Those blocks of text on your landing page aren’t converting.
You’ve explained your product across multiple paragraphs, yet your call-to-action button may as well be fenced off with barbed wire and dripping with poison.
Before you hurl your keyboard out of the window, try to take in our six copywriting tips and you should see improved activity.
Consistent tone of voice
There’s one thing guaranteed to confuse your audience.
That’s when your marketing campaign suffers from a multiple personality disorder. It’s possible you may have had more than one copywriter working across a particular campaign. Yet it’s certainly not out of the question for skilled and experienced copywriters to collaborate on delivering a consistent tone across all collateral.
Maybe you haven’t discovered the right tone of voice just yet?
We’d be wary of you experimenting with a live campaign, but of course, it’s vital that you discover the right ‘personality’ your readers react positively. Consider these traits…
- Brash and outspoken
- Warm, feminine and friendly
- Fact-obsessed and clinical
- Smiling and always cracking a joke
There’s no doubt you’re probably thinking of people in your office as you read those descriptions. Think carefully about the persona you choose, you could be surprised at what works. There are ways of discovering the right persona for your brand.
You’ve probably heard of A/B testing in marketing, where emails can be split 50/50, with one-half of the audience receiving a particular subject line and the other getting a different subject line. A new trend has emerged where marketers will do the same with several tones of voice.
Naturally, you need systems in place to ensure specific segments are aligned all the way with a selected persona. There’s no point in an email recipient, having read a warm and cosy paragraph, being confronted with a shouty abrasive ‘you suck if you don’t have this’ landing page.
It’s all about ‘you’
Talk about the reader, on a one-to-one basis. Which word is guaranteed to crop up? That’s right, it’s ‘you’, along with ‘your’.
Being conversational is part of copywriting 101. I make no apologies for bringing up such a basic tip because I still see copy out there that really doesn’t make an attempt to engage with the reader.
Writing in the first person perspective – where a lot of your sentences start with ‘I’ – can convey a very honest approach, but be wary of alienating the reader. Some audiences will think you’re taking a bragging and boastful tone.
I’m not saying avoid first-person writing, especially as this sentence is in that context. What I do recommend is to address the reader quite frequently. Ensure that ‘you’ and ‘your’ are brought up many times. It’s the textual equivalent of looking your reader in the eye. Focus on the end-customer and their needs.
The instruction manual approach
A popular method of creating advertising copy is to almost write the advert like it’s a line out of the instruction manual. Writing as if the reader already has the product or service. We know they don’t, of course, but let that realisation come to the reader’s fore by acting as though they do.
For example, if you’re selling accountant software, try something like “you’ve tackled this year’s tax record nightmare in minutes, now put your feet up”. That’s going to sell better than “Our program is very fast at sorting through your tax records”.
Keen observers will note that this tip combines beautifully with the previous one. You knew that, right?
Be authoritative in a subtle way
Now that’s quite the oxymoron. Hear us out. A few adjectives in the right places can strengthen your terms. Details help in producing conversions.
Take a look at these two phrases…
“a £5 fee”
“a small £5 fee”
Already I think you can guess which one of these sounds better. The second one tested better, increasing sign-up rates for a DVD trial service (yeah, this was quite some time ago, we know) by over 20%.
The genius of it, is that the author has dictated that £5 is a small fee, which adds a bit persuasion in the minds of the frugal and those with a padlock on their wallets.
Any copywriter will find a hiccup in writing about a negative for a product or a service. The skilled ones will be able to add that ‘spoonful of sugar’ to make it palatable to the audience.
Be careful not to overdo it with adjectives, though. Too many can become repetitive and tiring for the reader. You’re not writing a Dan Brown novel.
Take stat and party
You may have to beg your client or the stakeholder for a positive statistic about the product or service. We recommend you do.
A reader looking at a fresh piece of copy is comparable to someone deciding to listen to a stranger’s pitch. Yes, your product may be absolutely superb but do you have a glowing statistic from a verifiable source?
Getting a brilliant percentage rate quoted in your copy can sometimes be half the job of selling over and done with. Make sure you get the source included, whether it’s in a small print footnote or within a paragraph. Your claims carry so much more weight when attributed to something.
Statistics tend to work best in email subject lines. Get the numbers in front of your audience from the get-go.
Conversely, it’s essential to avoid starting a paragraph with a number. No great story ever started with “87% of…” or “2016 saw…”. It’s visually distracting, but here’s the quirk. Get your graphic designer to pull that enticing number out real big, in a similar manner to an infographic, especially if they can convey the positive attribute in a visual way.
Don’t build a wall
Sometimes, less really is more. Huge long paragraphs will make your reader close a tab or hit a back button. Seriously, nobody wants to see a wall of text, so think about brevity.
A general rule of thumb is to keep paragraphs about as long as a tweet and a half. That doesn’t mean to say you can keep your word counts ridiculously short and clock out early. Writing short snappy attention-grabbing copy is a skill and usually harder than the ‘freedom’ of an essay-length paragraph.
Focus on the reader’s needs and write like they already have the product/service so they really value it. Get straight to the point quickly. Be authoritative with friendly adjectives. Bring in a positive statistic when possible and keep to a consistent tone throughout.
This article was contributed by Peter Thomas.