Want to know a little secret? It’s not something I’m super proud of…
In fact, most people have no idea whatsoever that I used to be a terrible copywriter. It took me years to learn the most basic fundamentals of writing.
And yet, here I am. I’ve been blogging for more than 10 years and have had the privilege to publish content on many great websites.
My businesses thrive on content marketing. Or more accurately, they were built with content marketing. So, obviously, content worked for me.
How? I got better. I learned how to write in a way that captivated my readers and convinced them to trust me.
And I don’t mean sell-anything-knock-your-socks-off better. I mean good enough to succeed online and grow three multi-million-dollar companies from scratch. Let’s face it: I’m no Hemingway.
But money doesn’t lie.
That is the power of copywriting. In fact, great copywriting is one of the most essential skills in digital marketing today.
If you can leverage your writing to tell a compelling story while convincing customers of the need for your product, there is no limit to the growth your business can experience.
However, if you are stuck writing generic emails, ads, and sales letters, you can expect to spend the rest of your entrepreneurial career struggling to make a single sale.
But how in the world do you actually become a good copywriter?
- Should you spend countless hours handwriting famous sales letters?
- Should you read hundreds of books on copywriting?
- Should you go to college and spend $100k on yet another advanced degree?
I think there is a better way to become a world-class copywriter—an easier way that requires almost no investment from you and that will only take you about 30 days.
The first thing I want to point out is that this article is designed to help you become a world-class copywriter, not a master copywriter.
To become world-class (the top 5%) takes only about a month of focused, intentional work.
Breaking through those extra four percentile points to become a true master copywriter (the top 1%) will take you years, if not decades, of practice and dedication.
However, unless your entire career is dedicated to copywriting, all that effort is unnecessary. If you can break out of the realm of good copywriting and become great, the extra four percentage points are simply not needed to run a successful business.
Becoming world-class is completely achievable and can be done faster than you think.
Download this cheat sheet to know how to become a world-class copywriter in one month or less.
With that definition out of the way, let’s begin.
1. Understand your customers
Before you even start thinking about how you can write compelling copy, you need to have a deep understanding of the people for whom you are writing that copy.
This is the single most important part of writing great copy.
Your product could be completely irrelevant to your audience (not something I would recommend), but with good copy, it would still sell.
If you understand your customer.
You can have a terrible product (again, not something I would recommend) and still sell it through great copy targeted at your customers.
If you understand your customer.
Understanding your audience and their fears, wants, and needs is the first step to writing great copy.
How do you do this?
First, put yourself in their shoes. This should be relatively easy if you are selling a product that solves a problem you once had.
For example, my company Crazy Egg helps entrepreneurs figure out why customers are leaving their websites. Quite frankly, it’s easy to write copy to sell my services because I used to struggle with the same problem.
There are no hypotheticals or guesswork involved when I am writing posts for The Daily Egg. It’s like biking downhill. No effort. I know the pain of having a high bounce rate; I know how it affects people’s businesses; and I know how to fix it. This makes it easy for me to speak to other entrepreneurs facing the same issues.
However, if you are selling a product or service you would not use yourself (a common problem among freelance copywriters), you need to gain more knowledge about the issue.
This is where customer surveys are a lifesaver. Instead of having to guess what your customers are looking for, just ask them directly.
Ideally, you’ll have some sort of marketing persona already created and can use this to target your customer.
If you are not working directly with your final client (for example, if you are a ghostwriter or run a copywriting firm), make sure to find a way to survey the end user.
This will allow you to gain deep insights into what your audience is looking for whenever you are writing your copy.
2. Understand your product
Once you have a deep understanding of your customer, you need to have a deep understanding of your product.
This is typically easier for entrepreneurs—many of whom create the product themselves and hire the sales people—than for freelance copywriters.
Regardless of whose product you are writing copy for, here are a few questions you should ask yourself to truly understand what you are selling.
Question 1: What is my elevator pitch?
If you had to sell your product to someone in 15 seconds or less, how would you do it?
One of the biggest mistakes most copywriters make is writing verbose copy. Their headlines are too long; their subheadings could be the intro to a Game of Thrones book; and the body of the copy drags on longer than an Ayn Rand novel.
By writing down your 15-second elevator pitch, you’ll learn how to get your point across quickly and clearly. People do not have the attention spans they used to have, and learning how to condense your message is key to holding their attention.
Question 2: What are the main features and benefits of my product?
The next question you need to ask yourself is: “What are the main features and benefits of my product?”
Make sure you understand the difference between features and benefits.
But you should also go a step further. Ask: “What pain points does my product solve?”
Why would someone need your product or service? Not “Why would they want it?” but “Why would they need it?” What can you offer that they cannot live without?
