Your copywriter has one job: helping your business generate revenue.
Copy that doesn’t sell is copy that doesn’t work.
As a copywriter, nothing raises my hackles more than seeing an ad with a wishy-washy sales message. Or worse, no sales message at all (yes, that really does happen!).
The biggest offenders in both cases tend to be “blue chip brands” who foolishly expect their names alone to suffice as a sales message. This is perhaps one of the worst advertising strategies a company can employ—no brand exists without competitors, and nothing makes you more vulnerable to the competition than neglecting to tell consumers which unique value(s) your products provide.
So, how do you craft copy that contributes to your bottom line?
7 Proven Copywriting Tips To Increase Sales
1. Capture Attention With Messaging That Stands Out
Copywriters who are new to the game tend to believe they can look at your competitors’ copy and create something similar for a successful campaign.
That logic couldn’t be more flawed.
First of all, even if sales have been strong for competitor(s) whose messaging you’re modeling your own copy after, there is no “one size fits all” approach to successful copy. Not to mention the fact that consumers are even more likely to ignore your ad if it looks or sounds like an ad they’ve already seen or heard.
In the example below, Olive Garden does an excellent job of standing out with a paid search ad targeting diners searching for Chili’s restaurants:
Rather than trying to mimic a Chili’s ad, Olive Garden cleverly tells customers why they should instead choose Italian for lunch. In addition to standing out with an unexpected headline, the ad makes a solid case for choosing Olive Garden, and has probably been successful at changing plenty of diners’ lunch plans.
2. Use Language Consistent With Your Brand’s Personality
Every strong brand has a unique personality. I mentioned this briefly in my last article, but creating a brand personality is absolutely crucial for long-term success.
Shoppers choose brands the same way they choose friends—by identifying those with personalities and values they can relate to.
In the example below, Wendy’s does a great job of staying true to their witty, fun-loving personality as they promote the new Giant Jr Bacon Cheeseburger meal:
3. Don’t Be Afraid Of Showing Off
My biggest piece of advice for copywriters is to always write as if nobody else is rooting for your brand. Assume no one knows what makes your product superior to the competition, and create copy that addresses this question head-on.
There’s no shame in bragging when it comes to advertising.
Chevy’s recent TV ad provides a great example of this strategy. In the commercial, Chevy announced that they’re the only brand to have won JD Power Dependability awards across cars, trucks, and SUVs for 3 consecutive years—an undeniably impressive accomplishment.
4. Be Honest (And Don’t Talk Down To Customers)
There’s nothing more powerful than your brand’s name and reputation. But as I mentioned before, a recognizable brand name isn’t enough to guarantee sales. And a brand whose reputation has been compromised will inevitably face an uphill battle when trying to win back customers’ respect (and money). Remember the Volkswagen diesel scandal?
5. Encourage Audience Participation
In A Smile in the Mind, authors Beryl McAlhone and David Stuart explain the efficacy of using wit to ensure your audience pays attention to your ad. As the book explains,
When wit is involved, the designer never travels 100 percent of the way [toward the audience]… The audience may need to travel only 5 percent or as much as 40 percent towards the designer in order to unlock the puzzle and get the idea… It asks the reader to take part in the communication of the idea…
This concept applies to copy as well—customers enjoy the feeling of figuring out a “hidden message” and being in on a secret. That said, crafting a clever message that won’t confuse your audience can be easier said than done, and requires a truly talented marketing team.
KFC’s ad in response to the restaurant’s chicken shortage of 2018 is one of the best examples of clever copy and imagery that encouraged audience participation:
6. Go Beyond The Obvious
Don’t just look at your product when you’re writing copy. Experience it.
Pick it up, turn it around, look at it from every angle. Consider its history, its price point, how it came to exist. Why do people buy it? What type of people buy it? What type of environment is your product used in? What do first-time buyers expect? And, subsequently, how can your brand exceed expectations? Is there a hidden benefit your product offers that customers may not easily notice?
The more details your ad can provide, the better your chance of drawing in customers willing to buy.
The example below illustrates exactly how Shutterfly reminds its customers about the joy of reliving favorite memories:
7. Make Every Word Count
Don’t inflate your word count. Eliminate any phrase that doesn’t add value to the message you’re trying to create.
Every word should serve a purpose, and every sentence should make an impact. Period.
Case in point:
So, I just have one question left for you:
Is Your Copywriting Paying For Itself Yet?