Every type of copy is different. But in a lot of ways, they all require the same things.
You can't write a landing page the same way as an ad, and that's because they serve two totally different purposes.
And for them to be effective you have to:
It can seem overwhelming at first, and you might notice that you're not doing a lot of what you need to write effective copy. But you might also see that you've been doing a lot really well without even realizing it. Either way, it's important to be aware of it.
So let's take a look at what you should be paying attention to when you write your copy.
This is the first set of audits you need to worry about when you're going over your copy. These audits are about as basic as it gets for copy and they help you make sure that you have a solid foundation.
So it's safe to say that if you need to get these down if you want your copy to give you the results you need.
This is something any writer in any capacity should have perfected. But mistakes still happen and bad habits are hard to break. And spellcheck in word-processing software doesn't always catch everything.
On the other hand, it marks a lot of language used in copywriting as incorrect. So you have to be aware of what's actually correct grammatically in the context.
You don't want to get used to relying on software to keep your writing in check because all that does is weaken your abilities.
Of course, it doesn't hurt to use the tools at your disposal. Grammarly is a great browser extension that checks for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.
The Hemingway App is another excellent tool that goes a little more in-depth with sentence structures, passive voice, and adverbs.
But it comes down to learning the ins and outs of copywriting and where it differs from typical writing. So do your best to get this right on your own but don't shy away from using the resources available to you.
Flow is one of the hardest things to get the hang of when you're getting into copywriting. And there's a steep learning curve before it becomes second nature.
All writing needs to flow well, but copy needs to flow exceptionally well. And that's because the goal is to persuade your audience. But it needs to do so in a way that answers any questions they might have and giving them relevant information in an easy-to-understand way.
Without good copy, an offer can just look like a list of features. And that's not a good thing. There has to be a natural rhythm to your writing and each sentence should lead to the next smoothly.
If you come from somewhere like a university background this might take some more time to get right. While language that sounds "smart" appeals to college professors, the average person doesn't want to read it.
Chances are if you had to write papers for school, you used a lot of unnecessary words and padding. And that's essentially what you have to do in that capacity. But in copywriting it just doesn't work.
You have to cut out everything unnecessary and just leave the effective and essential words. You still want your writing to be interesting, but it needs to get right to the point unless you're using an open-loop or pattern interrupt.
It can be a little tricky to get the conversational tone right. Because of the name itself, it's easy to think that your writing should sound just like a conversation. Or that you should write how you talk. But that's not the case.
Your writing should read like a conversation, but not exactly like a spoken one. The best thing you can do is to think of the words you speak out loud as a transcript. Nobody speaks perfectly, so there are always stutters, pauses, "um"s, "uh"s, and other imperfections.
And in conversation, it's fine and doesn't detract much from the meaning.
But in writing it would be distracting and take away from the meaning. So take that transcript of how you speak out loud and fine-tune it. Edit the words to be more clear and to the point.
It's possible to have a conversational tone without sounding exactly like a conversation and the goal is to find a balance between the two. In addition to that, you have to fine-tune that balance to work for your specific audience.
Learn how to increase sales by making your copy conversational here.
Your call to action can never be neglected. Even if you have the best copy it isn't going to do much good if nobody's converting. So you also need to tell your audience exactly what they need to do, and you should tell them at least two times, especially in landing pages.
Not only that, but they also need to be aware of how to do it. So make that as clear as possible to make sure they convert. But you can't just expect them to take action without any buildup.
That means you need to sell your audience on the offer with things like testimonials, reviews, demos, or anything else that proves the value and authenticity of the offer.
Keep in mind, though, that you're not always trying to get a sale. In some landing pages, you know where your audience is at in the buying process, and you know they might not be ready to buy.
In a situation like that you would want to use a CTA like "Learn More," otherwise you might turn them away by coming off as pushy or demanding.
Every offer has features. Without features, there isn't much to offer. But features don't really tell much about what an offer can do for someone. What your audience is interested in is what you can really do for them.
In other words, how your offer benefits them. So you have to translate the features into benefits.
It's not about what your offer is, it's about what it does. Make sure it's as relevant as possible to your audience because every audience has different wants and needs.
One of the best ways to do this is through benefit bullets. The basic idea follows the formula of presenting a problem, explaining why it matters, and how the problem was solved.
So, for example, it could look something like this: "You can never seem to finish all your bananas before they get bad, but now you can save money with the brand new Banana Saver."
Learn how to make your copy "benefit-centric" here.
