How to Write Copy That Sells and Wins New Customers
Jeanne San Pascual, Psych-Based Copywriter
24 August 2018

For many business owners and entrepreneurs, knowing how to write copy that sells is a crucial skill to master.

The people who you think might be interested in your business aren’t always the ones buying.

Randomly choosing who your business targets won’t cut it. Whoever you assume your audience is, needs to be confirmed with market research and backed up with a remarkable copy to get their attention.

Whether you’re basing on competitor data or business trends in your field, making sure your message resonates with your ideal target market is essential.

And this is something you can achieve with copywriting.

Get to know how to do this like an expert by reading all the tips below!

How to Write Copy That Sells: Speak to a Specific Audience

Now that we’ve established how to get an audience’s attention, it’s time to direct our attention on how to write copy that sells and attracts the right audience.

A common beginner mistake when crafting copy for an audience is spreading the net too wide.

The typical line of thinking is that if they make their copy appeal to a broad range of people, then they’ll have better chances of attracting more prospects.

However, this strategy backfires most often than not because casting the net too far means your message won’t resonate with the ones who are interested and are capable of buying from you.

If your target audience consists of ladies in their 30s, further narrow that down. You should be able to craft a copy that addresses a particular pain or problem of theirs.

Are they new moms or high-flying career women looking to start a business on their own?

Use SEO Tactics But Sound Like a Human

Pairing SEO with copywriting is an excellent way to ensure that your message gets heard.

But make sure don’t sound like a garbled robot trying to include your keywords.

Because even if you manage to boost your Google rankings, your readers will be put off by the content mess you’re shoving at them.

Just write your copy like how most people talk.

There’s no other way to make your brand appear friendly, approachable, and natural-sounding.

Don’t ever think that you have to sound like you’re writing a thesis paper to sell.

Gone are the days of jargon-filled content and what works now is a message that effectively connects and engages with your target audience.

And the only way to do that is to write copy that’s distinctly human—with all the emotions and stories you can muster.

Don’t be afraid to be conversational. Write your copy like how most people talk…”

Choose the Right Message for Your Target Audience

Let’s do a little exercise before we go any further. I want you to imagine right now who your ideal clients are.

What do they like and what are they like as a customer? What’s the absolute thing that they value and prize in the businesses they patronize? What would it take to earn their loyalty?

These are just starting questions to help you picture your ideal audience.

Once you have a clear image of the kind of client you want to attract, it’s much easier to draft a message that will resonate with them.

For this, you might want to create a customer avatar. Here’s an example I made:

Brad is a single, 27-year old outdoor enthusiast who works at a hip startup in a large city.

He regularly spends hundreds of dollars a week on different parts to custom build his bike. 

One of his job perks is the flexible working hours so he usually gets to bike at least once during weekdays when there are no big projects and then on weekends as well. 

He wishes to bike more during weekdays as preparation for an upcoming competition he plans on joining. 

His other hobbies include caring for his dog, watching rock concerts with friends as well as hiking and camping.

Aside from a specific description, you can also add a few psychographic details such as education level, fave blogs, personality type, and political affiliation, to name just a few.

All of the above will no doubt allow you to form a complete picture of who exactly is your ideal customer.

Once you have that, crafting a message that fits your target market will be much easier.

How to Write Copy with Amazingly Good Headlines

Learning how to write copy with attention-grabbing headlines is a must if you want our audience to click on stuff you publish.

Every business owner’s dream is to have a brand that gets people attention—repeatedly and consistently. And this is something you can successfully do by putting a compelling headline on your marketing copy.

If you want your products or services to have a fighting chance of being noticed, learning how to write good headlines is a must.

Not only will it entice prospects to check out your business, but it can also do the bulk of the selling for you. Don’t be afraid to veer on the “sales-y” side when it comes to your headline (just this part).

After all, that’s what it’s meant to do—sell your business!

An attention-grabbing headline is vital because it gives you the fighting chance of being discovered.

Although all of us want a headline that’s valuable and helpful, you still have to craft it excitingly. Because even if it’s useful to the people you’re targeting, it won’t do anything for your business if it doesn’t get read.

