13 Copywriting Tips for Small Businesses

Notepad & Pen

The most important thing for business leaders to understand is their brand. You can’t share influential content unless it aligns authentically with your brand. For instance, could you sum up your business’s unique selling point (USP) in one sentence? Do you have a compelling elevator pitch? Do you know the best language to use when selling your product?

While it’s common to hire copywriters for the time-consuming task of writing copy for everything from Facebook ads to product packaging, it’s crucial that business leaders understand copywriting commandments for several reasons.

Firstly, you need to set clear expectations for a copywriter, without clear guidance, a copywriter will not create work that is truly representative of your brand and that’s not their fault.  Most big and successful brands have a set tone of voice and brand guidelines that ensure they are consistent in their wording across all mediums. Small businesses should strive to create their own versions, this will ensure a copywriter knows exactly how to create content for the company and it will sound familiar to customers whether they are reading your website, social media or your brochure.

If you’re not a wordsmith it’s fine to employ a copywriter to create a tone of voice, guidelines and even a USP but it will help if you first understand how to direct said copywriter.  Great, consistent copy sells product. So whether you’re an aspiring copywriter, marketer or an entrepreneur hell-bent on writing their own copy, you need to understand and abide by these 13 copywriting commandments!

Trigger Mirror Neurons

Trigger their what?

Mirror neurons are activated when you observe something, like someone spilling his piping hot coffee on himself, and then you experience a bit of that feeling yourself. This happens when a feeling is so strong that you can identify with it.

In order to translate this for copywriting, you can trigger mirror neurons through words instead of literal observation.  If you’re a travel agency, you want to evoke emotions of stress-relief, and if you’re selling beer, you want to remind your reader about all of the good times associated with an ice-cold beer.

The key is to remind people of feelings they’ve experienced before, not try and produce new feelings in the readers.

The most popular driving emotions include fear, greed, guilt, exclusivity, anger, salvation and flattery.

Check out the below picture as an example…

Where will your travels take you? #WhitehouseCox #MadeInEngland & admired globally

A post shared by Whitehouse Cox England (@whitehouse_cox_england) on

Be Authentic

It’s time we realise that we’re human, and we don’t always want the cheapest commodity. Pounding your cheap prices into people’s brains isn’t going to work in most cases.

Focus on how your product or service is going to enhance a person’s life.

Today, people care about saving their time—after all, once time is gone, it’s gone.

How will your product or service make someone’s life easier and allow the person to have more time on his or her hands?

Convenience is key.

Get Rid of Negative Assumptions

Speaking of authenticity, get the elephant in the room out in the open.

People are quick to critique and point out red flags. Think of common assumptions a person might have in regards to what you’re selling.

Get rid of this assumption by saying “Now, we know you might be thinking… but…” and then proceed to show why the reader is wrong about his or her negative assumption.

Get Nit-Picky

Every word counts, so use your adjectives wisely. Say you’re talking about monthly fees. According to research “a small £5 fee” performs far better than saying “a £5 fee.”

Using the word “small” resulted in over a 20% increase in sign-up rates.

Tell a Story

Can you convert your sales pitch into a story that triggers an emotional response?

If so, your product or service will be far more memorable and drive people to action. Don’t forget to include imagery, suspense, and all of the elements of a great narrative.

Simplify Your Copy

You know what you’re selling better than anyone else, so explain it concisely.

The simpler your explanation the better people will understand it. The majority of readers won’t get beyond the headline, so grabbing their attention in as few words as possible is vital.

To make sure you keep your copy concise, give yourself a word limit. This will force you to stay within certain boundaries so that you avoid rambling and narrow in on the most important information needed to sell your product or service.

Do Your Research

Keep a file of every ad, social media post, or newsletter that has pulled you in. Pay attention to why these styles of copy triggered you into action.

Share the Facts

You can’t argue the facts. If you can include facts, statistics, testimonials, case studies, or success stories to back up your product or service, then viewers will instantly be intrigued. Find the most surprising statistic or most moving story and run with it.

Start Off Strong

A good press release always starts with the strongest message, and an excellent piece of journalism always begins with the most important fact. Begin your copy with your most important point. Even better, make sure this most important point is included in your copy at least three times.

Build Credibility

Determine what makes your company credible. Sharing anything from the number of years you’ve been in business to any media coverage you’ve had will enhance your credibility. Customer-friendly guarantee, return, and privacy policies signify credibility, and awards, agency ratings, testimonials, data and survey results can all boost credibility.

Keep it Real

While it’s incredibly important to understand your target audience and speak to them specifically, you can design your copy to speak to a wider audience, thus creating a greater number of loyal customers in the long run. To do this, use everyday language. Don’t try to impress your audience with your vocabulary or intelligence. Keep it real.

Focus on Aesthetics

Be intentional with your font choice and create enough white space to make your copy visually appealing. You want to avoid hanging words and dissecting words or sentences. Keep any buttons or images surrounded by enough white space.

Check Your Work

You were always taught to check your work in school, so don’t stop now.

Before finishing any copy, run through this important list of must-haves for every piece of content:

  • Is your copy attention-grabbing?
  • Is it relevant to your target consumer?
  • Did you emphasize the benefits of your product or service?
  • Did you differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • Did you prove your case and establish credibility?
  • Is it easy to read and understand?
  • Does your copy build value?
  • Did you close with a persuasive call-to-action?

If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, then you are ready to finish up your copy.

By following these copywriting tips, you’ll soon be on your way to sharing your brand message with clarity and authenticity. A clear and authentic message will bring results.