February 18, 2019
Copywriting for marketing
You’ve developed a pretty cool product. You’ve invested a lot of time, money and effort on a business plan. You may have run a few market research sessions to see if people actually want to buy your product (yes, they do!).
You then go nuts on the marketing: you run some ads, you set up a flashy website, you create some social media accounts and followed a whole bunch of people; you even set up a stall at a trade show and received heaps of positive feedback. And yet, you’re not hitting your sales targets.
You look to your marketing automation analytics dashboard for insights. 90% of your sales were from your trade show appearance — and the remaining 10% came from your website. You’re a bit annoyed because you were hoping your website would be your primary source of lead traffic. The reason why you’re not getting sales really comes down to one thing:
Your copy needs work.
Sure, your website needs to look beautiful. Design elements such as colors, fonts, and layout are important but your words are what will sell your products. And if your copy is terrible, you’ll be losing money (or in this case, not making money). If you want to transform your marketing — and increase your sales — the one simple trick that will get you there is this:
Focus on your copy.
Some of you may be sitting here thinking there’s nothing wrong with your copy. Nevertheless, it might worth a quick glance over and reminding yourself of the following 3 copywriting principles:
1. Copywriting is a direct conversation with a potential customer
The words “copywriting” and “content marketing” often get used interchangeably, but they are actually two very different things. Content writing refers to writing that isn’t directly tied to a transaction. Its intention isn’t to get someone to hand over their money; instead, it’s designed to nurture a lead through the sales funnel. Good examples of content writing include blogs, case studies, and tutorials.
In comparison, copywriting’s purpose is purely to sell something and “copy” refers to the words that make someone buy your product or service. Examples of copy include the words on your website, emails, and landing pages.
Both forms of writing are important in marketing, but copy is where the money’s at — especially if you’re just starting out.
2. Be very clear
Fact: you have six seconds at best to catch someone’s attention in person, and even less time when they visit your website. Your job is to use those precious few seconds to tell them what you do, clearly and quickly.
Unfortunately, many corporate websites often have copy like this: “We strive to make the world a better place through the implementation of smarter systems to ensure fairer outcomes for our customers.” These slogans are annoying because they don’t really tell you what the company actually does.
In copywriting, clarity is everything. And here’s the hard truth for marketers: clarity will always trump creativity. While it’s tempting to be creative, it’s probably not the best idea to exercise your creative muscles when money is on the line — save your creativity for your next poetry slam.
That’s right — it’s better for your copy to read “We sell air conditioners!” instead of “We keep you comfortable in summer.” At least you’ll be attracting people that actually want to buy air conditioners; these people will be the ones spending time on your products page and emailing you for prices.
3. Good copy can take your sales volume from good to amazing
A well-designed website goes a long way but essentially, your copy will be responsible for driving the sales. Bottom line: your words are what sells your stuff. Copywriting is hard to master but the good news is that it is a learned skill that just takes a bit of training and practice.
Basic sales copy must include the following:
- What you do
- How you help the customer
- How their lives will be better once they pay you
Here are some examples:
We help you [look younger] with [these specially formulated skincare masks] that [contain a hydrating serum].
[Capture and convert new leads] with our [marketing automation software].