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Copywriting basics for small business

Copywriting basics for small businesses

Hands up if you hate having to come up with content for your small business? Keep them up if you’re not confident in your copy, even after pouring over your computer for hours on end?

Well, this post is for you!

Coming up with content is hard. Producing compelling content that resonates with your reader and gets them to take action is even harder.

There’s A LOT involved in copywriting – just ask our lead copywriter here at Naked Digital Marketer, Kirsty Russell! We invited Kirsty to emerge from the other side of her computer and share her insights with the Organic Digital Marketing group as part of our ongoing Guest Speaker Series.

With a lifelong love of writing and nearly a decade of copywriting experience under her belt, Kirsty runs her own small business, Double Scoop Consulting. Specialising in SEO copywriting, Kirsty helps small business owners find the right words to sell their products and services.

Here’s a snapshot of what we covered in our copywriting discussion (heads up – we covered a lot!)

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the art of getting people to take action, whether that’s buying a product, downloading a resource, subscribing to a list or seeking further information. Copywriting emerged in the golden age of marketing and advertising (think Mad Men) when entire pages in newspapers or magazines would be devoted to long-form advertising copy.

Nowadays, copywriting is synonymous with websites and social media. Whenever you engage with customers, you are essentially writing copy. Think about all the ways you interact with current and potential customers right now – these are all examples of copywriting:

  • Website content
  • Blog posts
  • Sales pages
  • Landing pages
  • Direct messages
  • Chatbots
  • Emails
  • Social media posts
  • Online comments
  • Automated messages (order confirmations, etc.)
 

What are the key elements of copywriting?

Copywriting brings together creativity, search engine optimisation and tone of voice to help sell products and services. Think about examples of content that you’ve just had to read to the end, found amusing or had the urge to share with others. Chances are, a copywriter was involved.

Good copywriting is characterised by the following elements:

  • Compels visitors to keep reading
  • Takes the readers’ point of view
  • Explains “what’s in it for me?”
  • Has a clear target audience in mind
  • Addresses audience pain points
  • Understands the power of keywords and SEO
  • Contains links to relevant internal and external content.
 

How can a professional copywriter help small businesses?

First, a professional copywriter takes care of your copy needs for you, which can be quite a load off your shoulders. Whenever you require fresh content, like a blog post or email campaign, you can leave it to someone else, freeing up your time to get back to your business.

Second, copywriters unlock new content ideas and guide you on the best way to present your content. You could have a goldmine of potential on your site, but need a fresh set of eyes to see it. Content audits and tone of voice guidelines can help you make the most of your marketing. 

Third, most copywriters will help optimise your website for SEO. By undertaking keyword research, structuring your content well and including internal and external links, an SEO copywriter can help your business rank higher in search results and attract more visitors.

Whether you engage a copywriter to develop your content or provide guidance along the way, investing in professional copywriting services can yield big rewards for small business owners.

5 key copywriting tips for small business owners

Know your customer

Who is your ideal customer? What do they care about? What are their pain points? What do they value? How can you help them? How do they describe themselves and their problems?

Answering these questions is the key to effective copywriting. This helps you determine your unique value proposition (USP), your tone of voice, the language you use and the values you hold. When you know your customer, you can create content that resonates with them.

Here are some tips to help you get to know your customer:

  • Create a customer avatar/persona – give your ideal customer a name, a background and a story. This will help you write directly to them, making your copy more powerful.
  • Get to know their pain points – what is the main issue facing your customers? What drives them mad and makes them want to take action?
  • Understand their values – is price, quality, convenience, speed, exclusivity, sustainability, geography or something else their most important purchase consideration?
  • Harness PAS (Pain/Agitate/Solution) – this tried and tested copywriting approach starts by pointing out the problem, doubling down on the consequences of not taking action and introducing a solution (your product or service).

Keep things simple

You can’t beat the KISS philosophy – keep it simple stupid. It works in most areas of life, including copywriting! The key is to not overcomplicate your writing. Resist the urge to use big words, complicated language or technical jargon and acronyms. Instead, take a conversational approach, using language that your audience would use themselves.

