10 Tips for Conversational Copywriting

While the primary purpose of copywriting is to convince the audience to take some form of action, it’s not always clear to business owners how to actually accomplish this. Regardless of how effective your products and services are, oftentimes it’s about the connection you make with your audience.

There’s a quote in the original Star Wars I’ve always loved. “Who’s the more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?” Now, I’m not saying anyone’s a fool but think about this from a marketing perspective. If the follower knows the leader is a fool, why would he follow him?

The simple answer is the fool created a personal connection with the follower by talking to him. Once they shared some common ground, it was easier for the fool to convince the follower to follow him.

Conversations are the easiest way we create connections with other people. And while you can’t exactly have a two-way conversation in website copywriting, you can make your copy more personal by writing in a conversational style.

What is Conversational Copywriting?

Conversational copy is content that makes the audience feel like you’re speaking directly to them. Because of its informal nature, conversational copy is more meaningful, relevant and personal. And it’s much more effective than formal writing.

Think about the last time you were supposed to read a user agreement before signing up for something. My guess is you probably didn’t. Why not? Because it’s long and boring, written in a formal tone that doesn’t engage your interest or curiosity.

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

Conversational copywriting is intended to correct that. It engages your audience and piques their interest. To help you understand how you can do this on your own website, here are 10 tips to help you write better conversational copy.

Write to One Customer.

Think about a single customer that most closely represents your target audience. Now, write your website copy directly to them. This will help you cut out generalization phrases like “for those of you…” and make it more personal.

Also, focus on their pains points and how you can help them overcome them. Even though their specific challenges don’t always align with all of your customers, it’ll be true for the majority of them. And that means most of your audience will believe you’re talking directly to them.

Write in Second Person.

One of the most important parts of conversational copywriting is to make it personal. You do this by using second-person pronouns like you, your, yours and yourself. This lets them know you’re addressing them directly so they know what you’re saying applies to them.

Ask Engaging Questions.

What do you do when someone asks you a question? Chances are high you just paused to consider an answer. When you ask engaging questions in your copy, your audience does the same thing. They pause for a moment to consider what you’re saying. That changes their role from being a passive participant in your conversation to an active one.

More importantly, when you ask a relatable or interesting question, it piques their curiosity. And now they’re committed to learning the answer.

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

 Add Personality.

Personality doesn’t just apply to you personally. It applies to your copy, too. It’s the way you address your audience, insert stage instructions like you’re writing a script, use personal anecdotes to explain an idea or casually mention Star Wars whenever you get the opportunity. This makes your website copy unique and engaging while bringing life to your words.

Break Copy into Small Chunks.

Remember when you were in school and they taught you that persuasive essays had to include five paragraphs – an introduction, three supporting paragraphs and a conclusion. Well, that isn’t how conversational copywriting works.

All information is easier understood and retained when provided in smaller blocks. Long, complex sentences and lengthy paragraphs require a lot of energy and concentration to stay engaged. Use short paragraphs and short sentences to get to the point so your audience doesn’t wander off.

Use Contractions.

If it makes sense to use a contraction, just do it. Conversational copy should sound like you’re casually talking to your audience. It helps your content flow and gives it a natural-sounding cadence. So don’t be afraid to use them frequently.

Use Simple Words.

When you write your copy, use everyday language that everyone understands. Avoid industry jargon, as well as long or complex words. And under no circumstances should you ever force your audience to look up the definition of a word from your copy. Just save your mad word knowledge for your next game of Scrabble.

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

 Use Active Voice.

It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of using passive voice because many people are still confused by what active and passive voice actually mean. In essence, the thing doing the action should be the subject of your sentence. Here’s an example:

  • Passive – Your audience will be engaged by conversational copy.
  • Active – Conversational copy engages your audience.

In other words, the thing you’re actually talking about (conversational copy) should be the focus, not the afterthought. And if you want to get really active, turn statements like the one above into a call-to-action (CTA):

  • Engage your audience with conversational copy.

Ignore Some Grammar Rules.

This doesn’t give you an excuse to fill your copy with terrible grammar. But it does give you permission to do things like using the occasional sentence fragment, ending sentences with a preposition or beginning them with the word ‘But.’

And Finally, Read It Out Loud.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written something I thought was absolutely brilliant only to be completely tongue-tied when I read it out loud. So as a final step to writing your copy, read it out loud and see how it hangs in the air. Does it contain natural breaks that allow you to catch your breath? Does it have a natural cadence that reminds you of drumbeat? Or do the words even make sense when they have sound?

To learn more about conversational copywriting, click here to send me an email. Or if you’d rather trust a professional to write it for you, I’m always happy to help.

