I think when I say “copywriting” most people’s eyes gloss over with the assumption I’m about to be the most boring person in the world or they think I’m trying to trademark something (you’re thinking of copyrights, not copywriting).
Let me start with: I’m not a persuasive copy superstar or a professional copywriter, I’m simply a woman that ran a skincare business with a $0 budget for advertising. I bootstrapped with nothing more than cash from craft shows, wholesale, and the occasional infusion from my American Express. There was barely a budget for packaging, nevermind advertising.
So to get the word out, I had to be clever with what I had: a passion for my brand and a desire to get my products into the hands of as many people as possible. I figured if I made it easy for my intended audience (sometimes customers, sometimes editors, and once in awhile an award jury) to “get” my message, they would GET my products.
I learned how to do this so well, in fact, that I saw my work in over 100 publications and beat ginormous companies at trade shows; companies that were so much better than I was in profitability and schmoozing. I won multiple industry awards because I knew how to talk the talk (write the writing?) that made people pay attention.
Now it’s your turn to do the same. Ready to blow the pants off your competitors and win customers for life? Learn how to hack these 4 things:
Know the language of your customers
The essential lesson behind this is: stalk your customers and speak their language. Avoid jargon that would intimidate a newbie to your world, and keep it simple. My world was skincare and home fragrance, so I could talk your ear off about cold process vs. hot process soap…but would you really care? You’d probably just want me to cut to the chase and tell you what’s in it and how it helps your skin.
Remember that you’re not in this to impress another person in your industry. You’re here to sell your products and turn buyers into besties.
Features v. Benefits, the epic struggle
This is always really hard to get the hang of when it come to product copy. If you’ve ever taken a business class you’ve probably heard “Features tell, Benefits sell.” Think of it as bullet points and story lines.
The features are bullet points and benefits are story lines that tell the customer what’s in it for them. Both are critical, but a little artful tweaking can change features into benefits, just with a little twist (but more on that later).
Create a story
The sale is in the story behind your product. The further you develop your story, the more you create die hard fans that want to support YOU and not a business. You’ll notice now that even ginormous conglomerates are putting their CEO’s and founders out into the world to tell the story of their brand, where before they used to hide them in the boardroom. People want to know your “why” so don’t be afraid to give it to them.
This part always feels weird and eye roll-worthy, but it’s the biggest secret to product copy success. Here’s an example of a product description for soap:
“The artisan soaps are made with oils that are sourced from small, certified organic farms around the world and are carefully crafted to ensure that all ingredients are not only organic, but vegan as well, so that you’re able to feel good about the choices you’ve made in your skincare, from farm to shower!”
“Organic” and “vegan” went from bullet points to components of an experience. It may feel a little hokey in the beginning, but this is what gets the attention of customers (and juries). Instead of just listing the features of my soap, I created a little imagination game that involved: being in the shower, knowing that you’re using a soap with ingredients that are high quality and sustainable, and that made you feel good…and clean!
When writing product descriptions that will sell, you need to craft a story in your copy that turns “okay, so what?” into “I needed this, like, yesterday.” Well crafted copy illuminates senses in your customer and invokes their imagination. It creates a story that involves your customer in the journey and conveys the passion that you have for your brand. It doesn’t yell things at them like “Organic! Vegan! BUY!” instead it artfully turns the description into an irresistible urge in their brain that makes them need to buy right now.
Megan! Thank you for sharing this epic knowledge with us!