Epic copywriting is an integral part of driving traffic and making conversions.
Smashing Magazine even states that “it’s not uncommon for proper copywriting to increase search traffic by 50 percent and conversion rates by 30 percent.”
But being a great copywriter requires more than simply being great at writing.
You need to have a fundamental understanding of human psychology to be able to persuade readers to buy your product/service—you need to know what motivates people to purchase.
Plus, there are several other variables that will impact your approach, including your audience, overall aim, and desired customer reaction.
This graphic from ABC Copywriting offers a nice visual breakdown of the specific elements of great copy:
But how can you become a world-class copywriter in a short period of time if you have only minimal experience?
It took me 10 years to improve, figuring out these techniques. By practicing them, you’ll be able to improve a lot faster.
1. Learn from the best
If you’re just starting out, I suggest diving in head first and absorbing as much information as you can about the process.
Unlike other forms of content writing, copywriting is a highly specialized field and requires a unique approach of its own.
I’m a proponent of reading books from some of the brightest minds to get their take on things.
They’ve been there, done that, and can get you to where you need to be.
Some specific authors to check out include David Ogilvy, known as The Father of Advertising, and Bob Bly.
This list of 50 attributes of a great copywriter from Jeff Bullas can be helpful too.
I also recommend checking out this list of 75 resources from Kissmetrics specifically designed for those who want to become great copywriters.
This covers the entire spectrum and is ideal if you’re just getting your feet wet.
2. Get in the habit of practicing your craft
There’s a definite possibility that you’ll suck at your first attempt at copywriting. Don’t take it personally.
But you would be amazed at what can happen with enough continual practice.
Even in as little as a week, you can make tremendous strides.
You’ll learn to be more efficient and will develop hacks for streamlining the process. You’ll also discover what works for YOU.
That’s why I recommend practicing on a daily basis if possible.
3. Study the psychology behind purchasing decisions
As I mentioned earlier, psychology is a key element in copywriting.
In order to persuade someone to buy something, you need to understand their thought process and behavioral patterns.
Copyblogger has an interesting article that highlights seven psychologically-backed copywriting tips.
In it, you’ll read about the concept of mirror neurons—neurons in the brain that “activate when you ‘observe’ something happening, and then transfer some of the feeling on you.”
I think a good example of it is the Allstate’s “Mayhem” ad campaign.
You know, where they say “mayhem is everywhere” and show disastrous scenarios like a tree branch falling on your car?
These commercials are good at making you envision and feel what it would be like if it happened to you. In turn, you’re more inclined to buy their insurance.
The point I’m trying to make is that your copywriting should resonate with readers and make them feel something.
You need to get in their heads and truly understand what makes them tick.
In turn, this should guide your copywriting and help you create more potent copy.
4. Do your research
Effective copywriting isn’t just clever wordplay. A big part of it is great research.
Why is research so important?
For one thing, it makes your content more authoritative.
By including relevant statistics, case studies, and quotes from experts, you back up your argument.
It shows that your copywriting is based on objective facts and not merely an opinion.
Anyone can make a claim, but when that claim is backed up by data, it becomes credible.
It also adds a layer of depth to your content.
When you take the time to research, you’ll inevitably gain a deeper understanding of a topic.
You’re more likely to see the big picture rather than just bits and pieces, and this should be reflected in your writing.
When you put all this together, it’s going to be helpful in building trust with readers.
Trust is obviously important because it’s going to make it easier to persuade your prospects to buy.
Even if you really know your stuff, I still suggest you get in the habit of performing some preliminary research because it’s going to add a new dimension to your copy.
5. Work on your headlines
Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter how great your overall content is if the headline sucks.
In fact, “on the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.”
If your headline isn’t captivating, very few readers will make it to your call to action (CTA).
While it may seem easy enough on paper, creating a great headline can be pretty tricky.
But I’ve come up with a formula for streamlining the process to ensure you create attention-grabbing headlines.
In one of my previous articles, I talk about “the four u’s of headline writing:”
- Your headline should be unique.
- Your headline should be ultra-specific.
- Your headline should convey a sense of urgency.
- Your headline should be useful.
Here’s an example of a great headline. It’s quick and to the point:
6. Master the art of the opening sentence
Just one rung below headlines on the importance scale is your opening sentence.
Once you’ve caught the reader’s attention with an awesome headline, you want to motivate them to read through the rest of your content until they ultimately reach the CTA.
And this always begins with a well-written opening sentence.
What do I mean by well-written?
It needs to be short, engaging, and able to reel in the reader immediately.
Here’s a perfect example from Chartbeat:
If you look at the opening sentence, it meets all three of the criteria mentioned above.
It simply says, “It’s not enough to just count clicks and page views anymore.”
This is obviously short and to the point. It’s engaging because it gets readers wondering what they should be assessing if clicks and page views aren’t enough. And it also makes them want to read on to find out what solutions Chartbeat offers.
What’s the takeaway?
Work diligently at perfecting your headline and opener.
If you’re able to do this, you’ve already won half the battle, and you’re in a position to capitalize on the maximum percentage of leads.
7. Use the AIDA formula
AIDA is an acronym created by copywriter Gary Halbert.
It stands for:
Here’s a breakdown of how it works…
You start by grabbing the reader’s attention with an awesome headline and opener like we just discussed.
You build interest by touching on their needs, wants, and pain points as well as ways your product/service can solve their problems, improve their lives, etc.
You create a desire to buy your product/service by clearly explaining its benefits.
Finally, you insert your CTA to encourage your readers to take action right away.
I’ve found this simple formula to be incredibly helpful for guiding my copywriting.
While the specific details will vary depending on your audience, industry, and product/service, the AIDA formula always works and will keep you on track.
8. Be meticulous about spelling and grammar
Did you know that “poor grammar on websites scares 59 percent of people away?”
Spelling and grammar mistakes can be the kiss of death for your business because it makes you look unprofessional and diminishes your credibility.
After all, would someone trust and want to buy from a company that doesn’t know the difference between your and you’re?
A study was even done to determine the biggest mistakes a company can make.
According to the findings, the overwhelming number of respondents (42.5 percent) said they were most influenced by spelling and grammatical errors.
As you can clearly see, poor spelling and grammar can be a real deal breaker, and your conversion rate is going to take a big blow.
This is why it’s so important to be incredibly thorough and even borderline obsessive about proofreading your copy before it’s published.
I also recommend using a tool such as Grammarly to help you catch grammar errors.
It’s a free Chrome plugin, and it will greatly reduce your mistakes.
There are countless people who are great writers but lousy copywriters.
Mastering this craft demands a unique approach and a specific skillset.
Fortunately, it’s possible to learn how to become a world-class copywriter in a fairly short period of time if you’re willing to put in the effort.
Even if you’re just starting out, following these tips and techniques should put you on the fast track to quality copywriting, which means two important things.
You can convert more of your leads AND increase your profitability.
What do you think the most important aspect of copywriting is?