business-writing

Business Writing For Beginners

You render your service or sell products to people, and not yourself. So the first thing to do is to understand the demography you are looking to persuade. If your product is an existing product, you need to know many things, including the general public’s perception of your product or service. What they like and what they do not like. 

If you have a fashion brand and you discover that people complain about the fact that your clothes are too light and a machine wash will ruin them, you know that you should increase the thickness of your clothes. If your brand’s name is “Michael,” your copy headline on your website homepage can be written as “NEW IMPROVED Michael’s Apparel at the same old price.” 

Showing your existing customers that you are giving them an improvement based on their complaints, with the cool option of retaining the old price. Knowing your customers is not limited to knowing what they want or do not want. It also includes your knowledge of what better value they can get elsewhere; hence, competitor analysis. You need to keep all your customers loyal to you. Draw their attention; let them know the best possible thing they are getting elsewhere – in a subtle manner, of course. And from here, you can pitch your offer to them (and no one needs to tell you that it must be better). 

A few methods of identifying what your customers want are, 

Understand Your Product

This may sound weird as you believe you own your business and know what you make, but you must understand every little detail about your product as though you were the end-user – without manufacturer bias. If you will be outsourcing your business copy to someone else, ensure you understand your products so that you can communicate properly. 

This is very typical with tangible goods because services cannot be rendered to one’s self. Using your product is an excellent way to understand your product. You will see your product from the lens of a consumer and not a producer. Hence, you can identify flaws, where it lacks, and what gives your competitor an advantage. As a copywriter, you hold the responsibility to erase these fears from your customers and provide a practical solution to how your offering solves these problems. Also, combine this with the knowledge you have gathered from your customer survey, and you will be able to write a copy that speaks to your audience.

Social media interactions

Consumers tend to show their displeasure in things from their interactions on social media, in discussion threads, in comparisons, and other critical ways. Unlike Instagram, which showcases products in the most graphical forms, and Facebook, which is more concentric on pictures than words. Reddit and Twitter are very critical platforms with various threads of discussions, and they are very useful platforms to judge your customers’ satisfaction or displeasure. 

Reddit

There is a Reddit thread for almost any topic. If your brand is well known, you will definitely have a few threads dedicated to your products. But if your brand is relatively unknown, then you may use general terms that apply to your brand to see what people are saying about the category where you fall, and you may be lucky to see a person that mentions your brand name in his/her comment, and there will be a couple of replies which will either be in disagreement with the comment or Corroborate it. 

On Reddit you can sort replies by “Old”, “New”, “Top”, “Controversial”, “Best”, “Q&A” 

As their name implies, you can see the most recent comments, the older comments via the old and new buttons. You can also sort to Q&A, which means “Question and Answer” to see comments that are conversational. There is usually a right balance of praise and criticism in these comments sorted as Q&A because these comments are from people who want to discuss their experiences without actively praising or criticizing. Take some time to read out these comments, and you will have a thing or two to take home. 

The “controversial” comments are one you should pay attention to. They are laced with all manner of criticism, and while some are unfounded, some are genuine. You should note frequent complaints and be prepared to work on them. When your next content addresses it, it will spark a high conversion. 

The “Best” comments are usually full of praise for your product or service. Although you already know the value you offer, you should check out these comments. There might be a couple of minor things that you ignore that might have caught your customers’ attention, and it will be wise to improve on these things. Announcing an improvement in a minor feature will attract attention from your existing audience.

Twitter

Twitter is relatively easier to navigate than Reddit. However, Twitter users are just as blunt and honest with their opinions as Reddit users. You can find out what people are saying about your brand and your products by a simple search. Search for your brand and product in the search box and navigate tweets and replies to see what people have said. Dedicate time to do this, and you will see many things people have been saying about you. Search for your products in different ways. SONY is a brand, and the PlayStation (PS) a product. I can search for “Sony,” “PS5”, “PlayStation,” “Play Station,” and other ways people may address your product – Not everyone will spell it correctly, so search with different terms. 

Like I explained for Reddit, locate the criticism, and the higher its frequency, the more serious you should consider it. 

Amazon Reviews

Amazon is the largest online marketplace in the world, with millions of users. The interesting thing about these users doesn’t hold back, and they dish out praise or criticism in a well-detailed manner. If you sell products on Amazon, then it is a good place to analyze your product copy reviews. Using the same formula as you did for Reddit and Twitter, Identify your most common criticism and work towards changing it. 

