Copywriting Tips: 10 Tricks to Writing Killer Copy
Compelling, authentic copy drives action and sparks engagement. It conveys emotion and weaves a story. And in this post, I’m sharing my top 10 copywriting tips I use to craft killer copy.
Copywriting is one of the most important tools your business can have. But you don’t have to be an English wiz or marketing guru to craft your own lead-generating copy. As long as you follow these copywriting tips, you can build your own DIY copy that gets you results.
1) Know Your Audience When Crafting Your Copy
Your ICA (ideal customer avatar) is everything for your business. Finding your target audience will make the difference between high conversions and passive scrollers. However, if you have absolutely no idea who your ICA is or how to find them, check out this podcast episode from Amy Porterfield.
Your copy should reflect the personality, desires, and needs of your audience. If your copy is geared towards female entrepreneurs, you’ll adopt a soft and conversational tone. In contrast, if your target audience is surgeons with multiple degrees, you’ll shift your tone to reflect a more intellectual and fact-based language.
In essence, your ideal customer determines how your copy is crafted.
Here are some helpful tips I use regularly to find my ICA or a client’s target audience.
Instagram: Social media is every copywriter’s secret weapon. And Instagram is one of my favourite tools for researching my target audience. These are some of the questions you want to ask yourself as your dive deep into Instagram:
- How is your audience communicating to their peers and followers?
- What is their tone like?
- What type of captions and imagery do they resonate with?
- How old are they?
- Are they typically female or male?
- What are their hobbies?
- Have they mentioned certain struggles? What are they?
- Where do they vacation? What are their favourite restaurants?
- Are they married? Do they have children?
Instagram can tell you so much about your ideal customer. Seriously, it’s almost creepy. But, as a marketer, it has unparalleled value. And, better yet, it’s completely free. All it takes is a bit of time and an eye for detail.
Reviews: customer reviews are another gold mine for copywriters. Look through the reviews of your company and your competition. And pay close attention to these trends:
- What do they like about your’s or your competitors’ services/products?
- What didn’t they like?
- Were they especially impressed by something?
- Why did they like/dislike the product/service?
For reviews, Amazon will become your new best friend. Look up similar products and read through the excellent reviews, the terrible reviews, and the reviews that land somewhere in between.
Pinterest: Browsing through your ideal customer’s Pinterest boards is another great way to perform your market research. Here’s a few things to pay attention to:
- What type of blog posts are they reading?
- Are there certain foods or recipes they like?
- Do they have other interests? Can you find a similarity in vacation spots or fashion choices? Whatever it is, find the commonalities.
And, to dive a bit deeper, investigate who your ideal customer is following on Pinterest and note any similarities. For instance, if your ICA is fashion-lover, you can weave this commonality into your copy, especially if there’s a certain brand they love.
For each new client we on-board, one of the first questions we ask is if they have an ICA profile. And 90% of the time the answer is “huh?” So, our first project (before we start ANY design or writing) is to find their target audience.
Once you build your ICA and once you know your target audience, you can speak to them directly. Above all, this process is one of the most important copywriting tips in this guide. So make sure you start here!
2) Tell A Story in Your Copywriting
People make purchases based on how they feel. We, as a collective race, are extremely emotional. And each action we take and each decision we choose is based on an emotional response.
When you weave a story, you appeal to your audience’s emotions. If you look at the copy on the homepage of our main website, you’ll notice a few things:
- We speak to our ideal client’s desire: “You’ve grown your business from the ground up. You’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into it. And your business deserves a stunning, on-brand website that generates leads and sparks action.”
- We connect with their journey: “We know how much time and energy it takes to grow and maintain a business. We’ve walked in your shoes — through all those messy bits and through all those glorious wins. And, because of this shared journey, we are 100% committed to your success. Because we don’t just build websites; we build dreams.”
- We highlight their dream: “If you dream of having your own team, but can’t scrounge together the resources to make that possible, you’re in the right place. Because, my friend, we’re your creative team. But we come without the stress and financial drain of hiring your own employees. And we handle all those time-consuming tasks so you can focus on what’s important. We are fully invested in helping you grow and scale your business. Because we believe that every dream is within reach.”
