In today’s world of online business, your audience can’t reach out and feel what you’re selling in their hands. You can put up photos so they can see it, but a photo doesn’t make you feel enough to buy.
This means the key driver for them to exchange money for what you’re selling will be the words you use to describe it.
If you don’t get the words right, your audience won’t feel your passion and your drive, and they’ll doubt the benefit of what you’re selling.
This means they’ll struggle to click on that button saying ‘add to cart’, and your product or service won’t get the sales it deserves.
I’m all about businesses which bring positive change in the world, and if you’ve got a game-changing business then I want you to make sales which reflect the benefit of what you’re selling.
With this in mind, I’ve set out my 5 step process to help you craft copy to get your product seen and, most importantly, bought.
1. Understand the benefit before you start writing.
Whether you’re writing a blog post or a sales page, you need to know what you’re bringing to the reader before you put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard!).
By this, I mean you need to understand how the lives of your audience will improve by reading what you’ve written, or buying your product/service. Think of it as a choice between whether you’re writing something which is informational, or instructional. Informational is telling someone all that you baked a chocolate cake and it tasted delicious. It might be interesting to you and you could maybe include some nice photos, but there’s nothing for your reader to take away or act on from that. It’s passive, and passive doesn’t equal sales.
However, if you tell your reader how you baked the chocolate cake, with a list of ingredients and tips about how to decorate it, then you’re moving from informational to instructional. What does this mean? It means that you’re giving your reader something to act on, so passive becomes engaged. You’re giving them a benefit in your writing because they too can bake a delicious chocolate cake, and you are telling them exactly how to do so.
To understand the benefit you’re providing when you write any copy, you need to be as specific as you can.
Sticking with the chocolate cake example, you need to say what the person who will be making the cake using your instructions will experience. It has to be more than ‘delicious’. Does it taste like angels on your tastebuds? Does it make your senses tingle? Does it make a choir of heavenly trumpets ring in your ears? Don’t be afraid to aim high – think how you want your product or service to make your audience feel, and put pen to paper to describe that.
As a further example, say you design clothes. You could say the benefit of what you bring is ‘beautiful clothes for women between the age of 25 and 34 to wear.’ However, what you need to be specific on is how you make them FEEL. This would mean an alternative would be ‘comfortable but classy clothes for women aged 25 to 34 who work in an office to make them feel comfortable yet professional.’ In this example, it’s moved away from being passive and becomes active as you’re getting specific about how your customers will feel by wearing what you’re selling. It’s expressing that benefit which will lift your copy from so-so to omg.
2. Figure out your story.
Once you’ve figured out how you want your audience to feel from the benefit you bring, you need to figure out why you are uniquely positioned to deliver that.
Think about your favourite Ted talks, and all of them contain personal anecdotes. These anecdotes aren’t an off-the-cuff decision; it was a conscious decision to include in the talks because they not build a bridge with the audience about why the speaker cares. The personal anecdotes demonstrate why the topic matters to them, and show why only that person can be delivering that particular speech.
To figure out your story, go back to basics and think what about makes you uniquely placed to do that you do. This hinges on why you spend time on what you do, and what truly motivates you. Often, people will say they’re motivated in their businesses by money, but when you dig deeper it’s so much more than that.
The stories which give you the drive to succeed are the ones which you need to include in your copy. These stories have led you to believe that the world needs what you do, and support the benefit you say you can bring to your audience. I’m not asking you to ‘bring out the bodies’ and go for the sob story here to get a sympathy sale. Instead, I’m asking that you dig deep and be honest about why you care so much. For me, I started Boss Foundry because I was sick of seeing businesses getting a bad reputation, and of ‘making bank’ business coaches saying you can build a six figure business overnight without investing your soul.
I want you to bring your personality to your copy and talk about why you want to do what you do.
3. Construct it like a story.
The first couple of steps are about how to decide what your copy is going to message to your readers. First you figured out the benefit you bring to your audience, then you figured out why.
Now, you need to decide how you are going to communicate it your audience. We live in a fast-moving and noisy society, so what you say has to be powerful and keep your audience gripped. In your copy, you need to tell your audience about the benefit you are providing, and why you care. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to writing so be wary of anyone who tells you there is.
However, be confident in your use of language. Use powerful words, like ‘will’ instead of ‘may’ and ‘I believe’ rather than ‘I wonder’. Make sure you are telling them about why you are an expert in your field in unequivocal terms, along with the benefit you can provide. They are on your site because they found something interesting in your message, so now it’s up to you to show that in your writing.
4. Read it out loud.
As a test of whether your copy passed the test, read it out loud. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to read it out in front of a mirror, but sit in your lounge or somewhere you’ll be undisturbed, and read out what you’ve written. I wrote a book a couple of years ago, and I discovered as I was running through my edits that reading out loud held a peculiar power.
I was there, thinking some sentences were beautiful, but when I read them out, weird things happened. I noticed that the construction didn’t quite work, or some of the words sounded cold, or a few sentences were too long. It made me be brutal, to refine what I had written.
It made me remember I was telling a story rather than delivering a soliloquy.
When you read out your words, it makes them real. You can no longer hide behind a blinking cursor or the flat precision of your laptop screen. Instead, they take on life. If you’re reading them out and the words don’t yet feel right, then you’re not ready to hit publish. Go back and amend them, then try reading again. Don’t become a victim of perfection, but do take your time. Which brings me onto the next step…
5. Don’t hit publish. Yet.
Hold up! I’m not saying sit on a graveyard full of unpublished copy; those puppies deserve to get read. However, what I am saying is that you shouldn’t finish writing and then merrily click publish and send your words out into the ether.
Finish writing your content, then leave it for a day. Then, come back to it. Look at it with a fresh pair of eyes and check the spelling and the grammar. If you’re not sure then ask a friend for them to cast their eyes over what you have written. Then, check it for the following:
- is it bringing the benefit you want to your audience?
- is it communicating why you care so much?
- are you using clear words like ‘need’, ‘will’, or are you reducing it with ‘may’ and ‘can’?
If you think any of the above aren’t being sufficiently communicated then amend it – don’t rush because you feel it’s ‘time’ you did a blog post or you ‘just have to’ finalise your sales copy today.
When you’ve read through these 3 questions and your copy feel as if it’s hitting every spot, hit publish. Don’t spend more time working around it and let perfectionism hold you back. If your sales page doesn’t convert into sales, you can edit it later. If your blog post doesn’t get enough hits, you can refine it. You have made it as good as you can at this moment in time, but you need to give it time to breathe. Don’t let perfectionism steal your ability to publish these things, not when you’ve worked so hard.
Do you find it difficult to communicate the benefit of your product or service? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear!
Here’s to businesses that make waves.
YOUR BUSINESS IS YOUR REVOLUTION.
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