Writing your best headlines is all about thinking what’s already running in the heads of your audience.

If you interpret the word “headline” in the literal sense, that’s it essentially means.

For instance, if you have an article or post that you want people to read, you have to be able to zero in on the most compelling thing about the topic you’re discussing.

The next step is to mention that in your headline and indicate how you’re going to deliver it.

The key here is to be able to identify the essential desires and needs of your audience regarding that topic.

It’s a powerful strategy to use because you’ll have your target readers clicking in no time!

Winning Headline Formulas to Follow

You can always resort to headline formulas!

The best thing about writing captivating headlines is that it won’t just attract attention for you, it’ll also get you clicks!

Let’s start with the right headline length. According to this article by CoSchedule, a good headline length is up to 70 characters for Google.

Any longer than that and your title will automatically be cut off in the search engine preview.

Depending on what platform you’ll be publishing on, the ideal headline length can vary.

Headlines on social media can range anywhere from 40 to 120 characters.

Now onto the different types of headline formulas!

How-To Headline Formulas

This headline formula is by far one of the most popular types of headlines. All you have to do is add “How to…” to your current content topic.

Use this headline as a way to promote the desired result of your readers.

Some examples:

  • How to (insert promise here) In Less Than 3 Weeks!
  • How to Be Proficient in (insert promise here) Even With No Prior Experience!
  • How to (insert promise here) in 5 Easy-to-Learn Steps!

List Headlines

List headlines take the cake when it comes to being the most used (and most popular).

Online mag, New Yorker, explained how exactly is it that people’s brains are attracted to lists.

The main reason?

Lists provide the right balance of information and intrigue. But more than that, it also makes information easy to grasp.

Some examples:

  • 5 Easy Ways to Get (insert the desired result) in 1 Month
  • 7 Little Known ____ Techniques That Pros Don’t Want You to Know
  • 10 Astonishing Tips That Will Change the Way You ____

Headlines That Use Colon

Headlines that use colon are great for explaining a topic further. You’ll commonly find this type of headline in the news but works equally as well with other platforms when done right.

A general quality of colon headlines is that the topic is stated first and a fact or supporting idea follows it.

Some examples:

  • Make Six-Figures in Less Than a Year: The Ultimate Guide
  • Do a 15-Minute Social Media Audit: A Comprehensive Checklist
  • From Rat Race to Your Own Pace: Here’s How to Successfully Shift to Freelance!

Headlines That Use Uncommon Words

Don’t underestimate the power of using uncommon words. They can generate curiosity and prompt your readers to click your headline. Below are a few examples you can use for your post:

  • 8 Peculiar Ways to Build Your (insert your topic)
  • Why These Grim-Looking Pets Will Change The Way You See Animals
  • The Top Most Spectacular Solutions to (add your topic)

Headlines That Start With “What” or “Why”

The excellent thing about headlines that begin with “what” or “why” is that it provides an easy-to-grasp explanation from the onset. It offers simple, straightforward information that your readers would readily understand.

Some examples:

  • Why It Only Takes 5 Minutes To Organize Your Day
  • What These Productive Hacks Will Teach You About Saving Money
  • Why This Tactic is the Best Way to Tripling Your Site’s Conversion Rate

Headlines That Announce Something

This type of headline is effective when it comes to grabbing attention. It’s also often used in the news as well for this same reason. What it does is to promise to reveal something exclusive, new or just exciting.

Below are some examples:

  • Introducing a Revolutionary Way of Healing Insomnia
  • The Long Awaited Update to Your Mac OS Has Just Been Released!
  • This New Type of Liner Will Change The Way You Do Your Brows!

Transformation Headlines

Transformation headlines are great for topics that showcase an exciting story. You can also use it when you want to take a reader from point A to B.

