When creating marketing content, your goal will be to sell, or promote a product or a service. So, you need to define your USP, or unique selling point, something you offer that is different or better than your competitors. You don't want to let people know you are just another garden supplies store, you want to tell them that you offer same day delivery, or free seeds with every order. Or, you want to highlight that your products are sourced organically, or that you're a local based business, or have supplied products for a celebrity gardener etc.
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL PROOF: Social proof helps you sell like no other and it is crucial element you can use to enhance all your copy. It's a really useful persuader when customers, who typically are overwhelmed with choice, have to make a decision. People flock to the safe, they don't like to take risks, especially with their money. If you have been proven to be trusted by someone they have heard of, like a well-known brand, institution, or celebrity, you should always mention this in your promotional content, as it will help you sell more.
Social proof doesn't always have to involve mentioning a big name. It can be pointing out how many satisfied customers you have, or even spotlighting individual customers who have had amazing results from your product or service. If you're struggling for sign ups, consider featuring positive customer testimonials in your content instead, but never be tempted to fake these, as people can always tell.
2. AIDA - THE MAGIC FORMULA TO CREATING COMPELLING COPY THAT SELLS: AIDA is an extremely powerful formula, that if followed will ensure your content is always primed to sell. It works in four stages, to Attract your customers attention, interest them, and then make them Desire what you are selling. The final stage is to make them take Action, which usually means getting them to make a purchase or subscribe. You can use the AIDA formula in most of your promotional copy, whether you are creating press releases, landing pages, email campaigns, or product ads.
Let's look at the 4 stages in a little more detail.
a. FIRST, ATTRACT: Attracting customers is the first and most critical step. There are many ways to attract customers using your content, but one important way is through your headers. With headlines you need to grab people's attention from the off, so they click through or keep reading on. Sub-headers are also crucial to help break up blocks of text, and add structure, so use them in your content but be sure to make them exciting and relevant. A good header is provocative and presses people's buttons. It can make them excited, intrigued, or even angry but one thing it should never do is be boring. So, don't play it safe with your headers Stand out by asking leading questions or promise value by offering to give people knowledge they never had before.
You should aim to charge your headers with emotional words, like amazing, exceptional, terrible, horrible, but don't use too many, and don't go overboard. "The terrible truth about most skincare products" is a powerfully emotive and intriguing header, as is "Is your diet endangering your health?" and "10 ways to stop losing money on your Facebook Ad spend," is even better, as not only does everyone want to save money, you're giving people an incentive to click through and read your content by promising to give them a practical solution.
Headers can be short or a little longer but try to keep them as brief as possible while still being specific. Getting specific is critical, no one is going to click through if they are not sure what they are going to be reading. Time is precious, so you have to make people want to spend theirs reading your content, by showing them what's in it for them. One way of making your headers more specific is by including numbers in them. "Ten crucial diet mistakes that age you faster" is super specific, as it tells people that if they click through, they'll be able to find out what these potential ten errors are.
An industry survey conducted by moz.com found that number headlines got 327% more clickthroughs than question headlines. You won't be able to use them every time in every header you write but you can supercharge your content but including them wherever possible. Use fomo in your headers to attract more click throughs. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out is another great principle to use when writing your headlines. It works by tapping into a worry or common concern people have, making them want to find out more so they can either prevent or solve the problem. A headline like "Five Ways you can guarantee your cat lives longer", uses the FOMO principle, so does "The No 1 cholesterol slashing ingredient - are you getting enough?".
b. INTEREST: Once you've got people's attention you need to move on to the second stage of AIDA and keep their interest. This part of your copy is often called the lead, and it is hugely important. Aim to keep your lead to a max of about 8 sentences for optimum effect. One way of ensuring you keep people reading is by using intrigue, and you can do this by teasing that you have the solution to their problem or fear, without telling them exactly what it is. Or you can create interest by sharing a short story about someone who used your product or service and got great results.
Don't jump in straight away and hit them with the details of your product. If you're selling a diet supplement for example, first intrigue them by saying something like, "Excess weight can be hard to shift but there is one ingredient that can jumpstart your metabolism. I'm going to tell you why you can shift that spare tire, without spending an excessive amount of time at the gym or depriving yourself.
By including one easy-to-take supplement to your daily routine, you could start shedding pounds within weeks." This should intrigue them enough to carry on reading as you're hitting their hot buttons. They want to lose weight, they don't want to have to work out for hours or starve themselves, so you have them exactly where you want them, hooked to find out what this magic ingredient is.
