Copywriting is the underrated MVP of marketing.
It’s the teammate who wins the championship but doesn’t get the interview.
It’s the actor who shows up in every major movie but never wins an Emmy.
It’s the drummer who kills it in every song but is never front and center in the album photo.
Copywriting fuels everything in marketing. Sure, graphic design and videography takes center stage (because our culture loves visuals). But after the graphics get your attention, the words swoop in to close the deal. You may not realize the power of the words you read, but they impact everything in your business — your brand identity, your customer retention, and ultimately your bottom line.
So if your copywriting is subpar, you’re dropping the ball and losing customers.
Ouch, right? We figured we should be straight with you. But 2021 is the year for a copywriting makeover. Take these 3 steps to heart and you’ll see some major changes in your marketing this year!
1. Know your average customer like your best friend.
Who are you talking to? This question drives every word-choice in your copy. Are you writing to chefs about aprons? The voice for that copy should sound quite different than the copy you wrote to grandmas about hair products. You need to know your average customer’s dreams, goals, and pain points so you can show them exactly how your product or service solves their problem.
You also want to write copy that feels conversational and personable. “But won’t that make me sound unprofessional?” No — not if you do it right. Your audience determines how colloquial you can get with your copy, but you never want to sound like a robot. Even if you’re in B2B marketing, your goal is to connect with business owners person-to-person.
A quick way to sound more conversational is to combine your words into contractions whenever you can — we’re, you’re, can’t, it’s. I know, I know, your high school English teacher docked points for contraction, but copywriting isn’t academic writing! You naturally use contractions when you speak, so it sounds unnatural and robotic to write without contractions. Compare:
No contractions: It is time! We are excited for your order to arrive today and cannot wait to hear how much you are loving it.
Contractions: It’s time! We’re excited for your order to arrive today and can’t wait to hear how much you’re loving it.
Hear the difference? Your customers don’t want to hear from Siri — they want to hear from YOU.
2. Don’t settle for surface-level.
Once you start thinking in terms of solving a customer’s problem, it’s easy to get stuck in the surface-level muck. Sure, your customer may need a new shirt, a better way to organize, or pizza delivery. But what are the deeper, emotional needs beneath those?
Rather than simply a new shirt, maybe your customer needs a burst of confidence (which your new shirt can supply). Or your customer might need to destress and find her zen (which a new organizing tool would provide). Or your customer may need to keep his head above water during a crazy year and your pizza delivery ensures that dinner is one thing he doesn’t have to worry about.
When you settle for surface-level, you’ve settled for stale and unimpressionable. Start by writing out the surface-level needs that your business meets, then dive deeper into each one, fishing for the emotional problems that your product or service answer. When you do, you’ll hit a level of marketing gold that pulls people into your branding and keeps your brand top-of-mind.
3. Write for the attention span of a goldfish.
Because guess what — that’s all you’re getting.
When you sit down to read a book, you’re mentally prepared to disengage from the world and focus on the words in front of you. But when you browse the internet, you’re not looking for a literary masterpiece. At best, you’re looking for a cool blog post to share, but usually we’re just scrolling to pass the time.
You have 1.7 seconds to grab the attention of your readers on Facebook. That’s all. As we scroll from one post to the next, we only exert 1.7 seconds of energy to decide whether to click or move on. If your copy doesn’t intrigue your readers in an instant, they’re scrolling on to something new.
To stop the scroll, your copy must be short, punchy, and gripping.
Short: We come to social media for entertainment, not for a mental workout. Keep your sentences short and your message clear. If we have to extend much effort to understand what you’re saying, you’ve lost us.
Punchy: As in, punch them in the face with your words. When you try to write politely, you use extra fluff words that make your readers’ eyes glaze over. Don’t worry about sounding rude — speak directly and avoid hedging words like may, possible, perhaps, and could.
Gripping: Do you know why bad news sells? Because those catastrophic headlines grip your heart. Your reader also has a catastrophic need — but you have to remind them of it. Use vivid words that jump off the screen and make your readers imagine how much better their lives would be with your product or service.
Implementing this 3-Step Copywriting makeover will revolutionize your business. But hey — if you don’t have the bandwidth for all this, we can handle the copywriting for you. Sigl Creative’s team of marketers is ready to create your personalized marketing strategy for 2021. Contact us for a digital marketing consultation and we’ll work together to present your passion to the world.