Effective copywriting is critical for the success of any marketing strategy. Whether for slogans, taglines, or content, good copywriting skills allow you to hook your audience and capture their interest to drive sales. But what makes a good ecommerce copywriter? Check out this guide to learn more about what it takes and how you can improve your copywriting skills.

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Key Takeaways

  • Avoid using too many “big words” in an attempt to sound impressive or smart. If your audience needs a dictionary to read your copy, it’s too complex.
  • Research your audience thoroughly by reading testimonials from customers and use that language in your copy.
  • Understand when you need to be “persuasive” vs “informative” in your sales funne by learning the difference between copywriting and content writing
  • Learn frameworks like AIDA and Bucket Brigade to get started.

What does having copywriting skills mean?

Before getting into the specifics of copywriting, it’s essential to understand what it means to have strong copywriting skills. To understand this, we’ll go over some of the common mistakes that copywriters make when starting. Make sure to watch out for them while writing to create effective and engaging copy.

Inform instead of persuading

Copywriters are often mistaken for content writers despite the two being different. Where content writing aims to inform and educate readers, copywriting intends to persuade readers to take action.

Talking about the product and its features

Talking about the product and its features

While copywriting is used in advertising, you should be cautious not to oversell your product or service. Sometimes, writers focus solely on listing down all the key features of what they’re promoting that they forget they’re talking to an audience. When this happens, you fail to create a connection with the readers and potentially lose their interest.

Using too many “big words”

Using big words when writing might seem impressive, but in reality, prospective customers shouldn’t need a dictionary to understand your copy. Your copy should be intuitive and easy to understand, lest you want to drive away readers. Remember—it’s not a thesis to be reviewed by academic professionals, so you don’t need to add complex words if unnecessary.

Not knowing your market and product

If you don’t know your market and product or service well enough, you won’t be able to sell it to readers. To write compelling copy, you should understand the subject matter inside and out to highlight key points and communicate unique selling points. Similarly, you should stay updated with current industry trends to create relevant content that draws readers’ interest.

You’re boring your audience

Last but perhaps one of the most critical skills of a good copywriter is the ability to engage with and entertain readers. Ultimately, your main goal is to encourage readers to convert or take some type of sales-related action at the end. So to do this, you have to ensure you aren’t boring them with your words.

What are some copywriting skills you need to develop?

Now that you know the mistakes to watch out for as a copywriter, you might be thinking of possible solutions. So to help you improve your craft, here are six vital copywriting skills you need to create compelling marketing messages.

Persuasion with honesty

Copywriting may involve persuading readers to act, but it should still be honest and transparent. Avoid “hard selling” since this may sound generic and inauthentic. Instead, incorporate social proof like testimonials, statistics, and figures to demonstrate credibility and position yourself as an expert in the field. 

Make the audience shine

Rather than focusing solely on features, talk about how your product or service addresses your audience’s pain points. Likewise, you should adjust your tone, content, and structure based on your target audience. At the end of the day, you can write the best possible copy—but if it’s not written for the right people, it won’t resonate with your readers. For example:

  • Focusing on the product: The mattress features a high-quality design made with memory foam. 
  • Making your audience shine: The mattress is designed with memory foam to contour to your body and provide lasting comfort for a good night’s sleep.

Simplify language

It’s best to stick to simple and concise language to make your copy readable and inviting. Depending on who you’re writing for, you should speak the language of your audience to connect with them and deliver your message effectively. 

Research everything about what you’re writing about

Proper research separates good copy from excellent copy. It allows you to demonstrate credibility, emphasize critical facts, and provide valuable information to readers. So before anything else, take the time to research the brand, product or service, and industry you’re writing for. Here are a few sources you can use to gather information:

Be active, not passive

As a copywriter, your goal is to push readers to take action, so it’s best to write in an active voice. This means your subject performs the action, as opposed to the passive voice, where the subject receives the action. 

Passive voice tends to make sentences long and challenging to read, making your copy boring and unengaging. In contrast, an active voice is more direct, concise, and energetic, making it ideal for marketing copy. To better understand the difference, check out these examples:

  • Active: The company launched a limited-time offer for the holidays.
  • Passive: A limited-time offer was launched by the company for the holidays.
  • Active: Save 10% on your next order.
  • Passive: 10% will be saved on your next order.
  • Active: Join our email newsletter for the latest updates.
  • Passive: Our email newsletter can be joined for the latest updates.

Avoid walls of text

When writing copy, avoid making walls of text and break up long paragraphs into bite-sized pieces. Trying to compress everything into a single paragraph can look overwhelming to readers, especially when viewing your text from a smaller screen like a phone. 

A study by the Nielsen Norman Group also found that 79% of users only scan web pages instead of reading them word per word. So to avoid making your text look like one long block, incorporate bullet points, images, and subheadings—or simply split it into multiple paragraphs for better readability.

Five tools to improve your copywriting skills

Copywriting can be tricky to nail at first, but with proper practice, you’ll get the hang of it in time. Additionally, there are several tools that can help you through the process. Use one or a combination of these to improve your copywriting skills.

Storytelling with the Inverse Pyramid

The first technique is storytelling with the inverse pyramid structure, which entails presenting the most newsworthy information in the lead paragraph. It then descends to important details in the body and concludes with extra information at the tail. 

Using the inverse pyramid is useful in copywriting since it allows you to hook your audience early on. By front-loading your content, you capture your readers’ attention immediately and encourage them to continue reading until the end, when you insert a powerful call to action (CTA).

AIDA

The AIDA model is short for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It’s a popular copywriting framework that guides you in creating high-converting copy by hitting all parts of the acronym. Specifically, you should write in a way that grabs readers’ attention, generates interest, triggers desire, and encourages action.  

Bucket Brigade

In copywriting, a bucket brigade, also known as a grease slide copy, is a writing technique that involves using bridge words or phrases to make your copy more conversational. It’s designed to maintain a smooth flow and keep readers glued to your writing. Examples of bucket brigades include:

  • What does this mean for you?
  • Want to know more about it?
  • Here’s how it works
  • In a nutshell

Peers

Collecting feedback from peers is one of the best ways to improve and grow as a copywriter. Generally, it helps to get input from a range of people to hear from different perspectives. To start, ask family members, close friends, and colleagues for comments on your copy. Then for a more professional view, try reaching out to a copywriting coach.

Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test 

A Flesh-Kincaid readability test is a tool that evaluates your text based on how easy it is to read or understand. It gives a score of 1 to 100, with 60 to 70 being ideal for copywriters. The main advantage of using the tool is it generates quick results and is highly accessible. However, it’s worth noting that the score is statistically calculated and doesn’t measure context, the complexity of a word, or coherence.

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Zack Miller