3 Unspoken Truths About Your Audience

How many times have you heard the phrase KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE? It’s one of the holiest of holy commandments in marketing.

To write effective copy, you need to know your audience so you can speak their language and address their pains. For example, you wouldn’t speak at a Star Wars convention and close with live long and prosper.

Discovering your target audience and learning what drives their decisions is part of the copywriting process. However, before you understand your audience, there are a few things you need to know.

There are unspoken truths about your clients or customers – things that many small business owners or entrepreneurs simply don’t understand. But these three unspoken truths about your audience have to be understood before you write a single word of copy.

Truth 1: Your Audience Doesn’t Care About You

They only care about what you can do for them.

I know, I know. I was a little hurt when I found this out, too. Unfortunately, the reality is there are a lot of really good copywriters out there. So whenever I decide to call it quits to retire to the lake for an idyllic life of fishing and toy photography, my clients will move on and a new copywriter will take my place.

The same thing goes for your SaaS, technology, retail or janitorial services company. Because unless you invent a cutting-edge product that’s never been seen before or provide a service that’s never been offered, chances are you’re just one company in a very competitive market.

While that seems like the perfect opportunity to make yourself stand out, you’re right. This is where identity and branding really matters. But that only gets them interested. It doesn’t convince them to buy your product or hire you. They need to know what you can do for them because, at the end of the day, you don’t sell products or services. You improve their lives by solving their problems.

Consider the following two statements you might find on a retailer’s website:

  • We have more than 100 styles of graphic t-shirts in stock.
  • Keep up with the latest pop culture trends with over 100 styles of graphic t-shirts to choose from.

By flipping the narrative from what you have to offer to the benefits you provide, you create customer-centric copywriting that takes the focus away from you and puts it back on your audience.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Truth 2: Your Audience is Very Busy or Very Lazy

To be honest, it’s probably the latter, but to give them the benefit of the doubt, let’s go with the former. Either way, the point is that they’re not going to go out of their way to follow your lead or do what you ask them to do. Take point-of-sale (POS) surveys as an example.

How often have you gone through your favorite drive-thru or your local DIY home repair supercenter and been told you’ve been selected to participate in a customer service survey?

These POS surveys, sometimes called sales receipt surveys, ask you to use your phone or computer to complete a relatively short survey about your experience. To encourage your participation, they often offer incentives like free food or a chance to win a cash prize or gift card.

Who doesn’t like free food or money?

Apparently, a lot of people. The response rate on POS surveys is only 1%. The problem is that many people simply throw the receipts away, either forgetting about the survey or opting not to waste their time regardless of the incentive.

To get your audience to follow your lead, you need to make it very easy for them to complete the action you set before them. Using clear and concise calls-to-action (CTAs), you increase your odds of directing your audience to take the action you want them to take.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Truth 3: Your Audience is Smarter Than You Think

Master showman P.T. Barnum has been attributed with the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.

While there’s some debate on whether or not he actually delivered the famous quip, it enforces a common misconception that most audiences aren’t very intelligent or are easily swayed by blatant exaggerations paired with a little razzle-dazzle – in this case, a slick-looking website.

However, David Ogilvy had a different opinion on the topic. Known as the Father of Advertising, the famous British advertising executive said, “The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife.

He believed in showing the audience reliable, trustworthy data and letting them make their own decisions. This led to a new way of advertising that depended on the intelligence of the customer, downplaying the hype that surrounded most advertising campaigns of the day.

By giving your audience access to factual proof and backing it up with solid social proof, you let them see for themselves the true benefits of your offer without patronizing or insulting them in the process. You acknowledge their intellect and ask them to come to their own conclusions on whether your product or service is right for them.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Once you understand the three unspoken truths about your audience, you can start taking a deeper dive into who they are, the challenges they face and how you can help them. Then, and only then, will you be able to produce effective copywriting that turns visitors into leads, leads into prospects and prospects into customers.

For help with your website copywriting, click here and send me an email. Together, we’ll craft customer-centric messaging that focuses on the challenges your customers face and how you can solve them.

Until next time,

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Why CTA is Critical in Website Copywriting

At its core, the goal of copywriting is to get your audience to do something you want them to do. The first steps to accomplish this is to show them you understand the challenges they face and to showcase the benefits of your offer. However, none of that matters if you don’t let the audience know exactly what you want them to do.

