What is Copywriting? Techniques for Persuasion and Sales - Maku Seun

What is Copywriting? Techniques for Persuasion and Sales


What is copywriting and how can you make money with copywriting?

In this article, we will talk about copywriting and its purpose in your business and career.

Whether you want to learn copywriting to improve your business or to start a copywriting career, you have come to the right place.

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is a form of marketing that means writing in a way that persuades the reader to take some type of action.

If you go online, you will find many definitions of copywriting. And even though there are many, they all boil down to one central idea.

Copywriting is writing designed to prompt action from the reader.

Why is Copywriting Important?

For any business to exist, it must sell products and services to its customers.

They can do this in two ways:

  1. Sell directly (face-to-face)
  2. Sell online through copywriting

The first way is the face-to-face human connection.

People come to you physically and buy what you’re selling.

This is how most brick-and-mortar businesses start. The entrepreneur will sell the products and services to customers one by one. Then as the company grows, the business owner hires other salespeople to sell the products and services. (Think pharmaceutical sales reps).

This type of selling is effective but expensive. To make more sales, you’ll have to hire more salespeople and other personnel.

The second way to sell anything is through copywriting. This is done online.

Check this out…

You come across an ad on Instagram, you click on it and it takes you to the product page. You read the description and are immediately compelled to click the Add to Cart button.

That’s the power of copywriting.

You don’t need a salesperson. Instead, your copy does all the work for you. It tells the reader everything about your product or service. It highlights the benefits of your business and even addresses the objections your reader might be thinking about. All of these… without you!

The 4 Core Objectives Of Good Copywriting

Now that you know what copywriting is, let’s talk about how you can start writing good copy for your business or your client.

For any copy to get results, it should accomplish these 4 goals:

The goals are known as the AIDA formula or framework:

  1. Attention
  2. Interest
  3. Desire
  4. Action

We’ll go through them one by one.

1. Attention: Capture the Reader’s Attention

Free Stop Sign photo and picture

You need to grab the attention of your reader so that they can start engaging with your copy.

Without grabbing their attention, everything you do doesn’t matter. That’s why it’s the first and most important objective of copywriting.

The place to grab your reader’s attention is in the headline. That is why the headline is the most important aspect of any type of copywriting you do.

There are different copywriting techniques you can use to grab your reader’s attention;

  1. Add curiosity: Curiosity kills the cat but makes the marketer rich. Curiosity makes the reader want to know more. It keeps them reading. It keeps them glued to your copy until the end.
  2. Create urgency: When you include a fear of missing out, your audience will be more inclined to engage with your copy.
  3. Make a promise: There should be an implied promise that states what the reader will gain from engaging with your copy.
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2. Provoke the Reader’s Interest

Celebrity gif. Nick Cannon rubs his chin as if he is pondering something interesting.

You need interest to make the reader continue engaging with your copy.

They don’t automatically keep reading just because they’ve clicked on your ad or headline. You must hold their interest in the body of your copy.

There are different ways to provoke the reader’s interest in your copy;

  1. Curiosity: Adding an element of curiosity is one major way. This keeps your reader glued to your copy and stays there until they read every word. To do this, you can use the open-loop method.
  2. Storytelling: We are hardwired to want to listen to stories and know how they end. If you can add stories to your copy, you’re almost guaranteed that your reader will engage with your copy until the end.
  3. How-to education: If you can show people how to do something they want to do, you will have them engaging with your copy to the end.
  4. Mirroring: Describing the emotions your readers are feeling will make them think you understand them. This small act will keep them engaged in your copy.

3. Harness the Reader’s Desires

Excited Season 4 GIF by The Office

Even though grabbing your reader’s attention and making them engage with your copy is good, it is not a goal.

Engagement only makes people read your copy. What you want is to get them to a stage where they start to desire your product or service and eventually take action.

First, harness the reader’s existing desires. Then, connect those desires to your product or service.

4. Persuade the Reader to Take Action

The Office gif. In a close up shot, Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute yells in Ed Helms as Andy Bernard's face. He says "Do it! Now!"

This is the main goal of effective copywriting. To get people to take action.

Capture interest. Provoke interest. Harness desire.

But in the end, the only metric that matters is… “How many people took action?”

This is all that matters in copywriting. Did the reader act on your copy?

And great copywriting is written with this goal in mind.

The 6 Fundamentals Of Copywriting For Beginners

Now that you know the main aim of copywriting, it’s time to write.

You can find many copywriting tips online.

But you really need six to get started. And sticking to the basics is the best way to get ahead in life… and improve your copywriting.

1. Start every project by knowing the target audience.

Imagine giving a speech and you have no idea who is in the audience. You think they are gym owners. You think about what they would like to hear and what resonates with them.

Then you step onto the podium and realize that everybody in there is a restaurant owner.

What would you do?

For sure, your preparation is useless.

And your speech will bomb because it is aimed at the wrong audience.

Knowing who you’re writing to is the first step to take as a copywriter. This simple knowledge will set the tone for every word of copy you write.

Identifying your audience is half of the many ingredients in your copywriting.

You can learn how to identify your target and create a customer persona here.

