How do you get started with implementing better copy for your business?
It all begins with deep consumer psychology and timeless persuasion principles.
There are three things you must consider before beginning your copywriting process.
You have to change the way you view your:
- Your marketing
- Your customer
- Your marketplace
This is why the most essential ingredient in copywriting at the start is research.
When it comes to copywriting, you don’t need to be hypey or clever. You need to have a deep understanding of psychology, specifically what makes people tick and what makes people buy.
Also, break up paragraphs into smaller ones, please.
There should be a maximum of 2-5 lines per paragraph.
With all of this considered, here are the 12 steps that you can begin implementing immediately to help scale your brand.
1. CALL OUT YOUR AUDIENCE
Customized marketing – Call out your customers by their name.
Or, if you’re addressing your ideal audience as a group of people, then call out the community or tribe they belong in.
Think about your marketing, who do you sell to?
If you're selling to everybody, you're selling to nobody.
So be very clear and specific about who your audience is.
Here are some great headline examples:
- Attention Senior Restaurant Owners!
- Are you a Pet Owner with a Pet Business?
- Style Guide For Men Under 5’8”
- Are you sick and tired of… (insert pain point here)
- If you are experiencing problems A, B and C… (fill in the blanks)
People usually buy, not because they understand what you sell…
But because they feel understood. When people feel that you understand their challenges, they will be more open to reading what you have to say.
Most of the time, if you understand someone deeply, even more than they understand themselves, they automatically think you have the solution to their desires.
Now that you know your ideal audience and their pain points, offer them help to overcome their issues.
2. GRAB THEIR ATTENTION WITH YOUR BIG PROMISE HEADLINE
Headlines can be on a webpage, the subject line of an email, or the first sentence on your social media.
The promise headline should go in the email subject line or headline to get a prospect to open and read more of the email. You don't want the prospect to delete or skip the email or ad copy.
Don't waste time. Directly answer the audience’s question:
"What's in it for me?"
Enter their world. Enter the conversation that's going on in their head. What are they going through?
Get out of your ego, and get into your prospect's ego. Describe their problems better than they can. This is what will make you more effective as a copywriter.
Don't talk about how great something is. Address the problem in a story that describes an experience similar to what your reader is going through.
There are three reliable ways you can do this one:
- Me Too: This is when you have the same product as someone else. People would be asking what the difference between you and the competitor is.
- Me Better: Your promise is that you are better than your competitors. This could be a good claim in some scenarios.
- Me Only: This is the ideal way to differentiate. Your entire promise is entirely different than anyone else, and that makes you stand out in the eye of your competitors and much more desirable to purchase from.
Not everything you sell has to be there, but the closer you are to this level, the more power you have in the marketplace.
To differentiate yourself, you must spend some time thinking about:
"What is something I can promise to my audience right now that others can't?"
This is what will make you stand out.
Most entrepreneurs and business owners don't know how to do thorough, critical thinking. This means having truly introspective and deep thinking about your marketplace, potential customer, big promise, and headline.
Think about what value you can deliver that other people cannot.
If you want to write a good headline…
Write at least 12-30 headlines.
Write more than one to compare which words to keep, switch out, or combine. Then, pick the ones that work well.
This is a common practice done by everyone from email copywriters to those producing headlines for YouTube channels. Headlines matter. Period.
For example, consider FedEx. They have spent time marketing both delivery and speed. Therefore, customers now associate express shipping with their name. Ex: “Let’s FedEx it.”
People are willing to pay more if they want something delivered timely, so this company charges more for it.
What is something that you can promise? What’s the big promise you can use in the headline?
- Triple Your Sales
- Burnout Prevention
The bad examples are simply too vague, general, typical, overused, not precise. These are fluff words. People don't know if they are accurate before they buy. They also can't quantify them.
These things are assumed already, so they are not compelling enough to make people buy.
3: CALL OUT YOUR ENEMIES (Or create “common enemies” )
Remember, Us vs. Them.
This is who you are NOT. Show that you are the opposite of your competitors.
Do not explain why you are better. Just show what you are against and what you don't believe in.
For example, the Apple Mac promotes itself as being modern, skinny, cool, and newer. Compared to the PC being not that cool & outdated.
Let's say your competitor is complex, and you're simple.
EMPHASIZE THAT. In fact, our CEO worked for a company that was the leader in their field because of its emphasis on being simple.
On the contrary, if the competitor is overly simple, you can position yourself as more thorough and detailed. Instead of only one step, you have ten steps to ensure that the quality is there.
While they’re calling out their enemies who do overly fancy and techy products, you can call out a specific crowd and tell them that they don’t need all of those parts.
The psychology behind Us vs. Them is that you’re not saying you’re “better.” Instead, you’re explaining what you’re against, what you stand for, and what you don’t believe in.
This works in connecting with an audience that shares the same opinions, so when they see your message, they will say, “I hate that too!”
