The HeadlineRealize that you have less than ten seconds to grab the readers’ attention and convince them that it is worth their time to continue reading. Therefore, headlines and first sentences have a disproportionate effect on the success of the copywriting. Make your headlines provocative to make sure you engage the reader.
Before you begin writing the body copy,
determine the primary message or selling points. If you use the primary
message as part of your headline, then dedicate a few lines to expand
that point. Follow it with the selling points in order of importance
using short sentences. Aim to keep all sentences to 12 words or less.
Use words that are simple and easy to understand. Your readers will not
invest in dissecting or studying your copy; instead, they’ll do
something else more engaging. Make it easy for the reader to understand
and follow your copy.
Develop the Message
The Call to Action
Before you can begin writing, you must think through the who, what, and why so you know how to write the copy. The content will always consist of three parts: Who, What, and Why.
- Who means the audience that is targeted by the message. You
may think that anyone (or everyone) is the potential audience for your
product or service, but marketing to an audience that broad is not
feasible. In fact, most businesses derive about 80% of their sales from
about 20% of their customers. Find this group in your own business and
see what characteristics they have in common. Or, study your
competitors, and see whom they are targeting.
If you can’t decide who your customers are, decide who they are not. It may be easier to decide who you do not want to serve than who you do. Remember that a target audience is more than a statement of demographics. Visualize a real person to represent the target audience, and be as specific as you can. To describe a target audience as “working mothers ages 18-45” is a more effective planning tool than the more general “women ages 18-45”. If you can precisely define your target audience, you will be able to write advertising copy that appeals directly to that audience.
- What means the specifics of the product or service being
sold. Begin by spotlighting the features and benefits of the product or
service you are selling. For each feature, develop an accompanying
benefit – this will be used later to develop the appeal to your
audience. For example, if your product is made of durable material
(feature), the benefit is that the product will last longer, need to be
replaced less frequently, and retain its attractive appearance longer.
Benefit statements reflect how the product or service affects the customer’s life. Usually the benefits will make the customer’s life or task easier, faster, or more desirable. Remember that cost and quality are major considerations when describing product benefits. Price + quality = value, a very persuasive benefit that most buyers are seeking.
- Why means the reasons for buying this particular product or
service instead of others. Most products or services are not unique in
the marketplace. To be effective, the copywriting must differentiate
between your product or service and the other products or services the
customer could choose from. Without a discernible and well-stated
difference, the only way customers will have to differentiate is on
A discerning customer will require you to support your benefit claims by providing some kind of evidence. This could be scientific facts, user testimonials, or the endorsement of a trustworthy or qualified individual. Ask your current customers for testimonials. A happy customer is a powerful persuader – nothing you could write will be as genuinely sincere as the praise of a satisfied customer.