Copywriting and Your Website
What exactly is copywriting? It’s copying someone else’s writing right?
Website Copywriting is actually the art of using words, images, video and audio to persuade someone to take some sort of action. That action as it relates to websites really revolves around three key drivers, to share your content on social media or with friends (growing your traffic). To turn web traffic into subscribers of your website (growing your prospects) and/or to persuade people to buy your products or products you recommend (growing your bottom line).
Otherwise, use this tutorial to learn actionable tactics for your online content today.
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- Design and Copywriting
- Headlines are Important (extremely important)
- What Makes Content Go Viral?
- Crafting Landing Pages & Sales Pages for Your Products and Services
- English Grammar Mistakes You Still Make
Copywriting is all around you.
Did you know that Land Rover in an effort to connect the “off-roading” lifestyle with its target audience gave away an edible survival guide (see the picture above)? The pages are made out of edible paper and ink, the binder can be used as a skewer for food and the book is reflective (so you can signal planes and helicopters when you’re in distress.
Copywriting. It’s in the slogans you hear on the radio, it’s in the sales pages you find online, its the words and one liners you get from TV:
- You’re in good hands with Allstate – Allstate
- I’m lovin it -McDonalds
- What’s in your wallet? – Capitol One
Copywriting is in the offers you see around you:
- Buy one get one free
- Kids eat free on Tuesday
- NO ATM fees
- Delivered in 30 minutes or less or it’s free
Copywriting is part art and part skill which makes copywriters some of the highest paid writers in the world apart from professional, well known, best selling authors.
There are plenty of paid options that exist to help you become a better copywriter too, and if you’re serious about learning how to write effectively you should invest in yourself as to become truly proficient at anything takes a substantial amount of time, energy and effort to learn. A course on copywriting teaches you the essentials and more which makes it a great start to teach you what you need to know in a very short time.
Design and Copywriting
With building your own website the areas you will want to excel at are web design (or at least developing an “eye for design”) and copywriting. These two skills go hand in hand with one another because after you set up your website you’re going to be spending the majority of your time writing, publishing content and designing your website. So it’s very smart to learn how to write effective copy that has a purpose whilst also understanding how best to design your website to enhance your copy.
If courses are not a good fit for you right now it’s not a bad idea to pick up some books on copywriting over at Amazon. In addition to Amazon, take an hour or two and go through this free tutorial which will help get you up to date with the concepts of copywriting, how they apply to your website, human psychology, and actionable things you can do (and not do!) to improve your current website or a website you’re planning on build.
CONTENT CREATION FOR WEBSITES AND BLOGGERS
Below is a summary of each with a link to the specific content on copywriting. Off to the side is a menu box with links to each of the mentioned sections. After going through each page you will have a fundamental understanding of copywriting, specifically: how to write headlines for people and for search engines, how to design your website for your copy, a rough idea of how to make a good landing page and sales page, how to demonstrate proof, and how to make products people want to buy by answering each objection they have to purchasing.
How Design Should Enhance Copy
Good design is a form of good copywriting because a well designed website converts it’s ideal user at a better rate than a poorly thought out website. Designers and armature webmasters often neglect the importance of good design as it matters to copywriting. This chapter will discuss why copywriting is important, why design is important, and how to blend the two together to help you achieve your online goals: Copywriting for the Web.
Headlines are Important (extremely important)
Your headlines are the most important aspect of your published online work. They are the first impression and perhaps only impression you get to give to random traffic as a way to convert them into readers, subscribers, and customers. Get lazy on your headlines, and you will quickly wonder why no one is reading what you wrote: Headlines – Why “It’s My Blogs Birthday” is a Stupid Title.
What makes content go viral?
What makes content addictive? What makes content go viral? What is the underlying structure to this content and how can you use this structure when crafting your content? Read The Structure of Compelling Content to find out.
What are Landing Pages and Sales Pages?
How exactly do you make a landing page or sales page for your product or service… and no a landing page is not simply a WordPress page with a “buy now” button on it. Learn tactics copywriters and webmasters use to build high converting, high quality, non-sketchy landing pages and sales pages: What is a Landing Page?
