Selling On the Seven C’s
When you’re looking at return on investment for copywriting, the goal needs to be sales. Strong copy is the driver for your brand to engage, convert and sell to your audience, no matter the medium. The goals of a content strategy are to attract, entice, and intrigue. It’s not about overwhelming your readers with an advanced vocabulary or lengthy content. You want to give them just enough to get them interested and hungry enough to take the next step. For copy development that sells, make sure your copy is:
- Clear: Keep It Simple, Silly (KISS). Show and tell based on the behavior you are trying to elicit (i.e. make a call, send an email, download a white paper, fill out a form, etc.) “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” ― John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life. Be sure your content speaks in specifics, both for what your audience needs to know and what they need to do as a next step. On the contrary, don’t be so basic that you forget to include a hook to engage and intrigue.
- Concise: It can be easy to add a little more here or there with your copywriting to “make sure” your audience “gets it.” However, with each added word, line or paragraph, you decrease your conversion potentials. Today’s buyers are savvy and want answers without the puffery. When you develop copy with the mindset that “more is better”, from the concern that you will lose parts of your audience if you don’t explain the entire “Why” upfront, you risk overwhelming your readers with a verbose experience that leaves them disinterested (so they bounce away or flip the page) or confused and unsure of your intentions. The best copywriting is written with the “less is more” principle, focusing on quality over quantity, and concise messaging and direction. Think in “soundbites” that are easy to remember, rather than giving them everything to digest at once.
- Compelling: As any salesman knows, the best pitch includes a hook. Something that speaks directly to the target, exposing or enhancing the awareness of a need that you are positioned to address. Your content strategy needs to include a compelling tone or detail to grab the attention of your audience on a “need” level. You can utilize a variety of techniques to achieve the desired interest. Questions are a great way to engage and attract attention. Speaking from a controversial position or including a surprise twist in your content are effective “shock and awe” tactics. However, you go about it, be sure your copywriting compels readers to act.
- Concrete: Nothing is more disdained from today’s savvy customers than fluff copy that has no basis in fact or verification. Always sell from a position of concrete supportive evidence, whether in the form of reliable statistics or tangible proof. Copy should be developed to educate as well as engage, so use the data you have at your disposal to support what differentiates your brand.
- Correct: Spelling errors, inaccurate data, and unreliable sources are all ways to lose credibility with your audience. Edit all marketing collateral and triple-check your sources to ensure your claims are accurate.
- Customized: Today’s buyer expects an experience that speaks to “them”, personally. This means brands need to sell from an empathetic point of view. Take the time to understand your target audience at a granular level with tools like Journey Maps and Buyer Persona, so your verbiage and pitch speak to the needs and perspective of your audience.
- Conversational: That same target market we’ve been referencing isn’t looking to be “sold”. They will shut down on a “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday” sales pitch and can see right through copy that is just trying to hit “buzzwords”. Copy development needs to be “written by ear” in the words of your audience. Imagine your copy is part of a two-way conversation with a prospect so keep the tone light and conversational while maintaining the educational and sale-oriented purpose. Once you’ve written it, have someone read it aloud, preferably to you, to gauge flow and sincerity, then adjust accordingly.
Copywriting is more than words on a page to fill between images in marketing collateral. It’s the ongoing conversation you are having with prospects to convert them into customers, or to cross/upsell based on your understanding of their needs and your ability to answer them. If they feel that you don’t hear them, are untrustworthy, or unclear about why they should buy from you, they will move on to the next option, and you will lose the sale.
As such, your content strategy needs to be created by a person who writes copy regularly and persuasively that can engage, educate and connect in a conversational tone that makes potential customers want to buy from you.