Don't get this mixed up with trying to show off how many words you know. You want to have a wide vocabulary but you don't want to use words that people might not be familiar with. You're not trying to impress anyone, rather engage them with your language.
So shy away from trying to sound like you're in an academic setting. In general, you just want your writing to be dynamic. That way you keep your readers interested but you don't bore them or come off the wrong way.
Focus on using a variety of words, adding unique words where they fit. Your writing shouldn't be bland or generic, there should be some character there.
If you're just using the same words over and over then you run the risk of boring your audience, ultimately driving them away.
Everybody has reservations when they come across an offer. Is it right for me? Is there a better offer? Do I even need this? Whatever it is, people are hesitant and they have plenty of options.
So you always have to take those objections into consideration. Whatever it is that someone might have an issue with, you have to address it before they do.
So explain why your prices are the best, or your offer is better than your competition, or why it's a perfect fit for your prospect. Whatever it takes to remove any doubt from their mind.
Blocks of long sentences don't work in copywriting. Your goal is to keep your audience reading all the way through. And before they even start they're probably going to be less interested when they see a wall of text.
So you have to break it up into smaller sentences. Even down to one-word sentences.
Breaking things up like this makes it more interesting and a lot more appealing to readers. Not only that, but it can also emphasize emotion and it adds impact to your words by making them stand out.
Think of it this way: you're reading a paragraph and suddenly it transitions into 1-3 word sentences. Obviously, those words are important by the way they command attention.
People want things to be easy. That's what just about every product or service is about. If your offer doesn't seem easy or like a sure thing then people won't be drawn to it.
Because why would anyone want to solve a problem by taking a difficult action? Or a result that might not be guaranteed? Chances are that they won't.
That's why your offer has to be as accessible as possible. No risk, no difficulty, just something that can quickly and easily solve a problem.
Confidence is key. You're probably so used to hearing it that it doesn't mean much anymore.
But it really is, not just in life but in your copy as well. If you're not sure of your offer, why should your audience be?
That's not to say that you aren't actually sure of your offer, but that's how you can come off when you don't sound like you are. Remember, people work hard for their money and, in turn, don't usually just throw it around.
You have to convince them that your offer is as good as you say it is. And to build trust you should use real, provable facts. Things like testimonials and demos, anything that demonstrates that your offer is the best choice.
Next up we have some trickier audits. These require some practice and knowledge of copywriting, not just writing in general. They tend to focus on emotional appeal and keeping the audience's attention throughout your copy.
You'll never be the only one doing what you do. If you were then running your business would be a breeze. But unfortunately, there's always some healthy competition.
So you have to find an angle that sets you apart. It could be a unique feature or additional use, or anything that makes your offer more desirable than the others on the market.
You just have to make sure that you're doing something that others aren't. Of course, you have plenty of other things that make your offer great. But to have the best chance at lifting conversions you should make sure to find that angle that helps you stand out.
What does your audience really want? That's what you have to ask yourself when you're writing anything. Because that's exactly what you need to give them. And maybe they aren't even aware of it.
Either way, you have to make it clear that you're providing something that satisfies that desire. So it's not necessarily just solving a problem, it has to do with tying emotion to solving that problem. How they'll feel when it's solved, how good it'll be, or how bad it can get without it.
But you have to go even deeper with your understanding of desire. It's not enough to say that a banana is desirable because it's a food and people need to eat food. You could use any number of reasons, like the desire to live a healthy lifestyle but not sacrifice good-tasting food.
The reasons people desire things are endless, it just takes a little consideration to figure out why they truly want your offer.
Writing good copy often involves using a story. People have always read stories throughout their lives so they almost expect them. And stories engage readers. They make something relatable or at the very least interesting.
Stories frame things in a way that people can connect with and get emotionally invested in. That's not to say you always need a narrative. But a good one will always help, so make an effort to include one when you can.
It's not a surprise that the tone of your copy has to fit the context. And you may even be able to identify the kind of tone that you need to use. But it takes nuance to actually do it.
People can tell when you're being disingenuous. So if you're missing the mark on matching the tone you're not going to come across as trustworthy. It can take some time to get a feel for writing for different audiences. But it's necessary if you want any kind of results.
For example, if you're selling bananas you could write your copy very casually, and maybe even playful. But if you're offering a banana-preneurship course you know your audience is in a specific niche and knows a little bit about what they're doing.
That means you can't pander to them and you have to write for their level of knowledge and understanding.
It's well-known that emotions are some of the best ways to appeal to people. That's because everyone deals with emotions and all of them are very strong. It's something that every person in the world has in common.
