Getting Started With Small Business Copywriting

Simple Steps To Get Started With Copywriting For Small Business

Why Should I Invest in Copy?

Most businesses invest in training and developing their sales team, their receptionists, technical support and any other client facing staff because they know the importance of communication in creating and building customer relationships.

However, before people even make an online enquiry or call your business number, they are likely to at the very least seen and read information on your website, but more than likely they have also read:

  • A description of your business in an online business directory
  • An Online Ad for your business
  • The title and description of your website in search results
  • The first paragraph on your homepage
  • The information on the relevant product or services page
  • A blog post written by you or your team
  • Or, A social media post written by you or your team

Everything that we read about a business helps us make a decision as to which website we click through to and more importantly, which business we call up or make an enquiry with.

This all happens long before one of your staff members gets a chance to speak with a potential lead.

Think of it like the interview process for new staff. The cover letters purpose is to compel a potential employer to read your resume and the resumes purpose is to compel them to call you in for an interview. Fail on either two of these and you won’t get a call – the same applies to your website copy and other written communications.

Sadly, many businesses view copy as a necessary evil and something that has to be done rather than something worth investing time or money into.

And that is one of the major reasons why going through this process will give you an advantage over most of your competitors.

Who should be responsible?

Before you glaze over the next part and skip straight to the ‘How To’ section, or ask the receptionist to read it and give you a summary, let me just remind you of something.

As the business owner, senior manager or marketing manager you:

  • Know your product / service better than anyone
  • You have spent more time face to face with customers and understand their needs better than anyone
  • You know the brand, its style and language better than anyone
  • You have been involved in selling the product / service and know what works and doesn’t work
  • You know the competition and what they do well and do poorly
  • You care about your business more than anyone else

So why would you allow such an import task to anyone else?

Obviously, there are a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t do this yourself, so I am going to make this as easy as possible for you.

What do I need to do?

All you need to do is put together some bullet points. Simple yes, but also powerful.

The bullets will become copywriting assets that you can use again and again and leverage across all of your marketing communications, and best of all, when it’s done you can pass it on to your wife, nephew, receptionist or whoever is tasked with the actual writing, and you should start to see consistently good copy.

To get started, open an excel spreadsheet with 8 Columns.

Under each column write as down as many bullet points for each of the 8 categories below until you are completely out of ideas.

  1. What are the features of your product or service?
  1. What are the benefits of your product or service?
    1. What does your product/service mean to a customer and how does it fill a need they have.
    2. If you are struggling with this, for each feature write down ‘which means’ after the feature, followed by the corresponding benefit.
    3. These Golf clubs are made with titanium alloy which means they are lighter and easier to swing, without any loss in power.
  1. What positive emotions could people feel from using or purchasing your product or service?
    1. Prestige, feel sexy, smart, cool, security etc.
  1. What negative emotions could people feel from not using or purchasing your product or service?
    1. Negative emotions are very persuasive and avoidance of negative feelings (such as fear, uncertainty, loss, shame etc.) is powerful motivation
  1. What are the common fears and doubts that people commonly associate with my product or service category?
    1. Cost, Durability, Timeliness, Service Quality etc.
  1. What are some examples of situations where my product or service has really helped someone?
    1. Think about testimonials, case studies, examples, stories etc.
  1. Why would anyone see me as any more credible, authoritative or qualified than my competitors?
    1. Awards, Accreditations, Reviews, Critic reviews, Testimonials, Facebook likes etc.
  1. What could I say that would make someone take action and purchase today and not tomorrow? (Call to Action)
    1. Urgency, Scarcity

    The above 8 points are really just a starting point, writing great copy is more about understanding your customers and prospects and supplying them with information they need, rather than being a great writer.

    So if you aren’t already – Start Studying Your Customers and ask questions, like:

    • What is the single most important question you have about product/service?
    • Why would it make a difference in your life to get a good answer to this problem or find a solution for this need?
    • How difficult has it been for you to find a good answer for the above to date?

    Using the above formula, I am going to give you an example of what this might look like for probably the last person you would expect to have great copy – an electrician.

    Service: Power Point Installation

    Features: High Quality Components, Experienced Technicians,

    Benefits: Low fire risk, Low Failure Rate

    Eg. Every new connection is put through strenuous and thorough testing so that it stands up over time and is safe for use now and when your children get old.

    Positive Emotions from using your Service: Safety, Security

    Eg. Your family safety is most important, so we take the time to test all our installations and stand by them with a 10 year guarantee, so you don’t need to worry.

    Negative Emotions from not using your Service: Fear, Loss

    Eg. Most electricians will be trying to get to the next job as quickly as possible, which is why power point failure is so common. Don’t put your family at risk.

    Common Fears / Doubts about your Service: Late, Expensive, Make a mess of the house, Low Quality Workmanship.

    Eg. If you have ever called an electrician, only to find they are late, made a mess of the house and did a dodgy job anyway, know this – We are the ones people call to fix up others half assed work. So why not call us in the first place and get the job done right.

    Case studies / Examples: Electrical Fires, Power Failure, House Damage,

    Eg. 1 in 10 Australian homes will experience a fire as a result of faulty electrical work – all of which could be avoided.

    Reputation: Reviews

    Eg. Over the last 10 years we have received 100+ 5 star reviews from our happy and loyal customers.

    Call to Action: Time Based Urgency

    Eg. For all calls this week only we are offering our 10 step guide to protect your home and loved ones from electrical failure – Even if you don’t book in a job!

    What Next?

    Now that you have built your copywriting assets, you just need to put all the pieces together.

    The uses for your list of bullet points is far reaching, but almost immediately applicable to:

    • Email Marketing
    • Adwords Ad Copy
    • Landing Pages
    • Local Business Directories
    • Social Media posts
    • Blog posts
    • SEO page descriptions
    • Product and Service Descriptions
    • Videos
    • Infographics
    • Slideshows

    Just take only what you need from each category and apply it to the different types of communications.

    For an Adwords ad, you may only have room to use a benefit and urgency.

    However for an email you may use common fears and doubts and emphasize the point with a story, followed by your benefit and a call to action.

    Anything Else?

    This is not something you can do once and expect to kill the competition.

    Only the market can tell you if your copy is any good, so test it out and see what the people are saying.

    The more variations you test, the better the results will be.

    If click through rates, open rates and conversion rates a high for one variation and low for another, replace the lower performer and try and beat these key stats with another variation.

    Keep doing this and you will find those messages that compel people to take action and leave your competition for dead.