Regardless of size and stature, all businesses have one thing in common: they all rely on words to sell.
No matter what your product or service is (or how good it is), you’ll need to communicate the value of what you’re selling effectively if you are to make money.
Ultimately, that’s never going to change so. Get the message across well and you’ll thrive. If you don’t, then you’re going to have a problem sooner or later.
The funny thing is, you don’t need a writing background in order to write well. Not in my opinion, anyway. Therefore, if you’re a busy business owner who has no writing experience or qualifications, you can still create influential content.
So, what is required in order to create copy that engages, entertains, influences and motivates?
It’s important to know as much about your target audience as possible. The more details you have about your potential readers, the better.
Ideally, that means understanding their fears and desires. It also requires an overview of demographical information.
Is your ideal customer a man or a woman? Are they young or old? Do they speak formally or informally?
The answers to these questions will help you shape your copy and essentially spit back language that’s both familiar and comforting to the consumer.
We’re all individuals, but the weird thing is, the human brain is pretty predictable. So obviously as marketers, this is pretty helpful.
People tend to react in certain ways when confronted with particular phrases, colors, images, and instructions.
Knowing what makes people tick is a huge skill when it comes to penning persuasive business copy. Big, successful brands manipulate the way we think about the stuff that they sell all the time.
Sometimes you might not even notice what they’re doing.
But behind the scenes, there’s usually a team of copywriters, marketers and brand experts who are cleverly shifting around commas and silently tricking us into feeling something.
You can do the same.
In years gone by, marketing was often pretty unsophisticated. Companies would shout at us. But things have changed. Huge, clever brands now use stories to sell.
The reason why? Because stories make us feel things. And when we’re emotional, this propels us to take action.
Marketing can make us feel happy, sad, worried, angry, confused, satisfied or any other type of emotion. And this is a pretty powerful thing.
The next time you create some content for your business, try to do so in the form of a story. You’ll find that your marketing resonates with your audience on a much deeper level.
There are many different types of marketing, but when all’s said and done, people always buy from people. Therefore, your writing must convey trust and integrity.
A common mistake amongst entrepreneurs is to act and speak like someone else. Either someone they aspire to or someone that they think the consumer wants to hear.
The trouble is, people aren’t stupid. They resent insincerity and they’re much more likely to respond positively to an entrepreneur that is communicating in a normal, everyday way than someone who’s putting on a show.
The fact is, people only tend to read 20% of content on a web page and there’s actually a lot of science behind the way we read copy.
Technology is great but it’s made us lazy and as a freelance writer, your job isn’t just to convince and convert. In fact, your primary role is to keep people hanging around as long as possible.
For starters, remember that every sentence has just one purpose: to get the next one read. Be ruthless with your words.
In addition, the way your words appear will play a huge role in the success of your work. If you really want to impress your audience, then look at the design of your website, your adverts and all of your marketing collateral.
Look at the size and type of fonts that will be used. Examine the quality of any supporting images. Space out your paragraphs so that your copy doesn’t appear too intimidating.
Essentially, you can eliminate a lot of hard work, time and money by putting yourself in a reader’s shoes. User experience is everything these days, so think about what they need to hear and see.
It doesn’t matter whether you sell insurance or insulation; successful sales copy is about connecting the dots and removing barriers. And that starts with putting the customer first. As always.
Matt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written words for some of the UK’s top brands, such as Sky, Three and Vodafone. He now helps copywriters find work.
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