Copywriting is the ability to convince people to take action based on your words. It’s essentially a fancy word for persuasion. If you would like to learn more about this art of persuasion, today’s post “Copywriting for Beginners: The Basics” is meant for you. I will cover more in future posts.
What copywriting is and is not: 4 differences
Copywriting can make the difference between a landing page that results in big sales and one that visitors ignore. However, the good news is that copywriting is a skill and like all skills, you can master them. Before you dive into the deep end of copywriting, you should understand a few things ….
Copywriting Is Different
There are many forms of writing, some of which you might be familiar with already. Novels and songs are a form of creative writing. White papers and articles are a form of business writing. Essays and journaling are a form of personal writing.
However, copywriting is focused on getting the reader to take action. In some cases, this action might be signing up for your mailing list or following you on social media. If your reader does take action, this is called a conversion.
Copywriting Is Focused
Many forms of writing are about the writer. For example, essays and journaling may be a way of working through your emotions and observing life. Writing a novel or song may be about the story or concept you want to express.
Copywriting is focused on the reader. It’s about their problems and typically, you’ll want to present your product or service as the solution. If you forget this and focus only on your brand or product, you’ll end up with copy that doesn’t convert very well.
Copywriting Is Goal-Oriented
Some people use writing to explore. They write long, rambling pages about their ideas, products, or business. This may help you learn about yourself or your business; but, it isn’t truly copywriting.
Good copywriters know that their copy must have an end goal. Think of this as a destination when you’re on a long trip. You wouldn’t get into your car and hope that you end up in California. You’d pick a specific address and put it into your GPS unit then you’d start driving.
It’s the same thing with copywriting. Know what your goal is before you ever type a single word and you’ll be more likely to succeed with your copy.
Copywriting Is Easy to Scan
Some online business owners make the mistake of thinking that copywriting is like reading a newspaper or book. They assume their readers will pore over every single word, gleaning everything they can.
Smart copywriters know that most of their customers and clients don’t read every single word on the page. In fact, the majority of your buyers will skim your sales page unless you’re offering a product with a high-end price tag.
This is why good copywriters make their content easy to scan. This means using bullet points, adding subtitles, including helpful quotes, and strategically placing images or videos. These small details may not seem that important but they can be the difference between a customer who buys your product and one who navigates away.
This is also great for search engine optimization. I covered some of this in my post on SEO and you can find the info under the section “Use title tags for headings and sub-headings”
Related Post: What is Search Engine Optimization?
Understanding Key Copywriting Terms
Now that you understand what copywriting is and how it works, it’s time to learn a few important marketing terms. Even if you plan to outsource your copywriting, you’ll still want to know what these terms mean so you can communicate easily with your copywriter.
Call to Action (CTA)
This is the point where copy instructs readers to do something. Here are a few example CTAs that you can use in your own marketing:
- Call for a Free Consultation
- Book Your Free Discovery Session Today
- Sign Up for the Newsletter and Never Miss a Sale
- Follow Me on Pinterest
- Leave a Review on Facebook
As you can see, CTAs can cover a range of instructions. However, to keep your CTAs effective, ask your readers to take only one action. If you ask your visitors to sign up for your mailing list, book their first session with you, and follow you on Instagram, you’ll overwhelm them. So, pick the one action you want them to take right now.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is about making your content and website easy to find in search engine results. For example, if you users who search for “best aquarium tanks” to find your website, then you’d want to optimize your website for that term by including it in your headlines and copy.
Related Post: 10 Easy SEO Wins
Content Management System (CMS)
Content Management Systems provide users with an easy way to edit their websites and upload new content. You may already be familiar with CMS options like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.
Copy is content that’s created specifically to encourage readers to make a purchase. You’re surrounded by copy every day even if you don’t realize it. Copy can be found on the cereal box in your pantry, on the front of your toothpaste tube, and on thousands of other products.
Demographic is an audience of people with something in common. For example, a demographic could be:
- Women in their 30s
- Expert Knitters
- New Drummers
- Divorced men in their 40s
In the first example, the demographic is defined by gender and age. For the next two examples, the demographic is defined by hobby and skill level. The last demographic is defined by relationship status, gender, and age.
Above the Fold (ATF)
Above the fold is content that appears before a user has to scroll or click down. This is prime website real estate. Some sites like Google show ads above the fold. Other websites use this space to encourage visitors to subscribe to their mailing list.
Conversion and Conversion Rate
Conversion is the number of visitors who act on your copy. If you tell readers to buy your product and one does, then you’ve made a conversion.
Sometimes, copywriters use the term conversion rate. This refers to the percentage of people that took some type of action, rather than simply reading your offer.
If 1,000 visitors saw your landing page and 113 customers bought your product, then your conversion rate would be 11.3%. You can arrive at this figure by dividing the number of action takers (113) by the total number of visitors (1,000).
The headline is the title of your copy. You want to pick an engaging headline that makes visitors curious and invites them to read more. Some of the most well known headlines include:
- Headless Body Found in Topless Bar
- The #1 Secret to Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies Every Time
- 6 Fitness Secrets Every Woman Should Know
All three headlines promise their reader something in exchange for their time. The first promises an entertaining story. The next one promises the reader a perfect chocolate chip recipe and the last promises insights about fitness.
Related Post: 101 Blog Post Titles That Really Work
A case study examines a problem in-depth and recommends solutions. Copywriters use case studies to show readers how a certain product or service can solve a common problem their demographic is experiencing.
A teaser is a small bit of copy that intrigues your reader. When companies advertised through direct mail, copywriters would create teaser text to urge receivers to open the envelope. Now, copywriters use teasers to increase the number of email opens they get, share about upcoming projects, and build excitement.
Testimonials are short, positive messages of endorsement that come from customers. Many niches rely on testimonials in order to sell a product or service. However, customers in some niches like internet marketing don’t trust testimonials. This means testimonials aren’t effective in every niche.
I hope you enjoyed this basic introduction to copywriting. I think this subject is fascinating, and I hope that you will join me for the future posts and learn the art of copywriting.
Future posts will cover tips on writing engaging copy, elements of a good landing page, how to create an awesome copywriting template, and how to improve your social media copy. There will also be a bit about using analytics, so hang in there for that!
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