Have you ever landed on a website, started reading through the content and found yourself nodding and agreeing? Yes that’s totally how I feel! Yes I wish I could achieve that goal! OMG she totally gets me! It’s like she’s reading my mind! Next thing you know you’ve signed up for the free training or downloaded their free resource. All in a matter of minutes…
This is the power of copywriting.
When someone lands on your site, you literally have only a few seconds to communicate who you are, what you do and how you can help them. If your customer is confused about what you can do for them, sadly you’ve lost them.
You must learn how to communicate your message in a way that inspires people to say ‘yes’. Mastering copywriting is just like mastering any craft. It takes time and skill. That said understanding how to write web copy that converts requires understanding basic fundamentals. These fundamentals can be applied to not only your website, but to all of your communications including social media posts, blog posts, emails and more.
I’m the first to admit this is one area that I really struggled with. Writing copy is definitely not one of my strengths, which is why I enrolled in an online copywriting course. Here’s a few lessons that I’ve learned over the years, on how to write persuasive copy that’ll help you turn your browsers into buyers.
COPYWRITING VS. TONE OF VOICE
Before we go any further, I just want to clear one thing up. I’m not talking about tone of voice. Written tone of voice is all about your brand’s personality, whereas direct response copywriting is all about triggering a response from your target audience. When you think tone of voice, think branding. When you think direct response copywriting, think marketing.
Tone of Voice = Branding
Direct Response Copywriting = Marketing
Tone of voice is all about what you say and how you say it. Your tone of voice is derived from your brand strategy and is aimed at creating a lasting impression. For example let’s compare the fictional characters Eeyore and Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Eeyore’s tone of voice is slow, pessimistic, gloomy and depressing. Whereas Tigger is hyperactive, cheerful, outgoing… and potentially suffering from ADHD—but that’s another topic for another day. The point I’m trying to make is that they’re two very different tones of voice.
Direct response copywriting on the other hand is all about crafting persuasive writing with the intent of driving an action from your audience. For example – getting your visitor to make a purchase, sign up for free training or download your lead magnet. It’s all about psychology and strategy…and I love strategy!
SHINING THE SPOTLIGHT ON WHO REALLY MATTERS: YOUR CUSTOMER!
The next important point we need to cover is: it’s not about you. It’s about your target audience. Talking about you and your product is only going to get you so far. When someone lands on your website they don’t know you. They don’t know you can help them and they certainty don’t trust you…yet! Don’t make the mistake of making it all about you. In order to make a capture your audience’s attention and make a connection you need to turn the spotlight on the person who really matters: your customer!
Let’s look at an example. Which headline do you find more appealing?
Hi, I’m Clare. A WordPress Web Designer Developing Websites for Female Entrepreneurs.
Ready to Build a Strategic & Profitable Online Presence?
The first headline is all about me, whereas the second headline is about you and how I can help you achieve your goals. Direct response copywriting is all about psychology and strategy. In order to persuade your audience to take action, first you need to understand them and what they want….
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
Before you even start crafting your copy you need to know who your ideal customer or client is. Like really know them. I’m not talking about data such as; “brides aged between 25-40 living in Sydney.” Demographics are important, but it’s the psychographics that’ll help you get inside your client’s head. You want to get clear on their hopes and dreams, fears and frustrations, pain points and challenges, goals and aspirations. Creating a customer avatar will give you this clarity. A customer avatar is an in-depth profile of one individual that sits within your target audience which describes them in detail. It’s a fictional character you create that best represents your ideal customer or client. Once you have completed your customer avatar you can then start to craft copy that resonates with your audience and captures their attention.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENEFITS, NOT FEATURES
When Steve Jobs invented the iPod everyone in the tech industry was scratching their heads. MP3 players were not new on the scene, they’d been around for a while. So what was so remarkable about the iPod and what was Jobs thinking? They key was how it was marketed. The rest of the industry was marketing their products a little something like this: “1GB of storage on your MP3 player.” Apple on the other hand, communicated why this was so important for the customer: “iPod. 1000 songs in your pocket.”
This is the power of using benefits, rather than features in your web copy.
A feature is what your product or service does. Think about the features a car might have; leather seats, GPS navigation, climate control or a 360 degree camera. Features are the raw facts.
Benefits on the other hand shows the customer what’s in it for them. The feature might be a 360 degree camera. But the benefit is that it provides a detailed view of the car’s surroundings, making parking easier than ever before.
