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Email copywriting best practices for better conversion rate

Email copywriting best practices to improve conversion rate

Email copywriting best practices to improve conversion rate

Copywriters prefer different frameworks or sets of copywriting best practices when they are writing email campaigns or web pages.

Similarly, before you think of a better conversion rate, you need to define what conversion rate means to you.

You may like to read: 10 copywriting tips to boost your website conversion rate

Different email campaigns may have different conversion rate criteria.

You can put hours of effort crafting the perfect email marketing campaign.

You can learn by trial and error and improve your conversion rate – nothing wrong in that.

Self-taught are the most experienced and learned people, especially in the world of copywriting.

You can use the best practices or frameworks to minimize the chances of committing a mistake.

What makes your email copywriting successful? What gives you a better conversion rate?

How do you define better conversion rate

How do you define better conversion rate

Here are a few things:

  • Better open rate.
  • More people reading the complete message.
  • More people clicking the CTA.
  • Ultimately, more people buying from you.

Selling isn’t always the goal of every email marketing campaign.

There are different ways your email may convert better.

Buying is a culmination of many factors and whether someone buys from you depends on where they are in their buyer journey.

Your conversion rate depends a lot on where a person is in your sales funnel.

A typical buyer journey may involve anywhere between 6-12 (or more) stages, and for multiple stages, different types of content are needed, and conversion rate manifests in different ways.

Even different types of email are needed.

Hence, your email marketing campaign needs to target the precise engagement factor.

This could be

  • Downloading your white paper or case study.
  • Downloading your brochure.
  • Agreeing for a phone call.
  • Checking out the latest offerings.
  • Clicking a blog post link.
  • Making an appointment.
  • Participating in a seminar.
  • Watching your video presentation.
  • Participating in a survey.
  • Indulging in any other engagement activity promoted by the email campaign.

Every non-“buy from us” email campaign is a lead generation campaign, and such campaigns are as important as asking people to buy from you.

What is the difference between email copywriting and website copywriting?

Difference between email and website copywriting

Difference between email and website copywriting

Surprisingly, there isn’t much information available on the topic of difference between email copywriting and website copywriting.

One of the most prominent attributes of copywriting is conversion.

Whereas content writing for websites is all about educating and engaging visitors, when you write copy for websites, you need to convert people and turn them into your paying customers and clients.

Just like in email copywriting, website copywriting also has different purposes.

It isn’t always about making sales.

You want to improve engagement rate.

You may want people to subscribe to your email updates.

There may be a landing page that asks people to download a white paper or a case study.

So, whether you are writing copy for an email campaign or a website, a big part of copywriting is conversion.

That is common between email and website copywriting.

One of the biggest differences is that in email copywriting, you can personalize your messages.

Whereas traffic on the website is inbound, your email traffic is outbound.

You cannot be selective about who comes to your website.

But you can be selective about who receives your email updates.

Being selective means, you choose the email ids to which you send your email marketing campaigns.

You have more information about your email recipients than you have about your website visitors.

In email copywriting you may solely depend on your text, but in website copywriting, you can liberally use visuals in the form of images and videos.

Another big difference between both is that communication through emails is an ongoing process whereas your website provides a single touch point.

Of course, in the case of your website you regularly update your blog, and this draws people on regular basis, but the frequency of sending out emails is often greater than the frequency of updating your blog or updating your website.

Although most of the content on blogs is written by content writers, many people prefer to call themselves copywriters even when they are writing blog posts.

Other highlights of email copywriting:

  • People receive your email copywriting messages in their inboxes.
  • Most likely they have given you permission to email them.
  • Distractions are less in the inbox and hence your copywriting may perform better compared to website copywriting.
  • The success of your email messages depends on how well you have crafted your subject line.
  • You can use segmentation to make your writing more focused.

Email copywriting best practices to improve your conversion rate

Better conversion rate – email copywriting best practices

Better conversion rate – email copywriting best practices

There is a difference between “email best practices” and “email copywriting best practices” and when you search on Google, you will find that both bits of information are often interchanged.

For example, including a well-defined signature may be a part of email best practices but not, at least directly, a part of email copywriting best practices.

So, when it got email copywriting best practices, I strictly speak in terms of writing your emails, and not about their aesthetic appeal.

Write a convincing subject line

Your subject line makes people open your email message, or stops them from doing so.

There are two things you see first when you check your inbox: the sender’s name and the subject line.

These two factors can convince you into opening the email.

Even if the sender is familiar (I’m not talking about family members or friends or people whose email you will never ignore), unless the subject line motivates you, you are not going to open the email.