You’re going to make mistakes with your published content. It’s not the end of the world, but I decided to create a piece of content that demonstrates some of the most common English grammar mistakes online so you can do your best to minimize turning off new readers with egregious mistakes. Read: Common English Grammar Mistakes.
Content-Marketing For Newbies
Remember that old Taco Bell commercial? The one with the chiuaua who would say that cute, clever little catch phrase “yo quiero Taco Bell?”
This was some awesome creative advertising. Perfect for raising brand awareness. It was catchy, unique, and totally different from what other fast food commercials were doing at that time. The problem?
It did not drive sales of tacos at Taco Bell.
(It actually hurt sales because nothing says quality food like a talking dog!)
You get all this attention for yourself but whats the point? What is the value of creating brand awareness and not making any sales? What is the value of learning how to to market your product but then not being able to close the deal? In website terms, what’s the point of driving traffic to a landing page, and not converting that traffic into sales? It’s all in vain.
The wrong target audience
Taco Bells’ marketing, while catchy and clever, was off base because nothing is less appealing than a dog trying to sell food. NOW, if the target audience was for people wanting to buy say, dog food then it might have had better results in terms of sales.
Their current approach with the idea of a late night “fourth meal” is much better because it’s focused on benefits and value for you the consumer… instead of just stealing your attention with a dog.
AXE Body Spray
Why do teenage boys spray this stuff on themselves to no end? Because teenage girls love the way it smells. Also, the advertising is marketed perfectly at young men. Instead of taking the angle that it helps you sweat less and smell better, Axe goes after a direct benefit of using their product…to get cute girls who want to have sex with you. Nothing more appealing to an 19 year old guy than that.
…the freshmaker. Stupid, I know. But those old commercials of eating a Mentos and magically coming up with a clever idea to solve some difficult problem you found yourself in while some antagonist looks on is extremely memorable. You don’t remember any of the actors, they don’t rely on celebrities to push their product. Instead, they make the candy seem fun (and the commercials are memorable).
So next time you’re going to do an impulse buy for mints, Mentos will pop up in your head as the front runner. Even that jingle… something you can not forget.
Marketing your product or website the right way
There are some clear lessons we can take away for our own websites and products despite not having a million dollar marketing budget. They’re well known, but they do need repeating and repeating when writing content for your website or writing copy for an online product:
WHO is your avatar, your right person, the ideal person who would buy your product. E.g. who does Taco Bells 4th meal appeal too? A 35 year old woman with kids…no.
WHAT is it specifically that your product does to solve the pains and difficulties of your right person. E.g. What pain is AXE body spray solving for boys? It’s not being sweaty or smelly.
WHERE do they hang out online and how can you reach them? How does Mentos jingle reach their consumer? Hint, it’s while standing at the cash register (doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-do-whaaa)
WHEN is it time to change your methodology, your approach to what it is you’re doing if you’re not producing results? “Yo quiero Taco Bell” did not work, should it have been ended sooner?
WHY do people need your product? Why are they better off using your service than not. E.g. why do you buy these products?
How To Market Your Product – What you need to do next
Websites are not the end all and be all towards selling your products online. If you build it they will not come. You know this.
You need promotional methods when you’re learning how to market your product, but ANY tactic or strategy will be in vain if you do not intrinsically understand why a person should select you in a crowded market with other options.
For bloggers this is often a lack of NOT having an offer at all (something to sell for example), for websites with products it’s not tying the benefits properly to your “right” person and focusing too much on features and not the benefits the product provides.
- Fullness from cheap tasty food – Taco Bell
- Getting girls – Axe
- Being fun and clever – Mentos.
Webmasters make this mistake that web traffic will just “get” what their website is about and just naturally”understand” the level of value the webmaster is able to provide.
But value is communicated through words, action and your products. If you have no product to sell, no action you wish your traffic to take you’re not communicating value.
Communicate value. This could be in the form of a product that’s marketed with the right words or it could simply be an offer to subscribe (using language like “over 6,543 people can’t be wrong”).
To learn how to market your product online you need traffic. But more importantly, you need that traffic to convert. You can do this.
..otherwise, what’s the point?
