Copywriting: How your peers write effective copy on short deadlines
Copy that converts. That’s what every marketer is looking for. Sometimes you have a professional copywriter you can hire to write that copy for you.
Sometimes you have to do it yourself. Very quickly.
Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS will be sharing some of our copywriting discoveries on Wednesday, July 20th, at 4 p.m. EDT in a Web clinic entitled – Copywriting on Tight Deadlines: How ordinary marketers are achieving 200% gains with a step-by-step framework (educational funding provided by HubSpot).
But first we asked your peers and copywriting professionals for their tips. We received 44 submissions from freelance writers and marketers and one from an accountant. Here is some of our favorite advice…and, of course, I had to include what the accountant had to say (he’s the last one)…
12 ways to optimize your copy
Check for consistency. Is there harmony among all your lead-generating ads, landing pages, E-zines, follow-up sales messages, website sales copy, and content? Are all your Web text, photos, audio and video working together – or clashing? Are they all saying, showing and meaning the same things? Any lack of consistency gives your prospect one more reason to misunderstand and mistrust you. If they click “good-bye,” make sure it’s not “something you said” or “failed to say.”
Cut the clicks. If your next vital call to action is more than two clicks away from your landing page, then you are probably losing sales. How little can you require of your visitor(s) and still generate optimum sales and profits? Streamline the copy and get to the call to action ASAP.
Chase the tail. Long-tail keywords, that is. For example, if you’re selling a “vinyl repair kit,” look into: PVC vinyl repair kit, vinyl patch repair, PVC repair tips, etc. Upgrade content and sales copy accordingly.
Change your headline. The best headline makes a startling announcement or gives news, promises a breakthrough, features a glowing testimonial, features your offer, or makes a guarantee. What news, breakthroughs, or testimonials do you have now that you didn’t have when the original copy was written? What new offers or guarantees can you make?
Change your opening sentences. Make sure they flow logically and smoothly from the new headline(s) you are testing.
Change your subheads and transition statements. Make sure they are in harmony with your new headline and lead the reader quickly through to your call to action. Smooth out any verbal “speed bumps” in the process.
Mix in more testimonials. If you’ve done your job well, you probably have accumulated new testimonials from your most recent happy buyers.
Feature them! The best testimonials are specific, believable and prove your benefits. Weave them into your selling copy as you sell the benefits and go for the close.
Check your infographics. Not just infographics per se, but also photographs, illustrations, charts, graphs and boxes. Make sure everything reinforces the selling power, dramatizes the benefits, explains the features or proves your claims.
Add a “Reasons Why” box or inset in the piece. Under a headline such as “8 Powerful Reasons Why You’ll (Make Money/Save Money/Feel Better) When You Own Our Widget,” summarize the key benefits the buyer will enjoy. Make them “picture with pleasure” how much better off they will be after they buy from you.
Bulletize. If your copy is too dense, try breaking thick blocks of copy into “bullet points” that sell the benefits, summarize the offer, or give more “reasons why” to buy now. The faster they read and understand, the sooner they buy.
Test another P.S or exit pop-up. Use a deadline or scarcity warning, testimonial, benefit summary, or add another bonus.
Change the offer. Make it harder or softer. Add a bonus, change the terms, or add a longer or stronger guarantee.
– Russ Phelps, copywriter and marketing consultant
Understand your target audience
Deeply and thoroughly. Not just the statistics you get from Research or Marketing – know them in 3D. Understand:
- What their pain points are
- What keeps them up at night
- Where they go to get information
- Who their influencers are
- What they do in their lives when they’re not reading about your product or service
- What keywords they use to search online
- What makes them laugh
- What blogs they read
- What problem they need to have solved
- What they think of your brand
- What they think of your competition.
Always remember that you are talking to human beings, and that human beings need to trust you before they engage in a relationship with you – whether that relationships involves making a buying decision or liking your Faceook page.
As for deadline tips…
Many years ago, one of my copywriting professors gave me some advice I’ve never forgotten: Write like a want ad, like you’re paying for every word.
And another, seemingly opposite but it works: Don’t edit yourself while you write. Do a brain dump, get your key ideas out on paper first. Avoid the temptation to rewrite as you go or to correct spelling and grammar. It’s harder than it sounds, particularly with a word processor. But it keeps you in creative mode and on the proper side of the corpus callosum.
Use an attention-getter that stands alone and gets a positive response from your readers
Always consider your audience and use power words like action verbs. The wording should flow, be neat, trite, as well as free of punctuation errors. Ask yourself what is the consumer seeing and is their response positive?
– Steve DiMichele, military pay technician, Lockheed Martin Incorporated
Copywriting on Tight Deadlines: How ordinary marketers are achieving 200% gains with a step-by-step framework (educational funding provided by HubSpot)