Everywhere on the Internet when you read about email copywriting best practices, this is the first most topic people broach – an effective subject line.

Most of the techniques that work with your web page headlines and title also work on your email subject line.

It goes without saying that your subject line must be hard-hitting and forceful.

47% marketers say that they test different email subject lines to increase the performance of their email marketing campaigns (source).

You can write effective subject lines using the following emotional and psychological triggers

  • A feeling of urgency
  • A sense of curiosity
  • An irresistible offer
  • Personalization
  • Relevance
  • Fear of missing out
  • Breaking News

Something like:

Surprise sale today – up to 50% off!

Keep your subject line brief. Don’t go beyond 30-50 characters.

A MailChimp study has revealed that email campaigns with the subject lines less than 50 characters have 12% higher open rate and 75% higher click-through-rates than email campaigns with subject lines of more than 50 characters.

Write an equally compelling preview text

The preview text of your email is a small portion of your email message that is visible to the recipient without opening your email.

Email preview text screenshot

Email preview text screenshot

It either appears next to the subject line or below the subject line.

If you don’t manually enter a preview text, email readers like Gmail randomly pick portions of your email and display them as your preview text.

There is no ability to enter preview text in standard email clients like Gmail and Outlook.

But if you manage your email marketing campaigns using services like MailChimp or Aweber, you can separately add an email preview text.

In the preview text, write something that will further make the recipient want to open your email message.

Start with the name of the person

Avoid starting your email with “Dear friend,” or “Hello there!”

Preferably, use the first name of the person.

Start with, “Dear Sarah,” or “Hello Abdul”.

Hook the reader with a headline

Depending on whether you send out an HTML email campaign or a text-based email, you will have a headline with a bigger font or the first sentence as “headline”.

Your headline or the first sentence is very important.

Although, once a person opens your email message the likelihood of reading the message increases manifold, whether a person reads the rest of the message depends a lot on your headline or the first sentence.

Your headline must be a continuation of your subject line.

For example, if your subject line was, “30% off”, your first sentence of the email can be

Congratulations on getting a 30% discount on your next purchase.

Just make sure you place orders through this email.

You will repeatedly come across the advice that the job of your headline is to make people read your first sentence, and the job of your first sentence is to make people read your second sentence, and so on.

So, write your first sentence or your headline in such a manner that it makes people read the rest of your email body text.

Have a clear goal for email copywriting

What do you want people to do once they have read your email?

Do you want them to book an appointment?

Do you want them to download your e-book or case study?

Do you want them to read your blog post?

Once you have a clear goal, your entire narrative revolves around that.

Every sentence must lead to your CTA (the goal of your email copywriting).

Use a conversational style for email copywriting

Conversational style comes with many dimensions.

Write in first person using “you” and “I”.

Write short sentences.

Avoid difficult words.

Write the way you talk.

When you write your email campaigns in a conversational style your readers feel like they’re being talked to personally.

Formal writing can create a barrier.

Pay attention to how your recipients speak in their day-to-day conversations.

Just like in the midst of the conversation you ask,

“Isn’t it right?” or “Don’t you think?”

Find out words and expressions that they use when they talk about your business.

Instead of writing “Our team can help you with complete auditing of your website”, write, “We can completely audit your website.”

Write in a way you talk to them.

In conversational style, instead of neutral, you sound emotional.

You use lots of contractions instead of using full words.

Sometimes you break grammar and spelling rules but be sure of what you’re doing.

You write in active voice.

You use simple words.

You use lots of personal pronouns.

You can also use transitional phrases to keep people reading.

Some examples of transitional phrases are

This is how it is done:

Want to know more?

You know what? Something else was about to happen.

Long story short.

Still not convinced?

For effective email copywriting, the key is knowing your target audience.

What are their needs, desires, aims and fears?

When they have doubts, what influences them to change their minds?

What motivates them?

What type of conversations do they have when they talk about your product or service.

For effective email copywriting it is important that you forget about what you think, and then think in terms of what your target audience things.

Other things to keep in mind when copywriting for email marketing campaigns:

  • Avoid badmouthing about your competitors (comparison is fine).
  • Praise your readers whenever you can (but be genuine).
  • Be sincere when you express emotions.
  • Address the concerns of your readers.
  • Write how you talk.
  • Anticipate questions in advance and provide answers.
  • Keep your copy easier to read.
  • Don’t overstretch your message.
  • Use action words and power words – “Save 30% now” and “Don’t miss the last chance”.
  • Don’t use words with negative connotations – “premium” instead of “expensive”, or “other options” instead of “not available”.
  • Hold the reader’s attention by using phrases such as “imagine”, “have a look”, and “just think what would happen” (just to name a few).
  • Use double numbers: 15 ways to increase your conversion 5X
  • Mention the key benefits of using your product or service three times throughout the copy – in the beginning, in the middle, and then at the end.
  • Use logic to make a point but cater to emotions.