Some good examples are:

  • How I Went From Being More Than 100 Lbs. Overweight to Healthy and Fit in A Year
  • Go From an Internet Nobody to a Famous Digital Nomad Using This System
  • You Too Can Earn Six-Figures Using Our Tried and Tested Strategy

Headlines That Ask a Question

Use question headlines if your audience is mainly composed of beginners who are asking the same things in their head. You can also make this your article headline if you want to provide definitive answers to your readers’ questions!

Some examples:

  • Are You Ready to Take Your Income to New Heights?
  • How Often Do You Need to Update Your Social Profile?
  • When Should You Cut Off a Toxic Relationship?

Headlines That Use Analogy

When used right, analogy headlines promise a light, easy read that can be surprisingly delightful for your readers. Here are some ideas you can follow:

  • 10 Things Gardening Can Teach You About Life
  • How to Solve Your Financial Problems Like Warren Buffett
  • Why Achieving a 59% Click-through Rate is Like Winning the Lotto

Headlines That Combine Different Elements

The best thing about all the different types of headlines I mentioned is that you can combine them to make the most compelling headline for your copy. Go for unexpected combinations with the goal of having an interesting and attention-grabbing headline in mind.

Below are some combinations you might want to try:

  • Exclusive! A Free Manifesto About Leaving the Rat Race
  • How to Put Up Your First Business: 9 Must-Know Beginner Tips
  • Why These 3 Irresistible Marketing Tips Will Get Your Site on the Right Track

A Few More Writing Tips for Your Headline

Now that you’re armed with different types of headlines you can choose from, the next best thing is to practice, practice, practice!

It might take you a while to get the hang of it in the beginning but keep at it until it gets more comfortable for you.

To make things easy, you can also use some headline tools like CoSchedule’s headline analyzer, Headlinr (a headline generator), and Headline Emotional Value Analyzer, to name just a few!

A thesaurus is also a great addition to your tools so you can swap words that feel like “meh” into ones that are more powerful and moving.

It’s also important to use the kind of words that your readers already use. It makes it easy for them to relate to your topic which means more clicks for you!

Lastly, use keywords cautiously. It’s an excellent addition to any piece of content, but you don’t necessarily have to use it if it ends up sounding unnatural. Make sure to use your best judgment on this one!


Make Your Website Copy Easy to Skim

There are millions of websites on the web.

And since the rise of the tech era, people have become more and more picky on what to give their attention to.

Viewing something online is immensely different than reading, like say, a book or a magazine. There are just a lot of things at our disposal.

You could be reading about South African nature parks and next thing you know, you’ve stumbled on a video of an ASMR video of cutting sand!

Sigh. That’s what you call the internet rabbit hole.

It’s what leads to most people resorting to skimming and scanning on the web.

There’s just so much information to consume on the internet that people think it’s a waste to spend more than 15 seconds on an article.

I know it’s hard to believe at first (I thought it would be at least a minute) but that’s the truth we now face.

If they don’t get what they want from you at the onset, they’re sure to get it from somebody else.

That’s why you have to give them the option to skim your copy. You can quickly do this by incorporating subheads into your content or sales materials.

Dealing With Short Attention Span? Seduce With Your Words!

Writing seductively will grab the attention of your readers.

There are different ways to do this—some of which includes:

  • Not scrimping on the details. Make sure to describe your benefit in a way your readers can imagine!
  • Get clear on what problems you solve for your customers.
  • Make your value proposition appealing.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Subheads Keep the Momentum Going

Aside from writing seductively, subheads can help keep your customers reading.

It will keep your audience absorbed by offering an interesting tidbit!

To write effective subheads that successfully pull your readers in, you have to give them a reason to read the section that will follow.

For this, you could use some of the tips I mentioned above. But the most important advice I could give is to accept the fact that people will probably skim or scan your copy.

It’s hard to do if you’ve invested a good amount of your time and energy in writing yours.

But despite this, you have to learn how to make the best out of the situation by writing subheads that can easily be scanned.

Do this by formatting your subheads in a way that it stands out! You can make its font bigger or highlight it in bold.

Better yet, type it out as a heading 1 or 2 to use the preset formatting on most word software programs!

Have a Meaty Body Copy

I’ve seen a lot of instances where the headlines and subheadings were promising but fell short when it came to their body copy.

