No matter how great a copywriter you are, there’s always room for improvement.
Ready to take your skills to the next level?
Cool, let’s do it… the easiest way!
Your conversion rate depends on numerous factors (volume of incoming traffic, layout & design of the landing page, timing, competition etc.) other than the copy itself. Your words, however, play the major role in making the readers fall for your Call to Action.
Whether you’re a total newbie or an old writing hand, here’s a checklist to help you:
1. Write for ONE reader
Treat copywriting just as if you are writing an email or letter to a specific person (probably your laziest reader). It’ll make your endeavor easy and effective.
Here’s what Stephen King advocates for writing fiction (equally effective for copywriters):
Someone once wrote that all novels are really letters aimed at one person. As it happens, I believe this. I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking, “I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?” For me that first reader is my wife, Tabitha.
2. Write a killer headline
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.” ~ David Ogilvy
If your headline isn’t powerful, you’re dead in the water. Keep learning this art, examine the most successful headline types, practice, and analyze what kind of titles work best with your particular readership.
3. Keep the first paragraph short and interesting
Look at the first paragraph of this post, just a few words yet compelled you to keep reading, right?
For hypnotic opening, depending on the nature of your copy, you can start your copy with an, intriguing question, startling stats, an outrageous claim or even an interesting anecdote.
4. Use bullets
List posts have been successful since the very early days of copywriting. But, on the internet, they almost always guarantee success.
It’s a fact that people don’t read, but they scan. Oblige them by making your copy easy to scan and they’ll oblige you. Bud don’t overdo it, or it’ll backfire.
5. Write like you speak
It’ll have twofold benefits: firstly, you’ll spill your ideas on the paper more naturally and quickly; secondly, the readers will feel as if you’re talking to them, and they will listen!
Too many copywriters slip into an exaggeratedly formal style thinking it makes them sound important. On the contrary, it gives them a stiff personality of a fax machine – which nobody wants.
No, I’m not asking for a kiss… God!
But Keep It Short & Simple.
Long copy is boring and readers will soon lose interest. The rule of thumb is to keep your copy as short as possible and as long as necessary.
Use simple words, short sentences and shorter paragraphs. Copy – full of jargon, slang and unfathomable words – that attracts attraction to itself, diverts the readers’ attention from what you want them to do.
7. State benefits, not the features
Will this product/service make your readers’ life easy, will it save them time, will it make them look younger and more beautiful? Instead of the ‘amazing features’, give your readers answers to these questions and see your conversion rate skyrocket.
8. Keep them interested
Nothing scares me (and almost everyone else) away from a page with large chunks of text. Break your text into shorter paragraphs, and use pictures, graphs, audio, video clips.
Added benefit: Media rich content usually has a smaller bounce rate and gets higher ranking in search engines.
9. Have a compelling call to action
Your copy should have ONLY one, simple and clear Call to Action. It must arouse a sense of urgency because it’s Now or Never. Get rid of all the needless widgets, and frills and make your Buy Now button the only gateway.
10. Write drunk, edit sober
That’s what the mighty Hemingway said. But, for heaven’s sake, don’t take it literally and go downing rum. It means write like crazy, in a casual style and without too much thinking – and this is the key to persuasion.
Scrutinize your write-up carefully when you edit, and tune the copy into the desired shape. Drop all the unnecessary words and sentences:
Most editors recommend a formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%
Omit needless words (The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White.)
What it all boils down to…
These few words of wisdom by John Ruskin divulge everything necessary to improve your copywriting skills:
“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them”
Over to you
What rules do you follow when writing your great piece of copy, let us know in the comments.
Ali Abbas is a young, enthusiastic freelance copywriter & blogger – currently on a mission to help others.