Starting an online business requires tons of writing!
From website copy to Instagram captions, blog content, email newsletters, and more, it can feel completely overwhelming at times. Like, did you start an online business or a publishing company?
While I have no doubt your product or service is the best thing since sliced bread, it isn’t going to sell itself. And in a digital world, the best sales tools we have are our words.
Effective copywriting is the bridge that takes someone from a passive audience member to an engaged customer of your business. So, even if English was your least favorite subject in school, it’s a skill you’ve got to master if you want your business to be as successful as it can be.
If you find yourself staring at an empty Google Doc more often than you’d care to admit, this article is for you. I’ll be going over my top copywriting tips you can start implementing today to market your business more effectively!
5 Effective Copywriting Tips to Generate More Sales
In the world of online business, success is measured by the number of dollars you’re generating in revenue. With this in mind, the copy you write on your website and in other marketing materials should ultimately be geared toward the goal of increasing sales.
But just because you write copy to sell people your products and services, that doesn’t mean your writing has to be “salesy.”
Effective sales copy connects the needs and desires of your customer with the solution you’re offering. It doesn’t have to be forceful or pushy. Instead, it can be helpful, inviting, and dripping with personality.
You can write copy that’s geared toward making sales AND connects with your prospective clients. Here’s how.
Create a Brand Messaging Guide
One of the best copywriting tips I can give is to have a set standard for every piece of writing you do for your business. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a reference guide that kept all of your messaging guidelines in one place?
I recommend creating a comprehensive brand messaging guide for your company, so you don’t have to look online for copywriting tips every time you get stuck. By setting aside some time upfront to create this, you’ll save yourself hours in the long run.
What should you include in your brand messaging guide? The Brand Messaging Blueprints we create for our clients contain elements like brand values, target audience conceptualizations, style guidelines, brand word banks, and more.
If you’re DIY-ing your brand messaging guide, I’d recommend including the following elements at a minimum:
- Core Brand Values
- Unique Selling Proposition
- Mission Statement
- Brand Story
- Brand Pillars
- Brand Style & Tone
Having these standards for your brand decided ahead of time will make each piece of writing you do so much easier and quicker to produce. You’ll be confident in your brand’s overall vision, and you’ll just need to make sure your writing lines up with that vision.
As a bonus, if you employ other people to write for your brand, you’ll have a rule book that keeps everyone on the same page. This way, your brand’s style will stay consistent no matter who’s putting pen to paper.
Know Your Audience
Once you figure out who you are and what your brand’s personality is like, the next step is to discover who your audience is.
Writing is so much more difficult when you have no idea who you’re writing to! The most successful brands have a clear idea of who their target audience is, and they’re able to write in a way that speaks directly to them.
Ideally, you should define your ideal target audience before solidifying your brand’s tone and style. This is because the tone of your writing needs to be one your audience connects with.
Include as much information about your target audience as possible in your brand messaging guide. Answer questions like:
- What is their gender?
- What do they value?
- How old are they?
- What’s their annual household income?
- What keeps them up at night?
Being specific about your target audience won’t limit your customer pool – it will just give you someone to hold in your mind while you’re writing. In turn, your copy will become much more powerful and engaging, and you’ll attract people beyond the scope of who you’re imagining.
Put the Spotlight on Your Customer
When you look over your website copy, ad copy, or social media captions, who gets mentioned more – you or your customer?
A quick fix for copy that isn’t converting well is to use the spotlight method championed by Marie Forleo. This looks like swiveling the spotlight away from yourself and onto your client or customer.
In college, my writing professor was always harping on W.I.I.F.M – What’s In It For Me? People are always looking for information about what your brand, products, services, and offerings are going to do for them. So it’s your job to make those benefits known!
Here’s an example of a headline that’s too brand-focused (as opposed to customer-focused):
“Sarah is an award-winning wedding planner based in Southern California.”
Notice how this headline focuses more on who Sarah is than what she does for her customers? Sure, it says that she’s a wedding planner – but it doesn’t communicate any clear benefit for her potential clients.
Her audience has to do more mental work to read between the lines and take a guess at how hiring a wedding planner could potentially make their lives better.
Let’s see what happens when we put the spotlight on Sarah’s clients:
“We make planning your dream wedding joyful and stress-free.”
This headline still communicates what Sarah does, but more importantly, it tells her audience the benefits of hiring her. Not only will they end up with their dream wedding, but they’ll also achieve it in a way that’s joyful and stress-free.
The spotlight is on the customer, and as a result, people will be more engaged and excited to know more about what Sarah’s business can do for them.
Balance Personality with Clarity
No one wants to read dry, boring copy! One of the best ways to differentiate your business from your competitors is to develop a distinct brand voice and style.
You should infuse your brand’s personality in most pieces of copy you write – in your social media posts, on the pages of your website, and in your blog posts.
BUT, this copywriting tip comes with one major caveat – never sacrifice clarity for the sake of cutesy, personality-filled copy.
There are certain areas of your website and marketing materials that need to be crystal clear (meaning no flowery language) to make it easy for people to take action. These areas include:
- Your website’s navigation bar
- Calls to action or buttons throughout your website
- Calls to action on advertisements or in marketing materials
You never want people to scratch their heads in confusion after reading something you’ve written for your brand. So by all means, add personality-driven phrases to your copywriting. But make sure it’s still digestible and understandable.
If you’re not sure whether your copy passes this test, ask someone who’s not a member of your target audience to read through it, and make sure that person can easily understand your message.
Check Your Grammar + Punctuation
I wouldn’t be a good copywriter if I didn’t mention the importance of good grammar and punctuation as one of the top copywriting tips!
I’ll admit I’m a total grammar nerd. I get a rush out of editing copy until every last error is eliminated.
And while not everyone is that way, most of us are capable of spotting grammar mistakes, especially when there are a lot of them.
Not only is error-filled content difficult to read, but it’s also damaging to your brand’s reputation. If your writing contains a ton of technical mistakes, people may start to view your brand as sloppy or unprofessional.
Using editing software like Grammarly is one way to fix this problem if you aren’t the best writer. In some cases, it may be worth investing in a good copyeditor to look over your content and marketing materials before you hit “Publish.”
In the online business world, copywriting is the literal backbone of your business. Start putting these copywriting tips to use for your business, and you’ll see how much easier it is to build connections with your audience and generate more sales.
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