7 powerful writing tweaks to increase results in your marketing

There are decades of research that successful copywriters (the people who write marketing content) and digital marketers have shared on what work’s and what doesn’t.

In the last 20 years, I’ve used these techniques with small businesses and seen improved results time and time again.

Whilst a couple of these suggestions might require a little prep work, each one is relatively simple to do.

1: Speak directly to your reader using “you” and “your” words.

You is one of the most, if not the most, powerful word in advertising and for good reason. It makes what you are writing about personal.

When it comes to you, you start listening carefully. If I say people get hundreds of clients this way you may be interested, but if I say you can get hundreds of clients this way, that’s a different story.

Using You, Your, You’re, You’ll or variations, not only gets you to talk directly to your reader but it also forces you to write benefit driven content i.e. "what is in it for them".

And unless it’s on your About/Story parts of your website, avoid the use of “I”, “Me”, “We”, “Our” or variations of talking about yourself. As much as you might think otherwise, people really don’t care about you as a company selling something; it’s what’s in it for them that counts.

How to do this: The rule of thumb I was taught 22 years ago and still try to live by is to write ‘you’ at least 7 times every time you use the word “I”, “me” or “we”.

2: Always have a powerful attention-garbing headline

As much as 75% of action taken from an advertisement is due to the how good or bad a headline is.

A headline that grabs the reader’s attention and compels them to read on is crucial to the success of your marketing. And not just your traditional advertisements but in all of your marketing.

An eye-catching headline on a flyer could make yours stand out from the rest.

An attention grabbing headline on your website could reduce your visitor bounce rate and get them reading more. In fact, its been reported that 80% of website visitors will read your headline but only 20% will go on to read more. It’s still surprising how many people don’t use a headline on their website. Engage your readers immediately, you only have an average of 7 seconds to convince them to stay.

How to do this: Co-schedule has a fantastic free headline analyser tool https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer Use it to create your next great headline and get more people reading your marketing and advertising content. The more people you get to read your marketing bits, the more likely it is you'll get more customers.

3: Don’t try to make it your marketing one-size-fits all

When you try to write to everyone, no-one feels heard. Instead write directly to your ideal client.

Your ideal customer or client is the type of customer you would pick if you could actually pick your customers.

How to do this: Choose one person who fits your ideal customer profile, picture them in your mind and talk directly to them. Think of it like you are sitting across the table from this person at a dinner party. How would you talk to them? What would you say to explain who you are and what you do? And most of importantly, if they are interested in solving a problem that your product or service solves, why they should choose you and why now?

4: Tell us why you’re unique

Don’t assume people can work this out themselves. If you make people try to work out what makes you different and why they should choose you over other providers then you risk losing them altogether. People don’t have the time, energy or even the thought process to decipher why they should choose you. Make it easy for them. Tell them why you are different to the rest and what you do better than others. Don’t underestimate this step - it has the potential to be a game changer!

How to do this: In any content you write from your website homepage to a flyer or even your business card, write a short sentence or two describing why you are unique. It could be something you do completely different that other providers do not. Or it could be a specific part of the product, service or process that you do more simpler, more conveniently, more secure, with more attention to detail, safer or offering better connections than others.

5: What’s your story?

People don’t buy what you sell, they buy why you’re selling it. You need to get people to trust you by letting them know why you care. Get your customers believing in what you do.

How to do this: Tell people why you got into this business in the first place. What inspired you? What frustrated you about how it’s done by others or not done at all? What difference do you want to make? Why you and why now?

6: Have a compelling offer with a strong call-to-action

Create a reason for people to take action. This is the difference between someone reading your flyer or ad and thinking… “gosh, you get me, you’re so right, I need to do something, I’ll think about it” to “gosh, you get me, you’re so right, I need to do something, I better book you now so I don’t miss out on that awesome offer.”

How to do this: Include a special offer on your marketing communications, e.g. flyer, brochure, email newsletter, ad or on your website. Make your offer compelling enough for people to take action and create a sense of urgency e.g. limited time or limited number of places. Test different offers ideas to see what drives people to take action.

7: Test what works and track results

Marketing is an investment when you test and measure. It’s essential you know what you do that works and more importantly, what doesn’t (so you don’t waste any more of your time and money). That way you can continue to refine what works to get the best bang for your buck.

How to do this: Track results, ask each lead or customer how they heard about you and keep an eye on analytics. Change one thing at a time and see how it affects your results. The best things to test within an ad, flyer or website for instance, is your headline and special offer. These two elements have the biggest potential to shift your results quickly.

Bonus tip: Use real photos to build trust

Don’t use stock looking stock photos. You know the ones where perfect people are posing behind a computer with a headset on, or dressed in suits, arms folded, standing in boardrooms or running amongst a field full of sunflowers.

Your customers will know that Smiley McHeadset probably doesn’t work for your company. And this can actually lead them to questioning your trust and wonder where the real people who run this business are? If the photo looks too staged, then don’t use it.

A house moving company increased their conversion rate on their quote page by 45% by changing a stock image of a couple posing holding boxes, to a real picture of the crew and moving truck. This was a high traffic site so assuming nothing else change it added $10,000 per month in sales to their business.

Strategy vs Tactics

There are a lot of marketing tactics that will influence readers and that can increase your response rate but if you are after the ultimate shift in your marketing then you need to focus on your marketing strategy - it’s the thing that guides your tactics, the reason your tactics will lead to long-term sustainable growth in your business. Click here to learn more about the difference between marketing strategy and marketing tactics in the free marketing plan article.

Libby Evans is a marketing coach who runs affordable marketing workshops teaching small business owners how to do their own proven, effective and ethical marketing.

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