At some point during the life of your business you will have to write an advertisement or a promotional piece for your business. Be it editorial content, advertising or website copy, this can often be a challenging task.
Here are 10 sure fire tips that will improve your copywriting skills instantly.
1. Translate product or service features into benefits. Don’t present information and assume that your reader will be able to interpret it. For example, one of the most common instances of customer information assumption is in the Flat Screen TV market. Telling a customer that the model they are looking at has a 10,000ms refresh rate means nothing. It would be a huge mistake to assume that your customer knows why a high refresh rate is a desirable feature. Telling them that a refresh rate of this speed eliminates blurring when viewing fast action sequences such as car racing or it produces sharper screen image for playing computer games makes far more sense.
2. Don’t talk about “I” or “We” , Talk “You” or “Your”. When writing your copy, write from the your clients perspective not your own. For example, replace “We build long lasting equipment” to “You will experience extended pleasure from the extraordinary durability” – see the difference?
3. Credibility Counts. When demonstrating credibility the tendency is to pile all your proof into one or two sentences. This can more often than not come across as the business trying too hard. Sprinkle proof of credibility throughout your copy. You can discuss, the length of time you have been in business, the size of your business, the number of customers you have served, include testimonials and memberships in associations and talk about guarantees and warranties. Just don’t over do it.
4. Use a little dramatic license. Now don’t take this the wrong way, we are not encouraging anyone to deceive or misrepresent anything. The best way to explain this is to use an example. We’ve all seen the Remington advertisements where the company President says, “I like this Remington shaver so much that I bought the company”. Well that is just down right ridiculous… but a simple part of the truth none the less. Other factors would’ve gone into the acquisition of this company, not least of which would’ve been the quality of the product. Do you think he would’ve bought the company if it was a financial disaster waiting to happen? Most likely not.
5. Stories sell – facts tell. Use first person and third person stories about customers and their experiences with your company where-ever possible when highlighting key selling points. Facts are often boring; when mixed into a relevant story they take on a life of their own.
6. Don’t be afraid of long copy. Advertising copy should be as long as it needs to be. It should be long enough to tell your story effectively and persuasively. One of the most successful sales letters of all time is 42 pages long. Whether your copy is short or long or in-between, just make it quality.
7. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Don’t make the common mistake of overestimating the comprehension skills of your audience. To be quickly and easily understood it should be structured for the reading ability equivalent to a year 8 student. Complex sentence structure or long paragraphs can be intimidating and confusing to many people. Remember to create your copy with your target market in mind.
8. Create a sense of urgency. This can be done with discounts or bonus offers that expire within a certain time period or with extra incentives for fast response. You’ve all seen it…. “Available to the first 50 callers only”, or “Ring now and we will also include…..”.
9. Internal Repetition. Internal repetition is a critical technique to learn. Try to make your main selling points in several different ways. Using this technique allows you to remain focused on the message and drive home your key benefits. Remember, when trying to explain something to different people quite often they will comprehend your message differently and the first penny will drop at various points and at different times during the conversation.
10. Pimp your headline. If your prospects aren’t captured by your headline, then the rest doesn’t matter. There are many techniques for writing headlines; here are a few examples.
- Include a benefit statement in your headline: “Lose Weight Fast and Feel Great”.
- Give specifics – “Lose Weight Fast – Drop 10 Kilos in 3 Weeks and Feel Great”.
- Create a timeline. “Lose Weight Fast! – Drop 10 Kilos in 3 Weeks in Time for Summer and Feel Great”.
- Introduce intrigue. “New Research Reveals: How To Lose Weight Fast! – Drop 10 Kilos in 3 weeks in Time for Summer and Feel Great”.
- Add a guarantee. “New Weight Loss Secrets Revealed: Discover How To Lose Weight Fast! – Drop 10 Kilos in 3 weeks. Feel Great this Summer, Guaranteed or Your Money Back.
And finally, become a student of copywriting. Collect as many different examples of promotional pieces and direct mail as you can. Over a period of time you will have a valuable “swipe file” that you can delve into when it comes time to create your own masterpieces.
Virtual Business Advisor