Search for your product on Amazon and if you have gotten any reviews. Check what people are saying. Click on the stars, and it takes you to the review page, where it analyses your percentage of reviews from 5 stars to 1 star. It is advisable to do this on your computer or a desktop version of your mobile browser. 

An example of a product is given below. This manufacturer produces earbuds, and while having many positive reviews, there were many negative ones. Although one common for all was that “right ear just stopped working.” 

The product has almost 90% positive reviews, but there are

a few negative reviews, less than 10% of the total feedback. 

This is one of the reviews that talk about the right earbud that stopped working.

This is another review that talks about the same issue of the right-sided earbud, and there are a few more reviews that had this same complaint.

You may address this issue with your copy. Imagine coming up with a video ad that starts with a person using those earbuds while experiencing difficulty with one ear? It shows that you have paid attention to your product’s faults and have made an improvement; your existing users will be very interested in what new thing you have to offer. Your script in the video may be based on showing off all the prevalent faults in the old model and showing an improvement in a newer model, and you will get your users on your side again.

Apart from your old users, new customers need a lot of convincing to buy a product. Therefore you need to ensure that you address their potential fears about the product, even before they mention it, and when they can no longer think of any concern, they are inclined to purchase.

Customer Surveys

Customer surveys are usually helpful in judging your product’s position, and it is a pointer at what you should improve or what new product you should make. It is also a tool in writing a copy that will speak directly to your audience based on what they want.

When you conduct surveys, ask specific questions, they are probably busy and need to get other things done, but have decided to spare two to three minutes to give you feedback. Hence, be direct.

  • “Thank you for choosing our product. What particular features made you prefer this product?”
  • “How did you discover our product?” – Give a multiple-choice here for ease of answering. As I said, the customer has limited time to spare.
  1. From a friend or family
  2. From online recommendations
  3. From social media ads
  4. From personal research
  5. Other (specify)

“Compared to the products of other brands you have used before, how would you recommend this product.”

  1. Strongly Recommend
  2. Recommend
  3. Undecided
  4. Do not recommend
  5. Strongly do not recommend

Give an option for them to state their reasons above if they want to.

“What do you think can be improved in this model.”

These questions and more you may construct yourself will summarize what the customer has in mind about the product. From a statistical conclusion after the survey, you should discover the most frequent complaints and fix them. Remember that it’s not only your customers that see your reviews, potential buyers also see reviews, and if they are not satisfied, they will not be inclined to purchase. Make them feel at ease.

Customer Interviews

Customer interviews are magical; you may schedule an interview session with a select few of your customers over the phone. You can strike a balance by choosing to call very frequent customers, as they have used your products well and have a ton of experience with it. Or one-time customers – who probably didn’t return because they didn’t have the best possible experience.

Hence, you have an idea about what people like and what useful qualities you can make better and bad features that have chased one-time customers away.

Customer interviews help you get the tone at which your customer is speaking. You can also attain a deeper reach if a customer obliges an interview. Questions answered will lead to further questions, even outside your scope, that will broaden your horizon and make you see why you need to fix certain things.

Employee Interviews

 You should also relate to your employees and have a great relationship with them. They go out and see things that you do not see. They use products from other companies, and they may have some ideas about what you should add or remove from your products. It is crucial to have a solid relationship with your employees so that they will always relay truthful information to you about your products and not give you a false view to boost your ego.

Analyze Analytics

 If you have been running ads before on social media especially. It would be best if you took the time to look at the numbers. This will give you an insight into what you have been doing right or wrong. Posts that people can easily relate to (which is the goal of copywriting) usually get more engagements, impressions, and interactions, unlike posts that they cannot relate to. So check out the campaigns that have been doing decent numbers, look at the copy’s content, and use it as a benchmark for your future copies. However, you should always ensure that you improve on whatever is already done as a stereotype may quickly get boring to people. You should also analyze your past sales of different products with respect to the reviews and the advertisements. This will give you an insight into what people love and what they do not fancy.

In all, you need to conduct well-grounded research about your products. Put yourself in the buyer’s position, and you will understand their grievances and help you make a better product for them.

