The saying “a good ad can get you a million dollars” couldn’t be more accurate, and it highlights just how crucial good copywriting is for any successful marketing campaign. While the medium of television has shifted from being a place of passively consuming content to a medium that encourages users to engage with advertising, the importance of good copywriting has not waned. In fact, in today’s world, online marketing reigns supreme and offline marketing comes in second place. This is why if you’re serious about selling your products or services, you should invest in becoming an expert copywriter.
The Rise Of Online Marketing
This shift in power has led to a rise in online marketing, as users have learned to trust digital advertising over traditional methods of marketing.
In the past, people would go to a billboard, a newspaper, or a magazine to see an advertisement. Now, with the click of a button, they can see the same advertisement on social media channels like Facebook or Instagram.
According to HubSpot Blogs’ analysis of ad agency and marketing firm Global Market Index (GMI) data, 68% of respondents cited quality content as the most important factor for attracting online customers, with 45% citing an attractive design and 35% citing an interesting offer. What’s more, 26% of respondents said their customers trust online reviews as much as they trust advertising, and 22% cited helpful services as the most important factor. In other words, users are likely to trust digital advertisements and are less likely to trust a company’s online reviews or social media posts.
Why Copywriting Is Important
As much as we’d all like to believe that a well-designed website or a pretty photo can lure potential customers into buying our products, the cold hard truth is that good copywriting is still crucial for converting website visitors into paying customers.
While SEO and content strategy are important, nobody wants to read a mind-numbing marketing blog post, so the use of compelling copy to appeal to the reader is still important.
In fact, a 2012 Forrester report stated that while SEO is worthwhile, it’s of less value when compared to traditional methods of marketing, like television commercials or magazine articles. Why? Because users have learned to tune out ads, and the information presented on a website can be hard to discover. As the report points out, “Users are less likely to be persuaded by content when they have a better understanding of the brand and its marketing.”
A good ad will get your foot in the door, but it takes good copy to keep them interested, and to encourage them to make a purchase, or at least try out your product or service.
Why Copywriting Is Hard
In a similar vein, marketing expert and speaker Simon Sogard highlights that while marketing is a relatively easy job, copywriting is difficult. Why? Because good copy demands the understanding of the “psychology of the human brain” and the ability to “read the minds of the people you’re writing for.”
In his book, Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher and William Ury, two MIT professors, identify five “laws of mutuality” that govern successful negotiations. One of those laws is “give and take,” which states that “in negotiating, you should not only be seeking what you want, you should be prepared to give in order to get what you want.”
If you want to write effective copy for marketing campaigns, you need to be prepared to compromise and be guided by the logic of the ‘buyer’s’ brain. This does not mean that you have to write what the customer says they want, but rather that you need to understand what they are looking for and how you can best meet their needs.
Even when writing for a very targeted group of people, like a specific niche market, it’s still important to understand the psychology of your readers. In a blog post for HubSpot, Ryan Leveau, VP of Marketing at Yottaa, a marketing automation platform, highlights how copywriting can help you better understand your customers’ needs:
“Good copywriting is not a gift that some people are born with and others are not. It’s not about talent or luck. It’s about honing your craft and being able to communicate with both wit and sensitivity.
Your customers are the individuals that will be using your products or services, so it’s crucial that you know how to engage with them, understand them, and speak to them in a way that will make them feel valued, understood, and heard. Good copywriting will get you there. And it starts with the way you write yourself. If you’re stuck in a rut, trying to write the same way you always have, you’re going to keep running into the same problems. That’s why it’s important to be both critical and objective about your work, and to challenge yourself to evolve and grow as a copywriter. That way, you’ll be able to take your career and the work you do to the next level.”
In addition to being clear and concise, good copy should include examples of good writing and language that is appropriate for the target audience. If you’re going to write for a special interest group, like young adults or single women, for example, you may want to avoid using words like “guys” and “bros” in your copy. While these words may be acceptable in a playground or fraternity house, they might not sit well with an audience that you’re trying to attract.
Where Do I Start?
As a beginner, it’s important to know where you’re starting from. Depending on how much experience you have, you may want to start with online courses like Copyblogger or HubSpot’s in-house course, Professional Communicator.
Before diving in, take a look at the types of content you’ll need to create: