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06Dec

Do’s And Don’ts: 30 Copywriting Rules That Can Make or Break Your Business

Do’s And Don’ts: 30 Copywriting Rules That Can Make or Break Your Business

Copywriters are some of the highest-paid writers in the world pocketing at least $44,000 to six figures a year.

  

But, such a pay does not come easy. If you want to make that much money, you have to become a proficient copy expert both in terms of grammar and in writing persuasive content.

  

You also need to invest your time and energy to study the craft in order better yourself and keep pace with all the changes that go on in the field.

   

If you are just starting, the first thing that you should learn are the various copywriting rules that high-paid professional copywriters use and integrate them into you own writing. This way you are certain to reap the rewards of copywriting.

  

Let us discuss some of those rules of thumb in copywriting that will help you launch a lucrative and exciting copywriting career:

  

Copywriting Do’s

  

1. Use Catchy Headlines

The first headline that visitors to your website see is the most important copy you will ever write. According to the advertising tycoon David Ogilvy, more people read the headline of a blog than those who read the body.

  

The fact that more people read headlines that those who read the content of a blog means that headlines are critical to online success.

   

If you don’t pay much attention to your headlines, you should start doing so. The good news is that it is very easy to move from a crappy headline to a catchy or click-optimized headline.

 

A click-optimized headline is one that grabs your customer’s attention and lets them know what benefits they will get after clicking it.

  

Your headline should contain a logical approach and not exaggerated promises and stunts.

  

You stand a better chance of earning conversions if you use powerful words that will connect with your customer’s emotional side.

   

2. Tell Visitors Where To 'Click’

  

If you need your audience to do something for you, you have to ask them to do it. But, the words you use in your hyperlinks are as important as having hyperlinks in your content.  

Marketing Sherpa carried out an experiment with their newsletter readers to find out if the wording used in hyperlinks could make a difference in click through rates.

  

They found out that the right use of anchor texts could improve click through rates by more than 8%. 

  

Their results also showed that:

  • ·"click to continue” improved the click-thru rate by 8.53%
  • ·"continue to article” improved the click-thru rate by 3.3%
  • ·"read more” improved the click-thru rate by -1.8%

   

This clearly shows that you should not only use actionable anchor text but also tell people to take the exact action you want them to perform in order to get the best response. 

   

To further improve your click through rate, you should use persuasive copy and images above the hyperlink to draw the attention of your readers to the link and make them interested in clicking on the link.

  

3. Avoid Using Hyperbole And Exaggeration

Copywriters use very colorful language in order to sell. Such language makes your copy entertaining, encourages your readers to read, and develops a rapport.

  

However, hyping up the benefits of your product could very easily stray into the realm of hyperbole.

  

Hyperbole occurs when you make dramatic but unrealistic claims. No one will believe you when you say that your product "is the best in the world” or  that "It does not get better than that.”

  

Instead of hyperbole, you should play up to the strengths of your product without over-exaggerating them.

  

For example, if you believe that you are good at marketing, mention that and explain why you are the best. You need to back your claims that you do an excellent job at marketing using statistics, customer testimonials, reports, and case studies.

  

4. Keep It Simple

The best writing is simple writing. Always be clear, concise and imagine that you are writing to an 8th grade student.

 

For your communication to be effective, the audience must understand your message. Thus, it is important to know how to write in a manner that will convey your message to your target customer. You will be able to appeal to a broader audience if you make your copy easier to understand.

   

5. Make Use Of Call-To-Action Buttons

A call-to-action (CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your leads, visitors, and customers to take action. The CTA is literally a call to take an action.

  

The kind of action that you want people to take varies from downloading an e-book, getting a coupon, attending an event, or signing up for a webinar. You can use a CTA button on your website, email, e-book or at the end of a blog post.

  

You need to ensure that your CTA does the following:


·It has an eye-catching design – people have to notice the existence of a CTA in order to click on it. The CTA button should contrast with your website design and appear large enough for people to notice it.

  

·It has to push the customer to act – it is not enough to say "Submit.” You need a concise, jargon free phrase with actionable verbs to catch people’s attention.

  

·Your CTA should have a clear value proposition – your CTA button should tell people exactly what will happen when they click on it. Do they expect to download an e-book or a power point template? Let the readers know what they are getting in exchange for their click.

