4 Sep, 2020

Seven Fundamentals of Copywriting Every Entrepreneur Should Know

As a digital entrepreneur, your ability to write persuasive content can make or break the success of your business.

You’ll likely need to write a lot to succeed as an entrepreneur. Emails, sales pages, product descriptions, copy for your website, ads, social media posts, and articles for your blog are just a few examples.

Being a persuasive writer can save you lots of time and lead to a significant increase in your revenue.

While content writing is aimed to educate and build brand awareness, the primary purpose of copywriting is to convert readers into subscribers or even customers.

Whenever you want your potential customers to take action, you need to convince them through compelling writing.

Online businesses, in particular, rely heavily on persuasive copywriting. Because even if you have a fantastic product, you might fail if you can’t persuade your prospects to buy.

While the ultimate goal of copywriting is to grow conversions, competent copywriters are able to write without sounding too pushy. Instead, they appeal to the emotions of the readers, use storytelling, and guide them through a smooth customer journey.

And the good news is that in copywriting, your desire to learn is much more important than a professional degree in writing or journalism. Anybody can learn the fundamentals of copywriting and become a persuasive writer.

Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Hire yourself and start calling the shots.

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Write As You Talk

Formal education and a degree in writing won’t make you a better copywriter. If you’re used to academic writing, you’ll need to forget what you learned to become a great copywriter. 

While academic papers are complex, copywriting is all about connecting with your potential customers through a simple language.

Sometimes, you might even use one-sentence or one-word paragraphs. Compelling copywriting is about imagining your prospect hearing you instead of confusing them with difficult words.

Good copy is clear and concise. It doesn’t distract or confuse the reader but instead guides them through a buying decision one step at a time.

Copywriting is not about sounding smart. It’s about convincing your prospect that your product will solve their problem. Instead of using industry jargon, browse through forums, read the questions, reviews, and answers of your potential clients, and learn more about the language they use when talking to each other.

Focus on Your Customer

One of the most common copywriting mistakes is that businesses talk too much about themselves instead of focusing on the customer.

Common phrases you might find on sales pages are:

“I’ve been in the business for ten years.”

“I’ve worked with industry experts.”

“Here’s what we do.”

“We helped hundreds of customers.”

Most entrepreneurs fail at writing persuasive copy because they write for their own ego instead of appealing to the ego of their clients.

Good copywriting is about focusing on the needs and emotions of your potential customer.

No matter if it’s a flyer, newsletter, or sales page, your potential customer will always ask themselves the same question: What’s in it for me?

If you don’t answer that question quickly, they won’t read the rest of your message.

Quora and Reddit are great websites for researching your ideal customer and learning more about the language they use.

Also, make sure to write for one single person.

Instead of using words like “we” or “our”, use “you” and directly address your prospect. When writing copy for your business, imagine sitting across the table and talking to your ideal customer.

The more personal your copy is, the better.

By focusing on your customer, you’ll also be able to grab their attention more efficiently. At its core, that’s what good copywriting is all about. A strong headline, powerful opening lines, or open loops are effective ways to spark the curiosity of your reader.

Simplify Your Sentences

In most cases, short sentences equal better copy.

A study conducted by the American Press Institute found that short sentences are 711 percent easier to read and understand.

If your texts are too complicated, potential customers will leave your page quickly. And if that happens, you don’t even have the chance to convince them to buy your product.

The longer and more complex your sentences and words, the harder it is to persuade your prospect.

A sentence that is easy to read usually contains fewer than 15 words, while sentences with more than 20 words are mostly challenging to read.

You shouldn’t only simplify your writing, but the whole idea of your copy. If people don’t understand what you’re doing, it’ll be hard to convince them to buy your product or service.

According to copywriting experts, each paragraph should contain a maximum of five lines. Sometimes, you can even use sections with one line or even one single word. Again: The simpler, the better.

Use Urgency and Scarcity

If someone tells you that they’re interested in your product but need time to think about the purchase, they’ll most probably never buy. They might forget about your offer or even come across a different product. It’s your job as an entrepreneur and copywriter to convince them to buy right away.

Two simple yet powerful ways to persuade your prospects to make a buying decision are urgency and scarcity.

Common lines such as “Limited time offer”, “Quantities limited”, “Doors close on Sunday”, and “Don’t miss out” indicate urgency as well as scarcity and give an additional reason to purchase now instead of waiting.

When using urgency or scarcity in your copy, be careful to back these statements up with real limitations. Otherwise, you might harm your credibility and lose the trust of your audience.