It is worthy to note that you cannot make a better copy if your product stays the same way. You need to improve your product first before working on improving your copy. You will fast gain the reputation of a scandalous and lying business if you improve your copy by promising to do a couple of new things, and you fail to accomplish them.

Monitor Your Competition

 You must know what your competitors are up to, the strategies they are using to infiltrate the market, and what they offer customers that make them stand out. That is not the only reason businesses monitor their competition anyway; as much as you want to know what they are doing right, you also want to know what they are doing wrong. If you can leverage what they are doing wrong and provide a better alternative, you will win over some customers to your business.

In monitoring your competition, there are many things you need to note. A few of them are:

Keywords

Keyword monitoring will help you identify your competitors’ terms in their social media campaigns and other content created on their blogs. You can monitor your competitors’ progress on search engines like Google, Bing, and yahoo; you can also monitor their social media keywords to know the words they use on their e-flyers that gain so much attention. Some keyword monitoring tools will give you the opportunity to identify the rankings of yourself with respect to your competitor daily, thereby monitoring your progress and that of other competitors. You will see some of your competitors moving up the rankings quite rapidly – indicating that they are doing something right. Pay attention to their keywords, and you will identify what they say that appeals so much to the audience in your niche.

There are many tools for keyword search and keyword monitoring. Some are free, some are cheap, and some are quite expensive. But keyword monitoring usually brings results as it will definitely improve the content of your copy. Some examples of keyword search tools are SEMRush, KeywordCompetitor, KeywordSpy, iSpionage, and many more.

Backlink Influence

A backlink, in simple terms, is a link to your website from another website. They greatly influence website rankings in search engines, making them have an easier route to customers. After all, if people can’t see your content, how will they relate to it? Therefore you need to judge how many backlinks your competitors get, as well as the backlinks you get. Assuming I give a product description in this article and give an Amazon link to purchase it, Amazon will have a new backlink from m\y website. Backlinks amplify your well-written keywords by making your website rank high in search results. Backlink tools can give you information on external links and anchor texts (an anchor text has a hidden URL, where you can click to visit another page). So you will be able to identify the exact content that is driving a lot of backlinks. Then you can focus on content like this and ensure that they are ever-present in your copy. Tools that you can use to check link popularity include Majestic Site Explorer and UberSuggest. Both free initially with the option to go premium at reasonable amounts.

Advertisements

In my experience, I have discovered that different content works for different demographics. It will be unwise to blindly move into creating content for marketing purposes without adequate research about what will be appropriate for the audience. Monitoring your competitors’ advertisement strategy is a very effective way to market research for advertisements. Advertisement monitoring tools can help you identify all the ads that your competitors are using; they also offer the incentive of testing multiple iterations of their ad copy to see if the ad is performing at its optimal capacity. Manually doing this can be very tedious, so these tools offer a great route to do this. Some tools even allow you to monitor ads for a certain number of competitors, and in your research, you may even discover new competitors. Your competitors are one of the easiest ways to learn the ropes, so you should continuously monitor them to see what they are doing. Some tools for monitoring Ads are AdBeat, AdGooroo, and many more.

Web Ranking

Many tools will help you identify how well people interact with your competitors’ websites showing ranks and relative ranks, hence giving you a list of competitors to steal ideas from. Many tools enable this, but you will need to splash the cash to get a full in-depth analysis on this. Some of these tools are Alexa, Compete, and SimilarWeb. They provide a wide range of data highlighting website interaction, an excellent pointer at online consumer discretion.

Social Media Monitoring

Social media monitoring has one straightforward aim: to monitor what people are saying about your competitors and what they are saying about your brand online, as explained in subsections above. Although manually doing it will produce better results, it can be very tedious and time-consuming, depriving you of the time you need to focus on other parts of your business. But there are many tools online with cheap access fee that you can use to monitor your competitors’ mentions.

You can get information on their follower demography, and you can get real-time alerts of searches on social media apps. You can even monitor your engagement rates or that of your competition with simple third-party apps, and you can as well have real-time alerts of news, blog posts, podcasts, videos, and forums that talk about your competitors. All these will give you an insight into what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, the audience to target, and the keywords to use in targeting them.

Read NextCopywritingContent Writing, Email MarketingSEOSocial Media MarketingContent Marketing.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"