Make sure you re-read and edit your content to ensure it’s easy to read and free from errors. There’s nothing worse than potential visitors judging your business on the basis of spelling or grammatical errors. Put your best foot forward and instil confidence by editing your copy.

Here are some tips to get your content right:

  • Always read what you write out loud – if it sounds clumsy or if it’s not easy to say, then it will be hard for people to read.
  • Use free online tools to check your writingGrammarly and Hemingway App will identify glaring spelling and grammatical errors before you hit publish.
  • Take the reader’s point of view – imagine you don’t have any prior knowledge or experience. Reading your content, does everything make sense?

Stay on message

Don’t be tempted to include everything on every page. To cut through to your reader, it’s important to stay on message. This means sticking to one main point per page or blog post, instead of trying to cover everything. Else you risk diluting your message and losing your reader.

Think about what you want your customers to take away from the content. If it’s to buy a product, don’t confuse or distract them by getting them to subscribe to your list or download a free resource as well. Stick to one main message for the best results.

Here’s how to strengthen your message:

  • Focus on benefits rather than features – you might be open 24 hours a day but what does that mean for the customer? Spell out how your product or service helps them, rather than just repeating the features and relying on them to join the dots.
  • Speak to the customer directly – instead of talking about the customer, talk directly to them. For example, “we’re here to make your life easier” is more powerful than “our goal is to make our customers’ lives easier.” Don’t discount the power of direct messaging.
  • Have a clear purpose – what is the purpose of your post or page? Is it to sell more products, educate readers, build brand awareness or something else? Have a clear purpose to make it easier to nail your message and get genuine cut-through.

Break up your text

A common misconception about copywriting is that you need to fill the page with text. In fact, you are better off embracing white space and not overwhelming the reader with too many words. No one wants to read a wall of text – it’s a sure-fire way to turn off your readers.

Less is more when it comes to copywriting. Don’t write for the sake of it – only write what you need to make your point. The key is to make it easy for your customers to understand what you do and what you offer so they can take action.

Here’s how to break up your text and maximise conversions:

  • Use headings and subheadings – make it easy for readers to quickly scan your content by using headings. These are also a great way to include keywords naturally.
  • Consider using bullet points – emphasise important points by breaking them up into bullet points. These are easier to follow and have more impact than normal text.
  • Use images and graphics – interspersing your content with images, tables, graphics and other visuals can also make a big impact without overwhelming your readers.

Tell readers what to do next

People need to be told what to do – it’s a fact of life. That’s why another important tool in the copywriting arsenal is the call to action (CTA). This is most often a button that visitors click to take action – such as making a purchase, subscribing to an email list or downloading a resource.

Including CTAs throughout your page encourages visitors to follow your lead. After showing how your product or service could help them, make it easy for visitors to take advantage of your solution by serving up a buy now, subscribe or contact button.

Here’s how to make the most of your CTAs:

  • Stick to one CTA – don’t confuse people by trying to get them to do too many different things. You could lose them altogether. Focus on one main CTA per page.
  • Use direct language – utilise action verbs in your CTAs. For example – buy now, become a member, join up, download ebooks, contact us, follow us, etc.
  • Ensure all links work – you only have one shot at getting visitors to take action. If your links are broken, you not only potentially lose a sale, you may lose a customer for good. Make sure each CTA can be followed through.

Stop relying on paid advertising to bring traffic back to your website.

Our handy guide contains actionable tips you can implement so that you don’t have to rely solely on paid advertising. Download the Organic Marketing Essentials Workbook and enjoy!

4 golden rules of copywriting

You don’t have to resort to the hard sell

Do you struggle to promote yourself because the thought of selling your products or services seems “icky”? We’ve all been on the receiving end of the hard sell, so it’s no surprise that many of us want to avoid being pushy or too obvious when it comes to marketing.

Luckily, there is a way to sell your products and services in a helpful and welcome way. By focusing on the value you provide, how you help your audience and the benefits of your products or services, you can show people why they need to choose you over your competition. This avoids the salesy tone, the “ick” factor and the pushiness of the hard sell.

