Here, we’re going to take a look at copywriting for mobile.
Copywriting is the art of making sales through writing, and it’s an invaluable skill to have.
However, copywriting for mobile devices – and for the web in general – is a unique skill, and isn’t quite the same as writing for print or video ads.
Here, we’re going to go through everything you need to know in terms of writing for the web, both on desktop and on mobile.
Research is the key to successful copywriting, but it’s amazing how many people simply don’t do it.
Don’t make the same mistake. Follow our tips on getting underneath the skin of your market.
Talk to whoever is responsible for your product or service
The simple fact is that, unless you made the product or you’re actually performing the service you’re selling, you need to talk to the person (or people) responsible.
They’ll have a level of understanding that simply can’t be beaten. They’ll know the ins and outs.
You need to find out the following:
- What is the unique ‘sell’ of the product or service? What sets it apart from the competition?
- What problem is the product or service solving?
- Why will the customer or client be better off as a result of it?
- Why is the company credible? Why are they an authority?
Essentially, you need to come away from the interview understanding exactly why clients or customers will be better off with the product in their life!
(If you’re offering a service business – in an agency for instance – it might be that you need to interview multiple people from different departments. This is fine. Take the time to do it, and you’ll get better results.)
Read as much as you can
Once you understand the product or service, your next step is to understand the market.
Better get reading!
There’s simply no substitute for doing as much reading as you can into the industry you’re writing for.
What can you read? Literally anything related to the market. This might include:
- Newspaper articles
- Relevant popular blogs
- Trade publications
- Online articles
And, of course, it’s also worth checking the top videos on YouTube.
The more you can familiarize yourself with everything about the market, the more ideas will come to you when it’s actually time to write.
Research the competition (but only the best!)
In any industry, there will be competition, and you should definitely research what they’re up to.
However, don’t research anyone in the market. Research the BEST.
Who is absolutely making a killing? What are the most popular campaigns in your market?
It’s also worth Googling ‘controls’ in your market. These are the pieces of copy that have achieved long-term success: nearly every industry has them.
‘Control’ pieces of copy are worth serious study, because they’ve likely made millions of dollars. Needless to say, they can teach you a lot!
By researching the copy that you know has worked, you won’t fall into the trap of just doing what everyone else in your space is doing – a trap that often leads to a whole industry achieving inferior results!
Focus on building a file of ten or so really successful copy pieces that sell similar products to you, and break down:
- The formatting
- Their word choice
- Their structure
- The headline
- The bullets
- The promises they make
And, of course, what their offer is.
You’ll normally find that the most successful pieces of copy are doing similar things, which you can then take into writing your own copy.
So, you’ve done the necessary research. Now, you’ll need to actually start writing.
Writing copy for the web is a different beast to traditional print. Though the traditional techniques definitely still work, there are a number of particular points you’ll need to be aware of that are pretty unique.
Let’s get going:
People scan-read online
We’ve noted this point in some of our other blogs, and it applies just as well here: people online often scan through copy, rather than reading it.
How can you increase your chances of people actually reading? By making your copy as easy as possible to read!
You can do this by breaking it up using:
- Bullet points and other lists
- Shorter paragraphs (online, a one-line paragraph is fine)
And any other device that breaks things up. It’s tough to get used to writing copy for the web – it feels counter-intuitive, especially if your main experience of writing came from academia! – but you’ll find it’s actually much more readable.
Remember, avoid long paragraphs wherever possible: web copy is not the place for an essay!
Use simple words
Here’s a good rule to stick to when writing copy for the web: write so a ten-year-old can understand your sentences.
As well as keeping your sentences short, you want to ensure you don’t overdo the long words. Remember, you might have an outstanding vocabulary, but this isn’t the place to use it.
In this case, an online thesaurus is your friend. If you find yourself using a complex word, just double check to make sure there’s not a simpler alternative!
It only takes one word that the reader doesn’t understand for them to start to zone out.
