“Sell me this pen.”
Aspiring young sales professionals have made or broken their career by the way they’ve answered that question. The classic “sell me this pen” directive lets executives see what direction direct reports take when tasked with being persuasive on the fly.
In written form, this persuasive content is known as copywriting — and it remains one of the most powerful and lucrative skills a business owner can develop. Simply put, if you know how to publish words that make your target audience want to give you money, potential customers will treat you well in the coming months and years.
- Global retail e-commerce revenue was approximately $905 billion in 2022, with that number expected to almost double in the next five years, according to reporting from Statista, a data analytics company.
- The lion’s share of that increase will go to business owners and creators who capture attention and articulate value in their content writing.
- There are many different types of copywriting: marketing copywriting, SEO copywriting, content writing, website copywriting, social media copywriting, academic writing, and more.
- In order to be good at all of these, a professional copywriter will focus on mastering the basics.
Here’s what to know about infusing your brand voice with amazing copy, as explained by a professional copywriter, along with 10 techniques you can start incorporating in your business now.
What Is Copywriting, Anyway?
According to Wikipedia, copywriting typically refers to “writing text for the purpose of advertising or other forms of marketing.” Copy is one of those writing skills where you want the words you put on the page to evoke emotion and inspire action. You want your reader to do or feel something, which results in them taking an action of some kind. Copywriting jobs are usually closed linked to sales performance for this reason.
Copywriting can apply to any or all of the following types of writing.
- Website copy and messaging.
- Email newsletter signup language.
- Social media posts that promote an offer.
- Product pages and sales pages (this is a big one).
- Sales emails during a launch.
- Copy for paid advertisements on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube.
- Blog comments or social media comments on others’ posts.
- Scripts for audio content, such as a podcast ad.
- Scripts for video content, such as a call to action for a YouTube video.
Logic and emotion: a match made in heaven
To really understand the writing skills and research skills that power good copywriting, we must first understand human psychology.
When you write facts or other clarifying information, you activate the frontal lobe in your reader’s brain. This section of the brain handles information processing, reasoning, and rational decision making skills. This part of the brain loves simplicity and understanding, and is drawn to clean, succinct writing that will help the reader get oriented to the subject matter. Appealing to the logical brain is one of the reasons lead writing works so well.
The frontal lobe, the part of the brain responsible for rational decisions.
There’s another section of the brain, though. It’s called the limbic system, sometimes referred to as your emotional brain, and is responsible for processing both emotion and sensory information. Your emotional brain is more of a sprinter; when activated, it will outrun and override your logical brain for a period of time. This is why we see people lose their s*** when they’re very angry; the emotional brain has overridden the logical brain completely in the short term.
Amateur copywriters try to only appeal to the emotional brain and get the sale quickly. This often results in buyer’s remorse, more refunds, and dissatisfied clients. A master copywriter knows that you need to appeal to both the logical and emotional sides of the brain in order to deeply engage the reader.
These ten tips will help you activate both the logical and emotional brain in your readers, which is an essential skill.
Copywriting for Entrepreneurs: 10 Tricks
No. 1: Positioning
Positioning refers to how your potential clients perceive your offer. This is different from what your offer may actually be. As the saying goes: “It’s hard to read the label from inside the jar.”
We have to appeal to what our readers think they need help with, rather than what they actually need help with. If we don’t insert ourselves into how readers think, they’ll never pay attention to us to begin with, and we’ll lose them before we ever have a chance to help them. Positioning is wildly important in offer construction and reader psychology.
Appeal to your reader’s desired results when writing copy. Focus on the what and the why more than the how.
- Example: Improve cellular function and digestive efficiency.
- Positioning shift: Gain ten pounds of muscle in 30 days.
Good positioning helps your readers make sense of the industry jargon, and it’ll help your search engine results, too.
No. 2: Scarcity and urgency
Scarcity and urgency are two of the most popular copywriting techniques to excite potential clients. They are also sometimes grossly overused.
Scarcity is when your offer has a limited number of spots. Urgency is when users need to act within a limited time window. The two are often used interchangeably. I like to use urgency to refer to a deadline, whereas scarcity refers to a limited number of spots.
