Write Better Copy Instantly: 5 Easy Changes That Get Results
Many people don’t understand how to write copy, or how fundamental copywriting is to marketing your business and revenue generation.
To make matters worse, there’s a ton of misinformation and overall bad guidance on how to write copy, and what separates the good from the great.
Knowing how to write copy that’s persuasive, compelling and engaging is one of the best internet marketing methods you can use to grow your small business, from writing web pages to email marketing and more.
Problem is, if you’ve been following more than one “goo-roo” online, chances are pretty good that you’ve come across conflicting information about it in various forms.
Kinda makes it hard to figure out, right?
This post will help set the record straight about what copywriting is, why it’s so darn important to the survival of your online business, and how you can write better copy now with a few simple changes.
What you’ll learn in this post:
What is Copywriting, and Why You Should Care
4 Wildly Simple Tips to Write Better Copy Now (#3 is the most often overlooked…and the most important)
The “Four U’s” Rule of Copywriting
What is Copywriting and why do I need it?
The peeps over at Copyblogger said it best:
Or, to put it more simply, copywriting is selling with words.
Copywriting is one of the most essential elements of effective online marketing.
It’s been used for over a century to sell products and services. The founding fathers of copywriting include Gary Halbert, David Ogilvy, and Claude Hopkins, among others.
But here’s the thing…
While copywriting has changed significantly through the decades, the principles are still applicable today – and, in the overcrowded sea-of-sameness that’s become the internet, is essential for any online business’s survival.
Why should you learn how to write copy?
That’s easy: REVENUE. As in cash money, yo.
Every business needs it. Because without money, you’ve just got an expensive hobby.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m making a big deal of this…
So let’s take a peek at some sobering stats:
- On average, people now spend more time online than all other media combined (source).
- You’ve only got 8 seconds to make someone who lands on your page give a crap about what you’ve got to say or sell. In 2017, this is 4 seconds SHORTER than in the year 2000 (source).
- And, on average, users read only 28% of the page AT MOST (20% is actually more accurate).
…Which means capturing and holding attention of your reader is more critical than ever.
According to HubSpot, for every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them.
Which makes knowing how to write compelling copy one of the most profitable skills an entrepreneur can learn.
Fact is, there’s no other skill you can learn as an online marketer that has a direct impact on your bottom line like copywriting.
Copywriting is used every day for things like:
- Website copy
- Sales pages
- FAQs that help people make the right decision(s)
- Building trust and authority (that know, like, trust factor we all need)
- Writing email to clients and prospects
- Your marketing sales funnel
- Email marketing
- Blog content
- Social media
Anyone can write copy (yup, I just said that). BUT, you need to know how to do it in a way that COMpels, not REpels.
The point of learning to write copy isn’t whether or not someone likes it, it’s how many people you get to actually take action on your page (a.k.a. “Lift” or conversions).
How to Write Copy That Converts, Quickly and Easily
You may be thinking that you don’t want to become a copywriter or that you don’t have time to learn how to write copy that sells (and reap the resulting profits).
The good news is, you don’t have to become a Master Copywriter to know how to write great copy that’s compelling and engaging (remember, anyone can write copy).
With some simple changes to the way you THINK about the way you write as well as changing your actual writing, writing copy is probably easier than you realize.
Here are 4 insanely simple ways you can instantly improve your copy:
How to Write Copy Tip #1: Write Like Your Customer Talks
Most people think that in order to sound “professional”, they need to write formally. This just ends up with you sounding about as interesting as an annual report or stuffy legal document.
Truth is, most people – like your customers – don’t talk like robots or use $50-dollar words in day-to-day interactions. Writing in a conversational tone makes people actually want to read what you’ve written, and helps them relate better to you.
Next time you’re having coffee with a friend or speaking with someone, pay attention to how you’re conversing. Then, write just like that.
An Easy Cure for Stuffy Writing
If your writing is stiff and stuffy, an easy cure is to start using conjunctions and real language.
It’s, isn’t, don’t and so on are what most people use in person-to-person conversation every day. And, it’s what will immediately make your writing less robotic-sounding and more human.
“Writing like you talk” also means using smaller words – the everyday language of your customers. Using big words when small ones will do makes your writing uninteresting (and often pompous or arrogant).
When you use smaller words, you’re not “dumbing-down” your writing, you’re simply making it easier to understand and more digestible for the reader.
For instance, instead of…
INSTANTANEOUSLY, replace with INSTANTLY
IRREGARDLESS, replace with REGARDLESS
UTILIZE, replace with USE
See the difference? The shorter words are more active and pack a great punch than their longer, more “high-brow” brothers.
