Copywriting that sells is copywriting that connects with readers on a level beyond facts and features. It focuses on benefits and appeals on an emotional level. It’s aspirational, inspirational, packed full of promise and written in a language that the reader inherently recognises and understands.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s take my own business as an example.
One of the services I offer is blog writing. The features of this service include a range of different packages, background research, content suggestions, and incorporation of keywords, as well as the finished articles themselves. The articles I write are packed full of content too. But my potential customers need to know more than this.
What are the benefits of this service?
Focusing on benefits, not features
Well, blogging regularly and consistently is a great way of underpinning your brand and creating the fresh content that search engines love. This can improve where your website ranks in search listings and help build your company’s reputation as the ‘go to’ source of information for your field.
By doing the background research and coming up with ideas for the content, as outlined in a comprehensive blog proposal, I can save my customers the time they would spend doing this. And, as we know, time is money. The finished product is polished, grammatically correct, engaging and, above all, professional – all of which reflects positively on the wider business.
Pursue your benefits to their emotional root
But let’s look deeper still. What is the emotional root of these benefits? How do they make my customers’ lives better other than saving time?
Well, writing isn’t for everyone, especially if it takes you away from areas of the business that you love. It can be stressful to think of fresh content ideas, to worry about whether your words are going to connect with customers, or whether you’ve even got anything to say. There’s something about writing that makes us feel laid bare. That stress can cause resentment, it can split your focus; it can even make you fall out of love with your business.
The emotional root of my blog writing service is that it takes away the stress of spending valuable time on something you don’t love, so that you can play to your strengths and do something you do love.
Make a connection
But let’s play Devil’s Advocate here. Surely, any copywriter could offer the same benefits by providing a blog writing service? In theory, yes they could, so I need potential customers to connect specifically with my business.
How do I do that? I focus on why I’m in business, my values, my ethos, my brand. I’m a small business owner but also a work at home mum with a young family. I get what it’s like to juggle work around sleepless nights, school holidays, and unexpected illnesses. I also understand the challenges of wearing every hat a business requires and building up from nothing on a shoestring budget. For most of my customers, that’s their reality (either now or in the recent past) and we share a lot of common ground. I can offer flexibility because I know how much it’s needed, and help people identify where better copy would garner the best results.
Of course, the fact that I’m a work at home mum isn’t relevant to everyone, which is why my priority is to concentrate on adding value. I want people to come away from my blog or Facebook page, for example, with a sense of time well spent, and practical hints and tips they can put into practice straight away. I don’t always get it right but I’m constantly learning, evolving and involving my customers. I want to invite them into a unique experience. One that’s warm, open, conversational and underpinned by bags of hands-on knowledge.
Sometimes you have to take a step back before you can make an emotional connection
I know it sounds counterintuitive but sometimes writing about our own businesses is the hardest thing we can do because we know it so well. Over time, as we become more immersed in our own products and services, a kind of short hand develops in how we think about them. It’s not that familiarity breeds contempt exactly but it does breed complacency. We forget why we connected emotionally to our business in the first place, which means that we can forget to connect with our customers.
If this sounds familiar, this might be a timely reminder to take a step back and look at your business from an outsider’s perspective. If you simply find you can’t because you’re too close, perhaps you could ask your customers what it is they think you do well and what they think you could do better. You could ask them to sum up your brand in a single word or even ask if they can identify their emotional connection to your business.
The ideal customer
This brings me back (as ever!) to the concept of the ideal customer and why it’s so important to successful copywriting. If you know who you’re aiming your marketing at, it’s so much easier to make a genuine emotional connection. The chances are your ideal customer may be a person a lot like you. It doesn’t always follow but it’s a good rule of thumb.
Try this exercise
Far be it from me to give you homework, but the next time you have to communicate anything about your business, take a moment to turn features into benefits. Split your page into three columns. In the first, write down one of your main product or service features. In the second column, make a note of how these features translate into benefits. In the third column, identify the emotional root. This is where you’ll find your connection to your customers.
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