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Do You Follow Copywriting Rules?
“Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well."
- David Ogilvy
The world has rules, and copywriting does too. Are you ready to accept lower sales if you don’t like the idea of being bound by limitations and restrictions?
Every time you use copywriting for a direct response campaign, a landing page, an advertisement, or a sales email, you want the words to be persuasive enough to attract visitors and convert them into buyers.
Inspired by the wisdom of David Ogilvy, learning these three simple copywriting rules can help you to write better and focus your efforts on finding the right words to increase sales.
Copywriting Rule #1.
Write the way your buyers talk (and think)
There’s a strange thing that happens when people start writing. The rules we learn in school seem to make writing words more formal, stiff, and boring. Think about all the school papers you wrote and the formatting involved; it never resembled the way you talk (or think).
When it comes to marketing materials, sales messages, and almost any words you put on a screen𑁋nobody wants to read your school paper style of writing.
Instead, focus on designing words that look and sound like how people talk. This is the key to getting people to read what you write and ultimately, leading readers to a sale.
All that formal stuff, it’s just going to cause a lot of people to lose attention and click away before you eventually make a pitch for your product or service.
By the way, if you want to make a deeper connection, create buyer personas and alter your writing to fit each of them. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal buyer. This includes their demographic information, personality type, and other details focused on a buyer’s behaviors.
Creating a buyer persona lets you write to ‘one’ specific person. You can target your message to provide that ‘one’ customer with the most relevant benefits.
Do you think you can do that?
This may be one of the hard copywriting rules to learn. However, you could try recording what you want in words and hire a transcriptionist to turn it into something useful for your business. Alternatively, you can write down a few of your thoughts and then hire a strategic copywriter to do the hard stuff for you.
KEY TAKEAWAY𑁋Your words must be designed to make readers feel connected by using a language that understands them
Copywriting Rule #2.
Use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs
Let’s be honest𑁋people using the internet do not read your content.
In 2008, Nielson Norman Group released a report that concluded web visitors only read up to 20% of the text (on average).
Keep this in mind when you’re preparing marketing messages and sales strategies. How can you condense the most amount of information in the smallest space available in your target buyer’s attention span?
It’s simple. Just follow this copywriting rule: use short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.
A good rule of thumb to write by is that the more words you use, the longer your sentences, and the lengthier your paragraphs𑁋the higher your odds of losing a buyer’s interest.
To put this into perspective, let's breakdown the typical journey from smartphone to checkout:
- Your potential buyer is on their phone;
- An impulsive thought crosses their mind;
- They open Google;
- Using two to six words, they try to capture their feelings;
- Ignoring the ads, they only consider the first-page results;
- One of the titles and meta-data closely resembles their thought;
- They click on the link;
- Oops... The page loads too slow, so they click the back button;
- Another headline and meta grab their attention (it's your website!)
- They consider the content and decide within a few seconds.
What kind of decision do they make?
Obviously, they’re going to decide whether your business is the right choice or it’s back to Google to choose from one of your competitors. If you don't want that to happen, use this copywriting tip to provide your potential buyers with short and easy-to-read information.
KEY TAKEAWAY𑁋Buyers want you to K.I.S.S.
Copywriting Rule #3.
Be crystal clear what you want your buyers to do
Every piece of marketing material needs a call-to-action (CTA). Without this, your efforts to drive web traffic and online attention to a checkout cart or purchase page will be completely useless.
When creating your CTAs, provide your potential buyer with as much information as possible. Tell them exactly what they have to do to claim your offer, download your gifts, or buy the thing you want them to buy.
How much more straightforward can it be than this:
- Click here.
- Do that.
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You don’t have to be smart and try to reinvent the wheel. There are dozens of actionable phrases that most people understand quite clearly. Phrases like “Buy Now” “Order Today” and “Add to Cart” are timeless classics.
If these phrases didn’t work, we’d see something different on all the popular websites that earn millions in revenue yearly.
Another quick tip is to combine a CTA with a benefit to your target buyer. Consider the following:
- "Act now" vs. "Act now and start generating leads!"
- "Save 15%" vs. "Save 15% on all your favorites..."
- "Don’t miss out" vs. "Come try it for yourself."
You’d be surprised how the power of positive words in your marketing can result in more sales.
KEY TAKEAWAY𑁋TELL POTENTIAL BUYERS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO𑁋AND𑁋DON'T BE SHY, USE THE POWER OF REPETITION
Learning to write is a skill. Although it can be taught, it often requires a lot of practice to master. Good writing doesn’t usually come as easily or naturally as speaking does. That’s why professional copywriters dedicate years to learning the rules of spelling, grammar, punctuation, and persuasion. Nonetheless, if you follow these copywriting rules, you'll be off to a good start at creating marketing materials and sales messages that increase your sales.