All the copywriting and advertising greats know the value of research. David Ogilvy, the Father of Advertising, said to “stuff your conscious mind with information” so you have plenty to work with. One of Ogilvy’s students, legendary copywriter Gary Bencivenga (who also studied with several other great copywriters), said:
Tip 25: Be strong and forceful in your sales copy
Take dieting as an example. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that the best way to lose weight is to eat more vegetables and exercise more. But this is obvious so really, everyone’s saying the same thing in slightly different ways.
The main problem with eating more healthily is that people can only hold out for so long. In other words, at the start of any diet, we’re usually quite enthusiastic. We cut out all their sugary foods, but this lifestyle change only lasts a week or a month.
By combining the topic of dieting with something fairly unrelated [chocolate], you can capture attention quickly. Once you’ve done that, you can talk about how humans will be more likely to stick to a diet if they’re allowed some days off.
Ask yourself ‘what problem is this copy solving?’
Shared by @katetoon
“Humans first. Google second. Take a big deep breath and ask yourself ‘what problem is this copy solving?’ Then write the most useful, informative, entertaining page, product or post you can.
Clear sub headers.
Conversational and warm.
I could go on. Copy is my jam. ”
Putting users first means thinking about their needs. And when people visit your page, chances are they’re probably trying to solve a problem. By thinking about the needs of your audience and how you can help them, you can create a strong foundation for effective, engaging content. And besides your users’ search intent, there’s always readability to consider! We’ll forgive you for squeezing five tips into one, Kate, but only because they’re all great suggestions! 😉
It’s about how what you’re selling transforms someone’s life
Shared by @itsjulekim
“If we consider the quote from Judith Charles that a copywriter is just a salesperson behind a typewriter, and then the fact that purchases are emotional decisions, then here’s my tip: Paint a clear picture of the future state, and target your writing to elicit strong emotions. It’s never really about the features, it’s about how what you’re selling transforms someone’s life. Classic example: Apple iPod didn’t talk on and on about how many gb it had, it simply stated, “1,000 songs in your pocket.””
This is some really advanced copywriting advice, we love it! Even experienced copywriters can make the mistake of writing abstract, over-technical product descriptions, and using marketing lingo that really doesn’t mean much to their audience. Understanding search intent is about more than just knowing ‘people search for cars’, for instance. It’s about knowing why people search for cars: to reach opportunities, to have fun, or to look after their family, for instance. And knowing that can help you make content that really resonates with your audience. Great tip, Jule!
Speak your ideal customer’s language.
Ogilvy also said, “If you’re trying to persuade people to do something, or buy something, it seems to me you should use their language, the language they use every day, the language in which they think. We try to write in the vernacular.”
Speaking in their language helps prospects get to know, like, and trust you because they recognize themselves in your words. That helps you connect and build relationships with them, and more easily persuade them.
If you’re stuck writing, go back and make sure everything sounds the way your customers think. Put yourself in their shoes. Make yourself invisible. Not only will your copy get better for the exercise, but getting out of your own way like this can jumpstart new ideas and illuminate what should come next.
Focus on benefits.
Another great tip about copywriting from Schwartz is to make gratification instantaneous. When prospects get something valuable from you just by reading, they learn to trust you and believe that you deliver what you promise. This copywriting trick gives prospects a taste so that real desire fuels their actions, not just curiosity, and it’s also one of the reasons content marketing works so well.
A classic persuasion technique used by Socrates and used car salesmen, this theory states that the more often you can get prospects to say “yes,” the more likely they are to say “yes” again. A-list direct-response copywriter Parris Lampropoulos uses this technique a different way: “In sales copy, I’ll throw in a question here and there, but more often, I’ll phrase it as a statement. You know – one of those statements that get prospects nodding their heads.”
More importantly, reading sample copies can help give you an idea of how different types of brands write theirs and how different kinds of advertising differ in the copy. Following this copywriting tip helps you understand the process better through various perspectives and voices.
11 Killer Copywriting Tips You Should Be Doing
As a marketer, your advertising efforts should aim to convince your audience that they need your product in their lives; and you do this by telling a compelling story. This type of storytelling can only be done by agencies with experienced content marketing and copywriting services under their belt.
Copywriting is the process of writing text that persuades readers to take desired actions and purchase your product. Copywriting is a must for all businesses and agencies and is a critical part component for executing your digital marketing framework strategies since it concerns all of its your channels.
A good content marketing agency knows that a good copy reflects on the familiarity of its readers to catch and keep their attention. Additionally, a well-thought-out copywriting plan can convert casual readers into loyal customers.
What is good copywriting?
What makes a good copy? Clickbait titles or sensational captions may deliver clicks, but it will take much more than these to create customers out of your audience. Before you can put to good use the copywriting tips we’re presenting you, you have to understand what good copy looks like.
1. Good copywriting is clear; it doesn’t beat around the bush.
When your readers see your copy, it’s important for them to instantly understand what your topic is. Although a little mystery can get your readers to stay longer, confusing them with vague content can turn them away.
2. Good copywriting is concise; it’s brief yet comprehensive.
Don’t bombard your readers with blocks of text. Strive to keep your writing short and sweet, but not too much that the soul of the copy gets lost in the editing process. Aspire for brevity, but don’t leave out the crucial information that your readers need to make a decision.
3. Good copywriting is organized; it structures your ideas.
Write a copy with a logical and meaningful flow. Strategize the hierarchy of information to be presented. This can help you influence your readers’ decisions and emphasize the most crucial points of the message. If your copy is unstructured and confusing, your readers will likely not understand what you’re trying to say.
4. Good copywriting is creative; learn to think outside the box.
Your readers aren’t robots. They crave creativity and emotion. Don’t settle with the monotonous and formal invitation for your audience to check out your brand. Reel them in with clever quips and memorable phrases through a unique brand voice that’s sure to get stuck in their heads. In this light, make sure to also maintain a consistent brand voice to sustain the connection with your readers.
5. Good copywriting is meaningful; write with a purpose in mind.
Before your team starts writing, be sure they know the objectives of their copy. This includes the target audience and in what marketing channel it’s going to appear. The relevance of your copy depends on your writers’ understanding of who’s going to read it and in what context they are going to read it.
6. Good copywriting is persuasive; call your readers to action.
It’s not enough that you catch your readers’ attention; rather, you need to tell them what to do with the information they read. This comes in the form of a call to action (CTA) . You can use CTAs to persuade your readers to purchase from your brand, learn more about your product, or participate in a discussion about the two.
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1) It tilts your perspective.
Sometimes, all a message needs to break through is a slight shift in angle. We’ve grown so accustomed to blocking out marketing messages, we don’t even see them anymore. One of the most powerful things a copywriter can do is break down a reader’s guard with an unexpected approach. Every story has a myriad of angles — your job as a copywriter is to find the one that resonates.
This ad from Sage Therapeutics pressing the importance of talking about postpartum depression works because instead of asking readers to care about something they don’t know, it puts them in the position of experiencing the struggle that mothers suffering do. Did they miss some readers who quickly passed by the ad thinking it was for adult pacifiers? Most definitely. But the ad resonated that much more thoroughly with those who read it.
The next time you sit down to write, try out this approach. Don’t take the topic head on. Instead, ask yourself why it matters. Each time you write down an answer, challenge yourself to push it further. Find the larger story happening behind your message.
2) It finds connections.
"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile."
Let’s say you have to write an ad for a new pair of sneakers. You could take the assignment head on. You could write about the elasticity of the shoe’s sole or the lightweight design. Indeed, many have. Or you could put all of that aside and instead draw the connection between the product and the experience it evokes.
Two things are happening in this ad. First, the copy recognizes that for many, running isn’t about running at all — it’s about solitude, peace, and restoring sanity to an otherwise hectic life. Second, not only does Nike connect the ad to the experience of running, it actually connects to the sound that those shoes make as they hit the pavement.
This ad is about the complexity of one’s life fading away and being replaced by simplicity and clarity. As the copy progresses, the sentences simplify and the copy’s complexity is slowly replaced by the simple and rhythmic pounding of words: run, run, run, run. The same rhythm one hears when all but their footsteps have faded away. That’s connection.
3) It has a stunning lead.
There’s an adage in copywriting that’s loosely credited to copywriter and business owner Joe Sugarman, which roughly states that the purpose of the headline is to get you to read the first line. The purpose of the first line is to get you to read the second line, and so on. In short, if your first line doesn’t enthrall your readers, all is lost.
4) It is born out of listening.
Seeing its plans to launch yet another gym in the greater Boston region, an outsider might have called the Harrington family a wee bit crazy. The market was already flush with gyms, including a new breed of luxury ones that seemed to be in an arms war for the flashiest perks. Gyms across the region were offering massage services, smoothie bars, and fleets of personal trainers. And GymIt wouldn’t have any of that.
