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A Brief Guide on How to Craft Messages That Convert

A Brief Guide on How to Craft Messages That Convert

As Thomas Mann once said, "A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." And I agree. Writing is difficult. So is copywriting. In this article, I’ll try to make copywriting as easy as possible.

Many people think that copywriting is just writing. Obviously, writing is part of the job. But it's not the whole job. Let’s break down what copywriting actually is. 

What is copywriting? More than just words on a page

Copywriting is all about writing text that's meant to convince people to do something, like buy something. But if we delve deeper into how copywriting is done, we'll see that writing itself is but a small piece of the puzzle. 

Most copywriting time is spent on research. Research is how you discover the right message to convince people. Writing is just how you deliver it. Based on this definition, copywriting is the process of discovery and delivery of the right messaging.

Breaking down copywriting time, you'll find that research eats up most of it, like 60% to 80%. Then you've got about 20% spent nailing down the big idea and the offer, which you should pretty much have sorted out from all that research. Writing is just around 10%. And don't forget self-editing, which is just as important and often takes up as much, if not more, time than the writing itself.

Copywriter is a marketer 

Writing skills alone are not enough to be a copywriter. You need a marketing mindset. You need to know how people make buying decisions and how to influence them with persuasive techniques.

A great copywriter doesn't just write; they strategize. They delve into market research to uncover insights, study customer behavior, and come up with big ideas. Armed with this knowledge, they can position products or services in a way that resonates with the target audience.

The best copywriters don't write and don't sell; they persuade. They know how to craft copy that speaks directly to the customers' needs, aspirations, and fears. They use words as a tool to build trust, overcome objections, and guide prospects down the path to conversion.

So, if you want to become a copywriter, don't just see yourself as someone who writes well. Think of yourself as a strategic partner in your client's marketing efforts.

I've explored the path to a copywriting career in my article: "How to Become a Copywriter: A Step-by-Step Journey from Novice to Pro." Make sure you check it out.

Cracking the puzzle of persuasive messaging

Copywriting can be a bit of a puzzle. Crafting excellent copy requires you to strike a balance between your offer's strengths, what your audience truly values, and the gaps left by your competitors. Essentially, you must have two key pieces:

  1. Understanding your audience is the first step.
  2. Understanding your offer and how it stacks up against your competitors is the second.

Here is what you can start with.

Start with the audience

Find out who you’re trying to sell your product or service to. Find out what their pain points are, what they want, what their expectations are, and what they need. Find out how they’re using your offer to solve their problems or meet their needs.

List the key benefits of your offer

Ask yourself the following questions: Why does my audience care about this offer? What are the main advantages that customers will get out of it? What are the results that customers will see if they take my offer?

Get your message across

Once you’ve got a good grasp on the why and the what, it’s time to turn your attention to the how – how you’re going to get your message across to your potential customers.

Here are a few tips.

Problem and solution: A blueprint for effective copy

One of the simplest ways to convey a message is through a problem. Here is how it works:

  1. Tell your audience about their problem. Make sure this problem is something they can relate to and feel deeply. Make it hurt by adding some pain points. 
  2. Introduce your solution. Make it as vivid and concrete as possible, and avoid vague language. In other words, show, don't tell.
  3. Explain what they will get. Make your offer sound more valuable and attractive by adding more benefits and features.
  4. Show the proof it works. Use real examples, customer feedback, and evidence to build trust with your audience.
  5. Invite them to buy. Offer them a guarantee, let them know the price, and give them a reason to trust you.

Here is an example of this strategy. 

HeyFriends is a company that offers an entire content team for producing educational content on YouTube. Check out how they conveyed their message using the problem-solution approach:

Tell your audience about their problem

Making it big on YouTube is tougher than you think

They illustrate this with a compelling visual, showcasing the multitude of tasks involved in creating a YouTube video.

Introduce your solution

We do it for you. No more struggling to grow on YouTube.

Work with our expert YouTube strategists, writers, editors, and producers to create content that transforms your channel.

This message is also followed by a compelling illustration, that conveys an idea of the multitude of tasks involved in creating a YouTube video that are taken care of.

Explain what they will get

Scrolling down the page we see a list of things the agency provides to YouTube creators.

  • Strategy & Producing
  • Concepts & Scripting
  • Video Editing & Animation
  • Thumbnail Design + Optimization

Pay special attention to the description below each of these services. For example: 

So many niches to choose from, so little time. How do you stand out? Only 2.5% of YouTubers ever hit 1,000 subscribers. Our expert strategists put the odds in your favor and make your channel standout in a sea of noise.

Can you spot the problem-solution framework at play in this brief description? It's a universal approach to communicating the value of your services to your target audience.

Show the proof it works

We’ve taught over 3,000 creators how to grow on YouTube. Now we can do it for you.

Here you go – some social proof that the company has been successful in what they do.

