6 slammin’ web copy tips to spellbind and convert more clients
Copywriting is the art of crafting messages that bring home the bacon. The bread.
Or as Slough’s finest paper company manager would say…
As with any artistic pursuit – learning to paint, play an instrument, pen a sonnet – some people are naturals. The rest of us start as…free-range at best.
The secret to effective copy isn’t creative genius
You don’t need to be the Leo DaVinci, Jimi Hendrix or Billy Shakespeare of content to write web copy that catches eyes, seduces minds and finds wads of cash left on the bedside table in the morning.
Armed with the right knowledge, and enough practice, almost anyone can become a highly proficient copywriter. Even a great one.
This is what copywriting is all about
If you want to create effective copy you need to speak with, listen to and learn from your audience.
Unless you know a good Russian hacker,it’s the only way to deeply understand their unique desires and problems.
Once you’ve squirreled this information away, you’ll know how to:
• capture people’s attention during their busy lives
• keep them curious and interested enough to read on
• encourage them to take action.
That doesn’t mean that you can get up up in your reader’s face with a hardcore infomercial pitch.
Not on your first date, anyway. They’ll run a mile.
Except, maybe, if you’re selling $15 teeth.
The people you’re talking to want to feel in control of the copy conversation – the one making the decision after sound consideration.
That’s why good copywriting techniques are an invaluable sales tool.
They help you answer readers questions, allay their concerns and show them that you understand their needs and dreams.
Once you’ve had that conversation, they’ll feel more confident about buying, calling or joining. Whether you throw in a free set of steaks knives, dentures or…not.
Here are six of the best
Use these techniques in your website copy, emails, social posts, blog posts. Heck, use them in you print copy and Tinder profile too.
They’ll make your messages more appealing, intriguing and convert-alicious.
Shine the spotlight on your benefits
Cold, hard truth No.1: Potential customers don’t care about your business, product or service – unless they can see how it helps them.
They don’t just want to know what you do and have for them.
They need you to paint a real-life picture of how you’ll solve their pain points and help them achieve their goals and dreams.
It might be to:
• make them wealthier, healthier or more attractive
• save them time, effort or stress
• improve their self-confidence, mood or love life.
Be as specific as possible.
Talk about the money they’ll have to buy that house by the beach with the hammock swinging on the deck.
Or to have fun with extra time you give back to them, like enjoying precious family holidays before the kids grow up and set off on their own adventures.
Or to imagine how it feels to wake up from the deep, blissful sleep they’ve been deprived of for years – refreshed, perky and pain-free.
Create a show-stopper headline
Your headline is the first message most people will read on your webpage, social post, blog or email (or the subject line in you inbox).
It’s your helpful sales star greeting them at the door. Your maître de. Your Lionel Ritchie.
But headlines can’t just try to look as good as Lionel. They also have three jobs to perform for your audience:
• Tell them what the content is about.
• Make them feel it would be beneficial to read on.
• Draw their eyes to the first line of text below.
Your headline needs to perform at least two of these jobs. The most powerful ones nail all three. If your headline doesn’t perform any of these duties, people will leave.
You should fire that headline.
Support who? Quit what? Quit leaning on me, that’s what!
Interview some new headlines.
Ahh that’s a little better. Now I get what you’re talking about.
But I don’t immediately feel that you’re talking to me. We’ll be in touch.
Now, you’re definitely talking to me. And I’ll probably read on because ‘How to’ suggests you provide the answer.
Plus, you pulled my heartstrings by throwing in ‘Loved One’. You don’t play fair. When can you start?
It’s clear what you’re about and the subhead quickly confirms who this is aimed. ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ built up my curiosity and fear.
Now I have to read on to make sure I don’t stuff this up.
That was cruel, but clever. You got yourself a job, kid.
There are gazillions effective headline techniques.
Here are eight that you can adapt to your own needs today:
• How to – ‘How to get out of debt no matter how much you owe’
• Question – ‘Do you suffer from aching joints in the morning?’
