November 22, 2014

Hey Copywriters . . . Connect with the Folks Reading Your Copy – – Be Real. Be Personal. Be You.

 

Two Friends Talking

Image courtesy of Aleska D FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your level of writing success has a lot to do with how your readers react to your copy.  People connect with the product or service because they relate to what you’re saying to them.  They want to feel that your copy is specifically crafted with their interests and needs in mind.  In other words, it should feel personal. Following are three ways to help your readers identify  and connect with your message:

1. Before You Write, Get to Know Yourself First.

When you understand who you are,  your writing is more inclined to genuinely fuse with the product’s message. When you are an unsure writer, it’s harder to trust your own belief in the message you are writing about the product. You can create a stronger and more compelling message if you start with you first, then tackle the project.  It’s easier to bring out the brand when you know yourself. Your confidence comes through your writing making your copy more engaging because your insecurities aren’t getting in the way of the flow of the message.

2. Don’t Be Something You’re Not. Be You.

Many writers make the mistake of trying to be something or someone they admire.  It’s okay if someone’s influence shows through your writing. However, because it’s not your authentic voice, when writers blatantly and repeatedly attempt to mimic the voice of another, it sounds scripted and unnatural.

Every writer has his or her own signature rhythm, traits and mannerisms.  Yes, that includes you.  Find and leverage your own self-expression.  Success is easier to repeat when you already own its source and it’s not borrowed from somebody else. I’ll add that, in the quest to find your own voice, it’s okay to emulate someone you admire when you start out, but don’t try to be them.

3. Speak to Your Readers Through Your Writing

Imagine that your reader is a personal friend of yours and that you are engaged in a real conversation. What would you tell her about the product or service?  Explain its benefits in the same way do when you are trying to convince a reasonably intelligent friend to make a purchase of a particular item. You want the flow of information to feel and sound real.

Know their problem. Empathize with them. What are they likely to be thinking. What are they likely to want or need from this product or service. Find that hook.

I’m sure you have a checklist of your own and you’re ahead of the game if you do.  But, if you don’t, once your copy is written, at the very least, before turning it in, check to see that you’ve got these three keys covered.

Stacey

12 ‘Appalling’ Copywriting Tips From David Ogilvy, Our Original Mad Man

David Ogilvy - Advertising CopywriterDavid Ogilvy, the original Mad Man, called his notes appalling; I call them invaluable!

April 19, 1955

Dear Mr. Calt: On March 22nd you wrote to me asking for some notes on my work habits as a copywriter. They are appalling, as you are about to see:

1. I have never written an advertisement in the office. Too many interruptions. I do all my writing at home.

2. I spend a long time studying the precedents. I look at every advertisement which has appeared for competing products during the past 20 years.

3. I am helpless without research material—and the more “motivational” the better.

4. I write out a definition of the problem and a statement of the purpose which I wish the campaign to achieve. Then I go no further until the statement and its principles have been accepted by the client.

5. Before actually writing the copy, I write down every conceivable fact and selling idea. Then I get them organized and relate them to research and the copy platform.

6. Then I write the headline. As a matter of fact I try to write 20 alternative headlines for every advertisement. And I never select the final headline without asking the opinion of other people in the agency. In some cases I seek the help of the research department and get them to do a split-run on a battery of headlines.

7. At this point I can no longer postpone the actual copy. So I go home and sit down at my desk. I find myself entirely without ideas. I get bad-tempered. If my wife comes into the room I growl at her. (This has gotten worse since I gave up smoking.)

8. I am terrified of producing a lousy advertisement. This causes me to throw away the first 20 attempts.

9. If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy.

10. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush.

11. Then I take the train to New York and my secretary types a draft. (I cannot type, which is very inconvenient.)

12. I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor. So I go to work editing my own draft. After four or five editings, it looks good enough to show to the client. If the client changes the copy, I get angry—because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.

With the exception of number 9 (because I can’t drink and write) and number 11 (because I can type, and I’m already in New York), I often follow this or variations of this method.

I’d advise you to do the same, unless you already have a system that works.