Invite them to buy

Pricing plans with a detailed description of what's included, each followed by a CTA: "Get Started."

At the very end of the page, they have this other CTA:

Get started with a free strategy call!

Not everyone is prepared to immediately reach into their wallets and pay; some prefer to talk with a real person first. That's where the Free Strategy Call comes in, catering perfectly to their needs.

The problem-solution framework is not the only framework for writing convincing copy. If you want to learn more, check out my video: "Five Best Copywriting Formulas to Never Start from Scratch Again."

Now let's explore some more tips on how to write great copy.

Copywriting techniques to win the audience

Let's explore 8 powerful ways to copywrite like a pro.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

To truly engage with your audience, you must truly understand them. This is where research comes in.

Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Twitter, customer reviews, keyword analysis, and direct conversations with your customers are all great ways to get a better understanding of what resonates with your audience.

When writing copy, it’s important to put yourself in your customer’s place, not the seller’s.

For example, when I was writing copy for one of my clients, I delved into customer reviews of alternative solutions to pinpoint the benefits that truly strike a chord with customers. Within one of these reviews, I came across the following complaint: 

I don't want to feel like I'm running down a rabbit hole to receive a simple solution.

I used this in my copy, rewriting it as a benefit of our solution:

Working with us is effortless. Get a quick reply with only one comment on your Trello board, unlike other companies that make you go through a lot of trouble to get a simple answer.

Write clearly

Let’s get rid of all those academic writing rules you learned in college and all those fancy words you learned reading literature. You have to write clearly, concisely, and in plain language. Simple words and sentences are more persuasive than complex and confusing ones.  

For example: 

Concentrate on delivering exceptional products, while we assume responsibility for managing the technical intricacies on your behalf.

Let's make it simple and clear:

Focus on shipping great products – we'll get the tech hassle off your plate. 

Overcome objections

People will always have their doubts and might not be eager to buy. Your job is to figure out what doubts they might have so you can tackle them in your copy.

For example, if they're not convinced you're an expert, make sure to showcase some specific methods or frameworks that are unique to you. This will boost your credibility as a pro.

If your clients are worried about the time zone difference affecting your collaboration, let them know how you make it work. Share how you sync up your schedules to have some common working hours, what tools you use to stay in touch, and when they can expect you to be available.

Keep it tight

Tight copy is clear, short, and strong. No extra words, no long sentences, no vague ideas. You need that kind of copy to convince someone. 

When you're editing your own writing, keep an eye out for any redundant or useless words that won't make a difference if you take them out.

Good: 

If you want an easy-to-use, powerful, and modern applicant tracking system to help you expand your talent pipeline and streamline your hiring process, then you've come to the right place! This ATS will make your recruitment process much easier and faster.

Better:

Looking for ways to streamline your hiring process? HireNow: This one triples your productivity.

Write to the second person

Use the word “you” instead of “we” in your copy. You’re shifting the emphasis away from your company and towards your customers. Your customers don’t care about you and your company, but they do care about what they can get from you, and how you're going to make their lives better.

For example, instead of writing “We offer 24/7 support” write “Get the round-the-clock support – we're ready to help you anytime."

Include a call to action

Your CTA is the action you want people to take, so make it easy to find and repeat it often on the page.

Make sure your call-to-action starts with a verb that tells people what to do. For example, instead of "Pricing" use "Pick your plan." 

Remember, your call-to-action should be clear and tell readers what they'll find on the other side of the link. Instead of using "Click here," opt for something like "Discover our meal plans" to give a better idea.

Pay attention to your grammar

Let's admit it, reading copy that's missing articles or has mashed-up words doesn't build trust. This reflects poorly on the business's reliability. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to review your copy multiple times before publishing or let another person read your copy to catch any errors you might overlook.

Prioritize headlines

On average, 8% of people will read the headline, but only 2% will read the rest of the copy.

If you put "Our services" in your headline, will that make people want to buy? Instead, if you write "Lower CAC with creative that performs," that would be much more effective.

Your headlines are very important, so make sure you spend most of your copywriting time here. Headings should give a promise, address a problem, offer a successful outcome, evoke emotions, or inspire curiosity. But most importantly, every time you write a headline, ask yourself: Does this heading help me persuade my audience to buy? Your headlines should capture the main points of your message.

Focus on benefits, not features

Your customer cares more about the benefits they get from your product than the features you offer. Features are what your product or service does, or how it can be described; an outcome is what the customer becomes with your product or service. The features are the what, while the outcomes are the why

For example, a feature: "We have 500 writers working on our platform"

An outcome: "Get your content out on a bigger scale and at a quicker pace"

On a final note

Copywriting might sound simple, but it's incredibly hard. I've never met writers (seriously, not even one) who've cracked the code of copywriting, consistently churning out exceptional copy without fail.

If it starts to feel too easy, you may not be pushing yourself hard enough. 

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