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Wondering how to write copy that works in tandem with your small business’ marketing funnel strategy?
If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you probably have a pretty good understanding of what a marketing funnel is — how these “sales funnels” or “conversion funnels” work and how they can be leveraged to help you achieve your business goals. (And no worries if you don’t — you can check out our previous article, “What is a Marketing Funnel?” here.)
Now, you’re wondering how to write captivating, effective content to compliment your small business’ digital marketing strategy.
In our previous article, we explained that one of the key techniques used by marketers to track and convert leads (and deliver increasingly relevant digital content) is the use of marketing funnels, which are also known as sales funnels or conversion funnels.
For a marketing funnel based strategy to work for you and your small business, you will need to create expertly crafted copy tailored to each stage of the marketing funnel — a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t do.
Remember, the four main stages of the marketing funnel are: attention, interest, desire, and action. So, you’ll need to tailor your marketing content to the correct stage of the funnel every step of the way.
In this article, we’ll provide you with a beginner’s overview of what you’ll need to do at each stage of the sales funnel to make sure your copy is as effective as possible:
So, let’s get started with explaining how to write effective copy for each stage of the marketing funnel.
Are you picturing the funnel? Can you see it’s wide opening? Can you see how it smoothly and effortlessly refines itself down to a point? Good. Now, keep that image in mind as we move through this article.
Now, if you’ll recall, the top of the funnel is where we go widest — this is where you, as a copywriter, will want to create content that is purposeful but appropriately non-specific.
To appeal to a wide audience and grab their attention, your wording, tone, and style should all be fairly vague — general and relatable.
At the top of this wide funnel, your copy should be very flat and informative.
Being appropriately non-specific in your writing is important because you don’t yet know enough about your audience and their interests to know whether you ought to be casual or formal or what kinds of calls to action will work best; you haven’t yet generated enough interest in your product to make your writing too specific.
You also don’t want to go for the “hard sell” — to attempt to drive your audience to action — too soon or without first making it clear why your audience should want to engage with you. Attempting to drive action too early on in the funnel can deter your audience and jeopardize your marketing strategy.
For example, imagine an Instagram page that only posted images of their products saying “buy me!” If that brand isn’t providing you with anything of value or sharing any information with you about the features and benefits of their products, their brand mission and messaging, or the people behind their brand, why would you want to engage with them? Would you want to buy their products? Probably not.
On the other hand, imagine a brand that shares daily tips for small business owners. Imagine that their content isn’t targeting a specific industry or type of business, but, rather, that they share factual, helpful information that most businesses would find to be valuable. Now, wouldn’t you be more likely to pay attention to them? Wouldn’t you be more inclined to follow them?
So, at the mouth of the funnel, you will begin with gentler, wide-striking content.
You can be broad at this stage because you’re not quite ‘selling’ your product yet (which is to say you’re not going for the hard sell or sharing a call to action just yet). Rather, grabbing attention, gauging interest, monitoring responses, collecting data, and so on. You’re putting the name and face of the product out there for the public to see.
So, you will want your writing to be catchy, using simple, easy-to-understand words. Wherever possible, you’ll also need strong visuals, like a unique logo and engaging photo.
Here, in the attention grabbing, you can also focus more-so on the features of your product — you can tell us what it is (vs. telling us what it will do for us).
If it’s a household cleaner, for example, you can tell us your product and company names, how and where to purchase the product, or what the focal product is.
So, for example. if you sell household cleaning products, you could go with something like: “Like a clean house? We’ve got you covered with Monique’s Shimmer & Shine floor serum.”
Simply put, when you start your marketing at the top of the funnel, you will want to get the name and face of your product in front of your audience while maintaining a broad strike-zone.
Remember: at this stage, the goal of your writing should be merely to grab the audience’s attention.
Once you’ve succeeded in making people aware of your product, you will likely want to get your audience thinking you can solve a more specific problem they’re facing.
Here, the goal of your writing is to take the attention of your audience and turn it into actual interest in you and your products.
This stage is also known as evaluation.
Here, your audience is evaluating the worth of your offerings, and you are also checking in on them, monitoring their behaviour and responses to your marketing strategy.
Perhaps, you’ll be checking to see if people are already buying your product just from your ‘attention’ phase marketing. If so, what kinds of people are making the purchase? Which demographics responded best to your marketing? Who’s most interested in your product?
From there, you can start to cater your copy to your desired demographics and adjust and refine your marketing strategy as needed.
Because no one wants to buy products or services from a company they don’t trust, one of your goals is to start to build a relationship with your audience; you want to start to tailor your copy and your messaging to suit this particular audience.
You want to start to build a relationship, to start a dialogue. Perhaps, this is where your marketing emails come in.
Let’s say your small business makes household cleaners. Well, in your email blast, you can tell a story: “Johnny was miserable because his workplace was his home and his home was a disaster. But with ‘product X,’ Johnny was able to clean and de-clutter his workspace. Johnny’s now happy and his boss is too!”