Until next time,

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

7 Keys to Effective Website Copy

Did you know there are almost 2 billion websites currently online? While only about 400 million are actually active – including a staggering 380 new sites every minute – that’s still a whole lot of competition fighting to attract the same audience as you.

In order to make an impression in the minds of your prospects, you need to distinguish yourself from the rest of the noise in the digital ether. That’s why it’s so important to have effective website copy. Consider a few numbers…

  • 69% of marketers say personalized content is important. (Marketing Charts)
  • 82% of visitors say original content makes them feel more positive about a company. (BP Studios)
  • Visitors spend an average of 5.59 seconds reading a site’s copy. (CX Optimization Agency)

In other words, having the right copy is critical to the company’s ability to engage and convert new customers. If your copy isn’t professional or your message doesn’t match your branding or name, you’re losing prospects before you even have a chance to show them what you have to offer.

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

While I’m not a website designer (although I know some really good ones and can refer you if you need one), I do know a thing or two about good copy. So if you want to pull a Jedi mind trick and engage your audience on a deeper level, here are some keys to writing effective website copy.

Keep Your Copy Simple and Conversational

Generally speaking, digital marketing – whether website, social media or email – begins as a one-sided conversation written out to connect with the audience. As they continue to read, they get opportunities to engage and turn it into a multi-party affair. However, if your copy is too complicated or overstuffed with industry jargon, there’s a chance they’ll click away from your site without understanding anything about your business. Trust me, it’s actually a pretty common problem – especially with SaaS, technology and finance.

The easiest way to remedy this problem is to simplify your message. Break complex sentences down into more direct statements and use simple, but relevant, words to describe your offering. Once you’ve written your copy, take a minute to read it out loud. Does it flow easily or is it leaving you tongue-tied? If you’re tripping over your words, it’s time to revise the copy.

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

Maintain a Consistent Voice

While Robin Williams made a wildly successful career through his manic variety of voices, it’s an absolutely terrible strategy for your website. Your online voice needs to stay consistent. It doesn’t mean you can’t be wild or outgoing. You just need to maintain the same voice throughout. Don’t try to be funny on one page and super-serious on the next.

So if you want to be funny, throw in some jokes like the one about the two droids that walk into a bar. If intensity is your thing, use BOLD UPPER-CASE LETTERS and lot of exclamation points!!! And if you have decided to convey an air of formal professionalism, refrain from utilizing contractions in your copy.

This also means you need to establish a copy guide for your digital marketing. For example, Is it wifi or wi-fi? Do you avoid cliches like the plague or do you use them like they’re going out of style? And do you call your CEO Ben, Obi-Wan or Mr. Kenobi??

Make it Customer-Driven

Have you ever been stuck in a conversation where the other person talked non-stop about themselves? Unfortunately, that’s the way a lot of websites are written. They spend all the efforts telling their customers what they can do, bragging about their own features, functions and accomplishments. They never address their customer or any of the challenges they’re facing.

Determine why your prospects are seeking you out and develop your site copy to address what you can do to help them.

There’s a simple test to see if your site is guilty of this or not. Just count the number of first-person pronouns (I, me, my, myself, mine, we, us, our, ourselves) vs second-person pronouns (you, your, yours, yourself). If you have more first-person, it’s time to rewrite the copy to talk more about your customer.

Offer Solutions, Not Features

There’s a good chance you’re not the only company in your industry. That means you’re competing with others for the attention and business of your audience. While your features and functions are great, if you don’t explain how they can help your customer, you’re going to lose them to a competitor that can.

It’s all about offering a solution to a problem that’s preventing them from finding success or happiness. Address the unique challenges your audience is experiencing and then describe how your product solves their specific problem. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself offering solutions to challenges they didn’t even realize they had.

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

Use Persuasive Keywords

There’s one universal truth to marketing – everyone wants to be special. The only problem is that everyone has their own definition of what that means. By utilizing persuasive keywords that identify with those belief systems you can connect with them on a deeper level.

For those who value a good return on their investment, the words FREE, GUARANTEED and BEST are powerful motivators. For anyone who appreciates exclusivity, words like NEW, LIMITED and EXCLUSIVE are important. And if you’re a fan of convenience, you’ll probably be attracted to copy with the words EASY, QUICK or REDUCE. 

Show, Don’t Tell

No matter how persuasive your copy is, there are some members of your audience that are just harder to win over. They’re skeptical of what you have to offer perhaps because of their own past experiences. For those prospects, you have to gain their trust and the easiest way to do that is to show them what you can do.

Metrics. Statistics. Case Studies. Testimonials. All have the ability to prove that you know what you’re doing because you have documentation to show how you’ve helped other people just like them.

