Aside from hearing my voice on tape, nothing makes me cringe more than hard-sell advertising tactics. Unsolicited emails, persistent pop-ups and cold calls aren’t enticing. These strategies are more transparent than cheap sports tights in a spin class. So why haven’t some brands haven’t got the memo?
Hard-sell advertising sucks. It’s awkward and it rarely works. Same goes for formal writing, technical jargon and six-syllable words. What DOES work, really well, is conversational copywriting. Conversational copywriting is the antidote to aggressive, old-school selling. It’s easy, natural, fun to read, and it feels like a two-way conversation. In this post, I’ll explain how to write conversational copy that makes people want to buy your stuff – and be your friend.
As the name suggests, conversational copywriting sounds like a conversation. It’s basically writing like you speak, only a little better. If you’re aiming for a conversational tone, a good question to ask yourself is: Would I say this to a friend?
For example, say you’re telling a friend about your favourite coffee brand. Which of the following statements would you say?
If my bestie hit me with the first statement, I’d be concerned. Maybe your friends are weirder than mine, but I doubt they’re THAT weird.
The second statement sounds more natural – like something a human would actually say. It’s friendly, casual and familiar. It makes me want to learn more about the coffee, like where to buy it and what it tastes like. That’s my goal as a conversational copywriter. Connecting with readers and keeping them hungry (or thirsty) for more.
Here’s a hypothetical for you. Imagine you’re shopping online for a vacuum cleaner. You surf the websites and read the spiels, but you still can’t decide which one to buy. All the ads talk about power wattage and complicated technical specs. You’re so confused, you call the store to speak to a vacuum guru. The vacuum guru answers your questions in terms you actually understand.
Yes, the vacuum is powerful enough to pick up your cat’s fur. Yes, you can adjust the height of the handle, so it won’t hurt your back. Yes, it comes with all the attachments you need clean your car. No, you don’t need vacuum bags – this is a bagless model. Next minute… boom. You’ve bought a vacuum.
Now imagine if those questions had been answered in the website copy. Your purchase would have been so much easier. That’s where conversational copywriting comes in. Whether it’s a vacuum cleaner or business coaching package, conversational copy makes it easier for people to buy your stuff.
When people are interested in what you’re saying and they understand what you’re saying, they’re much more likely to act. You won’t need to oversell or offer a free set of steak knives. Just be human, be helpful, and give people the details they want and need.
Writing like a human, or writing like you speak, sounds simple in theory. But if you’re not a professional writer, you might want some more practical tips. Here are 11 tips for writing conversational copy:
If you’re worried that conversational copywriting sounds too informal or unprofessional, think about the alternative. Boring words no-one reads. Big words no-one understands. Transparent sales ploys no-one buys.
If in doubt, think about the vacuum cleaner. Do you want to sell that thing? You won’t do it with words that suck (pun totally intended).
You don’t talk to your Dad the same way you’d talk to a Tinder date. That would be weird. So, when you’re writing conversational copy, think about who you’re talking to. If you’re selling prestige properties to wealthy high rollers, it’s probably not appropriate to drop an F-bomb. But if you’re selling a hardcore fitness bootcamp to hardcore fitness junkies, profanities might be bang on brand.
Want to see conversational copy in action? Here are two examples from a couple of awesome Aussie brands.
I’m a fan of Go-To Skincare. Not just because I love their products, but because I love their marketing approach. Check out the copy in this email confirming my online order. Instead of the boring, ‘Thanks for your order’ spiel, they’ve named Australia’s Bestest Person. Adorable. Memorable. Bang on brand. Had me at ‘hello’.
Why am I subscribed to the mailing list of a men’s underwear brand? Because my hubby is obsessed. And because I buy his undies. Anyway, I digress. Playing to their target market of 30-something men, the Step One crew hit the mark with conversational copywriting. From the cheeky subject line, ‘Chucking A Sicky On Friday?’ to the Top 10 excuses revolving around underwear, this email screams ‘awesome’ in so many ways. Plus, you’ll notice they’re not even selling. Not a price tag in sight. This is pure fun and brand awareness – and it’s powerful.
If you have any cool examples of conversational copy or sales copywriting, I’d love to see them. Comment below or contact me. I’m a conversational copywriter and a massive marketing nerd, so you’d make my day.