Pay attention to these three key pages

Home page

Your homepage is the front door to your site – think of it as a table of contents. To help visitors discover how you can help them, your home page should include the following elements:

  • Unique selling proposition (USP) – make it easy for people to know what you offer and what makes you different
  • Overview of Services/Categories – include a quick overview of your main services or product categories, with links
  • Who you are – share who you are, what you do and why you want to help, linking back to your about page
  • Testimonials/Reviews – share what people think of your business to reassure visitors that you are trustworthy
  • Call to action (CTA) – tell people what to do by including links to your shop, your services and your email list.

About page

The about page is the second most visited page on your website. Most people struggle to leverage its power as they get stuck on what to say, but following this structure will help:

  • Share your story – talk about your business, how you came to start it and why you are in business
  • State your mission, vision and values – help people connect with you by telling them what you stand for and what you’re hoping to achieve
  • Focus on how you solve problems – connect the dots so your visitors are in no doubt that you can help them with their issue
  • Include main social media channels – make it easy for people to follow you online, using their preferred social media channel
  • Email subscription – offer a one-off discount to join your list or provide a free resource to encourage people to subscribe.

Services/Collections page

Depending on your business, you should have a page that provides an overview of your main products or services. This should link to specific pages with more information and include:

  • Services overview – insert relevant keywords and remember to make it easy for visitors to understand the benefits of what you offer (i.e. don’t fall into the trap of just listing what you do – explain how it helps your ideal customer)
  • Product collections – this is the perfect place to leverage keywords and spruik your products. Most eCommerce stores rely on images to sell their products. You can improve your SEO and encourage more sales by investing in good copywriting here.

Know what Google wants

While no one really knows the secret to Google’s algorithm (they keep that VERY close to their chest), there are key copywriting elements that seem to impact ranking and SEO.

  • Word count – Google is more likely to rank content higher when the word count is above 300 words. With more text, it’s easier to determine what the page is about. It’s also often an indication that the page is of higher quality (although this is not always the case!)
  • Relevant keywords – Google is more likely to rank and index your content if it contains relevant keywords. To help this process, Include keywords in the page’s title tag and meta description, as well as in headings, subheadings and throughout the text.
  • Page structure – following a logical structure and breaking text into sections helps Google make sense of your content. Doing this increases your chances of having content pulled out as a featured snippet and appearing first in search results.

Remember, people buy from people

While it’s important to give Google clues about who you are and what you do, in the end, you need to connect with people. Google can serve up content, but it’s people who will make the ultimate decision to click on your site and make a purchase.

Don’t try to stuff your site with keywords for the sake of it. You want to write compelling copy that will intrigue, interest and impel action. While keywords and SEO are important, connecting with your audience in a natural and conversational way will boost conversions and spark action.

Free copywriting resources

If you’re keen to improve your own copywriting, check out these free resources for a quick boost.

Grammar Resources

Tools to refine your writing and improve your grammar:

Keyword Research Resources

Tools to help you understand what your readers are searching for to improve your SEO:

General Writing Resources

Tools to help you nail headings, find topics of interest and improve your writing:

 

FREE BLOG CHECKLIST

Kirsty has put together a quick and easy go-to resource that sets out the main types of blog posts and how to write them. Download this resource for free, right now!

If you’re interested in finding out more about copywriting or learning how a professional copywriter could help boost your business, Kirsty can help. Check out the Double Scoop Consulting website or Facebook page or email her directly – kirsty@doublescoop.com.au.

How Naked Digital Marketer can help with copywriting

Experts in website design and development, the team at Naked Digital Marketer can also improve your website copy. With Kirsty as our lead copywriter, your website redesign is in great hands. We’ll supply recommended keywords and deliver optimised copy to help your website become more visible and draw more of your target audience.

In addition to website copy, we also supply SEO blog content, marketing emails and copy for sales pages and landing pages. With a focus on organic marketing, our copywriting services will boost your SEO and connect with the needs and pain points of your ideal audience.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR WEBSITE DESIGN AND COPYWRITING SERVICES

Interested in mastering copywriting for your small business? We’re ready to help! Schedule a free 30-minute chat with Desiree from Naked Digital Marketer to see how easy it can be to level up your small business with updated website design and optimised content.

Schedule a free 30-minute discovery call with us to learn more

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