People might not feel compelled to read your copy no matter how well you write. Want to know why that is? It's because polished copy doesn't mean engaging copy. Copy only works when people can relate to it. It has to help them, give them something they want, or make them feel understood.
Your copy can fall on deaf ears if it doesn't do one of those things. It's not enough to write well, you have to write in a specific way. You have to write in a way that interests your reader. It's not easy to sell to people, otherwise, everybody would have millions of dollars. You need more than a well-crafted copy, you need an interesting copy.
The problem is that the subject doesn't always lend itself to that. It's your responsibility as a writer to make your copy as engaging as possible. It may seem like a huge task but there are plenty of tricks to make your life easier. Let's look at some of the copywriting tricks I use to spark life into unimaginative copy (and boost sales) and see how you can use them to keep your readers interested.
People like to read and watch stories. Stories help them see themselves in a scenario, good or bad. At least that's true for well-written stories that people can relate to. Anyone can write a story, but it takes some know-how to write a story that interests readers.
A story has to compel the audience to get to the end. It's not only about how a story happens, but the story also has to be relevant. Even an interesting story has no purpose if it isn't relevant. The reader has to see themselves in the story and imagine how it looks to get what they want.
For example, let's say you tell a story about how you worked your way to success. You could say something like, "I struggled for years to reach my goal, and after consistent hard work I made it."
That's nice, but it doesn't compel the reader. Your copy needs to be about your reader, not you. They only care about what benefits them and what you can do for them, not what you've done. A story also needs more details. Details can help to make a story more relatable.
So instead, you could say something like, "You slept on couches for years. You ate instant noodles and wondered if you'd ever get your business off the ground. Then something clicked. Bananas. That's what you needed to focus on. Fast forward and you clear $20k per month with no signs of stopping. Want to find out how?"
This isn't a fleshed-out story but the comparison should give you an idea of what a good story looks like. You can tell a mundane story in a way that engages your audience, so the possibilities are endless.
The first step to write a story is to decide what it's about. This depends on the purpose of the story and your writing strengths. The subject of the story doesn't matter as much since you can write about anything.
You don't have to write about your own experiences or even events that occurred in someone else's life. If you do, you have the details lined up and you can tap into how you or someone felt during the experience. If not, you have some challenges to work with but you also have the opportunity to craft a story about anything.
You might need a specific story to drive home the point in some situations. That means you won't always have a personal experience that relates to the copy. If you're convincing enough, you can make up a story that fits your needs. It takes a lot of creativity, but you should have no problem with some practice and confidence.
The length of your story depends on the message you want to send. It depends on the context more than anything. For example, an email doesn't need the same length as a sales letter. Regardless of length, you should keep a few things in mind when you write your story.
The main idea of most stories centers on a protagonist and the challenges they face. They try to do something, but something else stands in the way. Otherwise, a story is as simple as "The man sold bananas."
You have to ask questions like how did they do it? What made it difficult? Why should anyone care?
Your audience has to understand your character, what they're like, and what their goals are. It's your job to tell them all about it. Then, you detail what they do to achieve that goal, what stands in their way, and whether they achieve that goal.
Finally, the story ends in success or failure. What do the results look like for the character? They could have learned a lesson after they persevered. Or they learned from their failure. You want to illustrate what happens in the end with visual copy to strengthen that image in your reader's mind.
Finally, when you have all the details figured out, you can put everything together. Your best bet is to follow the tried-and-true formula. The structure of most stories looks like this, and it works for any story:
The basic story structure starts with something that starts the character's journey. Next, any number of events can happen. These events add to the conflict of the story. The point is to keep the reader engaged and make them want to find out how the story ends.
After things ramp up enough, there's a climax. The climax should change the character and the direction of the story. Now, you're at the end and you can wrap things up. The ending isn't always happy, but it should please the reader. You can't bring them all this way only to disappoint with a weak or meaningless ending.
Now you have a crafted and polished story. You're ready to reel your audience in. The thing is, you still need to focus on your offer no matter how good your story is. After all, you're only a creative writer if you're not selling anything. Which you are, but you write with a single goal in mind: sales.
The story gets your reader interested but you still have to close the deal. You also have to make sure your copy says the right things to the right people. That can pose challenges but there are many ways to get around them.
So, let's go over some tips to make sure your copy gets you sales.
You know by now that your audience only cares about what your offer can do for them. In other words, how certain features can benefit them. You need many benefits to appeal to many prospects. The issue is that you might list too many benefits.
People want instant gratification and they don't want to read an essay to learn about a product. Too many benefits can have the same effect as copy that's too long. You might make your offer look like every other similar offer if you list too many benefits. Many of these benefits don't make a difference to buyers anyway. In the worst cases, they can make an offer sound too good to be true.
Instead, you should focus on one or a few benefits. Benefits that give you a different angle than the competition. That helps to make sure readers don't get bored before your CTA. Your end goal is to keep readers interested until you ask them to do something.
Let's take bananas for example. You could list all the health benefits they share with other fruit, but that doesn't set them apart. Instead, you could focus on the fact that bananas are the most ergonomic fruit. That's a unique benefit that could appeal to the right audience.
One of the biggest rules in copywriting is to never assume anything about your audience. You risk insulting them or otherwise pushing them away if you assume something. You need to understand who you're writing to.
That's why research is crucial. You have to figure out who's buying what you're selling. With bananas, you might assume that only health-conscious people have an interest. That's far from the truth.
