What is Writing Copy? An Overview and Copywriting examples:
Marketing copy is a very specialized form of writing that requires true skill, primarily that you are able to engage a reader, cause them to think about specific situations and motivate them into taking action. The action being the solution to the problem that is offered in the copy, your product.
Writing copy (copywriting) is a sophisticated form of communication with an express purpose, typically targeted at companies or individuals who can make buying decisions.
Copywriting is used to inform, sell, distribute, market and promote products and services.
Businesses know that consumers make buying decisions based on a mixture of facts and emotions,
and often, emotions dominate their decisions.
The average consumer (individual or business) will buy based on emotions and copywriters focus on triggering those emotions AND controlling the outcome, as well as, how a reader responds to these feelings (purchases a product, subscribes to a newsletter, completes a survey, etc).
There is a significant amount of attention placed on words, choice of words, word placement, tone (the voice of your copy) and once again, emotional call outs that appear within a piece.
Since all of these elements together are essential for success, it’s no suprise that seasoned copywriters, who have mastered the art of creative selling, are in such demand.
The process of copywriting involves crafting compelling and inviting stories,
whose main goal is to entice readers to buy, in the end, that is the desired result.
In the process the writer will give ideas, facts and information that will better equip the reader (or listener) to make a decision based on their interpretation. It is the copywriters responsibility to first capture attention, engage the reader, provoke emotion and then funnel that emotion into prompting the reader to making a decision, or taking an action of some kind. The way that the material is presented and interpreted by the copywriter will ultimately be responsible for the success or failure of the sales pitch.
The challenge for the copywriter is to create a positive interpretation for the reader that is in favor of the product or service without coming off too strong or insincere.
For the most part, copywriters don’t have to sell, instead, they present the option of success or failure to the reader and leave them with a choice.
For example, a copywriter could highlight the reasons why the reader may have failed when trying to start an online business in the past.
They could assure them that it’s not their fault, that they were misled and even deceived deliberately by other marketers. Then, the copywriter could warn the reader that unless they take action and purchase a solid blueprint to success, that they are likely to continue losing time and money with unsuccessful strategies, only to find themselves in the same situation they are in now, a year later.
This evokes the emotion of both fear and failure. Fear, that they will be scammed, lied to, misled, deceived and of failing in terms of losing time and money by not purchasing the featured product.
Copywriting techniques are curtailed and customized to fit the challenge that the writer is drafting the copy for, and each project may call upon the copywriter to use a different style, voice or strategy.
For example, certain marketing agencies prefer that copywriters create advertisements that take a personal approach, where it speaks directly to the reader, empathizes with them, and gives the feeling that the writer has their best interest at heart, while other marketing companies prefer a direct, hard sale, where the copywriter takes a more aggressive approach to marketing and subsequently, selling the product.
Regardless of the style used, the copywriter should always be able to create a sense of urgency, so the reader feels compeled to act quickly, or risk losing the opportunity that is being presented to them.
There are three emotions that are often evoked from effective copywriting:
Good copywriting examples will create a sense of urgency. It will make the reader feel like they need to react quickly, or to make a critical decision at that very moment.
Well-written copy will have the reader ready to respond even before they reach the end of the sales letter or copy that they’re reading. Copywriters will implement “emotional pulls” throughout the copy, to ensure that they are able to captivate readers who skim the sales page, and material. What kinds of copy call upon a sense of urgency?
A good copywriting example of this would be the sale of exercise products or weight-loss information. If the copy is well-crafted and cleverly written, the reader would be ready to place the order even before they reach the end of the page, because not only are they given a clear picture of the current situation (before), they are also given a vivid image of what they can accomplish, with taking action (the after).
Spend some time watching late night infomercials if you’re interested in seeing some of the most well written, emotion driven advertising material available. Take notes of the terms, wording and phrases they use, and how they often weave in both fear and relief by first presenting the problem and offering a clear solution to those desperate for help.
Since infomercials are also some of the most expensive forms of marketing, the advertising tactics have been analyzed, tested and proven to work. It’s simply one of the best ways to garner ideas for your own copy. Study what works as well as what pulls at your own strings and activates emotional triggers.
The type of fear that well-written copy evokes is the idea that without the service or product being advertised, the reader will somehow experience a negative “side effect” (such as failing, continuing to experience pain, causing their situation to become worse, etc). The reader may feel that without it, they are incomplete, bound to fail or be left behind.
Good copywriting examples are advertisements focused on online businesses where competition is stiff and entrepreneurs are concerned about others gaining a foothold in their market. Compelling sales copy would address these situations and explain how without the information readily available to them, they stand a chance of letting their competition take control of their markets, or worse, push them out of their existing niches.
The solution? To purchase the product (course, training, newsletter, etc) and be part of an inner circle, ahead of the competition, gaining inside knowledge.
Essentially, if the reader feels that NOT having what is being sold is detrimental, they will be at a disadvantage.
Using the weight-loss industry as another example, the reader may experience fear if they do not quickly purchase the product that will help them shed pounds quickly that they will gain more weight, become more unhealthy and perhaps never be able to recover again.
> Anticipation And Excitement
Motivating a reader to look to the future and anticipate upcoming products or information is a very effective method used by copywriters online, especially those that are creating marketing material for recurring products (membership websites, newspapers, newsletters, etc).
The copywrting example will enlighten the reader, and paint a clear picture of what is currently available as well as what is being created, just for them.
By focusing on showcasing their current situation and how it will improve with the material offered, copywriters have helped newspapers attain loyal subscribers, ezine marketers to build massive lists of active buyers, and websites to experience a flood of prospects interested in keeping a pulse on current developments and future launches.
