Copywriting 101 - Everything You Need To Know About Copywriting
Are you a business owner or a freelancer wanting to learn copywriting?
Or, before hiring one, do you want to know more about what copywriters can do to improve your business?
If this sounds like you then keep reading this article.
In "Copywriting 101 - Everything You Need To Know About Copywriting" we’re going to cover some basic knowledge about copywriting as well as some copywriting tips for beginners.
You can expect to fully understand what effective copywriting is, what copywriters do, what they bring to the table, and the general price range.
You will also gain insight on two important aspects to copywriting. You will learn how to create a buyer persona for your own business and how to craft a persuasive call to action.
Finally, at the end of this monster article you will learn about an extremely effective old school copywriting technique! The skill that you’ll acquire is a strong tool that you can use in all forms of your copy, whether it be print or web!
Are you ready to learn how to craft a persuasive web copy?
Let’s get started with what a copywriter does.
What Does a Copywriter Do?
Copywriting is a crucial part of successful marketing. You’ll hear pretty often that copywriting is an art and a science. This is because copywriters need to produce a web or print copy that emotionally affects people to take some type of action.
The action could be anything, from a very obvious “Call Now” to secretly solving problems people didn’t even know they had. The main purpose of their copy is to increase the effectiveness of marketing and advertising campaigns.
The art of appealing to users emotions is not reserved only for b2c companies but also b2b companies. Copywriters play a large part in b2b marketing and sales.
Copywriters are generally the highest paid writers because of how difficult the process actually is. We will be focusing more on the online aspect in this article. But don’t think that they only work to create solutions for online marketing. As a matter of fact, they have been around for years.
Copywriters play an important part in crafting billboards, brochures, catalogs, sales letters, tv ads, newsletters, taglines, and pretty much any other form of marketing communication that you can think of.
Wow, that’s a wide variety of different mediums!
Online copywriters, also called web content writers/creators, are more experienced in digital ads, search engine optimization, crafting web pages, email newsletters, blogs, and social media.
In order to perform online, many copywriters have had to develop skills like link building and creating attractive graphics for social media.
Now that you understand what copywriters do, let’s go over the general price range for common services.
Average Copywriting Prices
Copywriting prices range wildly because they can do so much. From rewriting your pages to rank well while still sounding natural, all the way to PPC ads, copywriters do it all.
This is why, on average, junior copywriters make $48,000 and seniors make $88,000 per year in an agency.
Successful freelance copywriters have pretty much unlimited potential, as long as they can find clients. Some have reported that they are making over 6 figures a month, although there is no way to actually verify it.
Both agency and freelancing copywriting positions have pros and cons that we’ll cover below.
First, check out this list of common prices for some services:
- Page optimization: Re-writing an existing web copy to be found in SERP’s -> $100 - $400 per page
- Writing for a small website: Five to six pages SEO included -> $1,500 - $3,500
- Sales email: $250 - $2000
- Newsletter: Articles/editorial -> $250 - $2000
- Articles: Price ranges because of research required -> usually 500 - 1200 words -> $50 - $300
How Do You Find Work as a Copywriter
Some copywriters are in-house employees and work for a company or an agency, while some are independent contractors otherwise known as freelancers.
It doesn’t matter which path you choose, there will always be pros and cons.
Working for a Company
Pros: By working in an agency, you will usually have a steady supply of work, which also means a steady form of payment. As you gain experience your salary will increase. You also have job security. One great factor many overlook is that you will have other writers that you can bounce ideas off of.
Cons: You have to show up to work everyday. And stay there for however many hours your boss wants you there. You also get to deal with the pains of being in an office.
Pros:As a freelancer you have the freedom of working wherever you want and at whatever time you want. Work at home in your pajamas, or at your favorite coffee shop. Work in your hometown or move to somewhere exotic. Freelancing gives you many opportunities.
Cons: When working as a freelancer, you are your own business. You need to build your brand by yourself and find your own clients. No clients equals no work, no money, nothing.
It sounds nice and easy to travel the world as a digital nomad but, you need to be in control of your schedule in order to continue making money and to keep your clients happy.
Why Hire a Professional Copywriter
What’s the first reaction you want your website's visitors to have?
You want them to instantly recognise the voice of your brand. You want them to be drawn to the text on-screen. You want the web copy they see to be engaging, professional, and easy to read.
It’s not easy to get the results you want if you don’t have experience writing for the web. An experienced copywriter will understand everything related to web copy.
The copy they create for your site will complement your marketing strategy. This means they will use SEO to bring more organic traffic. A seasoned copywriter will deliver a copy that answers common questions visitors have while also mixing in discrete, persuasive messages.
Your website's copy will draw readers into your sales funnel without them realizing it.
One problem many have when trying to write on their own is sounding way to salesy. This discourages visitors because they feel as though you only want to sell something instead of provide them with value.
What is your goal for visitors on your site?
You should be focusing on keeping users browsing your site. The longer someone is on your site, the more likely they are to buy. Copywriters are the best at drawing-in visitors attention and at developing interest in your product or service.
Copywriters will provide value to your users and deepen their desire, which ultimately compels them to take action.
Now that you have some basic knowledge about copywriting let’s focus on gaining some key skills.
What is a Buyer Persona
Imagine a man named Bill. Bill is 39 years old and works as a programmer at a medium sized company. He is married and has 2 kids - a boy 13 and a girl 12. He works 60 hour weeks. Bill is a bit overweight and can’t find motivation to go to the gym. He has tried quite a few however.
The buyer persona example above is short and basic. A buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer.
Creating a buyer persona will help you create a blueprint for your content, services, and offers. You need to ask yourself questions about what motivates your ideal customers but also what brings them down. Other questions should be about age, profession, and personal life.