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

Include a Clear Call-To-Action (CTA)

It might seem contradictory, but while the easiest way to get someone to do something is to simply ask, in copywriting, it’s better to tell them.

You see, people are really good at following instructions. So it’s just easier and more effective to tell them what you want them to do. Click here. Buy now. Sign Up. Use the Force. You get the idea.

And speaking of CTAs… if you need help developing website copy that’s more consistent, customer-driven and connects with your audience, let’s connect so I can help you. I’ll take a look at your website and give you three recommendations on how you can improve it. All you have to do is ask.

But you have to take the first step. So clear your mind. Concentrate. And use the contact page to reach out so we can start talking.

Until next time,

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

Fundamentals of Website Copywriting

It should go without saying that every business, no matter how big or small, should have its own website. However, you’d be surprised how often businesses think of launching a new site only as an afterthought. Almost half of small businesses (40%) don’t even have a website and another 28% don’t plan on launching one any time soon. That’s like watching a Star Wars movie without the opening crawl.

Having an online presence can be critical to the success of your business, no matter how niche you might be. It’s the easiest way for your audience to find you and it’s the perfect way to make a great first impression.

And while having a killer web design that looks great is important for your brand, your site won’t be effective unless your copy provides the right message.

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

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is the art of using the written word to encourage or persuade an intended audience to take some type of action. You see it every day in the form of online ads, billboards and social media posts – anything that’s trying to get you to click, buy, subscribe, sample or vote.

Website copywriting specifically deals with:

  • Welcoming your audience to your website.
  • Offering your products/services.
  • Asking them to take the next step.

Earlier when I referred to copywriting as an art, that’s a bit misleading. While it’s definitely a creative discipline, there’s still a whole lot of science that goes into website copywriting. Research shows that using specific language and strategy can improve your chances of successfully engaging with your audience by targeting specific emotions.

You can focus on positive emotions like curiosity, optimism, love, passion, altruism, serenity and justice. Or you can go negative with the seven deadly sins – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. There are strategies for each and they all work best with different audience types.

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

7 Basic Guidelines of Website Copywriting

Like most business strategies, website copywriting comes with its own unique set of basic guidelines that have been proven to be successful. By following these rules, you can craft solid copy that will help you keep your audience on your site.

  • Headlines are always the first thing your audience reads. Make sure your lead-ins are engaging and interesting.
  • Proper grammar is a sign of your professionalism. If you have typos, bad grammar or can’t tell the difference between YOUR and YOU’RE, you’re going to lose their trust and their attention.
  • Clear messaging means you’re letting your audience know upfront exactly who you are, what you’re offering and how it benefits them.
  • Persuasive language helps you convince them that you’re the best solution to solve their problems or improve their lives.
  • Calls-to-Action (CTA) should be clear and direct. Don’t ask them if they want to buy your product. Tell them to buy it now before it sells out.
  • Be direct and get to the point. Short sentences and bullet points help them scan and retain your information easier and longer.
  • Work with SEO (search engine optimization) to help your audience find you, but don’t let it be the only thing driving your copy. Well-written and relevant copy is more successful than a poorly-written page stuffed with keywords.

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

The Most Important Pages on Your Website

While there are certainly times when single-page websites are effective (landing pages and sales pages come to mind), chances are your business is best served by a site that has multiple pages. But that doesn’t mean bigger is better.

The great Jedi Master Yoda once said, “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?” Your website should only contain the pages necessary to persuade your audience to engage with you.  That being said, some pages are definitely more important than others.

Home Page – Chances are this is the first impression you’ll make on your audience so it’s important to make it count. Your Home page should provide your customer with a clear, but brief understanding of who you are, what you offer, how they can benefit from working with you. And of course, you should include plenty of persuasive CTAs to guide them to the next step in their customer journey.

About Page – The second most popular page on any website is usually the About page. This is where your audience goes to learn more about you. More specifically, they want to learn about your origin story, company values, mission statements, and of course, the people that make the magic happen.

Contact Page – This is the ultimate CTA page. Think about it – the only purpose of this page is to convince your audience to reach out and open a dialogue with you, whether that’s by sending an email, filling out a contact form, booking an appointment through an app or going old school and calling you directly.

Other important pages include:

  • Products/Services Page
  • Blog Posts
  • Portfolio Page
  • Testimonials / Reviews Page
  • Resources Page
  • FAQ Page
  • Privacy Policy Page
  • Terms and Conditions Page

By following the basic guidelines for crafting clear messaging, offerings and CTAs and creating the right pages, you help your audience find exactly what they need on your website.

