Entries Tagged 'effective copy' ↓

Write Your Content to Match The Way People Buy

This blog first appeared on our sister blog, Briar Copywriting Ltd, but we wanted to share it with you here also.

make people buy



If you knew what made people buy, writing your marketing content would be a doddle, right?

I’m not talking about features versus benefits or anything like that; I’m talking about the processes that go on inside their heads when they make a buying decision.

Most people’s decisions to buy are made subconsciously so there are certain things you can do as a copywriter or marketer to nudge them in the right direction.

Prey on their self-centeredness

It’s a sad fact, but your customers really don’t give two hoots about your company (other than you’ll provide them with great service).

The only thing they care about is how you’re going to make their lives easier. They want you to make a difference to them, to take away their pain and bring them more pleasure.

If you can show them how your product or service will do that, you’re on to a winner.

Be different

You, just like your customers, are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day.

Which ones do you take notice of?

Probably the ones that stand out, right?

It’s the same for your customers. If you can create something that’s different to everyone else’s message you stand a chance of breaking through the noise.

Use their laziness

There are a lot of adverts out there than use loads of words and some fairly abstract ideas, forcing the buying public to try and make sense of them.

The problem is customers are generally lazy and just want simple messages with relevant and eye-catching visuals.

Give them what they want and they’re more likely to buy.

Story time

Our brains have a tendency to pay attention at the beginning and end of things. Therefore, if your marketing is to have the right impact start strongly and recap your strongest selling points (i.e. your benefits) at the end.


Captivating videos and graphics will do the selling for you because people process and make decisions visually.


How many times have you made a snap buying decision based on an emotional response to something?

Emotion is a powerful marketing tool – make someone think they’re going to miss out and they’ll buy. Whether it’s using adorable animal images to get donations for your dog charity or showing that only fashionable people wear your jewellery, emotion will make people buy.

Successful marketing comes down to giving your customers what they want – not only in terms of your product or service, but also in the way you tailor your messaging.


How to Write Benefits-led Copy

How many times have you heard that the best copy focuses on the benefits of your product or service? Benefits led copy

It’s true – your customers (and potential customers) are only interested in what you can do for them. They don’t care about you, your company or even what you sell. They just want to know how you’re going to make their life easier.

Mind you, when it comes to actually writing the copy, focusing on the benefits is tricky.

For starters, how do you know what they are?

When it comes to the features and specification of what you’re offering, you’ve got loads to write about, but the benefits? That’s a whole different ball game.

Before you start writing you need to work out who is your ideal customer.

Who are you writing for?

If you could pick your ideal customer, what would they be like?

Think about their age, occupation, likes and dislikes, what keeps them awake at night and what they want to get out of life.

Once you know everything about them, you’ll be able to write to them with passion to engage them in what you’re saying, to convince them their lives would be so much better with your product or service.

What about the benefits?

Once you know whom you’re writing to, it’s time to work out the benefits.

That means it’s time to do some research.

The first stage is to list all the features and specifications of what you’re offering.

Then, take each of these in turn and decide how they benefit your customers. How will they make their life easier etc.?

The next step is to think about the problems you will help them avoid backing up your benefits.

Finally, write down all the buying objections you can think of (e.g. in relation to cost) and how you would address them using the benefits you’ve already identified.

As you can see, writing copy isn’t quite as straightforward as you would think. If you want people to buy, you must:

  • Address them directly
  • Appeal to their needs and wants
  • Demonstrate how your product/service will benefit them directly
  • Address all potential buying objections

That’s quite a tall order for anyone, which is why many businesses bring in a professional copywriter.

Image courtesy of Photokanok/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Which Person Should You Write In?

A question about website copywriting was raised recently on a Facebook group that I am part of.

It was more like “I’m writing some copy for my new website, should I write it in the 1st or 3rd person?”

My answer was “neither, you should be writing it in the 2nd person.”

Let me explain.

The 2nd person builds relationships

Why do you search the Internet?

I’m guessing because you need to research something or have a problem that you’re looking for a solution to.

So, when you land on a website you’ll be looking for one that tells you the answer you’re looking for. Not one that immediately starts:

“We are a well established business based in Norfolk with 25 years experience in our field.”

So what?

That’s not what you want to know, you want to know how they’re going to help you. And that’s why it should be written in the second person.

Let’s say you’re looking for someone to build you a new website because yours just isn’t working because it’s not bringing in the traffic, you have to go through your web designer every time you want to change something and it is generally out of date.

Rather than seeing something like the ‘we-fest’ above, would you react more favourably to something along the lines of?

“Do you want more traffic?

Are you fed up because you can’t update your website whenever you want to?

We’ll help you by creating a modern, flexible website that can be updated easily and that will attract visitors. What’s more, because you’re unique your website will be designed to suit your needs; we won’t shoe horn you into any pre-existing templates

Call us today for a chat.”


It immediately shows you that they understand the issues you face and that they will work with you to resolve them.

The approach is conversational and as no jargon or technical terms have been used it’s easy to understand. The company comes across as being approachable so you’ll probably add them to your shortlist of companies to get quotes from.

Even your About Page should be written in this style – although it will have more information about your company, the second person will still work because you are still selling your company to the reader.