Again, with the weight-loss example, well-crafted copy can invoke a feeling of anticipation and drive the reader towards a desired result. (10 Pounds in 10 Days!, and other similar headlines will cause the reader to envision their future, and how much their lives can change if they remain a member and digest the material as it becomes available every month, week, year).
Another way that excitement is used within ad copy is in the back-end funnel, where a copywriter continues to lead the buyer through the sales system where they are offered additional products and purchases while they are in an active buying state. Copywriting examples should never stop at the sales page but continue through every element of the process, through the ordering system, straight through to the final step.
Anticipation and excitement will make the reader do things that they may not otherwise consider. Work to incorporate this emotion into your copy and you’ve created a hook for your piece.
These three emotions vary in intensity and relativity from one reader to the next. Certain people will respond to these tactics differently, but it’s the job of the copywriter to reach out the majority by using time tested, proven methods of evoking and controlling emotional responses.
What copywriting is NOT
With copywriting, words are everything and the placement of words is even more critical. It’s important to say the right things at the right time to the right people.
However, it is not always easy to get that right or to find ways where this will work 100% of the time.
> Copywriting is not an exact science
Companies and people are so vastly different. A good copywriter has to customize the content to appeal to the reader and gain the desired result, however, what works for one group of people won’t always work for another and so you’ll need to research your target audience, analyze copywriting examples, what has worked in the past, and craft your copy to integrate similar tactics. That’s the goal.
But even with well-crafted copy, it’s still not guaranteed to yield results, which is why even the best copywriters work to consistently tweak their copy, and improve results with in-depth testing. > Copywriting is not article writing
Article writing is simply the sharing and disseminating of information in a formatted fashion. Copywriting will entice the reader to buy.
Articles will share and impart information to the reader that doesn’t lean towards a sale or decision. While articles can help to “pre-sell” readers, preparing them for the full sales page, article writing is typically a more passive method of communication, rather than a direct one.
> Copywriting Can Be Short Or Lengthy
Contrary to what you may have been told, copywriting does not have to be lengthy to be effective.
Copywriting is best known in the form of long sales copy pages, brochures or newsletters, however the actual copy composition does not have to be lengthy to accomplish its goal as long as you ensure that you have incorporated the most important elements and have structured your sales pages to trigger the emotions you are aiming for. Length does not equate to effectiveness.
The Elements of Effective Sales Copy:
Effective sales copy elicits response from the reader and gets him to make a decision based on what he has read. The sales copy is divided up into three sections:
The headline is the attention-grabbing portion of the text. This is where you will catch the reader’s eye and make them want to read more of the material. You only have a short window of opportunity here to connect, so it’s important to make it compelling. Your headline should be:
- short (if possible)
The body is the crux of the written material. This is where you will provide your succinct, detailed information and elaborate on the headline of your page. The body of the text will discuss and answer questions that the reader may have and enlighten them some more about the product or service.
The body of the sales page will need to be as detailed and well-researched as possible without being too lengthy as to lose the reader’s attention. Keep the copy on focus by discussing and detailing the topic in depth.
Good writing simply entices your audience to buy your product or service.
In order for you to provide well-written copy to entice them to buy, there are distinctive elements to a sales copy page that engage the reader, encouraging him to read more about your offer is. The principles are based on the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) concept and can be adapted to any copywriting experience.
Attention and Interest
The interest would include the title, the headline and the attention-grabbing portion of the sales copy. The headline should be written in a way that almost yells at your reader. Make it stand out and command attention. Make it noticeable.
Examples of headlines:
Good: How to Improve your administrative processing
Better: 5 Keys to a Profitable Administration Process: Implemented & Automated in 10 Steps!
The first headline would get most reader’s attention, but if you use the next headline, you are far more likely to get them and keep them reading.
Your copy’s goal here is to catch your reader’s attention and create interest. Your topic or point of interest must be compelling enough to bring them in, keep them there and create a desire for more.
The reader is interested, and now wants what you’re offering. The next piece of your focused copy page is to spark and stoke the embers that the interested reader has.
Here, you have the reader’s attention. You should write copy that will make them want more. For example:
Do you want to shed those last ten pounds? Of course you do! This revolutionary new product has been on the market for a short period of time, but has caused sensational results with users. With this product, you can get ready for the summer scene in less than 30 days and look great!
After reading this (or similar text), the reader should want more of your offerings and will continue until they reach the goal, the action.
That goal is the entire precept that the marketing page is structured behind. The sales page ends with a call to action.
The call to action should be the most concentrated effort of your sales copy. Write towards the reader as if they’ve already decided that they do want the product or service. Write as if you’re thinking in past terms:
Don’t ask: Are you convinced yet that you need this XXX product? Is there anything more that we can say to you to convince you? If so, contact us at xxx-xxxx today!
Say: This product has the ability to enhance your life giving you more time and freedom to do the things you enjoy. Click here to order now and we’ll include an additional 30-day supply of this product just for placing your order on xx/xx/xxxx!
Compelling words full of action and energy is what moves buyers to buy. Use action words in your communications (wherever possible), what are action words? Buzz words and action phrases that get consumers to want to buy.
Words and phrases like:
- For a limited time
- Act Now
- Buy Now
- You will experience..
- Your life will change..
- Exclusive Offer
And substitute inactive words and phrases for their opposite.
Instead of “if you would like more information on…”
Say, “email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.”
Instead of “for a copy of that (presentation, etc.)…”
Say, “Get your copy today while they last”
Instead of saying, “…if you need XX product,…”
Say, “ this product will do XXX for you. Order here.”
The difference in your choice of words and how you order and align the words can mean a world of difference in your copy and how well that copy will convert.