October 3, 2022
St Andrews Business Club is looking to appoint two new Marketing Communications Interns. This is a great opportunity to work for a local, long-established
My name is Andy Brown and my mission is to help local business owners in Fife attract a steady consistent stream of new clients.
Today I would like to offer some practical advice on how to improve your current marketing copy and as a result increase your sales.
Unfortunately the majority of business owners in St Andrews and Fife have never been exposed to ways in which they can quickly enhance their copy.
This isn’t their fault.
Firstly, it’s rare they have ever been on a copywriting course. Secondly, if they have ever employed a professional copywriter, it’s unlikely that they will have been told exactly why a specific block of copy was crafted the way in which it was.
Can you relate to this? If so, I’m hoping I can assist you in improving your existing copy and generating more leads and sales for you.
Learning to write compelling copy takes many years and to honest the lessons never stop. It would be impossible to even give you a copywriting 101 course in this article. I do believe though if you have previously written a sales letter, brochure, leaflet, postcard or a new page on your website, implementing the following 15 tips will improve your conversions and result in new business.
1. Write A Headline That Emotionally Hooks The Reader
Amazingly the headline often comes as an afterthought. Picture this, the Fife business owner is relieved at having finished their copy and quickly types the first headline that comes into their head. Now compare this to a professional copywriter who may spend as much time on their headline as they do on all the copy below it. It isn’t unusual for them to write 25 or more headlines, before deciding on the best one.
As a guideline I recommend you remember two key principles about headlines.
The first is to remember to include at least one benefit in your headline. This will hook the reader into wanting to read more because you have initially told them how they can benefit from reading on.
The second principle is to acknowledge that the only purpose of the your headline is to compel the reader to read the next line of copy below it. It doesn’t get anymore complicated than that. This is true for example, whether you are writing a sales letter or crafting a headline for a Google Adwords ad.
Finally if you’re stuck for a headline, keep it simple and ask a question. The use of questions can be some of the most compelling headlines you will ever read.
2. Always Write About The Benefits Of Your Product Or Service First
All too often businesses are too keen to start their copy with a full blown list of one product or service feature after another. This is tiresome for the reader because they will only truly about what you have to say once you have specifically told them how they will benefit from your offer.
3. Let Others Tell Your Story
Whilst you will endeavour to make the best attempt at telling your story, nothing beats the authenticity of a customer telling your story on your behalf. This type of storytelling can be in the form of text, images, audio or video. For example posting a testimonial in your copy with their full name and location, with hopefully a photo, will enhance the conversion of your copy.
4. Keep Your Sentences Short And Easy To Read
The best copy is one made up of short sentences and paragraphs. Writing business copy isn’t the time to use industry jargon. At all costs avoid saying anything that may confuse your reader. They will only spend the time to consume your copy if it’s a breeze to read.
5. Write In The Second Person
Never lose sight of the fact only one person will ever be reading your copy. It isn’t as if you are addressing a group of people. Your business copy represents a one on one conversation and it makes total sense to speak directly to the reader. Learn to include the words “you” and “your” in your copy so it’s clear you have the reader’s interest at heart.
I bet if you checked your existing copy now, you would be surprised at the number of times you have used the words “we” and “our”.
6. Make An Offer Your Readers Can Truly Not Resist
Everyday we are bombarded with lame offers. You only have to walk around your local supermarket to see row upon row of the 2 for 1 offers. It takes something special now to hook our attention. If your offer isn’t irresistible, don’t be surprised if it quickly gets overlooked! You know it you gut whether the offer is special, if it isn’t do not waste time writing about it.
7. Determine A Strong Call To Action
At the end of your copy you must ask your reader to take action. Simply including your telephone number and email address won’t drive the results you desire. You need to include one compelling call to action. You need to spell it out and include at least one benefit the reader will receive.
Do not paralyse your reader with too much choice. I like to stick with one call to action per piece of copy. If you are you guilty of having too many different calls to action, it’s time to concentrate the most important one.
8. Set A Deadline To Create Urgency
You know yourself how powerful deadlines are in motivating you to do something. It’s the same with your written copy, you need to put pressure on your reader to take action. If you don’t nothing will happen. This is the way we as human beings are wired and hence your copy should always include a deadline.
9. Keep Your Page Design Clean And Simple
Do you remember this quote?
“KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid!”
This relates directly to how you should layout your marketing copy. A cluttered layout is hard to read . Keep it clean and simple. Use white space to make your copy easier to read.
I like to use dark text on a white background and use a different colour for headlines and sub headlines.
10. Limit The Distractions You Offer Your Reader
Posting your content on a normal web page that offers too many choices and distractions will make it difficult to compel your reader to take action you desire of them. Ideally your copy should be placed on a landing page that only gives the reader two options. One they can read the copy and take action or two they can leave the page.
11. Track Your Results Using Phone And Web Technologies
In this day and age there’s no excuse of being in the predicament that Henry Ford once commented on:
“I know only half of my advertising works. The problem is, I don’t know which half.”
It’s inexpensive to track inbound calls and free to use Google Analytics.
12. Generate Your Client Avatar Before Writing
You simply can’t market to everyone, this is too vague and untargetted. You should only market to your client avatar.
A client avatar is a detailed profile of ideal customer. You should take the time to write a full customer description including where they live and work, their gender and age, whether they are married, whether they have children, what sports and hobbies they enjoy, what frustrates them in life, what gives them pleasure, their dreams and aspirations.
Furthermore you need to describe how they do business with you, how you make their life easier and why they give you their business. Finally you give them a name so as it’s easy to say “today I’m writing to John, instead of a sea of people I can’t relate to!”
13. Be Strategic And Write For Where Your Prospect Is In Your Sales Funnel
Having set up a sales funnel you need to acknowledge it may take sometime for someone to finally commit to and buy from you. Thus it’s important appreciate the purpose of your copy as your prospect moves along the funnel. Continue to question the calls ot action you asking your prospect to make. For example is it wise to ask them for the sale when ultimately you should be offering them a free trial so as you have their email to follow up with.
14. Enter The Conversation In Your Client’s Mind
Robert Collier once famously said:
“Enter into a conversation your prospect is already having.”
These words have stuck with me for a long time. Compare this to the actions you take at a cocktail party. When you first join a group of people I imagine you say something that relates to the current conversation, rather than starting a new one. This is the same approach you should take to your marketing.
15. Test, Test And Test Again!
Improving the conversion rate of your copy comes down to continually testing it. You will often hear the word “control” in marketing circles. This represents the best performing version of your copy. Learn to increases leads and sales by working on your “control”.
I recommend you only test one thing at a time, otherwise you won’t know what caused the improvement. Thus change the headline or the call to action, but not both at the same time.