In this blog post you have learnt a few email copywriting best practices that you can use to improve your conversion rate.

Of course, as I always say, nothing is written in stone.

Experiment.

Find different ways.

Be adventurous.

How you improve your conversion rate depends on your specific industry and you should apply copywriting best practices accordingly.

10 Best Apps to Manage Your Copywriting Business

Best apps to manage your copywriting business

Best apps to manage your copywriting business

Copywriting has become more lucrative than ever, especially in a post-pandemic society.

What you may have once considered a side gig can now easily become a full-time career.

However, it’s important to look at yourself as more than just a freelancer.

When you’re a full-time copywriter, you’re also a solo entrepreneur.

Managing your business efficiently and effectively will help you find long-term success when it comes to finding steady clients, marketing yourself, and building a life-long career.

Technology has made it easier than ever to manage your copywriting business.

So easy, in fact, that there are many things you can do with the smartphone sitting next to you on your desk right now.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 of the best apps you should be using to manage your copywriting business.

1. Grammarly

As a seasoned copywriter, you probably already have a strong handle on basic grammar skills.

However, everyone makes mistakes. If you’re writing for several hours each day, it’s easy to misspell a word, miss a punctuation mark, or utilize language that isn’t as concise as it should be.

Grammarly can help.

The app uses writing assistance technology to check everything from spelling to tone.

It can take any piece from “okay” to practically perfect in a matter of seconds.

With nearly 30 million active daily users, this app will end up being your best friend when it comes to proofreading and editing.

2. Viably

Whether you have two clients or ten, invoicing is important.

You want to get paid for your services on time, and you want to present your invoices to your clients in a professional manner.

There are plenty of invoicing apps out there, and Viably is one of the best.

Not only does it offer professional-looking invoice templates, but helps small business owners know exactly what should be featured on their invoices, including:

  • Payment terms
  • Due dates
  • Fees
  • Taxes
  • Account numbers

Using apps like Viably to manage your invoices will keep everything organized and in one place, so you won’t have to chase down clients for payments.

3. Lucidspark

Many people associate Lucidspark with team collaboration.

While it’s great for that, it’s also an essential project management tool that can keep you on track with various writing projects and deadlines.

It will help you through the phases of project management:

  • Initiation
  • Planning
  • Execution
  • Monitoring
  • Closure

Not only will a project management app like this help you keep track of clients, but you can also use it when you’re developing and implementing new marketing strategies so you can stay true to your desired timeline.

4. Quickbooks Payroll

Most people recognize the Quickbooks name.

It’s been a trusted accounting program for big and small businesses for many years.

Quickbooks Payroll is a newer service, providing business owners an easy, streamlined way to get their employees paid.

As a copywriter, you probably aren’t going to have a dozen employees.

However, as your business grows, you might need to hire an assistant, or even another writer or two.

Whether they work remotely or in a shared space, paying them fairly and on time should be your top priority.

Quickbooks Payroll makes that easy.

Plus, it provides automated taxes and forms, so you don’t have to worry about getting those together for your employees when tax season rolls around.

5. Expensify

While we’re on the subject of money, managing your finances is crucial when you’re running your own business.

Even if you’re the sole employee, you might need to purchase things to keep your business running properly.

Expensify allows you to scan receipts and process expenses quickly, no matter where you are.

It will keep them organized in one place, and can even integrate with other accounting apps to keep track of every expenditure.

That will save you a lot of time, effort, and stress as you prepare your taxes each year.

6. HotSchedules

If you take on a few employees as your business starts to grow, keeping track of everyone’s schedule is important.

When people work remotely, it’s okay to be flexible.

However, if you’re paying your workers by the hour, you’ll want to make sure they’re logging time correctly.

Apps like HotSchedules can help with that, in addition to:

  • Keeping your team organized
  • Monitoring performance
  • Requesting time off
  • Integrating schedules with Google Calendar

There are plenty of scheduling programs out there.

The unique thing about HotSchedules is that it’s completely mobile, so no matter how small or large your operation, you can keep track of everyone from the palm of your hand.

7. Evernote

As a writer, you’re probably constantly jotting things down and trying to keep track of everything you need to remember.

