How to Write Powerful Marketing Copy
Copywriting is one of the most important elements of any marketing materials – it’s what convinces a potential customer to buy rather than click off the product page or ad, it’s what delivers authority, effective SEO, social engagement and more. You can put as much money as you want into promoting your proposition but if you don’t write effective copy, your performance will never be as strong as it could be.
It’s critical to understand what makes good marketing copy. Even if you intend to outsource your copywriting, knowing what to look for will ensure you find a professional copywriter that can drive the right traffic, build your brand and convert customers.
Why is Copywriting Important?
Your copy is an important factor in your customer’s first impression of your brand. Whether it’s in a tweet, other social media content, content marketing materials or even printed assets, your marketing copy is what will determine whether the reader visits your site and learns more about your brand. Once they’re on your website, it’s what determines whether they stay on there and make an enquiry or purchase – or click off and buy from your competitors.
Good copywriting makes customers feel like their purchase is needed – not optional. It should be written in such a way that the reader feels compelled to take action without hesitation.
Not every reader will respond to your marketing copy the same way, but you can ensure that a good proportion will take the action you want by appealing to their emotions and motivations and following the other tips in this article.
Know your Audience and Why They Buy
What are your audience’s needs and pain points? How can your product or service help them solve a problem? What are they gaining from your product or service? Why do they need it? What value does it bring to their lives?
Every product or service has a buyer persona and to write powerful copy, you need to know who those people are and what motivates them to buy. You’re not just selling your product or service – you’re selling the benefits your customer will get from it. You’re selling a lifestyle, confidence, convenience, the fact that your product saves them time, or any other practical and emotional benefits your product has to offer.
Before you start writing any copy, take note of all the possible benefits your customers may derive. Take note of all the features of your product or service and the benefits of each one.
Once you’re clear about the features and benefits, you need to consider the advantages – what makes your product better than your competitors’. If you haven’t done any competitor research, now is the time. Otherwise, refer back to any research you’ve already done and clarify what your USP is.
An example of how benefits and advantages are used in copywriting is comparison tables, such as those used by software companies when comparing the features of their product to those of competing products.
You don’t need to refer to any specific competitors to use this tactic – you simply need to make it clear that you have something to offer that other companies don’t and that that ‘something’ appeals to your customers’ most pressing needs.
By identifying the people who buy your product and why they do so, you will be able to write copy that speaks directly to them. You will be able to tell them why they need what you have to offer and why they should buy your product above all others.
Write Powerful Headlines
Your headlines are the key to getting customers’ attention, especially when writing copy for ads that have to stand out among numerous other ads. Here are a few tips for writing powerful headlines:
- Make it benefit-oriented: Your headline should focus on the benefits of your product or service.
- Use strong verbs: Action-oriented verbs make for more powerful headlines that compel people to action. Words like “discover,” “transform,” and “unlock” are all good choices.
- Make it newsworthy or educational: This won’t be suitable in all scenarios, but headlines that suggest the customer is going to learn something or read about some news can be very effective.
- Use numbers: Numbers are attention-grabbing and can make your headline more credible. For example, “7 Ways to improve your website’s conversion rate.” It’s also been proven that odd numbers are more effective than even, and round numbers (such as 5, 10 or 20) are less effective – this is likely because round numbers may seem more arbitrary and that less thought has gone into the piece, whereas a more specific number such as 7 may make the customer perceive more value and attention to detail.
Use Strong Verbs and Concise Language
Many people make the mistake of choosing weak verbs when crafting their marketing copy. You need to use strong verb phrases that paint a picture in your readers’ minds and drive them to action. The reader must be able to envision themselves and how their lives will be improved upon by making this purchase and strong verbs – as well as other sensory words – will help them to do that.
Verb phrases should be direct and to the point. The more concise your copy is, the easier it is to understand and the more attention it will hold. Avoid using flowery language that’s not necessary and avoid using too many adjectives or abstract nouns – if you use too many of these types of words, you’ll lose the reader’s attention as they make the text cluttered and reduce readability.
Also avoid using the passive voice and use the active voice instead. The active voice is when the subject of the sentence is performing the action e.g., “the man posted the letter”. The passive voice is where the subject receives an action e.g., “the letter was posted by the man”. The active voice is more concise, more readable, and more likely to persuade and inspire action.