Whenever possible, tell a story and appeal to an emotion. It will make the difference between a casual scroller to a committed customer.
3) Keep It Simple & Make Clarity Your Top Priority
Have you ever landed on a site with mile-long paragraphs and column after column of text? And did you actually read all those words? If you answered “no,” you can join the other 99% of the world’s population.
The vast majority of your website visitors will scan your site. They won’t read each and every word. And they certainly won’t sift through line after line of text.
So to write effective copy, you must appeal to the scrollers with copy that’s simple, clear, and concise. Here are some tips:
- Use headings to highlight the most important elements
- Design icon boxes to draw attention to benefits
- Create bulleted lists
- Keep your paragraphs short
- Unless it’s the vibe of your audience, don’t use complex language
- Use short sentences
In addition to these copywriting tips, always keep your messaging clear.
Your visitors should know EXACTLY what you offer, why you offer it, and who you offer it to. And they should never have to guess or assume.
If you want a quick example, navigate to our home page. The first words you see paints a picture, while our tagline tells the full story. As you scroll down, we tell our visitors the exact services we offer, why we offer them, who we offer them to, and why they should book our services.
Here’s a practice you can do to create clear copy:
- Make a list of all of the features you offer. This could be based on services or products
- Then make a list of all the benefits you offer within each feature
- Then make yet another list on why these features and benefits can serve your customer and provide a solution to their problem
Once you have a clear picture of what you offer, you can turn your ‘meh’ phrases into kickass, action-inspiring copy.
4) Make Your Brand Message Clear and Consistent
Your business is only as strong as your brand. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in; your commitment to branding will determine your success.
Before you start writing ANY copy, get super clear on your message. Below, I’ve provided three areas you need to address:
- Why you do what you do (your mission)
- Who you are and what makes you the prefered choice (the face behind the brand and your expertise)
- Who you serve (think back to your ICA)
Once you can clearly and confidently determine these three areas, you’ll build your copy off your brand message. And you’ll keep it consistent. Your audience have a similar experience when they visit your Instagram feed, to when they land on your website, to when they view your videos.
In addition to your messaging and copy, consider adopting a strict brand palette. For more info, see this past post on creating your very own brand color scheme.
Another practice is to write out your purpose. Why are you offering this service or product? And dig deep. Figure out your exact why and write it down. Also, keep it close by and refer back to it while you craft your copy.
I do this practice with many of my clients, and it ensures that your purpose is interwoven into your messaging.
5) Know Your Numbers and Adjust Your Copy
The only way you’ll know — for certain! — that your copy is performing at its best is to test it. So study your data and see what is working and you need to change.
In your Facebook Ads, create different ad headlines and supporting copy. See which variation is performing best and adopt that tone, language, and style.
Similarly, in your PPC campaigns, see how many clicks your ad is getting in relation to the amount of impressions. And, from there, see how strong your retention rate is.
This is especially important if you’re still figuring out who your audience is and how to speak to them. Once you test different variations and narrow it down, you can grow your copy skills from there.
We constantly complete copy audits of our website, marketing campaigns, landing pages, and — honestly — anything that has copy on it.
- Look for how long visitors stayed on our page and their scroll depth
- Perform attention maps
- Monitor how many times people took some kind of action
Overall, these numbers indicate how well your copy is performing and whether your ICA is resonating with your words. So take the time to go through them on a regular basis.
6) Focus on the Benefits
Your business has a unique set of benefits. Whether your product or service-based, your biz is a solution to someone’s problem.
Return to the list of benefits you made and include those benefits clearly on your website, while also weaving it into your messaging and copy.
And make sure you’re informative and direct. When visitors scroll through your site, they should know the exact benefits you offer.
For an example, take another quick look at our main homepage:
- Affordable: We’re priced to fit within your budget, so you’ll have more money to invest in spreading your message.
- Efficient: Our turnover rate is faster than hiring individual experts, meaning your project gets launched sooner
- Experienced: With our years of combined education and industry-experience, we offer quality services. Every time.
