Keep it real, keep it engaging. Speak to your future clients on their level. They might not know what they want yet, but they DO know things could be improved. Figure out their pain points and say it back to them, so they know you know. Give them that relief that they found you! 🚀
You’ve heard it time and again: Content is King.
Yes and no.
Content is only king if it’s great content.
It’s only great content if it converts.
It only converts if it resonates with your target audience.
That’s easy to say, Casey, but how do you do that?
I’ll tell you. It’s by telling your customer, “Here’s what’s in it for you.”
You see, high quality content engages people. It keeps them reading and gets them buying.
At the end of the day, if your copy isn’t putting profit into your pocket, then it simply isn't good copy.
What do your email campaign open rates look like?
How much hard-earned money do you spend on Facebook, Google, and Youtube advertising versus what you get back?
Despite your best efforts, does your website copy result in no more than a trickle of organic traffic when you’re hoping for a tsunami?
Investing in better copy is a no-brainer.
But, knowing what quality copy looks like can trip up lots of small business owners and end up costing them thousands of dollars in inexperienced content writers, copywriting services, and content mill type copywriting agencies. All topped off with a head-full of frustration down the line.
Got 3 minutes? Read on and learn about the 5 things you can do to lock in persuasive copy and immediately improve customer engagement, retention, and conversion.
There are fundamental rules that a skilled copywriter, digital agency, or advertising agencies follow when they’re honing in on conversions. Copywriters don’t just pull words out of thin air. When I write copy for my digital marketing clients, my goals are two-fold:
If you’re a reader, keep going. If not, feel free to request a call.
It won’t cost you anything. We can skip the lessons and go straight into what you want for your business, how to optimize for profits, and how I can get you there.
If you’ve ever heard people talk about the top, middle, or bottom of their sales funnel and wish you knew what they were going on about, here’s an easy way to think about it:
If you’ve ever had a Cornetto or Trumpet ice cream cone - or for our North American friends across the pond - a Drumstick ice cream, you’ll know that the pointy end right at the bottom filled with chocolate is the good stuff everyone can’t wait to get to.
These are the everyday people that might show up and look at your brand in passing. They don’t know much about it, don’t really trust it, and more often than not, walk right past it. The good news is you do have an opportunity to get some of them interested in knowing a little more about your goods and services!
The middle has most of that crunchy cone and if you’re lucky, a fudgy or jammy flavored center.
These are the people that may have heard about you, read up on you a bit on your website, and scrolled through your social media posts. They’re aware you exist and if you give them a reason to, they might stick around to learn a little more about you.
The bottom of your cone is where the good stuff happens. You’re getting to the coveted pointy bit that you’ve worked so hard to eat your way through. Every bite is yummy, crispy, and satisfying, and it’s only getting better!
These people at the bottom of your funnel know what you’re about. They enjoy your content, get value from it, may have purchased from you before, and are just waiting for a reason to use your products or services again. Hit them hard with sales, special offers, events, and freebies to see them running back into your arms!
Finally, the part we’ve all been waiting for: the block of solid, chocolatey, goodness that feels nice and heavy between our fingers. It’s just ready to be popped into our mouths and savored.
This is conversion. Wallets are being opened and your customers are actively looking to give you their money. It’s the best place to be.
So, now I know all about drumstick ice creams Casey (and hopefully how your sales funnel flows!), but what do I actually tell them?
Thrilled you asked! A good copywriter knows that messaging isn’t a giant stone that kills all the birds in the sky. In other words, copy is never a “write it and leave it” deal. Effective copy and content writing that converts needs to be razor focused, tweaked according to ever-changing trends, and act more like a carefully aimed slingshot.
Now you know who’s in your funnel, the easiest way to think about how to talk to your target audience is by looking at your own social circle.
In this case, you can imagine that the vanilla at the top of your ice cream are strangers and unfamiliar faces.
The guys in the middle are acquaintances you’ve met but don’t know too well.
The ones getting close to the chocolatey end are good friends and family.
And at the tip, are your bestest and closest. These are the guys you know you can rely on. They’re happy in your company, willing to do you a favor, and know you’re a good presence in their lives, just like you are in theirs.
Now, let’s think about how you might talk to all these different people
Strangers and new people know nothing about you. A polite introduction is a standard way to start, followed by some “getting to know you” chatter back and forth. That super important first impression will be made in those few, first seconds, so you don’t want to get it wrong. Questions will be asked and you’ll answer based on the mood and how interested they seem.
In other words, at the top of your funnel, messaging should be all about brand awareness. Tell the good people what your business does. Don’t be boring. Have solid answers ready for any anticipated FAQs, and use language they understand so they don’t switch off.
They’ll probably forget loads of stuff - “I’m so sorry, what’s your name again?” So, be patient. Tell ‘em again and again until they start warming up to you.
Acquaintances have the potential to turn into friends. The more they see you, the more familiar you become and the friendlier they get. You start getting a sense of how much you can say without offending someone. You’re beginning to know their likes and dislikes. They start getting more interested in who you are too. They might even be open to an offer to hang out.
This is the middle of your funnel, where people are starting to take an interest. They’re comfortable with learning a little more about your products or services. It’s where marketing and sales meet. Balanced copy here is crucial so you can give your prospective client a little more without making them feel like it’s being shoved down their throats. The copy in your Facebook ads or Instagram videos need to strike emotional chords and be carefully crafted to show a clear difference between you and the next guy. The name of the game is to create brand loyalty and advocates.
