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Advertising Copywriting: 5 unique methods to write like a pro
Advertising Copywriting: 5 unique methods to write like a pro
Copywriting is the "art" of showcasing your product/service with words. It's about making what you can't touch tangible. But above all, it’s the art of convincing your prospect to take action.
Having a message is essential as soon as you start selling online, or even in-store when the prospect is not yet in front of a salesperson.
I’m not joking: why should a customer choose your offer over your competitors'?
Is it because you’re cheaper? So you’ll close shop if a new competitor comes on the scene with lower prices?
Is it because your product has an extra feature? What if your competitor adds it on his?
Your answer should not simply evoke a “superficial” element of your business, but rather show its "background". Understand that there are more than 7 billion people on earth, but that we’re all unique.
Therefore, your company is unique even if you operate in a very "busy" environment. If not, why else would it exist?
To help you address this important issue here’s our first piece of advice: find your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
The USP is a simple sentence that defines your framework for action and your purpose for your customers. It’s putting into words what makes you different.
Here are 2 ways to write your USP.
- FOR (customers) WHO HAVE (a problem/need), (product name) IS A (product category) WHICH (benefit #1) UNLIKE (specific or global competitor), THE PRODUCT (differentiating element).
- OUR (product name) IS THE ONLY ONE THAT HELPS (your customers) TO RESOLVE (specific problem) BY (unique benefit/promise).
- Here are two examples:
COCA-COLA: For young people who want to quench their thirst, Coca-Cola is a soft drink with a unique taste. So much so that you’ll never find this taste in any other cola.
APPLE: The iPhone is the only consumer phone that protects your privacy with an impenetrable system and a strong data protection policy.
The sentence structure may vary, it doesn't matter. What’s important is that your differentiating factor is laid down in writing. Once you’ve put it down in black and white, you know why you're better than your competitors.
As soon as you have this sentence, it's time to convey it at all levels: your slogans, your ads, your sales pages, etc.
Eureka! You’ve found your USP and you want the whole world to know. But there’s one last step before you start writing.
In the introduction, I mentioned the Customer Journey; it’s at this very moment that it becomes indispensable. Indeed, you won’t be talking about your product in the same way to a prospect who knows you as you would to someone who has never heard of you.
To do this, you should keep this illustration in mind.
Is your prospect familiar with your brand? Your product? Is he aware that he has a problem? If so, has he already looked for a solution? Does he know of several solutions?
These are so many questions that will allow you to choose a Lead, i.e. a structure of communication.
Here are the 6 Leads suggested by AWAI:
- Direct - The Offer: Your prospect knows you well, it's time to make him convert with a first offer that's hard to refuse.
- Direct - The Promise: Make a promise to your prospect that will make him seriously consider buying from you (in anticipation of an offer later on).
- Direct - Problem Solving: You mention a specific problem and provide the solution in the text.
- Indirect - Secret & System: Play on curiosity by announcing the existence of a secret/system in a certain industry.
- Indirect - Statement: The title should grasp your reader’s attention by all means, and then offer further explanations in the following paragraph.
- Indirect - Story: We talk about someone (if possible a real person) who has faced a problem (that of your customer) that he has solved thanks to your service or your product.
Unsurprisingly, Direct Leads are reserved for the warmest stages of your Customer Journey. They’re used when your prospect knows your product, your brand. When it's easy to understand and he's already aware of his situation.
The indirect approach is much more educational. Your prospect may not know what his problem is, we need to point it out to him. He may not yet trust your product/service because it’s new to him.
Let's take the example of a brand of cloth diapers for babies, i.e. diapers that can be used as long as wear and tear allows.
- Direct - The Offer: Shipping is free with your first purchase.
A simple offer that reduces the number of barriers to purchase.
- Direct - The Promise: You'll never have to buy diapers again!
The brand promise; by using cloth diapers, you’ll never have to buy diapers again.
- Direct - Problem Solving: Stop spending money on baby diapers, here's how.
A recurring problem among young parents who buy diapers every week.
- Indirect - Secret & System: How to save $500 per year as a young parent...
It gives away just enough information for the reader to want to know more.
- Indirect - Statement: Young parents, you're losing money!
Clear, sharp and hard to ignore when you're a parent.
- Indirect - Story: Here's how this family was able to save over $1,500 in just 2 years.
Same as number 5, except we're introducing a story.
Probably my favorite copywriting method when showcasing a product.
You have to understand that it’s emotion that drives a customer to buy and that he only rationalizes after having made the purchase. To reassure himself that he hasn't made a mistake.
