10 ways to make your business copy more powerful
Friday, October 5, 2018
Your copy often comes before you. Whether on your website, in a sales letter or a brochure, people make assumptions about you (and your business), based on what they read. They assume your competences, your business style and your ability to help them. All before they have even engaged with you.
There’s many simple tricks to make a piece of business copy far more powerful – delivering better results for you. Here’s ten that will make a significant difference to the performance of your business.
1. Favour “you” over “I”
What’s in it for you? That’s why you’re reading this article isn’t it? You don’t want to know about me.
It’s the same for your customers and prospects. How do we achieve this and still get the message across? Use “you” many more times than “I” or “we”.
A simple principle that works, you’ll keep your reader engaged for longer. Given the vast number of distractions that we continually experience, keeping their attention is key.
2. Add a good dose of personality
Whether you’re an accountant or a watch retailer, people like to buy from people. So, be that person!
Businesses are full of characters and if your customers get to know some of those characters, there’s more chance they’ll keep buying from you. Try writing your about us page as a direct message from your MD. If you’re a business coach or consultant, you can craft all your copy in your own style. A meet the team page helps to humanise your website or brochure.
Granted, your personality might not suit everyone. But it will make you stand out and inject some character into your business. We’re people first, businesses second.
3. Know your audience
If you broadly target businesses that might have an interest in your services, that might be small or large, in one of many industries, you need to be more specific than that. When you write, you need to know who you’re trying to communicate with.
In learning about your audience, you’ll better understand what motivates them and what their challenges are. You’ll develop a clear insight into how your products and services can make a difference to them.
What’s their buying process? What job role in the company do you need to be talking to? What business culture do they tend to adopt? The more you know, the more targeted your communication will be.
And when you speak to them. Do so one at a time. Write as if it’s from you to just them. You might be “I” or “we”. They are “you” and never “our customers”.
If you really cannot refine your target audience succinctly, consider writing different copy for each specific audience. You still need to understand them though.
4. Write as you speak
Too much business copy comes across as distant and insincere. Our team of experts have comprehensive expertise in this and can boast a notable capability in that. Whatever style of writing you’re looking to achieve, actively writing more like you speak will pay dividends.
Think how the conversation might go if you met a prospect at a networking event for example. Would you tell that person that your business boasted a notable capability in some particular skill or other? I think not. So, why should the written word be any different?
Copy is far more powerful if the reader feels that you are talking to them in a human and approachable manner. Even if you feel that all your copy cannot accommodate this style, do it where you can; the difference will be huge.
5. Keep it clear, keep it moving
Few people read everything you write. They skim, they glance, they read the first half if you’re lucky. So, make it compelling for them to keep reading. How? Here’s just a few ideas to think about:
- Use bullet points when possible – it provides a natural break in copy.
- Vary your sentence length with more short sentences for web copy.
- Reinforce points with a quote or endorsement when you can.
- Make good use of sub-headings; they might be all some people read.
- Replace long words with shorter ones when possible.
- Keep paragraphs short. Nobody wants to read an essay!
- Use an active voice and not a passive one.
6. Tell them what you want them to do
It’s all well and good getting them to read your copy, but what do you want them to do? Buy your product? Request a quote? Get in touch?
Make this clear.
The usual logic is to do this at the end of the copy. That might be so. But don’t overlook the opportunity to place a call to action within the article itself. Like this:
That was painless wasn’t it? And it certainly makes the copy more powerful.
7. Talk about benefits to them, not what you do
I’m sure that you want to tell them all about your amazing products and services. After all, that’s what your business is about, right?
To you, yes. To your reader, they’re thinking: “What’s in it for me?”
And remember, your reader can stop reading at any time. Give them what they want. Tell them about the benefits. Tell them how you can solve their problems, make their life better, ease their workload, save them money and help them do a better job.
Take the time to give this point some thought before you put finger to keyboard; it’s a worthy exercise. If they believe you can deliver benefits, they are much more likely to pick up the phone or place an order.
8. Tackle the objections head on
Deep down, you’ll know why they might not choose to act. Your service might be perceived as expensive or perhaps you’re not local to them. Maybe they’ll be reluctant because they’ve never heard of you. So, tackle these reservations and be done:
“Our service will include a full audit before developing the best way forward for you. And once the work is done, our support is on-hand for a full 12 months after completion – you’ll enjoy great value from your investment with us.”
“We work with clients throughout the UK. With the help of technology, our support is never far away, whether you’re on our doorstep or in the Highlands of Scotland.”
“Whether or not you’ve heard of our products before, you’ll welcome the raft of positive testimonials that we can show you. If you’d like to speak to some of our customers, just let us know and we’ll email you some contact details today.”
9. Show don’t tell
I could tell you that my services are first-class and that I deliver on time and on budget. Why should you believe me?
But if I told you that I was delighted to win a particular award, or quoted a recent comment from a customer about my performance, that might be more believable.
If your products are “high quality”, take this phrase away and instead, explain why they are. Is it down to your choice of materials, your product testing or your innovative way of working? Then say so. Have you won awards? Do you have any notable customers? These are all facts that can reinforce your credentials more effectively.
10. Avoid clichés
You can’t please everyone, and actions do speak louder than words. There is no time like the present to understand this…do you get my point?
Clichés probably make you cringe. In fact, they make an awful lot of people cringe. It’s a good move to avoid them in your copy as much as you can. There’s so many words in the English language, why resort to a cliché to get your point across?
Are you ready to get more from your copy? Can I help? Why don't we have a chat about it?