So, here, you can start to leverage narrative and storytelling to connect with your audience and make them feel inspired and understood.
At the interest generating stage of the funnel, you’re analyzing your potential buyers while also building a relationship with them. For this reason, it is important that your copy start to become more tailored and specific.
At this stage of the funnel, your audience is interested in you and your product, and, because of your careful monitoring and analysis, you have a much better understanding of who your audience is; you understand your audience’s interests, values, pain points, etc.
So, at this stage, because you know your audience already has an interest in your offerings, you can begin showcasing your products in an increasingly direct way.
Perhaps, your audience is aware of your product and is interested, but they’re now comparing your product to others — they’re doing their own research and weighing their options.
So, your audience is now considering whether they want to commit to your product or whether they’d rather purchase from one of your competitors.
How do you get your audience to choose your small business to solve their problems and fulfill their needs?
To convince your audience to choose you, you will need to act like a sort of detective or amateur psychologist to become that type of person. You will need to research them, thinking like them, write as them.
You will need to ensure you have a thorough understanding of your audience’s demographic information, their interests, values, hobbies, worries, fears, pain points, etc.
Perhaps, you will need to change your tone; perhaps, you’ll need to become less formal, more casual. Perhaps, your writing will start to seem like you are talking directly to that particular person instead of a large, faceless group. You’ll connect with your audience.
For example, perhaps you’re a small business specializing in making household cleaners. And, perhaps, you’ve realized that stay-at-home parents are especially interested in you and your products.
In this case, you will research what a stay-at-home parent might want to hear. You will work with your marketing team to ensure you have a thorough understanding of this demographic, which will ensure you are able to write captivating, effective copy that will drive stay-at-home parents to choose your product over your competitors’.
Once you understand your target audience in this more intimate way, you will be able to tailor your copy to highlight the features and benefits of your product (as well as other relevant aspects of your small business, your company values and mission statements, your team members’ accomplishments, etc.) that will most appeal to this particular audience.
If your copy and your marketing strategy are effective, you will succeed in creating genuine desire for your product.
At this point, you can now start to offer deals or calls to action that will entice your audience to stop mulling it over and commit to your product or service.
Now that you have a clear and focused understanding of who your audience is and your copy is written in your audience’s language (so to speak), you’re in a position to begin to sway them with direct calls to action.
Finally, we’re at the very tip of the funnel.
Here, you will have your consumer take action.
It’s here where you’ve put the consumer into a position where you can implement direct marketing techniques.
Here you’re marketing directly towards a specific group of people who you believe are sufficiently primed in favor of your product that you can call them to action.
In other words, if your audience hasn’t already taken action, this is where you will prompt them to do so, giving them that final “push over the edge.”
Here, you’ll likely want to keep your copy quick, succinct. For example: “Buy now” or “Check Out.”
At this stage, you’ve already shown your audience why your product or service is the right fit, and you have every reason to believe they are already interested in your product — they already intend to make the purchase or, if prompted, will wish to do so.
Once you reach this stage, there’s no need for further explanation or illustration — your audience is already “sold” on your product or service, and you’re just looking to seal the deal.
Here, you’re merely extending your audience a final invitation. And why wouldn’t they accept? Again, if you’ve done your job well, they’ll already be off the fence and entering your garden of their own volition.
For most small businesses, using the concept of a marketing funnel will be unavoidable and will be an essential part of your digital marketing strategy.
However, as we’ve seen, different styles of writing are required for each stage of the funnel.
At the start of the funnel, your copy will be oriented more towards grabbing your audience’s attention and gently swaying them in favor of your product. By the end of the funnel, however, you will need to pivot to go for a firmer, more obvious “pitch,” which ultimately needs to culminate in a call to action that seals the deal.
However, keep in mind that, whether your audience realizes it or not, your writing should be making a pitch for your product at every stage of the funnel — your copy should always be selling your product or service.
For example, consider a mentalist or “psychic” who is able to convince their audience that they’re communicating with some long-lost loved one.
The mentalist uses a sales funnel of sort, starting out with a soft “does the name ‘Mary’ mean anything to anyone?”, to eventually talking to one, specific person in the audience about ‘Mary.’ The mentalist is then able to use the information they gather along the way to convince the audience member that they’re communicating with their deceased great-aunt, Mary.
For both the mentalist and marketers, you’re eventually revealing to your potential consumers that they’ve wanted your product since the beginning — you’re showing them the value of your product and illustrating the ways in which it will improve their lives.
So, in short, as you move along the funnel, you will notice your demographic becoming more and more focused. In turn, you will also begin to write in that person’s unique ‘language.’ You will profile your demographic, talk their language as you become more and more direct, then finally put them in a position where they are called to action by your expertly crafted copy and commit to your product.
Because copy and written content more generally are such an important part of your brand’s digital strategy, we recommend having your content crafted by a professional wherever possible. For a free, no obligation quote for our copywriting and content development services, get in touch here.