The purpose of web copywriting is to induce your prospect to take an action—give you an email address, visit your website, join a membership, or make a purchase.
Sales copy differs from marketing content, although each contains elements of the other. We can say content informs and copy sells, but we should take it one step further—content builds relationships and copy closes the deal.
Copy and Content Carry Your Message Together
If I write an e-book for you, no one will read it unless we market it with well-written copywriting. We can do that with insert ads in blog articles, your web pages, and your email campaigns.
I write social media posts to direct traffic to a white paper, and may suggest ads in industry journals, social media communities, and listing in industry-specific content aggregators.
Those marketing devices will direct people to a landing page that has one purpose: to capture a lead. We can then send an email that uses copywriting to reaffirm the value of the white paper and provide a link to download it. After the download, we can present a “thank you” page with well-written copy that offers the benefits of the white paper again.
What’s good copy?
High-performing copy is well-written, grammatically correct, and persuasive, but that is the baseline. There is much more to quality web copywriting, including these characteristics:
- Well-researched. There is no room for factual error in sales copy. One slip will make your prospect question everything.
- Ethical. Good copywriting makes no promises you can’t deliver and persuades without deception. Good copy does not plagiarize and always cites source material. We check everything we publish.
- Jargon-free (unless it’s not). Write in the language your prospects speak and don’t use insider acronyms. Wrinkled foreheads take your potential customers out of the story, and they may not make it back.
- True to its purpose. Good copy takes the reader, viewer, or listener down the path of the unique selling proposition and moves the prospect in the direction you want them to go. No side trips. No distractions.
- Avoids fuzzy words (except when it doesn’t). We see them everywhere — empty words and phrases that mean nothing, buzzwords, and loose language. “World-class,” “state-of-the-art,” and “holistic” top my list of offenders. However, if they are correct and you can define them, they can work very well. Our British colleague Amy Harrison has a comprehensive list of words to avoid (except when you shouldn’t).
- Personal conversation with an audience of one. Good copy is more than a “personal touch.” It is a one-on-one conversation, in a casual tone, that speaks directly to what your prospect cares about. There is no substitute for knowing your audience.
Grammatically Correct, Except When…
The best copywriters know grammar and punctuation rules and know when to ignore them to get the right effect. For example, this punctuation would not pass in Mrs. Murphy’s 8th-grade class.
Everything I write is grammatically correct…
…except when it isn’t.
It causes the reader to pause — exactly what I want when I need to drive a point home, and the dash between “pause” and “exactly” in this sentence has the same purpose.
The Ultimate Test of Web Copywriting: How Does It Perform?
Measurement is the foundation of good copywriting. You don’t really know if it’s good copy till you see how well it performs. When we work together, I want to look at the analytics that shows whether the text I write is achieving its purpose. And, I recommend you revisit your copywriting periodically to improve it.
Let’s have a conversation about good copywriting and the metrics that matter. Contact me and let’s get started.