  

Note that CTA buttons encourage people to purchase, click, download, or share which in turn helps you grow your company and reach your brand goals.

  

6. Use Arrows And Buttons To Direct People To Important Texts

  

Clients want to be told what to read and where. Directing your customers allows them to land on the most important content on your website. For instance, you can use arrows and buttons to point at testimonials, an eBook, a product, the order form, or a page of interest to your website.

  

7. Try Using Symbols In Place Of Words

Our eyes normally take in the easiest information first when we scan a page. Your clients will notice vital information faster if you use symbols and letters instead of text.

  

Always make sure that you use symbols and letters to spice things up and make your copy more interesting to read.

Examples of the symbols you can us include, &, $, /, +, #.

  

8. Choose Numerals Instead Of Written Numbers

When used correctly, numerals can attract 10-20% more readers than articles that are written with letters only.

  

Why you should use numerals in copywriting

  • ·They attract readers
  • ·Facts and statistics create authority
  • ·They make for faster reading
  • ·They let readers know what to expect
  • ·Numbered lists make your job easier
   

9. Engage Your Audience

The main purpose of copywriting is to compel the reader to take a desired action. The action might include buying something, following a brand, posting a review, registering for a newsletter or making a comment. You have to engage your audience enough if you want them to act.

 

Identify your buyer’s persona in order to resonate with your audience.

  

Your audience will most likely belong to the following personas:

  • ·Logical
  • ·Impulsive
  • ·Caring
  • ·Aggressive

    

Such information will guide you on how to dictate the tone of your copy, how to present information, and what services you should promote.

  

10. Write ‘Selling’ Descriptions

How enticing are your product descriptions? Do your products call readers to click buy or try?

  

Product descriptions should do more than just describe your product and tell your clients what it does. They need to compel them to click the "buy” button

  

If you want to make your readers click the "buy” button, you need to know exactly who your market target is. You can then use this information to create a comprehensive list of features and benefits that will attract your target audience to buy your products or services.

  

You should also let your reader know about your ‘best value’ or ‘most popular’ products. Finally, mention what is unique or highly desirable in the product or service to your target market.

  

10. Use Superlatives To Sell

Superlatives can sound insincere unless you can show prove that your product is the "easiest”, "best”, or "most advanced”. You have to tell your readers why they should buy from you and not from your competitors.

  

For instance, Amazon explains why the Paper white is the worlds most advanced e-reader:

  

Worlds most advanced e-reader-higher resolution, higher contrast touchscreen with built-in light and 8-week battery life

·Paper white has 62% more pixels for brilliant resolution

·Patented built-in light evenly illuminates the screen to provide the perfect reading experience in all lighting conditions

·Paper white has 25% better contrast for sharp, dark text

·Paper white delivers clear, crisp text and images with no glare even bright sunlight

  

Such a description gives the reader an impression that this is something special. Likewise, if your product is really the best, provide specific proof why that is the case.

  

11. Write Memorable Photo Captions

 

Your photo captions should be short an memorable.

  

Writing a good image caption is more than simply stating what the picture entails because that will leave your readers thinking, "so what?”

  

You need to incorporate a benefit of your product or service in your caption. Pick one benefit that will most likely motivate your customers to buy.

  

In addition, make your caption believable. You should tie in a feature that corresponds with the benefit that you have chosen.

  

12. Use Your Happiest Clients’ Testimonials To Sell

Testimonials prove that you have solved real problems for real customers. In addition, they make a business more credible to potential clients. Powerful testimonials should cover areas like:

  • ·How you helped them overcome their specific problem
  • ·How much profit they generated as a result
  • ·How the final product met their needs
  • ·Whether they were surprised by the service delivery
  • ·How they found the experience with you
  • ·Whether they would recommend you to their friends or colleagues
  

Use high-quality testimonials to replace or support your copy wherever possible.

  

13. Use The Ellipsis To Engage Your Audience ...

If you want your words to engage your audience’s imagination and keep them wanting more, you should start using the ellipsis...

  

An ellipsis is a set of three periods that indicates an omission in a direct quote. It signifies a pause or a sudden transition from one topic to another.