With regards to how you refer to yourself, there was quite a debate on the Facebook discussion about whether it should be “I” or “we”, especially for sole traders. My advice is simple, if you want to create the illusion of your business being larger than it is to attract larger clients, use “we” (also if you’re planning to expand your business in the future). If you work alone, especially if you’re a business consultant or something along those lines and you trade on your reputation, use “I”.

So if you want your web copy to work for you:

  • Write in the 2nd person
  • Write in a conversational style
  • Avoid jargon and technical terms


Sally Ormond – Copywriter and MD at Briar Copywriting Ltd



It’s All in the Presentation – Copy + Design

Ask any professional copywriter and they’ll tell you the power of persuasion lies within the copy of any piece of marketing material. Ask any designer and they’ll tell you it is the eye-catching design that will sway the reader.

So who’s right?

Well in a way they both are. Let me explain.

Your audience wants to be seduced; they want to be wooed by high quality sales messages that are not only engaging when read, but that also look the business.

Let’s face it, a glossy mailing that arouses curiosity is more likely to be read than a folded piece of A4 paper covered in Courier font that’s splattered with italics, bold words and underlining.

Admittedly, these letters do work in some markets, but personally I can’t stand the things and always launch them bin-wards when they arrive through my door (or if it’s on a website I navigate away faster than a fast thing).

But there’s no getting away from the fact that a quality mailing will give a better return.

Words and design go hand in hand

The main trick for any mailing is to ensure the copy and the design marry. For example, if you send out an elegant flyer that’s accompanied by text that’s very informal and more akin to something you’d expect to find in a text message (extreme example), it won’t work.

Or will it?

Perhaps that sort of disparity would work – it would certainly get your mailing noticed and talked about.

And, after all, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Getting noticed?

There’s a challenge for someone – to come up with an elegant ‘up market’ style flyer that contains text-speak language. I’d love to see the results.

The same goes for copy.

Why are there so many people out there who feel the desperate need to flag up the tiniest of errors just because they can? No one is perfect (nope, not even me) and errors do happen.

But there are some copywriters who will even – shock horror – make spelling or grammatical errors on purpose.

A well-placed typo can bring attention to a key point; flouting the rules of grammar can have the same effect – after all, rules are there to be broken aren’t they? And people have been breaking grammatical rules for centuries.

Of course there is a huge difference between a well-placed faux pas and an ignorant and careless mistake.

Your reputation in your hands

What it comes down to is your mailing, or whatever form of marketing you care to mention, holds the key to your customers’ perception of your company.

It’s human nature to judge ‘a book by its cover’ (please excuse the cliché) and however hard you try not to, you won’t be able to help yourself.

So one sloppy mistake, one misjudged mailing, one ill written letter, will tarnish your business forever (well, for quite a while anyway).

Being Effective with Your Everyday Emails

There are loads of articles on the Internet telling you how to get the most from your email marketing, but what about the emails you send to clients and colleagues every day?How to write effective emails

You may think that because they have nothing to do with direct selling the way you write them is not that important.


How many times have you sent an email to someone with a request that never gets answered? Or how about one that asked several questions and you ended up sending numerous other emails because the recipient didn’t answer everything first time round?

The way you write your daily emails will have an impact on your efficiency.

You might think that’s an odd thing for a marketing copywriter to be writing about. But everything you write in your business has to be persuasive enough for someone to take an action – even if that is just to open your email and read it.

Email subject lines

The subject line is always a good place to start.

Let’s face it, we are all inundated with emails every day and have to make quick decisions about which ones get our attention first.

Those that have subject lines such as:

  • Hello
  • FYI
  • It’s been a while
  • 2013 Report on the risk analysis of the environment impact….

Are unlikely to grab you as emails that have to be opened, read and actioned immediately.

But if you start it with something like:

  • We need your decision today
  • Please reply yes or no
  • Your feedback is needed for today’s meeting

It’s more likely grab the recipient’s attention.

 Call to action

 The staple requirement for all copywriting projects, calls to action are also necessary in your emails.

But don’t leave them to the end – if you want someone to act quickly, tell them straight away. It’s important they read and action your email, so the first sentence should tell them that.

If you leave it to the end, you run the risk of them getting bored and moving on to a different email or having a sneaky game of Solitaire.

 To chase or not to chase

 Of course it’s OK to chase an email if you’ve not had a response, but not within a couple of hours of sending it.

Come on, be realistic – not everyone checks their emails every 5 minutes. If they did they’d never get anything else done.

If you need a speedy reply and you’ve not heard from them within a couple of days, fine, send a polite chaser or call them.

 One subject

 It’s very tempting to send one very long email covering everything you want someone to do.

The problem is, your email will come across as garbled, rambling and downright confusing.

By covering one topic at a time, everyone will know where they stand and things won’t get missed.

 Be brief

This one is related the one above.

Trying to cover too much in one email will just lead to confusion. Keep your message brief and to the point; why not use bullets and numbered points to help the recipient keep track of what’s required – it will also make it easier to respond to.

None of this is ground breaking stuff, but every now and then we need reminding.

How you communicate with others will not only have an effect on them, it will also impact on your own efficiency and productivity.

Make sure your messages are clear and to the point – and if it’s something that can’t easily be explained via email, rather than trying, pick up the phone.