“The only purpose of a sentence is to get your reader to read the next sentence” – Henneke Duistermaat.
There are too many copies out there that are either too spamming, salesy, or irrelevant. This bad rep does make a copywriter’s job much harder, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t stand out from the crowd and capture our readers’ attention.
When done right, copywriting takes your product to the right target audience at the right time with the right solution.
Copywriting vs. Content writing
There are 2 fundamental differences between copywriting and content writing: your goal, and how you present your writing.
Copywriting is selling through written words. The goal is to strike interests, solve problems, and sell the products or services within a short period of time. Marketing copy can be accompanied by images, graphics, or videos to demonstrate how your product works. Sometimes, if a visual is enough to convey the message, then it’s all you need.
Copywriter takes care of:
- Ads, online and offline
- Web page content
- Landing page content
- Email campaigns
- Television or radio advertising scripts
- Video scripts
- Slogans and taglines
Content writing is educating, informing, and entertaining. The goal is to build trust, engage your audience, and establish a brand reputation in the long run. It is the foundation for future sales as your company builds expertise and portfolio.
Content writer takes care of:
- Blog posts
- Press Releases
- White papers
- Email newsletters
Here’s an example of content writing from Sisu Digital: 5 biggest business trends in 2021 and what you can accomplish with them.
Problems and solutions
Imagine the purchasing journey with a model called AIDA: awareness, interest, desire, action.
- Awareness: when customers don’t know anything about your product. Grab their attention with something that they care about. Introduce a problem. For B2B customers, it could be an expensive problem that’s causing the company a lot of money. Depends on your target audience, figure out what’s causing them so much pain that they’re willing to spend money on it.
- Interest: when customers become aware of your products. They have a problem they want to solve and you provide the solution. Focus on the benefits that are important to them, not why your product and company are so great.
- Desire: when customers mull over the pros and cons of the purchase. Stimulate emotions that amplify the needs.
- Action: when customers are ready to convert. Set up calls-to-action (CTA) that enable immediate reactions. Here’s when the brain makes decisions logically to compensate for emotional needs. That’s why you see a lot of ads in this stage offering discounts or clever pricing to counter the monetary barrier.
Turns out, AIDA is not unlike Ariana’s iconic song – 7 rings. If anything, it makes it easier to remember.
Josh Braun’s 4T
AIDA works for copywriting in a general sense. But when you’re writing cold emails, we want to introduce you to Josh Braun’s amazing 4T model.
- Trigger: use a trigger event to initiate the conversation. For example, look into your prospect’s LinkedIn to see what’s he talking about, comment on a challenge he’s having, or give a compliment for his latest achievement.
- Third-party Credibility: mention customers with a similar problem and how you have helped them solve it.
- Teach: provide your prospects with solid proof (testimonials, case studies, before and after photos, etc.).
- Tell me: calls to action. Josh encourages CTAs that don’t put too much pressure on the prospects. For example, CTAs that demand 15-minute or an hour of their precious time. Go for interest and instead of pressure (would you like to learn more about …?)
The best thing about this method is that Josh doesn’t want you to focus on the “I”. Cold emails or any type of copywriting should focus on the customers – the “you”. Your email should be limited to 65 words and have more “I” than “you” in it.
Make your prospect feel like this email was sent specifically to him instead of other prospects.
Know your audience
Copywriting doesn’t start with headlines, it starts with your audience.
“Your job is not to write copy. Your job is to know your visitors, customers, and prospects so well, you understand the situation they’re in right now, where they’d like to be, and exactly how your solution can and will get them to their ideal self.”– Joanna Wiebe.
Have you ever gotten an ad that made you feel like it was made for you?
Like, you were literally just thinking about that product.
Or when you click on an ad, browse through the website, and then the same ad appears again, only with the exact products that you’ve browsed before.
Leverage marketing data to your advantage. Utilize interest-based, location-based information, and real-time customer behavior to personalize your marketing copy.
If you’re reaching out to a B2B prospect, get close and personal as Josh Braun has suggested in the 4T model. According to research on social loafing, people are more likely to respond when they feel individually responsible for it.
Emotion is the switch that turns on people’s eagerness to satisfy their needs. Emotions can be triggered in many different ways: needs, senses, and urgency.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Physiological needs, Safety needs, Love and belongingness needs, Esteem needs, Self-actualization needs.
Psychology and marketing are intertwined. In fact, a huge part of marketing is figuring out what your customers need at the right time. Depending on their needs and behaviors, each copy is written and designed accordingly.
For example, a prospective customer who’s married and has 2 kids, would place safety needs as one of his priorities. Going with this logic, he might buy a minivan instead of a sports car, invest in education instead of the fluctuating stock market, buy family health insurance instead of jumping out of a plane (we’re talking about skydiving).
Apple revolutionized the whole marketing industry by focusing on the top needs: self-esteem, and self-actualization needs.
But society changes quickly, we were just throwing ideas out. It’s your responsibility to find out your customer’s pressing needs.
The 5 senses
Sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Sometimes, even the 6th sense plays an important role.
There are distinctive sounds, tastes, and smells that instantly jog your memory and tickle your senses as soon as you’re exposed to them.
The sound of a steak hitting a scorching hot pan – sizzling.
The smell of rotten garbage – stinky (and sticky).