How The Use of Scarcity Leads To Buying
A decade ago my best friend and I were at one of those sketchy “free” seminars for a real estate product we saw on TV…
It was run by this scam marketer named Russ Whitney. He belongs in jail as far as I’m concerned. We were teenagers and forked over a couple hundred dollars for a course on how to get started building a real estate empire…or at least a reliable side income.
This product was the opposite of all product and no pitch, as mentioned earlier, it was ALL pitch and no product. The videos kept telling use that they were going to teach us how to do the thing we paid to learn how to do, that is, buy and sell property… but then they never got around to teaching that!
They just kept selling on the benefits of learning how to buy and sell property.
4 hours worth of videos that just kept saying “we’re going to show you how to do XY and Z” and never actually teaching XY and Z.
Since we bought the product we had access to another free seminar, only for people who bought the product. We decided this would be our chance to get them back a little or perhaps get a refund.
This second seminar is part of what is called a “sales funnel” and even I as a teenager even was smart enough to know that this was all one big scam fest after being ripped off the first time around (fool me once shame on you).
In this new seminar the goal was to sell you on a higher price coaching product (at around a couple thousand dollars).
It was brilliant marketing, but I spoiled the fun…
Is it true that your company is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, that Russ Whitney is convicted felon, and that you’re being sue by multiple attorney generals in different states for fraudulent claims?
read more here
They probably were not expecting this from some kid. Needless to say I was rushed out of the seminar to have a chat with a lawyer who would be happy to answer my questions. I wasn’t interested. We packed up and headed home. Out a couple hundred dollars, but with a small level of revenge satisfied for being ripped off.
Why did we buy this product to begin with? The infomercials we’re great at hitting on the triggers of their “right people”. That is, people who wanted to become rich, or at the very least substantially wealthy by using some sort of life hack to obtain wealth they could not obtain otherwise from working ordinary jobs or by building an actual business.
Then they used scarcity to make you want to attend the free seminar while watching TV:
“Time is running out people! You need to sign up or your seat might be taken. Once this infomercial is over we’re not taking anymore sign-ups”.
You felt like your chance at wealth potentially slipping away.
Pro tip: My friends’ dad said this and it something that stays with me:
The circus comes back around. Don’t you worry, if they want your money they can wait.
When we got to this free seminar advertised on TV they talked a lot about the financial success the speaker had using Russ’s system. At the end they employed the scarcity tactic again:
“For the first 10 people who purchase, we’re giving away a discount of 20% off the full price”.
People were literally running to the back of the room to sign up..idiots.
This little seminar is what got me deeply interested in marketing, psychological triggers, and copywriting. Through my time working online, one thing holds true.
Scarcity is the MOST powerful trigger to get people to do something NOW
- It’s quick and easy to apply to any offer or product you already have
- It works in any and every market.
Scarcity is a classic trigger to get people to buy what your selling. It should not however, be used to sell crappy products and services. Instead, it should be used to:
- Reward people for taking action
- Get people who are on the proverbial fence, to make a decision.
How can you use scarcity to increase email opt-ins, increase product sales and double or triple your income?
Having a product there are a few strategies you can take. For example, the 3 price point strategy makes the middle product seem like the best deal and it turns bargain buyers into value purchasers.
You can give a free trial of your product.
Offer coupon codes or sales.
Get people to sign-up for an email list by giving away something then gently sell the benefits of your product.
Lastly, you can use scarcity, which is the strategy of limiting access to something based on a time frame to take action or by only allowing a limited number of people to sign-up. Like a product discount, or even the ability to purchase the product itself.
Market Samurai uses scarcity to build a multi-million dollar business
The guys over at Market Samurai (a professional level SEO and keyword research/competition tool) make use of all the classic marketing strategies to help sell their products and services.
From high converting sales pages, copywriting, and video. All these elements help convey what the product is and why you would want it and how it will help you achieve your online income goals by taking the pain out of market research and website promotion. The biggest element they employ however is scarcity, and a free trial.
They use scarcity in this creative way.
You can right now download your very own copy of Market Samurai and use it risk free. However, if purchase a license within the first 7 days you get $50 off the full purchase price. After the first 7 days the prices goes back up to $147 (and there is no way to reverse this).