While this is significantly easier for companies addressing common needs (dating, fitness, and business niches), every company should have an “offer their customers cannot refuse.”
You just have to figure out what that is.
Question 3: What sets your product apart from the competition?
One of the most important questions you can ask yourself is: “What is different about my product?”
Why would someone choose your product over the competition’s? And don’t just say, “Quality.”
Everyone thinks that their product is the best or that it has the most to offer.
But in my experience, nine out of 10 entrepreneurs who believe their product is superior have something very similar to their competitors’ products in terms of quality.
You need to know which specific benefits set your product or service apart from your competition.
- Do you solve a certain pain point that your competition does not address?
- Do you offer a more in-depth analysis with your services?
- Does your product have some sort of special unique feature not found among other products?
Figure out where your advantage lies, and you will be able to write incredible copy that will convert like crazy.
Your ability to answer the above three questions will largely determine your ability to succeed as a copywriter.
Most people think copywriting is all about mechanics. But in truth, great copywriting starts with knowledge.
Once you have nailed down your understanding of your customers and your product, then the mechanics come into play.
3. Write attention-grabbing headlines
Before we delve into the secrets of writing persuasive copy, we need to address the elephant in the room.
Headlines can make or break your copy.
It doesn’t matter whether you are writing for ads, a website redesign, Facebook posts, or landing pages. Headlines convince readers to click on your article and give your copy a fighting chance. How do you write attention-grabbing headlines?
There are 3 keys to attention-grabbing headlines.
1. Your headlines should be unique
The Internet and advertising world are full of copycats and people who thrive on plagiarizing other people’s content.
Don’t be one of them.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and sell your products, you need to have unique, attention-grabbing headlines.
As soon as your audience reads your headline, they should know exactly what they’ll receive from your product or service.
Steer clear of generic or ambiguous phrases, and describe what your potential customers will get very specifically (this is where the elevator pitch comes in handy).
3. Your headline should convey a sense of urgency
You want your audience to think about what they’ll lose if they don’t take immediate advantage of your product or service.
Are they losing clients? Are they missing out on potential social opportunities? Capitalize on people’s fears of missing out (FOMO), and your headlines will help your copy convert like crazy.
4. The secrets of persuasive copy
And now we get to the good stuff.
- You understand your customers and your product better than the back of your hand.
- You’ve written attention-grabbing headlines that have cut through the noise and piqued your audience’s interest.
- Now, you have to keep that interest and get them to click that “Buy Now” button.
Here are my three favorite copywriting tactics for converting traffic into paying customers.
1. Focus on benefits over features
Imagine you are reading copy designed to sell content marketing training.
Which of these two phrases would make you more likely to buy?
“Enjoy our three 2-hour-long video modules, detailing all the nuances of marketing your content through social media, email, and guest blogging.”
“Discover the content marketing secrets that will help you write viral articles guaranteed to make you massive amounts of passive income in a few short weeks!”
I think the answer is pretty obvious.
Whenever you are writing copy, you need to remember that people don’t really care about your product or service.
What they care about are the benefits they will receive from your products or service.
2. Get (even more) specific
Once your copy is focused on benefits over features, make your copy as specific as possible.
Detail exactly what people will receive from your products or services.
Tell them how their lives will be different once they use your product or service. Let them visualize a different—better—life, thanks to your product.
Explain in painstaking detail what benefits they’ll reap from buying what you have to offer.
3. Target emotion above all else
The final ingredient of killer copy is a deep understanding that human beings are emotional creatures.
You need to remember this and target people’s emotions, not their logic.
For example, if you are selling a fitness or weight loss program, people inherently know they need to lose weight and get in shape.
But reminding them of this fact alone will not sell a single product.
However, if you target their emotions, it’s a different story.
- Paint a picture of how their lives will change in 3 months if they buy your product.
- Talk about how their confidence, energy, and sex appeal will be completely transformed.
- Talk about the fact that they will act differently in social situations, be more driven, and experience life on a new level.
Pinpoint the emotions your customers want to feel, and then ruthlessly target those emotions within your copy. If you can do this, you will become a selling machine.
Copywriting is not an easy skill to master. But it is one of the most important skills you can master.
Luckily for you, if you know what to focus on, you can easily improve the conversion of your copy 3, 5, 10, or even 200% overnight.
And now, you know the exact steps you need to take to achieve these numbers.
Remember, this is not about perfection or mastery. It is about improving your copy and becoming a world-class copywriter.
With one month of intentional effort and following the guide I’ve laid out, not only is this doable, it is all but inevitable. So get out there, and start honing your writing skills.
What is your best hack for quickly improving your copywriting skills?