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I’ve found that, over the years, it can be easy to focus on the more tangible parts of a business. The parts that we can see and feel. The parts that we can have a more direct impact on, like:
• Training videos
• Website design/content
The list can go on and on. But there’s one aspect of a successful business that I think gets overlooked time and time again; copywriting.
Not just any type of copywriting, but using words to move prospects or even the casual observer through the… any guesses? Well, if you’ve been listening in on the series of building blocks to a successful business lately, I’ve mentioned this a number of times… the ‘know/like/trust/try/buy’ process.. and then we’ll add to that ‘repeat’ as well. Because as business owners, what do we really want? Sales? Yes.. but we also want repeat customers.
Ray Edwards, (www.rayedwards.com) in his book ‘How to Write Copy That Sells’ puts it this way. “There is virtually no other skill that can make you as much money as copywriting. Nearly all internet millionaires know this secret: more than their product, more than their traffic-generation techniques, more than their email campaigns, more than who their joint-venture partners might be, it’s their copywriting that has made them rich.”
So how does copywriting fit into the plan for getting repeat customers? It should fit into the entire plan for getting repeat customers.
• The website content
• The marketing content
• The phone script content (if you have one)
• The email marketing content
Pretty much everything should go through the lens of copywriting. I can promise you this; that whenever you’re watching TV or listening to the radio, you’re being bombarded with sales ads that have gone through an enormous amount of copy revisions and testing.
Once you learn the mindset and the method of quality copywriting, you’ll be able to pick apart the ads you hear and you’re going to understand what the advertiser is up to.
Remember, that art of copywriting is using words to either sell stuff, or to move people to action. That’s what every business needs and that’s what every business owner should want.
Now, I’m not saying that if you’re not on board with quality copywriting that you’re not a good business owner. I’m just saying that maybe, you’re just not understanding the importance of quality copy and the results it can produce.
You can have the greatest products and services around. You can be the best at what you do. But if you can’t convey how great those products and services are… if you can’t convey how great you are to either you’re prospects or the casual observer, as I like to call them…people that are watching you from a bit of a distance right now and they’re not quite sold on you or your business…just yet. If you can’t convey your message to them through the sales process, and draw them in, then your message…your marketing message isn’t getting the results you need.
People don’t buy if they have too many questions. People won’t take action if they don’t like you or trust you.
People still may not purchase your products or services even if they know, like and trust you. They need a reason. A real good one, to pull out their credit card and type in that number.
Most people buy on some level of emotion. And when we can mix some emotion with the logic behind what we’re offering, then that gets them moving in our direction a lot closer.
But just to be clear. I’m only talking about using effective copy in an ethical way. Not a guilt trip or manipulative way. People know what they want to buy and it’s our job to help them make that decision a little faster.
I’ve talked to people that sit on an idea for 5, 10, sometimes 20 years. And then, when they decide to move forward and pursue this dream they’ve had, what do they usually say? ‘I should have started a lot sooner. I don’t know why I waited this long.’
So if we know that some people are slow to take action, but they ultimately want to purchase that thing or service that you’re offering, then it’s the copywriters job, through ethical persuasion, to convince them to finally take the action they want to do anyway. Just don’t wait any longer.
Now can you learn copywriting on your own? Yes, everyone can learn the basics of effective copy. But not everyone will be good at it. You may need to hire somebody to get the results you need. Just because everyone can learn how to do it, doesn’t mean that they’ll be good at it. It takes a certain knack. A certain talent the for some people can’t be taught.
You can teach someone how to play the piano, but it doesn’t mean that they’ll be great at it…unless they have a God given talent for it and it comes naturally.
Again, I’ve said this before that this is a huge topic to talk about and I’ve got limited time in these episodes, but here goes. So I’ve got some simple tips that’ll help you get started.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to write copy. Following these simple copywriting rules will help your words to have more impact.
Copywriting Rule #1: Simplify
In the world of copywriting, complicated is NOT better. There’s a right way and a wrong way to write copy. Your goal always should be to communicate ideas and information in the clearest way possible. You want every single person who reads your copy to understand it perfectly.
That means you need to simplify as much as possible. Write concisely and avoid redundancy.
Copywriting Rule #2: Spend as Much Time on the Headings as the Body Copy
All of the headings in a piece need to be creatively and intelligently constructed. They need to grab the eye, inform, and sum up the content for a scanning reader. They need just as much care and attention as the body copy.
I recently changed all of the prior episode titles for the podcast to make them more appealing to listen to and hopefully download.
Copywriting Rule #3: Focus on Benefits, Not Features
Think of this next copywriting rule as the Golden Rule of online copy. Embed it into your psyche and put it into practice everywhere you possibly can.
When you stay focused on the benefits, you stay focused on your audience’s human needs. You tell them how your product or service fulfills those needs. You’re relating to them on a more personal level. Of course, when your copy is personal to your readers, it’s more compelling – and that’s the whole point, right?
Copywriting Rule #4: Don’t Write AT Your Audience – Write TO Them
What’s the difference between writing at them and not to them? Writing at your audience is pretty much the same as the way Flight attendants go over the safety guidelines at the beginning of every fight. They aren’t really talking TO you or engaging with you; they’re talking AT you. They’re presenting information…and that’s it.
So, the flip side to that is, think of writing to your audience as having a conversation. When you’re crafting your copy, you’re message, picture in your head that you’re talking directly to a person in your target audience. You’re talking to your ideal client. Imagine that they’re right in front of you.
Copywriting Rule #5: Tell People What to Do Next
Most of the time, if you don’t tell people what you want them to do, they won’t do it. Nobody can read minds. This holds true in copywriting, too. If you provide no direction on what the reader should do after they read your copy, they’ll do nothing. So, if your copy is getting read but not inspiring reader action, consider whether you have provided enough direction on what they should do next. In the copywriting world, this is known as the call-to-action (CTA).
I’ve got a call to action in the beginning of the podcast episode and the ending as well. And when the episodes are going on a little bit longer, I’ll put what’s called a midroll message with a different CTA.
Part of the website copy I have uses CTA’s for ‘click on this button’ or ‘download this free E-book’ or ‘book an appointment’, things like that.
There’s a lot to think about and work through with this and I’m only touching on the basics here, but if you need a little help in putting all the puzzle pieces together and you’d like to continue this conversation I’d be more than happy to talk to you about where you’re at in your small business journey and how I can help. Just go to www.tomclairmont.com and in the upper right part of the screen, I have a button you can click on for when I have free appointment time to get to know you and your situation better.
For more tips and tools to help you on your small business journey, just go to the Resources page. There, you’ll find some FREE, helpful downloads that will help give you clarity and a strategy as you plan your new small business launch.
If you’d like some help in determining your path to self employment, I’d be glad to assist. Send a little information through the quick contact form at the Contact page.
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