We’re constantly checking our social media feeds, our latest messages, our emails. And what’s more: marketing copy isn’t only trying to tell us something – it’s trying to sell us something. So that’s twice the challenge: grabbing our attention and actually communicating something of value that, hopefully, is going to push us through the famed sales funnel. And let us tell you, it’s not easy! We’re going to try to demonstrate it – and hopefully help – with this article right here.
So let’s recap just a bit and emphasize this, because it’s important: the two things that every piece of marketing copy needs to accomplish: engaging and selling (or converting). By “engage”, we mean being truly interesting to a particular target audience. And by “sell”, we mean actually creating a spark of interest that hopefully is going to help the viewer decide in favor of something – a product, service, action, etc. It’s no wonder that being a great marketing copywriter is something that demands some considerable skills, often acquired through years of experience in the business.
We can’t explain how to write marketing copy without explaining what exactly marketing copy is
Let’s get this out of the way and go with the simpler definition: marketing copy is anything written with the specific purpose of creating some sort of perception among a particular audience and, hopefully, convincing them to take some sort of action farther down the road. If we were to use a bit more of an in-depth definition, we could say that marketing copywriting enables brand awareness, customer retention, and increased sales/conversions. But that feels like the textbook definition of marketing copy, and that’s not what we’re looking for here. We want to inspire you, the marketing copywriter, to create copy that really stands out. And we mean that.
Also good to point out – by marketing copy we mean things like web content, blog posts, newsletters, ads, eBooks, social media posts, video scripts, podcasts, infographics, case studies, white papers, etc. It’s not a small list, we know, but it makes our point about how important this is.
Great marketing copy: the ingredients
- Made with the right audience in mind…
- …and the right medium as well
- With goals attached
- Simple yet effective
- Really attention-grabbing
- Useful and problem-solving
- Obviously creative
1. Is your marketing copy talking to me? Well, there’s no one else here…
(read this in a Robert De Niro voice)
Fun thought: how well would you, dear marketing copywriter, write a piece of copy when the target audience consisted of… only yourself? That’s right, only you. Would you do a great job? We think so. Because you’re the one person you know best in the entire world. Your interests, your goals, the things that make you really excited. That’s the idea behind every great piece of marketing copy: it’s made for the right audience – or, alternatively, the right “buyer persona”, as marketers like to mention.
If you know your audience well, you’re going to be able to create much more effective copy – that’s a given. However, keep this in mind: apart from speaking to the right audience, you’re making an effort to solve a problem that they have. Or else, why should they care about it?
But how to find out more about your target audience? That’s a lot of crucial information that should be clearly defined before starting your marketing copywriting process. We think it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand with whatever resources you have available. Even hire an agency if you can. But, if you can’t, you can start with what you have: demographics from your web analytics platform, insights from your e-commerce website, web pages that are the most popular ones. By using bits and pieces of information, you can answer some of the main questions by yourself – and create pretty interesting audience profiles to be used as a reference in your marketing copy.
2. I’m sorry, we’ve run out of “one-size-fits-all” solutions for marketing copywriting
Just like your email newsletter copy is going to be different from your blog post, so you should consider their respective audiences differently when creating copy for either. Any chance it could actually be the same person? Sure! But the medium is not the same. Which means the best way to go about it and write the marketing copy is going to be different.
Consider the tone, style, wording and expressions used for a Facebook ad, for instance. Now think about a white paper, a case study, or an eBook. Kind of a different scenario, right? That’s why we’re adding this tip right after the “for the right audience” one. Just like each audience has its specific requirements, so too does each marketing channel – and piece of copy.
3. Let’s add a magic little word to your marketing copy: goals
Let’s be straightforward: you’re a digital copywriter because you want to convince an audience of something and possibly influence them towards a decision. In that sense, you’re going to need some objectives attached to your marketing copy. Just like everything else in life, they become more interesting and exciting with goals. Goals are there to be chased – and surpassed.
And we’re not even talking about specific, data-driven goals here, like traffic or conversion rates. Well, a little bit, yes, because these things help too. But our main point here is: what exactly is this marketing copy trying to achieve? What is its purpose in the world? Is it part of a bigger content plan? What business goals – if any – are attached to it? Ask yourself, dear reader, what it is that you want to get from your marketing copywriting. This will help the entire process.
4. As a character in a great movie once said, “arrive at the point”.
(Can you guess which movie?)
