Writing is hard. Writing for search engines is even harder. What about writing for the search engines and writing for sales simultaneously? Is that even doable? Because, in the end, you want to write copy that ranks in the search engines AND convinces people to buy your stuff, contact you, subscribe to your newsletter or return to your website. In this post, I’ll share some of my discoveries in the field of sales copywriting. Also, I’ll show you that copywriting for sales and SEO is perfectly compatible (and not even that hard).
Why sales copywriting is useful
A while ago, I attended a workshop by sales copywriting specialist Amy Harrison. At the time, I was a bit skeptical. I am a writer, I know about writing, so what were the chances I would hear something new? I was totally blown away by Amy’s story, though.
Having a sales perspective on a text is very useful. And I’ll tell you why. Although I write a lot of blog posts and like doing research, I do not particularly enjoy writing marketing texts or sales copy. But of course, this is important too. Because it’s what actually pays the bills. But more importantly (at least for SEO addicts like me), copywriting for sales is also a very useful SEO strategy.
Focus on your audience’s needs
Your sales copy should address the needs of your audience. What problem (that the audience encounters) does your product solve? To give an example: in Yoast’s case, our audience wants more traffic to their site, higher rankings in Google, and perhaps more sales. The problem our audience has is that they don’t have as many visitors as they would like to have on their site. They’re not outranking their competition yet. These problems should be addressed directly in our sales copy. On Yoast.com, however, our sales copy used to be largely product-driven. In other words, this copy mainly consisted of a list of features of our products.
We actually rewrote parts of the sales copy on Yoast.com, trying to really keep our audience and their problems in mind (and focus less on our products and what features are in it). Writing in such a way – with room for the problems your audience encounters – is a very good SEO strategy. Because you’re focusing on the problems your audience has. Most likely, these problems will be what they’re searching for when they start their search for a solution. Thinking about the problems your product or service can solve, will result in good sales copy as well as in SEO-friendly copy.
Use words that appeal to your audience
In our ‘old’ product-focused sales copy, we used the word ‘optimize’ quite often. We just really like that word. But optimizing can mean so many different things. Optimizing for the search engines, optimizing for readability, optimizing the UX of your website, optimizing the images on your site. Is the word optimizing really appealing to our audience? Is it the word they would use? Could we be more specific? What do we actually mean by optimizing? Of course, we know that with ‘optimizing for search engines’, we mean ‘ranking in Google’. And that with ‘optimizing for readability’ we actually mean ‘writing a text that people would want to read.’ But does our audience know this as well? Perhaps we should use these specific phrases instead of ‘optimizing’.
Sometimes the words you’re using in your copy, aren’t the words that your audience is using to define their problems. If that’s the case, your words won’t be appealing to your audience and they won’t recognize the solution to their problems in your sales copy. The text will be less convincing to your users, than if you write a text with words people can relate too. In addition to that, a text with words that are not used by your audience, won’t get much traffic. But, a text with words your audience actually uses, will definitely result in more traffic to your site.
How to find out what words they’re using
To get started with either SEO or sales copywriting, you should get to know your audience. You have to find out which words they’re using, how they describe their problems, and how they begin their quest in Google. Talking to them in person or online could be a great way to start. If you’re using reviews or testimonials, these could be a really helpful source too. What words do your most satisfied customers use to describe their experience with your product, service, or website? What things, elements or features of your product did they like the most? These words, these things, should definitely be included in your copy and also give you insight into the keywords you should focus on.
This is where sales copywriting and writing for SEO come together. By researching what words your audience uses and how they describe their problems, you’re able to write copy that’s findable and relatable for your audience. By focusing on these words, you will be able to rank on terms people actually search for and provide them with an answer they want. As discussed above, getting to know your audience is a great starting point to get an idea of the focus keywords they use. Not only does this provide you with the right input for your sales copy, but it’s also one of the first steps of proper keyword research for SEO.
Conclusion: SEO and sales copywriting
Focusing on your sales copy isn’t just beneficial for your sales, it’s also a very useful SEO strategy. Because good sales copy should address the needs of your audience, and when you address the needs of your audience you’re probably using terms they’re searching for. To get an insight into the needs (and problems) of your audience, you should get to know them by conducting audience research. This will help you find the words your audience uses and by adopting these words, you can make sure your copy is findable and relatable!
Keep reading: SEO copywriting: the ultimate guide »