To learn more about the fundamentals of website copy or to get help optimizing your site to provide better offers to your customers, click here to send me an email. I’m happy to help.

Until next time…

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

Case Study Parody: MAC vs PC

Despite the fact that there are over 2 billion computers in the world (including servers, desktops and laptops), the digital world is dominated by two companies – Microsoft and Apple. While both companies and their operating systems are very popular, Microsoft has always been more successful. But in 2006, Apple created an ad campaign to take a bigger bite out of the market.

The “I’m a MAC and I’m a PC” ad campaign featured actors Justin Long and John Hodgeman portraying MAC and PC, respectively. Through the casting of these actors, their wardrobe selections and the topics covered in the fun and humorous commercials, PC was characterized as boring, nerdy, older, slower, prone to infection and only good for administrative work. MAC, on the other hand, was shown to be good-looking, young, hip, artistic and suitable for any type of work.

The topics covered in the commercials focused not only on the features and benefits that MAC and PC shared, but also what MAC could do that PC couldn’t. In short, the MAC message was, “Anything PC can do, I can do better. Plus, I can do much more than PC.”

The campaign was very effective with instant results that proved to be enduring, too.

At the end of that first fiscal year following the campaign launch, Apple’s sales increased by 39%, selling 1.3 million units in the 3rd quarter and another 1.6 million in the 4th quarter. During the four-year campaign, Apple sales continued to increase each year, with 3.8 million MACs sold in the 4th quarter of 2010.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Content Creator, Star Wars Geek

In Star Wars, the differences between the Imperials and the Rebels is portrayed very similarly to the way PCs and MACs are in the old campaign. The Imperials are born of bureaucracy, boring, older and slow. Plus, they are so large they have a hard time adapting and fail to address minor issues until they begin to spread. And then, it’s impossible to keep it contained. The Rebels on the other hand are younger, smaller, nimbler and much more adaptable. And they definitely know how to be creative.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Content Creator, Star Wars Geek

In marketing and advertising, it’s important to promote your features and benefits because they create solutions for your clients and customers and solve their pain points. And often times, the difference between you and your competitors is how you promote your products and services. That includes everything you can do better than your competition and everything you can do that they can’t.

Until next time… May the Force be with you.

Case Study Parody: Songs about Volvos

First introduced in 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette is an American icon. Due to its distinctive body style and long-term success, the Corvette has become the most successful concept car and most popular sports car in history.

Thanks to being featured in the popular 1960s television show Route 66, the car has been etched in the American conscious as the vehicle for freedom and adventure. The two-seater continued to build fame and notoriety when Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts were given Corvettes as gifts and were frequently witnessed racing them on Florida beach roads. But it was the hit song, “Little Red Corvette” by Prince that provided the inspiration for the Corvette ad/poster presented today.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Content Creator, Star Wars Geek

When this Corvette ad/poster was created, the agency gave a subtle nod to the song while taking a dig at Volvo, a car line marketed as safe, solid and reliable – a contrast to the fun and daring personality that Corvette had become known for.

In Star Wars, there are several iconic vehicles – the Millenium Falcon, TIE Fighters, Slave-1 – but the first one to get its own video game was the iconic X-Wing starfighter. Piloted by Luke Skywalker and the Rebels at the Battle of Yavin and the Battle of Endor, X-Wings were used to destroy both Death Stars .

Due to its enormous popularity, a space combat simulation video game centered around the X-Wing was published in 1993 by LucasArts. It performed well beyond expectations, spawned multiple expansion packs and two sequels. To this day it is still considered one of the best Star Wars video games ever released.

When I decided to create a parody of the Corvette ad, the X-Wing was the only choice. No other Star Wars vehicle has the same type of appeal as the Corvette and the X-Wing video game gave me the perfect opportunity to recreate the ad. And there another starfighter that closely resembled the Volvo in the fact that it was considered to have the same characteristics: safe, solid and reliable – the Y-Wing.

David C Justin, The CopyGeek, Dallas Freelance Copywriter, Content Creator, Star Wars Geek

The Corvette ad/poster is a powerful reminder that the safest or most reliable option isn’t always the best. Sometimes you want – no – you need to get out of your comfort zone, take a risk and do something daring. You need to do something that gets your endorphins pumping and sets your heart racing. It’s these moments that help you stand out and make your clients take notice.

So which starfighter do you want to fly? The reliable but safe Y-Wing or the daring and risky X-Wing? Take some time and decide which suits you best. Then let me know what I can do to help you achieve your goals. But don’t take too long because it’s time to report for duty.

This is Red Five. I’m going in.

Until next time… May the Force be with you.