Your headline is vital
One of the oldest truths in copywriting is that your headline is the most important part of any promotion.
This is STILL the truth when writing for the web.
Your initial line is the deal-breaker. You’ve got to come up with something that’ll stop them on their quest to watch another funny cat video.
And it’s not enough to just grab the attention: you’ve got to make them keep reading.
Spend SERIOUS time on your headline: it’s worth the investment.
(We should probably add that writing headlines is a serious art in itself. For an in-depth – and brilliant – guide, click here.)
As we’ve already mentioned, the web is not the place for an essay!
You need to keep your copy as concise as you possible can. Trim every inch of fat off.
If a sentence doesn’t add value or contribute to the message, get rid of it.
Learn to be brutal with your own work.
Remember, sales copy should take your reader on a journey, and anything that distracts from that has to go.
Don’t use jargon
In B2B copy, it can be tempting to bump up the buzzwords.
Don’t fall into the trap.
See, the thing is that even if you’re selling to a business, you’re still WRITING to one person. Even if your reader is a busy CEO, they’re still a human being.
There are two reasons to avoid jargon and buzzwords:
- It’s really boring, and makes your copy sound dull
- It doesn’t work on the decision makers
- It makes you look like you’re trying to hide the facts
The thing is, if you’re selling B2B products, you’re selling to people who’re smart enough to run a business.
And if they’re smart enough to run a business – or reach a senior management level – they’re smart enough to recognize when you’re using jargon in place of real benefits!
Steer clear of the jargon. Speak the truth, in simple language. You’ll make more sales, and you’ll look better than the people who DO fall into this trap.
Benefits, not features
This is copywriting for mobile rule 101, and is as vital on the web and on mobile as it is on any other kind of sales copy.
The reason you need to do the research on your market is because you need to truly understand the benefits that the product offers.
Remember, people don’t care what your product or service does; they care what it can do for them.
As the old saying goes: ‘Don’t sell me the world’s greatest grass seed, sell me the world’s best lawn’.
For every feature of your product, you need to work out WHY that feature matters.
- Don’t sell aftershave, sell women finding the buyer attractive.
- Don’t sell new football boots, sell scoring the winning goal.
- Don’t sell a savings account, sell a rich, enjoyable retirement.
And so on.
Remember, it’s not about the product or service: it’s about what it does for people.
Acknowledge any issues
This is known as ‘overcoming objections’, and it’s an essential part of copywriting for mobile.
Beginner copywriters make two mistakes:
They don’t look at their product or service honestly, and don’t acknowledge the potential issues
Even if they do, they try to hide them
Don’t fall into this trap. It’s your job to find out what might stop a customer from buying, and to bring it up in your copy.
Learn to turn potential downsides into an upside. You might be surprised how easy it can be once you get used to it.
Are you in a market with brands that get sales just because of who they are? That’s fine, because you’re not resting on your laurels. You’re where you are because you’re good.
Are you running a small business and don’t actually have an office yet? That’s good, because your prices are lower and clients aren’t being asked to pay more for your overheads.
Is your coffee more expensive? That’s good, because it’s a true exclusive that drinkers can’t get anywhere else, and actually, it should be MORE expensive!
Get the idea? Dig in deep, and ask yourself what will put customers off buying your product or service. Then tell them why that reason is actually a benefit they hadn’t considered!
Finally, you should always include some form of social proof in any copy you write.
As people, we’re more or less trained to go along with the herd, and we’ll take the word of others that have been in a similar situation to us.
(This is why Amazon has their ‘star rating’ right next to the product title.)
There are a few options for including social proof, but the important point is this:
Don’t make the customers or clients take YOUR word that your product or service is good.
If you’re a B2B company, include testimonials from happy clients. If you’re selling physical products, quote from reviews made by happy customers.
Even one or two testimonials or quotes from people who’re delighted they made the purchase can make a big difference.
If you’d like to learn more about writing copy for the web and for mobile devices, get in touch with Iconic Solutions today. We can help.