
The first and foremost point is to know to whom you are selling. What is the point of even developing a product or service if you do not know who to sell it to? Knowing the target customer makes you better equipped to write a perfect copy. You need to analyse your target audience and tap into their interests and needs. Once you have done that you can create copies which trigger the right emotions and increase sales. Every effective email campaign or social media ad is based on extensive research keeping the target audience in mind.
For instance, if your plan is to sell an SEO service, you should first make a list of those people who need it like bloggers, digital freelancers who want their sites to rank, online firms and more. Once you know that these are the people you have to sell to you can begin with a plan to write a perfect copy. This is because now you know the exact requirements of your customer.
This way when your copy reaches him, his emotion centres will trigger a positive response in your favour and result in a potential sale. For instance KFCs jingle which says “Finger Licking Good”, immediately lets a person know that if he is hungry this store will provide tasty food!
2) Know what you are selling
The next important step is to know the product or service which you are trying to market. This is as important as knowing the customer. Until and unless you have a perfect idea about your product you cannot write an effective copy. What should you know about your product? First of all what is your product and what are its specifications and features. Next, you should know what purpose it solves. Is it consumable or a durable? It is a real thing or a virtual service?
Does it have variants or it is unique? Does it have competitors or a new entrant? Once you start researching about your product you will have a better idea about how to write an effective copy for it.
For instance if you are trying to sell a fashion website which offers clothing you should enquire about its categories, its features and durability, the payment options and the delivery logistics.
Once you are in sync with your commodity you can market it better because you know the features you have to project to trigger the correct emotions and consequently the correct response from the readers of the copy and thus increase your sales altogether.
3) Find a USP
Before we discuss about finding a USP lets first know what it is.
Unique Selling Proposition or USP is an old marketing concept which is still potent today and will always be. It is the process of giving your target customers a unique, creative and innovative use of a product or service which other competitors fail to give. It is that one feature of your product which makes it the ultimate best choice.
It is how you differentiate your offer from the similar ones.
The term has never been more important. When writing a copy, you always have to do your research and find that point which you can market to your audience which your competitors have failed to.
For instance M&M had the tagline “The milk Chocolate melts in your mouth and not in your hands”. There are lot of products which launched at the same time or around M&Ms but everybody rushed to them as they offered a clean and tidy chocolate experience. That is the power of having a strong USP. Dominos’ idea of delivering pizzas free if it took longer than 30 minutes is the reason it is the biggest fast food chain in the world!
4) Determine the end objective
Sales and profits aren’t the only objectives and goals of copywriting. Therefore do not just go about with only sales as an objective in your mind. Always confirm the end objective. This end objective is the ultimate response you want to evoke in the customer. Sometimes you just need to convey information. Sometimes the objective is to generate a potential lead. Sometimes the objective can be to generate feedback. Sometimes the objective can be an invitation.
The list can go further and further but the important point to remember is that you have to draft a copy based on the end response you want in the customer.
For instance, the objective of the copy may be to inform the reader about a new website which offers home delivered gourmet food and you start your copy with “Enjoy Awesome Gourmet Food” whereas a more suitable start would have been “Get awesome gourmet food delivered”.Over here, the problem at hand is miscommunication which happens when you, the copywriter, don not understand the end objective your copy. Therefore always make sure to ask your clients about the response they want from the target audience in order to create an effective and compelling copy.
5) Make the introduction extraordinary
The first impression is indeed the last when it comes to marketing and advertising. The same goes for copywriting. If your introduction is not awesome you are going to be the victim of utter ignorance. If you are writing an email then the subject has to be perfect. If you are designing the banner then the tag line has to be awesome.
If it is facebook ad then the graphic should be awesome. If it is a twitter feed then the tweet has to be exemplary. There is no other option which will get the word to your customer other than an explosive introduction.
Imagine a shop which sells shoes. They have no ads outside the area or in the vicinity and just a board which has the shop name. Now adjacent to it is another store which has a clown outside with shoe paintings all over his clothes and making people laugh and telling them to buy shoes. Which store would you go in then? I bet the latter one. The same is the effect of an explosive introduction. It gets the doors open for you and urges the target customer to know further about the product you are trying to sell.
6) The headline should be exemplary
Once the customer is into your copy after reading the introduction, the next immediate question on his mind will be that “What’s in it for me?” This answer to this question should be in your headline. Only then will he go further and read the entire copy and complement your effort. This happens because once you have triggered the interest of a person the next important task as a marketer is to retain it.
