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15 Must-Know Copywriting Techniques

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If you ever want to make the ranks of master copywriter, there are some things you need to have down pat — like these 15 copywriting techniques.

A true champion copywriter knows how to utilize each of these techniques to maximum effect to gain more product sales. So without further ado, I present 15 Must-Know Copywriting Techniques — read ‘em, learn ‘em, implement ‘em!

1. Long-Form Copy

A lot of the so-called copywriting “gurus” will tell you that the shorter a piece of copy is, the better it is. However, that isn’t the whole story — the truth is that long copy can succeed. It has often been proven to beat its shorter counterparts.

The trick to making long-form copy work, however, is to be able to hold a reader’s attention for the entire duration of it. In and of itself, that is no easy task.

2. Storytelling

We’ve written about storytelling on Writtent before – twice — because it’s such an effective copywriting technique. Not only do stories engage readers, but they also help to emotionally and personally connect a brand with their audience.

3. Bullet Point Writing

Bullet points as copywriting techniques

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Bullet points are useful for displaying a lot of information to readers in just a few sentences. The next time you’re trying to describe the features of a product, try using bullet points. Readers will be able to organize the features in their head much better than if you were simply to describe them in several paragraphs.

4. Scarcity

Scarcity of a product creates urgency in the reader. By writing your copy so that the product advertised appears to be in limited supply, you’ll urge your readers to take action and buy now, rather than later. Here’s Heather Lloyd-Martin’s take on scarcity in copywriting.

5. First-Person Copy

For big brands and Fortune 500 companies, first-person copy generally isn’t a recommended copywriting technique. But for smaller, more personal businesses, writing in the first-person can be tremendously productive. It helps you put yourself in the customer’s shoes and identify with them.

6. Factual Bases

If your entire copywriting is abstract and you haven’t thought to include actual facts – cold, hard, researched truths — your copy is pretty much doomed to failure.

Statistics, research, and case studies are an immense help in persuading people to buy something. Incorporating them into copy without sounding like a textbook, however, is the tricky part.

7. Risk Reduction

The main inhibition people have that prevents them from buying something is the involvement of risk. More specifically, the risk that the money they invest in the purchase won’t be worth the returns.

When you write your copy, you need to keep risk to a minimum. Make potential customers feel as if they have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

8. Image Use

We’ve all heard the saying that a picture speaks a thousand words … so as you can guess, images are tremendous assets when you write short-form copy. They help you get the point across in fewer words and make the copy appealing to visual personalities.

Don’t run rampant with them, however. Make sure you’re only using images that are 100% relevant and that you’re only inserting them in places where a concept you’re trying to describe is better conveyed with a picture than with text.

9. Strong Post Scripts (P.S)

Post scripts have long since been a popular copywriting technique. They help to convince the reluctant readers who scroll all the way down the copy and past the “buy now” button. A well-crafted post script could be the factor that pushes a reluctant over the edge and into your customer base.

10. Commands

Commands as copywriting techniques

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No, you shouldn’t come right out and say “buy my product” in your copy, but you should (subtly) command in your copy.

Like post scripts, commands help to conquer readers who are unsure or have doubts about purchasing your product. Use them sparingly throughout your copy, hidden in clauses and sentences. Steve Fabian describes the art of copy commands beautifully in this blog post.

11. Save Time

For some of the world’s less technically-inclined population, the whole process of online shopping is a pain in the neck. The idea that it might take more time than it’s worth is often one of the inhibitions that keep people from taking the plunge and buying something.

In your copy, come outright and tell readers that the buying process is incredibly simple and takes no longer than 2 minutes.

12. Time-Sensitivity

We discussed urgency back in copywriting technique #4, scarcity. It’s essentially the same concept with time-sensitivity. Give your product launch a deadline, and then use that to create a feeling of urgency in your readers.

13. Sell Benefits, not Features

When you sell a cake, do you advertise the icing or the actual cake? No doubt the latter.

The benefits of a product are the cake. The features are the icing. Don’t mix the two up. Center your copy around the benefits of the product you’re selling, not the features.

14. Customer Testimonials

Social proof will work wonders for your copy. I don’t care what industry you’re in; people are always more likely to buy something when they know that other people have already bought the product (and loved it).

No product’s copy is every complete without a customer testimonial or two thrown in at just the right time.

15. Bonuses

Everybody loves a good deal right? That’s why promotional schemes like buy-1-get-1-free have always held a special place in the hearts of customers around the globe. Offering product bonuses is a highly influential copywriting technique that will escalate the value of your product in a potential customer’s eyes.

Even if you were going to include something in the product package anyway, try excluding it from the main copy and marking it as a “bonus” instead.

Need more copywriting advice? We’ve got loads of it on Writtent! Take a look at the posts below:

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Steve Dalbor

Jun 28th, 2014 - 12:42 pm
The bullet points in number 3 can be reduced still further: Birth, School, Work, Death. I learned this from a New Wave band in the '80s... Reply

Jonathan John

Jun 30th, 2014 - 4:10 am
Yep, that image is rather interesting, isn't it? :) Reply

Steve Faber

Jun 27th, 2014 - 3:12 pm
Jonathan,

Thanks for the post. First person copy isn't generally recommended for major brands because it doesn't come off as genuine. People think of large organizations as big and impersonal. A single person speaking to them feom the brand feels contrived, and people don't normally buy in.

“6. Factual Bases” - very true. Taking things a step farther, exact percentages typically test better as well. For example, the headline “Discover The “Inside” Secrets to How We Grew Revenue 107.9% Last Year, With The Same, Old Products” would typically convert better than “Discover The “Inside” Secrets to How We Grew Revenue More Than 100% Last Year With the Same Old Products

I'd add one more. People buy on emotion and justify their decision with reason. Use emotion. Make them feel the need to take whatever action you're suggesting.

Nice list! Reply

Jonathan John

Jun 30th, 2014 - 4:10 am
Agreed! Emotion is a strong communicator in copywriting. Reply
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