How to Write Effective Copy for your Customers

Having studied what works, I’ve created a checklist that will help you ensure your copy has all the right elements to make it effective.
Does your copy contain?
  • An attention grabbing headline
  • Reciprocation
  • Commitment and consistency
  • Social Proof
  • Authority
  • Scarcity
  • Maximum benefits and zero risk
  • 3:1 Ratio of the word YOU to the words I and WE
  • Answers to objections
  • Call to action

Attention grabbing headline:This is the most important part of your copy.  Its job should be to get attention, select the right audience and convince them to read on. There are many ways to do this, and the topic of headline writing is an article in itself. However, as a starting point, try to create a headline that delivers news, promises benefits and arouses curiosity.

Reciprocation:  A feeling of indebtedness is a proven way to persuade people to do something.  Other than offering something promotional in the copy  i.e. a free tips book – you can give them some very useful information, or, more common with copywriters, give them some cleverly crafted text that makes them feel like they should certainly read on.  A good mindset for approaching any persuasive copy is asking what we can offer the reader, rather than just focusing on what will make the reader do what we ask.

Commitment and consistency:  “As an X sort of person you will be interested in Y” .  Your copy should align what you are asking the reader to do with desirable traits that most people, and especially your target audience, want to have.  However, be careful not to patronise here or assume too much about the reader in your copy.  It’s easy to overstep the mark.

Social Proof: Covert let the reader know that everyone else is doing it. Let them know that the product or service is credible and has been used by many people. Including testimonials is a great way to show that you are reliable.




Authority: Does a credible body endorse the product or service?  Are there stats from independent studies to back up why people should do what the copy asks them to do?

Scarcity:  Let them know that your offer will only be around for a limited time, and only available to a limited number of people.

Maximum benefit and Zero risk: Outline all the benefits that your product or service will add to your readers’ lives, and then contrast it with the very little they will have to pay for it.  You can even go a step further by reducing the risk to zero by making offers such as a “90-day money back guarantee”.

3:1 Ratio of the word YOU to the words I and WE: Write from their point of view.  The best way to do this is to speak directly to the reader. Go through your copy and count how many times you’ve used the word you to the words I and we.

Deal with objections: Read through your copy and question what sort of objections might be running through your readers’ head.  I.e. Can I trust you? Do I have time for this? Are you honest and reputable? Can I really afford it at the moment? Can this product do all you claim? What happens after I buy it?

Have a compelling call to action: Marketing is about selling the next step. Identify your next step and make it clear to the reader that’s what you want them to do.

Clearly not all of these will be appropriate for your copy. However, by including as many as you can, you will go a long way to making your copywriting effective.



Category: Copywriting
29 December 2014

By Marcus Hemsley

Marcus Hemsley

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