Whether you’re trying to avoid the roundabout at the corner of Cedar Avenue or the long string of stop lights on 5th, a good shortcut can save you time and energy that could be spent elsewhere.
When it comes to writing sales copy that converts, however, there are certain things you can’t shortcut - not if you want to get the best possible results for your clients.
This article is going to break down the three things a copywriter should never take a shortcut on and why, then give you some ideas on what to do instead.
Shortcut 1: Skimping on Target Market Research
The number one thing a sales copywriter absolutely cannot take a shortcut on is target market research. You may know who you’re writing FOR, but if you don’t know who you’re writing TO, you might as well put down the laptop and back away slowly.
I walked out to the mailbox the other day and found the usual stack of flyers and junk mail. There was an unmarked business-sized envelope too - obviously a form letter of some kind, as it wasn’t hand stamped or addressed. Just for fun, I ripped it open.
As I unfolded the letter inside, I had to laugh. It was a letter from one of those student loan forgiveness programs. “Your Student Loan May Be Eligible For The Federal Government’s New Student Loan Forgiveness Program” read the headline.
That’s great … except that I don’t have any student loans and never have. One eye roll and a flip of the wrist later, the letter sat at the bottom of my trash can, never to be seen again.
I’m sure that somewhere out there, some marketing company purchased a mailing list and decided that using a blanket approach with the student loan offer letter might pay off enough to make it worth the stamp.
But you’ll get much better results for your clients if you get to know their target audience like close friends and write sales copy that talks directly to them. They’ll feel heard and understood, which builds trust between them and your clients’ offers.
Every minute spent researching the target market is WORTH IT.
Shortcut 2: Ignoring Brand Voice
“I’ve written for an offer like this before, so I’ll just use what worked for the other guy.”
No. Just no.
Most copywriters have a niche. It would be impossible to master writing for every industry under the sun. Nobody has that kind of time, right?
But just because you’ve written for dentists before doesn’t mean that what worked for one dentist will work for another, even if the target market for both dentists are middle class working parents of kids ages 5-10. Why?
Because every client has their own unique personality and brand voice that plays a part in attracting the right kind of people to their offers. If you fail to bring that personality and brand voice into their sales copy, you’re not only doing them a disservice, you’re cheating their target market out of the opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level.
The LAST thing any entrepreneur or business owner wants is to be seen as “just another”.
She’s “just another” female empowerment coach.
He’s “just another” digital marketing agency owner.
It’s “just another” sales funnel building platform.
See what I mean? “Just anothers” don’t create die-hard followers and raving fans. Brand personalities do. Make sure you’re taking the time to dig deep on what makes them and the way they communicate unique.
Shortcut 3: Neglecting Nurturing
Ever been hit up in the mall by the people selling things from those kiosks? I have, and it’s always such a pleasant experience.
“Hey, your hands are dry. You need this hand cream!”
“You look like you could use a good pair of sunglasses.”
“Want to try Proactiv?”
I mean talk about going straight in for the kill. Nothing makes me want to avoid eye contact and walk fast while looking busy like cold sales. And I don’t think I’m the only one.
Unfortunately, sometimes that’s what our clients try to do, isn’t it? They’ve developed an amazing offer. They may have even tested it on a beta audience, and it got results. They’re sure it’s going to be a hit, and they’re ready to blitz the market with it.
Then … nothing. Crickets.
“Why isn’t it selling?” they wonder. “I thought people would love it! Something must be wrong with my ads/sales copy/funnel. FIX IT!”
The thing is, it’s not that easy. If everything else is optimized, integrated and dialed in, yet the audience is just seeing something for the first time, the client is not going to get the best results they could because the target market isn’t ready.
They just feel sold to.
In a few cases here and there, an offer will hit a cold market that’s really ready and get some results. But a warm, nurtured audience always gets better and cheaper results. Always.
It’s so important to “take the temperature” of the target audience and give your client an honest assessment of how ready they are to buy. Only then can you make sure you’re preparing the right messaging at the right time to get the audience warmed up and ready to buy.
Doing the Background Work
So much of sales copywriting takes place before a word is even written. Target market and brand research are absolutely essential parts of what we do. Although it’s tempting to want to skimp out research by grabbing templates or just relying on what worked last time, don’t. It’s not worth it. Not only would you be selling the client short of their results, but you’d be selling yourself short on being able to write to your best ability.
More from Christa Nichols
Want my best resource for target audience research? Grab my FREE Target Market Mastery guide HERE. This fillable PDF download contains a framework you can fill out again and again for each client’s target audience so you can dial in on exactly who they are, what they want and how to communicate the offer to them clearly and compellingly.
Hi, I'm Christa, an Iowa-based messaging expert specializing in targeted messaging, copywriting, and ghostwriting services. I have one handsome hubby who's my partner in crime (not literally) and two great kids who keep us busy (Track and field! Volleyball! Basketball! All the sports!) Using words to help people promote what they love is my favorite!