A call-to-action, or CTA, is an invitation for your audience to take the desired action. In other words, a CTA tells your audience exactly what you want them to do.

And while some CTAs like Use the Force might seem pretty straightforward, sometimes you need to be more direct in your instructions.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Why Are CTAs Important?

One thing you need to know about your audience is that they are either incredibly busy or incredibly lazy. It’s one of the three unspoken rules of understanding your audience. Either way, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do what you want because they’re not going to waste their time trying to figure out what you want them to do next. So the easier you make it for them, the more likely they are to do it. And not enough websites do this.

A 2013 report from Small Business Trends found that 70% of small B2B websites had no CTA on their home page. Yes, I know that study is almost 10 years old, but if you start looking around at your competition, you’ll start to see that it’s still a pretty common issue.

In addition to giving your audience clear instructions and directing their actions, CTAs provide three major benefits that enhance your copywriting and improve your customer experience.

Increase Sales and Grow Your Audience. With simple and clear instructions such as Buy Now or Follow Me on Instagram, you give your audience an immediate and easy way to purchase your products or connect on social media.

Ensure Your Copy Leads to an Action. Everything you write for your website should be meaningful or what’s the point of writing it? By including a CTA to everything on your site, you bring it into your overall marketing plan and help drive audience engagement and conversion rates.

Reduce Decision Fatigue. When a person has to make multiple decisions back-to-back-to-back, they begin to tire of the process and start making hasty or bad choices. By giving them clear direction, you guide them through to the next appropriate step making their customer experience more impactful.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

8 Types of CTA That Improve Your Customer Experience

There are 8 types of calls-to-action that can improve your marketing message and guide your audience through their customer journey.

  • Lead Generation. Most commonly found on blogs or landing pages {anywhere with a high percentage of new visitors), these CTAs turn visitors into leads.
  • Form Submission. This type of CTA converts anonymous visitors into identifiable leads but is more challenging because it requires two audience actions: fill out the form and click to submit.
  • Continue Reading. Found primarily on your home page, this CTA follows introductory copy and leads your audience to more in-depth copy on the topic at hand.
  • Product/Service Discovery. The most common CTA found on your website, it leads your audience to descriptions of the product and services you have to offer.
  • Lead Nurturing. Effective for prospects that aren’t 100% convinced to commit, this allows you to entice your audience by offering something for free (demo, trial, quote, etc.).
  • Sale Closing. Once lead generation and nurturing are complete, you need to complete the transaction by presenting a sales-focused CTA that turns prospects into customers.
  • Social Sharing. The digital equivalent of word-of-mouth, providing this CTA gives your audience the chance to share your content with their online community through social media.
  • Event Promotion. Whether online or in-person, hosting an event can bring in new prospects so you need CTAs like this to raise awareness of the event or drive ticket sales.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Tips for Writing an Effective Call-to-Action

To write effective CTAs that convert visitors to leads, leads into prospects and prospects into customers, here are a few tips.

  • Make Your CTAs Visible. Your CTAs are important so why hide them at the bottom of the page or hide them in your copy? Make them stand out and place them in every section on each page.
  • Use Regular Language. Don’t use confusing jargon or uncommon language. Communicate as simply and effectively as possible.
  • Be Transparent. An essential part of copywriting is building trust with your audience. So be transparent with your CTAs and give them what you’ve promised.
  • Be Consistent. If you’re using buttons for your CTAs, keep them consistent in terms of shape, size and color.
  • Use Strong Command Verbs. Don’t assume your visitors know what to do next. Tell them by using strong command verbs like Buy, Order, Sign Up, Subscribe, Learn More, Read More, Add to Cart, etc.
  • Create Urgency. Don’t be afraid to tap into their fear of missing out (FOMO). Give a deadline or warn them you have a limited supply so there’s more incentive to follow your direction.
  • Provoke Emotion. Put some enthusiasm in your CTA and it will transfer to your audience, too.
  • Keep Character Count Low. Keep your CTAs short, sweet and to the point so you don’t bore them with exposition.

To learn more about using CTAs to get your audience to follow your lead, click here and send me an email. I’m always happy to help.