Evernote is a great app for keeping your thoughts and “to-dos” organized in one digital location.

You can take notes and share them with others for free, or upgrade to the paid version of the app to manage projects and workflows.

8. Ubersuggest

Created by marketing guru Neil Patel, Ubersuggest takes the guesswork out of SEO blog writing.

Ubersuggest helps you with both keyword and topic research and can help you discover what your “competition” pages have written about similar topics, so you’ll know which keywords will be effective and which ones to avoid.

9. Hubspot

Whether you want to streamline your social media efforts or keep your clients and contacts in one convenient location, Hubspot can help.

It’s a great tool for managing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so you can have an active social media presence and engage with potential clients.

However, the real benefit comes from using it as an email marketing tool, where you can create custom messages for your existing clients, loyal “customers,” and more.

It’s wonderful for fostering healthy client relationships, so you don’t have to constantly worry about finding new customers and more work.

10. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a familiar name in the world of marketing, so if you’re not already using it, you should be!

It’s a platform that allows you to create optimized SEO content in one convenient location.

You can schedule social media posts days or weeks in advance, keep track of mentions and follows, and ensure you’re posting at least one piece of content each day to keep your clients engaged.

Hootsuite is a user-friendly and efficient way to take charge of your business’s marketing efforts, so you don’t have to spend hours on social media each day when you could be writing.

So, have you downloaded these apps yet?

Whether you’re a one-person operation or you’re a growing copywriting business that’s starting to hire employees, these particular apps will help with everything from perfecting your writing to tackling your taxes.

Give them a try, and you might be surprised by how much more efficiently you’ll run your business.

 

7 steps to writing great copy according to Joseph Sugarman

Step-by-step guide to writing better copy

Step-by-step guide to writing better copy

These days I’m reading multiple books on copywriting, especially on persuasive writing.

One of the books I’m reading these days is The Adweek Copywriting Handbook written by Joseph Sugarman.

Joseph Sugarman is one of the greatest direct marketing copywriters who started his mail-order business JS&A and sold multiple revolutionary products by publishing long ad copies that converted like crazy.

Many blog posts on Joseph Sugarman talk about his great feat of selling an aeroplane for $240,000 (the same amount he paid when he bought the plane) with a single advertisement, but very few mention that the person who bought the plane used it for running drugs from South America and was later confiscated.

Most of the excellent copywriting examples that Joseph Sugarman has used in the book are from his own campaigns.

He had his own company – JS&A – through which he would sell products like sunglasses, calculators, mixers, or even Casio watches.

After getting a contract with the parent company (for example Casio) he would publish advertisements in the publications like Wall Street Journal and then sell his products by mail order.

He also sold products through direct mail advertising (just like these days we send email marketing campaigns).

Copywriting steps by Joseph Sugarman

Copywriting steps by Joseph Sugarman

Even in the 70s and 80s his conversion rate was legendary.

He was appreciated for his humorous style and his deep understanding of the human psych.

I will come to the copywriting steps later, but listed below are the main highlights of his entire copywriting philosophy:

Your first sentence must make people read the next sentence

The importance of the first sentence in copywriting

The importance of the first sentence in copywriting

It may seem like a simple statement, but it also tells you how important every sentence in your copy is.

Your prospective customers and clients read your copy in a highly distracted state.

There were less distractions when Joseph Sugarman wrote his copy.

I mean, very few people these days read Wall Street Journal or a marketing message in a conventionally published magazine or in a letter.

People read on their mobile phones or computers.

These devices are full of distractions.

Therefore, make every sentence count.

Even a single needless sentence can send people away.

Keep people interested.

Keep them on the edge of your seat.

Make them want to know what comes next.

Although his copywriting advice is fundamental, many copywriters, in the heat of the moment, end up ignoring it.

Hence, it is good to revise some of the suggestions made by him when writing copy.

In his book he mentions that there are more than 60 factors that can affect the performance of your copy, but in this blog post I’m covering 7 steps that can help you write great copy on a day-to-day basis.

These steps are not revolutionary. You may find them almost everywhere on the Internet.

Nonetheless, just as I said above, it is always better to revise your concepts so that they remain fresh in your mind.

Besides, they may seem commonplace right now because thousands of people have written about them.

Sell a cure, not a prevention

Solve an existing problem with your copywriting

Solve an existing problem with your copywriting

Joseph Sugarman uses an example of a burglar alarm system.

Few people would be interested in a burglar alarm system if they consider their neighborhood safe.

People don’t want to think about unpleasant events. Especially when they haven’t happened yet.

But then suddenly one day, a burglary takes place in the neighborhood.