Start Your Freelance Copywriting Life Off Right

Start Now ButtonIn June and July of 2006 I committed to doing three things: (1) buy and read Bob Bly’s book The Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells; (2) buy and read Steven Slaunwhite’s book Start& Run a Copywriting Business; and (3) start a freelance copywriting business by September 2006.

And I did.  Starting my own freelance copywriting business was easier than starting a small business typically is because I started off right – emotionally and managerially.  I quickly embraced my new reality – that launching and running this copywriting business was going to be a fun and challenging experience, but that starting off right meant, I needed to fix my mind-set.  Although this business was going to be a big and important part of my life, it was going to have a life of its own; it would be my freelance copywriting life, and I needed to be prepared for everything that promised to come with it (you know, the highs and the lows:  the first huge client payment of $2,500.00; then the frozen computer on the day of a “can’t miss” deadline; the ecstatic customer with the glowing testimonial about your work and who sings your praises to powerful decision makers; then the late arrival of your business cards before your meeting with JP Morgan Chase’s marketing team . . . and you have none left – you know that stuff).

So there.  Strapped with my borrowed, yet reliable mantra “Just do it” and these few tidbits, I stepped out on faith:

•Don’t let poisonous folks whisper in my ear, even the well-meaning ones;

•Develop and follow a simple strategy and stay focused;

•Don’t let things get overly complicated and stay focused;

•Allow only one captain to steer the ship – me – and stay focused;

•Keep tweaking things along the way when they need modifying;

•Launch this thing, and learn the rest along the way . . . WHILE STAYING FOCUSED.

And I did.  And I still am.

Following are practical business reminders I learned that helped me tremendously in starting my freelance copywriting life off right and keeping it right, and I am confident you will find them helpful too:

Your Passion . . . Not!

Don’t wait for that mythical fixation called “your passion.”  Some of the most happily successful people have found it.  Most happily successful people, it’s safe to say, have not.  What the two groups of happily successful folks have in common, however, is: they have a knack for what they do and they find enjoyment in some aspect of what they do.  If you wait for this passion thing to materialize, you may never get that freelance copywriting business off the ground.

Perseverance and the Threat of Rejection

One of the most common hindrances to perseverance is fear of rejection.  I don’t like guarantees, but this one is unmistakable, so I’m going to share it. You will experience rejection in one form or another.  If dealing with rejection is a challenge for you, then from the outset, you have to find a mechanism to help you cope with it.  It could be anything from Yoga to meditation, from training for a 5K to venting in a supportive online community.  Whatever you choose, just monitor the strategy, because if it’s not working, you need to tweak that plan.  And, speaking of supportive online communities – there are loads of them out there for copywriters and freelance copywriters from linkedin copywriting groups to warriorforum copywriting threads.  It behooves you to join one or more. Besides being comforting, they can be quite informative,  and great places to get educated feedback on copy drafts you’ve done, or to simply hang out, “coffee clutch” or network.

Make Good Habits a Habit

Contracts

Unless you are crafting a flyer for your grandmother’s church picnic, use a contract.  An elaborate contract is the safest bet, but a simple contract can work also, provided all of your bases are covered. Heck, if her church has a board of directors, you may want to use a contract for that church picnic flyer too.  Nothing personal grandma!

At the very least, your contract or agreement should contain:

♦the date of the agreement;

♦your name and address, the name and address of the business hiring you and the signer’s name;

♦a detailed description of the project, including the medium and format of the work;

♦the number of pages, if it’s a print document;

♦the various parts and stages of the project;

♦the number of edits and revisions you will allow;

♦the dates of delivery for each stage of the project, if more than one stage;

♦your fee and its due date(s);

♦a list of terms and conditions; and

♦both parties’ signatures.

Keeping Records – Phone Calls

No one remembers everything, especially when you are busy.  When you speak to a client, particularly if you verbally agree to do or not to do something, it is a very good idea to memorialize the phone conversation in a follow-up email. This serves a number of different purposes. It jogs yours and your client’s memory. It solidifies what was said. It helps you recall what you said you’d do or not do. It creates a paper trail in the event something happens and you need proof.

