Writing is not about conjuring winning copy that impresses your 12th grade English teacher, it’s about combining a functional group of words that your reader can connect with and compels them to take action.
Whether you’re in marketing writing ad-copy for Facebook or Linkedin, or in Customer Success and constructing emails to clients writing good copy is part of our lives, from that first text message to our friends about that movie on Saturday to selling million dollar software to customers.
That’s why you should worry about what you’re writing and the message
7 Tips to Creating Great, Customer-Friendly Copy
Talking About Yourself, Not the Reader
When you meet a new person it’s considered polite to not talk about yourself the whole time, ask this new person questions, get to know them. Don’t drone on about how great you are and what makes you special (unless they ask of course).
In the same way, when you create copy for your customers talk about them not you. They don’t care how long you’ve been in business (unless that actually matters), saying “We value each and every customer.” means almost nothing
Talk about them, not you.
You’re not perfect, and neither is your copy. At least maybe not that one version of it.
Test variations of your copy, in the same way that you would do A/B testing for a landing page using a tool like Unbounce, you want to change the copy too.
Get off your high-horse, test variations, ask for input and remember you’re talking to other humans.
Dry Copy aka ‘Business Speak’
I could rant for hours on this, it happens a lot, especially in B2B. Using complex sentences and big words may make you sound smart, but you’re actually being incredibly in-effective at communicating. And you might just be putting off your reader by making them feel dumb.
Communicate the benefits of your product clearly, using as few words as possible, without the use of niche vocabulary. When your reader has to pause and think about what you’re saying they stop listening or paying attention to what comes after it. You’ve effectively missed an opportunity to fully convey your benefits at this point.
The Oxford English Dictionary has 171,476 words in it. About 95% of texts (books, blogs, ads) use only 3,000 words, that’s 1.75% of the total words in the English language. Don’t make your reader pull out a dictionary to understand what you’re saying, cuz they won’t, and you’ll lose them.
Above all, remember that you’re writing for humans, and humans at their core want to be communicated with clearly, concisely and without having to think.
Qualifying the Reader
Help your readers self-qualify for your product or service. A visual is usually what will get the attention of your reader that’s easy. To ask them to actually read your copy takes more time from them, so make it simple for them to decide if they want to or not by putting the qualifier up front and center.
For example; “Do you want to manage and control your employees spend?”. If the answer is yes, then you’ve let them self-qualify, and the action you ask from them next may actually be worth something.
Call to Action
Of course the action you ask of them next is meaningless if you haven’t created a call to action (CTO) for your reader. We like to be given instructions, we like to know what to do next, it gives us purpose and allows us to feel safe in the knowledge that our actions are good actions.
Tell your readers what to do next, give them a button to click with instructions to click it. Make it dead-simple to sign up for your newsletter, or open an account with your app. A frictionless call to action is just as important as the call to action itself.
“Click here to download your whitepaper”, “Click here to learn more”. These are just some simple examples of what a basic call to action can look like.
Features Over Benefits
Make sure you’ve distinguished between your features and your benefits, sell the benefits. A feature of a car is that it has four wheels, the benefit to that is that it lets you move around easily. Which part of that is more important to your customer, the fact that the car has four wheels or that it allows them to move around easily…?
It’s easy to create a list of features your product or service or app offers but those features are probably not accurately demonstrating the benefits and value.
Telling a Story
Humans are storytellers, we always have been, it’s literally carved into cave walls around the world, scratched into stone tablets and sketched on canvases. We. Love. Telling. Stories.
Capture your audience by telling a story, make it relevant to your target audience, use simple language and showcase your benefits in that story, and don’t be afraid to play on people’s emotions a bit. Just be respectful and genuine.
- Have a clear idea of who your customer is before you start talking to them, otherwise you’ll start going down all kinds of rabbit holes.
- One problem – one solution. Focus on one thing at a time, not 3, not 5. It’s just too much.
- Split up your text, avoid big blogs of text. Big chunks of text are a huge deterrent for readers, it looks long and tedious. Just keep it simple.
- Speak naturally. Write the way you would have a natural conversation, not only does it make your copy easier to read and understand, but it positions you as a collaborative partner, and equal, a friend.
Are you following all these tips to write great copy? Where can you improve? What lessons can you share? Let us know in the comments!