5 Tips That Will Change Your Approach to Copywriting Forever

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Listen as Skip Fidura, Digital Director at dotmailer, discusses 5 tips that can help you become a more engaging copywriter.

This clip is from our webinar, "2017 Email Tune-Up," in association with dotmailer. To watch the full on-demand recording, click here.

[Skip Fidura] : We're going to go onto creative and copywriting. I'm going to cheat a little bit - I think that as email marketers we don't spend a lot of time talking about copywriting, and it's so easy in a presentation like this to just show pretty pictures, so I'm not going to do that. What I am going to say is - mobile. I've said it. Make sure you design for it. You have all heard about it, I could bang on about it all day, but I'm not going to. If you have any specific questions about design for mobile, we can answer that at the end. I'm going to give you some tips for copywriting for mobile.

The first tip is know your audience. What is their motivation? What do they want? David Ogilvy once said "the consumer isn't a moron - she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to purchase anything." Ogilvy lived in a very different time, so take out "she is your wife" and replace it with whatever pronouns you want to use, but just know that the customer isn't stupid. Know who you're writing to, and make sure you tailor the content to them.

The next tip is readability. We've all had this problem - we've all had someone write something and we've thought "too long, didn't read." If you want to get my attention, make sure I can read it quickly. It needs to have enough content to cover the topic, but short enough to be interesting.

The next bit is customer-centric copy. Knowing your customer is one thing, making it readable is another, but don't tell people why a product is good for them the way you think it is, don't necessarily use your USPs and well you didn't do this because X Y Z. The best way to phrase this is "walk a mile in their moccasins." Remember that you are not selling to you, and are probably not selling to a person like you, so understand who they and what they want.

The fourth one is one that I find quite interesting - I've lived in the UK for four years, and this one is probably the most difficult for English people. As you may have guessed, I'm an American - it's not hard for us to tell people what to do and say "hey, how's it going, buy now." I appreciate the English are a bit more restrained, but you've got 3.8 from when someone opens an email until they've decided what they're going to do with it. If you aren't crystal clear in what you want them to do, there is no time for waffle, so use actionable language. "Get, go, do..." that kinda stuff.

Finally, sell the sizzle. A picture is worth a thousand words, so use great pictures. A video is probably worth a million, so where you can, use video.

I really focused on copywriting there, but I think it's really important. I don't think email marketers spend enough time thinking about copy and spend enough time on their copy. One of the questions I love to ask clients is "when in the email creation process do you create your subject line, and how much time do you spend on it?" It's one of those questions, I know the answer before they say it. They often give a sheepish look and say "yeah I should spend more time on that..." Yeah. You should.