Keeping Records – Billing

If you do nothing else, spare yourself some stress by having some place to drop your receipts and records of incoming payments. If this is too much of a hassle for you and the thought of even doing this much organizing stresses you out, then use as few ways to make purchases as possible.  For example use one credit card and one Intuit Merchant or Paypal account. This way, when it’s time to sit down with your accountant, all of your financial information is in only one or two places. The ideal solution is to keep your files organized in off-line or online folders, categorize them and use one of the gazillion simple accounting software programs out there like Lessaccounting.

Networking and Marketing

Yes, I used to hate this too – networking.  But, I soon learned that I was really good at it. I still don’t love it, but it works wonders and brings me in a lot of business, sometimes more than I can handle alone.  Whether you do it online or off-line, marketing your business is a must. And don’t be fooled into thinking you only need to market when business is slow.  Any self-respecting freelance copywriter will tell you that the optimal time to market your business is when you have customers coming in the door.  This way, you are more likely have  steadier stream of income.   And, by the way, marketing your freelance copywriting business needs to be a big percentage of the time you spend on your business – around 35% of the time.

In addition to networking, there are myriad ways to market your business:

-Article marketing.  Write and publish a few articles on sites like ezinearticles.com or goarticles.com.  Include your URL in your resource box.  The resource box is a section at the end of published online articles where you get to promote yourself and your business;

-Bartering.  You can, for example, offer to consult with a business that agrees to plug your freelance business in their newsletter;

-Cross-promotions.  You promote a local business on your site in exchange for them promoting yours;

-Distribute a press release on a few free press release directories like Press Method (www.pressmethod.com); Free Press Release Centre (http://www.free-press-release-center.info/); SB Wire (www.sbwire.com);  or PR.com (www.pr.com), just to name a few;

-Free classifieds (e.g., craigslist); and

-Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin).

Stay Relevant

Take your eyes of the marketing media road for more than a month and you may feel completely lost when you turn your attention to the trends again.  Between social media, mobile media, cloud this and cloud that, the marketing media environment is growing by leaps and bounds!  It’s imperative that you keep learning. As a part of your routine, subscribe to (and read), a few newsletters or blogs that keep up with the trends of copywriting, freelancing and best small businesses practices. To keep on top of what’s trending, you can monitor Twitter hashtags like #smallbusiness using any number of free tools like Hootsuite.

 

Check Yourself

Check your site and make sure your information is still relevant. Make sure your links all work. Sometimes, unbeknownst to you and for a number of reasons, a link will suddenly die. This happens with WordPress blogs on occasion, so check them periodically just to be sure everything’s in working order.

Check your online business image.  Make sure you’re not tagged in that photo you took at your cousin’s wedding with the chandelier on your head where you’re drunk and dressed only in your bra or boxers. Put security limits on the accessibility of your personal Facebook page(s) so that only folks you want looking at it can see it.  Business people will definitely go searching for your personal Facebook page. So, if you’re doing anything on your personal social media page that could offend your customers and make them go elsewhere in search of a different copywriter, put some blocks in place.

Part of checking yourself, includes checking your competitors.  You want to stay a  step ahead of them or appear to anyway. There is competition out there for almost every copywriter, but particularly for narrowly niched ones. If you are one of 10 copywriters in your niche, definitely keep your eyes on your competition. One way to legally spy on them is by using Google alerts and Twitter alerts by signing up with sites like Tweetbeep.  You can use these sites to have emails sent to you when Google or Twitter finds things like web pages, news articles, blog posts,etc. that match your search item (i.e, your competitor’s name and the name of their business).  It only takes about 3 minutes to set each of them up initially, and they’re both free.

Oh yeah, and do this: Unfollow small fries who aren’t following you back on Twitter. Don’t look socially desperate.  If they don’t respect you enough to follow you back, unfollow them.  You don’t want to be one of those Twitter members who is following 500 people, but who only has 90 people following them back. Businesswise, that’s not a good look.