What did GymIt have? An understanding of its core audience. Before launching its new gym, the brand did a ton of listening to its primary market of gym-goers. For many in GymIt’s target market, the added benefits associated with luxury gyms were nice to have, but came with a lot of baggage — namely expensive rates and overly complex contracts.
GymIt decided to simplify the gym-going experience for people who predominately cared about getting in and working out. The copy in its launch campaign and across its marketing materials reflects that understanding.
In an older blog post, Copyblogger‘s Robert Bruce put this nicely. "Humble yourself and truly serve your audience, listen to their needs and desires, listen to the language they use," he said. "If you listen carefully, your audience can eventually give you everything you need, including much of your copy. Get out of their way."
5) It avoids jargon and hyperbole.
When writers struggle to convey what is truly special about their company, product, or service, they sometimes fall back on jargon or hyperbole to underscore their point. The truth is, good copywriting doesn’t need dressing up. Good copywriting should speak to the reader in human terms.
Improve Your Content Today!
Copywriting for the web is challenging because you need to balance optimizing content to get found in search engines to drive traffic and optimize content for your target audience to ready the content.
Great copywriting is content that addresses the needs of your customers, optimized for search engines, and formatted to drive conversions. Different types of content need different types of copywriting, but all content you produce needs to get found and engage customers.
Relevant content is based on the intent of searchers, and this means that your copywriting process needs to take into consideration what people search online. Understand what people are looking for, how they are searching, and why they are looking for your solutions.
The written word is powerful, but sometimes your copy needs a helping hand. Infographics, well-designed charts and graphic design add to your writing, especially when you have dense information you need to get across.
102 COPYWRITING TIPS
Here are all the copywriting tips you’ll ever want or need (and some besides), organized into incredibly useful categories (way more useful than all those other inferior lists) and written by someone with more direct, hands-on experience than all those other lists (probably but definitely not certainly).
1. Start every project by identifying the target audience.
Imagine being asked to give a speech but you aren’t told who the audience is. You picture a room of business owners and think through what is important to them, what sort of challenges they would resonate with, what they might find humorous, etc.
Knowing who you are speaking to is the first thing you need to identify as a copywriter. It will determine every part of your copy: the challenges you focus on, the benefits you emphasize, the personality you incorporate, etc.
2. Start every project by also identifying the copy’s objective.
Copywriting is not a passive discipline with vague goals. It’s specific and intentional and designed to get results. What those intended results are needs to be clear before you write a word, or your copy won’t be effective.
3. The goal of every line of copy is to get the next line read.
The #1 purpose of a line of copy is to get the reader to continue to the next line. If the reader does not continue reading, the message you want to tell them doesn’t matter. The points you want to make are irrelevant. And you can forget about the action you want them to take.
Copywriting should take you longer word for word than writing a blog post, especially if you’ve been writing copy for less than 10 years. It’s not a natural process for most people to be intentional with every word, phrase, and sentence.
That said, don’t over-complicate this. Being intentional is not a particularly high bar. It just means that after you write a paragraph, look back through and ask, “Does this line move the narrative forward and motivate the reader to continue reading?” If not… change it.
4. Your customers’ needs and desires are the only thing that matters.
5. Write like you are speaking to a friend.
Good copy reads a lot like a well-spoken person talking to a friend. It has a casual, straightforward tone and gets to the point without rushing itself. It’s not trying to fill space. It’s not trying to sound like anything.
After you write a segment of copy, read it out loud and see if you cringe. Or better yet, wait a day and have someone else read it back to you out loud. If it sounds like you’re playing business, think about the main points you want to make and then imagine you are just telling those to a friend.
6. The most important element of copy is clarity.
Product/market fit is what sells things. Getting people in front of something they want or need is what sells things. The goal of the copy is simply to make it very clear to those people that the product is a great match for what they already want or need.
There’s another side to copywriting that is focused on manipulation through fear and greed, and while it’s great for making a quick buck, it will never help you build a brand or a business that people return to time after time. If you are working with a great product that customers love, you don’t need persuasion, you need clarity. You need a clear, succinct message that shows the customer why the product fits their needs or desires.
7. Include the what, why, where, who and how.
8. Incorporate proof and take your writing from the proof.
Proof is the true magic in copywriting. Anyone can say, “I’ll do this for you.” But if you can follow that up with data, testimonials, examples, case studies, reviews, statistics, etc., that’s where you can really make your copy persuasive.
9. Speak to the emotions and motivations behind the decision.
You might have heard that you should “sell the sizzle” and “focus on the benefits”. Human beings very rarely make decisions from a purely analytical standpoint. We are an emotional species and our emotions heavily dictate our behavior.