Finally, people who already know you can do without the stories and jokes they’ve heard time and time again. You can get straight to the point with them and ask them for what you want. Whether it be a favor, inviting them to try out a new place to eat, or getting their opinions on this and that.
It goes both ways. They know you well enough to understand exactly what you’re all about and what you can do for them. That’s why they’re sticking around and picking up your calls after all!
For this target audience at the bottom of your funnel - they’re hot and ready. They’re looking forward to your new products, they click on your emails, and are the most likely to bite when you offer up goodies like special offers and discounts. Talk to them to spark inspiration, remind them that you exist, and talk to them often. Your copy needs to make it clear that these VIPs are ones you’ll go the extra mile for. Closing the deal is key. Mates rates do apply!
Thanks Casey, now I know all about funneling. Tell me what my business’ actual copy should look like!
I sure can! Or you can get in touch, save yourself some trouble and a truckload of time, and I can do it all for you from vanilla to chocolate tip.
Want to learn a few of my tips and tricks of the trade though? Keep reading!
Whether you’re selling home exercise equipment, Hi-Fi systems, or nutritional supplements - one thing you don’t want to do is bore them with the details.
There are only so many sizing specs, copper coated wiring descriptions, and ingredients lists that people can look at before all the words and numbers start blending together.
Specifications-focused copy is like going on a date and telling the other person:
“Hi, I’m Chad. I’m crafted to perfection by a series of Ivy-league colleges. I’m powered by beer-fed, organic, 100% beef. Don’t be fooled by my chiseled muscular frame - I’m lightweight and durable. Everyone digs me. Hurry, before I’m all gone.”
Benefits-focused copy is like Chad saying:
“Hi, today’s a chance for you to take a load off and have a great time. You’ve worked hard all week. If you need to refuel, let’s get some good food at this place I know. Want to de-stress? Let me book us in for a nice massage that’ll get rid of that tension within the first 5 minutes. Ready to sign up?”
It’s the same Chad, but one is busy talking about how great his specs are. The other is talking about the benefits you’ll get from hanging out with him. Generally, the one that gets most of the dates will be the one that can offer value.
The fact is, humans are naturally “me” based. Most people care about what you can do for them, not about all the bits and pieces your products are made of. We’re in an era where one OEM manufacturer can churn out any number of identical or near-identical products for countless brands around the world. That’s why your copy should represent you as different from the rest.
Everyone’s busy saying they’re bigger, better, and funner. But you can be the one that gives people what they need and want. By doing that, you’re the one that makes them feel the happiest they can be.
Once you’ve pinned down your key brand messaging and all the good stuff you can give your customers, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Let’s start crafting your copy to deliver an emotional impact that forces your audience to act.
This brings us to:
Human behavior is hardwired. Evolutionary psychologists have a saying:
You can take the person out of the Stone Age, not the Stone Age out of the person. (Nicholson, 1998)
The magically delicious thing about human instinct however, is that you can use it to get your target audience to want to know more about you, actually read your copy, and buy your products or services.
Blumberg (2018), explains that instincts are nifty little drivers of behavior that:
If we were to summarize what our instincts actually do, research by Hagura, Haggard & Diedrichsen (2017), tells us that it’s not just there to help us survive, but to also take the path of least resistance in getting there.
In other words, we humans can be a rather lazy bunch. We like things to come to us easily, can make our lives easier, and that are easy to understand.
One of the heavyweight gurus of marketing, Drew Eric Whitman echoes this sentiment with what he calls our “Life Force 8.”
These 8, instinctual, universal desires are:
Is the copy on your social media ads, website content, newsletters, brochures, email campaigns, product descriptions, blog, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, and TikTok posts (whew!) appealing to people’s basic human needs?
Does it make your audience feel like with your product or service, they can be comfortable, happy, loved, and not have to work themselves to the nubs for it?
If it is, congratulations! You’re half-way there!
Next, here’s what your new and improved copy is meant to sound like:
Bloated superlatives and tired clichés belong in the 90s with As Seen On TV kitchen gadgets.
Today, people are time-poor and inundated with goods and services left, right, and center. Long-winded fluff does nothing more than obscure all the things your business does best.
Less is more when the words you use to highlight your product’s features are specifically chosen to stimulate desire and that “I must have this NOW” feeling.
After working with more than 100 businesses over the last decade, I can tell you that what actually works is to write how you’d like to be spoken to.
Notice that I didn’t say, “write how you speak.” While that’s advice you’ll see all over the place from many copywriters and especially copywriting agencies, I have to break it to you that this gives rise to a bunch of problems.
Like I said: Time-poor. Too many choices. Don’t be the guy that makes your potential customer feel like they’re reading a textbook in school. They’ll swipe away faster than you can say, “But wait, there’s more!”
Be the cool teacher that explains things in a way they can grasp and think, “Now I get it!”
The best bit is, it doesn’t even have to be you - just your copywriter!
The same way you don’t need to be a 3-Michelin-Star chef to appreciate good food. As long as you know how you like to be spoken to, you have the smarts to find a copywriter that develops your dream voice for your web copy, email campaigns, and social media ads!
I’m all for outsourcing.
You have 16 waking hours in the day. If you’re a business owner, during that time you should be putting your mind, body, and soul into creating exciting new products, giving each client tip-top service, and exploring how you can streamline, expand, and scale your business.
Don’t stress over the little things when you’re the driving force behind making more money, getting that brand recognition, and pushing your small business into the bigger leagues.
Instead, talk to me for FREE.
Your passion is growing your business. What I love most is making that happen.
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