Humans naturally procrastinate. We need a reason to act now and not later. Urgency and scarcity are two of the best techniques for evoking this feeling with your readers, improving conversion rates, and making more sales for your business.
- Example of urgency: This deal ends tomorrow night at 11:59pm.
- Example of scarcity: There are only 4 spots left for this deal.
No. 3: Loss aversion / passage of time
Loss aversion can also be thought of as a form of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
In this copywriting technique, you highlight what life will be like if your reader doesn't take action. You spotlight what they will not get, how they will continue to feel, and — in the case of passage of time, a form of loss aversion — you will point out how much time will pass before the opportunity becomes available again. This time of content writing can be very persuasive copywriting, but it can also be overused if you’re not careful.
- Example: Where do you want to be six months from now?
No. 4: Testimony and social proof
Testimonials are truly worth their weight in gold in online business.
A testimonial is a customer review. It is an assessment or quote from someone in real life who has used your product.
Prospective clients usually relate most to people who look and sound like them. When you make a request of someone, their defenses go up. Showing your prospects the lived experience of others, in their own words, can often be one of the most effective ways to help your readers lower their guard.
When working on copywriting projects for your business, think about how you could show your potential clients what past customers have experienced. This reinforces the primary purpose of your business using simple language.
- Example of testimony: “We love their chicken tikka masala so much we drive 20 minutes each way to eat here for date night.”
- Example of social proof: “Named one of the best restaurants in LA by the Los Angeles Times in 2022.”
No. 5: Market comparison
Market comparison is a copywriting technique in which you show how your offer compares to other offers on the market, usually in a way that positions your product or service as the best option. A great copywriter knows to include this context.
Sometimes, you don’t need to have the best product on Earth; you simply need to show why your offer is better than your competitors’ offers. You also need to make this comparison visible and easy to understand, and present it in your own brand voice.
Market comparison is especially popular with software tools and other companies trying to offer an alternative to an industry-leading solution.
- Example: “Other website agency rates start at $5,000 for a new website. But with my turnkey Squarespace template, you’ll be up and running in minutes flat for just $97.
No. 6: Vividness
Sensory language, when used with restraint, makes your copy more emotional and evocative. Research has shown that, when activities or events have a strong emotion correlated with them, the memory of them will be embedded more deeply into the brain.
Vividness refers to using sensory language to make your sentences more real. Vividness can often be used with other devices like anecdotes or figures of speech to make your copy more lively or interesting.
- Example: “Imagine waking up in the morning, specks of sleep still in your eyes, grabbing your phone from under the warm covers, and seeing that someone paid you $200 overnight. That’s the power of online courses.”
No. 7: Features and benefits
Describing the features and benefits of your offer is another way to create vividness. In this realness, however, we are appealing to the logical side of the brain, not the emotional one. Features and benefits are an easy way to pad word count and attract more customers to your business using the English language. When I teach long form sales pages, I teach that 50% of the page can be dedicated to showing customers the features and benefits of your offer in detail.
Think about when you watch a commercial for a car. The voiceover describes the leather interior, the horsepower of the engine, and the additional safety features. These are features: tangible details that make an offer feel more real and compelling, while also being logical.
Benefits, in contrast, are what someone can be, do, or have as a result of those features. We need to spell out why the leather interior is appealing. “A leather interior, for maximum comfort on long trips and easy cleanup for unexpected messes.”
- Example: “Never wonder what to write about again. 52 email newsletter templates is a 12,500-word swipe file of newsletter scripts you can copy, paste, and start using immediately in your online efforts.”
No. 8: Scientific evidence
Don’t make your readers take your word for it. Show them proof!
Scientific evidence gives your writing gravity and stability. When you introduce stats, facts, or figures, you’re freed up a bit in your copywriting efforts. Your position becomes more about you reacting to and interpreting the scientific evidence for your reader.
People love to read reactions and interpretations of factual information. Sprinkle in some research, with citations or links to back it up, and your copy will pack more punch.
