Copywriting should clearly tell your customers, whether existing or potential, the benefit of choosing you. The focus of all your written material should be “WIIFM”, or “What is in it for me”.
So take a closer look at your copywritten material – in whatever form – and ask yourself what your customers think about it. Ask why should they be interested in reading about your organisation, products or services and if your materials say as much, if not more, about your customers as about you.
Simply put, how do you engage your customers and get them to read your written materials?
First of all, consider what you shouldn’t do.
- Use standard templates for every piece of writing, whatever the purpose, for every customer. Generic text is no doubt quick and convenient but does not differentiate or make your business stand out from your competitors.
- Use language or style that your readers can’t understand or relate to. Avoid jargon or technical expressions which may confuse or irritate.
- Bury the main purpose of your writing half way down the text. You risk your customers giving up before they have understood your purpose.
- Over-promise or over-state. Only promise what you can deliver or you risk driving your customers away instead of attracting them.
- Focus on yourself rather than on the customer. Your writing should always be customer-focused. Even when you write about your product or service, your focus should be on how they benefit the customer.
Any of these risk that piece of writing you worked so hard on finishing up in the bin even before it’s been read.
Now, persuade your readers to read through your writing
ANALYSE YOUR CUSTOMERS
Find our as much as you can about their needs and desires. You also need to know, where possible, their age, gender, cultural and linguistic background, preferences and prejudices, existing knowledge, attitude and pre-conceived notions, and budget limitations.
WRITE TO THE CUSTOMER, NOT AT THEM
In other words, make the reader feel you are speaking especially to them. Use personal pronouns “you” and “us” rather than alienating them with “the company”, “the customer” or “the clients”.
FRONT-LOAD YOUR WRITING
In other words, put key information and the purpose of your writing at the beginning. The benefits to the customer of doing business with you should hook their interest right from the start.
ANTICIPATE AND ANSWER ALL THEIR QUESTIONS
Tell them, not just what, who and where you are, but what you will do for them, the value they will get for the money they spend, how they can easily reach you and, above all, why they should prefer you over your competitors. For this, you need to know your competition well.
Don’t just tell them, show them. Include testimonials, endorsements, statistics or pictures. Let them hear from others how good you are.
KNOW THAT TO OVERSELL IS TO OVERKILL
Write to express not impress. Avoid hype and keep the writing simple and sincere. Use short paragraphs, sentences and words, even more so if you are writing for the web rather than the printed page.
CREATE AN EMPHATIC LAYOUT TO COMPLEMENT YOUR EFFECTIVE WRITING
Hire outside designers if necessary, but make sure the design is visually attractive and well-structured to match the simple but powerful writing. Consider the medium and choose an appropriate layout. Is it a report, an email, an online blog, a letter, a brochure or a leaflet? For example, a blog will need chunking into clear sections with headings, subheadings and short paragraphs because the online reader tends to skim and scan for key information rather than peruse every word.
PERSUADE WITH TONE AND VOICE
Choose active voice for it is direct, dynamic, clear and concise. However, use passive voice when necessary to avoid sounding too forceful or aggressive, or to add a touch of formality. Suit your style and tone to your reader. Are they elderly, young, conservative or relaxed? Keep your tone polite, friendly and conversational so each reader feels you are talking directly to them.
EDIT, EDIT AND EDIT
When customers see careless mistakes or sloppiness in your writing, they may mentally transfer this lack of professionalism and quality to the product or service you provide. You lose credibility and your reputation is tarnished.
ABOVE ALL, UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF YOUR WRITING
For example, is your writing simply to provide information in order to create customer awareness or to attract customers for your business? If the latter, make sure there is some sort of call to action at the end. This could simply be providing telephone numbers and an easy link that they can click to contact you immediately without risking a cooling-off period.
Ultimately, your materials should be written in such a way that they convey the necessary information, enhance your company image, engage the audience and make them think yours is the right company for their business.