As a copywriter, your job is to understand the emotions and motivations that your target audience is experiencing and then speak to those emotions and motivations. You want to connect the specifics of what you are offering to the underlying goal propelling the reader’s decision making.
This can be as simple as talking about the benefits or it can be as complex as resonating around life roadblocks, frustrating challenges, or other pain points. Either way, think about those emotions when writing copy.
10. If you can condense or simplify it, you usually should.
You have a limited amount of space and time to communicate your value and capture your reader’s interest. If you can say it with less words, you usually should. If you can say it with simpler words, you usually should.
Section #2: Persuasive Copywriting Tips
Persuasive techniques help us reach into people’s brains and give them a small nudge. I used the word “small” here for a reason. As we’ve discussed already, product/market fit is ultimately what sells things. As long as the pitch isn’t confusing, 70-90% of buyers are going to buy regardless of how convincing or unconvincing your pitch is.
As you go through the following tips, don’t get so hung up on the idea of persuasion that your copy starts to lose clarity or become a caricature. That’s a great way to lose that 70%+ segment of essentially guaranteed sales that you would have otherwise received.
11. Establish your authority, credibility, or investment.
People want to buy from brands that are experts at what they do. They want to buy from brands that are reliable and consistent. And they want to buy from brands that are singularly passionate about what they sell.
12. Tell a story.
13. Get the reader nodding along.
There’s an old sales technique inspired by the Socratic Method that involves asking the listener a series of questions designed to get them to say “yes”. The idea is that by getting them to say “yes” to simple questions, it puts them in the mental state to say “yes” when you attempt to close.
14. Repeat the key points.
Nearly 70% of the students revised their initial pick if their partner repeated information supporting the other candidate. In contrast, only 2% of the students changed their mind when their partner repeated information that supported the job applicant they favored.”
When writing persuasive copy, identify the main points you are trying to make and then repeat them several times over the course of your pitch. But rather than simply repeating yourself word for word, repeat the main point using different wording or coming at it from a different angle.
15. Use favorable comparisons and metaphors.
Nobody who wants to be a badass boss also wants to feel like a secretary. Those two concepts and the emotions culturally connected to them are at opposite ends of a spectrum and play against each other to drive a response.
16. Use analogies to create emotional understanding
There is no easier way to illustrate a concept than to take another concept that somebody already understands and connect it to the concept you are trying to explain. And what makes this exercise so persuasive is that just like metaphors and comparisons, you bring along all the associated emotions.
The problem is that when it comes to sales, people are very entrenched in their thinking, and it’s difficult for them to step back and consider things objectively. I can tell them, “You are approaching the sale like it’s a gift they may or may not give you” but it’s just words.
This is where an analogy is helpful. I compared their attitude on the sales call to a petitioner coming before a king and begging the king to grant their petition. In this scenario, the petitioner has no leverage and no confidence. They are at the mercy of the king.
Stuff like this makes the concept more real. It bypasses the need for things to make complete sense analytically and gives the reader a chance to understand the concept emotionally. Their brain can THEN use that understanding to connect the analytical dots as well.
17. Explain the benefit in connection with the feature.
If the features had just been listed on their own, I really wouldn’t understand what the benefits of these relatively expensive $30 tshirts are. But by connecting each feature to it’s benefits, I have a really clear picture of what makes these tshirts so special.
18. Agitate the problem before introducing the solution.
I guarantee you that Ramit’s personal experience wasn’t this extreme. What he has done here is taken a kernel of personal experience and then used reader feedback to empathize with his target audience and expand the story for maximum agitation.
But as they read Ramit’s sales page, the emotional urgency of that need begins to be felt, and suddenly, it is a priority. Making sure they never have these feelings of helplessness again suddenly seems like a really important goal.
That’s the power of agitation, and it’s especially effective when you know the problem you’re solving isn’t going to be top of mind at the moment the reader begins your copy. By agitating the problem and pulling those memories in, you can make it FEEL a lot more urgent than it actually is.
Write down the requirements
Most of us aren’t starting from scratch. We have a medium and, likely, we have a topic and goal. That could be writing a Google Ads headline for your dog walking business. It could be drafting Facebook posts for your restaurant. It could even be writing a blog post about copywriting exercises.
If you have this information—the medium, the topic, and the goal—use that to get started. Are there word count goals or restrictions? Will the copywriting appear on a blog, on product packaging, or on social? Is this a blog post, a PPC ad, or a video script? Jot all those details down at the top of the page so they stay top-of-mind.