That’s like having a sumptuous icing without the cake underneath. It’s also sugar but won’t fill you up.

Remember, the core of running a successful business is able to deliver. And this is something you start with your copy.

Your main copy is what people read after your subheads.

Just like your headlines, you have to make your copy easy to read, interesting, and instantly understandable.

One surefire way to do that is to incorporate stories. But before you go ahead and include any story that you think is remotely interesting, it has to be able to support your premise.

A great story can successfully engage your readers and to open their hearts (or minds) to the message you want to convey.

That’s why so many big brands and companies use stories in their ads.

A story could either involve you or your customers. If you have stories of your own that you know you can share, don’t hesitate to use them!

If you’re writing an article, make sure that each section builds on the main idea you want to present.

Each subsection should present information of its own—somewhat like a stepping stone until the final destination is reached.

Additional Formatting Tips for Your Body Copy

When it comes to your body copy, always make sure to format!

One way to do this by writing in short sentences as much as possible. This means most of your sentences should be 20 words or less.

You don’t always have to fit everything in a mile-high sentence. Long sentences aren’t just clunky and hard to understand for your readers. It can also drown out the message you want to communicate!

It’s the same for your paragraphs as well. Nothing puts off readers like walls of text blocks staring back at them on their online screen.

Better yet, use bulleted points if you can! More often than not, content with a lot of commas or colons can often be rewritten as bullet points.

Last but not the least, aim for visual organization.

Use call-outs or block quotes for sentences that you want to emphasize so your readers know where to focus. 

Get them to Act on Your Copy for Better Conversions

Conversion is all about getting your audience to act on you message.

And you can do this with a call-to-action (CTA).

Most types of content have a purpose. Whether it’s to inform, build trust, get more followers or any other objective, you’ll need a CTA for it.

Effective calls-to-action are not only compelling because they get you results, but they can also motivate new prospects into engaging with you in some way.

There are two aspects of a remarkable call-to-action: the words that you use and how you present it visually to grab attention.

When it comes to the verbal part of your CTA, every word counts since it needs to be short enough to stick to people’s minds.

Your CTA should have a headline, an offer copy, and a link or button that readers can click.

For the headline, remember to highlight the benefits your audience will get instead of just presenting the features.

An example of a benefit-focused headline is as follows:

Have more energy and improve your productivity with these delicious stamina-boosting green smoothies! 

While a feature-focused headline goes something like:

Get this Green Smoothie Book and get 19 recipes using superfood ingredients like kale!

Sometimes, it could be tough to identify the exact benefits of a product. Whenever this happens to you, all you have to do is ask “why.”

Start with a specific feature. Why drink a green smoothie? Because it’s good for you. Why is it good for you? Because it helps boost energy. And so on.

Getting Deeper Into People’s Motivation

Another tip that can help you is to tie a benefit with any of the five life aspects that people usually value:

  • Wealth
  • Health
  • Success
  • Relationships
  • Emotional Stability/Happiness

Just think that at the core of your every offer, what you’re primarily selling to people is a better version of themselves. Whether it’s having more money or being healthier, be clear on how you can help them achieve a particular desire or need of theirs.

For your button copy, don’t just use standard wordings that everybody else uses (like “Share” or “Buy”). 

A more effective way is to phrase your button copy from the perspective of your readers. An excellent example is “I want the Green Smoothie Recipe Book.”

When it comes to showcasing your button copy, use a different color from your page and use a larger or bolder font.

Have enough space all-around the button, and you’re all set!

Lastly, if you’re writing a long-form copy, you might want to repeat your CTA at different points to make sure people don’t miss it.

Wrapping Up

In a nutshell, that’s how you write copy that attracts an audience who will be interested in your brand.

All it takes is to take the time out to get to know your ideal audience and write compelling headlines that resonate with what they’re already thinking.

Make your copy easy to scan with claims that you can follow through. More importantly, don’t forget to include a call-to-action! You stand to gain more visibility so your brand can grow to reach more of your ideal audience!