People are more likely to buy a burglar alarm system in the event of a neighborhood burglary than when simply being told that someday there may be a burglary and then, a burglar alarm system would be useful.

Whenever you are selling something, sell it as a cure and not a prevention.

A good example: Don’t tell people that you can stop them from gaining weight; tell them you can help them lose weight.

Prevention: My copywriting services will stop your customers from going to your competitors.

Cure: My copywriting services will help you get more customers.

Ask your customers questions to which the answer is “yes”

Create a harmony through your copywriting

Create a harmony through your copywriting

You want to become a better copywriter?

Well, that’s why you are reading this blog post, so the answer would be “yes”.

You want to improve the conversion rate of your copy?

Who doesn’t?

So, the answer would be, “yes”.

You want to improve your search engine rankings or social media visibility?

Again, this is a basic requirement of any business, so the answer would be “yes”.

Joseph Sugarman says that the more you make your customer say “yes” the more they say “yes” to buying from you.

It creates a harmony between your readers and your copy.

When you make them nod in acceptance, you lead them into a space where they don’t want to say “no” to you.

When writing copy, create a narrative that makes people nod their head in repetitive “yes”.

Copywriting is all about emotions

Most buying decisions are emotional

Most buying decisions are emotional

It’s famously said that people buy with their emotions and then explain their purchase with logic.

All buying decisions are based on emotions whether you’re writing copy for B2B or B2C.

Holiday packages sell dream vacations.

Limited offers make you reach out to your credit card using FOMO (fear of missing out).

Insurance companies emotionally blackmail you into buying insurance cover for your family.

You buy an expensive car because you want to belong to that “exclusive group”.

I have never purchased an iPhone and the only reason why I would like to purchase one is to appear bright and clear during video calls to my family and clients.

It is always first our limbic system that reacts to a situation (emotion) and after that it is the neocortex that uses the logic.

Although there are innumerable shades of emotions, broadly, you can divide them into 5 categories:

  1. Loyalty
  2. Confidence
  3. Fear
  4. Anger
  5. Curiosity

Loyalty is normally used in content marketing.

Joseph Sugarman says that he could raise the level of loyalty through his marketing ad copy to such a level that people felt guilty when they didn’t buy from him.

Emotion allows you to humanise your business.

If there is no emotion, it is difficult to establish a connection and make another human being do your bidding.

When you emotionally move people, they remember you.

You stand out in the crowd when you can make an emotional connection.

You leave an imprint on them.

With an outpouring of marketing messages from every possible direction, for your target customers and clients it is often difficult to notice you.

Through emotional copywriting you distinguish yourself.

Studies have shown that businesses and brands that provide an emotional experience are more likely to be retained by customers.

Does your copy make people uneasy?

Does it inculcate a sense of urgency?

Does it allow a sense of loyalty?

Does it provide exclusivity?

All these, and more emotions can help you sell more through your copy.

Now we come back to those famous 7 steps that can help you write great copy thanks to Joseph Sugarman. Here they are:

Step 1: Study the product thoroughly

Once Joseph Sugarman started writing copy about a product, he used to become obsessed with the product.

Sometimes, he claims in the book, he knew more about the product than the manufacturer or the supplier.

The strongest point of the copy would often come from a relatively lesser known but a highly influential feature in a product.

For example, when he was writing about a thermostat, he discovered that the most important aspect of the thermostat was ease of installation.

Often, people would face lots of difficulty installing the thermostat and they often had to call an expensive electrician.

But, the thermostat that he was promoting, could be easily installed by the customer.

That turned out to be one of the biggest selling points.

Even the manufacturers hadn’t realized this great feature.

Step 2: Know your audience

Knowing your audience is as important as knowing your product.

Unless you know about the person sitting in front of you (or reading your copy) how can you have a conversation with them?

In modern day copywriting, this is called creating a persona.

Every product has a unique personality, and this unique product personality caters to a certain audience.

What does your audience crave for?

In what social and cultural circles does your audience move?

What are its aspirations?

How does your audience spend money?

What are the priorities of your audience?

In what language does your audience speak?

Knowing all these traits of your audience will help you strike an effective conversation through your copy.

Step 3: Write the headline and the main caption

Some people prefer to write the headline and the main caption after they have written the complete copy, and some prefer to do it in the beginning.

Joseph Sugarman preferred to do it in the beginning.

Capture the entire essence of your copy in the headline.

When you are writing a blog post or web page, there is a chance that 8 out of 10 people will just read the headline and then move on.

The job of your headline is to hook people enough so that they read your main caption.

