Effective copywriting can be as difficult or as straightforward as you choose to make it. The aim is to persuade the reader to take an action. Persuade the reader to take an action.
To persuade, to lead the reader on a journey to the point where they take the desired action, normally to buy from us.
The reader, not everyone, not a reader, but the reader. We are writing for just one person. We know that person, we understand them, what motivates them, what will persuade them that they want to take the action that we want them to take.
To take an action, there is a purpose to what we are writing. We want our reader to do something, so we give him or her the reasons why he or she must.
I adopt three principles to ensure that my copywriting is effective.
1. Keep it simple
2. Keep it honest
3. Keep it relevant
Our readers have a very short attention span. If we do not give them immediately what they want, they have moved on elsewhere before we can blink an eye. We have a little more time than that to engage our reader. Research shows we have between 6 and 10 seconds to hook our reader in before they click back and onto the next website.
So our impact has to be instant. “This is the answer to your question, dear Reader.” If the reader is left guessing at what we mean, they won’t.
I aim to get across your message as simply as possible. This is where it is so important to know who your reader is going to be. Let me give you an example: have a look at a blog/news page on a lawyer’s website. Is it written in language for their potential client or for their peers? Your potential customer/client has come to you for answers. If you “blind them with science” will they be impressed with the breadth of your knowledge or your beautiful writing style? Or bored? LIkewise if you are writing as a legal expert to an audience of lawyers, writing in simplified terms may not be the right approach.
Tired of exaggerated claims on a website? Broken or unfulfilled promises? So am I. So are we all. It is now said that honesty in our copy is the new way of standing out and being original, and we have to stand out.
Honesty can be a dangerous commodity. You may remember the jeweler Gerard Ratner describing one of his sherry decanters as being “total crap” (his words) when asked how he could sell it so cheaply.
A tie seller described his ties as “good enough… for 25 cents.” Does honesty like that help? Perhaps not, although it is unquestionably true. Our customers do not want to be insulted.
But claiming your sherry decanter is the epitome of style and gracious living when it clearly is not is only going to lead to disappointed customers, particularly in an online marketplace where the customer is relying on pictures and words to buy the product or service. We may get the sale, but at what cost in this era of reviews and keyboard warriors?
Let’s find the positives and undersell the negatives. But by including the negatives, it gives less room for our online critics to damage us.
If your customer does not want to read what you have written, they won’t. We come back to knowing our customers. What are the questions that they want answering when they come to our website or when they read our email or visit our social media? If it is relevant to them, they will read it, and if we cannot show them within a few seconds why they should read it, they will move on.
Establishing what is relevant and what is not takes time to research. But that time is well spent. Not only does it inform us what we should be writing about, it tells us what we can write about. By giving the customer what they want, we establish ourselves as the authority or the expert on the issue that concerns them. We position ourselves as the person that they want to do business with.
There should be a strategy or gameplan behind our copy and content. We are persuading our reader to take an action, and not simply writing for the sake of it, or to improve our Google ranking though SEO, or because everyone tells us that we should be blogging because everyone does.
I am writing this post because I want to show you the approach that I take to writing. If my approach resonates with you and you would like me to write for your business, please contact me via my website http://www.travellingcopywriter.com
You will also find out why I am known as the travelling copywriter, the writer who persuades your readers to become your customers. That is the ultimate goal of effective copywriting.