Most copywriters believe that words are the most powerful thing in the universe. After all, they make up a large part of the way we perceive life and all the tiny elements that make up our day-to-day experience.
As such, words have the power to make your customers make a purchase, laugh out loud, share your website with their friends, and tell everyone they know that you have the best freakin’ website on the planet.
The best copywriters are also privy to the tips we are about to share. These tips can help you engage, convert, and knock the socks off your target audience, so stick around and take note!
Use Language That Resonates with Your Audience
The first rule of copywriting is “speak the language of your audience.” No matter how witty, clever, or descriptive you are, if you haven’t managed to strike the right cord, most of your efforts will be wasted.
However, in order for a copywriter to understand an audience, they need to be given access to well-researched and rounded buyer personas. This will help them translate an audience’s interests into the conversion-optimized copy.
Expecting a copywriter to figure out what an audience needs without outlining at least one buyer persona (but ideally more) can end in subpar results. They at least need to have access to some wide strokes: interests, demographics, pain points.
Incidentally, the language your audience will respond to well also needs to resonate with your brand’s overall voice and messaging. Take a look at Impossible. They have based an entire company on a concept that drives their audience: doing more, striving for the impossible, and becoming the best possible version of yourself.
In the world of fitness, this kind of motivational and encouraging copy resonates impossibly well. Everyone who has ever pushed their limits in the gym or on the track knows how difficult this is, and the word impossible will carry a whole lot of power for them.
Dress Forms USA applies the same principle, albeit in a different way. Their copy is centered around evoking a feeling of trust and reliability. They are well aware of the fact that their target audience is tired of working with substandard mannequin suppliers, so they have gone out of their way to communicate their own values with terms like “highest rated” and “satisfaction guaranteed.”
Double Down on Your Preferred USP Term
Ideally, you want to limit the number of messages you throw at your audience. They will have already been bombarded with countless ads and sales pitches before they have seen yours, and they will not want to be told seven different things about your product or service.
Instead, find that one word or phrase that differentiates your brand from the competition, your key USP term that will truly resonate with your audience. Then use it as frequently as possible without becoming too obnoxious about it.
Preset Love has chosen the word “free” as their USP, and they use it all over their website. The fact that their presets are free is what sets them apart in a very crowded space, so this simple phrase will be incredibly effective.
You can find it 36 times on their homepage – just enough to fully embed the message into the subconscious of their target audience.
Convertkit does the same thing, but they’ve chosen to use different terms to achieve the same effect. They speak to creatives of all kinds, so they rely on terms like musicians, authors, and creators to get their message across and appeal to that very specific and unique audience segment: the talented individual.
Don’t Forget About Product Descriptions
Making a sale is about more than just the sales copy on your main pages. Your product descriptions are arguably an even more important part of your website, and it’s crucial that you make them the best they can possibly be. All of those best copywriting practices need to be tailored to make a sale and yet retain all of your brand voice.
A good product description will speak to that buyer persona you’ve already identified, and it will be concise and specific. You want to highlight the benefits of using your product rather than merely describe what the product is or does.
Your ultimate goal is to make the audience feel a specific emotion and imagine themselves using the product. Even if it’s just a cute mug, you want them to picture drinking their morning cup of coffee from it.
If you are using power words, make sure you’re able to justify them. Either use social proof to prove just how good your product is and directly quote your customers or provide other tangible data that will back up your claims.
Q+A Cosmetics writes great descriptions that highlight the benefits of each of their products, give you clear directions on how to use them, and also tell you why a product works.
The copy is also simple and very easy to understand. Most importantly, it speaks directly to the customer and their pain points.
Keep Your Sentences Short
Copywriters sometimes make the mistake of using too many words to get to their point. When you think about it, the marketing messages that most often stay with you are the ones that are short and sweet.
Think of Nike’s “Just Do It” or that “Got Milk?” ad. Or Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” slogan. They are proof positive that you don’t need to get too wordy or too verbose to get your point across.
You obviously do need to say more than just one sentence, but your one sentence, or at least your tagline, needs to be short and cut to the quick.
Take a look at how First Round has done it. Their “We’re called First Round for a reason.” essentially tells you everything you need to know about their brand. The following 34 words are just a bonus.
Effective copywriting is snappy. Aim to cover all the essential facts in less than five sentences.