Even though these words mean the same thing, they have a very different impact on your copy.
How to Write Copy Tip #2: Use Short Sentences and Paragraphs
When was the last time you wanted to read a giant block of text on someone’s web page (or any page, for that matter)?
If your website, blog or sales pages look daunting to readers, they’ll bounce.
Studies show that pages with more white space are more visually appealing and invite people to actually read it.
Plus, it’s proven that short, chunky sentences are more likely to engage readers and keep them glued to the page.
Shortening your sentences and paragraphs is a way to get the best of both worlds – eyes on your page longer, and more white space.
To do this, replace excess commas with periods – especially helpful if you’ve got a tendency for run-on sentences – and eliminate unnecessary words that dilute your message, like that, went, very, really.
Make paragraphs more concise (3-4 sentences, tops) by presenting only one idea per sentence, which focuses your message for the reader and makes what you’re trying to say more clear.
How to Write Copy Tip #3: Know Thy Customer
This is THE biggest piece of the copywriting puzzle.
If you don’t know what your customer’s pain is – what’s keeping them up at night – you’ll never be able to explain to them in a way that makes sense, why they should care about what you’re selling.
Before you write a single word, you need to know your customer better than they know themselves.
Jo at CopyHackers has some key questions to ask before you start writing:
- What’s your visitor thinking when they land on this page? What’s keeping them up at night? What are they struggling with?
- What do you want the reader to do when they finish with the page? What ONE specific action do you want them to take?
- How do your reader’s thoughts need to change between the start and end of the page? What do you need to show and tell your reader to get them from their place of struggle before finding you to the action you want them to take?
Understanding your reader and their driving motivation is they key to writing copy that resonates with them.
How to Write Copy Tip #4: Make it personal
It’s common to see business websites (or those trying to sound “professional”) talking about “we” and “us”, or talking about themselves in the 3rd person (“George is getting angry!”).
So, instead of using words like “we” and “us”, start using “me”, “you” and “I”. Make it personal for the reader – talk TO them instead of AT them.
Make your copy more human.
Bonus Training: The Rule of Four U’s
Copy that converts follows the “Rule of Four U’s”. That is, it’s always:
Urgency in copy tells the reader why they should act now, not later. You want someone to buy your thing now, to sign up immediately or schedule a call right away.
What urgent, pressing problem or pain do you solve?
For example, if you’re a business coach, you may help people build a successful business, but their most urgent issue may be getting clients. And we know that with more clients comes more money. So, in reality, you’re solving a cash flow problem.
In weight loss, you help people get healthier by losing weight, but in reality no one actually wants to lose weight. They want to feel good about themselves, look hot and fit back into their clothes.
Both of these examples highlight truly urgent problems – money and self-worth.
To transform someone from a fence-sitter into a buyer, you need to be able to clearly communicate what sets your product or service apart from others offering something similar.
Everything you’re doing or offering has been and is being done by someone else – there’s absolutely nothing new under the sun. Your reader needs to know why they should buy from YOU. Telling them why or how you’re different and how you can help solve their particular problem better than anyone is a must.
Copy that results in conversions is useful. It’s helpful to the reader in some way.
Your copy should help the reader make the best decision for them, whether it’s a purchase or simply taking action to implement a tip you’ve shared.
One of the ways to make sure your copy is useful is by answering the Big Question in your reader’s mind: “So What?”
Watch this short video to find out how you can do the “So What?” test to write better copy:
Explain to the reader why they should care about what you’re telling them. Show them how you’ve helped others, both with the tangible and intangible stuff.
Take a look at the successful business superstars you follow. How do you think they got there and amassed a humongous following?
They did it by being ultra-specific and focusing on what they did better than anyone else.
For instance, Brian Dean from Backlinko specialty is teaching SEO techniques to online businesses. What he does better than anyone is explain how to “do SEO” in a way that’s clear and easy to implement.
Ramit Sethi helps entrepreneurs and others master life.
CopyHackers helps online business owners and copywriters write better copy and build stronger businesses.
(As for me? I write some pretty mean, high-converting copy, but excel at explaining to smart online business owners how to DO IT themselves in a way that makes sense. Teach a man to fish, and all that…)
For every piece of copy you write, use the Four U’s as your roadmap for better results.
There’s obviously a lot more that goes into writing compelling copy that converts, but by implementing these tips, you’ll be well on your way.
Now it’s your turn – which of these tips will you implement right away? Comment below.