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2. Know what the copy wants to achieve.

What are you trying to accomplish with your copy?

Just as you need to know who you’re writing to, you also need to know what the copy wants to accomplish.

What do you want the reader to do after reading your copy?

Copywriting is not passive with vague goals. It’s specific and intentional. It’s designed to get results.

What those results are needs to be clear before you write a word of copy or your copy will flop badly.

3. The goal of every line of copy is to get the next line read.

Remember that I previously talked about the open loop. It makes the reader curious about what comes next.

This is the goal of every line of your copy. To get the next line read.

And how do you do this?


This is because if the reader does not keep reading, your message doesn’t matter because they won’t get to the end to take the action you want them to take.

Copywriting should be longer than your average blog post. Especially if you’ve been writing copy for less than a decade. It is not a natural process for most people to be intentional with every word, sentence, paragraph, and process.

But don’t complicate things. It’s not hard to be intentional. When you write a paragraph, re-read it. If it doesn’t make the reader want to read the next line, change it.

4. Your customers’ need is the only things that matter.

The mistake business owners and non-copywriters do is to make the copy all about their businesses, instead of the customer.

Your customer doesn’t care about your business, at least not in the way you think.

  1. They don’t care about the lifestyle that your business and income afford you.
  2. They don’t care about the out-of-this-world technology that drives your business (Unless that’s the technology you’re selling)
  3. They don’t care about you. Harsh. I know. But it’s the truth.

Like everyone, including you, they only care about themselves. They’re only concerned about their needs and desires, and every piece of copy you write should reflect that.

If a piece of copy you write is not connected to the customer’s needs and desires, 99% of the time, it should be removed.

5. Write like you’re talking to a friend.

Something happens when a newbie tries to write copy for the first time. They become stiff and formal. And they fill their writing with fluff, jargon, and meaningless words and phrases.

Good copy sounds like a well-spoken person talking to a friend. It’s written in a conversational tone and gets to the point without being in a rush.

To know if your copy is conversational, write a sentence and read it out loud to yourself. If you cringe, change it. Better still, wait a day and read it out again. If something doesn’t sound right, change it. Or, you can have someone else read it out loud to you. If it sounds like a formal business letter, even if it’s a sentence or phrase, change it.

Think about the main points you’re trying to pass across. Then, imagine you’re telling a friend. That’s how you write good conversational copy.

6. Clarity is the most important element of copywriting.

Many copywriters like to brag about how important persuasion is. And yes, it’s good and actually important. But the truth is, clarity is one of the best elements of copywriting.

Recommended Reading:  10 Simple Website Copywriting Tips

Product/market fit is what sells the most.

Do you want to sell more? Put people in front of the things they want the most.

The goal of your copy should be to make it clear that the product or service is a good match for the things they already want or need/want.

There’s another part of copywriting that is focused on manipulation, fear, and greed. Although this tactic is good for making fast cash, you’ll never build a brand that people love and keep coming to.

If you’re promoting a great product that people already love, you don’t need all these black hat persuasion techniques, you need clarity.

All you need is a clear message that tells the product why the product is a great fit.

How To Use Copywriting AI To Write Better & Faster

Recently, OpenAI released ChatGPT, and it blew up overnight.

ChatGPT is built on OpenAI’s GPT-3 language processing engine and is considered to be the best to ever be created.

Even though Chat GPT changes the role AI takes in our lives, its abilities have been overblown when it comes to copywriting with many business owners thinking it can take the place of human copywriters.

Have you tried to tell ChatGPT to write a copy designed to sell something? Unless you, as the copywriter, give it specific prompts, the output it produces is not strong enough to persuade the reader to action.

And now that you know you need to provide specific, detailed prompts to get it to write something decent, who do you think will be in the best position to write these prompts?

The copywriter who knows what moves people to buy.

And even after ChatGPT has provided you with the copy, who is in the best position to proofread the copy and make sure it is good enough to sell anything?

A copywriter! Do you see what I mean?

So when it comes to the debate that ChatGPT will replace human copywriters, if you’re a copywriter, you can sleep well this night knowing that your job is safe.

Here’s my point.

ChatGPT can write copy.

But if you’re not a copywriter, you have no functional ability to take advantage of its writing ability.

It’s completely useless to anyone who doesn’t understand what makes great copy.

ChatGPT is here to help copywriters because it helps them write copy faster. It’s a productivity tool for copywriters.

But what you shouldn’t do is copy and paste its output. Your results will suck hard. Why?

Because ChatGPT doesn’t have a point of view and strong opinions built on personal experiences. It’s not a persuasive engine. And it’s not a copywriting engine.

What it is, is an amazing brainstorming, outline, and language processing engine that can help any copywriter write better and faster.

How to Use Copywriting to Grow Your Business and Career

In this article, you’ve discovered what copywriting is and why copywriting is important in today’s business climate. You also discovered the four core objectives of copywriting and the six fundamentals of copywriting for beginners.

Finally, I showed you how to use AI to write better and faster copy.

As you can see, copywriting is a very important element of any business, online or offline. Use it to grow your business or career.

If you’d like to learn more about copywriting and how to use it to grow your online business or career, click here.