Copywriting is something that a lot of small business owners would say they’re pretty good at. After all, we all took English at school and the grammar and spell check tools are our best online pals. Simple, right?
Yes – except there’s a distinction between being able to put words on a page and being able to convey a message or a feeling with words.
Put a different way, there’s a difference between being able to write and being able to write well. For a small business operating in a world where information is instant, first impressions can make or break the opportunity to secure new clients. Now that online marketing and SEO are becoming increasingly significant, good copywriting has become more important than ever.
Copywriting grows small businesses
If you want to help your small business marketing efforts, good copywriting is essential. Let’s use a website as an example.
The average time someone spends on a website is five minutes, once they’ve made the decision to stay. The average time on the landing page is five seconds. That’s not a lot of time – but it’s enough to form an impression about your business.
How does this relate to copy? Well, good copy is important for two reasons: to help people form a good impression about your business and to interest them enough to keep reading and hold their attention.
The longer they stick around and read about what you have to offer, the more likely they’ll grow to trust you enough to become your customer.
Where your COPY might be screaming for some WRITE
Written copy forms literally every written aspect of your business, from brochures and newsletters to social media and your website, so it’s important to get it right.
The starting point for writing great copy is without a doubt the ability to use proper punctuation, good grammar and proper spelling. We won’t get into grammar here, but if you’re interested in improving your grammatical ability we highly recommend Lyne Truss’s book Eats, Shoots and Leaves, which is a hilarious must-read into the wonderful world of English grammar.
Who are you talking to and what matters to them?
Once the basics of grammar and spelling are taken care of, great copywriting becomes about writing copy that your audience will respond to. What type of language is most familiar, understandable, useful and appropriate?
In part this is about knowing your audience (which we covered in an earlier blog post). But it’s also about knowing how to deliver your message in the right way, with maximum impact and with your audience’s needs at heart.
It’s about using the right words, in the right places, to grab attention and keep your audience interested. It’s about being able to get inside your potential client’s mind, instil confidence and inspire them to want to become your customer.
From good copy to new customers
It goes without saying that the conversion from potential client to customer is the real return on investment for your business and with the wonders of modern technology, you can measure the results of great copywriting for yourself.
Use tools such as Google Analytics to measure how your visitors are consuming your content, where they are staying the longest and where they’re missing vital calls to action.
For print, e.g. brochures, ask for feedback from your customers. Ask them what stood out to them. You might be surprised to learn that the one thing you thought was irrelevant is what really matters. Or, that you gave a lot of information that they really don’t care about, so your message was lost.
Whatever you’re writing, remember to read it back as if you hadn’t wrote it and always ask someone to check your work. It will pay off when that new customer gets in touch, saying, ‘I liked your website, it just spoke to me. I don’t know why’.
If you’re a small business owner and have questions on how copywriting can help your small business marketing efforts, or if you have experienced the value of great copywriting then we’d love to hear from you!