How to write copy that sells – 3 basics to improve your copy
As entrepreneurs we write tons of copy. I love writing and I write all the time – not just marketing or sales collateral, but to organize my thoughts and ideas. Every time I write business copy, like this blog post, I think a lot about how to write it in a way that you as a reader get value out of it.
I think a lot about how to write copy that sells.
I’ve put a fair amount of time into studying writing and wanted to share with you some of the basic ideas and concepts I’be learned about how to write copy that sells.
What types of copy entrepreneurs write?
Just in case you are unfamiliar with the term “copy”, it refers to written text. The entrepreneurial copy takes different formats and serves a wide variety of purposes. We write sales material, proposals, presentations, instructions, manuals, guide books, service descriptions, our website texts, contracts, proposals, job adverts, press releases, blog posts.. you name it.
Here’s the thing: all the copy we write as entrepreneurs is business copy. And there one thing for sure: it is intended to be read by someone. And that someone is the target audience you and I must define first. Your key target audience for your copy are your customer audience and your talent audience. Get to know them a little bit better and figure out what types of problems and questions they have in relation to your business. That’s the starting point.
Any other kind of copy is a waste of time from business perspective.
How to write copy that sells?
(1) Select a discoverable title for your online copy
The title I stole for this blog post is from a session I attended at the Social Media Marketing World 2017 conference in San Diego.
The following points work for all types of content we write for business, but for all your online content, you must pay attention to the title you select for your copy.
Trust me, people do not just accidentally swim to your website. You must make your content discoverable. With a copy, it starts with the title.
Titles are difficult. A title that helps you copy to be discovered is in a format your target audience would search for the information you provide for them. Think google. Usually informative content is best to address in “How to” or “What is” -types of formats.
The really simple trick is to go to Google or Youtube Search and start typing in How to.. and narrow your search with whatever you are writing about. Google will show you the top search phrases for your topic. Choose your copy title from the most searched phrases. Put your content out there for those who want to find it.
(2) Think bigger than just one copy
This world is full of information. We really need no more of poor quality copy. I like to think there is a narrative between all the copy we produce at a company. They must all belong to the same narrative.
The narrative is like an on going conversation you have with your audience. A conversation has more than just one sentence. So a good narrative with your target audience is not made up of one single copy.
If you only approach your potential customer one time and it’s with a sales proposal, how’s that gonna work for you? That’s called spam.
If you (and most of us do) only approach your potential job candidate one time with a job post, how’s that gonna work for you?
A copy that sells is like a chapter in a book. When the copy is just one chapter in a book, one independent copy can be more factual or technical. But if it is the only copy you put out, it will fail to deliver.
Make sure you have copy that emotionally appeals to your audience. What’s that then? Move on to the next point.
(3) Write only about things that are relevant to your target audience
If there is no action or impact as a result of your copy, your copy is not relevant to your audience. There are way too many business blogs that are like personal online diaries. There are too many sales presentations that rant about how amazing, award winning, magnificent the seller is.
Listen folks, we are not interested in your amazing balls. We are interested in what you have to offer to us, to make our balls as amazing. There’s no space for more than one hero in my or your story. Right? That’s how we feel. That’s human. You must appreciate that and let it play to your advantage.
What is relevant to your target audience?
Not your product nor is it your service, but the solution, the outcome, the end result they provide. And even that is still not the really relevant thing. Lets say in my business a finalized employer branding strategy could be the outcome. But our customers are really not buying the strategy nor the improved employer brand. They are buying a personal professional transition process to meet or exceed the expectations of their bosses.
What is relevant for the target audience is the promise of a transformation.
So no, your personal achievements and accomplishments are not meaningful to anyone else but you. However, your accomplishments are the product of probably a lot of trial and error. Now that’s interesting. Your target audience is interested in how you made that [your transformation] happen. Your copy needs to tell them how.
How to. That’s a copy that sells.
This article was inspired by a @rayedwards session at Social Media Marketing World 2017 – #smmw17