4: STORIES MOVE THE WORLD
Stories sell like crazy. This is because human beings are ingrained to pay attention to stories from the past when humans bonded with their tribes through storytelling around the campfire.
For example, La Mer Skin Care, a high-end facial brand, their story is about a doctor who extracted the ingredients from the ocean to create products that his wife can safely use.
Think about even some of the highest-grossing movies. They do well simply because people want to experience the exciting emotions from watching them.
People pay to be moved. So you can sell products or a service with your story.
Facts tell. Stories sell. People buy with emotion, then justify it with logic.
Here are two types of stories:
- The Backstory – This includes relatable stories that describe where you got started.
- The Client Story – Client testimonials. What people say about you is infinitely more potent than what you can say about yourself, so utilize client stories. When prospects read these stories, they can relate. “This person is just like me and got results. I want
that too!” Collect as many of these as possible.
Stories are powerful because we feel like we can be a part of them. People get emotionally involved as we want to put ourselves in the story. Because people don't buy with logic, you need to get prospects emotionally involved.
5: WRITE LIKE YOU TALK
"What's up, Bro? Open that email, fam".
Okay, maybe not that informal.
Unless it’s your brand’s style, then, by all means, do it.
Considered, this idea of writing like you talk might be one of our favorites.
The APA, MLA, and many other style guides will argue against this. However, this is business, and more specifically, marketing.
Your job is to build an authentic connection with your audience and bring in business, not get an A+ on a thesis paper.
Furthermore, when you think of real-life persuasion vs. school language, the biggest flaw when you're writing is by being boring.
To avoid this, use a casual tone to make a personal connection.
Think about it, when you open the college textbook or peer-reviewed research journal…
Your brain is in full-blown analytical mode.
Which, in case you didn't know, is also full-blown “I don’t need this/sales objection/resistance mode.” Moreover, evolutionary speaking, we are hard-wired to analyze against threats when we don’t know much about something. Therefore, when our analytical brain is firing, there is a high percentage that we are looking to pick apart why a method could not work before we begin exploring how it could work.
Most often, we will think safety first, opportunity second. We will weigh the cons first, then weigh out the pros second in a pros + cons analysis.
Simply, you will not buy anything when your brain is in this full-blown analytical mode!
So write like you talk.
When it comes to copy, you want to be very personal. Imagine talking to your ideal customer one-on-one, in a casual conversation. Don't use very big, technical words. Just speak casually as if you're really trying to talk with them & help them.
How do you want your sales reps talking to your customers?
Now, scale that back just a little bit.
Because nobody is there to reply when your customer asks, “could you please say/explain that again?”
It's not about you sounding smart. It’s about connecting with your audience and showing how you can help them get their needs met.
Another important thing is not to write as if you are talking to a group of thousands.
This is because at any given time, your reader or prospect is typically reading your copy or watching your video by themselves.
Therefore, you should talk to them on a one-on-one basis to make that connection.
Remember that the purpose of the headline is for them to read the first paragraph. The purpose of the first paragraph is for the reader to continue with the following paragraph.
A big mistake that a lot of copywriters make is using "I" or "We.”
Use "you" instead because there's typically only one person reading your letter or email.
Copywriting is a one-on-one connection from the writer to the reader.
Readability is also important, so keep everything simple.
To do this, use short sentences and simple words.
Usually, 1-5 sentences per paragraph works best.
Remember that one little word can create an entirely different emotion.
Don’t speak to your audience in groups. For example, don’t refer to them as "ladies and gentlemen" because this will feel like you’re not directly addressing the reader, which breaks the personal connection.
Think of your ideal prospect, and just talk to that person as an individual.
Imagine that this person is sitting across the table from you, and you want to write to that person. Transcribe what you say to start, then convert it into writing.
The ideal outcome is always to close.
Having a casual and conversational tone and sometimes having grammatical errors or typos are not as big of a deal, so long as your copy successfully generates conversions.
6: PAIN OVER PLEASURE
People don't buy their way into something. They buy their way OUT of something.
Find what people are complaining about and use that message to put in front of the audience.
(Short & sweet, we know).
7: DEMONSTRATE THAT YOU ARE THE EXPERT
Build credibility with testimonials, results, statistics, and research. Always talk to readers as if they are skeptical.
Assume that they don't like you, don't trust you, and don't know you. Because that’s most likely what is true 99% of the time. Therefore, you should give high value. Don’t “say” what you’re good at, instead show the numbers of how much you’ve done.
8: EXPLAIN WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE
Many companies default by differentiating by going cheaper, competing by price, instead of thinking about what really makes them unique.
If customers give you objections, like asking for a discount, it's usually because they can't differentiate you from your competition. So don't be better, be different instead. In other words, Have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
Ask yourself why people should do business with you, besides any other option out there.
As far as being unique, here are both some good and bad examples below.