• News – ‘Introducing Havana-rock: the best music you’ve never heard of’
• Lists/numbers – ‘7 ways to conquer your fear of presenting to a crowd’
• Brackets – ‘How to look super-confident (even when you’re sweating bullets)’
• Fear – ‘The unseen dangers of sport and energy drinks’
• Negative superlative – ‘The worst social media marketing fails of 2019’
• Urgency – ‘Limited Edition Polo Shirts. 25% Discount Expires Tonight!’
Open with a conversation starter
You’re feeling chuffed because you hit the sweet spot with you attention-grabbing headline. What now?
People’s eyes are making their way down to your opening sentence, that’s what.
This is where your copy can make it, or break it. Lose people here and it’s adios forever amigo.
No pressure, of course.
How do you hold on to and build that reader interest and curiosity? Bring them into the conversation from line one.
Here are three opening sentence techniques to try:
Ask a question that gets them nodding/emotional
Example: Are your online shoppers leaving before they buy? Are you losing precious profits at checkout?
Get them thinking/Make them curious
Example: It’s the new year, and diet programs are selling hard on the promise of a new you. Should you bite?
Example: If you’re thinking about buying a home, first ask yourself this one critical question.
Paint a picture
Example: Imagine whisking down a powdery, snow-covered mountain in Aspen. And at the end of the day, relaxing in your luxurious 5-star lodge – at up to 60% off!”
Or something shorter. For example, on a charity site to support people who are visually impaired.
Imagine if you couldn’t read these words.
Feed your readers snack-sized morsels of goodness
Most people don’t read every word of copy.
As discussed, they usually check out the headline.
If it’s good, they’ll read that smoldering opening sentence you just penned. Maybe stay glued for the first couple of paragraphs.
Then their eyes will start to flick down and around the page like a bouncing pinball in search of those big flashing targets.
If your content is a wall of morbidly obese paragraphs, readers won’t take it on.
Even three-line paragraphs can seem like too much bother. Especially on a mobile screen when line numbers double.
Check that your marketing messages are inviting before a word has been read, by:
• including descriptive subheads
• using short paragraphs
• leaving plenty of white space
• turning long sentences into bullet points (see what I did here?).
Use the minimum words needed (by your audience)
When it comes to copy, shorter is better. But what does short copy mean?
Selling high priced or complex products and services often requires more words than cheap and simple ones.
People usually have a more questions that need answers before they’ll commit to an expensive or complicated offer.
So, rather than think short copy, go for the minimum words necessary to:
- get your most persuasive message across
- avoid leaving prospects confused, wary or unable make decisions.
If you’re worried about having too much copy is on the page you can hide extra information in an accordion dropdown.
That way, the page looks tasty enough to devour, while curious prospects can click to get extra questions answered quickly.
Once you’ve written your draft copy, read over it and:
- try to keep sentences to 15 words or less
- avoid industry slang (unless you’re audience understand and appreciate it)
- drop words that don’t add information.
Bring it home with a convincing call to action
Once people get to the end of your content, don’t assume they know what to do next.
Even if they like what they hear, they may not act without clear directions.
Use action verbs
Tell them them to buy now, learn how, get your, click here, contact, add to cart, visit us, join today, etc.
Push them over the edge
Your best chance to get their business is while they’re hot for what you got.
Encourage them to act now by mentioning:
- a limited time offer (even add a countdown clock)
- there are only X number available
- you’ll save X% today
- how easy it is (only takes 2 minutes)
- a benefit (Get your x, Start sleeping soundly tonight)
- there’s no risk (money back guarantee, 30, day trial)
Great copywriting isn’t something you can master from one blog post. Or in one year.
Why? Because knowledge is only part of the puzzle. You’ll gain so much more from the experience of writing copy. Every win and every fail.
Saying that, knowing these six techniques puts you ahead of the business writer pack.
Put them to use today, tomorrow and every day you write content.
They’ll help you create more enticing, engaging and persuasive business messages that bring in those Bunsen burners.