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In episode 29 of the Customers Who Click podcast I had a lovely chat with Rishi Rawat, during which we talked about why copywriting is so important, and also quite an underrated and misunderstood discipline.
If you haven’t explored copywriting for yourself I’d definitely recommend it. You don’t need to become an expert, but by learning just a few little tricks you’ll set yourself apart from the competition.
It can be as simple as the difference between a product that simply lists a few descriptive points about itself, or one that has a well written, but short, paragraph providing just that little bit more detail that taps into the customers emotions.
Rishi had some great tips for how you can do just that in this episode, including a few other resource recommendations.
Rishi has spent the last 13 years exploring shopper behaviour and has established 9 aspects of consumer psychology that are the most important.
5:19 - 10:49 - Why do Businesses Need to Pay Attention to Copywriting? - Through his own experience doubling down on copy just tended to produce the best sustainable returns when A/B testing, and particularly when focusing on storytelling. Probably the most important reason you should give copywriting more attention (other than it works) is that your competitors probably aren’t.
10:55 - 33:15 - Myths & Misconceptions around Copywriting - There’s a genuine disbelief that copywriting moves the needle. That the words on the page aren’t as important as the imagery, or the placement or certain page assets. There’s also the fact that a UI or UX change generally applies across the site. If you find a better placement for a button, it’s going to be better on all product pages. However with copy, you have to write copy for each page individually, and this takes time and resource. So pick the best opportunities. If you have a product that makes up 30% of your sales, work on improving this one first, don’t worry about your one percenters.
Within copywriting itself there’s this idea that copy doesn't need to be tested. Copy is an artform and should be evaluated by other artists, not science and data. Related to the overwhelm of where to begin, copy is actually super easy to change. It’s such a super quick website change, which means super quick buy in from the website owners.
Finally, the big one is that people don’t read long copy. Which is both true and false. I tend not to, I tend to skim read the key points as I’m normally already fairly committed to a purchase, I just want to check some of the key points. While other people will read every word, check every detail, and compare it to other products, and if your product taps into those emotions and gets them excited, its your product they’ll buy.
33:36 - 39:36 - Where to Get Started? - The Adweek Copywriting Handbook (which I’ve started reading since I recorded this and I can confirm, it’s fantastic). Whether you’re a seasoned copywriter or just getting started, don’t try and go it alone and just work things out, read this book, read other books and don’t worry about the age of a book. Copywriting is something that hasn’t, and won’t change much over decades. It’s still all about tapping into emotions. Maybe some of the language will change over time, but the core principles written about 50-60 years ago still apply now. Alongside copy, read into psychology and buyer behaviour as it’ll really help you understand why people respond to emotional cues.
39:44 - 43:34 - What are the Biggest Mistakes? - Focusing on features and benefits. Yes, benefits as well. If you had to pick one then absolutely go with benefits and again you’ll be ahead of the competition, but the real key thing to target is the emotional reasons people buy. People buy because the product reminds them of something from their childhood, or it helps give them some status in society. Nobody buys a rolex because it tells the time, or its gold plated, they spend tens of thousands of pounds on a tool that’s been around for hundreds of years because people will stop and take note.
43:54 - 51:10 - What are the Big Trends coming up for Copywriting? - Gathering constructive feedback on the copy on a page will be seen more and more, so using tools like Copytesting.com to get line by line feedback on copy. Getting data on how a page is viewed and used is really easy, even getting feedback on what people were thinking as they used a page is pretty easy. But getting critical analysis of copy is pretty difficult right now. AI will also be a big thing, particularly with the shorter form copy. It can spit out subject lines or ad copy in so many variations, copywriters can then free themselves up for the more exciting projects, but also learn from what the AI tools tell them works. You can use the tool to learn whether a percentage or fixed discount works better, or whether your audience responds well to emojis.
51:17 - 55:28 - Rishi’s Pet Peeves - Marketers who panic at data and throw everything at the problem to find a solution. The average session duration in 2020 is 2 minutes 32 seconds, which is down a massive 29 seconds from 2019. But instead of refining their offering, optimising and trying to really focus their visitors attention, marketers are throwing all the plugins up on site and hoping something works, when really, it’s just all adding further confusion.
56:50 - ? - What’s the Most Underrated Aspect of Marketing? - Jobs to be Done, its a radically new way of thinking about marketing, although the concept has been around in product design for 30+ years. Rishi didn’t give much away here, just said look at the Clayton Christenson hubspot video about the McDonalds milkshake (what a tease…).