Thanks to Anthony Clayton, from Writefully So for this weeks guest blog.
How Small Businesses Can Improve Their Copywriting
Copy directly influences the profitability of your enterprise. It’s essential because in certain parts of your business you will be using text to convey meaning, encourage actions and promote engagement. These touchpoints drive custom along with good design, user experience and other aspects of your business. Copy is fundamental to marketing, so it has to be good, convincing and effective. Every use of words to communicate with current and potential clients is an opportunity to consolidate relationships, build trust and present yourself as the sole solution to their problems.
Do your research and understand your customers
Pain points are integral to good copywriting. A thorough understanding of your audience’s specific pain points will ensure your copy wins you new business, opening up golden avenues for expansion. Make sure that you speak the language of your customers and that you clearly demonstrate the way in which you remove these pains. Back up any claims with good evidence and make sure that your copy focuses on solving problems, this way prospects will trust you and your copy will not be wasting their time. This implies that you value those who are reading your words.
Cleverness killed the cat
Attention spans are weak and fickle in this day and age. Sticking around to work out some wit is not on the agenda for your audience in the middle of their hectic work day. Forcing site visitors or readers of your copy to think more than they need to is a recipe for low engagement and ineffective messaging.
Copy supplies either immediate answers or useful information, or at least that is what it should be doing 95% of the time. It’s necessary to make sure that your understanding of your own words and copy choices is easily understood by others. You can do this by asking if people that you know outside of your organisation comprehend your writing. This eliminates the risk of in-jokes not being understood or even backfiring. Similarly, using jargon most of the time is quite simply silly.
Prioritize information ruthlessly
Brevity is the order of the day in these crazy times that we all live in. It’s vital that copy is structured in a digestible fashion that is easy to skim through. Instead of building up to a key point – like you might do in a school essay, with an argument made at the end – build down the key points. Start with the most critical information in titles and at the beginning of paragraphs and pieces of copy. You must keep your audience hooked.
If you’re offering something of value, make the value clear instead of hiding it within mounds of text. Don’t be afraid to cut out text that adds nothing to the reader’s experience. If you’re quite sure it shouldn’t be there, then you’re probably right.
Cheque. CHEck. Check again.
Similarly editing is a necessary task. It’s the task that should make your words go from unpolished to top of the league. If you edit copy that’s already strong, then there is a great chance that your copy is going to rank highly or be effective regarding the actions or revenue it is intended to generate.
Taking breaks between reviewing copy is a great way to improve your edits. As a freelance copywriter, I often come back to pieces later on in the week to check and tweak for a final time before sending my work off to clients. Editing is a vital task that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Academic or standard grammar rules don’t apply
Your audience is unlikely to be PHD holding professors who research high-chain triglycerides and glomadides every day. You should always be writing in a tone and style that will resonate with those who it’s intended for. Often copy is too academic and this is simply off-putting for the vast majority of busy folks that make up your audience.
Screw what you’re taught and told at school. When it comes to copywriting, casual and ‘chatty’ writing is champion writing. You’re not constrained by the English language. Of course you should be spelling correctly and showing that you understand the bare necessities of writing. But adhering to each and every rule is simply not needed and can hinder your copy in certain cases.
Bullets. Lists. Headings. All sorts of visual ‘breakers’ and devices can be used to make your words easy to consume.
Simplicity is key
Delete multisyllabic words. Eliminate anything that sounds fancy. Keep your words simple to attract the highest engagement with your copy.
Don’t neglect CTA’s
Never assume that your audience knows what you want or how to take their engagement further. You should include a Call-To-Action that makes it clear what action should be taken.
Using strong verbs or questions just before the CTA will have the stronger impact.
A cliche example is:
What are you waiting for?
An example from some work I did in 2020 that uses a bit of wordplay is:
Try the hottest hot sauce in town…
Shop it like it’s hot
Follow the CTA with a run down of the benefits of the product or service for powerful copy that helps you get results.
Copy and messaging will help to promote your business and doing it in house often means it’s rushed and below par quality. With a few tweaks and bearing these tips in mind it’s possible to do a decent enough job as a business owner yourself. These improvements across your entire business-wide copy could add up to a massive boost to revenue and will help you to establish your image as a premium high value business.
Improving your copywriting doesn’t have to be difficult. It just takes a bit of planning, thorough editing and empathy for the audience you’re targeting. The profile of these should be clear.