It’s infuriating, isn’t it?
You’ve read a few books on copywriting, and many many blog posts.
Heck, you’ve even followed a copywriting course.
But when you sit down to write your own copy?
You feel like a mumbling ignoramus. You’re unsure where to start. You don’t know what to write. You fidget. You check Twitter. You make another cup of tea. And answer a couple of emails.
But writing that copy?
You’d rather not.
And that’s a polite way to say it, because you feel like screaming, using foul language, and throwing your computer out of the window.
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In this blog post, I reveal the 25 copywriting essentials every business owner must know. These 25 rules help you understand what to write and how to write, so your copy becomes more persuasive and you can sell more.
Let’s start with laying a firm foundation …
9 essential rules for persuasive copywriting
- Good copy starts with knowing who your audience is. If you don’t know who you’re writing for, you can’t sneak into people’s minds and address their needs, fears, desires, and secret wishes.
(Shht. Haven’t nailed your audience yet? Here’s a secret link to download a form for creating an ideal reader profile. No opt-in required.)
- Good copy is stolen rather than made up. Don’t swipe copy from your competitors (that’s plagiarism; plus your competitors probably don’t know what they’re doing). Instead, steal copy by listening to clients and prospects.
- Use the same language your buyers use to connect with them. Avoid jargon and complicated words your readers don’t understand.
- Don’t expect your copy to appear magically when you start typing. Apply a solid copywriting process of research, planning, writing, and editing. Good copy is carefully crafted, step by step.
- Start at the end. You can’t write compelling copy if you don’t know the goal of your content. Each paragraph and each sentence should contribute to achieving that goal.
- Have a genuine interest in helping people. Solving real problems is more important than understanding persuasion tricks. Even the highest-paid copywriter can’t write good copy for a product nobody wants.
- Translate each product or service feature into a benefit by asking yourself So what? Why would your reader care about this?
- Apply the inverted pyramid. Put the most important information first.
- Write for scanners and readers. Scanners want to grasp your main story by skimming your headlines, subheads, and bullet points. Readers want to know the finer details.
You’ve listened to your clients, and written your draft copy with their needs and wishes in mind.
But how can you make sure new clients believe you, and trust you, and want to buy from you? How can you nudge them to contact you?
9 ways to boost your persuasiveness and nudge readers to take action
- Persuade with emotion. Back up with facts. Appeal to people’s emotions to seduce them to buy, and help them justify their purchase with logic and facts.
- Engage readers with stories—they’re more riveting than sales pitches.
- Avoid bragging about yourself because it’s a turn off. Boost your trustworthiness with non-sugary testimonials and story-based case studies.
- Take away reader’s objections to buying from you. What’s stopping them from taking the next step?
- Boost your credibility with social proof. Let people know who else has hired you or how many projects you’ve completed. Create a sense of popularity by mentioning your waiting list.
- Appeal to people’s fear of loss. What are people missing by not buying from you?
- Overcome buyer’s procrastination by nudging them to take a decision. Apply the power of scarcity: offer a time-limited promotion, create a limited edition, or have limited availability. Or add a countdown timer to create a sense of urgency.
- Embrace the power of free. Free shipment or a free bonus can have a higher perceived value than a discount.
- Reduce your buyer’s risk with a guarantee. Because it can give people the confidence to buy.
You’ve created an irresistible offer. You’ve nudged readers to make up their mind. You know they’re ready to buy from you.
Your copy is nearly done …
7 Essential editing tricks everyone should know
- Be bossy. Add power to your words and make your call-to-action impeccably clear, so people will press that Buy button, or contact you for a quote.
- Scrap wordiness, avoid clichés, and cut weak phrases. Make sure each sentence and each word contributes to reaching your copy’s goal. Lazy editing slows your readers down, and that increases the risk they might not even reach your call to action.
- Paint vivid pictures. Let readers imagine what it’s like to work with you, because it increases their desire to hire you.<
- Make sure your copy is specific and precise. Specific facts add substance to your arguments while drivel undermines your credibility.
- Avoid superlatives like fastest, simplest, or safest unless you can prove you’re the best.
- Check for common grammar and spelling mistakes. You don’t want to look silly, do you?
- Read your copy aloud and listen to its rhythm. Your readers will notice whether your sentences plod and stumble, or whether your copy skips and whistles.
Having to sell makes us feel queasy
Writing sales copy makes us want to hide.
But you can’t hide.
Only you know who your favorite client is. Only you understand what you’d love to offer them.
You don’t have to employ sleazy sales techniques. You don’t have to trick your readers into buying.
Simply explain which problem you solve. Make a clear offer. And nudge readers to take action.
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Recommended reading on copywriting essentials:
The ‘So What?’ trick for translating features into benefits
Why most copywriting formulas stink
Learn copywriting: a 5-step system to teach yourself copywriting
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