The highlighted portion in the below screenshot is the main caption.

[Insert the main caption screenshot]

The main caption is the highlighted text that appears beneath the headline.

The job of your main caption is to compel your readers to read the copy of your ad or web page or blog post.

If people read your main caption after reading your headline, there is a great chance that they will read at least a few sentences of your main copy.

Step 4: Write the remaining copy

Joseph Sugarman suggests that when you are writing your main copy, write relentlessly.

Don’t worry about spelling or grammar mistakes.

Don’t worry about the flow or the structure.

No matter how bad it seems, just write it down on the paper or on your computer.

Spontaneity is very important when you are writing copy.

Step 5: Edit your copy

Once you have completed your copy in a single flow, it’s time to edit it.

Many suggest that you don’t edit your copy on the same day.

Come back to it with a new perspective the next day.

Whether you do it on the same day or the next day is your prerogative, but make all the improvements when you are editing it.

Step 6: Let your copy incubate

We must consider the fact that Joseph Sugarman sometimes spent weeks on a single piece of copy.

As a professional copywriter you may not have that much luxury.

As a content writer sometimes I need to submit multiple documents in a single day.

In copywriting your client may be more accommodating because their conversion rate depends on how well you can write.

For example, recently I worked on a lead generation email on which I spent more than a week going through the material and revising the copy.

I even charged 5 times what I would charge for a normal email.

The client was quite accommodating because he wanted to make sure that the lead generation email campaign was a success.

Letting your copy incubate really helps.

Step 7: Give your copy a final look

Look at it from the perspective of your customers and clients.

Scrutinise it ruthlessly.

Make sure you have answered all the whys, hows and whatifs.

Read it loudly.

Is it easy to read.

Do you fumble when reading (if yes, so will your readers)?

Remember that you should be able to read your copy smoothly, as if you’re talking to someone.

There are many “copywriting frameworks” on different blogs and social media posts that you can use as they are.

But as you evolve as an experienced and seasoned copywriter, you will develop your own ways.

Joseph Sugarman was a highly experienced copywriter, but his methods worked for his way of working.

You may have your own way of working.

In the meantime, it pays to use tried and proven copywriting methods.

How do you transition from being a content writer to being a copywriter?

Becoming a copywriter from being a content writer

Becoming a copywriter from being a content writer

Usually, the line between being a content writer and copywriter is constantly being blurred when you are writing for blogs and websites.

Whereas content writing mostly involves writing informational and educational material, copywriting is more about convincing and persuading people into becoming paid customers and clients.

As a copywriter you write for

  • The main sections of a website such as the homepage, the services page/pages, company profile, and product descriptions.
  • Landing pages.
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Brochures and other marketing materials.

As a content writer you write

  • SEO content.
  • Blog posts.
  • Instructional articles.
  • Generic content on the website.
  • Social media posts (non-commercial).
  • Case studies.
  • White papers.
  • Every other piece of content that aims to inform and engage the audience.

I have been writing content for more than 17 years now.

My writing style is quite flexible.

Whether clients need an SEO content, blog posts, main website content, landing pages, case studies, or email marketing campaigns, I have been writing relentlessly, but just as a content writer.

I have been performing tasks of a copywriter as a content writer.

The disadvantages of working as a content writer while being a copywriter

Working as a content writer or a copywriter?

Working as a content writer or a copywriter?

The disadvantages are multipronged.

There is of course, the financial aspect.

Whereas I should be paid as a copywriter, I am being paid as a content writer.

This way I’m not realising my actual earning potential.

This gets me trapped in a rut and prevents me from taking on assignments that can actually help my clients grow their businesses.

I’m mostly doing grunt work whereas I can do some really creative work.

Without knowing, even clients suffer.

Over the years I have noticed that they don’t take a content writer as seriously as they would take a copywriter.

This is obvious.

Since I’m not educating my clients (about me working as a copywriter and not a content writer), when I try to charge them more, they balk at my rates.

“Other content writers are not charging this much,” they often say.

When I tell them that I’m not writing like other content writers, they find it difficult to understand because they have hired me as a content writer and all I’m doing is, writing content for them, just like any other content writer.

It’s not their fault. It’s my fault.

Even while working as a copywriter, I have been promoting myself as a content writer.

Hence, when they find me on the Internet, they find me for my content writing services, and not for my copywriting services.

I’m changing that.

From being a content writer, I’m transitioning to being a copywriter.

Why copywriting costs more than content writing

Copywriting costs more than content writing

Copywriting costs more than content writing

First of all, I don’t mean to say that if you are a content writer you are less of a writer than a copywriter.