I will write a more in-depth guide on buyer personas later on. If you would like more information, you can check out Hubspot's amazing guide.
This persona can be used as an example for the copywriting technique that I will explain later on.
Call To Action Tips
The most simple form of a call to action, aka CTA, is “Buy Now” or “Call Now”. It’s better practice to provide readers with more information related to your offer.
A few quick tips to strengthen your call to actions are:
- Use a strong command verb
- Provoke emotion/enthusiasm
- Tell your audience why they should take action
- Use FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out
- Use numbers
The command verb in our example is “Sign Up”. This is letting readers know exactly what we want them to do.
An easy way to provoke enthusiasm is by using exclamation marks!!
Why should anyone “Sign Up”? We let them know that it’s for half-price martial arts lessons.
Can you guess FOMO in our example?
“The first 20 only!”. This adds a sense of urgency and can compel people to take action.
CTA’s need to be short, easy to read, and straight to the point. That’s the reason why numbers work much better than spelling everything out. Use numbers for prices, discounts, and promotions.
This example is also for the copywriting skill you’ll learn down below. By now I’m guessing you’ve figured out what the topic of that technique will be.
Aida an “Old School” Copywriting Technique
Let’s talk about AIDA. Who is AIDA?
That’s not the right question. What is AIDA?
AIDA is an effective model of advertising. It’s a tried-and-tested copywriting technique that has been around for many years.
AIDA, the proven “old school” copywriting technique, is a powerful method to generate more leads and ultimately more revenue.
AIDA stands for:
Instead of reading a long-winded explanation for each category, you get an example of the entire process!
Before implementing the four steps, you first have to collect some information about your target audience.
This example will be about a martial arts dojo that wants to run a promotion to bring in more customers. The owner wants to send out a two-page letter to people within a 15-mile radius.
This example, even though it is for a printed medium, can also be used online.
Let’s get started!
Imagine you own a martial arts dojo that targets people between 35-55. The dojo also works with kids and customers of all ages can compete in local tournaments.
You, the owner, buys a mailing list of your target demographic.
You must understand what motivates people to actually participate in your sales process before you use AIDA. Let’s say that the dojo has been running for a few years so you know the following about your customers:
- The target age men want to try the lessons
- Women and the wives of the men are reluctant at first but end up enjoying the lessons
- Free trial/intro class offer converts best
- The classes make the 35-55 age group feel healthier and better about themselves
- Many customers lose weight and gain strength and flexibility
- Local competitions to showcase their gained skills improves their self confidence and instills pride in all age groups
- Provides a good stress relief mechanism after a long workweek
- The call to action: calling, e-mail, or visiting website for booking free trial/intro lesson or more info
The offer is one of the most important parts of your promotion.
Let’s say it’s one week of two hour classes per day, half-priced. Normally it costs $50 (because 5 classes a week) but with the promotion the price goes down to $25.
This offer will persuade people to try the martial arts classes. Let’s say approximately 50% of people who will try the promotion will end up continuing with lessons (at least 2 lessons per week). Maybe 20% of them will end up bringing their children as well.
Now the copywriter uses all of this data to implement AIDA properly.
The owner has decided to circulate this promotion with a two page letter. So the first task at hand will be to grab the attention of the reader.
The target demographic is men and women between the ages of 35-55. What is important to these prospects?
It’s more about getting a type of fun exercise, feeling healthier, and gaining skills.
A question headline would work great to attract the reader's attention. Something like: “Do you want to improve your fitness and have fun at the same time?”
The headline on the letter inside needs to also grab the reader's attention. So maybe something like: “How these 3 people gained strength and lost inches while having fun!”
After grabbing a reader's attention, you now have to create interest in what you're talking about. You can do this by providing them with interesting information following the headlines.
For our example we can talk about 3 people - 2 men and 1 women, who lost inches on their waist, became healthier, and gained strength. Maybe they even went on to showcase their skills in a tournament, which gave them a great sense of accomplishment.
You could add that the training they received at the dojo helped to relieve built up stress from work, overall improving their quality of life.
You want the information to be based on what appeals to your current and past students.
This method discretely solves potential problems readers could be having. A stressed out and boring work-life balance. Readers could be overweight but going to the gym is boring.
For this situation you don’t want to mention the problem directly. In some cases however, you will want to mention a direct problem. Now we can move onto the next step.
Here you want to showcase the benefits of your product or service. Using the research from earlier is very important in this part.
You need to provide claims that people feel healthier and feel better about themselves. But you have to back up these claims, or you’ll sound like some scammer where everything is too good to be true.
For example you could provide proof by using testimonials to fortify desire around your service.
By now readers should be interested in taking martial arts lessons with you so, it’s time to announce the offer. We can take this a step further by also presenting the concept of scarcity.
The offer is half price classes for one week.
If you remember from above, a week consists of five classes; two hours each. The regular price for a week ends up at $50. With the promotion, the price will only be $25.
You will add the concept of scarcity by adding “only the first 20 to sign up will get this deal”. This will give readers the idea that they must act fast to get the deal.
You should mention the martial arts instructor and his qualifications here. You can also add some type of guarantee, it will help sway readers to take action.
The final part is very important. Can you guess what it is?
We talked about it earlier.
It’s the call to action.
You have to tell the reader the next step they need to take; it must be direct and clear.
The example above is a basic but effective technique. A good way to dig further into this topic is to pay close attention to any ads you come across. Watch how some mess it up completely and how some use this formula successfully.
You made it all the way to the end of this copywriting guide. You now have a few new techniques that you can implement into your web copy. You also gained a ton of knowledge about what copywriting actually is. If you have some more basic tips you would like to share, leave a comment below.