Whenever possible, use urgency and scarcity to help your potential clients take the leap and make a purchase. You can use both by providing limited offers, exclusive discounts, or extra benefits for the first few buyers.

Additionally, tell them what might happen if they don’t take action. What will they lose if they don’t buy your product? Which challenges might they face if they don’t grab the offer now?

Use the Three-Step Testimonial Formula

Testimonials play a critical role in writing persuasive sales letters. You’ll barely find a successful digital business that doesn’t display testimonials on its sales pages.

If done correctly, testimonials can skyrocket your revenue. According to Big Commerce, they can increase your sales by up to 62 percent.

But, unfortunately, most people use ineffective testimonials. They share the wrong information and lose potential clients instead of convincing them.

Here’s a proven three-step formula for powerful testimonials:

Before: First, let your existing customer share how their life was before using your product or service. Through that information, potential clients can relate to your existing customer because they’ll likely be in the same starting situation.

After: Next, your customer highlights their current state and how the product or service helped them to solve their problem.

What they would tell someone: At the end of a persuasive testimonial, your client shares what they’d tell someone who’s thinking about purchasing the product or service. They could, for instance, suggest not to lose more time or money and trust your product instead.

Based on these three parts, you can create a persuasive testimonial and convince potential clients to make a buying decision without hesitation.

Besides testimonials, you can also use statistics and case studies as additional proof to support your claims.

Tell Them What To Do

The primary goal of copywriting is to convert a prospect into an actual customer and generate revenue. That’s why a proper call to action plays a significant role in the success of your copy.

The most fundamental rule to increase the conversion of your copy is to have one single call to action.

Your call to action should tell your reader exactly what to do next. Be as specific as possible and make sure there’s zero confusion about the next step. Also, don’t be afraid to repeat your call to action several times. Being repetitive and reminding your reader about what to do next is better than leaving them confused.

Your call to action is where you win or lose your prospect, so don’t be afraid to be clear, obvious, and persuasive.

Build Your Own Catalog

Last but certainly not least, a great copywriter has a catalog of copywriting examples he can always refer to.

If you’re new to copywriting, the best thing you can do is analyze the work of those who have already mastered the craft. If you look at other people’s sales pages, emails, and marketing messages, you can speed up your learning process and find amazing examples.

By building a catalog of successful copywriting campaigns, you can avoid sitting in front of a blank page and feeling frustrated. Instead, you can rely on the successful campaigns of people who’ve already done it successfully in the past.

No matter what your product or service is, others have likely already written great sales pages for similar products. You can always use this existing content to create even better campaigns and pages for your business.

You don’t necessarily need to be a creative person to craft great copy. Instead, you can rely on research and focus on using and combining strategies that led to great results in the past.

Final Thoughts

If I were to start an online business from scratch, one of the first investments I’d make would be a program to teach me how to write great copy.

Understanding the basics of persuasive writing comes with tremendous benefits. And compared to other highly relevant skills, copywriting is relatively easy to pick up.

The best product or service isn’t worth anything if you can’t sell it. Great copy helps you to convince prospects to buy without sounding too pushy.

If you follow these seven rules, your copy will be ahead of the majority you can find on the web:

#1 Write like you talk: Good copy is simple. Avoid industry jargon. Instead, imagine your customer sitting across the table and you both having a casual talk.

#2 Focus on your customer: Don’t talk about yourself or your business. Focus on sharing what’s in it for your potential client.

#3 Simplify your sentences: Use short and simple sentences. Don’t write long paragraphs and limit your sentences to fewer than 20 words.

#4 Use urgency and scarcity: Tell your readers why they should act now instead of waiting for a better time.

#5 Use the three-step testimonial formula: Ask your clients about their starting point and what has changed after they used your product or service.

#6 Tell them what to do: Confusion is the biggest conversion killer. Tell your readers exactly what to do after reading your copy.

#7 Build your own catalog: You don’t need to be creative to be a great copywriter. Instead, build a catalog of successful campaigns and rely on strategies that worked in the past.

Even though copywriting is one of the best-paid skills of the 21st century, it’s relatively easy to learn. 

As a business owner, having good copy can significantly increase the success of your company. You can hire a copywriter to do the work for you or you can invest some time and master the craft on your own. 

No matter if you decide to invest in a copywriter or in improving your skills, the investment will surely be worth it in the long-run.

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Sinem Günel: Sinem Günel is an entrepreneur, coach, and writer. She is the founder of Personal Growth Base and a top writer on Medium.com