I’m just saying that copywriting requires more expertise than being a content writer.

I have realized this more when I started hiring other content writers for my business.

I’m working with 15 content writers right now.

Although they can write blog posts, articles, and social media posts, none of them have been able to write content for business websites of my clients.

Even if I try to assign them some work for writing for a landing page, an email campaign, or even the main website, ultimately, I need to rewrite most of the text.

Educating as a content writer is easier.

Making people pay for products and services is harder as a copywriter.

The When you are writing for the main web pages you need to convince people.

You need to persuade.

For example, if I write for your app development company, after reading your text, your visitors must hire you as an app developer.

All your main website pages are intended to generate business for you.

What does generating business mean?

It means you are able to influence people in such a manner that they are ready to spend money on you.

This is a difficult job to achieve.

Without being convinced, people don’t even spend a single dollar.

Copywriting does the job of convincing people into spending money on your business.

It’s not a mean achievement.

There is no such compulsion for a content writer.

The job of a content writer is to increase your visibility and draw people into your sales funnel.

There is no commitment.

There is no stake.

As a content writer you’re not asking people to spend money after reading your text.

This is why copywriting costs more than content writing.

Can you transition into being a copywriter from being a content writer?

Possible being a copywriter from being a content writer

Possible being a copywriter from being a content writer

Depends on your writing abilities.

Content writing is about informing and educating.

Copywriting is about selling and converting.

You may like to read: Difference between copywriting on content writing: explained

As I have mentioned above, currently I’m working with 15 content writers and none of them can write for main business websites, landing pages and email marketing campaigns.

The success of your copywriting job is scrutinised with greater degree than your content writing job.

In content writing, your job is to deliver a well written piece of content that is easier to read and digest.

You don’t ask people to spend money.

You don’t ask them to make a commitment.

In copywriting you tell people to spend money on a product or a service.

You convince them into taking an action.

This Forbes article on the difference between copywriting and content writing explains in the following manner:

As a content writer you educate or entertain readers by creating high quality and valuable content.

Your content may drive sales in the long term, but that’s not its primary purpose.

Copywriting involves the creation of text content to persuade readers to take some type of action related to your business’s sale process.

You need to convince prospective customers that the product you are writing about is worth buying.

Or your business is worth calling.

Copywriting is the art of persuading readers to take a sales-related action.

When you work as a copywriter your language needs to change.

Your writing style must be conversational.

You should know how to use psychological triggers to convince and persuade your readers into taking an action.

Your writing should be able to hook your readers.

Some people have a natural flair for copywriting.

Some writers have gained enough writing experience (like yours truly) and just need to fine tune certain aspects of convincing and persuading.

Some writers need to learn from scratch.

They need to have basic writing skills.

To writers who have the basic writing skills and inclination but would like to become copywriters, I would suggest start following some established copywriters on LinkedIn.

There are many useful videos on YouTube where people share their copywriting tips and tricks.

In my personal experience, LinkedIn is the best source.

On blogs and YouTube videos, it’s mostly regurgitated stuff and people simply repeat themselves.

On LinkedIn on the other hand, people share their hands-on experiences and also give real-world examples of how certain pieces of copywriting perform well.

Additionally, copywriting depends a lot on your experience as an entrepreneur, a motivator, a learner, a listener, and an observer.

You can develop these qualities.

As a copywriter, when you are writing for a landing page or an email campaign you need to have a deep understanding of

  • What the business needs to achieve (for which you are copywriting).
  • What the product or the service you’re writing about delivers – what are its biggest capabilities.
  • What are the expectations of the target audience – what problems people are facing and what solutions they’re looking for.

Learn about power words.

Learn how to write compelling headlines.

Read books and LinkedIn threads on copywriting.

Follow influential copywriters on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Start practicing a conversational writing style.

Develop a habit of understanding your audience and then writing in their language.

Learn to love writing instead of doing it just to earn money.

Start building a swipe file to save good examples of high conversion copywriting.

How to use the concept of slippery slide in copywriting to increase your sales

The concept of slippery slide in copywriting

The concept of slippery slide in copywriting

For the first time I read about the concept of slippery slide in copywriting on one of Copyblogger posts.

Then I came across the reference in Joseph Sugarman’s book, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook.

In the beginning pages of the book, he writes:

“Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slide.”

Some also call it “the slippery slope of copywriting”.

There are also some good YouTube videos that explain how slippery slide works in copywriting.

When your copy is so compelling that your readers can’t stop reading from the beginning till the end, you have caused a slippery slide in copywriting.

