By Susan Hammond
Do you want to attract more customers to your business? Do you need more clients now?
Then make your copy conversational…
Think about it. How do you engage with people every day? Conversations. Even if you’re an introvert and like to spend time alone you’ll probably end up talking to yourself!
We all need conversation to thrive. Whether it’s face-to-face networking, meeting friends for coffee or spending time on social media, human beings were made to interact.
And copywriting is one way you can interact with your clients. Write conversationally and you will engage people.
They’ll want to do business with you.
How to write conversational copy
In a moment I’m going to show you how to apply the conversation to your copywriting. But first here’s how a face-to-face conversation works…
Your face-to-face conversations
1. The beginning
To get someone’s attention (we’ll call that someone Jarad) you’ll probably say hello then introduce yourself if you don’t already know him. You may ask a question or wait for his response – either way this is where you’ll start to get to know him. And being openly curious about Jarad’s mountain walking escapades will engage his interest.
2. The middle
This is where the conversation gets interesting. Once you’ve found out a bit about Jarad you can talk about things you’re sure will interest him. It’s fun hearing about the day he led a walking group into a bog and they had a mud fight! The conversation is now flowing and you’re both enjoying sharing more detailed information and experiences. It’s got personal.
3. The end
Having had a great conversation you’ve decided you’d like to meet Jarad again. So you ask if he’d like a drink next week at the new café in town. Or perhaps you just give him your number for now. Either way, you’ve offered him something good. And as long as he’s enjoyed the experience he’ll be back for more.
How to use conversation in your copywriting
The process starts before you even put pen to paper.
Often you won’t know anything about a person you’re about to start a face-to-face conversation with. But it’s easier if you do. You can grab their attention immediately with something you know will interest them.
It’s the same with copywriting but here you can always find out something first.
Do your research. Find out more about your target audience. Who are you trying to attract to your business?
Then you need a detailed outline of your ideal client (sometimes called a pen portrait.) Jot down everything about them and their life – their loves, hates, desires, problems etc. The more specific you are, especially about their thoughts and feelings and what their pain point or problem is, the more you’ll be able to engage them in relevant conversation. By writing directly to that one person they’re far more likely to be attracted to you.
So not just ‘middle-aged people who are depressed and would benefit by getting outside more…’
But ‘45-year-old Dave who works full time as an IT technician at Sussex University, married with two girls and a dog called Biscuit. He loves Italian food and detests cats. He wants to be happy and motivated to spend quality time with his family. His deepest wish is to be a good father and husband.’
1. The beginning: grabbing attention and engaging people
a. Create an attention-grabbing headline
Your headline is the first thing your reader will see. If it doesn’t grab them and make them want more they will not read on. The best headlines include benefits and arouse curiosity…
How mindful walking can help you beat the blues
There’s something in it for the reader and they’ll feel the need to read on to find out the answer to their problem.
b. Use your first sentence to induce interest
You’ll know from your pen portrait what your reader is interested in. But you also know what problems they have. If you address their needs quickly, in the first sentence or paragraph, they’ll immediately know you understand them…
Get the peace of mind
Let them know clearly what’s in it for them.
c. Appeal to the emotions
This is one of the strongest ways to persuade. We humans are relational beings so our emotions help us to connect meaningfully with other people. If you can show you understand how your reader feels they’ll know you care and be drawn to you. Your metaphorical hug will go a long way to help you build rapport with your reader.
d. Use emotive and power words
I strongly recommend using emotive and power words to capture people’s interest. Here are a few to get you started:
love hate win lose best worst crash give life
And here’s a good headline combining points a, c and d:
Mindful walking: you can win at life
e. Promise goodies later on
If you promise something good, this will help your reader stay engaged. They’ll want to keep reading to find out more…
In a moment I’m going to show you… But first…
2. The middle: get real and get personal
a. Get real
If you’re going to have an engaging conversation with someone you must be real. Most of us use everyday language in our conversations so that should be the main ingredient of your writing too.
To interest, your reader writes as you speak.
And it’s okay to use contractions…
‘You’ll’ not ‘you will’
‘I’ve’ not ‘I have’
‘They’ll’ not ‘they will’
It’s also better to use verbs instead of nouns. Compare the following:
‘We specialize in mindful walking’ not ‘our specialization is mindful walking’
And be positive. This is useful in most conversations because who wants to feel bad? So use…
‘Hurry’ not ‘don’t delay’
‘Remember’ not ‘don’t forget’
‘Save’ not ‘don’t waste’
Positive language is easier to understand too. Bonus!
b. Get personal
Talk to your audience as though they’re one person (remember your pen portrait here…) As with face-to-face conversations, you’ll be more focused on your reader and able to show you care about them specifically. And let’s be honest, what is everyone’s favorite topic of conversation?
Using personal words like ‘you’ or ‘your’ will help you sound human. We’re always using them in conversations and they’re far more likely to keep someone’s attention. Which do you find more appealing?
‘Our mindful walks help people feel refreshed’
‘Mindful walking will help you feel refreshed’
And don’t be choosy – everyone you’ll be writing to will be human. Yes, even that high powered CEO of Loadsa Money Is Us.
If you also use the active voice, not passive, you’ll draw people in. Would you normally speak like this:
‘The car was driven by me’
‘I drove the car’
There may be some situations where passive voice works well but normally active works best in copywriting as it’s how we normally chat with each other. The passive voice will put distance between you and your reader.
3. The end: offer something so good they’ll want more
a. Offer them something good
You must offer your reader something good. Something they won’t be able to resist and that they can do right now. This is your call to action. If your writing has done its job they’ll be hooked already. So you just need to reel them in.
Remember your face-to-face conversation with Jared? You knew he was interested so invited him to meet you for coffee. If you hadn’t would he have been willing to make the first move? Might he have thought you weren’t really that bothered about him? Generally, people want you to make life easy for them.
Sticking with the ‘easy’ theme, make your call to action simple, short and clear. Then your reader will know exactly what you’re offering and how they can get it.
b. Remind them why they want it
It’s often worth reminding your reader why they need your product or service, especially with longer pieces of writing. But don’t be pushy. If your writing is good they’ll already be interested. Lists and bullet points work well.
c. Appeal to the emotions again
To give your ending a kick tap back into your readers’ emotions.
Maya Angelou said…
‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
A last minute reminder never hurts. And emotions sell.
For your business success…
And write conversational copy that’s relevant to your audience:
- First, do your research. Know your ideal client inside out and write directly to them. Write how you speak
- Grab their attention immediately and engage them with a topic you know they’ll be interested in
- Be real and get personal. By appealing to their emotions you’ll attract more custom. Feelings sell
- And offer them something good at the end so they remember you, will come back for more or can get on the path to doing business with you right now
Susan Hammond is a freelance copywriter (www.susanhammond.co.uk) with a passion for mental health, wellbeing and the great outdoors. When not snuggled up with a good book she’s often out and about having countryside adventures.