This is a guest post by Georgina El Morshdy.
Georgina is a freelance copywriter specialising in writing hard-working copy for micro-business.
She also blogs at Copywriting Gems and posts weekly tips and ideas to help improve persuasive writing. If you write your own copy you can also sign-up for her free eBook – 7 Steps to Writing Copy that Sell.
Good copywriting is essential for small businesses.
Words sell your products and services and the right ones will boost your sales. And that means you have to give your copy the attention it deserves.
So don’t scare customers off with badly written advertising. Instead, apply these five tips and see what difference they make to your small business.
1. Use the second person
Many small businesses make the mistake of talking about “we” in their advertising copy. This self-promotion is a problem because it doesn’t let customers hear “What’s in it for me?”
Instead, change your emphasis, and use 2nd person references like “you” and “yours”. Do just this one thing, and your marketing copy will improve instantly.
2. Focus on benefits
Product/service features can turn into an uninspiring list of your business’s capabilities.
Instead, promote benefits. That’s because benefits tell a reader how your product or service makes their life better. What’s more, benefits tap into emotions. You’ll know buying decisions are often irrational. If you can ignite the right emotional desire, your readers are more likely to respond.
Apple is brilliant at this. After all, who doesn’t want a new iPad?
You can pinpoint how your small business adds value by asking questions like.
- How does my business improve my customer’s life?
- What irritating problem can I solve?
- How can I make my customer richer, happier, more time free etc.?
3. Hook with your headline
You need a compelling headline to attract the attention of your target customer.
To get you started, here are three headline formats that always work:
- Promise your biggest benefit – KashFlow announces: “Stop struggling with complicated accounting software”. Who could resist that!
- Stoke the curiosity of your reader. Make the headline irresistible so the reader just has to click / read on to find out more – “Is your marketing copy a turn-off?”
- If in doubt use “how to” and list leads. For example, “How to get more Twitter followers” or “7 Steps to Writing Copy that Sells”.
4. Hold your reader with your first paragraph
If your headline is the most important part of your copy, the first paragraph is the next.
Here you must deliver on the promise you made in your headline, and convince readers there’s a payoff for reading. Otherwise you’ll lose them.
5. Keep it simple
Even the most interested readers won’t give your message their full attention. Instead, they’ll skim, scan and skip. And that means you need to “spoon-feed”.
It’s not that your readers aren’t intelligent. Instead they are so overloaded with information your marketing copy is just not a priority. If you make it too hard to read, customers will tune out.
- Signpost your reader with informative subheads:
- Emphasise key words with bold, italics and quote blocks.
- Use bullet points and lists to break up long paragraphs.
- Use short sentences and snappy paragraphs to maintain interest.
- Keep people reading with connectives like and, what’s more and in addition.
And if you’re really stuck, consider hiring a professional!