  

The ellipsis is a powerful tool in sales and marketing copy because it draws the reader in. A reader wants to know what comes up next, so they keep reading…

  

Places where you can use an ellipsis:

  • ·In email subject lines
  • ·In headlines
  • ·For transitions
  • ·For dramatic pauses
  • ·For warning
   

14. Boost Your Buttons With "Click Triggers”

Visitors, who do not click, do not convert. "Click triggers” are essentially the extra boost you put around a button to convince more people to click.

  

For example, imagine there is a wall standing between your prospect and a conversion. Your job as a marketer is to get people over that wall.

  

Click triggers will help you knock the bricks down and in turn result to:

  • ·Conversion
  • ·A testimonial, tweet, or review
  • ·A data point
  • ·Star ratings
  • ·Guarantees
  • ·Free or two-way shipping messaging
  • ·Security messaging and/or icons
  • ·Payment-option messaging
  • ·Privacy messaging
  • ·Your value proposition

You should carry out a test to find the right ‘click trigger’ that will work on your copy to boost conversions.

  

15. Research And Scrap All Your First Ideas Before Writing

Research is the most important part of writing good copy. "Write what you know” might sound like smart advice. However, you need to pass as an authority on a topic you spent time reading about.

  

Start with a few online searches around your topic area and identify a list of credible and relevant articles to find any interesting ideas. In addition, save anything that you want to reference and try to track down the original source. You can also consult people who are experts on your subject.

  

Copy Writing Don’ts

   

16. Do Not Focus On Traffic Only

Most people create productsthen go out to look for clients. However, you should first look for clients's needs and then build a product that will satisfy those needs.

  

The main rule here is to write for the 20 to 35% of your traffic that is most likely to convert. Your audience will click through with no problem at all if you give them what they want.

 

Make the product interesting first and the rest will follow through.

  

17. Do Not Imply Anything

Good copywriting includes an element of art. One needs a certain level of wordsmithing to add a flair that will hook and draw the reader’s attention.

 

Messages that convert come from extensive research, iterative testing, and knowledge of successful formulae. Good copywriting entails knowing what works. You need to back up your copy with research and avoid anything that seems implied.

  

18. Do Not Use Meaningless Words To Welcome People To Your Site

‘Welcome to our site’ and similar greetings are nothing more than empty, fluffy, purposeless words. Such words offer zero value to your prospects and fail to engage your audience. Focus on placing content that your visitors care about at the top of your homepage.

  

Why you should not use the ‘Welcome to my page’ phrase

  • ·Its cliché
  • ·It lacks creativity – if I see the words ‘welcome to my website’, I get the feeling that you did not take time to think about your copy and your users' needs.
  • ·It gives the impression that you are a newcomer
  • ·It shows that you are just thinking about yourself   

19. Don’t rely on Testimonials Alone To Sell Your Product

Testimonials are great because they show that some people actually believe in you and your product. However, you should use the testimonial as supportive copy that justifies the benefits that you write in your main copy.

  

Effective copy should do the following:

  • ·Tell the reader you understand their needs
  • ·Tell your prospect why your product is the best solution they can buy
  • ·Explain all the ways the product will benefit the customer
  • ·Present the price in a way that makes it seem like a great deal
  • ·Give a money-back guarantee
  • ·Add bonus products to really motivate the customers to buy
  • ·Make a limited time or quantity offer
  • ·Ask for the sale and tell them what steps to take
  • You need solid headlines and actual product features to sell.

     

20. Do Not Rely Solely On Videos

Videos are extremely productive and can increase your sales leads. In addition, videos let people see who you are and feel more connected to the person behind the computer program.

  

Videos help you stay on point and say what you need to say to sell your product. However, not everyone will spend 2 minutes watching your video.

  

Therefore, make sure you repeat the same powerful messages you use in a video on the page itself. This way you will cater for all your customers.

  

21. Do Not Limit Yourself To A Certain Number Of Words

A long time ago, SEO consultants recommended that every page should have at least 250 words of content. Today, people consider 250 words as thin content. However, no one has an answer as to how many words are required in order to rank high in SERPS.

  

For instance, some people argue that longer posts with over 1,500 words rank better in Google. Others believe that we are in the ‘age of skimming’ and people will not read long articles.

