Part 1: The Holy Grail of Tips
Gone are the days where you furiously search “how to start copywriting” to find the best information.
I’ve got 20 juicy tips coming at ya… but before you get overwhelmed, I’ve broken it up into parts so you can easily digest them and come back to each section when your brain is ready to absorb more.
You’re not gonna be able to remember all 20 of these copy tips when you’re writing, so don’t try…You’ll end up closing your Mac and guzzling a large glass of wine to cope.
But the good news is, you don’t need to remember them all at once. You’ve got a good copywriter friend who has broken it into segments to fit whatever kind of copy you’re writing.
SO….let’s dive into the top 10 copywriting techniques that will leave you feeling like you have some dang good copy.
Here are your 10 Holy Grail Copywriting Tips:
1. Begin every project by identifying the target audience
Imagine you’ve been asked to teach an art class how to paint with perfect technique but you’re not told who you’re teaching. You don’t know who the audience is. You picture a room full of college students who have some experience but need to elevate their stroke…so you think of what is important for them to learn, how to best get it across, and what subject would help them learn the best.
You show up with a nude male model for them to paint. As you open the door, you realize your audience is a class of elementary school students who are just learning how to paint.
You would fail dramatically if you continued with your current plan because you aimed at the wrong audience. (plus you might land yourself in jail, too, but that’s beside the point!)
You’ve gotta know who you’re speaking to as a copywriter (or even if you’re not a copywriter but you’re trying to write your own copy.) It sets the stage for all of your copy. If you don’t start here, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
2. After you identify your target audience, you then identify the copy objective
After identifying the target audience, it is imperative that you understand what you want your copy to accomplish when speaking to them.
Once your target audience starts reading your copy, what do you want them to do? Book a call, purchase your course, schedule a service etc
Relying on “being a good writer” is NOT how you start copywriting. Copywriting is a science and requires a very specific and intentional strategy to actually get results from it.
So identify the objective, the WHY, and you’re on the right track for some conversions.
3. You should ALWAYS have a goal to push the reader to the next line
It sounds simple, but it matters. The most important purpose of a single sentence of copy is to make the reader want to keep reading. If they stop, then what you have to say just doesn’t matter. You’ve wasted your time with anything that follows.
Copywriting, when done well, will take you a while. It’ll take you longer to write one sentence than a paragraph some days because of the intentionality that must be present.
It’s hard to be intentional with every word and every sentence but don’t get in your head about it. Write your copy, read it back, and ask yourself if it makes the reader want to keep reading…if it doesn’t, change it. And repeat the process until it does.
4. Your wants and needs don’t matter. Only your consumer’s matters.
A common mistake business owners make when writing their own copy is focusing too much on themselves and their businesses.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen business owners talk about how they were able to “quit their 9-5, make 6 figures, and how they developed a strong strategy.” This is not speaking to your target audience.
In most instances, they don’t care about how much you make, how great your strategy is, or if you quit your job or not. In fact, they don’t care about you or your business at all…they only care about what they can get from you. (whew, all that harshness made me wanna wrap up in a soft blankie and eat some ice cream.)
They are only interested in your business when they feel like their needs will be met by it.
And when you write your copy, you need to have this in mind. Your copywriting should mirror that. Every word, every phrase should connect the dots for them that YOU are the answer to THEIR needs, wants, or desires. If your copy isn’t focused on that, scrap it. It’s not relevant and you’ll lose the reader.
5. Write like you are speaking to a friend.
I say it all the time…if you wouldn’t say it to a friend to their face, don’t write it. Sometimes business owners think they need to sound professional, smart, and like an expert to make a conversion.
So they sit down and start writing stiff, boring copy. There’s usually a lot of filler words, business jargon, and empty sentences. But good copy sounds like you’re talking to a friend. It’s casual but straightforward, friendly…but gets to the point. Good copywriting is not talking just to talk. It doesn’t try to fill space just to have something.
One of my biggest pieces of advice is to write your copy and then read it out loud. If you feel like you’re speaking in a weird cadence or saying words you’d never actually say in real life, chop it. If you wince a little after reading it all aloud, chop it.
6. Clarity in copywriting is KEY
You can be as smooth talking and persuasive as you’d like, but if you’re not clear in the process, your velvety words will accomplish nothing more than a “aw, they seem great” while they digitally walk away.
My job as a copywriter isn’t to make people need you. They already have a need. My job is to CHANNEL that need directly to you and your product/service. That is what sells. So the goal of your writing is to just let everyone know that you are the perfect fit for what they already need.
I’m not a fan of “persuasive copy” because it can feel slimy really fast. Clarity is the real key here. If you have clarity, you’ve got them. Have you ever heard the old saying “you’ll catch more flies with honey?” Remember that when writing your copy!
7. Include question words in your copy
The “how, why, where, who, and what” questions will be key in giving your reader clarity. You gotta cover all bases so they aren’t left wondering anything.
So make sure you gather and know all information before you start writing your website copy (or any other copy):
- What is your offer?
- Why does it matter to them?
- Where can they find it?
- Who is your offer for?
- How does your offer work?
Now, ALL of these won’t always apply, but try to get as many of them in your copy as it makes sense. Details are crucial, y’all.
8. Proof, proof, proof
How many times do you look for testimonials or reviews before purchasing a product or service? (chances are you said almost always.)
