The words you use matter.
In fact, copywriting is one of the most important facets of a successful website. Good copywriting sells. It engages potential customers, takes product descriptions from mediocre to killer, boosts SEO and gives a good overall impression of your value proposition and expertise.
For many small business owners, web copy is a priority, but they may lack the know-how to pull it off. You can spend a lot of money on hiring a copywriter, or you can seek to learn to write your own copy.
Copywriting is a learned skill and we’re not saying you’ll become an overnight master. But if hiring a copywriter is off the table, you can learn a few basics to improve your own. We’ve lined up five top copywriting examples that you can learn from:
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Sometimes people try to be a bit too clever with their web copy and their messaging ends up getting lost. Not so with Moosejaw. The outdoor clothing and equipment retailer manages to meld clever copywriting with clarity, so if you happen upon their website, social media or a landing page, you’ll know exactly what it is that they do.
Moosejaw’s copywriting is injected with personality and humor anywhere you look. They manage to convey exactly what a product does, or highlight benefits while having less-than conventional product descriptions. For example, the image below shows a home page ad. Each banner like this has a line in their “voice” (in this case, “holds a couple of kegs, or kids I guess.”).
If you take a look at their product descriptions, there’s always some twist to keep them interesting. For example, the hoody with a “kangaroo front pocket to discreetly practice finger puppetry.”
An important thing that Moosejaw does well is show consistency with their copywriting voice across their different channels. If you look to their social media, you’ll see the same sort of humor that you’ll find on their website.
Action item: Have you identified your brand personality? If so, does your website copy, social media and product descriptions reflect that? Moosejaw injects their own personality but not in an over-the-top fashion. You can add elements of personality without detracting from what you’re trying to sell.
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Most of the time, if you’re on the receiving end of one-star reviews, it’s not a great thing for your business. However, in this particular case study, we can show you how one-star reviews can be transformed to appeal to your core target audience.
You see, Snowbird is a ski resort that may not appeal to novice or beginner snowbirds. And that’s the way they like it. Their target audience is the more experienced and adventurous skier who loves it when the snow is “too deep” and the trail “too steep” (as referred to in some of their one-star reviews).
They market themselves as a challenging adventure, so many of the one-star reviews they’ve received actually back what they say about themselves. The resort has taken several of these reviews and superimposed them onto beautiful photographs of their runs and scenery.
“Too steep? Too hard? Too much snow? Isn’t that why you came here? At Snowbird, what you see is what you get. But, be prepared for it to exceed your wildest expectations.”
Snowbird is now effectively marketing themselves as the “most misunderstood ski resort in the world”, using the factors that beginners find annoying to appeal to their true target audience. It’s a great example of how to spin negative feedback so that it is an overall positive for the company.
Action item: Do you have any negative feedback that is simultaneously appealing to the audience you want to attract? Can you use it to inject personality and your brand “voice” into your copy?
Here’s the issue with many tech companies – they focus so much on the technology itself that they fail to make it clear to the regular person what it is that they do. Trello is an excellent example of a tech company that combines great copywriting with a technical product to ensure the target audience will understand right away. The fact is, if you have no prior knowledge of Trello, their homepage should get you up-to-speed very quickly.
Their tagline on their homepage is simple and benefit-driven. They manage to convey clearly why someone should use their product in just a couple of brief sentences. If you move into “the basics” explainer content, you find that it really can’t be any simpler.
A big part of Trello’s brand is productivity through simplicity, but their copywriters manage to keep their web content simple too. This sort of clear communication is likely to bring them much more sales than confounding people with the clever technical aspects of their product!
Action item: Does your website have a clear tagline? Can people tell immediately what it is that you do? If you’re not sure, try getting feedback from third parties who don’t know you.
One of the hallmarks of great copywriting is when the copywriter can sell the audience on something without needing to write “extra” words. RX Bar does just that and in doing so, stays true to its own brand philosophy – “no B.S.”
While traditionally, makers of protein bars and other “healthy” snacks have had a whole list of unpronounceable ingredients, RX Bar sticks to just a few very simple ingredients in their products. Their protein bars have just four “real food” ingredients and a fifth, their brand hallmark, “no B.S.” (or “no bad stuff” in the case of their kid’s bars).
They will genuinely appeal to the target audience that is health conscious and wants to know exactly what is in their food. There have been many concerns raised over the multitude of different ingredients in the highly processed foods that are available, and a move to get back to basics which their brand embraces.
Whoever wrote the copy for RX Bar does so in as few words as possible – basically bullet points. They convey that message of simplicity in the words that they do choose: “Real ingredients, 0g added sugar, 9g of protein” is the explainer line on their website. This is a good habit to get into with any form of sales copy – paring it back to the basics.
Action item: Do you have “too many words” in important parts of your website? Is there a way you can dial it back to just the words needed to clearly get your message across?
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If you haven’t come across author, speaker, podcast host, travel hacker, course writer and event founder Chris Guillebeau, his work provides both a fascinating and practical look at living life “unconventionally.” With all of his many hats, you’d have to wonder how he can put that together into a cohesive, branded website?
That’s just it – “unconventional” is his brand and that’s how it all fits together. If you are a person searching to live life on your own terms and avoid the many traps of conventional expectations, he has the ideas and the inspiration to get you going.
When you first arrive on his website, the beauty of the copy is in the simplicity. He has broken down each of those things that he does into succinct, one-sentence snippets. His tagline, “you don’t have to live your life the way others expect” sums it up nicely, while his opt-in form is another great example of simple, persuasive language.
We chose this example of a personal website because many business owners of personal brands struggle to come up with a succinct way to market themselves, even without as many things going on as Chris! He has found a way to make all that he offers work together.
Action item: Can you sum up what you do with one sentence, or even one word? Like any other business website, a personal brand website should be clear to the target audience from the very beginning.
Your website copy is one of the key elements impacting the overall success or failure of your website. Copywriting is a valuable skill, and one that earns top copywriters a lot of money. However, if hiring a copywriter isn’t within your budget, you can learn some key lessons from the case studies we have outlined here.
If there is one underlying message, it is probably that you need to persuade with your words, but do so as simply and clearly as possible. As we’ve talked about previously with Storybrand, “the answer to confusion is no.”
If you work to simplify the copy on your website while having a clear brand voice, you may be surprised by the results you get.