Copywriting 101: Tell Your Customers About the Vacation, Not the Transportation

One of the business lessons that I’ve learned the hard way is about how to write good copy—for my website, brochure and all other marketing material. Honestly, until a few years ago, copywriting wasn’t even something I considered important, so I want to make sure it is on your radar for your business right now as you’re reading this.

Since the copy in your marketing material is typically the very first way that your potential clients will be introduced to you, it has to be good. No, actually, it has to be great.

In my opinion, copy alone can be the difference between building a successful and prosperous business and having your business flop. If you can, I recommend hiring a professional copywriting, but if your budget won’t allow for it (copywriting can run you a few thousand bucks), then you need to get good at doing it yourself.

Of course, I am not a professional copywriter, but I want to share with you the most important tips that I’ve learned about copywriting for small business owners…

First, I want to give you a visualization. Imagine that you want to go to a tropical island for a much-needed vacation. You arrive in Florida and head down to the island vacation agency to decide which island you want to visit and what type of vacation you want. You walk in and tell the lady behind the desk what your needs are. She immediately proceeds to describe to you the different incredible islands. She tells you what the luxurious hotels are like, how amazing the pools are, how close the beach is. She talks about hammocks, daiquiris, relaxation, delicious restaurants, sea shells and anything to get you excited enough to pull out your credit card and say “I want it all.”

That’s what it’s like to write good copy.

You need to write your copy in a way that sells the result the customer will get—the relaxing, lavish, splendid DESTINATION. The problem is that many business owners write their copy to explain the process of getting to this grand vacation. This is a huge distinction.

This would be like the lady behind the counter describing to you the TRANSPORTATION that you will be taking to the island. Instead of selling you on the beautiful island, the 5-star hotel and the mouth-watering food, she only tells you about the boat that you’re taking to get there. She describes the features of the boat—it’s a 20 passenger boat, it’s all white on the outside, it’s named “Saint Maria”, you get complimentary bottled water, the ride takes 2 hours, etc. Here’s the problem—you don’t care about the boat, you only care about where the boat is taking you.

This is the most important lesson I’ve learned about copywriting—when you are writing the copy for your business, describe the destination, NOT the transportation. Your customers want the result and they don’t care if they take a boat, a plane or a canoe to get there.

When I first wrote the copy for my health coaching website, I definitely described the boat. I can’t quite remember what my copy said, but it probably looked something like this:

  • I offer a 6-month health coaching program
  • We’ll meet every other week for 12 sessions
  • Each session is 50 minutes
  • You’ll receive food samples and self-care products
  • You’ll get a workbook with tons of health-related information

You get the idea. Basically, that’s the transportation. That’s not the tropical destination. No one is going to visit my website, read that copy and think, “Oh my god! I have been looking for a 6-month health coaching program! Let me sign up now!”

When I fixed it, website copy read something like this:

  • Feel confident, secure and content with your body and the way you look
  • Wake up each morning full of energy and ready to take on the day
  • Overcome uncontrollable cravings that you keep beating yourself up about
  • Stop yo-yoing and start maintaining your new, healthy weight in way that’s effortless

Now that’s the island vacation!

Main takeaway: Write your copy to explain the results that your customer will get from your product or service, not the process it takes to get there. Keep this in mind ANY time you write copy for your business—on your website, brochures, advertisements, etc. Shifting the way you explain your business to potential clients can have a massive impact your conversation rate and definitely aid you in taking your business to the next level.

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