10 Steps to Growth Hacking Your Copywriting Strategy
I’m convinced one reason most startups fail is because they put all their copywriting effort into getting that “five-word summary” defining what they do, then stick an email box in and hope that’s enough.
Even if people drop their email, they’re not really “sold” on the idea
Many founders don’t even know what a sales letter is, let alone how to convince through copy- If more startups followed the formula, people would be pre-sold BEFORE they signup, thus much more likely to:
- Actually try the product
- See it through if they have any problems, as they already have a bias towards it being worth using
- Like most advice about marketing/copywriting (including mine), there are always exceptions. As such, it is nonsense that “people have short attention spans”, “people only want video”. I can give you a long list of exceptions of people who make stacks of dough who violate these rules.
- As such, use pattern disrupts to hold people’s attention. E.g. swearing, mentioning sex, making up words, misspelling words, using emojis, slang, etc.
- Your job in the first line is to get them to the second line. On the second line, get to the third, etc. It takes a LOT of work to hold people’s focus.
- Copywriting is 10% what you write, 90% distribution. Gary Vee made his career off Wine Library. By his own admission, it was “20 minutes a day creating the video and four hours trying to promote it and get shoutouts from bigger channels” The hustle really was real!
- The “curiosity gap” still works. Leave a little something out of the title and have them click through to get it. I.e. “Snapchat becomes top marketing channel for innovative brands” is an awful title. “Brands have chosen their favorite social network- and it’s not the one you think” will get more clicks. Rain hate on the nature of that if you want, but it works.
- Write using a narrative “voice” in your head. This will help you to seem more human and less robot (i.e. if you wouldn’t say it exactly how you’d write it, cut it out). Paul Graham advises reading your posts out loud. If it sounds false, change it. I hold myself to the standard of my favorite authors: Bret Easton Ellis, Bukowski, etc. Would I be happy with them reading it?
- On that note, you can never go wrong with a sales letter if you’re trying to sell something. If you’ve never heard of a sales letter before, it’s a copywriting technique borne out of the legendary direct response copywriters of the 70’s and 80’s (some might say the “mad men” era). It is a formula made up of 11 parts, which are: Headline, subheading, identifying the problem, story/credentials, benefits, social proof, the offer, the guarantee, scarcity, and a call-to-action:
- In the headline (the most important part of the entire letter), you must grab their attention (a “how to” or “who else” works well), and maybe hint at the offer (if it’s a good one!)
- The subheading should introduce another big benefit. If the headline is outrageous you may need to use this line to validate the claim.
- Now you must identify the problem. If your startup isn’t solving a problem, you’re going to have your own problem to solve!
- Next step is about building a story and your own credentials. People can buy from other companies if not you. It’s your own story which makes you believable. Adding any credentials (such as industry experience or interesting projects you’ve worked on in the past
- The benefits of them using your product
- Your companies social proof – This could include logos of companies you’ve worked with or had press from, or (most important) testimonials from customers
- The offer – Second most important section other than the title. Show how the price pales in comparison in terms of what they’re getting, i.e. massive value
- The guarantee – This is something I see so few startups do. You will massively increase conversion rates if you’re so confident they’ll love it that it will outweigh any refunds you have to give. The more audacious the guarantee, the better, e.g. “Double your money back if you use this and doesn’t help you do x,” (and they must show they’ve used the product to claim this guarantee)
- Scarcity – This is a limited offer or only a select few can apply. Maybe you’re only letting a few beta users in to test the product? Product Hunt did this well by only allowing journalists and investors on the platform in the early days. You can imagine how much startup founders wanted to be in this community!n
- Call to action – Tell them why they need to act now!
- P.S. – Adding a P.S. to the bottom of your sales letter or emails is a smart idea. Surprisingly, it’s the third most important part of the letter! This section can re-enforce the guarantee, re-state the primary benefits to the customer, or make another call-to-action, perhaps different from the main one
This sales letter format has made billions for companies. It has been tested and re-tested and is pretty durable. I can’t recommend it enough and think it’s very under-rated.
- If you’re not writing with your target market in mind, whatever you’re writing will convert like garbage. You need to know their thoughts, fears, needs before you start typing.
- Never write in neutral cliches that are used often (e.g. “Here’s something we can all agree on”)
- The best advice I can give is to do the opposite of what you think copywriting “should be”, as that tends to come across very salesy. Be insanely humorous, dark, different, and it’ll come across 10x better.
What is everyone else’s’ #1 copywriting tip? Enter it in below.