Using proof in your copywriting is where the sorcery lies. Everyone claims they can give you the best results and talk themselves up, but “the proof is in the pudding” right? (someone please tell me the meaning of that common phrase?!)
When you can back up your claims with real data, case studies, and testimonials, you automatically win more trust, even if it is subconscious. Use this proof to structure your copy.
For example, here’s a testimonial from my past client:
“Within one week of having my new website, someone read it and told me they felt like I knew exactly where they were and started a mentorship with me. Haley’s copywriting did that! I was blown away with how quickly I actually got results from it.”
Now, doesn’t that make you trust me a smidge more than you did before? Utilize your proof.
9. Speak to their deepest emotions that will drive their decision
If you can make someone feel something, you’ve already made a step in the right direction. Humans typically always buy based on emotion. We are emotional beings and most of our decisions are emotionally driven.
I’d like to sit and tell you that we are all logical and think through every decision for days and days…but we don’t. My job as a copywriter is to understand the spot my client’s audience is in and to write in a way that directly speaks to their emotions.
Tell a story. Share a personal triumph. Connect to their deepest feelings. No matter how you choose to do it, make sure you’re connecting with the emotion.
“Keep it simple, stupid!” Did you ever hear that in English class growing up? It has stuck with me to this day, and although I will always tell you to ignore everything you ever learning in English class when writing copy, this is the one thing you should actually remember!
If you can shorten a phrase, take out words, or decrease the use of fillers…DO IT. You have a very limited amount of space and time for your reader. Anything you can say with fewer words, do it. The simpler, the better. (simpler is such a funny word, isn’t it)
Part 2: Email Copywriting Tips
Email marketing isn’t dead! Think of how many times you’ve gotten that 50% off email and ran to use the code. That’s some smart email marketing right there, my friend. If you want to grow your community and your business, don’t think twice about email marketing.
However, to be effective, it needs to be done well. The following tips will help you write more effective copy and get more conversions from your email marketing.
11. Subject lines need to be short
Your subject lines are what get people to click, or instantly hit that delete button. I’m sure you’ve heard “hook” or “headline” a million times…email subject lines are equivalent to your hook or headline.
It’s been proven that most people open short subject lines. Because most of the world is living through their phone, shorter is always better and brings a better return.
If you have a long subject line on your email, it will get cut off and your message will be lost. ALWAYS send a test email first to see how it actually sends. 5-10 words will be your best bet.
12. Avoid spam words
When you’re trying to write a catchy email, you’re most likely going to want to use words that will grab attention such as “free” or “congratulations” etc. But there’s big nasty monster waiting to eat all of your emails…the spam filter. *cue dungeon music*
If you have spam trigger words in your copy that you’ve worked oh so hard on, nobody is going to get to see it. And what sucks even more, it can hurt your email marketing in the future. So…if you’re sending out a freebie or other exciting things, be mindful to stay away from “congratulations, discounts, win, free” and other words you can research on your own!
13. Get to the point and stick with it
Just like I’m going to do with this copy tip..people don’t want to read a lot. They skim. They are quick to pass over things. And they want the best value content as soon as possible. Plain and simple. Get to the point fast.
14. Actually utilize the preview text
People do read the preview text and it carries more weight than you realize. Your subject line and preview text are like husband and wife. They hold hands and they work off of each other. So make it as seamless as possible.
15. Personalization is great…until it’s not
I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten that are “personalized” but misspelled, use jargon, accidentally still have the template in it etc. Yes personalization is great when it’s done correctly, but the ONLY time you should use it is when you’ve tested to make sure it’s perfectly done.
16. Talk TO your consumer, not at them
This means using “you” and “we.” This makes your reader feel like you are talking directly to them and they are not just another random person consuming content.
Purchase this sofa from Target and get 50% off
Purchase our sofa and we will help you save 50%!
Quite the difference there, huh?
17. Use action words in copywriting
Did you know if you write email copy that has a lot of verbs and action language, the clickthrough rate is higher? When you have calls to action and verbs throughout, more people are likely to actually take that action.
And a really cool tip is it isn’t always a verb…things like “Don’t miss your chance to” or “There’s only 3 days left” etc also inspire people to take action.
18. Dude, do A/B testing…for real
No one likes testing. And if you say you love it, I probably don’t trust you. (okay okay I’m just kidding…or am I?)
A/B testing is one of the best things you can do with your email marketing. I’ve been running a campaign with a semi trucking company and have done A/B testing to determine what their consumers respond to best. It literally takes the guesswork out of your copywriting.
I usually test out subject lines, preview lines, and the body copy. I’ll try different formats such as educational, funny, action, etc. to see what they respond to best then I tailor my email copy to match it.
19. If it isn’t obvious, your subject line needs to match your content
And as obvious as you’d think it is…a lot of people miss out on this. People are smart enough to know that we want catchy subject lines so we are interested and open the email…but if you see a “I dated LeBron James” subject line and NONE of the copy that follows is about you dating LeBron James, you’ve automatically lost trust with your reader.
20. Your emails should be written like your brand
People open emails from who they care about. From someone who has something valuable to offer. Your emails should be written like you’re trying to build your brand.
When I get emails from a certain person, I open them no matter what. Because I know they will contain value. So the biggest tip I can leave you with here is to write emails that contain real value. So your readers look forward to hearing from you and you become the person they WANT to read from.
Need my help directly? Browse my services: https://sladecopyhouse.com/professional-copywriting-services/