Even with its ups and downs, the freelance life, as so many people will testify, can be a great experience, and the best way to do that is to start out right. Go in with the proper mind-set and with realistic expectations.  Decide you are going to give it your all, but that you are not going to lose yourself in it.  Whether you choose to do it full-time or part-time, if you have the knack for it and enjoy copywriting and want the freedom that comes with self-employment, get your mind-set, make sure you have a plan you can live with . . . then JUST DO IT!

Happy writing,

Stacey

P.S. Some of the blogs and websites that keep up with the trends of copywriting or freelancing or small business best practices are as follows:

http://contentverve.com/

http://www.nickusborne.com/

http://blogs.targetmarketingmag.com/

http://www.marketingwords.com/blog/?cat=4

http://www.WonderBranding.com/

http://www.seocopywriting.com/blog/

http://blog.crazyegg.com

http://www.awaionline.com/blog

http://directanddigitalmarketing.com/

http://www.psychotactics.com/

http://blog.smallbusinesscopywriter.com/

http://contently.com/blog/

http://www.perrymarshall.com/

http://simplystatedbusiness.com/

http://sparksheet.com/

http://thewordchef.com/blog/

http://www.mpdailyfix.com/

http://www.webinknow.com/

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/

http://www.copyblogger.com

http://blogtyrant.com

http://smallbiztrends.com/

http://www.startupnation.com/business-blogs/

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com

https://be.freelancersunion.org/blog/

http://freelanceswitch.com/blog/

http://freelancefolder.com/

http://www.warriorforum.com/copywriting-forum/

Escape from Cubicle Nation

Copylicious Direct Creative Good Copy, Bad Copy

Harrison Amy Copywriting

Jeff Sexton Writes

Men with Pens

The Well-Fed Writer Blog

Words That Begin With You

The Freelancery

Freelance Unleashed

Dr. Freelance

Profitable Freelancing

Guerilla Freelancing

Ajeva Freelance!

http://www.creativefreelancerblog.com/

A Word from David Ogilvy on the Efficacy of Direct Response Advertising v. General Advertising

 

Ogilvy Signature on Red Background

 

 

It just doesn’t get any better than this.

Three Ways to Make Money When Your Freelance Copywriting Business is Slow

As a freelancer, and as with almost any kind of business ownership, there may come times when business is slow.  If you experience a down-swing in your freelance business cycle, there are measures you can take to get through it. Below are three activities you can engage in to pay the bills and stave off the pangs until business starts rolling in again, all while staying in touch with your market:

Make Money When Your Freelance Business is Slow1.  Look for employment with temporary staffing agencies that specialize in the field or industry of your copywriting niche.  There are temping opportunities for almost every occupation.  Most companies use temp agencies. This is also a great way to see your niche from the inside, from a different prospective.  There are myriad ways this can help you hone your crafting skills for your niche. You will be privy to valuable experiences that you could never get from research.  And think of all the contacts you stand to make as a result of working in such an environment, perhaps answering phones, making calls, meeting or greeting customers, affiliates and your employer’s colleagues, and attending external office meetings (if any), etc.

2.  Write, market and sell an ebook or 25-page special report to your existing and potential new customers. You’d be amazed how many of your customers would like a DYI manual on certain hot topics that you, their niche expert writer, can help them with.  Of course, you are not going to share all your secrets, just a select few.  Think about it like an informative, easy-to-follow book report about marketing or blogging or Tweeting or Facebooking in their area of expertise.  To promote your ebook or report, you can do some basic marketing: write and publish (at no cost to you on several press release directories); you can launch a Twitter and Facebook campaign if you have business related accounts; you can do a 2-minute youtube intro and lead listeners to the webpage that houses your ebook; you can sell your book on sites like Clickbank or E-junkie, etc. You can also offer other small business a percentage to sell your book on their websites or blogs.

3.  Are small business owners your clients?  Offer to write an e-newsletter for their companies. With sites like Aweber.com, you can very easily set up an e-newsletter for your client’s small business. A newsletter is a valuable tool your clients can use to inexpensively collect real-time, unrestricted feedback from their customers and prospects in order to build profitable relationships.  A newsletter can enhance your client’s reputation, increases lead generation and provides instantaneous trackable results.  In addition, a newsletter presents an opportunity for your clients’ customers to effortlessly interact with them.