- We’re the best
- We’re the biggest
- We care about you
- We offer more
- Best customer service
- 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on your car insurance (GEICO)
- One for one. Each pair of shoes your purchase = a pair of shoes for a child in need.
- Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed. (Domino’s Pizza)
9: THE THREE BOXES METHOD
This is the use of contrast pricing. Think about when you are selling and closing. It comes down to an offer. If you provide only one option, the customer will only give you one answer – either yes, I will buy, or no, I will not buy.
If you offer them two options, A or B, now their minds will be focused on saying yes or no to either one of them.
If you give three options – appropriately done – the chances are that the customer will choose the middle option. The three options would be something like, “Basic, Intermediate, Advanced,” or “Small, Medium, Large.”
“Option A, B or C.” Option A, the basic version of your offer, should look as lousy as possible. The biggest one, Option C, should be really expensive. Knowing that most people will not buy either, you are actually positioning the middle, Option B, to be the most compelling one.
In fact, many service companies will show on their website three main subscription types, with #1 obviously being the cheapest and lowest overall value, and #3 being the most value, but also most expensive too. However, they got this guy in the middle called #2, which they show as having the best value for the price, and probably also have some type of sticky ribbon on it proclaiming "Best Offer" or "Best Value.”
You've probably seen that before haven't you?
It's pretty clever, right? If they do this well, usually #2 gets many signups and the company gets more sales.
Another popular way too...
Price aside... is that you position Option A as something that is "meh, not really that exciting"... Then position Option B as something that "COMPLETELY blows Option A out of the water.” Then finally, you position Option C as something ever slightly better than Option A, but still really not that exciting at all.
This makes Option B the clear winner here.
10: UNIQUE GUARANTEES
Use an unusual but effective guarantee. For example:
“Hey _____, as you know, I can't give you all your money back. But what I can guarantee is that if you don't like the place that I am going to move you into, I will work with you to find a new home - absolutely free, commission-free, and I will give you $500 towards moving into your new home. That's how much I believe in my service.”
Offer a creative or fun option and guarantee if the customer doesn't like your service or product.
The more authority you have in the marketplace, the less you have to use a guarantee.
Make yourself look like a rare commodity.
11: TALK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF NOT BUYING
People don't “not buy” because they don't believe in you. Instead, what often stops them from buying is because they don't believe in themselves. Most people have low self-esteem and don't see themselves changing.
Unfortunately, what this means is that you need to create urgent pain for them.
Pain that hurts so bad, it will never disappear until they take action and decide to bet on & believe in themselves.
Make them think about what they’ll miss out on and what the consequences are when they don't buy. What will happen if they don't buy your product? What problem do you solve for them?
As Tony Robbins says, “People make decisions based on inspiration or desperation.”
Tell your unconfident customers what happens if they don't buy NOW. Eventually, when they hit the tipping point, they will make the purchase.
12. SHOW DON'T TELL
Show, don’t tell. Show emotion and paint a vivid picture with decorative storytelling so that readers can picture the story in their heads.
Do not be vague here.
Imagine these two examples here:
"Imagine no more neck pain keeping you from doing what you want?"
"Imagine no more neck pain keeping you from playing outside with your family & loved ones?"
Big difference, right?
If you don't get it, here's the difference. In the first example, "Imagine no more neck pain keeping you from doing what you want?"
"...what you want"... whoever is reading that what they want might be to just sit in bed all day long and watch The Office.
Therefore neck pain is not stopping them from doing what they want.
However, in the latter example, neck pain certainly keeps you from “playing outside with your family & loved ones.” So the person experiencing something like that, if they read that copy, it's probably going to hit very deep.
So always be crystal clear. Paint the visual & don't leave the reader guessing what's possible and what could be real.
Show them (don't tell them) what could be real.
This is one of the biggest drivers of effective storytelling. It is one of the most powerful tools you could ever use in copywriting and one of the most difficult to master.
Here are a couple of examples below:
“I felt mentally and physically drained.”
“I’ll never forget the way I felt when I made my first online sale. I was so excited.”
“My legs barely hold up my body as I crawl onto the sofa. I try to cry myself to sleep, but the tears came without asleep.”
“It was 2:30 AM and a strange time to be checking my email. But there it is, the notification for my first online sale. I ran upstairs, and I woke my wife – I did it! I did it! She warned me if I didn’t calm down, the noise would wake the kids in the next room. But as far as I was concerned, no one in the family should be sleeping at a time like this. I was now an official Internet Marketer.”
As you can see, there are many different tools and sometimes subtle ways you can make your marketing copy more compelling. It all starts with understanding your audience and putting them first. Moreover, you need to make them feel like they matter and that you’re there to help them get what they want.
With this considered, hold on to these 12 rules like as if it’s your free complimentary playbook. Refer back to this article often.
Don’t forget to share it with your coworkers as well. Considered, if the time is right, reach out to us for support as well.