Graphic designers are often expected to come up with compelling copy to match their dazzling designs. For some, this comes naturally; for others, it can be a struggle – they’re designers, not writers! If the latter describes you, take the following tips for successful copywriting to heart.
Understand the type of copy your project requires
Not all copy is created equal, and that’s a good thing. Hard-sell, can’t-refuse offers are written much differently than sales packages, which are written in a different style than corporate web pages. As a copywriter (or designer-turned-copywriter), your job is to first assess the type of language you should use for the type of customer receiving or viewing the copy to take the type of action you would like.
Think of copywriting as a science, not an art
You’re not writing a literary novel – you’re demonstrating why customers should take the next step in the purchasing process. You do not need to be artistic; you only have to make sense. Powerful copywriting has an eye-catching headline that is relevant to the customer. It introduces a benefit the customer wants to receive. The rest of your copy reinforces that major benefit with other features and benefits that sweeten the deal and use verifiable data, proven results, and testimonials to back up claims.
If you’re writing sales copy, creating a compelling time-limited offer goes a long way toward convincing customers to take the next step in the purchasing process. Demonstrating experience adds credibility and forms the foundation for trust. A friendly yet authoritative tone – confidence – also helps. Finally, a motivational call to action such as “buy now” or “request a quote” or “start here” is needed so there is no ambiguity regarding what the customer should do next.
Most importantly, your copy should answer one single question and reinforce that answer throughout. It is the same question your potential customers ask themselves every time they read copy: “What’s in it for me?” A great answer to this question will yield sales. Solve a problem or otherwise make their lives better, demonstrate how you’ll do it, and make your point quickly.
Short copy is (almost) always better than long copy
People are busy and attention spans are short. They are reading your material because you’ve caught their eye, and they want to quickly find out whether you’re the solution to their problem or can otherwise make their lives better. Thus, the faster you can prove that you’re the answer, the faster they’ll take the next step in the purchasing process. Take a look at Google’s website once and you’ll see short copy mastery.
Now, it is true that sometimes long copy is better. Full sales packages, digital product landing pages and other materials often include long copy that performs better in these mediums than short copy. The secret that these copywriters know is that the length of the copy serves to back up claims they’ve made in their headlines – but few people ever read the entire copy. Instead, they scan the headlines and occasionally read supporting data when a particular headline is of particular importance to their situation. This way, these long copy pages can attract more customers with a single piece of text.
Great copy never lies
Amateur copywriters sometimes think it’s OK to stretch the truth or tell flat-out lies when writing copy, but this isn’t the case. Great copywriters know how to find the perks and benefits that will create desire and motivate customers to make purchases without having to tell lies. After all, lies will eventually add up to unhappy customers and the strategy of falsification will eventually backfire.