My client, “Brunhilde,” wanted a sales letter. She was a marketer herself, so she was very clear about what she wanted.
“Please include this paragraph,” she said firmly. “I used it in another sales letter and it works! I wrote it myself.”
When I finished the first draft, Brunhilde liked everything … except that one paragraph. “It doesn’t sound like me at all,” she said. “I’d never use those words. Why would you include them?”
Brunhilde was a good client so I removed the offending paragraph – written by her – and said nothing. I just smiled quietly and realized Brunhilde had just confirmed what I tell my clients.
Myth #1: Clients relate to you as a person. They want to know you. So you have to use your own words and write in your own voice.
What really happens?
Words look different on paper, compared to when we’re speaking. And our own writing looks different in a different context. We’ve all had the experience of looking at what we wrote and saying, “Did I really write that?”
But let’s face it: people read for the message and they’re focused on themselves, not on you. They’ll remember the story, not the words.
Myth #2: You won’t sound “real” if you use phrases from standard copywriting manuals.
I used to think this statement was true till I began applying some of these phrases myself. And they worked.
Phrases like, “The truth is…” “The good news is…” or, “How beginners can compete with experts…” are tested by time. They sound natural no matter who says them.
But what really matters is your promise. When you credibly promise a meaningful transformation, you’ll command attention.
Myth #3: Only heart-centered businesses need to be concerned about writing conversational copy. People like accountants can be “all business.”
Most service business owners genuinely care about their clients. They don’t want to beat up their clients with tough hype-y copy. I’ve worked with very caring lawyers and very sales-oriented healers. And they need to be authentic and “real” as well.
So how do you come across as a real person, not a robot?
Tip #1: Join the story that’s already going on in your prospect’s mind.
Your readers will be looking for signs that you “get” where they’re coming from. Using their language – not yours – will get them to stop what they’re doing and paying attention.
A life coach: “I was totally unmotivated. I didn’t have a reason for earning a big income. I plan to have children, but who knows when that will happen. So I need a new script to make my business a priority. ”
A productivity consultant: “He spent spending all morning reading emails and checking Facebook… and wondered where the day had gone and why he wasn’t making money.”
I have a whole course on discovering what really motivates your clients – The Client Advantage. Click here to claim yours.
Tip #2: Be specific.
This simple step makes your copy more readable, more. conversational and more vivid. When you replace abstract words with descriptions, you immediately elevate your writing to sound like a pro.
Think of painting word pictures. You’re creating a vision with your words and turning vagueness into precision. For example:
“Are you feeling frustrated because you can’t find anything on your desk”
“Thirty percent of Americans pay late fees because they just can’t find their bills when they need to pay them.”
“Are you getting tired of paying late fees because your bills get lost in your desktop clutter? Have you bought 3 new pairs of gloves this year because you thought you’d lost yours (and they turned up behind a sofa cushion)? Were you 15 minutes late to a client meeting because you misplaced your keys?”
These examples aren’t meant to be great copy because they’re top-of-mind and they’re not written for a client. They’re just illustrations of getting specific.
The best way to get specific is to find your client’s backstory and baggage. My new course simplifies the process for you.
Tip #3: Use stories.
By definition, your own story will be unique to you. You can use stories to showcase your passion by sharing your “why.” You can write about your own clients and their successes. You can write about how you arrived where you are today.
Of course, when you tell stories for marketing, you’re doing copywriting, just as when you write headlines, bullets, and calls to action. You’ll need to tell the right story – not just any story.
And here’s the biggest myth…
In particular, you’ll need to stay away from the very worst piece of copywriting advice: Be vulnerable. Tell how you struggled.
Sometimes it makes sense to talk about your own background. But you’ll need to do this in a context of success and achievement – overcoming the obstacles, not fighting with them.
Click here for a free guide to learn more about telling your story for marketing.
Check out my low-cost Udemy Course, Storytelling For Small Business Marketing.
And if you’d like me to work with you one-on-one to make your copy more compelling as well as authentic, let’s get together for a Strategic intensive. Ninety minutes will add a whole new dimension to your marketing.