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Why copywriters are expensive

I'm going to make an educated guess about you.

You pay a hairdresser to cut your hair and hire a mechanic to mend your car. When your boiler breaks down you get a plumber to fix it. For jobs that you can't do yourself, you employ a professional.

Then why do so many people try to write their own web copy?

OK I hear you. Because it’s free. Why should you pay a copywriter? You can write, you can spell. Heck, you even know the correct use of a semi-colon; and you know tons of stuff about your business. What’s the problem?

Here’s the problem: you know tons of stuff about your business. Let me explain…

The "we" issue

What do you think is the most important thing about your website? Your business, right?

Wrong. It’s your customer.

I can always tell when someone’s written their own content. How? Because the business itself takes centre stage and the starring role is taken by the words "we", "us" and "our". If your content is all about you, it's failing to speak to the person who’s actually reading it: your potential customer.

Copywriters spend a great deal of time researching your target market. Who are they? What are their problems, needs, goals? What’s stopping them getting there? How can your business knock down the hurdles, solve their problems and meet their needs? Which tone of voice speaks directly and personally to them?

In short, the magic word for copywriters is "you". Which leads me on to the next reason why we're expensive.

Clear benefits

Copywriters see benefits. Most businesses don’t.

To be honest, it’s perfectly understandable. You’re looking at your business from the inside. You’re an expert in your field, you know your stuff. Your website has probably highlighted the fantastic features of your business – great customer service, huge experience, big-name clients, the awards that you’ve won.

Do you know what? Your site visitor isn’t interested.

No one buys features, they buy benefits. Trained copywriters understand that there is one question in the minds of your customers.

"What’s in it for me?"

We answer that question. We transform features into benefits. By looking at your business from a potential customer’s point of view copywriters will make your product or service sound attractive, sexy and impossible to resist.

Show me the money

You’ll have noticed that I’m an SEO copywriter. You may also have noticed that SEO copywriters can be more expensive than other copywriters. There’s a good reason for this.

We make money for you.

Websites need lots of traffic. OK, that’s a no-brainer. More traffic means more potential customers. But here’s the thing: websites only become profitable when they attract the right kind of traffic.

Part of an SEO copywriter’s job is keyword research. Good keyword research isn’t just about finding popular search terms. It's about finding the right combination of lead keywords and “long-tail” keywords – highly specific words and phrases that make up 70% of online searches. These words are valuable because they attract accurately targeted visitors who already want to buy your services.

After this, we weave those golden keywords seamlessly and naturally onto the page. Your website makes sense to search engines because all keywords are correctly matched to optimised page titles, headings and meta descriptions. And crucially, it makes sense to your reader because they don’t notice that the keywords are there.

When you hire an SEO copywriter you’re getting more than a professional writer. You’re getting knowledge, experience, expertise and ongoing research in an area that is constantly evolving.

I don’t cut my own hair, I pay an expert to do it for me. Do the same for your website.

Helen Beckingham is an SEO copywriter at Keyword Copywriting. Expert scribbler on websites, blogs and e-books, rather good bassoonist,  terrible singer. Contact helen@keywordcopywriting.co.uk or click here

Is your website all about you? How to avoid weeing on your customers

Are you sitting down? Good, because I’m about to say something shocking.

Copywriters don’t care about you.

OK, I’m overdoing it a bit. Obviously, we do care about you but the fact is, we care about your customer more. If you want more business through your website, there should be one magic word all over the content. And what is this magic word?

“You”.

Are you “weeing” on your customers?

Have a quick look at your own website. How many times do the words “we” or "our" appear? It's probably quite a lot. It's human nature to want to talk about yourself. After all, you’re very good at your job. You need to prove that you know your stuff, right?

Actually, your customer isn’t interested. This is what they want to know:

  • Does this company understand my problem?
  • Can they solve it?
  • What's in it for me?

This is where the word "you" comes in. The trick is to focus on just one person, the individual who's reading your website. What are their main concerns and how can you help them? How can you make their lives easier? Use the language they use. Understand their needs, their likes and dislikes, the obstacles that stand between them and their goals.

In other words, don't start with yourself. Start with your customer. Here, let me give you an example…

Let’s imagine that you live in Brighton and you’re looking for someone to build you a house. Here's a fictional builder talking about himself:

Joe Bloggs Builders – Quality design and build in Brighton

Joe Bloggs Builders offer a high quality design and build service to customers in East Sussex. Our main aim is to deliver the best customer service in the region. We take pride in our ability to deliver to tight deadlines and within our customers’ budgets. We design and build new houses with a commitment to high standards throughout the whole process.

There are lots of builders in East Sussex and you’re about to give one of them a lot of money. Which one do you choose? Joe Bloggs Builders? Probably not.

By and large, people make buying decisions based on emotions. They back up those decisions with logic. I’ll be coming back to logic in a minute but in the meantime, here’s what Joe Bloggs would say if he was talking directly to you, the person who wants to build a house:

Design and build in Brighton - Why you should choose Joe Bloggs Builders

Thinking about building your dream home but don’t know where to start? Do you need a trustworthy builder in East Sussex? Joe Bloggs Builders will make things easy for you by sorting out all your design and build requirements. We’ll provide a personal service throughout the whole process, helping you achieve your dream on time and on budget.

See what I mean? Mr Bloggs has transformed into a builder who cares about you. He understands your problem and he's solved it.

Now, onto the logic.

The importance of testimonials

OK, Joe the builder has our attention. We're almost ready to buy his services, we want to trust him but we need proof that we’ve made the right decision.

Appealing to the emotions isn’t enough on its own. You need to appeal to your customer’s logical side with some hard facts and figures. They want solid proof that you’re trustworthy, you know what you’re doing and you can guarantee a great service. How do you do this without driveling on about yourself and “weeing” all over your site visitor?

Get someone else to say it for you.

Testimonials are powerful. A glowing review from a happy customer has a more positive effect on your visitor than anything you can say about yourself. No one is interested in your awards, qualifications or achievements. They want a word-of-mouth recommendation.

This isn't new. David Ogilvy (of Ogilvy and Mather, one of the original Mad Men ) said this about testimonials back in the 1960s:

Readers find the endorsements of fellow consumers more persuasive than the puffery of anonymous copywriters.”

Well, quite… (This anonymous copywriter is unfeasibly delighted by the word “puffery”, by the way).

The more specific your testimonials are, the better. If you’ve managed to increase your happy customer's sales figures, for example, ask them to give you a percentage. “Our sales have increased by 84%” is a lot more persuasive than “our sales increased”.

And there's no puffery.

Ditch the ego

Forget about yourself. Don't try and sell the features of your business, sell the benefits. You're guaranteed to catch your website visitor's attention by focusing on what interests them most: themselves.

  • Use the second person, "you" and "your" rather than the first person "we" or "our"
  • Tell them what they'll gain, save or achieve by choosing your product or service
  • Don't tell them how great you are. Get previous clients to say it for you

If you’d like some help, feel free to get in touch with me. Yep, me. Here.

Helen Beckingham is an SEO copywriter at Keyword Copywriting. Expert scribbler on websites, blogs and e-books, rather good bassoonist, terrible singer. Contact helen@keywordcopywriting.co.uk or click here