Copywriting is often considered a mysterious skill that gives people magical powers to influence others using their words. The fact is, however, that everyone has the ability to create great copy: It's how you use that ability that varies and affects your influence.
When you're discussing your company’s products or services, you have to pay close attention to your words. What can you do to be more persuasive (no magic required)?
To help you create effective, impactful copy when you're writing and talking about your business, the following four tips from professional copywriters can help.
1. Use a Clear Call to Action
"Call to action” is a phrase that’s often used in the copywriting world. It’s the part of a sales letter, email or other form of communication that directs prospects to take action and make the purchase or, in some cases, to order a free sample or simply provide their email address to receive further information. On a Web page, a call to action might be as simple as “Click here to receive your free gift.” Your call to action must be easy to see and understand. In both traditional print media and online, it should be highlighted or in bold so readers are sure to see it.
In addition to including a call to action in your advertising or promotional writing, you can also include it in other situations. For example, if you're talking to a prospect, you should conclude the interaction with a call to action by scheduling a follow-up call or setting up a meeting.
There's also overlap between calls to action and closing a sale. While the former usually applies to written communication and the latter to live interactions, the underlying purpose is the same: to acquire a new customer.
When you read promotional copy in the future, pay attention to how calls to action are used so you can better understand how to apply this to your own communications.
2. Be Specific
The more specific you can be with the information you're providing, the more persuasive it will be. This is true for both copywriting and conversations.
For example, it’s one thing to say, “Our software is cheaper, easier to use and more efficient than the leading brand.” It’s much better, however, if you can honestly say, “Our software is 25 percent cheaper than the leading brand. A recent survey shows that 65 percent of users find it more efficient and easier to use.”
When you provide actual numbers and hard data, people have something concrete to consider. Otherwise, your words can just sound like meaningless hype.
3. Brag About Your Business
Depending on your personality, being outspoken about your company’s benefits may or may not come naturally to you. But even if you're more introverted or modest, as a business owner, you have to learn how to brag a little about your business. This is the only way people are going to find out about what you have to offer.
So whether it’s in writing, on the phone or face to face, don’t be afraid to boast about what’s genuinely great about your business. Your confidence in your products and services can be powerfully persuasive.
4. Focus on What Your Audience Really Wants
Another essential copywriting principle is to focus on the particular issue or problem that most concerns your target audience. In a typical sales letter, the copywriter will usually remind readers how devastating this problem is, which makes the relief promised by the product seem all the more welcome.
This format is often used in ads for weight loss, acne, dating, muscle-building and countless other products. Even if you’re not selling a product that solves a health or social problem, your audience will still have a certain issue or concern that they're trying to eliminate or solve. Don’t waste time talking about details or features that don’t directly concern your potential customers. The more you can focus on the primary issue, the more of a response you'll get.
Copywriting is a key skill to develop. As you begin to observe which messages are most persuasive, you can start to include these principles in your own marketing efforts to effectively communicate your message.
Shawn Porat is the CEO of Fortune Cookie Advertising, a media placement company that sells advertising space within fortune cookies at Chinese restaurants throughout the United States. He's also a member of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs.
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