Until next time,

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Using Proof to Show vs Tell in Website Copywriting

If you’ve ever done any creative writing, you’ve heard the old adage, “Show, Don’t Tell.” This simply means don’t tell your audience what’s happening. Instead, allow them to experience it through action verbs and sensory details. Take this comparison of Tell versus Show…

An example of Tell:

Darth Vader was mad at Admiral Ozzel for coming out of hyperspace too close to the Rebel Alliance base on Hoth. He decided to kill the admiral for his mistake.

An example of Show:

Darth Vader’s blood boiled inside his protective suit. His rage radiated outward causing the instrument panels in front of him to shake. Ozzel was a fool for coming out of hyperspace so close to the Rebel base – an arrogant tactical mistake that would be his last.

Obviously, Vader was upset with Ozzel, but wasn’t it more interesting to read how Vader was feeling when you show how Vader is feeling instead of just saying he’s mad?

By showing versus telling, you give your reader a more visceral experience by allowing them to actually feel what’s happening. This is a fantastic and effective way to engage and immerse your audience in the story.

The only problem is that when it comes to website copywriting, it simply takes too long.

Now, there’s all sorts of data on how long a visitor stays on your site before bouncing back. Some experts say as long as 62 seconds, while other say it’s as short as 10-20 seconds. The point is that you don’t have a lot of time to communicate your value proposition.

That’s why this longer type of Show vs Tell is better suited to case studies and blogs.

And while the use of sensory words and action verbs are valuable copywriting tactics for keying in on audience emotions, for website copywriting you need a different type of show versus tell.

Instead of telling your audience what you can do, show them by giving them proof. Proof gives your audience the confidence they need to commit to buying your product or service.

Factual Proof

In copywriting, there are two types of proof – factual and social.

Factual proof is based on metrics or science. This type of proof is easy to support because you have real numbers or actions to back up your claims. Because these facts are synonymous with truth, they’re easier for the audience to accept.

Different types of factual proof include:

Demonstrations. While it’s practically impossible to demonstrate how your product or service works through copywriting, videos and webinars do the job nicely. Just imbed your video or add a link to sign up for a webinar and let them see first-hand how you can help improve their life or their business.

White Papers. These long-form documents promote products or services by using authoritative, in-depth reporting to educate your audience. They present a specific topic or challenge, then use studies, statistics and scientific findings to show how your product provides an effective solution.

Statistics and Metrics. Numbers don’t lie. They typically show the unbiased truth of things and help you prove your solution is needed and effective.

For example, let’s look at the question of whether or not a blog is relevant. With statistics and metrics, you don’t even have to use any significant copy to prove it. Take a look at some of these numbers about blogs compiled by OptInMonster:

  • 70 million blog posts are published each month on WordPress alone.
  • 57% of marketers gain customers specifically through blogging.
  • Companies who blog get 97% more backlinks to their website.

While factual proof is good for satisfying the logical side of the argument of whether or not to buy your product or service, you need to reach your audience on an emotional level as well. To do this, you need social proof.

Social Proof

The term social proof was first coined by psychologist Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In essence, he said when we don’t know what to do, we take cues from the people around us and model our behavior on theirs.

To translate this to your website, you simply include endorsements or testimonials to provide the cues for your audience to follow.

Customer Testimonials. Research has shown that customer testimonials, even from complete strangers, is very influential to prospects looking to buy a product. According to a Nielson survey, 70% of people said they trust reviews and recommendations from complete strangers. (Want to see some of my clients’ testimonials? Click here.)

Expert Testimonials. Most of us tend to trust experts because we believe their credentials or experience leads them to be more knowledgeable than us. When they support your claims or you quote them on your website, you create a deeper level of trust with your audience.

Celebrity Endorsement. While a celebrity may not be an expert, they have something just as valuable – appeal. Celebrities are seen by many as the pinnacle of society, living a rich, glamorous life that most of us can only hope to achieve. Therefore, we tend to listen to their recommendations and endorsements because if they’re using a product, you know it has to be good.

The Best of Both Worlds

While factual and social proof are both very effective at building trust with your audience, there’s actually a perfect hybrid of both that combines metrics with customer testimonials to deliver the most effective way of promoting your product or service.

This is the Case Study.

