23rd February 2018 Claire Hawes

Writing marketing copy: A checklist of dos and don’ts

Do you find it difficult writing marketing copy? Then follow this handy dos and don’ts checklist

Writing marketing copy is easy, right?

You know your products and services inside and out. You’ve got an English qualification. Every day you write emails and reports.

But the reality is writing marketing copy is entirely different from writing an essay, an email or a report.

It’s easy to write about the features and technicalities of your products and services. However, it’s not so easy to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and write marketing copy from their point of view.

Worse still it’s even harder to condense your messages into short, easy to read, persuasive copy.

Does this sound like you?

Don’t worry; there are a few strategies you can use to help you write marketing copy that gets to the point. More importantly, that encourages your readers to get in touch with you.

If you want to improve your marketing copy, then this dos and don’ts checklist will give you a great starting point.

The dos

1. Do your research

Decide who your perfect customer is. What does he/she look like? How can your products and services improve their lives? Who is your competition?

2. Do know who your reader is and what keeps it up at night

Take the time to talk to your customers. Ask them what their problems are. And why they have these problems. Then dig deeper. What impact do these problems have on them? And how can your products/services relieve their pain?

3. Do understand where your reader is in their decision-making process

What information does your customer need to make a decision? Are they at the awareness stage and need informational blog posts? Do they need reassurance they are making the right decision by way of a case study?

4. Do write benefits over features

Harvard Professor Theodore Levitt illustrated the importance of benefits over features when he said: ‘People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” Features are technical. Benefits outline the advantages of buying a product. Of course, it’s better to dig deeper and think about the real motivation for buying a product. “The reason why I need a hole is that I want to hang some shelves”.

5. Do write risk-free calls to action

You want to reassure your customer that there is no risk in clicking on your call to action buttons. Make it clear what the value is to the reader if he/she takes the next step.

The don’ts

1. Don’t start writing without having an end goal in mind

Know what do you want your reader to learn or do as a result of reading your copy. Then think about what type of marketing communication will best help you reach that goal.

2. Don’t try to write for everyone

Try to imagine your customer is sitting in front of you. One-to-one conversations are far more engaging.

3. Don’t forget about SEO

If you’re publishing an article on a website, you’ll want your readers and search engines to be able to find it. Think about the search terms they are likely to use and how you can weave them into all places that count.

4. Don’t forget to back up your statements

Reinforce your messages by making it clear you can do what you say you can do. Include testimonials, statistics or links to case studies.

5. Don’t be too formal

Your marketing copy aim is to start a conversation with your potential customers. So as much as it’s tempting to sound professional and business-like, don’t. Imagine you’re sitting down face to face with your prospect.

Let’s recap. To write marketing copy that engages your readers and convinces them to get in contact with you:

  • Do your research
  • Do know who your reader is and what keeps it up at night
  • Do understand where your reader is in their decision-making process
  • Do write benefits over features
  • Do write risk-free calls to action
  • Don’t start writing without having an end goal in mind
  • Don’t try to write for everyone
  • Don’t forget about SEO
  • Don’t forget to back up your statements
  • Don’t be too formal

Then soon you’ll get the hang of it.

And finally

If you would like help writing clear communications that compel readers to click through to your webpages, then do get in touch.You’d be surprised by how easy it is to drive engagement with the power of words.

Claire Hawes, copywriter and owner of The Content BoutiqueAbout Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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