Whether you a business owner or simply trying to break into the copywriting industry, it is important to be well-versed with the fundamentals of writing sales-oriented copy and put you on a path to success. Copywriting is one of the major tools in a business’ marketing tool box. The copy of your marketing material can make or break your business. While professional copywriting services are widely available, effective copywriting can be achieved in 10 easy steps.
1. Highlight your product’s benefits
The first step of effective copywriting is to understand the benefit of your product or the value it offers to the customer. Only then can you put into words the reasons your offering is the best available in the market.
2. Exploit the weakness of your competition
To write compelling copy, you must understand what differentiates your product from the competition. Thoroughly research your competition and understand what they offer in terms of products and services. Next, list the elements that highlight how your products are superior. However, be realistic about your claims – you would need to support them if you are challenged.
3. Know your audience
First, take the time to research your customers thoroughly. In most businesses, 20 percent of customers are responsible for 80 percent of sales. These 20 percent represent your best customers. Develop their basic profile and communicate your message that best resonates with them. The following traits can help you develop a demographic profile of the audience:
• Family status
4. Understand your goals
Before you write copy for your promotional piece, you need to understand your goals for that piece. The copy you use in each ad or marketing piece will vary based on your goals for that promotion. The objectives can be to:
• Generate leads
• Communicate a special offer
• Share information and raise awareness
In this step of the copywriting outline, focus on your product’s features, benefits, and differentiators and specifically describe how they directly affect your target audience members’ lives in positive ways.
5. Focus on the customer
Your copy is not about you – it is about your customers. Therefore, the majority of your copy in any marketing piece should be written in the second person, for example, instead of we can deliver cars within 24 hours, the better option will be ‘you can drive your new car tomorrow’. While the first copy example focuses on the business, the second example is more personal and more effective because it speaks directly to your target audience.
6. Understand your medium
Each medium is different and each media requires a different copy to most effectively persuade a particular audience to act. There are many ways to use copy to promote your business other than traditional advertisements, for instance, the online media is now emerging as the medium of choice for advertisers of all business types. Use every possible and appropriate platform to communicate your marketing messages to your customers.
7. Avoid too much information
Too much detail can cost you the attention of your audience. An effective copywriter is one that tells your audience what they need to know to act and make a purchase or how to contact you for more information. Extraneous details can clutter the minds of your audience, which increases the possibility of them forgetting the most important aspects of your advertisement or marketing program.
8. Include a call to action
The purpose of any marketing piece is to elicit an appropriate response from the audience. It is therefore essential to weave in a call to action (CTA) that tells your readers how you want to response to your marketing piece. The CTA could be to subscribe to a newsletter, make a purchase or sign up for a webinar. Make sure that the CTA is in active rather than passive voice because active voice is action-oriented. Also, develop a sense of urgency. The reason is simple – if you are spending money on advertising now, you need to make your customers act now.
9. Don’t overpromise
When writing copy, make sure that you never overpromise or claim anything which you cannot deliver or support. Aside from opening yourself up to possible litigation, exaggerating or falsifying claims about your product or your competition is unethical and a bad business practice.
One of the quickest ways to lose credibility is to allow grammatical mistakes or spelling errors to appear in your marketing copy. Customers translate carelessness in ads into carelessness in products and service. After writing a copy, take a break and then proofread for possible errors.