Need some copywriting tips that don’t suck? You found them. Read on, Grasshoppa 🙂
“But a picture says 1,000 words…”
That’s what one of my clients told me when I tried to explain that, while the pictures throughout their website were stunningly beautiful, they weren’t going to sell their villa packages in Costa Rica.
I know that was hard for him to hear after the amount of money he had paid professional photographers to take the photos.
I’m not against pictures. Not at all. And the more professional the photography – the better.
But too many businesses & marketers try to leave it up to images to do all of the work. And here’s why that won’t work.
My client, Salvatore, was presenting some of the most stunning pictures I had seen in a long time. Yes, I’ll admit, I wanted to go rent one of his villas for a month & just bask under the sun along the sandy white beach. I mean c’mon, monkeys were frolicking from trees nearby.
But here’s the problem. Tom, Dick & Harry were also offering villas along the shores of Costa Rica. Same stunning view. Same white sandy beaches. Same monkeys.
What made Salvatore’s villas better? What made his the right choice?
Let’s not forget, there are some pretty amazing views all over the world. Why choose Costa Rica? Sri Lanka, Greece & Thailand also offer breathtaking beach villas. All with a different flavor.
This is why copywriting must do the hard selling.
Salvatore needed to highlight that his villa had a private airport. There was no need for his guests to take a flight & then worry about transportation from an airport to the villas. A shuttle bus took care of that.
He also failed to display possibly one of his strongest value propositions. That the villas were completely secluded. No other guests would be onsite when you rented Salvatore’s villas. Nice.
He also forgot to mention the guests would have their own personal staff. A butler, chef & bartender. Sweet.
Now do you see why prospects should choose Salvatore’s villas over all of his competitors in Costa Rica who were not offering the same amenities?
He relied on his pictures to do all of the selling. And frankly, his pictures kind of took over & grabbed all the attention.
So how do you make a few lines say 1,000 words?
Persuasive copywriting 101: grab attention with your headline or it’s over
Ok, maybe “over” is an exaggeration. But notice how that heading grabbed your attention pretty quickly? Enough for you to continue reading this section?
Yeah, that’s how headlines are supposed to work (and not just headlines but subheadings too. They support a headline & keep readers further engaged).
Ogilvy & Mather is one of the most respected marketing & advertising firms in the world. David Ogilvy states “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. It follows that, if you don’t sell the product in your headline, you have wasted 80% of your money.”
Powerful stuff, right?
So how do you write effective headlines? Here are a few ways….
- Include a value proposition. Your unique value proposition is one of your biggest marketing tools. Include it in your headline so readers see it right away up front.
- Add numbers. Studies show that headlines that include numbers do well.
- Be clear. I know this one seems obvious, but if you convey with clarity what you are offering, then visitors will know you have what they need. I saw a split test once where a company offering natural joint relief added one word to their headline – the word “supplements.” Sales increased by 89%. Previously, visitors didn’t know that the form of joint relief was supplements. So it only needed this clarification to increase conversions.
- Address pain or the possible loss visitors can avoid. Sometimes avoiding pain is a greater motivator than gaining pleasure.
Ready for more great copywriting tips?
4 Sizzling copywriting techniques to keep readers captivated & engaged
So now that I’ve covered headlines as a way to pull readers in, here are four copywriting techniques to keep them engaged throughout your copy.
Tip #1: persuasive copywriting tells a story
At the beginning of this article, I started with Salvatore’s story. It pulled you in because it was about a real person & how we turned his ineffective website into an effective website.
It probably hit home for you a bit. People like examples. They don’t want to just hear how to do something. They want to hear how it worked out for someone else first. Stories build trust & create hope.
This is why case studies work so well.
Have you ever seen those charity commercials asking you to donate to a child? They usually tell that child’s story. And it works.
Tip #2: share specific information
Those commercials I told you about don’t just tell you the child’s story. They often give you specific information. Like names, ages, family size.
Because when you give people specific information – like names – it makes them invested. When they’re invested, they want to continue hearing your message.
I didn’t just tell you about my client’s situation. I gave you his name, I mentioned the frolicking monkey so you could get a better visual of his villa setting.
Here’s another example. I recently helped a client write a bio for her About page.
She gave me this…
“I like to walk my dog along the beach & experience everything the city has to offer.”
I told her to say this…
“I like to walk my Alaskan husky, Miska, along San Francisco’s Mission Beach & enjoy Burmese samusa’s & other tasty treats the city has to offer.”
Now don’t you feel like you know her a little bit better?
Previously, her bio was lacking energy. Providing details about her dog & interests help engage the reader. The audience might even see something they have in common with her. That’s why being specific & sharing works.
Have you ever had acquaintances that don’t know you quite well enough & use phrases such as “your client” or “your dog”?
There’s a fine line between not knowing someone well enough where you use phrases such as these. And then there’s that point where you mention the people (or dogs) in their life by name.
Like mentioning Salvatore & Miska.
When you refer to people by their name rather than a title, it’s because you’ve become closer. Trust has been established.
You’re sharing something a little more intimate. And it’s in these intimate moments where stronger engagement occurs.
But don’t go overboard with this.
You don’t want to give them too much information about you that they are not ready to know.
It’s a dance.
Focus on specific details first. It doesn’t all have to be personal info. Details alone set a stage & create imagery.
Tip #3: pump up the emotional connection
A lot of businesses fill their copy with facts, features & benefits. That’s great. But what they fail to do is address emotions.
This is vital because most transactions are based on emotions. What emotional “bonus” will your product or service deliver to the customer or client? What will your customer or client feel as a result of doing business with you?
Ultimately, people are buying an emotion. Happiness, safety, relief from grief, ways to avoid stress, pride. It’s all about emotions really.
Sell them with those emotions.
Tip #4: effective copywriting uses uncommon words
This is a copywriting technique that I like to use as well.
Think about how often your visitors are getting nearly the same message from all of your competitors.
It’s the same stuff over & over.
Our brains begin to tune it out because nothing really catches attention. It all just becomes a blur.
Now… use words that seem unfamiliar & different. Here’s what happens. Our brains become tickled. It stimulates a response. And when our brains become re-stimulated… well, they are all the more likely to become more engaged with the copy.
Take a look at these examples…
John has worked in the music industry for 25 years.
John has been knee deep in the music industry trenches for 25 years.
The words “knee deep” & “trenches” aren’t words that we hear mentioned in the music industry. So they stand out & grab our attention. It’s something different rather than the same old, same old.
This is why it’s also important to not use a lot of industry jargon. Industry jargon makes a lot of sense to you. But for the most part, it’s not your prospect’s language. So it doesn’t resonate with them in the same way.
These are some of the most effective copywriting tips to get readers engaged. Because when they are engaged, they read your marketing message completely (that can only improve your conversion optimization strategy (CRO), too).
Do you know how I know that to be true? Because you’ve read all the way to the end of this article 🙂
Try these techniques with your content so that you can get your readers all the way to the end of your marketing message & closer to a transaction.