The taste of the world’s hottest chilli pepper – fiery.
The sight of Christmas lights in a festive marketplace during winter night – dazzling
And finally, the feeling of a spider crawling up your arm – hair-raising.
Didn’t we take you on an emotional rollercoaster just now?
Instill emotions into your copywriting. Write like you’re in a blockbuster movie.
Make your copy distinctive. Use descriptive, graphic, vivid words in place of boring old corporate jargon. The best, the cheapest? These words are so overused that people tend to overlook them.
People have fear of missing out – FOMO. It is the final nudge that pushes customers into purchasing. Companies have always created a sense of urgency by displaying time-sensitive discounts, special offers, real-time countdowns, especially at the end of the buying journey.
And it works.
The trick is to place these offers in a timely manner. For events such as Christmas, New Year, Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Children’s Day, etc. Not to mention personal events like birthdays or anniversaries. With consumerism going strong, you have 10 special events for 12 different months.
Sometimes it’s even easier to show what your customers have missed. Next time, they will surely take action.
There are so many things that can go wrong with your ads. It could be so confusing that people don’t understand what you’re trying to sell. It could be too insensitive for the current sentiments or totally miss the mark. Or it could have too many flashy details that the main message gets buried.
Like it or not the olden’ and golden’ rule of KISS stills applies – keep it short and simple, keep it short and sweet, keep it simple, silly! They all work.
On the other hand, it could have nothing, and we’re not joking. Check out this Wayfair ad and tell us if you catch what they’re trying to say.
What people say about you
People are more likely to trust the words of a person than a company. Those words become even more credible when they are from your customers.
Make use of customer success stories, case studies, testimonials, reviews, and ratings because they help to build trust. Customer’s words make it easier to relate – here is someone who’s similar to me, same problem, same situation, and this product provides the solutions.
More often than not, people haven’t heard about what your company does until they come across your ads. Testimonials from satisfied customers are great, especially those that mention your product’s features and how it has changed their lives for the better (save time, money, make them feel good, etc.). It’s certainly better than a direct sales pitch that makes people feel like they’re being forced to buy something.
If people are drawn to your ad copies through emotions, testimonials help them make decisions logically. It’s the proof they need to justify their decisions.
Note that testimonial ads serve better when your prospective customers are near the converting stage.
We talked about not confusing people, the best way it’s to cut the corporate jargon. Take off the fancy outlook and appeal to them with authenticity and empathy. Embrace the power of the real words that your customers have already given you.
Similarly, you can engage experts or relevant influencers to give your ads a credibility boost. For example, we’re sure that you’re all familiar with Colgate’s “recommended by dentists”. Sure, all toothpaste brands are doing that now, but when Colgate first did it two decades ago, it almost became a catchphrase and set Colgate apart from other brands.
In recent years though, the younger generations are more taken by influencers and celebrities. Your ads become more powerful when your products or services are easily identifiable with the influencer’s or celebrity’s image.
Whoever you choose to represent your ads, make sure they are relevant to your target audience, and help amplify your brand.
Make it bold.
Paint your CTAs in a different color, put them in a bigger size, or jazz it up with a nice design. Human brains are designed to spot things that are different from the rest.
Make it clear.
The worst CTA you can put on your ad copy is “click here”. You’ve gotten so far getting readers to stop and read your ads. But like most people, they’ll just be skimming through the ads and find what’s in for them.
Your CTA should be understandable by itself, and readers should know where the CTA link is taking them. Be specific in your offering to your readers and remember that you are trying to solve their big problems.
Because we love Josh Braun, who’s the master of writing cold emails. Here we have an example of a cold email that was written using the 4T technique.
Double-check to make sure that your CTA links are reachable. It would be embarrassing if your landing page has a 404 error. Imagine: your potential customers bought your promises, took their time to click on a link, expecting it to lead them to the solution of their problems. It didn’t. It’s one thing to miss out on sales and traffic, but what’s even worse is that this mistake can hurt your brand image and professional reputation.
Forget what your teacher taught you in school
You’re writing marketing copies, not essays.
Let your writing be free. Engage your audience with a story, conjure up witty puns in the headlines, or use an analogy to make your copy more vivid.
“The only purpose of a sentence is to get your reader to read the next sentence”.– Henneke Duistermaat
Henneke highly recommends that copywriters use short sentences. Because long sentences can confuse readers and put them to sleep.
Here’s an example of a web copy using “unconventional” writing. A short sentence with no objective. Or a sentence that starts with “But” or “That”. But it works. Because copywriting is about communicating with your audience.
Copywriting doesn’t come easy for most people. But it gets better with practice and learning from mistakes.
Copywriting can’t be forced either. As a marketing agency, we know the challenges our writers have overcome. Sometimes, you just need to take a break and take a deep breath.
If you find yourself stuck, the worst thing you can do is force yourself to sit in front of the computer, trying to squeeze out whatever creative juice left in your brain.
Go talk to your customers, colleagues, friends, and family. Watch a funny Youtube video. Browse around for ideas and inspirations.
Find a new perspective.
“The most profound writing is the easiest to understand”.– Leslie O’Flahavan
What did you think of our copywriting hacks? Now that you know how to create powerful marketing copy, why not try them out the next time you run a Facebook Ads campaign? Read our 8 tips to optimize your Facebook Ads.
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