While often underutilized, case studies (aka use studies) are designed to provide analytical data while offering client testimony on the effectiveness of your product. By providing a link to a case study or by hosting a page full of them, you give your audience the opportunity to fully understand how your solution can help them. Want to see some examples? Click here.

To learn more about using proof to influence your website audience, click here and send me an email. I’m here to help explain the best ways to use proof to show versus tell.

Until next time,

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Persuasive Techniques for Website Copywriting

Do you remember that scene in Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope when Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrive in Tatooine with R2-D2 and C-3PO? Imperial Stormtroopers immediately stop them and begin asking about the droids, but Kenobi subtly waves his hand and tells the troopers, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Much to the surprise of everyone, the troopers agree and let them go.

While Jedi Mind Tricks like this are impossible in the real world, it is possible to incorporate certain persuasive techniques into your website copywriting to achieve similar results. Plus, there are specific keywords you can use to trigger emotion in your audience.

Let’s take a look at a few techniques and keywords you can use to write more persuasive copy for your website.

Connect with Your Audience

Personal messaging is one of the keys to a good customer experience. By writing your website copy with a single reader in mind – like one friend to another – you draft language that is more engaging and personal. But to connect with them, you need to understand them.

Before you begin write a single word of copy, create a description of who they are, what they care about and the pains they’re going through. Then use this profile to write copy that resonates with them by using their language, addressing their pains and offering a solution to solve their problem. And remember, your audience doesn’t care about you or your business. They only want to know how you’re going to help them, so tell them what’s in it for them.

Persuasive trigger words that create connection and empathy include:

  • You
  • Join
  • Help
  • Discover
  • Create

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Build Trust

Once you’ve connected with your audience, you need to build up their trust. No one likes to get ripped off or made to look foolish. So if they’re going to invest in your solution, you need to give them assurances they’re getting a good return on their investment.

Convince them by providing proof you can do what you say you can do. Satisfy the logical side of their brain with statistics and data from experts to support your claims. For the emotional side, use social proof like testimonials from satisfied customers or partners to explain how you helped them achieve success.

Persuasive trigger words that build trust include:

  • Guaranteed
  • Proven
  • Research
  • Results
  • Tested
  • Secure

Address Their Objections

While people are generally trusting, skepticism still plays a significant part in our decision-making process. And since you only have so much time to reach your audience before they leave your webpage (62 seconds!), you need to address their objections before they get a chance to realize they have them.

Talk about reasons a prospect would be willing to pass on your solution and refute them by explaining how your product or service works. Then offer them a guarantee so they know if your solution doesn’t work as expected, they get something back. It gives them reassurance that you won’t be wasting their time or money.

Persuasive trigger words that address their objections include:

  • Because
  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Instantly
  • Immediately
  • Guarantee

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Create a Sense of Urgency

Remember when you were in school and all your friends decided to go to a restaurant you didn’t like? You probably still went because you didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to be present if something fun or amazing happened. The same thing happens when you buy something just because it’s an exclusive or available for a limited time only. This is because we share a common experience known as fear of missing out.

When we feel pressured to act now or miss out on something new, most people leap before they look. They want be one of the first – part of the small, exclusive group that uses a product before anyone else. Use this desire to create a sense of urgency by leveraging your product’s exclusivity or limited availability and you’ll motivate them to buy it now.

Persuasive trigger words that create a sense of urgency include:

  • Now
  • Limited Time
  • Limited Edition
  • Short Supply
  • Exclusive
  • Latest
  • Only Available
  • Today

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Tell a Story

Ever since humans learned to express themselves, we’ve been telling stories. In addition to entertainment, stories explain the world around us and teach valuable lessons. When done in copywriting, you can highlight one of your customer’s challenges and show how your solution solved it.

In addition, by using sensory adjectives like dark, bitter, fragrant, smooth, loud, etc., you bring your audience into your story by making them see, taste, smell, feel and hear the experience you’re describing, helping them relate to it on a much deeper level.

Persuasive trigger words that help you tell a story include:

  • Imagine
  • Picture This
  • What if…?

By utilizing these persuasive techniques and using trigger words, you write copy that has a much higher chance of engaging your audience. Then you can easily convert them from prospects to customers.

