10 Tips for Copywriting Success
While video and multimedia technologies are rapidly expanding, the Web remains a largely a text-oriented system. Text utilizes far less space than video or audio, and remains the go-to medium for the majority of the web’s public content. This means that there is a lot of copy on the web, so a savvy copywriter should be on the lookout for any technique that will improve the material he puts forward.
Tip 1 – Know Yourself
This piece of advice has been kicking around for several thousand years, and it has persisted for a reason – people make better decisions when they know their strengths and limits. If your writing lends itself to narrative structures, find ways to tell stories about the product, perhaps in the form of a testimonial or an interview. If you aren’t capable of writing technical articles, don’t try to bluff it.
Tip 2 – Improve Yourself
The web changes, language changes, people change, products change… in short, everything changes. This is a good thing. Improvement and training are important changes that everyone must go through in some degree if they want to remain relevant. You may want to consider enrolling in a writing course, study new SEO and copywriting tips, pick up a highly rated style manual, or continue refining your skills in some other way.
Tip 3 – Target Your Language to the Audience
There is always an audience. Whether writing a letter specifically to one individual or composing for a website to be viewed by international customers, take the time to find out who your audience is and tailor the writing accordingly. Academics will have different writing standards than a DIY auto repair services, and neither will appreciate receiving articles targeted to the other.
Tip 4 – Write Coherently
Compare the following two statements:
* The Large Hadron Collider, created and maintained by CERN in Geneva, is designed to locate and study the Higgs-Boson particle, which will provide insight into the origin of the universe.
* CERN intends to use the Large Hadron Collider to locate and study the Higgs-Boson particle in an attempt to gain insight into the origin of the universe.
The first sentence is full of asides and parenthetical statements while the second conveys the information more fluidly. There are times when asides and references are important, but as a general rule, take any opportunity you can to simplify your writing. Your message will be stronger and clearer for the effort.
Tip 5 – Write Specifically
Again, consider this ambiguous sentence; “Anti-nuclear protestors released live cockroaches inside the White House Friday, and these were arrested when they left and blocked a security gate.”
While it seems innocuous enough on the surface, this statement does illustrate the problem with ambiguous grammar. Good copywriting is precise and unambiguous. Here it comes across as funny, but if your customers aren’t coming to your site to laugh, go with a clearer example.
Tip 6 – Write Concisely
Strunk and White’s ‘The Elements of Style’ sums this up as ‘Omit needless words.’ Stick to short, clear paragraphs and sentences. Elaborate where needed, but focus on efficient writing that gets the message across without pointless extras.
Tip 7 – Start Strong
Journalism focuses on a technique known as the lede. In short, this is all the relevant detail of the story conveyed in one sentence, and it always comes at the start of the article. “A local man was arrested today in connection with the recent kidnapping of a foreign exchange student.” Notice it doesn’t give names or quotes, just the hard-core facts. While online copywriting rarely needs to emulate this exact approach, it still illustrates a key point; good articles present their best facts quickly while hooking the reader.
Tip 8 – End Strong
There are countless examples of writing that start out with the proverbial ‘bang,’ only to wander off pointlessly. Focus your writing on its key message and make sure the final statement is as strong as the first. Write your beginning statement and ending statement at the same time and make sure the article is always leading toward that killer end sentence that ties the article up in a powerful way.
Tip 9 – Read
While this partially falls under the idea of improving yourself, it’s also a specific example that deserves its own mention. Read constantly. Read good articles and bad, seeing what works and what does not. People who are widely read write better than comparable writers who don’t read as much.
Tip 10 – Write Constantly
Copywriting is a talent like any other. Daily practice with writing will expand your ability to try new ideas and reinforce good habits. Even if you have no copywriting assignment at the moment, browse the web looking for websites in your area of expertise, and see if you can’t improve their copy. Then you can either consider it free practice, or perhaps give the authors a call to see if they’re interested.
Once you’re online business website is live, generating targeted traffic is your next hurdle. But to maximize your online success you need to go beyond traffic generation. You need to focus on web site conversion. Many online marketers spend lots of time and money on traffic generation. And they fail to pay attention to website conversions.
Here are 7 website conversion secrets to help you get more customers and make more money. Period. Lets start…
Conversion Secret #1
Pay attention to the buying experience. Put your self in your buyer’s shoes. How would you rate your site? The most important rule of thumb is to make everything drop-dead easy. No hoops allowed! Minimize the number of clicks in your ordering process. If they have to register… make it a one-step process. I recently read that up to 40% of ecommerce shopping carts are Abandoned without an order because the order process was confusing.
When your customers get confused, they get frustrated or angry and then they leave. Not sure how you’re doing? Be smart. Test. That’s the only way. Or contact your customers and ask them to rate their buying experience at your site. Just find out and you’ll know! Very simple.
Conversion Secret #2
Optimize your site structure. Sounds easy enough. And it is! But you’d be shocked to know how many marketers Don’t. Make it well organized and stupid simple to navigate. Prioritize your themes and sub-themes and structure accordingly. You have less than 6 to 8 seconds to capture your visitor’s attention and get them interested. Most people don’t sit there and analyze. They respond to unconscious feelings and the famous ‘gut’ feeling.
Conversion Secret #3
What is the goal of your site? Your conversion goal? What is the purpose of the page they’re on? I hope you have thought about this. If not… do it now! Do you have 12 options for them to click on? Ever consider they might get confused because there ARE so many options? You can have many options for them. And if you do then it’s critically important to have a very clearly defined navigation structure.
Conversion Secret #4
Make sure your site or page loads fast! The faster, the better. You know how impatient we’ve all become. Your site needs to be fully loaded in less than 6 to 8 seconds! Fully visible. Research shows again and again that up to half of your visitors will Leave if your site is more than 6 to 8 seconds to load.
Conversion Secret #5
Do you have an effective and clear call to action? Here’s something that has been known for many decades. Courtesy of direct mail pioneers who came way before the internet. But it’s still true! People need to be told what to do next.
Absolutely still true. Don’t be afraid to ‘politely’ inform them of what to do next, or just what to do! Tell them! Don’t expect the website visitor to know what to do next. You can alleviate fears of the unknown by telling them, in some fashion, what their next action will do. Click to order your product… click here to register for your free download, etc. People need to be reassured and you’ll do that by telling them what result will happen from their next action.
Conversion Secret #6
Do you have a strong message? This is different from call to action. I’m talking about a clear, strong, and consistent message throughout your page. If you’re talking about a particular product, theme, service… whatever it is, stay on topic and focus on it.
Conversion Secret #7
Test, test, and test again. Increasing your conversions takes time and is an ongoing process. There are lots of programs available to do this. Find out how much time people are spending on your pages. What do they click on? Find out what’s strong and improve on it. See if you can expand on it. Find out what’s weak and see if you can improve on it.
Your profits will soar if you do only half of what I’ve shown you here today. But why would do that? Do All of them. And there’s even more to be learned. Failing to work on your conversions is like running on half empty, or running on misfiring cylinders. So don’t do it!