Writing effective copy is an essential part of converting loyal followers into loyal customers.
With great copy, you can attract more subscribers to your email list, and people will actually engage with your newsletters and posts!
In a nutshell, copywriting is a major sales-driving force and yet, a lot of content creators sometimes find themselves stuck in a rut and unable to create copy that converts.
So what are the essential elements to creating the holy grail of copy that drives engagement and sales?
Well, copywriting is a subtle and timeless art, and cracking the ‘copy code’ often just requires the practice of a few key techniques which have been used by storytellers since the beginning of time.
Here is our top ten list of tried and tested copywriting techniques that you can employ to create copy that sells.
1. Short Form Vs Long Form Content
Will you be writing a long form post or short copy? The answer to this depends on the purpose for the copy and what you aim to communicate with the reader.
So it can be any length you want it to be. However, it is important to note that well-written long copy usually trumps short copy because it allows you to fit in more information, thus providing better value to your customers.
So whether you’re writing long or short copy, the point here is to keep it interesting and stimulating for the reader throughout.
2. Use Attention-Grabbing Headlines
The headline for your copy is the first thing that readers will see, so you have to make a good impression from the start.
Basically, your headline must stimulate a readers’ imagination and be captivating enough for them to justify reading the rest of your copy. Otherwise a boring headline could ruin the entire ad and ultimately cost you valuable readers.
It’s entirely possible to have engaging copy from beginning to end, but if your headline isn’t captivating enough to capture your readers’ attention, they might never get the opportunity to read the rest of it.
If you struggle to generate attention-grabbing headlines, there are plenty of online blogs that offer awesome hints and tips on just this topic alone.
So do some research and Google can definitely be a valuable ally in this regard.
3. Keep it Relevant
The very first paragraph of your content should get straight to the point of what you want to say, keeping in line with the tone set by your headline.
This first part has to be enticing enough to persuade readers into consuming the rest of your ad, and be careful to not add unnecessary fillers that waste the reader’s time without adding value.
A great tip that you can use to ensure that you’re posting relevant copy is to know your target audience.
First, narrow down your options from the general online population to a specific niche. Once you get an idea of who exactly you’re marketing to, next you have to figure out what their preferences and habits are.
You can do this by examining your website to analyse customers’ comments, sale peak times as well as the least and most popular pages on your site.
This research will help you to create well-thought out copy that specifically caters to your audience’s needs, while simultaneously addressing potential questions that might arise.
4. Structure it with Dividers
Use relevant bullet points and sub-headings to divide your copy into easily digestible parts.
This gives readers a small breather in between different sections, and makes the reading process more exciting and comprehensible.
Remember that subheadings and bullet points make it easier to scan through an article, so be sure to make them relevant yet stimulating enough to justify reading what follows after.
5. Be Yourself
When writing copy it’s important to be yourself, because readers can spot inauthenticity from a mile away.
So write as if you’re talking to your best friend and don’t try to imitate someone else, no matter how skilled or clever they seem to be with their copy.
On the other hand, avoid writing as if you’re talking about yourself, as that can be off-putting to readers as well.
Keep in mind that readers are only interested in your copy in so far as it can help them to solve their problem.
While adding personality and an interesting story are important elements that ‘hook’ the reader, it’s crucial that those elements only serve to add flavour to the main objective of your copy- which is to sell product.
6. Simplicity is Best
Remember the purpose for writing the copy in the first place, and stick to that purpose.
Instead of trying to impress readers with big words or complicated prose, keep it simple and get to the point, which is to sell your readers a product or service by telling them about it. Done.
Keeping your copy simple also involves being specific in your writing. Use powerful statements like ‘write a novel in three months’, instead of ‘learn to be the next Hemingway’.
The former is not only specific but provides more clarity and let’s your customer know exactly what they’ll be getting.
Lastly, don’t go too hard on the highlighting and bold type. Overdoing it with these tools will make you come across as scams and fake.
Ideally, you should use these features to emphasize important points and keep your readers interested. So make sure that your use of them sparingly and in a well-appointed manner.
7. Promote the Pay-off
A lot of content creators will get caught up in punting the features of a product that they completely forget that the reader’s real interest is in finding out what’s in it for them.
What pay-off will they get from using your product or service? That’s what you need sell. Hard.
Imagine you’re selling yoga tights. There are a million and one similar products on the market, all available at different price points.
So the goal of your copy here would be to clearly point out the pay-off that customers will get from purchasing your brand of yoga tights, and this is besides the amazing features they have.
Let’s say one of the features is that your brand of tights is made from a super durable material.
The pay-off here would be that the tights would last longer and provide value for money- a huge pay-off for customers.
8. Copywriting Techniques: Reassure Your Customers
Even in the age of the internet, word of mouth is still a powerful tool to attract more customers.
You can use this age-old technique to your advantage by averaging testimonials from previous and current customers.
This feedback will reassert your statements, giving you more credit in the eyes of prospective customers.
Just be sure to use real and full names on the testimonials, as well as where that customer is located, and maybe even what they do for a living if that’s relevant to your niche.
Whatever you do, just don’t buy testimonials. Rather do a good job so that you can have genuinely great feedback to use.
Another way to reassure customers is by offering them a solid guarantee. This shows them that you’re willing to stand behind your product and are confident about what it offers.
The longer the guarantee, the more reassuring it will feel when your customers buy the product. And products with longer guarantee periods are known to attract a lot more customers.
And a 30-day money-back or repair guarantee is usually a reasonable and satisfying offer, depending on the product you’re selling.
9. Use Incentives
Let’s face it, people love freebies, and giving stuff away in return for making a purchase is a definite draw-card.
The key here is to make sure that what you’re giving away has enough value to attract customers, and it must make business sense as well.
In fact, your freebie doesn’t even have to be a tangible item. For example, you can offer free international shipping on all items for a limited amount of time in celebration of a milestone in your business.
Not only will this attract customer’s attention, but it will encourage them to spend more because they won’t have to worry about shelling extra bucks for shipping costs.
10. The Key Takeaway
Your copy should always have a ‘Key Takeaway’ feature at the end where you effectively summarise everything and make your ‘call to action’ statement.
This is known as post-script, and customers typically read it after going through the introduction section to determine whether your copy is worth reading or not.
As with anything else, simplicity is key when it comes to writing your post-script. So keep it short but make sure that it’s a strong and compelling statement that can convert prospects into customers.
Bonus Tip! Examine Your Copy Thoroughly
Once published, the field is wide open for you to analyse your copy and determine whether it’s giving you the desired outcome or not.
If you’re not satisfied with the rate of conversion it’s getting, you can easily tweak it around here and there to optimise your results.
Small, gradual changes are preferable to doing a complete overhaul in this regard, as they’ll improve your copy without raising eyebrows with customers.
About the Author
After graduating with a BA in Management from the University of Oxford, Elena Tahora joined Keen as a business acquisition manager. She started solo, but now she manages a sales force team of 6. She truly believes that without sales there’s no business.
Image source: Author-owned