Watch this video and get a real feel for the advantages of using sites like Aweber:

 

Send Your First Email Newsletter Today – AWeber Communications

These are just a few of the things freelancers can apply to earn extra money during slow moments. But the best weapon, however, is to regularly market your business, especially during the feast periods.

Happy Writing,
Stacey

Looking to Get Into Copywriting? Here’s Some Advice from Veteran Copywriters

Wise Old OwlA new copywriter visited my linkedin.com Advertising Copywriting  group discussion and asked “What advice would you offer to someone who is looking to get into copywriting . . . ?”  I scoured the lengthy comments and came away with my top 12 responses below:

1. Start writing things: student newspapers, blog posts, anything.

2. If a company you’re applying to work with has a blog, read it and reference it in your cover letter.

3. Listen to the intended audience; listen to a client’s direction; listen to the tone of your writing.

4. In an age of social media, networking helps a lot.

5. Don’t give up.

6. Get to know your own voice or style.

7. The most important thing your portfolio has to do is engage and amuse the screener.

8. If you’re sitting at your desk feeling stupid, stop. That “stupid” feeling is a signal from your core self that you do not have the information you need in order to complete the task.

9. Visualize the person you are writing to.  See them as they go about their busy day, not really interested in what we have to say to them.

10. Pick up a copy of Bob Bly’s “The Copywriter’s Handbook ” — or at least check it out at your local library. It’s perhaps the best one-stop resource for new copywriters I’ve come across.

The Copywriter’s Handbook, Third Edition: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells

 

11. At its core, all marketing is about giving pleasure, reward, satisfaction, and fulfilling desire, or it’s about alleviating pain, or symptoms, or problems, or lack.
12. Get a website, promote your services and start to watch the clients slowly come in.

 

Join Advertising Copywriting on linkedin.com.  It’s a delightfully intelligent and insightful group of helpful professionals.  The above tips are just a glimpse into all that this wonderful group has to offer.

 

Happy Writing,

Stacey

 

P.S.  You can never have too much brilliant and valuable advice.

 

 

 

 

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

I’m a Damn Good Copywriter! Why Do Employers Keep Posting Job Ads Specifically for Digital Writers and Copywriters?

Let me start this post by countering an all-too-common offense taken by traditional copywriters who tend to rise up when they hear terms like “digital copywriting.” Employers who specify “digital writer” or “digital copywriter” in want-ads are not implying that traditional copywriters cannot write for the new media or that writing for the new media requires some magical or secret expertise over which digital writers have dominion. Nor is it a term copywriters created to show that they have a specialized skill. The vocabulary is engendered by technological and social media advances.Digital Writing in a Digital World

Recently, in a copywriting group discussion on linkedin.com, members asked the following questions and follow-up questions (housed in their comments):

Writing for a Different Medium

Question: On a job searching spree, I learned that there is a new term very much in fashion these days, DIGITAL WRITING. How is it different from the rest? Isn’t it just writing for a different medium?

Answer: It is writing for a different medium, but for efficiency purposes, employers want to make sure the writer has a working knowledge of all the other stuff that doesn’t typically come into play in traditional copywriting.

For example:

(a) Traditionally, copywriters write to persuade prospects and customers. In today’s consumer-controlled marketing environment, your text will more than likely have to engage your target audience – an audience that is simply not interested in being sold to. And you need to know how to do this or should I say, how to finesse this, which usually comes from having done it already. Major corporations are still trying to wrap their heads around how to engage their audiences; it’s easier said than done. To me, marketing messages almost have to have a sort of tribal appeal that they did not have to have before. Actually, this seems to be turning into a standard all around;

(b) You need to know what to do to make certain groups of people inclined to share or talk about info/sales/content/contests/events/ coupons, etc. For example, in social media, you run into things, e.g., where certain target audiences have a key influencer, the alpha type person(s) to whom a company may need your text to appeal in order to get the sharing/WOM ball rolling, etc.;

(c) If you don’t understand how “keywording” and other SEO techniques are effectively applied, your knowledge of copy is of less value than a “digital writer’s.” This is very important for a variety of reasons;

(d) Then there’s just the basic stuff, e.g., knowing that “read more” works better in email marketing than “click here” in certain instances or knowing how and where to distribute the words “pay now” on a sales page and knowing what not to put in a subject line to increase an open rate or ways to increase an ads click-through rate . . .