So, focus on emotion and not on rationality.
Here is a very good example from a company called Razer, with its Mamba Elite mouse.
To give you some context, Razer is a very popular brand in the competitive video game (e-sport) industry. Its customers have a higher than average level of technological knowledge. However, that's not going to stop Razer from being VERY UNDERSTANDABLE.
Here are the tech specs that can be found at the bottom of the sales page.
Can you only understand half of it? No? Okay, that's normal. Do you think that giving this type of information to just any prospect is going to convince them?
No, so speak with "emotion". Here’s how Razer does it.
This last image is the most representative of this copywriting technique. By using this mouse you’ll never lose a game because you’ll always hit your target.
By buying this product, your customer will always perform well and will be able to reach the level that he wants. He will dominate his opponents.
How did Razer get to this type of sales page?
Easy, they know their client well: he's very competitive.
They then analyzed which characteristics meet this objective:
- Enhanced precision for gaming
- Product with a better grip (so no discomfort when using it)
Each time, Razer looked at a characteristic and asked themselves the question: So what? Because offering a benefit is more important than offering a product feature.
By doing this exercise, you’ll find your Key Benefit.
This is the benefit that’s the most valuable to your customer, and that's what Razer states at the top of its sales page, "You stay on target even during intense action”.
So, remember: Benefit > Characteristic
4 X 4
You now have your USP, your Lead and you know what benefits your client is looking for.
Now, let's get closer to execution: what needs to be on my sales page?
First, a title.
- The 4 U’s
The title is the most important element of your copywriting, as that’s the trigger that makes your reader want to click. That’s the case when it comes to Google searches, to your email inbox and, partly, when it comes to Facebook ads (the visuals play a big part too).
AWAI pointed out that all the most effective titles had the same criterion. They answered the "4 U's".
4 U’s meaning:
- Unique: you won’t find this content anywhere else
- Useful: you solve a problem
- Ultra-Specific: meets a real expectation
- Urgent: this content must be consumed as soon as possible
The closer you get to meeting these 4 criteria, the stronger your title according to AWAI.
Let's use the title of this article as an example: Advertising Copywriting: X Unique Methods to Write Like a Pro
- Unique: The methods!
- Useful: You’ll be able to write like an industry professional
- Ultra-Specific: We’re talking about advertising and writing, not just writing. We also mention the term “copywriting” which is not used in just every context.
- Urgent: You can’t start running ads until you’ve read this article.
To start off, I would recommend that you write a long title, as it's difficult to come up with a short title from the start (mine could certainly still be shortened). With a long title, you have all the elements in front of you. All that remains is to find shorter formulas.
To demonstrate this, here's what I started from:
"Write your ads and sales pages like a professional with these X unique & essential methods."
Blue becomes Advertising Copywriting → we still understand which industry we’re talking about
Purple becomes Pro → a widely accepted abbreviation in everyday language
Red becomes Unique → They are therefore unique
2. The 4Ps of copywriting
Prior to this training, I knew about the 4Ps of the marketing mix (Place, Product, Price, Promotion) but I had no idea that copywriting also had its own.
Yet, I was quickly convinced by this method.
Here are the 4Ps:
I'll explain them in more detail.
Everything we’ve seen before leads us in this direction: make a promise to your reader. And keep it until the very end (not just at the start).
Your reader wants to make a change in his life. He’s not simply buying a product/service but a transformation, thanks to a benefit. So incorporate it into this new picture. He needs to be able to feel everything you tell him.
Your clientele needs proof. This can be testimonials from your customers, studies or "endorsements" by professionals attesting that what you offer works.
Clearly explain what you expect from your prospect once they’ve finished reading. Don't just say "contact us", but rather "fill out the attached form to get your project started". The vaguer you are, the more effort you require from your prospect, and that’s not the right technique.
To give you an example, I refer you to my article about the Lady Boss' Lead Magnet and her sales page.
You’ll find all the elements that I’ve just mentioned. But be careful, you don't need to go that far with your copywriting. Just make sure that you understand the added value of each of the elements that she presents.
I hope that you will have understood the following: if you want to get into copywriting, you have to follow these steps:
- Know your client perfectly
- Understand how your product/service is different from others
- Choose an angle of communication according to the stages that the customer may go through
- Formulate benefits (from product characteristics) and highlight the Key Benefit
- Follow a structure that allows the client to understand, picture himself, but above all believe in your promise (with tangible proof).