Include buzzwords in your headline which offer the customer information about what he’s going to get in an amplified manner so much so that even if he does not read any further which is mostly the case, your purpose more or less is solved. Let’s go back to our star shoe shop from the previous example. Imagine when you enter the store and there is a well-designed rack showcasing a shoe from each category the store has to offer.
You immediately have an idea of what you are going to get. This is the kind of response you want from your copy. Once the customer is certain that there is something in your copy which is suitable then you have successfully implemented copywriting.
The previous six heads we discussed formed only the introduction to your copy. Now you must be having ideas about researching your target audience and know the product you are meant to sell. You must already be thinking about catchy introductions to urge the interest of your customers and explosive headlines to retain that interest.
You have the customer’s attention now. The next important step is the effective communication of information which has been imparted by you in the copy. This is of utmost importance as in the modern online world; customers are keener on making decisions after doing exhaustive research about what they are interested in. Thus apart from having amazing introductions and headlines you also need a good body in your copy to effectively tell the customer about your offerings.
Thus, in the next four heads we will discuss the tone you should keep in the body, the information you should keep and the manner in which you should present the information in order to create the perfect response from the customer which is in favour to your end objective as discussed earlier.
7) Be as direct as you can
When writing headlines, subheads and the body you should refrain yourself from using words which do not have conformity or present an ambiguous text to the reader. This means that you should avoid words like may, maybe, hope, wish, try, but, could, perhaps etc. Instead you should words like will and can to sound more affirmative.
Your costumer doesn’t want to hear that you may do something but instead he likes to hear that you will or you can do something. Sounding direct and certain helps to create an air of credibility and trust between you and your customer which most of the times gives favourable results to you.
Don’t believe me? Off course you don’t because I just used “most of the times”in the last sentence. Instead, I should write that the credibility between you and the customer always gives positive results for you.
I think now you have a grasp of what I am trying to say. In the end, it is the matter of how the customer sees you. An indirect tone projects uncertainty and low confidence while a direct tone emanates an air of confidence and positive attitude which is something the customers like. Thus always be direct in your copy and establish an atmosphere of trust with your customer.
8) Active Voice is a must
Active voice must be the only grammatical tone for your copy. Passive voice is a strict no here as it weakens your messages and sends the wrong information to the customer. When you write a message in passive voice in projects lack of effort in your entire body and this can be a deal breaker for you entire copy and turn into an unfavourable loss on your side.
Let’s look at some examples to clarify the concept
ACTIVE: We created 10 new designs
PASSIVE: Ten new designs were created
ACTIVE: Our blog now has 1 million subscribers
PASSIVE: we have had 1 million subscribers to our blog
It must be drastically clear from the above examples that a passive tone is not advisable for your copy for it projects an air of unprofessionalism, laziness and can be annoying and distracting for your customer.
Now you don’t want your customers to run away just because of the tone of your ad don’t you? Thus, always try to maintain a direct and active tone of voice to give your pitch the perfect balance and retain the customer’s interests all the way to the end of the copy. This also helps in establishing an air of satisfaction.
9) Be clean and concise
A good copy is always precise, neat and to the point. Too much use of graphics, cluttering with a number of haywire texts and slogans makes your copy shabby, difficult to understand, annoying and irritating. The only possible reaction you can expect from the target reader then is annoyance and utter and bitter ignorance.
What you can do it read out the body loudly. You will notice the points which require editing. To be more sure make someone else read it and see whether the message you are trying to convey reaches them or not. If not then edit further in order to get the message loud and clear. Never finalise the first draft of your copy.
You can always re-edit it and find that you can reduce the word count by 30 per cent at least and still get the message across in the clearest fashion.
Use of bullet points and numbering can be used to make your copy look more precise and clear. Also they make the entire body easy to read as the whole message can be conveyed even if the reader scans through it.
Make sure that your copy is readable!
10) Quote Customer Feedback
People are always looking for feedback to affirm their decisions. Feedbacks tend to generate a feeling of reassurance and trust in the fact that what you are offering is genuine and will provide the mentioned result.
A brief and convincing quote from a customer can add that credibility to your entire copy. The more real you can make that personal feedback the better. You can include a photo and the testimonial which he wrote including his name and location. This helps you in sounding more genuine and trustworthy. All great copies always end with a good customer feedback.
A good copywriter always focuses on the above ten points as discussed in this guide. If you follow these points, there is no way that you can implement effective copywriting and reap the benefits of successful marketing to your business.