Writing exceptional copy is ridiculously difficult.
Arguably the single-most important skill required of any digital marketer, it is often one of the least developed and practiced. Most digital marketers spend their time writing blog posts, sharing content on social media, and networking with fellow marketers and industry influencers. While all of this can contribute to a solid digital strategy, unless you’ve mastered the art of writing sales and marketing copy, you and your organisation are missing out.
After all, what’s the reason for your brand’s existence? To sell. Of course, you want to educate your customers. Yes, brand recognition is important. But, even if you have the largest following in the world, if they aren’t buying, you’ll have a hard time staying in business.
While writing great copy is challenging, if you approach it with the right mindset, it’s certainly possible. This article discusses how to write exceptional copy across a variety of platforms and channels!
How to write great copy that sells
The goal of copywriting is to sell something – whether that’s a new software, a marketing service, sponsorship opportunity, or other product. While landing pages are often the first form of copywriting to jump into a marketer’s mind, they aren’t the only place where good copywriting is important.
In fact, when creating ads for search engines, Facebook, or Twitter, understanding the key elements of copywriting is equally as important. The shorter your message, the more time you need to invest into each element of it.
Regardless of the platform from which your copy will be presented, there are five universal elements that are critical for successful copy that sells.
1. Know your audience – and write to them
What are the needs and wants of the individual reading your copy? What problem are they trying to solve, and what has caused them to be in this situation in the first place?
The better you know who your customer is, and what types of issues they are facing in their day-to-day, the easier it will be to craft copy that inspires them to take a specific action.
The best way to do this is to ask your target audience a series of questions to determine how they currently address this problem, what would make them try something different, and how much this inconvenience is costing them. Once you know what’s at the core of their problem, you’ll be able to provide an appealing and engaging solution.
2. Invest the time and money necessary to make your copy unforgettable
The most successful landing pages can cost thousands of dollars to write. That’s because incredibly skilled writers and sales people will spend weeks crafting each word and section header. They’ll use custom designs, images, charts, and call-to-action buttons to visually direct the reader down the proper path. Then, they A/B test to maximize the performance of the landing page.
If you’re creating the landing page copy yourself, plan to spend a substantial amount of time on it – and expect to return to it every few days to further perfect the vocabulary, imagery, and overall tone.
Meanwhile, if you’re handing over the project to a cheap freelancer or intern, don’t expect to receive the same response as you would from a professionally-developed landing page.
In short, to do it right, expect to invest enough time into it to validate the quality and clarity of the message.
3. Recognize the intelligence of your audience
Did your parents ever spell words out when you were a little kid so that you wouldn’t know what they were talking about? Odds are, you still knew the topic of discussion most of the time!
People are smart – and it’s important to assume this from your readers. Don’t speak down to them or treat them like lowly students who need to learn from your never-ending wisdom. Instead, communicate with respect. Treat them like peers with whom you’re sharing a new idea. This will ensure that your copy inspires, rather than enrages, your readers.
4. Get the headline right
Particularly when it comes to writing ad copy for social media platforms, but also with landing pages, headlines are the single most important element. It’s not unreasonable for a skilled copywriter to spend 80% of their time perfecting the headline. Why? Because if the headline doesn’t draw the reader in, it doesn’t matter how great the copy is – it will never get read.
To excel at copy, constantly focus on maximizing conversions across the sales funnel. From the moment a reader sees your article in search results or shared on social media, until they click the final purchase button, the goal is to maximize conversions.
5. Never forget your focus – making the sale
As a digital marketer it’s a lot of fun to develop creative marketing strategies, viral campaigns, and witty ad copy. When this delivers results, fantastic! However, even the most witty one-liner is worthless if it doesn’t improve your conversion rates.
Therefore, when developing your ad copy, feel free to include creativity, education, and inspiration – but don’t leave it at that. The only copy that matters is the copy that results in a sale.
This ties back to why it’s essential to invest so much time in developing the copy in the first place. Although you want it to be engaging and shareable, you also want to ensure that it always incentivizes the reader to take that next step.
Becoming a skilled copywriter takes time, but it isn’t impossible. Although a digital marketer should develop the ability to craft all forms of copy, start by focusing on one or two forms. Then, as you become comfortable, expand to other platforms.
If you find yourself unable to write the kind of copy you need to grow your business, you have two options: you can either hire someone to develop the content for you, or invest the time to become an expert copywriter yourself.
Once your online presence has the copy it needs, landing clients, making sales, and growing your audience will become a walk in the park.