  

What should you do as a copywriter? – Quit wondering what Google wants and focus on your reader. Write useful information that will add value to your reader regardless of the number of words.

  

22. "Lorem Ipsum” Is A Design Killer

The images, copy, video, and other miscellaneous content are the reason why you get visitors and why they stick on your site.

Lorem Ipsum on your site only tells people that your website is not ready to launch.

  

Reasons why you should not use Lorem Ipsum

  • ·It implies that a website is still in development
  • ·It distracts clients from design mock-ups. This leads clients to ask countless questions as to why the site contains unknown foreign language.
   

23. Do Not Assume Knowledge In Direct-Response Copywriting

Assuming too much knowledge in direct-response copywriting is a big mistake. You cannot sell everything to everyone and you need to target your copy.

  

However, you cannot assume that your potential customers know what you do and why they need you to do it for them. Assuming knowledge is like committing copywriting suicide.

  

Clients will not bother clicking on your page if they cannot tell exactly what you do.

  

24. Do Not Exclude Your Target Audience (unintentionally)

Most markets choose to strategically exclude some people by writing to a specific niche. This is because targeting a specific niche will make it easier for you to market yourself and outperform your competition.

  

However, do not exclude people if you do not mean to. You need to recognize how ‘initiated’ your target audience is and write a copy with that level of initiation in mind.

  

25. Do Not Make It Hard For People To Unsubscribe

No matter how brilliant your newsletter is, eventually some of your subscribers will decide to unsubscribe.

  

Therefore, do not make it hard for them to unsubscribe.

   

Hiding the unsubscribe button will not make your prospects want to stay with you more. In fact, you will push them to hit the ‘spam’ button, which is the last thing you want especially if you have a small list of subscribers.

  

All you can do is improve your copy and give your customers a reason to stick around.

  

26. Do Not Try To Sell All Your Products At Once

It is up to you to choose the product you want to sell the most. Then design your experience and write your copy to make that product look most desirable. Always seek perfection from your products to your advertising copy.

  

Determine your lead product by choosing between your most popular product and one that you have received the best user feedback.

  

27. Do Not Focus On Cleverness And Ignore Clarity

Copywriters spend their lives on a tightrope. On one side is a pit of cleverness where clear, relevant messages get distorted by cheap puns and risky humor. On the other side is the land of clarity, where colorful ideas and fun wordplay have no place.

   

Do be safe, always strive to achieve clarity in your copy. A clear copy might not deliver a first-round knockout but they sure will convert eventually. Your visitors need to understand first where they are, what they can do on your site, and why they should stick around.

  

Lack of clarity will lead to loss of credibility and prospects. However, once you have the essential messages in place it is okay to have some fun and let the creative juices flow.

   

28. Don’t Bore Your Readers

In today’s world, you need to write a compelling copy to earn your reader’s attention. Then an even tougher challenge follows that is to keep your readers attention.

  

This is how to engage your readers:

  • ·Write about the reader – write about them by helping them overcome challenges.
  • ·Have fun – everyone enjoys a fun conversation. Lighten up, tell a little story, and ask questions.
  • ·Give your writing rhythm
  • ·Focus on application
  • ·Highlight benefits
  • ·Provide context
  • ·Make it emotional
   

29. Do Not Conceal Your Better Business Bureau Rating And Security Proof

Today, competition to attract potential customers is as high as ever. You want to show your prospects that they can trust your business and that you put your customers first.

  

BBB Accreditation conveys the trustworthiness your business is seeking.

  

Research proves tha the Better Business Bureau (BBB) name and logo means much more than any other organizations name. This is important for prospects looking for reliable, ethical, and trustworthy places to purchase goods and services.

  

You should elevate the visuals so that your visitors can trust you.

  

30. Do Not Think That Copywriting Rules Do Not Change

The rules that might have guided you for the last ten years might all change tomorrow. Therefore, you have to be flexible and always keep reading about new trends on copywriting. Copywriting rules can change due to changes in the markets, products, economies, companies, environments, and contexts.

  

Conclusion

Focus on your limitations when reviewing your copy. Do simple things like including CTA, keeping your copy simple and clear, craft compelling headlines; avoid hyperbole and playing up the benefits rather than the features of your product. This way it is easy to become a standout marketer, copywriter, or online guru in no time at all.

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