Break the Grammatical Rules
In copywriting, it’s okay to break certain grammatical rules to simplify the text and make it more compelling. In many cases, you want your copy to be casual and conversational, especially in B2C marketing. We don’t follow the same grammar rules when we speak compared to when we write – breaking certain rules are important for making your copy feel natural as if you’re having a conversation with the reader in person. The piece still needs to be clear and make sense so you can’t just break all the rules. Instead, I’m talking about minor rules such as:
- Starting sentences with “and “ or “but” – doing so is helpful for emphasising certain points and in building a sense of urgency.
- Writing numbers from 1-9 in words – “seven” vs. “7” – the latter is more eye-catching, especially in headlines.
- Contractions – using “don’t” instead of “do not” is another way to make your copy feel like spoken language.
It’s also fine to use one-line paragraphs in copy – something which is discouraged in academic writing. Varying the length of your paragraphs boosts engagement – just make sure none of them are too long as nobody wants to read a wall of text. Keep them short overall but vary how short they are.
If you’re writing for a law firm, academic publisher, or similar audience that would expect you to have perfect grammar, then stick to the rules.
Empathise with Your Customer
Empathy is a great way to appeal to emotion, showing your readers you understand their pain points and making them feel that your company genuinely cares about helping them. As I mentioned, it’s important that a customer connects with the copy emotionally. Creating an emotional tie is a great way to stay on the reader’s minds and will help them to remember your brand – if they have a need in the future, they will recall your product and how it will solve their problems.
Use “you” or “your”, to drive the point home that you are speaking directly to the reader. Explain their problem back to them to show you understand their needs, then once they feel recognised, explain how your product will solve their problem.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Creating a sense of urgency is an important part of any marketing copy, but especially if your product is time-sensitive in any way. If it’s seasonal, is only available for a limited time, or if there are only a limited number of products available, you need to use the appeal of scarcity. If there is a limited number of products available, you should mention how many are left and when they will be sold out. Giving a specific number is more persuasive and believable than simply saying “limited stocks”.
Also let your customers know why the product is available for such a limited time and how that benefits them. For example, perhaps they will be part of an exclusive group of customers that have access to what you’re selling. The appeal to exclusivity is commonly used and can be very effective.
With time-sensitive offers, let customers know that if they want your product, they must do so immediately. This will encourage them to click purchase without hesitation or doubts.
Write Powerful CTAs
A piece of copy is not complete without a direct and powerful CTA, or Call to Action. You need to tell the reader what to do next. It could be a short and straightforward phrase such as buy now, subscribe today, or download here. CTAs help keep the reader’s focus and guide them to the signup or purchase. It’s the finishing touch to any effective piece of marketing copy. Again, strong verbs are important here and your CTA button text should always contain one.
Writing for Twitter
Finally, I want to talk about writing copy for Twitter. You have a very limited number of words to convince your audience to take action on this platform, so it’s vital to get the most from those words.
The tips I’ve mentioned up until now still apply, such as using strong verbs, a powerful call to action and concise language. Be as concise as you can on Twitter and refine your tweet until you’ve removed any unnecessary filler words.
Some people recommend using all the characters available for every Tweet, but you can experiment with tweets of different lengths to determine what your audience responds to best. Use emojis to add visual interest – this will help grab customers’ attention as they’re scrolling through endless tweets.
Use hashtags but don’t overdo it – Twitter recommends using only one or two per tweet. Analysis has in fact shown that tweets with hashtags get 33% more engagement than those without, and tweets with one hashtag get 69% more engagement than those with two.
Tweets accompanied by images get 150% more retweets than text-only tweets. Always add an image to your tweets for best engagement and add video where relevant.
Finally, some users try to compensate for the low character limit by writing in all caps. Don’t do that – it’s not effective and is off-putting for readers.
The most effective copywriting gets the reader interested, curious, excited, and wanting to know more and ultimately, take action. Empathy is the key to creating powerful copy that resonates with your audience on an emotional level, showing that you understand their problems and that you – and only you (rather than your competitors) – can solve them.
If you want help with your marketing copy, please feel free to get in touch and find out how my team and I can help you.