Good Copy Means Great Results for Your Business
You may have heard the expression: it’s not what you say but how you say it. Well, that is exactly why good copy can work wonders for the success of your business. A common mistake made by small businesses is to put all their marketing efforts into the look of their identity materials, brochures, websites, etc. and to neglect the actual content of these materials. Never underestimate the power of persuasive verbiage and a few well-turned phrases. A smart marketing strategist will use clever copy that complements the professional look they’ve developed to create a cohesive brand. Here are some copywriting tips that will start you on your way to writing content that gets results for your business.
Well-written content speaks volumes. How often have you come across a webpage, blog or brochure that reads as if it were written in the land before spell check, or worse still, it is written as if the rules of grammar have been purposely put out to pasture? Regardless of how capable you are as a business owner, if the writing is sloppy, the grammar is poor and your text suffers from disorganization, the whole business immediately loses credibility. If word-smithing is not your forte, hire a professional writer.
There are plenty of freelance copywriters chomping at the bit to get a great writing gig. Websites like Craigslist and Monster.com are wonderful resources for finding a good writer at a fair price in your area. You want to choose a writer who can reflect your business’s vision through purposeful prose, so it will behoove you to request writing samples. Just as people have different personal preferences of style and taste; writers have different styles of communication.
If you don’t have the means to hire someone to develop your content, then at the very least, be sure that your own text is clear, concise and free from errors. Proofread everything at least a few times before you publish it on the web, or heaven forbid, pay for it to go to print. Everyone knows someone who is a stickler for grammar; hand over your prose to that person, and try not to take it personally if it comes back marked up like your high school English paper. Your business will thank you for it in the end.
Incorporate Effective Marketing Strategies
Good copy isn’t just about dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s however. It should help to define your business and persuade your target. Strategic marketing means taking tone and imagery under consideration when writing. For example, a website that advertises for a television program with political satire as its premise is likely to have a snarky, ironic tone, while a website that advertises a spa might have a comforting, even mesmerizing tone. But most importantly, whatever your product or service, you want to entice readers. You can do this by peppering your text with visual imagery.
Your goal should be to beguile your audience into lingering on your website longer or feeling motivated to action (particularly to purchasing whatever goods and services you are selling). For example, which ad sounds more compelling: Small house for sale at a great price! or Cozy, two bedroom cottage, with hardwood floors and a hidden garden. Priced to move, so act soon before this little-known gem is snatched up! Of course, the second description is much more interesting to read and furthermore, it has the ability to stick in your readers’ minds. This is the effect you want your copy to have. The longer your target thinks about your descriptions, the more apt they are to choose your products and services.
Target Your Audience
Effective copy should be written with your specific audience in mind. That might mean that first you have to define your audience. For instance, if your company is in the generator business, successful text might be written with older, male clients in mind, while the owner of a ladies’ lingerie business should be written with younger, female clients in mind. Either way, your text should feel intimate to whomever you are targeting. In other words, your copy and your clients should speak the same language.
Getting to this point may take some research on your part, such as gathering data on who is buying what you are selling, by and large, and then catering your marketing strategies to that group. Once you know who’s buying, use your imaginative, targeted text to entice more of those people to purchase rather than trying to market to a large swath of potential buyers. The more focused your writing style, the more effective it will be.
Because the act of writing can be such a personal experience for the author, some writers find it difficult to part with their mini-masterpieces. But in order to write successful copy, sometimes you have to be willing to say goodbye to your perfect prose. Recognizing when a great sentence or tagline is poetry on its own but falls short when incorporated into the entire context of your copy is an important part of the writing process. Occasionally, some terrific nugget of language has to be sacrificed for the greater good of the entire piece. (But there’s nothing to say you can’t ferret it away for later use.)
In fact, it can even be necessary to scrap the whole bit and start from scratch if your clever text is not generating the sales you desire. Varying your copy periodically is a smart strategy at any rate because your business will always appear fresh and timely. (Eventually, that ironic reference to some celebrity’s latest foible will lose its luster.) Updating your text also gives your target a reason to visit and revisit your website and other marketing materials, which means more sales for you.
So, if you are a results-oriented business looking to develop an ad campaign, website, blog or identity materials, your business will best be served by thoughtful, well-developed copy that draws in your audience and keeps them coming back for more. Invest your time or money into creating copy that really embodies the mission of your business, because if you don’t, your competitors will.
Feel free to comment. What are your biggest challenges when writing copy? How has great copy helped your business? What are some examples of bad copy that come to mind?
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