Grab a sheet of paper and draw two columns. On the left label the column Features and then on the right label it Benefits. Now try to write down as many features of your product or service as you possibly can. Next you want to start describing the benefit of each of these features. See my example for Volvo below.
If you’re struggling, try the So What Method. List out the features and then ask yourself…So what…why does that matter? Let’s take an Organic Probiotic Powder for example. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals and contains over 500 million probiotics. Well…so what? Well it assists with digestive health and therefore skin health. So what? It improves skin texture and supports healthy hair and nails. So what? It gives you beautiful radiant glowing skin!
The key here is to focus less on your product’s features and start talking about how your product or service can benefit your customers lives in a meaningful way. Benefits, not features.
But you don’t want to stop here. You also want to acknowledge the future benefits. What are future benefits? Future benefits explain how your product or service will benefit your customers tomorrow, not just today. This little strategy will help you position your product as an investment, not just a product. How will your product impact your customers future? For example: Buy now keep forever, the last one you’ll ever need, a diamond is forever, lifetime warranty etc. Future benefits will help your customer picture themselves, not only enjoying the immediate benefits, but having it impact their lives for years to come. This is great for major purchases such as education, health and wellness products, financial products and home improvements.
SPEAK TO THE DESIRED END RESULT
Talking about the benefits of your product or service is important, however if this is all your talk about you’re not going to be that effective. Why? Because you’re still talking about the product, not your customer. Remember, the spotlight needs to be on your customer, not you.
Theodore Levitt famously said: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.” This quote brilliantly illustrates why you need to sell benefits, not features. But it doesn’t go far enough. Nobody is better off because they drilled a hole. No one wants a hole. The hole is the immediate result. What people really want is extra storage space, a new outdoor deck, a new kitchen! That’s what they really want.
But wait…this doesn’t go far enough either. It’s not just a new outdoor deck they’re seeking. What they really want is a place to relax, have a barbecue, entertain or just hang out with family and friends. People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want to have a great time with their friends and family. They want to spend quality time with those who matter the most. Bingo! Now this is what they are REALLY buying.
What you have to remember is that people generally don’t care about you or your product. What they do care about is themselves and how you can make their life better. People don’t buy products or services, or features or benefits. They buy transformation! They buy outcomes! They buy results! They buy solutions! They buy hopes and dreams!
“People don’t buy products, they buy solutions.”
— Meredith Hill
…and this is what you need to be talking about.
Gym Membership – people don’t buy a gym membership, they buy confidence and a healthy new body
Probiotic Powder – people don’t buy 500 million probiotics, instead they buy radiant glowing skin
Home Alarm System – people don’t buy an alarm system, instead they’re buying a safe and secure home for the most important people in their life: their family
Your product or service is simply a tool to help your target audience on their journey to helping them achieve their dreams and goals.
This is why your customer avatar is so important. If you’ve done this correctly you would have already identified their hopes, dreams and goals. The aim of gathering all this information is to demonstrate to your audience how your product or service can help them achieve their goals, dreams and aspirations.
If your audience can clearly see how your product or service can help them get closer to achieving their goals and dreams, remove pain or frustration, solve a problem, they can’t help but value you and what you have to offer. But you need to make that connection and carefully articulate it back to them.
At the end of the day we’re all selling the same thing, believe it or not. We’re all selling our audience a better version of themselves. That version of themselves that exists in their hopes and dreams. Your product or service is simply a road to help them get there.
The aim is not to sell your product, but instead sell your audience a better version of themselves.
This blog post is all about web copy but it’s important to note that this “desired end result” can be depicted in images, as well as words. Which is why we encounter so many “lifestyle” images in the media.
Exercise: Answer the following questions – What do your customers really want? What are their hopes and dreams? What is the desired end result they are seeking? How can your product or service transform your customer’s life for the better? What does your customers better version of themselves look like?
