by Clare Kirlin
For people who hate writing, marketing can really suck.
Emails. Websites. Facebook updates. Photo captions. They all require you to put at least a few words on a page.
But what if you just despise writing? What if it scares you? What if you think you’re bad at it?
These five copywriting hacks are specifically designed for non-writers to take their marketing up a level. Each hack takes between one and 10 minutes to complete. Plus, they’re fun! Using even one of these copywriting hacks will help you overcome your hatred of the written word and boost your content quality for more effective marketing.
1. Subject-line swipe: Get people to read your emails
Ever get an email that you just couldn’t resist opening? It’s because someone wrote a killer subject line that grabbed your attention.
Right now, take 60 seconds to create an email folder called “AWESOME SUBJECT LINES.” Every time you see one of those eye-catching messages, save it to the folder.
Next time you’re short on creativity, open that folder and scan the subject lines. You’ll be amazed by the inspiration you can draw.
2. Perspective scoring: Create webpages that engage your audience
Customers will run away when you talk too much about yourself, but they love when you talk about them.
Try this test: Open your website and select a page. First, tally up first-person language. That’s the “me-focused” stuff: Our business is awesome, we are rock stars, everyone loves us. Got it? Second, tally up second-person language. That’s when you talk to the customer: You face critical challenges, your business could enjoy these benefits, you matter.
If the second-person tally is higher than the first-person, congratulations! You’re probably speaking your customers’ language. Make sure that’s true for every page on your site. If not, rewrite your copy to flip the ratio. Your customers will thank you.
3. CTA focus exercise: Write copy that inspires action
Above all, marketing copy must convert.
Before you create another asset, ask yourself: What’s the one thing I want my reader to do as a result of consuming this? Each asset should have only one primary call-to-action (CTA). Focus on the primary CTA and cut the rest. Too many CTAs will confuse your audience and hurts conversion rates.
For example: If you want readers to click a button to download your e-book, forget trying to make them call a rep. Instead, talk about the value they’ll get from your e-book. If you’re offering a free trial, don’t try to sell them on a 12-month contract; summarize the benefits of the trial.
Focused CTAs can send conversion rates skyrocketing.
4. The kidspeak test: Perfect your business pitch
Got kids? Know some? Try this fun experiment.
Explain to the kid(s) what your business does. Be sure to outline what you offer, how it’s different, and who should buy it (also known as your unique selling proposition). Then ask them to explain it back to you in their own words.
If they can’t, then it’s time to refine your pitch down to the simplest terms possible—the ones that even a child can understand. Once you’ve perfected your pitch, check to be sure that you’re writing about with the same crystal clarity everywhere you describe what your business does.
5. Natural language recording: Write in a human voice
The most effective writing sounds just like your natural spoken words. For this hack, you’ll need an audio recording program like your smartphone video camera.
Think of the most common questions your prospects ask, like “Why should I buy from you?” Forget trying to sound like an expert, a robot, or professional copywriter. Just hit record and freely state exactly what you would say if you were having a face-to-face conversation. Example: Why should you buy from me? You’ll be totally satisfied. I’m professional, honest, and local with five-star online reviews. I’ll give you more personal service than the competition...
Type out exactly what you just said.
BONUS: Go back to hack No. 2 and ensure that your statements speak to the customer.
You’ll have to play with length depending on the content you’re writing (an ad, an email, a landing page), but your customers will appreciate the authenticity.
Remember, nobody is born knowing how to write and you don’t have to love it. Even top-notch professionals get their work ripped to shreds by editors. But, your marketing will be more effective if you improve on it. With these five copywriting hacks, it won’t feel like torture.
Clare is the Associate Copy Director at Keap, where she works to craft meaningful messaging for a worldwide audience of small business superheroes. Her 10-year marketing career has deep roots in content strategy, with an emphasis on B2B technology. Outside the office, Clare can usually be found indulging her passion for language as a creative writer, prolific reader, and inexorable chatterbox. She is a proud parent of one daughter and self-nominated captain of Team Oxford Comma. Connect with Clare on Twitter @clarekirlin.