It doesn’t matter how great your products or services are; if you want to convert leads into customers, you need persuasive copy. But writing content capable of convincing customers to move forward with your brand can be more daunting than it initially seems.
On the one hand, if your copy is too pushy, you’re liable to turn people away. But if you’re too vague or modest, people will likely ignore you entirely.
Of course, the quickest and best solution is to hire a copywriter that can do the hard work for you. But if that is not an option right now, or you’re interested in learning how to write copy yourself, these top tips and strategies will help you get started.
1. Avoid Weasel Words and Phrases
The term weasel words refer to statements that feel ambiguous. More specifically, they’re the kind of words that leave room for deniability.
“Reduce” is a prime example of a weasel word, because saying you’ll reduce something isn’t the same as saying you’ll eliminate something. Likewise, “from as little as” leaves the possibility of paying more.
You’ve probably heard certain politicians use these sorts of words when asked difficult questions. Likewise, adverts trying to make their offers sound better than they use weasel words a lot too. But consumers know how to spot these statements and will take note if they turn up in your copy.
Top Tip: Write Bold, Accurate Statements
Weasel words have a habit of turning even when a writer isn’t actively trying to leave deniability. Most of the time, it is challenging even to notice that they’re there at all. However, you’ll do well to avoid them. Be transparent regarding what your products and services do and provide clarity regarding any related current offers.
When in doubt, use numbers, figures, and hard facts to strengthen the message within your copy. And always avoid vague, cliche statements that leave customers unsure and wary.
2. Make Your Copy Skimmable
Ever click on a web page only to find yourself looking at a wall of text? Chances are, you quickly set about looking elsewhere. And you wouldn’t be the only one either.
High school and college may have trained you to write 3000-word essays with eight-line paragraphs. But the internet is not the place for this type of writing. And that’s something that search engines such as Google worked out a long time ago.
The reality is that people read differently online than they do off. After all, they’re not looking for works of literature; they’re looking to find a quick answer to their problem. So as a result, they skim-read, often from their phones. And if your writing is challenging on the eyes, it ultimately won’t be seen by many eyes either.
Top Tip: Use SEO Best Practices
There’s a reason Google favors the kind of content it does. That’s because its algorithm knows what users read and what sends them looking elsewhere.
Despite how it may all seem, users still want quality long-form content. It’s just that they want it cut down to size. And you can do just that by following on-page SEO practices.
For example, always use appropriate headers, short paragraphs, and bullet points to cut down your text. It also pays to ensure you include plenty of visual media and white space to break things up.
It can also help to remember the three-line rule, which states that you should aim to make sentences at most three lines, with four lines being an absolute maximum.
It may take some getting used to writing like this, but it does get easier with time. And when in doubt, you can always use grammar and SEO tools to keep your writing in check.
3. Tell a Story
Storytelling is at the heart of any good writing, and that doesn’t change even if you’re trying to sell someone something.
One frequent copywriting mistake people make when writing copy is focusing too much on the products and services rather than the customer. The result is copy that sounds overly promotional and too much like traditional advertising.
And it doesn’t matter how good the thing you’re trying to sell is. People tend to stop paying attention when they know someone has one eye on their wallets.
Top Tip: Utilize the 3s Structure
Good copy focuses not on the features of your products but on the benefits they provide for potential customers. But genuinely compelling copy tells a story, one that is relatable for your customer.
One way to achieve this is to use the 3s structure, which creates a story using three elements:
– The Star: (your prospect)
– The Story (the prospect’s problems)
– The Solution (your service or product)
Let’s say, for example, that one of the features of your service is that it is available 24/7. In this instance, the star might be someone who works until late. The resulting story is that they usually cannot use the kind of service you deliver because of the hours they work.
In this scenario, your 24/7 service becomes the helping hand the star or “hero” of your story uses to overcome their problem.
Testimonials are helpful for telling these kinds of tales. But even if your story is hypothetical, using the 3s structure can ensure that it is relatable and inspiring.
4. Create a Sense of Urgency
One of the biggest hurdles to a successful conversion is procrastination. Even if a lead is genuinely interested in what you’re offering, they may end up putting off taking action indefinitely if the matter seems like anything other than a pressing one.
As a result, creating a sense of urgency is integral to high-converting copy. But unfortunately, many brands turn to strategies that feel illogical, fake, and pushy in the eyes of consumers. Consider, for instance, those “one-time offers” that repeat almost daily or sales that seem to occur once every other month.
Meanwhile, other businesses end up cutting their prices to tempt sales. But you shouldn’t need to slice into your potential profits to goad consumers into a sense of urgency.
Top tip: Use the PASA Structure
PASA stands for problem, agitation, solution, assurance, and is a technique you can use to make your offer seem urgent. All you have to do is follow this simple outline:
– Step one: Identify the problem that your customer is trying to solve
– Step two: Point out the complications that the problem can cause if left unsolved. I.e., agitate the problem
– Step three: showcase the solution you’re offering that will make the problem go away
– Step four: assure the reader that any reservations they might have are unfounded.
Making your reader uncomfortable might not seem like something you want to do as a writer. However, this is the very reason why PASA works. By emphasizing and agitating the consumer’s problem, they feel the need to act sooner rather than later.
On the other hand, actively reassuring them regarding any possible reservations removes any need they feel to delay.
5. Know Who You’re Talking To
It only makes sense that it’s easier to talk to someone if you know who you are talking to. And it’s much easier to sell a product or idea when you understand what the reader wants and the problems they need solving. Furthermore, it also helps to know what kind of tone is appropriate for your audience.
Consider, for instance, how you might speak differently to someone much younger than you compared to someone much older. Or how differently you’d talk to someone you met in a bar compared to someone you met at a business convention or work.
Writing copy is no different. And nailing the right tone and language is essential if you want to communicate in a way that resonates with your target audience. But that can be more difficult if you don’t know who you’re communicating with.
Top Tip: Create a Customer persona
A customer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client based on market research. It uses real-world data such as your audience’s age, occupation, and shopping preferences to create a generalized representation of your audience.
Also known as a buyer or an audience persona, a customer persona can be especially useful for marketing copy as it can help you visualize the kind of person that will read your writing. As a result, you’ll be better able to tailor your use of language appropriately.
6. Master the CTA
The call to action (CTA) is where all your hard work comes together to induce your lead to move a step forward in their customer’s journey. That might mean signing a newsletter, making a purchase, visiting a blog, or downloading specified content.
In any case, the CTA shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instead, you should view it as one of the most critical components of your entire copy. So, don’t just settle for a simple “buy now” button and call it a day; take the time needed to ensure your prospect takes the step you want them to take.
Top Tip: Emphasize Low Risk Alongside Benefits
When composing your CTA, remember that the less a consumer feels they risk losing from taking action, the more likely they will take that action.
Risk, in this sense, can mean several things: the amount of information they have to give up to join a newsletter, the time required to follow through with an action, or the financial investment needed to make a purchase.
For example, asking for an email and name requires less time and information than asking your customer to fill out a survey to join an email list. Likewise, free trials and money-back guarantees can alleviate concerns regarding any financial burdens you ask a customer to take on.
If you can emphasize that the customer has little to lose from taking action while simultaneously proposing that they have much to gain, you should be on to a compelling CTA.
While hiring a professional is always best, there’s no reason you can’t write your marketing copy yourself. But if you do so, ensure that you avoid the common writing pitfalls by focusing on clarity above all else, doing your research, and paying particular attention to your CTA.