A SIMPLE WRITING FORMULA
Now that you know your ideal customer or client inside-out you can use all the information and start applying it to your web copy. ADIA is a simple writing formula that I learned way back at Uni and it’s still useful today. Use this simple structure when crafting your web copy:
Attention – get your audience’s attention
Interest – spark interest
Desire – create desire by telling them what’s in it for them
Action – motivate them to take action
3 COMPONENTS OF SUCCESSFUL WEB COPY
COMPONENT #1 HEADLINE
This is the first thing people read and the most critical piece of copy on the page. Use headlines to get your audience’s attention and draw them in. When someone lands on your web page they make a snap judgement about whether to read it based on whether they think there’s some value in it for them. If it doesn’t help them, talk to their deepest desires, address a pain point, they’ll just click away never to return. Here’s a few things to consider:
- Ensure that it’s engaging
- Always indicate what your audience will gain
- Stay focused on benefits, not features
- Keep your ideal customer or client front of mind
- Keep it concise and avoid any fluffy unnecessary words such as, really, just, very etc.
- Don’t make any outrageous claims you can’t support
- Ask a question – e.g. Ready to Buy Your Dream Home?
- Always Capitalise Every Word In Your Headline
If you want to learn more about crafting exceptional headlines and creating irresistible lead magnets see my “6-Step Lead Magnet Workbook”
COMPONENT #2 SUBHEADING
Once you have their attention use a subheading to elaborate on the headline and spark interest and desire. A classic hook is the Problem/Solution approach. The first step is to introduce the problem (pain, challenge or frustration) that your target audience is experiencing. Then agitate the reader by elaborating on the problem they are facing. A great way to do this is to inject some highly emotional negative words such as worried, stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, horrible and exhausting etc. You can use statistics, facts or figures to add interest. Show empathy to demonstrate you understand their problem. Lastly, you want to introduce that a solution to the problem exists…which just happens to be your product! And remind them what they really want.
For example, if you’re selling lawn care: Tired of wasting your weekends mowing the lawn? Summer is approaching and let’s face it, mowing on a hot day is exhausting! If you’d rather spend your weekends with family and friends, hire us and get your weekend’s back. Call 000 000 000 to speak to one of our friendly team today.
Here are a few key points:
- Introduce the pain point / challenge / problem / frustration
- Elaborate the problem and agitate the reader
- Use statistics or facts to add interest and relate back to the problem
- Reveal the solution to their problem (i.e. your product)
- Elaborate more on what they will be gaining
- Don’t introduce any new claims or promises
COMPONENT #3 CALL TO ACTION
Lastly you want to use a call to action to tell readers exactly what you want them to do. It’s a simple commanding statement such as; Download Now, Find Out More, Buy Now, Add to Cart.
Writing effective persuasive copy for your website is hard work, which is why most skip this step. But once you’ve learn the basics, it’s a skill you’ll have for life. You’ll never look at copy the same way ever again. What I’ve covered today is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to learn more about psychology, how to communicate your brand message and uncover your customers hopes and dreams, click on the link below. Branding:Uncomplicated is our 10-Step roadmap to transforming your brand from ordinary to extraordinary. If you’re struggling to write content for your website, consider this the missing piece of the puzzle. Or, if want to learn how to become a copywriting ninja then I recommend taking an online course, you won’t regret it.
Here’s my top recommendations:
Ashlyn Carter – If you’re a creative entrepreneur, then Ashlyn Carter is your girl. She’s the Jenna Kutcher of Copywriting. With over 80+ clients and 5,000+ students, she’s pinpointed what helps lock in million-dollah launches as a launch copywriter and copywriter for creative entrepreneurs. She’s worked for clients such as, Jenna Kutcher, Hillary Rushford, Beth Kirby of Local Milk, and Julie Solomon. Her shop is packed full of helpful products, from how to write emails, your bio and her flagship course. She also provides heaps of free content over at her YouTube Channel and her Blog.
Marie Forleo’s Copy Cure – If you want to learn how to write copy that’s true to you and be persuasive without being pushy, then this course will help you do it. She’s a bit more expensive than the others, but she’s worth it. The only problem is…that it opens only once a year. You can register via her website to go on the waitlist.
Digital Marketer’s Copywriting Mastery – Last, but not least is Digital Marketer’s Copywriting Mastery course. These guys are the pros and they definitely know their stuff. So if you want to learn from the best, these are your guys. Although I will say one thing. I’ve done this course and the content is awesome, however some of the content could do with a good refresh. Their courses regularly go on sale, so if you sign up to their mailing list you’ll be able to pick this up at a bargain price.
*If you want to learn more about psychology, how to communicate your brand message or uncover your customers hopes and dreams click on the link below. Or, if you’re struggling to write content for your website, consider this the missing piece of the puzzle.