Uncover the Science Behind Writing Enticing Copy That Sells

May 2020
 minute read
Laptop on desk with coffee pen and notebook

No matter where you turn your head, advertising has become an inescapable part of the human experience. Perfectly tanned models rave over trendy bathing suits in #ads posted to their personal Instagram accounts. Sleek slogans turn regular goods + products into signature, must-have items. Even billboards advertising upcoming films or new store openings continue to tower over city streets. 

In order to take full advantage of these mediums and convince people that your product is worth purchasing, you need to learn how to write effective copy. In our latest blog post, Pittsburgh web design firm Responsival walks you through 5 best practices for copywriting every marketer needs to know. 

Let’s get started.

Understand Your Audience’s Needs + Interests

Pittsburgh Web Design Experts Teach You How to Effectively Reach Out to Your Audience 

woman in black sweater in iPhone display

Before doing anything else, you need to figure out your target audience. Who are they? What do they like? Dislike? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you have a lower chance of effectively reaching out to them and influencing them. Get to know your audience by researching + crafting a target persona for your company. 

Once you determine your target audience’s needs + interests, you can craft copy that speaks out to them. For instance, a female Generation Z-er will probably understand the “Bad Guy” reference you made in your poster. But a male Generation X-er probably has no idea who Billie Eilish is or why she is relevant to the clever line you just crafted. So, while a pop culture reference might work for a social media start-up, it probably wouldn’t work for an HVAC company or lawn mowing business. 

Keep it Short + Sweet

Take it From William Strunk’s Elements of Style and “Omit Needless Words”

a book resting in front of a laptop

Let’s start with the basics — wording + structure. 

Keeping concise sentences, short paragraphs, and succinct wording is critical for making an impact on readers — especially on the internet. For one thing, users don’t digest information online the same way they do with printed materials. Rather than reading from left to right and line-by-line, most internet users scan a page for specific phrases and keywords

Why? Most of the time, internet users don’t have the time or patience to read through an entire paragraph. So keep them short + informative. Cut unnecessary bulk that makes it harder for users to figure out the purpose of your Facebook post or call-to-action. But remember to keep powerful nouns + verbs to maintain their interest. 

Quick Tips for Cutting Excess

As you begin to edit your copy, remember to:

  • Write in an active voice
  • Cut unnecessary adjectives and adverbs
  • Simplify sentences by replacing nouns with verbs
  • Avoid industry jargon

Start With a Tempting Lead

Viewers Will Decide Quickly Whether or Not They Want to Keep Reading

two man and woman holding cups on tables

“If we wanted you to have a regular Labor Day, we’d direct you to regular hot dogs. But we want you to have a superior Labor Day.”

“If you've got some time on your hands, you might as well fill those hands with doughnuts.”

What do these quotes — taken straight from the pages of Urban Daddy — have in common? They’re engaging + captivating enough to make us want to keep reading. If you can’t hook readers in by the first two lines, the rest of your copy may become lost on them. 

While this particular writer speaks in a casual, laid-back style, they do not forget to follow property grammar + style rules. Remember that, even though you will likely talk to your audience in a more casual tone through your ad copy, that does not mean that you can neglect to edit your wording for clarity or grammatical purposes. 

Sweat the Small Stuff

When it Comes to Copywriting — it’s the Little Things That Count

a pair of eyeglasses

Believe it or not, one word can make a huge difference when it comes to increasing conversion rates. 

A research team from Carnegie Mellon University discovered this when testing whether changing a single phrase could affect a company’s conversion rates. 

Their research involved setting up a DVD trial program for new customers to sign up for. Part of signing up for the program entailed paying a $5 fee. Testers used one of two phrases:

  1. “A $5 fee”
  2. “A small $5 fee”

The team discovered that the second phrase increased conversion rates by 20%. The reason for this success stemmed from the emphasis on the “small” free that the second phrase placed on the offer. This made it easier to convince conservative spenders to sign up for the program. 

When it comes to writing persuasive copy, the devil is in the details. The right wording is everything.

Pittsburgh Web Design Tip: Make it Emotional 

A Compelling Story Always Makes the Reader Feel Something

people laughing and talking outside during daytime

Most of the time, people don’t purchase something based on logic, but rather their emotions. The best commercials don’t drone on about their product’s boring specs or technical features. Instead, they tug at the viewers’ heartstrings. 

Does an ad for vacuum cleaners need to include a heartwarming story of a little family adopting a furry dog? No. But it evokes emotions of happiness and joy from the viewers — which is what you should be doing with your writing. 

Need help creating copy that encapsulates your brand and draws in customers? Contact the Pittsburgh web design experts at Responsival today. Whatever it is, let’s do it.


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