If you can then angle your copy to frame your product or service as the solution to their fear, or the thing that will deliver them what they most desire, you will be able to benefit from the panic or intrigue you induced with your FOMO headline. Imagine someone who's concerned about delaying the ageing process clicking through on a headline like "Are you making your face age too quick?" and then reading how there is a skincare product that can help them achieve what they want, younger looking skin. They are going to be in a prime state to want to know exactly what that product is, which is how you want them for the next phase of the AIDA formula.
c. DESIRE: After you have attracted people with a great header and interested them enough, so they want to keep reading, you need to make them DESIRE what you are selling. To get people to want what you're offering, you can't simply talk about how great your product is, you need to show potential customers WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM. The what's in it for them principle is another staple of copywriting, as customers are focused on themselves, and what they want. To demonstrate what's in it for your customers, always outline the benefits of your product or service in any copy you create. Show people how what you are offering will directly improve their lives or give them the results they are seeking.
Never just outline your product or service features. No one really cares whether or not your product was created by the finest master craftsmen on the planet but they do care if you can explain why this makes it 100% times more effective than any other product out there, as this gives them a reason to purchase.
Once you have attracted customers with an engaging header, interested them by teasing that you have the solution to their problem, and made them desire by introducing your product and outlining the benefits, you still need to motivate them to take action.
d. ACTION: This is the last stage of the AIDA formula, and will obviously be vital to the success of your brand. If you don't make sales, you can't stay in business, right? So, you need to motivate readers of your content to buy or sign up. Most people are lazy, and they have too much choice. They need an incentive in order to take action. This incentive could be a great deal, a limited time offer, or a product or service that gives them benefits or results they just can't get anywhere else.
Let's say, I want to sell an anti-ageing face cream. I first attract people to read my content by creating an enticing headline. I then interest people by explaining that I have the solution to their fears about ageing. Then I make them desire my product by outlining the great benefits they will experience using it, having done my market research beforehand, so I know what benefits they actually want.
Now I need to do the last part of the AIDA formula, which is get them to take action. One example of how I might do this is to say, in my call to action, “Get three bottles for the price of one when you click through to purchase in the next 60 minutes. Stocks are limited, and these are going fast, so reserve yours now." Or, I might say, "grab your first-time customer 50% discount and get your first bottle for just $9.99. Hurry and purchase right now, as this offer only applies for the next 24 hours!"
Both these call to actions have a sense of urgency, and spur people to take action when you want them to, which is immediately. Always tell people the specific action you would like them to take and remind them why. Don't just say "sign up now", say "enter your email address and start receiving our tips and tricks straight away" instead. This is the AIDA formula I mentioned earlier, ATTRACT, INTEREST, DESIRE, ACTION. Ideally you should also use FOMO, the fear of missing out, to super boost both your headline and your call to action. You should also use the WHAT'S IN IT FOR THEM principle in your header, and wherever possible to make customers DESIRE your product, by highlighting how it will benefit them.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA: The first rule of writing for social media sites like Facebook is to be brief. People have limited attention spans on social, and often scroll past content. Always include a visual with your text content, as research from Buzzomo found posts with an image got 2.3 times more engagement than posts without.
Hashtag all your social content on Twitter and on Instagram too, using relevant, and preferably trending tags.
You can research trending hashtags using tools like Hootsuite or look up the top tags on Twitter and Insta and add them to your post. Don't use hashtags for Facebook though as these can have the opposite effect and make people more likely to scroll past or switch off.
4. INSTAGRAM HASTAGS: Hashtags are crucial on Insta, if you want to get more followers, and improve your posts’ engagement rates. Posts on Instagram that use hashtags average 12.6% more engagement than posts without. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags on a post and a max of 10 on a story.
Don't make the mistake of using just the most popular Instagram hashtags. It's better to use hashtags that are more niche, with an engaged audience that's relevant to your industry.
To find niche tags that have a high engagement rate, you should look and see what your competitors are using. It's also worth researching what hashtags your customers use to tag the topics they are interested in that would be relevant to your brand.
5. OBSERVE YOUR COMPETITORS: When you're on social, notice what works for customers, and what doesn't. You can do this by researching your competitors, so look at ads for competing products on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Be sure to look out for complaints in the comments section that crop up over and over again, as if your product can address these, you can then emphasise this in your copy. You'll easily be able to win a slice of their action, if your product can plug the holes in your rival’s product or service by offering customers something that's superior.
Make sure you know your audience by using Facebook Audience Insights to get aggregated information about the people connected to your Page, as well as demographic information about Facebook users.