Words can inspire and words can destroy. Choose yours well. – Robin Sharma
Ever heard of copywriting?
If you aren’t sure what it is, let me give you the most famous definition. Copywriting is salesmanship in print. It just means using written words to sell stuff. These days, those words can be on your website, in a webinar or video, or even on a blog like this one. Words do have power, and they especially have the power to persuade people to take action. Like Robin Sharma said, they can inspire, and they can destroy.
So, as you learn the power of words and how to persuade others with what you say, use it for good. That is my only request.
I’m going to give you five quick copywriting hacks that will help you as you sit down to write. If you keep these in mind as you write your ad or website, you should already be better than 80% of people out there. Let’s go!
1) Write Like You Talk
This one is self-explanatory, but a lot of people miss the boat on this one. Being a good copywriter means learning to simplify everything you say. There’s no need to show off your vocabulary and impress people with your genius use of the language. Tell me which of these two sentences would persuade someone to register?
It’s fast and easy to sign up right now. Just enter your name and email in the box below and click submit.
Shall we discuss moving forward? If it’s your intention to receive more data from my company, may I make a simple request? Please forgive my banality, but would you be so kind as to type your given name along with the place where you receive your emails into the rectangular box directly beneath and horizontal to this sentence?
Ok, I know I went a little overboard there. But, you get the point. Write like you talk and when in doubt use plain English. (or whatever your maiden tongue is). Writing fancy words and phrases may impress some. But you want to know what really impresses people? Sales. And the more you write like you talk, the more you will connect with people. And connection is the pre-cursor to selling.
2) Sell To A Single Person
This is an entire chapter in my upcoming book, but I’ll lay it out here in as few words as possible. You never sell to more than one person at a time. Yes, you may present to a group or have 1000 people attend your webinar, but you never are selling to a crowd. You always sell to an individual. All sales messages (all messages) are heard by a single person. So, when you write, try to stay away from “you guys” and “all of you.” Focus on the benefits that the individual person can get from your using your product or service. I could go on about benefits, but I’ll save that for another post.
AdEspresso did a study of 37,259 Facebook ads and the most popular word used was “you”. This isn’t a coincidence. People (you included) really love themselves. Ok, fine, I love myself too. One of my best subjects to talk about is myself. I know everything! Anyway, you get the point. Keep it personal and speak to the one person reading your page, letter, or ad and you’ll be ahead of the game.
3) Tell A Story
It was a cold December night in 1981. My mom was 23 years old. She had met her husband in 1979 at a restaurant where they both worked. After a few flirtatious days of chatting, he worked up the nerve to ask her out. Just a few months later, they were married. No one in the family had even met him yet. Now, two years later, her entire world was about to change.”Contractions!”
Did you find yourself drawn into that story, even just a little bit? I’ll admit it’s not my best work, but I typed it up quickly to make my point. Humans love stories. We are wired to listen to stories, to read stories, to even create our own stories. It’s how we passed down knowledge over generations. Think back to when you were a kid (or to when you had young kids). How many nights did you spend reading them a story?
I have a little cousin who wants me to read the same story to her over and over again! I thought that was weird until I realized I watch the same story over and over again, but I just call it going to the movies. Sure, it’s different characters and settings, but the basic story is the same. And I did watch The Avengers 3 times in theaters! So, we never really outgrow our love of story.
So, if you want your website to sell more for you – bust out a story. Have a cool start-up tale? Share it with your visitors. Want to draw attention to a new product? Tell the story of how you created it and why. People LOVE that stuff. No one likes being sold to, but if you connect (there’s that word again) with them through a story, they will gladly buy from you. You might want to read that sentence again.
4) Use The Right Words
Let’s start with rule #1 when it comes to writing. And this is for any writing. Kill the passive voice. Quick and easy example on what this means – she was going to the store isn’t as strong as she went to the store.
Even better – she ran to the store. Now you can see it. And your mind is wondering, why did she run to the store? Not only is this a more active way of saying something, but it also replaces two words with one word. Which is a “Bonus Jonas”.
To get rid of passive words or phrases, try doing a find and replace in whatever software you write with and look for words like was and anything that ends in “ing.” Then, think of a verb that can replace that word. This makes your writing stronger and clearer.
One more copywriting hack to help you make more sales: use different kinds of words and phrases to say the same thing. There are three main “feeling” types of words that you can use. I call these your sense language. The most popular senses are auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. There’s also gustatory and olfactory, but few people think in smells and tastes lol.
Each of us has a primary sense that we think and communicate with. We are always more receptive when we hear (uh oh, there’s auditory) our sense language in use. When you write, you should try to use all three throughout your piece. Here a few examples of each:
Visual: Just look at what I’m offering you. You’re never going to see a deal like this again. Picture this, you, staring at the crashing waves in your very own ocean side condo.
Auditory: Listen up, this might just change your life. If you are under the sound of my voice, then pay attention. Did you hear about this new way of selling?
Kinesthetic – The touch of genuine leather is unlike any substitute. Let the warm sensation of our lotion soothe your skin as you rub it in. Once you grab ahold of just how powerful this is, you will never be the same again.
5) Always Include A Call To Action
Just implementing this one copywriting hack will do wonders for your sales. Explicitly state what you want the reader of your page or the watcher of your video to do. Be as detailed as possible. Too many sales are lost because there isn’t a clear call to action. A call to action is copywriter speak for telling the prospect what you want them to do. Here are a few examples of good CTA’s.
Just enter your name and email in the box below and click submit. (I know I cheated, this is the one I used above… but hey, never waste a word!)
Let’s talk. Book a time on my calendar by clicking on the giant green button that says “Book A Time Now”
To place your order, call me on my direct line at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
To get my free report, take out your trusty mobile phone and text the word REPORT to 55555. Once I text you back, you will need to reply with the word Confirm and I will text you the report right away.
Notice how in that last one I even explained what to do after the initial text is sent. The idea here is you never want to leave it up to your prospect to take action without direction. The worst thing you can say is, “They’ll figure it out.” No! No, they will not. And it’s not because they are stupid or incapable, it’s because they are busy and most likely have something better to do besides buying your latest, coolest widget gadget thingy. BUT… you have convinced them they need it, so why not make it as easy as possible for them to order it?
Tip: Add a call to action on every page of your site. Decide what ONE THING you want the reader to accomplish and that is your call to action.
Bonus Jonas: Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?
Want to make sure you’re writing is readable by most everyone? Use the Hemingway App, which is really a game changer. It tells you what reading level your copy is at. For example, this blog post can be read by anyone with a 4th-grade reading level. You want to make your sales material readable by a 5th grader. If you use the Hemingway App, make that your goal. I am an overachiever, so I hit 4th grade! (Should I be proud or embarrassed? I’m not sure).
You’ll also find that the app gives you some very useful insights like:
- Which of your sentences are hard to read
- Which of your sentences are very hard to read
- Phrases that have simpler alternatives
- Number of adverbs you used
- Number of phrases written in “passive voice.”
And the best part of this app – at least for how I use it, is that it’s free.
Alright, have more copywriting hacks to add to the list? Tell me about them. Want to ask me how to sell your product which up until now hasn’t sold? Ask away in the comments. Oh wait, let me be clear.
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“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief