Question: Who needs copywriting tips? Answer: Everyone who writes copy.
Copywriting is sometimes a bit misunderstood. People assume that you just write whatever comes to mind and hope for the best.
It doesn’t work like that. You need to know the best copywriting tips in the industry if you want to boost conversions. People don’t respond well to poor copy.
Even if you’re not the most skilled writer, though, you can write copy that converts. You just need a few strategies to help you understand what your readers are looking for — and how to press their buttons.
I’m going to define a few concepts first, then dive into my 23 copywriting tips (plus five bonus tips for email copywriting). Let’s dive in!
What is Copywriting in Marketing?
Copywriting refers to the process of writing text that will appear in marketing assets. For instance, a copywriter might be tasked with preparing the following documents:
- Blog posts
- Sales emails
- Product descriptions
- Landing page copy
- Lead magnets
- Ad copy
- Social media posts
The list goes on. Copywriting has existed for much longer than the Internet, but in the good old days, copywriters typically worked freelance or for ad agencies and wrote for print, television, or radio.
Today, copywriting is far more diverse. Its purpose remains the same, though. You want prospects to convert.
How do you make that happen? You collect as many copywriting tips as you can and practice, practice, practice.
What is Sales Copy?
Sales copy isn’t much different from marketing copy except that it’s focused on a very specific conversion.
Instead of asking visitors to sign up for your email list, follow you on Twitter, or something else, you’re asking for the sale.
There are two primary elements that distinguish marketing copy from sales copy:
- Length: When you’re asking for the sale, you want to be brief. You’re not explaining complex topics — you just want the visitor to buy your product.
- CTA: You’re specifically asking the reader to buy from you.
Otherwise, the same copywriting tips apply to both types of copy.
23 Most Effective Copywriting Tips for Beginners That Will Greatly Increase Conversions
If you want to improve your copywriting, you need sound advice with which to begin. That’s what I want to offer next.
When you follow these 23 copywriting tips, you’ll find it easier to connect with your audience and convince them to convert on whatever offer you present to them.
1. Cut unnecessary phrases when copywriting. Simplify your content.
Your target customer has a to-do list as long as his arm, people calling and texting him, and a boss breathing down his neck. Think about that customer when you’re writing content.
If you’re too wordy, you’ll turn off your audience. People don’t have time to wade through fluff and filler to get to the good stuff.
Start by cutting unnecessary words. Does that adjective help clarify the sentence or is it just dead weight? Could you remove that adverb without altering the sentence’s meaning?
Then move on to the phrase and sentence level. You’ll be surprised. Sometimes you can cut whole paragraphs without harming your content.
Hiring a freelance writer will be wise if you need help simplifying your content and cutting out unnecessary phrases.
2. Use specific numbers and examples to draw attention and increase credibility
People really love numbers and statistics. They’re firm. They don’t change. They help quantify an idea or argument.
Consider these two sentences:
- Many people prefer to run at night.
- Nearly 60 percent of respondents to a recent study reported they prefer to run at night.
Which sentence carries more weight? The second one, right?
You can run a Google search for any keyword, then add “statistics” to your search string. Just make sure you’re referencing high-quality publications and linking back to the source.
Examples help, too. For instance, in a recent Hello Bar blog post on lead generation strategies, I used actual Hello Bars to illustrate my points.
That’s a great way to keep readers on the page.
3. Tell people exactly what you expect them to do
One of the best copywriting tips I can share is that you don’t have to beg, plead, or cajole your audience. Just tell them what to do.
You don’t have to sound like a cop issuing orders. Gentle guidance does the trick.
Let’s say you’re creating a Hello Bar for a lead magnet. You don’t need a ton of copy to convince your audience to click.
In fact, you want a brief headline and CTA.
In this example, I’ve given a command. It’s subtle, but it incorporates a benefit I think readers would appreciate.
Then, I mirror or echo the command in the CTA. However, I’ve switched to the first-person point of view of the customer.
4. Give people a reason to do as you tell them, and then give a better reason
What if we switched up the headline and CTA from the Hello Bar above? We could offer two incentives to convince people to sign up for our email list.
That’s just 13 words of copy, but I’ve managed to give the reader two incentives to join my mailing list. One appears in the headline and the second in the CTA.
You can use copywriting tips like this to give your words more weight and to capture your audience’s attention.
5. Don’t walk away from objections in your copywriting
Marketers fear objections. That’s because they’re real.
We all encounter objections. Let’s say I want a new pair of running shoes. I can afford them, my old shoes are at the end of their rope, and I’m at a store that sells running shoes.
Still, I might leave the store without making a purchase. My objection list could look like this:
- I don’t feel like breaking in a new pair.
- My old shoes can last at least a few more months.
- Perhaps I can get a better price elsewhere.
- I have a meeting in an hour, so I don’t have time to try on lots of shoes.
I could go on. Lots of objections run through consumers’ minds — and sometimes they’re not even consciously aware of them.
If you confront potential objections head-on, you give your prospect a reason to stay on the page. For instance, check out this Hello Bar:
This could be for any service. It doesn’t matter. The point I want to make is that it overcomes a pricing objection.
The service costs $273.75 per year, which sounds intimidating. That’s why I’ve used a headline that breaks down the cost to what the consumer will pay per day.
Much less scary, right?
6. Do more research before doing your page copywriting
Research is important to me because I want to know what has already been written. Then, I want to make my copy 100X better.
Google your primary and secondary keywords before you write a piece of copy. Open each of the top ten results in Google in separate browser tabs, then read through each one.
You’ll get an idea for each piece of content’s quality, length, supporting points, and style. You don’t want to copy these pieces of content. You want to improve upon them so you rank higher and impress your audience.
7. Use your distinct personality or unique selling proposition
If you’ve read a few of my blog posts here on Hello Bar, you might notice I have a distinct style:
- Writing in short, somewhat choppy sentences
- Using short paragraphs
- Employing incomplete sentences for effect
- Speaking to you in the second person
Additionally, I reflect Hello Bar’s unique selling proposition and brand in every article:
- Using Hello Bar to illustrate points
- Describing Hello Bar features to help readers understand how it can help
- Keeping the voice light but informative
You can use these copywriting tips to make your own content more consistent and enjoyable.
Take the time to define your tone and personality. Then, incorporate your USP into every piece of content you publish.
8. Refine your headline to maximize copywriting results
Marketers often start with a working headline, then return to it after finishing the content to refine it further. That’s okay.
You want your headline to give readers every reason to click. If it’s poorly constructed or inappropriate for your audience, you’ll sacrifice potential traffic. That’s never a good thing.
9. Emphasize your readers’ freedom to choose when copywriting
This might seem contradictory, so let me explain.
Earlier, I mentioned that you should tell your readers what to do in your copy. Give them an order, especially in conversion copy.
However, you also want to let your readers know they have choices. This is particularly important in comparison-style articles.
However, he saves Crazy Egg for last.
This article talks about Crazy Egg’s competition. That’s crazy, right?
Not really. It shows that you’re not afraid of comparison. Plus, it’s generous to the reader because he or she gets help with comparison shopping.
10. Make the copy visually beautiful
Your content needs to entice your reader. If it’s not aesthetically beautiful, it’ll turn off your audience instead.
Consider your Hello Bar, for instance.
What if we changed the one I posted above to look like this:
Ugly, right? You can’t even read the text.
However, I could make it more beautiful, too:
In this case, the dark orange and the dark blue are complementary. The splash of a unique color on the CTA button draws the eye.
11. Have a purpose behind everything you write in your sales copy
Let’s take our example from above and show how you can go overboard with your sales copy.
In this example, I’ve completely overwhelmed the reader. The first three sentences don’t communicate anything of value — they’re standard, vague examples of sales copy.
Resist the urge to do that. Stick to one incentive and one offer in your Hello Bars. This goes for landing pages, optin pages, and sales pages, too.
Less is always more.
12. Think like your ideal customer
I love surveys and polls. I love email feedback even more. They tell me what my target customer really wants.
You need to know those details.
If you can write content that resonates with your target audience, you’ll increase conversions and build brand loyalty. The customer thinks, “Hey, this guy speaks my language!”
And that’s a very good thing. If you don’t know your target audience, though, you can completely miss the mark.
13. Focus on benefits when writing sales copy
Ah, the age-old battle between benefits and features. Marketers want to focus on features, but readers care about benefits.
Check out this list of Hello Bar features:
- Create animated Hello Bars.
- Design exit popups.
- Demonstrate GDPR compliance.
- Ask for social shares.
Now, let’s look at some Hello Bar benefits:
- Boost your conversions through modals, sliders, and page takeovers that capture your audience’s attention.
- Run seamless A/B tests without having to sort through data manually.
- Build your email list by incentivizing signups.
You see the difference, right? A list of features is boring. It doesn’t help your audience understand your product or service.
A list of benefits, however, helps your audience see themselves using the product or service. They can visualize what they’ll gain from it.
14. Ask questions that get readers to say “yes”
One of the most effective copywriting tips I can share is to always give your reader the opportunity to say “yes.” Saying “yes” is often more important than the actual sale.
With Hello Bar, you can boost conversions even further by asking leading questions before your main ask. You want to set up the “conversation” so your reader is most likely to say “yes.”
Check out this leading question:
If you run a business, I guarantee that your answer is “yes.” From there, you can take your reader through another question or two, then hit them with your main headline and CTA.
15. Use active voice to lead your readers
Active voice confuses many marketers and writers. It seems so silly to quibble about verbs.
However, active voice matters.
Compare these two sentences:
- Hello Bar is a great conversion tool and has all the features you need.
- Hello Bar offers conversion features to boost your sales and email signups.
I’ve changed more than the voice (the first is passive and the second is active), but you get my drift. Instead of saying “Hello Bar is…”, I’ve said, “Hello Bar offers…” It’s a small distinction, but it matters.
16. Back up your claims with solid proof
I love to use case studies in my content. They provide solid proof that I know what I’m talking about.