Never mind the movie. Focus on the message. Keep your marketing copy very simple, very lean, very concise – except, of course, when the medium and the occasion suggest otherwise (see our points no. 1 and 2 right above for reference).
As we’ve said above, there are a “gillion” things competing for your audience’s attention at this very moment. And, as a result, some rather shocking news: most of them won’t read your copy. Well, actually, this might come as no surprise at all – as a digital copywriter, you’ve probably known this one for the longest time. Hence our stressing over and over the importance of making scannable copy. Content that they can go through quickly and grab the main points from.
Why is this so important? Because we expect it to get even worse – it’s going to get harder and harder to grab your user’s attention. So you, marketing copywriter, might as well practise and get good at writing to-the-point copy, and reaping the benefits.
5. Make it really emotional. Bring your audience to tears
(no, not really. But be emotional nonetheless)
This one is in every marketing copywriter’s manual. But we’ll mention it again. It’s easier to get people through their emotional rather than logical investment in a piece of copy. It’s the good old advice: make your marketing copywriting about the experience, not the product or the service or the features. By doing just that, your chances are already significantly increased.
How do you get emotional? By telling a real story that connects with your potential customers. Referring to positive experiences. Making them feel exclusive. Offering new perspectives – sometimes with things that are very simple, but no one thought of before. The examples in advertising campaigns over the years are countless.
Even with all our faith in logic and rational thought, we are still deeply emotional beings. And tapping into that potential can help your copywriting immensely.
6. ATTENTION all digital copywriters of the world! (See what we did here?)
We’re pretty sure you stopped here just to see what this particular step is about, didn’t you? While this might not be the best example, it’s still important: you need to be able to catch the eye of your users. For this, you might want to focus on being a marketing copywriter who every now and then:
- Employs a sense of urgency – but don’t overdo it; use it with good sense.
- Uses CTAs, or calls to action – ask your audience to do something. Don’t ask, don’t get. This one can be very important; adapt it to your target audience and you could see some really interesting results.
- Creates headlines, titles and bullet points that really stand out – but, again, don’t overdo it, or it might lose the desired effect.
That’s pretty much it – in order to truly step into the sphere of attention of your reader, you need to do something a little bold sometimes. But it’s worth it, and it can make a world of difference in many cases.
7. “What’s in it for me?” your audience is asking. Listen to them.
Being useful is also a critical aspect of great marketing copy. The “what problem is this going to solve?” question, overused in many marketing blog posts and tutorials across the web, is definitely relevant. Your users aren’t here to delight themselves with the poetry of your exquisite artistic writing capabilities. They want something, and they’re trying to find out how you’re going to help them. Want some advice on that? Here you go:
- What are the features of your product or service that will help the customer? And how exactly will those features accomplish that?
- What benefits will this item bring to the lives of its potential buyers?
- What problems is the person who is not using this product facing? And how does that same product offer the solution?
See, it’s not that hard. What is hard is expressing all of this in a fun, creative, engaging way. That’s a bit more tricky. More on this coming right up – next title, please!
8. We wouldn’t finish this “how to write marketing copy” article
without telling you to be super-creative… because you should be
We’ve covered how your content should be persuasive, engaging, emotive and more. But, as you know, this should all go under the “creativity” umbrella. How you, as a digital copywriter, craft your own copy is entirely up to you. But your creativity should lead the way, always.
And what does it mean to be creative? We could come up with some bullet points right here, but the truth is that it’s not set in stone. Sometimes it means coming up with alluring metaphors. Sometimes it’s making an incredibly apt cultural reference. And sometimes it’s just about simplicity – showing your audience something that was always there, but that they never noticed before.
Maybe it’s easier to answer what being creative is not: being ordinary. Doing what everyone else does. Being a marketing copywriter who creates copy with that feeling of yesterday’s news. Of course, you can’t be a Picasso of copywriting at every single turn, so don’t let this bother you. Just do your best to create something fresh, new and exciting – whenever you can.
Conclusion: marketing copywriting isn’t like using Jedi mind tricks. It can actually be pretty hard.
Well, even with all their power the Jedis couldn’t influence everyone, could they? Thinking of Jabba here. Anyway, the fact of the matter is this: even being the best marketing copywriter in the entire world will not make you a guaranteed factory of compelling and influencing copy. Some people just won’t go for it. But the key is to keep pushing and trying, until your skills are sharper than ever. But yes, it’s always good to follow some “how to”s and best tips every now and then – just to refresh your writing chops. These tips might help you remember some important points and make your amazing craft even better. That’s why we’ve written this article.