Copy is writing that sells, so by definition, it has to be compelling.
Does your copy also have to be concise? Yes. Does it have to be clear? Absolutely. Conciseness and clarity will ensure that your message is easy to digest, but most of all, it has to convince whoever reads it to act!
Which of these approaches do you find the most compelling?
- I wrote this blog post, now I want you to read it.
- There’s an idea I believe your business will benefit from, so I wrote this post for you.
I can pretty much guarantee that your customer is going to be much more attracted to the second option – but every day we see sales pitches like the first one! Business owners market from a self-focused mindset instead of concentrating on the needs (or wants) of their marketplace.
Remember: Every business exists in order to solve problems. Your prospective clients or customers don’t care what you want. They care about answers to their problems.
Before you start into your next email or blog post – check out my top tips below.
Know your audience
Who is going to read this? Picture the average person in your customer base – if you are doing a more targeted ezine – even better – you can have defined customer lists. Think about what their day is like and what’s important to them. What are they passionate about? How old are they? What products or services have they purchased from you in the past and why? The more you know about the audience you’re writing for, the more targeted and relevant your copy will be.
What is your value proposition?
Before you start writing you should know the answers to these questions: Why should your customer buy your product or service? What’s in it for them? Why is your product better than the one down the street? What are your key differentiators?
When prospects get in front of you have to tell them everything you offer quickly while you have their attention. When your customer asks: “Why should I buy this specific product or idea?” your value proposition must answer, in a compelling way. In creating a good value proposition, the trick is to know your product or idea well, know how it compares with those of your competitors and, very importantly, put yourself in your customer’s shoes to find the answers.
What is the point?
What’s the purpose of this blog post/ e-mail/ tweet? What action are you trying to get the reader to take? You need to be clear on this before you start writing. If the answer isn’t clear to you, it certainly won’t be clear to your reader.
Whatever it is that you’re trying to get across, make sure that you’ve detailed your objectives before you start. Note down what you want to achieve by creating this copy or what you’re attempting to sell. It’s not always about a physical sale. You might be trying to lay the groundwork for trust in a business or something else. Are you introducing people to a new business? Are you talking about an expansion of product offerings to a specific geographic area? Maybe you are talking about an upcoming promotion or event – whatever it is, have it clear in your own mind before you start.
Tell a story
Stories are the most powerful way to connect with your readers. In fact, it’s those same stories that are at the heart of any successful business. What’s your story? If a narrative doesn’t exist, you need to create one. It’s through that narrative that you can build a relationship with people through compelling copy and generate terrific amounts of sales.
Find stories that help to propel your ideas to your target audience. How can you use those stories to help convey the values and the beliefs of your business? How can you use those stories to help fuel a desire to purchase whatever it is that you’re selling? Become an effective storyteller and you’ll take your writing to new heights.
Keep it real
The tone of your voice and the approach you take to your writing counts. Often, it’s best to use a down-to-earth approach so that you can relate with your customers. Don’t try to seem better or smarter than them. Display ways that you can add value to their lives with your products, services or information and do it in a way that’s down-to-earth.
The more relatable and humble you are, the more you’ll be able to connect with them. Storytelling will get you only so far. You have to convey those stories in a way that will offer insight to customers about who you are and why you’re really there to help them in some way, shape or form.
Create a sense of urgency
One of the fundamental characteristics of a human being is a tendency towards procrastination. And when it comes to reaching for our wallets and buying something, that tendency to “think about it” is incredibly strong, even when we actually want to make the purchase. That’s why creating a sense of urgency is a crucial component of compelling copy. Set a deadline, using time-sensitive language like “This offer ends tomorrow,” or “Last chance,” or “These savings won’t last forever.” The point is to make your prospects feel uneasy about waiting. Strange as it sounds, the more uncomfortable they are, the more likely it is they’ll be compelled to act.
Create a call to action
Calls to action guide the audience towards a real-world action, so they don’t turn the page, click through to another site or just carry on browsing your material aimlessly. They set a boundary on readers’ ‘information gathering’ experience, encouraging them to move into the ‘doing’ phase.
The call to action is one of the most important ‘take-aways’ for the audience. If there’s one thing the copywriter wants the audience to read and internalise (after the headline), it’s the call to action.
It’s really quite straightforward – your readers are bombarded with information and at the end of it they need to be told what to do. It might be hard to believe, but many hurried and distracted users don’t instantly get that they are supposed to click here or call now. You have to tell them.
Decide what action you want readers to take. Ask them to take that action. Ask them clearly, succinctly, and unmistakably. Put at least one unambiguous call to action into every piece of persuasive writing you create. You’ll see results.