You ride solo in business and include writing your own sales copy in your job description juggling act.
Some days it flows.
You know exactly what you want to say and the words trickle onto the computer screen with total ease.
Then there’s those other days. You know the ones. The cursor’s winking and tantalising. The white page stares back. The words you’ve written are just wrong. Try as you might you just can’t find the right words.
Yep. It’s frustrating. But thankfully you’re not alone. In fact, a lot of smart micro biz owners struggle with this exact same thing. And in reality it’s not surprising. After all, you know the wrong words could cripple your business so the pressure’s on.
So what do you do?
If you’ve ever faced this scenario read on. You’ll discover four sure-fire ways to overcome writer’s block and get the right words flowing like a river! Are you ready to dive in…
1. Who’s your customer?
When writing sales copy, this question must top your list.
Please don’t get seduced by the misconception that your business will appeal to everyone. I hear this all too often and the hard truth is it doesn’t. If you target a wide range of folk, you’ll simply water down your message and lose the very trade you want to capture.
- Get crystal clear on exactly who you’re writing for. Make them real. Create a vivid picture of your perfect prospect, give them a name, understand their desires. Whatever you do, don’t write for a faceless generic audience. Instead write as if you’re having a 121 conversation with your perfect prospect. To do this, live the words you’d tell this customer if they were sat next to you. What’s more, when you do this, you’ll capture your authentic voice.
- Once you’ve worked out who you’re talking to, the next step is to pinpoint the language they speak. Think about it…
“People like people who are like themselves”.
Language reflection is a simple tool that builds rapport with your readers. Take a peek at your friendship groups. Do you sometimes laugh because you come out with the same phrases?
When a customer reads your sales copy, you want them to feel as if it was written just for them. You want your customer to feel you “get them”. If you speak their language, you’re fighting a winning battle.
Check out these language reflection tips
- Keyword research: In addition to nailing your SEO, through keyword research you’ll discover what customers type when they search for your products and services. Google’s free keyword research tool is a useful starting point.
- Explore your customer’s social media posts. What are they talking about? What issues are important to them? What common language themes emerge?
- Become your customer. Whilst tricky, to really get your customer, you have to stand in their shoes. Learn to empathise with them, understand their drivers and then point out how your products meet their needs.
2. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to
It may be your party but it’s boring if your sales copy is all about “me, me, me“. Instead bin the first person perspective and incorporate YOU and its derivatives as often as possible. You can flesh this one out here.
3. Pure and simple
Effective sales copy uses straightforward language. Look. We’re all busy, and if a reader has to decipher your message, they’ll give up and look elsewhere. Here are some ideas:
- Never use a big word where a small one will suffice. For example use buy over purchase and car over vehicle.
- Be careful with jargon. You might be crystal clear on it’s meaning, but will your readers understand? Jargon creates an in-crowd and an excluded pack. In which camp do you want your readers to sit?
- Write to be understood. If you’ve got your language sorted, the rest comes down to structure. Check out some hot tips here.
4. Where’s the ignition?
So we’ve covered the technicalities of writing the right words. Unfortunately the theory behind finding the right words is far easier to grasp than the practice of writing it – But you already knew that.
So what do you do in practice if the right words don’t flow?
Here’s how I make it happen…
- Don’t write cold. When I’m blogging or writing copy for a customer, I always start with a spider diagram. It’s a quick, visual way to capture key points, group categories and collect my thoughts. What’s more, it’s a solid starting point for structured, coherent customer-friendly words.
- Next, just write. When you first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) don’t censor yourself. For sure you might write a load of drivel, but it’s far easier to edit and refine a big body of text rather than aiming for perfection in each sentence first time.
- Avoid distractions. That means turning off Twitter, Facebook and email (I knew you’d hate that one!) Capturing the write words requires attention, focus and concentration. Get distracted, and good ideas will be lost. What’s more, finding the right words will take way longer.
- Sleep on it. Don’t slog away for hours at a time. Few people can write effective copy this way. And always sleep on a piece of important writing before you finalise it. You’ll be amazed at what fresh eyes can uncover. If not a typo, you’ll spot an idea that can be developed or some sections you could re-phrase.
- Show it to a prospect. My husband reckons, “all feedback is good feedback” and I agree. Show your copy to someone who fits the bill of your target customer, then listen closely to what they say. Try to kick off your defensive shoes and be receptive to the warts and all. You can use these comments to hone and refine your offering.
Before I sign off, here’s a pep talk. Just about anyone with the time and dedication can have a good go at writing effective sales copy. And the more you do, the better you’ll be.
Oh, and for those times when it’s just all too much, hire hire a pro!
How will you find the right words? Leave your ideas in the comment box below.