And whether it's something that people want to feel or something they want to avoid, emotions can make people act. So you can, and should, use this to your advantage for great results.
Maybe you're appealing to a result they desire. Or maybe you're touching on a pain point.
Either way, there's an end result they want. When you're tackling this audit it can be helpful to use staccato variation, because it can emphasize emotion.
Learn the ways to trigger emotions in your sales copy to boost conversions here.
Everyone likes a bit of mystery. Think about your favorite movie or show. What keeps you watching? Chances are, there's something at the end that you want to find out.
That's the power of open loops. They tease information or make you ask questions to keep your interest. Then you keep reading or watching until the loop is closed.
Like in a movie when you find out who the killer is or what happened to the missing person. This works just as well in copywriting, it's just not usually as dramatic. You get your reader interested enough to keep reading and find out what you teased initially.
There's not much worse than reading a sterile, lifeless piece of text. Imagine a novel that just goes through the motions and tells a story. No personality, nothing to make it stand out. Doesn't sound that appealing, right?
Well, the same goes for copy. Just because it isn't necessarily creative writing in the sense of fiction doesn't mean it can be dry. Personality appeals to people and they like feeling like they're interacting with a person, not just a brand.
So always try to inject some personality into your writing. It'll go a long way for you and your business. But make sure not to go overboard because you can come off as cheesy or even worse, like a salesman.
As I said before, people like feeling like they're interacting with a person and not just a business. And another great way to appeal to that is to show that you can relate to your reader.
You have to understand the problems they have. Their wants and needs. You have to convince your audience that you're one of them and you've been through whatever you're trying to help them with. When they feel a connection with you they trust you much more.
And it's much easier for them to like you and in turn, buy from you when they can trust you. Because if you know about them and think the way they do, chances are you know how to help them.
Bullet points are very effective in copywriting. But to get the most out of them you need to use fascination bullets. Bullet points on their own are everywhere, just look at product descriptions on Amazon.
And for some offers, they work just fine but they only tell about features. What people really want to know is what your offer can do for them. Especially if your offer isn't necessarily something they need.
So you have to do a little more to get your prospects interested and to set yourself apart. This boils down to stating a feature, describing the benefit, then building on that benefit to show the prospect what that could look like for them.
They might look something like this if you're selling software to bananapreneurs: "Why you can't afford to keep doing things manually (and how much more money you can make when you automate your operation.)
You've worked hard to build your brand. Because it's important to set yourself apart from the competition and having an identity your audience can connect with. After all, you're much more likely to lift conversions when you don't just seem like a corporate entity.
People like buying from other people because they trust them more. And while having a strong brand is important, you have to consider what you did to build it up. The only way you can really do that is to be consistent.
Once you develop an identity for your brand, you have to stick with it. Because your audience will notice if the tone is off.
For example, imagine a straight-shooting law firm starts putting out ads using lingo and slang. That probably wouldn't resonate with their target audience, and it definitely wouldn't fit their brand.
But it's also important to look at every aspect of branding, from web design to the images used. Everything has to be cohesive for your brand to be effective, and even the smallest detail can throw things off.
So your copy should reflect everything that the brand represents in order to match the brand itself.
You already know it's key to be clear and concise with your copy. Only the essential details should be included otherwise you risk boring your audience. But for your copy to be truly effective you have to take it a step further.
It's not quite enough for your words to be cohesive, the entire piece has to be. If you're trying to cover too much ground your message or messages can be lost.
So it's important to focus on one thing, a specific angle that you drive home as hard as possible. Otherwise, it can be unclear what your offer is actually about.
You want your audience to know exactly what you have for them and they shouldn't need to figure out what you're trying to offer them. So make sure you're focusing on one angle that's clear to your audience.
You should be aware of these audits and try to satisfy them at any skill level. But chances are that you'll have some trouble with them if you don't have a grip on the simple and challenging audits.
This is where you have to understand what makes people convert and not just what makes them keep reading.
As you know by now, it's important to appeal to your specific audience. And you're also probably aware that you aren't going to sell to everybody. That poses a challenge but an opportunity as well.
What you're really trying to do is speak the language of your audience. Not only do you not want to alienate them, but you also want to show that you're knowledgeable about them.
Which means you should be using specific wording and lingo that only they understand. Things that someone without any experience in the market wouldn't quite get.
In addition to knowing your audience, you have to understand what they know. Maybe they're hobbyists or maybe they're professionals. You need to know where they fall in terms of knowledge and experience.