For better results, use icon boxes with supporting copy. This type of design keeps the flow of information appealing, while also providing visual cues. For another example of using icon boxes in your copywriting, see our one of clients websites. And notice how we layout the benefits in one of the very first elements.
7) Create an Incredibly Strong CTA
Your visitors will only take action if you tell them what that action is. They won’t guess, and they won’t assume. So make sure you’re VERY clear on what your call to action.
To discover your CTA, consider your primary action. What is the overall action you want your visitors to take? Is it to:
- Fill out a contact form?
- Make a purchase?
- Leave an email address?
- Download a catalog?
Once you have your primary action, make sure your CTA is clearly displayed above the fold and at the end of your page. Also, don’t overload your page with buttons. Online users are easily distracted, and you don’t want to pull them away from your primary action.
If you look at our main homepage, you’ll notice we have 1 primary action and 2 supporting actions:
- Sign up for our newsletter
Your CTA is one of the strongest elements on your website or landing page. So make sure it’s strong!
8) Stop the Comparison Game
There’s a lot of noise out there.
And it’s easy to play the comparison game. But stop obsessing over what that influencer is saying (unless, of course, it’s a healthy study of their language and tone for your research). Stop comparing yourself to that other blogger. And stop shifting your voice to match that of a ‘more experienced’ copywriter’s.
Keep your voice authentic. As your writing skills grow, you’ll notice a style evolve. And stick with it while pairing it with your research. Each and every writer has a distinct style. While they can manipulate their tone, trails of their style remain.
Our copy appeals to female, purpose-driven entrepreneurs. Your copy may appeal to fact-based therapists. Another copywriter’s style may appeal to male clothing brands.
Remember, the more you niche your brand down, the farther you’ll grow.
*** Just as a side note, I also have extensive experience writing copy for the construction industry. But that was only accomplished through hours of research and trial-based data. If you want to work as a copywriter, you’ll likely find yourself in a few different industries. But you won’t be able to write for everyone. So find your niche, become an expert there, and target those prospects.
And, most important, be confident in your voice.
9) Research is EVERYTHING
If you want to become a copywriter but you hate research, this job is not for you, my friend. Because research is a crucial component of crafting action-inspiring copy. Without research and data, you’re just putting words on a screen.
You could be the most poised writer. But without copious research, your copy WILL fall flat.
If you want to create DIY copy for your site, start with research. Find your ICA. Discover their language. Explore their desires. And investigate your competitors. Only once you have a solid foundation can you create compelling copy.
When I take on a new client — even if they’re in my industry — I complete hours of research BEFORE I write a single line of copy. I get to know their ICA as if they were a new friend. And I study the pain-points of their target audience.
If you hire out a copywriter, always ask what their research process looks like. If they say “I don’t have one,” politely run far away. And don’t look back.
10) Create a Framework or Process
Systems foster success. And your copywriting process is no different.
Here’s what our process looks like:
- Consultation & on-boarding with client: discover their purpose, investigate the personality behind their brand, and ask my signature copy questions
- Identity the ‘who’, ‘what’, and ‘why’
- Build an ICA: research, research, and research
- Craft mission statement (build headline and tagline) and CTA
- Create design and build UX framework (highlight features, benefits, and mission)
- Create copy based on ICA profile, supporting research, and mission statement
- Review & feedback
For full branding packages, I also include a Brand Book, which includes a color palette, font collection, and image aesthetic. From these elements, I’ll create a custom design.
If you know for certain that copywriting just isn’t your thing, you’re in the right place. Hiring a seasoned expert ensures you receive a quality service that (1) gets results and (2) gives you the time to focus on your unique skills. Remember, a business can only grow if the boss babe grows with it.
If you know it’s time to hire a copywriter to save your word woes, then head on over to our contact page and fill out a quick form. We’ll schedule you in for a free Zoom call. And, afterwards, if you don’t think lead-generating copy is for you, there’s no obligation to book a service.
Because we’re all about serving our community.
If you want to dive a bit deeper into copywriting, here are some helpful resources:
Have any lingering questions? Comment below! ⬇️