You risk alienating every other potential buyer if you only write for one type of person. You might also miss out on an opportunity to sell to people looking for a quick and convenient snack. Consider all the angles you could use with your offer.
At the same time, make sure you don't try to sell to everyone. You'll never achieve that lofty goal, but you might find a few different audiences. Do your homework and make sure that they're the right audience.
For example, you can't sell bananas to everyone. Some people don't like fruit at all. You won't win those people over in most cases. It's a waste of time and money to write for an uninterested audience, so don't bother. Instead, focus on an audience that likes fruit already.
Copywriting is all about persuasion. It's easy to cross the line and come off as pushy so you need a balance. You want to get your reader to take action, but they have to feel like they got there on their own.
This is where conversational copywriting comes into play. You want your copy to sound conversational but you don't want it to sound exactly like a conversation. The trick is to write the way you'd speak to a person. Think of how you'd tell a friend about a product without the intention to sell it to them.
You also don't want to include any mistakes made in casual conversation. People misspeak and have to correct themselves when they talk. Avoid that and aim for clarity. A casual but clear message is one of the most important things you can have in your copy.
Your audience can tell you're trying to sell them something if your copy doesn't sound natural. That's why the balance of conversational tone and persuasion is important. Your job is to convey the benefits of your offer and convince them that you want to help.
Your copy could fail to get a message across even with all the technical skills in the world. The way you write is important but it's not everything. You also have to hit the right points. The right points are what your audience wants to hear.
Rather than first focus on how you write, focus on what you need to say. From there, decide how you want to craft that message. Your message is the most important part of your copy. You won't have much luck with even the best copy if your message isn't clear.
That's why it's so important to understand your audience inside and out. You can't tap into what they want if you don't know what that is. If you can't tap into that, you won't compel them to take any action.
It's common to only pick up momentum halfway through a project. That can work against you. Your goal is to keep the reader hooked all the way through your copy. You might lose your reader halfway through your copy, no matter how good the ending is.
You need to start with a strong headline and keep it strong all the way through to the CTA. If you can't, your reader might not continue to the CTA, let alone click on it. That's the last thing you want after you slave away for hours.
The best way to deal with this is to finish your piece, wait for a bit, then come back and check it with fresh eyes. This can give you a better perspective on where your copy is strong and where it's weak. From here, you can edit to make sure it's strong all the way through.
Now you have a better idea of what makes a good story and how to make your stories better. You can take it one step further and make them even better.
You know that people like well-crafted stories by now. They also respond well to emotional language. They're more likely to stay engaged with your writing if it makes them feel something.
So, let's go over some emotions you can appeal to and some examples of words to give you a better idea.
Curiosity is powerful and copywriting is the perfect tool to capitalize on it. That's why devices like open loops work so well. You say something interesting and your audience wants to know more.
Open loops aren't the only tool you can use. You can tease information or imply that you have something that few people know. Words and phrases like these work well for that:
What no one tells you
Have you heard
Behind the Scenes
A sense of urgency can get someone to take action. Even an implied sense of urgency can work wonders. People don't like to miss out on things. A good deal is no exception.
You can say you have limited supplies or your special offer is available for a limited time. Anything that pushes someone to act now is perfect. If you want to strengthen that feeling, you can use specific language like:
Nobody wants to feel helpless. Even if they aren't helpless, they can still feel that way. You can use that to your advantage and offer some help. They could feel like they're missing out or they're at their wit's end with a problem.
Some people also don't like to ask for help. They want to feel like they helped themselves. You can provide a resource so they can help themselves in that case. Either way, you can use language like:
People are quick to act in anger. They'll often do things without any thought. Anger can stem from almost anything and it can show itself in many different ways. It's not always a physical outburst, it's sometimes as simple as silent frustration.
You have a good chance to push your reader to take action if you touch on what makes them angry. Think about what might make your audience angry. Things that they'd like to change. Words like this can help you touch on that feeling:
Humans have an instinct to stay safe and take care of themselves. They want to make the best choices for their safety. They need to know their choices will have a good outcome, so try to reassure them.
People want security in every aspect of their lives. Mental, emotional, and even financial safety are important. Words like these appeal to the need for safety:
A cut above
Happiness is the main goal in life for most people. They're either happy or they want to be. Even if they're happy, everyone could stand to be a little happier. People also expect certain things to make them happy, like things they spend money on. If those things can't make them happy, they look for something else.
You can help them achieve happiness, or at least imply that your offer can help. You can also help people maintain happiness. Nobody wants to feel unhappy so you can help them avoid it. Words like these appeal to happiness:
Everyone needs to feel inspired. From you to your customers, inspiration can push someone to take action. They could want to feel like they're more capable and in charge. They might need a boost of confidence. You can make them feel like you can help with words like:
In such a stressful world, many people look for some sort of relief. This is a niche that many offers don't fit, but it's a powerful motivator. There are only so many ways someone can relax, so if you can help with that then you should have some success. To convey that you can help with that, use words like:
These are far from the only tips, tricks, and methods you can use in your copy. They're just some of the most tried and true ways to help your copy excel. Stories, for example, work when written well.
That means you have to pay attention to a lot of moving parts. You need to understand how a story works and what engages people. You also have to make sure your copy itself is immaculate.
Then you can make it even better by using specific language to convey emotion. All this will vary with every offer. Every offer is different, but you can follow a similar process with different details.
Use some of these tips and you should find a good angle no matter what you sell and who you sell to. Don't worry if you don't have the time to perfect these skills. You can always hire a copywriting consultant, it's their job to take care of this stuff for you.
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