(e) Do you understand how to use metrics to assess performance of campaigns and where to start to improve results or how to exploit promotional structures on a website and drive traffic to ensure a site feels continually updated or how to analyze and document detailed online content with an eye for optimizing user experience?

What about Writing Adaptability?

Question: Isn’t it a matter of decoding the brief and adaptability?

Answer: I think it’s more than that. I don’t know if decoding a traditional brief would give you the appreciation you need of the value of things like social media integration and the direction you need to effectuate that or to offer constructive strategies, e.g., to incorporate online and offline approaches involving an sms text/FB promotion or a Twitter campaign . . . along with all the little annoying things you need to know about the best practices of each of these tools.

Filtering Out Old School Writers

Question: Does it mean that the term is coined to filter out the old school writers?

Answer: It’s coined to filter out copywriters who aren’t aware that the media landscape has been completely transformed and who don’t get that consumers just don’t experience or interact with brands the way they did back in the day, albeit “the day” was only 3-5 years ago. It’s coined to filter out copywriters who are still trying to fight the fact that, good or bad, times have changed, and the copywriter’s landscape is changing.

My take for myself: Even if things are moving at the speed of light, I think it’s my job to keep abreast of and keep up with the trends of my industry and profession, and it behooves me (and my clients) to stay relevant. I don’t always get it right, but it’s nice to get vastly more right than you get wrong, and that only happens when I keep up. But this is what it is, and, well, whether I like it or not, these are the realities of my passion.

Comment: . . . “a great radio or long copy copywriter can rule the digital realm.

Response: Great copywriters already rule the digital realm. And, yes, a great TV or radio writer can write great digital copy. Simply put, I am saying that these employers who ask for digital writers probably specify “digital” because they want someone who can demonstrate that he or she understands the new media, is up to speed and can jump right in WITH all of her or his other writing talents. These employers are not saying you are not a great writer and can’t adapt; I think they just want to be confident that you to have a grasp of the digital environment already. No, it’s not rocket science, but sites like marketingsherpa.com don’t exist for nothing.

IN OTHER WORDS, DIGITAL COPYWRITING IS DIFFERENT IN MANY WAYS FROM TRADITIONAL COPYWRITING.

These are just a few of many, many things copywriters in the digital arena already know and it’s why employers ask for digital writers and digital copywriters as opposed to writers and copywriters. They need to know that you understand the nature and mindset of the digital environment. The same goes for mobile copywriters. Writing for mobile is not merely Internet copywriting. There are different rules when writing for apps, or SMS Text promotions, which you want the writer to have an understanding of coming in.

Yes, conventional copywriters can learn digital copywriting, but it helps the employer (and his client, if any) tremendously if the writer is already aware of all these differences and nuances, and knows how to incorporate all this as they go along, etc., especially for time-sensitive promotions and campaigns.

No one has time for folks to learn this stuff on the job, when you need them to hit the ground running.

Let’s not even talk about what happens when the writer doesn’t even know that he or she needs to know this. And many copywriters don’t.

Traditional Copywriters – If you saw the following job description for a “Digital Writer,” could you jump right in and get started?:

“Need Digital Writer Who Understands Social Media Strategy As Well As SEO”

Primary Responsibilities: Write for search engine optimization; evaluate existing content assets and feeds based on target audience and business objectives and make recommendations for content migration; wireframe content for use in design discussions; provide rationale for all recommendations; ensure content management systems meet publishing and legal requirements (this is especially true with mobile); utilize metrics to assess performance of campaigns and know where to start to improve results; understand how to exploit promotional structures on a website and drive traffic to ensure a site feels continually updated,; analyze and document detailed online content with an eye for optimizing user experience.

