How to write effective marketing copy
Marketing should be an integral part of your business strategy. But with so many emails, datasheets, and eBooks being leveraged in the B2B buying process today, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd. So, how can you be more compelling and effective when creating marketing assets that center around the written word?
I’ve been working as a marketer in the IT industry for the past five years, and I’ve dedicated most of that time to helping MSPs up-level their marketing efforts. Below are a few best practices that I use almost every day and that I recommend to MSPs looking to increase their marketing’s effectiveness. Follow along, and you’ll learn how to get the right engagement and the right results when crafting marketing messaging and content.
Know your audience
The first and most important thing you need to keep in mind when crafting marketing copy is to know your audience. This step aims to pinpoint who you’re speaking to, understand their needs and values, and then align your messaging accordingly.
To help you get in the right mindset, I called upon a fellow expert for guidance. His name is Ben Jones, and he’s an exceptionally skilled copywriter who worked for an MSP years ago and is now part of the ConnectWise marketing team. Here is Ben’s take on why identifying your audience is such a critical first step: “When you figure out who you want to target as a potential client, you can start crafting messaging and marketing copy to speak to those businesses. These personas will also help you figure out what services are most important to which business, and can help inform content like webpages, email campaigns, white papers and eBooks, and case studies.”
Before you start putting pen to paper, try to walk through this thought exercise. Ask yourself, who am I speaking to? Is it a prospective customer? Is it a customer that I’m trying to upsell? Is it someone who works in an internal IT department? Is it a CEO or a CFO? Once you’ve identified who they are, it’s time to dive into what they value and what will resonate with that person. What are their pain points that I’m trying to address? What information are they looking for? What criteria matters most to this person? What factors will influence their decision-making process?
Doing this short exercise allows you to not only define your target audience, but also ensure that you’re tailoring your talking points to the roles or individuals that you’re hoping to reach.
Organize your thoughts
Once you know who your audience is, the next step is to get your thoughts in order. Try to avoid the spaghetti method here; throwing a bunch of words at the wall and seeing what sticks. Instead, consider the main points you want to articulate and the ideas that will support those points.
The key is to think about the information as an inverted pyramid. Lead with the most important and basic information; then you can trickle down into more targeted and specific details. Putting in this forethought will help you create a logical path for the reader to follow, and it will also increase your chances of getting them to take that next step (which we’ll dive into in just a bit).
Start writing, then trim
Writing isn’t something that comes naturally to a lot of people, so the best advice I can give you is to just write whatever comes to mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat down to write something, and it ended up being twice as long as I planned. You need material to work with.
If you followed the last step, you already have a rough outline. All you need to do now is get your ideas down. Then you can go back, fill in any gaps or missed thoughts, and (most importantly) trim to be as concise as possible.
Ben agrees that you should try to keep messaging simple and to the point. “It’s easy for MSPs to get overly technical or long-winded. SMB owners don’t have time to read through paragraphs of copy to understand what you can provide. So, whether it’s the copy for your website, an email, or social media, say what you want to say as clearly and concisely as possible.”
Be sure that you’re focusing on key concepts, and to our last point, that your thoughts are following your organized outline. Once you have a go at a first draft, it’s time to edit, consolidate, trim what’s unnecessary, and really give the piece its polish.
Take SEO into account
If you’re working on a piece of content that will live online, look for places where you can insert more targeted keywords for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is an easy, cheap way to drive traffic to your website—if done correctly, that is.
According to our expert Ben, “There are SEO shortcuts that offer quick results, but they don’t last. Google catches on to shady tactics and will penalize bad behavior, and it takes a lot of time and work to get out of that hole. Patience and hard work really pay off.”
So, what’s one way to set up an SEO strategy with long-lasting benefits? Again, it all ties back to your audience.
An optimized website is one that speaks the same language as its potential visitors. This means that you should create a keyword strategy around the words, phrases, or questions that your target audience will type into their search bar. And be very thoughtful about where you put those keywords. They should be spread throughout your on-page copy and included in fields that lie behind the webpage itself, such as meta descriptions, header tags, and alt text.
Offer a clear call-to-action
Once a reader has worked their way through what you’ve written, you don’t want them scratching their head wondering what to do next. This is why you need to offer a distinct and direct call-to-action (CTA).
CTAs are typically in the form of a button or a link and are positioned at the end of the piece of content. Whether it’s to read a relevant blog post, register for a webinar, or download an eBook, this is an opportunity to have your readers continue their journey in learning more about your company and your expertise on a given topic. As I mentioned above, if you’ve outlined and organized your messaging in the right way, this CTA will be seen as a logical step and will further encourage readers to take action.
Whether you’re writing blogs, updates to your website, marketing emails, or even eBooks, using these tips will help you create marketing copy like a pro.