If you’d like to talk about how persuasive copywriting improves your website’s ability to pull in more customers, drop me a line. I’d be happy to walk you through some basic steps.

And if you need help writing website copy that connects with you audience, just click here and send me an email.

Until next time,

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

Make Your Website Copy More Customer-Driven

I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but there’s an ugly truth that you need to know right now. I know it might sound harsh and there are certainly exceptions to this, but a fact is a fact.

Your customers don’t care about you or your business. They only care about themselves.

But before you start thinking your customers are selfish, egocentric maniacs, just remember, this is all totally normal in this scenario. After all, you’re providing a service or product that’s specifically tailored to make their lives easier or better. So why wouldn’t they be thinking only about themselves?

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

The good news is that you can leverage this information to your advantage. All you have to do is write your website copy to be more customer-centric. By doing so, you create a better connection with your audience while persuading them to do business with you.

To give you a hand, here are a few tips to help you focus your website copywriting on your customers.

Understand Your Audience.

Knowing your target audience and understanding them are two totally different things. Knowing them means you have all the demographics down – gender, age, ethnicity, location, marital status, etc. While that’s important, it doesn’t tell you anything about why they think or behave the way they do.

  • What challenges are they facing in their business?
  • What’s preventing them from investing in your services?
  • What changed that caused them to seek you out?
  • Why do they prefer the Star Wars prequel trilogy over the original?

Understanding your audience lets you talk more honestly to them about how you can help.

Focus On Their Pains.

One of the greatest tools in your disposal is the power of empathy. It lets you understand and share what others are feeling or experiencing. When you understand the pains and challenges your customers are going through, you’ll discover new ways your services can help them get them through their day.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

 Offer Benefits, Not Features.

As cool as some features are, they only matter if your audience understands how it benefits them. Take David Ogilvy’s campaign for Rolls-Royce. He wrote, “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock.”

Instead of talking about the fact that the vehicle was designed to reduce the noise from the wind and the engine, he told the audience that they’d have the benefit of peace and quiet while driving down the road.

By focusing on the benefits, you send a clear message to your audience that your products or services will make their lives easier or better.

Write Your Copy in Second Person.

It should go without saying that you should write directly to your audience. The easiest way to do to this is to use second-person pronouns like you, your, yours and yourself, while cutting back on first-person pronouns like I, me, us, our and ourselves.

This helps you change ‘me’ messaging into ‘you’ messaging so you’re more focused on telling your customer what’s in it for them and how you can help improve their lives.

Speak Their Language.

Every industry has its own unique community made up of the people that create it and participate in it. And these communities have their own language. For example, in the gaming industry, there are noobs, campers and DLC. By learning their language and using it in your website copy, you show you are part of the community. Just don’t lose your audience by using complex industry jargon, acronyms or technical language.

Use Conversational Copy.

Conversational copy is perfect for making your audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them. It’s informal and human making it comes across as more meaningful, relevant and personal. There are several ways you can do this including:

  • Ask relevant questions.
  • Use contractions.
  • Add personality.
  • Ignore certain grammar rules.

To read more about how to write conversational website copy, click here.

Use Social Proof.

Did you know that 88% of consumers trust user reviews just as much as a personal recommendation? Think about that for a second. Your audience is willing to trust the word of a complete stranger almost as much as they would a family member or friend.

By adding social proof on your website, you reassure your audience that you have improved the lives of others and you can do the same for them.

Some of the best types of social proof include:

  • Customer testimonials.
  • Expert approval.
  • Celebrity Endorsement.
  • Metrics
  • Client lists.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer

 Give Specific CTAs.

While there are certainly some people that don’t like to be told what to do, most of us are perfectly fine with following instruction. In fact, most people respond well when given specific instructions. That’s why it’s important to include specific calls-to-action (CTAs) when you write your website copy.

The first thing you need to do is decide exactly what you want your customer to do. In other words, what’s your objective? Once you know that, you can develop CTAs that use active, positive language that convinces them to take the final step you’ve been building as they’ve been reading your website copy.

If you want specific tips on how to make your own website more customer-driven, reach out and connect with me. With a website copy audit, you’ll have a better understanding of how to improve your website copy by telling you what you’re doing right, and more importantly, where you can improve.

Until next time…

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Blog Writer