They honor the price increase, and this is critical because without doing so the “scarcity” tactic would simply be just that. An artificial ploy to get you to do something. When you use scarcity, follow through.
Scarcity in this way is not used to sell a crappy product; instead it’s used to reward people for taking action and becomes a win-win for all involved by Market Samurai making a sale and the end user getting an awesome deal.
How scarcity works for websites and information products
Landing page to collect emails >>
Email person who signed up. Direct them to a >>
Content page that also allows them to purchase. If they don’t purchase >>
Email that person again but this time offer a discount and send them to a >>
Sales page >>
Person either buys or offer expires.
This creates a scarcity based sales funnel that works 24/7 for every single person that signs up to your email list.
This funnel will typically out perform a non-scarcity based funnel because scarcity is a trigger to get you to do something. If you’re highly targeted at the offer, scarcity is usually that final push to make you decide: yes or no.
WOOT.com is another fun example. They changed their model over the years due to their success, but the originally started out offering ONE product on sale ONCE per day. Your choice was to either buy it today or not buy it at all. This is an excellent form of scarcity and content marketing because it’s not done in an overtly arm twisting way.
Now for your website, normally you would need a team of coders to create a custom platform for you in order to add this scarcity function to a website. That is:
- Be able to create a time sensitive offer that really does expire when it says it’s going to expire.
- Have a time limit and be able to SHOW that time limit, (and not have it restart if the visitor simply refreshes the page).
- When the offer does expire, the visitor can not simply hit the “back” button on their web browser.
If you’re a WordPress user, you’re in luck as the team over at Market Samurai is underway putting the final touches on their new product called Scarcity Samurai. It adds all the functionality you would want in order to create a time sensitive scarcity offer without needing a team of coders to custom build this for your website.
This product is currently in BETA however, so it’s not available anywhere for sale, but this page will be updated as appropriate when it’s released.
Curious of more ways to leverage scarcity?
A scarcity based sales funnel is but one way to leverage scarcity. You can also use things like:
Closing down sales
Closing down sales online are when you cut off access to a product, membership site, or service for a long period of time or forever. By long time you should close down your offer for at least 3 months, otherwise people won’t believe you when you run a closing down sale again. Not to mention you will leave a bad impression with people who followed through on your offer.
Pro tip: Another clever strategy I’ve seen with closing down sales is to use the scarcity tactic again by “re-opening” your offer again for one day only or two days only because the demand was so “high”.
Early Bird specials
When you launch a new product reward people who take action first by giving away a big discount to your first customers. This is a win-win because you make sales, get feedback on how to make the product better, and people get a good deal.
Did you know that GMail was invitation only at first? This caused people to demand access to the GMail and invitation request from their friends because they felt like they’re getting in on something special and difficult to find.
The best way to do this for your website for example is if you have an email list and a new product coming out and you want ALPHA or BETA testers. Use the scarcity model, invite only 1/10th of your list to join and then from that 1/10th only accept those who sign-up within the given time frame.
What to do next
USE scarcity in your online business. Even if you don’t have a website or a product yet, think of creative ways to leverage scarcity in your marketing when you finally do have a product. It works when done right. It’s not mean’t to trigger people to buy crappy products, it’s supposed to reward people for taking action and to get people who are undecided to make a decision on way or another.
Content creation in combination with copywriting is a skill, a very valuable skill. If you can master content marketing, copywriting and content creation you have the ability to sell products and services.
Because, that’s the whole point of all this. You and your product or service trying to find potential buyers. Most people never learn CEO skills, that is, the actual work of marketing and selling a product or service. Most people learn how to be cogs in the machine someone else built – like an analyst or an accountant.
If you’re goal is to make money with your blog or website, learning how to sell, how to write and how to market through content marketing, content creation and copywriting is a long term skill that will serve you well in multiple domains.
- Design and Copywriting
- Headlines are Important
- Why Content Goes Viral
- Crafting Landing Pages & Sales Pages
- English Grammar Mistakes You Still Make
Anything I miss? Would you like add your own content creation or content marketing tips? Let me know!