If you're selling to an entry-level audience you can't assume that they know a whole lot about your offer. And that means you need to explain some more general aspects of it.
But if your audience consists of experienced users then you can get into more technical details, showing why you're the best choice if they want to get the most value.
Your offer has to do something for your audience. No matter how well you write or present your offer, it doesn't matter if you can't present any benefits that are relevant to them.
You could have immaculate copy, a slick landing page, and all the bells and whistles that make you stand out. But that doesn't matter if you're not giving solid reasons that someone should make a purchase.
So you have to be doing something for your audience. And you have to be doing it in a legitimate way. That means your offer has to be something that they want and it has to have a reasonable price and ease of access.
Whatever it is, you have to understand your audience and what they want then make it easy for them to get it.
You probably wouldn't trust a banana salesman to sell you a brand new car. That's an extreme example, but it illustrates how important it is to know your industry. Or at least sound like you do.
If you sound like an outsider you probably are one. And your audience can tell that pretty easily. So even if you're not well-versed you have to do some research and put yourself in the shoes of your audience.
They need to be confident that you know what you're talking about. Because if you don't then they don't have much reason to trust you.
This can be a bit tricky. It doesn't just come down to one thing, but a combination of everything.
Every little detail needs to push the reader a little closer to making a purchase. So keep that in mind with every sentence you write.
The point of copywriting overall is to get prospects to convert. So every bit of your copy has to contribute to that effort. And you have to learn how every part works and how to optimize them to lift conversions.
So, say, if you're noticing your conversion rate just isn't improving you might need to take a look at your headlines. Maybe they're not interesting enough, or maybe they don't tell you anything about your offer.
Of course, this isn't the only aspect you need to worry about but it should give you an idea of what you're looking for.
You're already writing for a specific audience. But are you writing for a specific person? Of course, it's not just one person reading your writing. But every one of them needs to feel like you're talking directly to them.
So you have to use language that reflects that. The use of "you" and other identifying words like it is essential. But you also have to sound like you're writing for them specifically as far as their identity goes.
Learn how to write hyper-specific copy here.
A surprise tends to get attention. It may not hold attention, but it gets people interested in the first place. And pattern interrupts are one of the best ways to do that in copy.
They're not always needed throughout your copy but it's a good idea to start with one. That way you can grab the reader's attention right off the bat. And if you can't do that, they might not keep reading.
So try to start with something that shocks your reader and raises some questions. If you can do that, chances are you can get them to keep reading.
Relating to benefits, people want to know exactly what those benefits can do for them. More specifically, what their life could look like after they make a purchase. All the good things that can happen.
Fear can be a great motivator, but sometimes hope is even stronger. So use both of them to your advantage. Show your reader how much better or how much worse their life can be with your offer.
For example, you could say something like "Imagine having more money than you know what to do with... Everything you always wanted... Now imagine that you made it all flipping bananas. It's not as crazy as it sounds."
Old-school sales tactics don't work anymore. Think of the car salesman stereotype. They come off as pushy and all they want is your money.
Good copy does the exact opposite. You have to sound like you want to help your audience. Of course, any business's goal is to make money, but if you frame it that way then nobody is going to trust you.
But when you're trying to help people, who would say no? So there's a tricky balance between nudging them along to purchase while not pushing too hard and making them turn away.
Know the persuasion secrets of copywriters here.
This ties into future pacing a little bit. But it's more about making the reader think of a better situation. Where future pacing is presenting a specific potential situation.
So it's more of a general way of teasing at what's possible with your offer. Like a way to get them to imagine where they could end up.
The way this is done is through visual language, which helps the reader see a clear picture of what you're describing.
The beginning of your copy is arguably the most important part. Not that the rest of it doesn't matter, but the start has to hook your reader. Because if it doesn't they aren't likely to keep reading.
Which means you have to start strong. And it can be through a number of ways.
As long as you start by grabbing the reader's attention. It needs to contain something that pertains to the offer and really captivates the reader.
As you can see, there's a lot that goes into good copy. Some of it is obvious, and you might have been doing it without even realizing it. But a lot of it is harder to master and doesn't really click until you see it spelled out.
And that's ok, copywriting takes a lot of practice. It's well worth the time and work, though.
Because it's all about getting more conversions. Which is what your business is all about in the end.
And copywriting is a powerful tool to aid in that process. So don't get discouraged and keep working at it if you're having trouble.
But if you end up without enough time on your hands look into hiring a copywriting consultant.
They have this stuff down to a science and can take on the workload so you can focus on the other aspects of your business.
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