No matter how great a copywriter you are, if you are not up to speed in the digital realm, it’s not like learning what text goes on which panel of a brochure. There’s a method to this stuff and even the absolute most talented copywriters in the world don’t learn this osmotically and it’s why employers request “DIGITAL” writers.

They’re not asking you to learn it; they’re asking you to know it.

 

 

 

 

 

FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

 

Copywriting Tips for Writing Ad Copy for E-Commerce Sites

E-commerce - shopping button on keyboardGuest Post by Lisa Forester –

Compelling copy, particularly with product descriptions, will increase your client’s e-commerce conversion rates significantly. When crafting content that will eventually wind up on an e-commerce page or website, your copy should essentially strive to achieve two objectives:

  1. 1. Establish trust; and
  2. 2. Prove to visitors that your product is right for them so that readers to buy whatever it is you’re offering.

Here’s a look at certain elements you should keep in mind when writing ad copy for e-commerce sites:

Know Your Target Audience

Knowing your target audience sets the tone from word one. Your words must immediately resonate with your target audience.  For example, if you’re writing copy for easy-to-use software marketed to a mature target market, less computer-savvy users, the last thing you want to do is use a lot of technical jargon. It’s not what they’re after and they may be likely to bail from your website and find one that does speak their language – laymen terms.

Remember, the language your audience speaks is the language you must write.

Craft Unique Ad Copy

When the copy is unique, it’s not uncommon to see significant increases in website traffic -  30-100%, provided it’s unique for each of your products. Don’t be tempted to use the dull copy provided by the products’ manufacturers.  Your job is to create a unique competitive advantage for your clients. When you craft unique, quality e-commerce ad text you create that advantage for your clients.

One always triumphant and guaranteed unique feature of e-commerce is user-generated content in the form of product reviews.  In addition, it’s a good idea to persuade your client to index their reviews for search.

Show, Don’t Tell

All good writing is about showing your readers what you want them to know. This is particularly effective when writing e-commerce ad copy because readers, shoppers really, want to make their own decisions about their purchases and when they feel like they’re being told what to do, what to buy, which options to select, etc., they may push back.

If you sell cookware packages, simply describing each pot, pan, and skillet won’t work. Shoppers know about Teflon, and non-stick surface, and heat transference. They can also see what you’re offering. What they would be more interested in learning is how customer feedback on your excellent products resulted in the creation of this particular package. How it became important to add one additional sauce pan because customers were letting your company know that food preparation requires more sauce pans than skillets.

This is actually a true statement about cooking and cookware, and your potential customers will appreciate that you’ve responded to your customers’ feedback which resulted in a better cookware package. You showed them the value of your particular cookware offering and they’ll draw their own conclusions about your competitors’ products.

Establish the right verbal character – a balance between being engaging and informative while showcasing your product’s usability, functionality and convenience.

Remember, don’t bore your audience with stuff they already know. Show them the value of your client’s product.

Don’t Over-sell Your E-commerce Products

Today’s consumers are smart, and above all things, they do their homework. Your client’s website might not be the first website they’ve visited, but it’s your job as the copywriter to make sure it’s their last one. Getting your products into their shopping cart is the goal, but unless you’re selling a one-of-a-kind product available only through your website, this can’t happen by being pushy. Flashing constant “buy now” buttons all over the place can get old . . . fast. Overwhelming them with constant pop-ups, for example, is another turnoff for a variety of reasons, the least of which is your potential customer’s ability to sense BS.  Don’t make them suspicious or skeptical.  Provide the information they need, show them the value of your product, explain the advantages, features and benefits, and close the deal.

No one likes the equivalent of the high-pressure salesman.

Presentation 

When writing your e-commerce marketing copy and putting your web pages together, use the following tips:

  • Write short, concise sentences
  • Use bullets and numbers where appropriate
  • Avoid corny marketing clichés
  • Use the active voice and action verbs
  • Limit your use of modifiers
  • Write in simple, easy-to-understand language
  • Don’t use any unnecessary words

Consumers often skim a web page, which means you need them to see, and ultimately read, your words.  Bullets, short sentences, and action verbs will not only draw and hold their attention; they’ll also encourage them to read more of your copy.

