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I learnt this principle working in one of the world’s top 3 advertising agencies. And I’ve never lost sight of its importance.
So I make sure websites work harder than the hard-earned money clients put into them.(I’m pretty blunt about this because most websites don’t.)
I’ve been writing web copy for two decades, although the buzz of writing started a bit before the web even existed.
I started out working as a junior in advertising but moved into direct sales for the money.
I wouldn’t say I liked the job, but I sold as much in a week as the next person did in a month, so it turned out pretty lucrative.
What made me different was the way I used writing to win business.
Back at the height of the direct sales boom, leaving a customer's house without encouraging them (sorry, beating them into submission) to sign on the dotted line was considered sacrilege.
But I never signed a customer on the night. Instead, I told them to hold fire until all of the quotes came in, and they had time to think.
The next day, I hand-delivered a quote with a succinctly crafted covering letter explaining why they’d be happier buying from our company than any others.
The advantage I had is while my competition spent 2 hours in a customers house playing point and counterpoint to try and seal a deal, I spent 2 hours listening.
So by the time I left, I’d understood everything I needed to know about what was required to help the customer trust our company.
9 out of 10 leads converted while my colleagues were lucky to convert 3 in 10.
When I moved into B2B sales, I used a similar tactic. Instead of dropping in unannounced or cold calling to make an appointment, I sent a carefully constructed letter to prime the contact.
I used the angle that although I had something highly beneficial to offer, I respected how busy my prospects were. So I offered 90% of the information upfront to save time in the meeting.
The result? My prospects were halfway ready to buy before I turned up. And they appreciated the fact that I valued their time.
I trained my team of reps to use this system, and over the next four years, annual sales grew from £230,000 to just under £4m. One year after this, the company floated on the stock market.
After several years in marketing consultancy, I moved into digital, where I led the content team in an award-winning web agency.
I’d been honing my copywriting skills for a while at this point — studying proven formulas and copywriting success stories to get every ounce out of my ability.
This is where I really learned how to write for the web. And pick up a ton of knowledge about web platforms, content strategy, user experience (UX) copywriting and even eye-tracking along the way.
Do I also write great ad copy? Sure I write excellent ad copy. Like the stuff I’ve had published in the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Mail. But website copywriting and blog article writing is in my DNA, so that's my speciality.
For me, writing full time in a specific vertical is a recipe to go stale. So I’ve written for virtually every sector over the years.
This way, I help position more clients as market leaders and help more newbie companies punch above their weight.
Besides, part of the thrill of being a freelance copywriter is educating myself with fascinating knowledge when I work with new clients. Like learning about the science behind coronavirus infection control in dentistry (CleanCert). Or what it means to escape ordinary in a hip barbershop chain (Jack Rabbits), and why people should live, work, shop and eat in Camden Market and the West End (LabTech).
I’ve also learned why personal performance coaching is the secret to living life with purpose, confidence and an amazing sense of achievement (7TH STATE).
Yes, it does, when it's organised correctly on a web page. This is why UX copywriting is vital for success. And why experienced copywriters recommend managing the copywriting before the website design starts.
Think about UX in terms of a ship. The words are the sails, and the layout is the helm with the compass and the controls.
If the captain can't see the compass, it doesn't matter how full the sails are — the ship's not going in the right direction.
This is why I also offer wireframes and hi-fi prototypes as an optional service.
Wireframes and prototypes help section content effectively, so you and your design team can see copywriting in its most effective context.
Use the following form to drop me a message or send an email to carry on the conversation.
Drop me a line to request a copywriting quote. Hate forms? No problem: it's ku.oc.gnitirwypocbew%40nella.lihp