In a recent article I wrote about exit popups, I used a Quicksprout case study (among others). In addition to explaining what Quicksprout did, I added, “Webinar clicks increased by 200 percent and sales increased by $103,688 per month.”
That’s solid proof. Numbers don’t lie.
Social proof works really well, too. Testimonials, expert recommendations, and influencer reviews can help you convince readers to give your product or service another glance.
17. Mention the most important point at least three times
Three represents a pretty powerful number — and I’m not talking about the witches from “Macbeth.”
When you repeat something three times, it’s more likely to stick in your readers’ brains. They’ll remember the point, phrase, or sentence because they’ve seen it often.
That’s why it’s a good idea to use the same (or a similar) CTA on your Hello Bar, optin page, and other pages on your site. Drill it into your readers’ heads.
18. Include a powerful call to action
Your CTA can make or break the conversion. Seriously.
Marketers who use boring, trite CTAs will often see dwindling conversions.
For instance, “Submit” is the worst CTA you can use. All it says is that your reader is going to submit a form. Boring. And a missed opportunity.
The best CTAs help the reader say “yes.”
19. Describe information using positive frames
Negativity can work in certain situations. For instance, you can use negativity on the “No” button in your leading questions to hammer home your point:
People don’t like to answer questions untruthfully. It goes against the grain.
However, when possible, frame information positively. Help the reader see a brighter future, a problem resolved, a goal attained, or information learned.
20. Maximize the diversity of your word choice when copywriting
If you use the same language over and over again, readers get bored. You probably already know this because of the books you’ve set aside in frustration.
The same concept applies to copywriting. If you vary your language, use surprising words, and delight your audience, you’ll increase the potential for conversions.
21. Tell an engaging story to provide concrete mental images to your reader
I love storytelling. It’s one of the most powerful copywriting strategies in the world.
You can tell a true story about a problem you overcame or an issue you resolved. You can also set up a fictional story about an imaginary character.
Either way, descriptive storytelling helps engage your readers’ imaginations. They put themselves in the “main character’s” shoes.
22. Use metaphors to convey intangible concepts
Metaphors, when used correctly, help explain complex or intangible concepts.
If possible, choose a metaphor to which your target audience can relate. For instance, if you know your audience isn’t particularly sporty, don’t use a football metaphor to explain conversion rates. It’ll sail right over your readers’ heads.
23. Stay on target
I’ve given you lots of copywriting tips to consider today, but if there’s one I want you to remember, it’s this: Stay on target. Avoid tangents at all costs.
Time is currency for many consumers. They only have a certain amount of time each day to spend, so they won’t waste it on content that doesn’t provide something valuable right away.
(By the way, that’s a metaphor. See above.)
The best writing happens during the editing process. Maybe you couldn’t help slipping into a tangent somewhere in the middle of your copy. Now that you’ve gotten it out of your system, delete it.
Bonus: 5 Email Copywriting Tips for Beginners
Believe it or not, there are still good things to come!
Email marketing is essential for any business. In fact, some marketers claim that their most valuable asset is their email list.
If you’re trying to convert prospects into leads, you want them to sign up for your email list. Then, once they sign up, you want them to open those emails, read them thoroughly, and engage with them.
How do you make that happen? Through exemplary copywriting.
1. Solve a problem
Every email you send to your list should mention and solve a problem. You don’t have to do it within the email itself. You can link out to quality resources.
For instance, let’s say I’m sending an email to my Hello Bar leads. I talk about increasing website traffic and generating leads.
In the email, I might say that many businesses struggle to get traffic and convert those visitors. Then, I can link to my article on increasing traffic.
2. Focus on one point at a time
Emails shouldn’t be long. Remember, time is money.
Focus on a single point in your email. Think of it as a theme or goal. What do you want your reader to take away from the email?
3. Talk to the reader on a personal level
Pretend you’re writing your emails to friends. Picture a single person and focus on him or her. Use casual language (if it fits your brand) and write in second person (using the word “you”).
4. Don’t overpromise
It’s easy to get carried away when drafting emails. You want to promise the world.
Resist that urge.
Instead, promise only what you can deliver.
5. Avoid clichés when doing email copywriting
Cliches are insidious creatures that sneak into your emails and harm your brand. You might think you’re following traditional sales tactics, but you’re really destroying relationships.
For instance, using fake rationale will really hurt you. Making excuses, such as “our servers crashed” or “we had a problem with our email delivery service” will make you look like an amateur.
So will fake urgency. If you’re constantly “extending deadlines” for sales or promotions, your readers will pick up on it.
The same goes for labeling your email as “private.” Unless you’re sending an email to a single person, it’s not private. So don’t say it is.
Using the above copywriting tips, you can vastly improve your conversion rates and build better relationships with your customers. It sounds tough, but it becomes second nature once you get used to applying these strategies.
Start by getting a good grasp of content marketing. Read lots of content and figure out whether or not you liked it. Why or why not?
Then use these copywriting tips in every piece of content you write, from an exit popup to a 4,000-word article. If you’re conducting email marketing (and you should), pay careful attention to my five bonus tips.
What’s your favorite copywriting tip?