Remember, presentation is everything.  Boring your readers with a lot of long sentences, paragraphs or too much content will send them to your client’s competitor.

Professional Writing

Nothing you’ve read above will matter at all if your writing is unprofessional.  If you use poor grammar, over-punctuate, and supply inconsistent copy from page to page, product to product, you’ll lose more potential customers than you can imagine.

Unprofessional writing will show your site visitors—right or wrong—that your client’s products must also be inferior.  After all, they couldn’t be bothered to write professional copy or have it proofread. You’ve given them no level of comfort about your client’s company and their products.

Remember, your ad copy is the window to the company. Write the best professional content possible and potential customers will become customers.

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About the Author:  Lisa of DRIVE NETWORK MARKETING has worked with many e-commerce sites helping to perfect their copy.  She most recently helped Satellite TV revamp their copy for an Internet page.

 

 

 

 

 

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Write and Grow Rich . . . Really

My colleague, Bob Bly, author of 70+ books and the man McGraw-Hill calls “America’s top copywriter,” shows you how quickly and easily you can . . .

“Write and Grow Rich!”

Write and Grow Rich (Pens with Golden Dollar Sign)If you’re thinking about starting a freelance copywriting business now or have started one already, you’re in luck. Bob Bly, in his infinite marketing wisdom, has developed a proven and systematic way for writers to build a successful freelance business . . . just as he and many of our colleagues have done.

You’ll see in a moment Bob Bly’s best-selling writer’s manual Write and Grow Rich is much more than just your run-of-the-mill writer’s guide. It’s brimming with practical methods you can use to quickly and easily start and run your own well-paying freelance writing business.

Bob walks you through establishing your own manageable, lucrative writing practice . . .

Read More

Getting a Copywriting Job in London

Posted By Guest Blogger: Tim Green-

I was told that copywriters need to be creative, have a love of language and be adaptable.  I was all of these things so surely it was a perfect fit. Indeed, having studied journalism and with a love of books and writing, I figured this should be easy. London Underground - Getting a Copywriting Jobs in London

The reality was a little different. Getting a copywriting job was not as easy a task as I had thought it would be.  Most people like to think they are good with words and most are able to speak English.  But a good copywriter requires a host of other talents beyond this: attention to detail, ability to work to tight deadlines, adaptability, good communication — these traits are ones which anyone going into the business must have.

Freelance

I initially pursued the job by doing some freelance work. Luckily I had a few friends in publishing who required corporate articles and advertising briefs for their sports blogs or for online magazines. This was not overly glamorous or well-paid but it did help me to build up a portfolio and make contacts. And the experience was invaluable—writing an advertorial on sportswear one week, a pitch for party planning the next— I was learning all the time.

Recruitment Agency

After I built up a decent portfolio of work I sent my CV to a couple of big London recruitment agencies. It was a tough market to begin with.  While they liked my work, they reminded me that copywriting is a competitive business and places didn’t come up very often. But one day a friend of mine recommended me to a specialist recruitment agency in London.

They had a link to many of the more interesting companies around. Luckily, they liked my portfolio and my determination to find a job in the industry. They also liked that I had shown initiative on my freelance work and the diversity of things I had written about.

Be Persistent

I learnt that it is as hard to find a good copywriter as it is for copywriters to find a good company.  In the end, I was put forward for three interviews.  The second one I went for offered me a job as a trainee.  In the last year I have moved up and now handle a couple of client accounts myself and work on others with more senior colleagues.  It can be very rewarding work, learning about new industries and meeting and liaising with a diversity of interesting people. I’ve worked with fizzy drink companies, telephone makers, banks and fashion agencies. You need to have good writing skills, creativity and work to tight deadlines to succeed. Registering with a good agency is also a pretty good avenue to pursue in my experience. Just remember to be both patient and persistent! It will work out.

 

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Tim Green works as a copywriter at a marketing company in London. He supports http://www.yellowcatrecruitment.co.uk/

 

Tags:  Advertising copywriter, copywriter salary