- Example: “Over 2.5 million Wordpress posts are published each day, according to data published by the company. What does that mean? Well…”
You could also use data as a mythbusting technique. If there is science that proves a common belief in your industry is incorrect, show that off to illustrate the problem you solve.
No. 9: Reframes
Copywriting is all about framing, and more specifically, reframing.
We can’t provide our readers with all the information in the world about a given topic. So we need to select certain details or points and frame them in a way that helps our readers pay attention. This is called framing.
Humans frame information sets all the time. In doing so, we develop inaccurate beliefs or outlooks on life that may be distorted. In copywriting, we want to reframe, or present the problem at hand in a different way, to our readers. Framing establishes relevancy.
- Example: “Did you lose a bunch of money in crypto last year? You might be eligible for a tax break.”
No. 10: Belief in self
Despite all of these great copywriting techniques, we’re dead in the water unless our reader believes that they will be able to recreate the results being advertised.
This is where a lot of funnel entrepreneurs mess up. They show off their own results, how they went from zero to millions, and how impressive it all is. But they don’t help us believe that we can achieve similar results for ourselves. The jump feels too big. We need smaller milestones that feel achievable and surmountable.
This copywriting trick is less tactical than the others. It’s more of an encouragement that some of your copy speak to where your reader currently is. All point B and no point A leaves readers unable to make the connection.
The Most Common Ways to Incorporate Copywriting for Entrepreneurs
Now that you’ve written these fantastic copywriting pearls, we need to place them around the internet. Here are 5 common spots where incorporating good copy will lead to better results.
Sales pages and product pages
The page on which you promote your product, program, or service is one of the most important pages you’ll develop. This is the last page your readers see before they give you money; ensure that every word earns its way onto the page and reminds readers why they should take action now.
A product description has limited space, and can make or break a sale. Use this space to appeal to your readers’ desires and goals.
If you’re beta-testing a new service or program, you don’t have to use a sales page. You could use a Google doc or even a PDF that outlines details of your offer. This works especially well with very niche, specialized services that you are testing.
Sales posts on social media
If your business or brand uses social media to encourage conversions, consider selling directly from the post itself. You’ll want to outline:
- What the offer is.
- Who the offer is for.
- What the results will be.
- What to do next, if someone is interested.
Usually this is to send a direct message (DM), which allows you to privately set up a call and/or get things moving.
A webinar is a sales tool. At the end of a webinar, you have a rapt, engaged audience. Use this time to pitch an offer or next action step of some kind.
Sales webinars are a different beast, but they can be a great way to create intimacy with your audience and warm them up for the sale.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should an entrepreneur learn copywriting?
Copywriting is one of the most important skills for new entrepreneurs to develop. It helps you brand yourself, drive results, speak with authority, and increase sales and other important marketing metrics along the way.
What is copywriting in entrepreneurship?
In entrepreneurship, copywriting usually refers to conversion marketing. This is marketing language that someone says or publishes to encourage users to take an action of some kind, such as buying a product, scheduling a call, or signing up for a newsletter.
What skills should a copywriter have?
Copywriters need to have a strong grasp of human psychology and how users read online. It’s also helpful if copywriters know some basics of journalism, as this writing style focuses heavily on brevity and clarity.
Is copywriting hard to learn?
The good news is you don’t have to be a great writer to be good at copywriting. Most copywriting boils down to just a few different techniques. Practice these techniques and you’ll be positioned well for the future.
Can I teach myself copywriting?
Absolutely. I’m a self-taught copywriter and have landed many clients and jobs because of it! Copywriting is a sales technique that is over 100 years old and is still highly effective on the modern-day internet.
What types of copywriting make the most money?
If you’re playing for sheer volume or earning potential, medical writing, legal writing, and tech writing can lead to especially high payouts. These fields are either very specialized or very in demand, and you need to know the industry well to succeed in the field.
What is the best niche in copywriting?
While there is no best niche, a common marketing maxim is that the most lucrative industries relate back to one of the “big three”: health, relationships, and money. There will always be millions of users searching for answers in these areas.
Build Your Copywriting Skills Today
Copywriting can feel overwhelming at first. Know that, by dialing in the foundations, you’ll be ready to drive results in any corner of the internet you choose.
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