If you want your copywriting to convert, you want to make an impact.

You make an impact through your words and sentences.

Hence, your readers must read your copy fully.

How do you do that?

You write a headline that hooks them and makes them read the first sentence.

Your first sentence is so effective that they want to read further.

Every new sentence propels the reader to the next sentence or the next subsection.

The reader goes on reading in rapt attention until she has reached the end where you have your call to action.

Here is a good example of the concept of slippery slide being used for paid content:

Slippery slide Netflix advertisement a New York Times screenshot

Slippery slide Netflix advertisement a New York Times screenshot

The above screenshot is an advertisement masquerading as an article.

When you read the headline “Women inmates: Why the male model doesn’t work”, you feel as if you are reading an article on jail reforms.

Even the subtext, “As the number of women inmates soars, so does the need for policies and programs that meet their needs” makes you believe it is an article.

It is in fact an advertisement for the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.

Here is another example of a Volkswagen ad that shows the power of the slippery slide in copywriting:

Volkswagen ad crooked wheels

Volkswagen ad crooked wheels

It shows the image of a car raised in the air. Its wheels are crooked.

The headline beneath the image asks, “Why are the wheels crooked?”

The reader or the viewer has the same question: why do the wheels appear crooked?

After the question being reaffirmed, the reader wants to find out.

The remaining copy of the ad explains that the crooked wheels in the car are not a defect but a feature.

How exactly does the slippery slide work in copywriting?

In the concept of slippery slide or slippery slope, your copywriting follows a set pattern.

The pattern goes like this:

Slippery slide in copywriting explained

Slippery slide in copywriting explained

  • Headline or image: This needs to be the strongest because unless this captures your reader’s imagination, they are not going to read further. A strong headline makes them read the subheading.
  • Subheading: It provides additional information in such a manner that the reader wants to read what comes next.
  • Introduction: It is the first sentence of your copy, followed by the second or the third sentence. Every sentence must prompt the reader to read the next sentence.
  • Remaining copy: Keep your remaining copy sticky. Keep them wanting to know more.
  • The end of the copy: This is where your CTA appears. It is a big achievement that you have made them read the entire copy and there is a great chance they will act upon the CTA.

Is slippery slide in copywriting just about an ad or web page?

Not necessarily.

You can create a complex marketing funnel.

That funnel itself can be a slippery slide.

For example, you publish lots of content and spread it using channels like Google, LinkedIn and Instagram.

People come across your content and want to know more about you.

They have entered your funnel.

They have climbed upon your slippery slide.

They follow you.

They subscribe to your updates.

They have started sliding.

The remain your followers.

They don’t unsubscribe.

They occasionally respond and engage.

They are going down the slippery slide.

Some of them eventually buy from you.

Hence, you can see that the slippery slide or the slippery slope can also exist in the form of your sales or marketing funnel.

Is slippery slide also used in content writing?

When you are writing online, the line between content writing and copywriting is constantly being blurred.

Many clients hire me as a content writer, but I work as a copywriter for their website.

Even when you are writing a blog post that is intended to generate sales, you are working as a copywriter.

Even if you are writing a blog post for information purposes, you need to attract traffic.

How to create your own slippery slide effect in copywriting

Frankly, this is just a fancy term for what you may call, old wine in new bottle.

Every promotional material that you write must be engaging and must be able to hook your readers into reading the whole copy.

Good and engaging copy often conforms to the concept of slippery slide or slippery slope in copywriting.

You need a headline that makes people read the fine print.

The fine print must have a narrative.

It must tell a story.

People should be made curious to know what is going to happen next.

You can take a calculated risk and use a headline that is not misleading, but has got nothing to do with the copy.

You can use the same treatment coming up with subject lines for your email – not misleading people, but being creative so that when people read the subject line, they open the email.

Hence, you may need to create a slippery slide headline to make people click your link and come to your blog post.

Take for example a headline

Why my horse is laughing to the bank

This is a typical slippery slide or slippery slope headline.

The reader would immediately want to know why this horse is laughing all the way to the bank?

If you want to have a step-by-step approach to slippery slide copywriting, you can do the following:

  • Craft a compelling headline that makes people eager to read your web page or blog post.
  • Make a strong introduction; in the introduction people must get an idea of what you’re offering.
  • Keep the readers on the edge of the seat.
  • Use crisp, smaller sentences that can be read fast.
  • Use simple language, again, so that your copy can be read fast.
  • Every sentence must lead to a culmination.
  • In the end, sum up everything because it is easier to remember the last thing that someone has read.
  • Present the call to action.