Let Your Customers Do the Selling
There is one flaw in copywriting that you will need to get clever to overcome. The words you write about your product or service will always be the best possible ones. You are, after all, trying to close a deal. How likely are you to say anything negative?
No matter how true or how well backed-up your claims are, some of your audience will still mistrust them, at least slightly, as they are coming from someone who has a very clear agenda.
The way to circumvent this hurdle is to use social proof on your website, particularly on your product pages. What your customers have to say about your items will always carry more weight than anything you can say, as they will always be considered a much more reliable and objective source. After all, they have no ax to grind, and they are free to state their honest opinions.
Ozark Armament does a great job of utilizing user reviews on their product pages. They both verify their buyers and display their name and country. The reviews themselves are insightful and useful, and they can significantly impact a buyer’s decision.
Aim to incentivize your customers to write reviews on your pages. Moreover, encourage them to do more than just select the appropriate amount of stars and leave a single sentence.
A well-written email can do the trick, where you tell the shopper you hope they’ve been enjoying your product and ask them to contact you if they have any issues or questions. After that, ask them to chip in with a review. Highlight the importance of honest and detailed feedback and how their review will help other customers.
You can also use testimonials on your homepage to great effect. Basecamp is probably the best possible example here. Nearly half of their page is composed of various testimonials from all kinds of users, highlighting the different aspects of their product and how it has helped them.
Beware of Industry Jargon
If your product is highly technical or if it caters to a very specific audience, try to describe it in as simple terms as possible. You don’t want to confuse your customers, and you want even those who may not be familiar with some of the terms to feel confident in making a purchasing decision.
If you have to, try to explain the complexities, or simply craft your copy so that it is easy to digest by both the professionals and the complete noobs. The pros certainly won’t be offended, and the noobs will appreciate the effort.
Also make sure to carefully analyze your copy for any unintended jargon. You may inadvertently be using terms you are very familiar with, but that won’t mean too much to others. Ask a friend who is not from your industry to check out your copy, and see how well they understand it before posting it on your website.
Produck has managed to handle this very well. Their product is not that technically complex, but there’s plenty of room for industry jargon they’ve managed to avoid. They describe their tool in simple terms, and they’ve included every possible member of their target audience in their messaging.
Focus on Positivity
Copywriters are often told to focus on the pain points a product or service is solving. This, inherently, means that they need to talk about a whole lot of problems and negatives, which will not make for the most pleasant read.
While talking about pain points is a necessity, you are advised to approach them from a solution perspective. Adopt a positive tone, and tell your visitors what they will be getting from the product in a positive way.
Aim to sketch a scenario that is pleasant, where their problem (which you have mentioned but not focused too much negativity on) has been solved. Be as positive and uplifting as you can. The more of a pall you cast, the less engaging your content will be.
The folks behind Velocity Partners have given us an example of prime copywriting in more ways than one. They are funny, punny, intelligent, witty, and interesting, quite effortlessly. After all, they create marketing campaigns for a living; it’s no wonder their own copy is so easy.
They are also incredibly positive, even though they talk about the challenges of modern-day B2B marketing.
Another key takeaway from their style of writing is equally important: find your own voice, and stick to it. Make it aligned with your brand message, of course.
Be Upfront About What You Do
Finally, you want to be very clear about what you do and how you do it. It may be very tempting at times to abstract your goals or what a customer can do with your product. However, if a website visitor walks away without actually understanding what it is you do, you have done a very poor job.
Be clear, and be precise. Use plain language, and spell your purpose and value out so that everyone will understand your point.
Take a look at Medical Alert Buyers Guide. They can’t be much more to the point. Their tagline is “Compare Pros & Cons of the Top Medical Alert Providers,” and that is exactly what their website does: compares prices.
They could have gone on about the importance of medical alert systems or how they do their reviews, and so on. This solution is by far the best one.
Similarly, Barkbox is “A totally customized box of themed toys and treats for your pup” – so there is no question of confusing them with a meal order service for your dog or any other pet-related subscription box.
This is the kind of clarity you are aiming for: simple, powerful words that leave no room for error or confusion.
Writing brilliant copy is most likely equal parts talent and skill. You need to keep working on it to perfect it. When you next sit down to plan a page, have these tips in mind, and you can rest assured your customers will be much more engaged.