Copywriting can be difficult. It’s hard to know what points to hit, what language to use, and how to effectively communicate what you need to say in a short amount of space. Lots of people get lost trying to tell the story of their company and their product that they focus on all the wrong aspects and don’t end up communicating effectively. This doesn’t need to be the case, and while I recommend hiring a professional copywriter, if it’s not in your budget (as is the case with most small businesses) there are some things you can do to beef up your copywriting efforts and come away with copy that sells.

1) Keep it Clear and Concise

People are insecure about how people see them, and so they overcompensate in their writing by trying to come off as smart. They will be tempted to use big words, industry terms and insider language, and ramble on in a flowery tone in hopes that the people reading it will be in awe of their knowledge and writing prowess. The irony is that doing this has the opposite effect. It generally confuses people and makes the reader feel insecure, which makes them not want to engage. Whatever you are writing, be it a blog, sales copy, web copy, or even a social media post, you need to assume that your reader has the absolute base line of knowledge and will need things explained to them. That means, if you sell Facebook ads, you can’t say something like, “I do segmentation and AB testing to maximize click through rates and conversions, and minimize adspend.” because if your target customer has no experience running ads they won’t understand a word of that. Instead, you have to say, “I create different versions of your ad and monitor which ones perform the best, then funnel the bulk of your marketing budget behind the top performers so you save money each time someone clicks on your ad.” Now, that is just an example, and I would try to shorten that description even more. Simple, short, and clear is your best bet for communicating effectively and making a sale.

2) Talk About Your Customer

Too many people get lost in the grandeur of their own story. They create big long about sections with “read more” buttons that detail every single aspect of what they think is an amazing business story. The truth is, no one cares that your company was started by your grand-pappy in a garage with nothing in his pockets but a nickel and some gumption. They care about what you can do to make their lives better. Instead of talking about yourself and your company, make your customer the protagonist and talk about their journey. Turn your company from the hero into the tool your customer needs to be the hero themselves. How will your product or service change their lives? Show that transformation in the narrative you tell. The other half of this, is you have to have a good understanding of who your customer is. If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend researching and writing out a Customer Avatar or Buyer’s Persona. This is a profile of your ideal customer, you will want to get as specific as you can and give them a name, age, job, family dynamic, hobbies, goals, likes, dislikes, etc. This helps you laser focus your marketing and your content to communicate with a specific person, so that when you make your call to action they KNOW you are talking to them. A lot of people think, “but my product or service is for everyone!” and those people are wrong and have poor sales. When you try to communicate with everyone you end up communicating with no one, but when you get specific with an avatar you actually end up communicating to more people. The reason for this is while not everyone will be Billy the architect from Omaha with a wife and three kids who’s gunning for a promotion at work, several people will be architects, or from Omaha, will have a wife, or kids, will be gunning for a promotion, etc.

3) Hit a Pain Point

Good businesses don’t sell products or services, they sell solutions to problems. Nike doesn’t sell shoes, they sell a healthy lifestyle. A mattress store doesn’t sell mattresses, they sell a good night’s sleep. Figure out what problem you are solving by identifying the pain points in your customer’s lives and positioning your product or service as the solution to that problem. You also want to be able to empathize with your customer’s experiencing this problem, and show how you solved the problem for yourself and others. This will let them feel heard, and also position you as an authority on the subject and someone they can trust.

4) Use AIDA

AIDA is a copywriting framework that most copywriters stick to like the Bible. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. The idea is you open with an attention getting headline, followed by something that will peak the interest of the reader. Then you list the features of the product or service that your customer desires, and then present your call to action. This is almost foolproof if it’s done right. Say you are a cleaning service, and you are trying to push sales through an email blast to your email list. You would start with a catchy email headline for your Attention step, and then include the rest of AIDA in the body of the email. It might look something like this:

Attention: This house party left the property completely trashed!!!
Interest: Do you ever find it difficult to clean up after guests?
Desire: Our cleaning service does a detailed deep clean using non-toxic chemicals that kill bacteria and leave your house smelling fresh and clean. You won’t remember the last time your home looked so great.
Action: Call now and use the discount code HOUSEPARTY2020 to get 20% off your next deep clean.

Again, this is a quick example I came up with off the top off my head having no knowledge of the cleaning industry. You may also want to include the actual story of the house party that left the property trashed at the beginning of the email, with some before and after pictures, but don’t let it take up too much space as customer attentions are limited.

5) Use Specific CTAs

We all know Calls to Action are important (or, if you didn’t know, you do now). People need to be prompted and told what to do. The problem is most people use generic or passive CTA’s that don’t actually prompt the sale. Many people use CTA’s like “Learn More” or “Contact Us” which on the outside seem fine, but don’t actually compel people to do something specific, and puts the onus on them to do more work. Even something like, “Start Now” is too vague as it doesn’t describe what’s entailed in starting now. In the age of you need to be able to sell in as few clicks as possible. Instead, try to be more direct “Buy now” or “Register Now” are direct and clear. To go above and beyond, you could get more specific with a “Start My Free Trial Now” or “Get Instant Access”. The more specific and commanding you can be, the more likely your CTA will convert.

There you have it! If you can use AIDA, keep it clear, concise, and customer-centric, hit and empathize with your customer’s pain points, and use specific CTA’s, you’ll be well on your way to having copy that converts at a far higher rate than if you just barfed some text onto a page. If you want more resources on customer targeting you can click here to download my Guide to Customer Targeting that includes templates and instructions on how to create Customer Avatars, Buyer’s Journeys, and Sales Funnels.