How to write your best copy for all stages of the buyer's journey

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Published Aug 06, 2019 | Written by Jeremy Knight

Great copywriting is the oil that greases the cogs of your marketing machine. It keeps everything moving smoothly, swiftly and efficiently.

The higher the quality of that oil, and the more consistent you are with your application, the longer your machine will last. 

But it’s not uncommon for marketers to underestimate the need for quality copy. 

Marketing is multi-faceted and no two journeys will be the same. 

A great copywriter will address this.

They will take the few words needed to deliver a message and arrange them in a way that resonates with the audience and prompts a behaviour.

Great copywriting is powerful enough to nurture a sceptical prospect into a loyal advocate. 

So what are we talking about exactly? 

There’s a lot of advice out there on how to map your content to the buyer’s journey, but what about your copy? Content and copy are codependent but they’re still very different disciplines. 

Copy describes all of the marketing material that sits outside of your content marketing strategy. Content marketing includes blogs, eBooks and resources for example. Copy, on the other hand, will be used for:

  • Email subject lines
  • Landing pages
  • CTA (call to action) buttons
  • Social media
  • Delivery emails 
  • Newsletters

In content marketing, copywriting is used to aid a conversion process and will precede an action such as: 

  • Clicking a button
  • Sharing a post
  • Making a purchase
  • Requesting a demo
  • Subscribing to your newsletter
  • Downloading content
  • Opening an email

But if we go a little deeper, each of these conversion paths take place at different stages within the buyer's journey, and it's important to identify this before you start writing.

The buyer's journey (also known as the sales funnel) begins with pain or a problem. This will lead the prospect/buyer to research to try and identify the problem (awareness stage)

Once the problem has been identified, the buyer will start to explore solutions (consideration stage).

And finally, they’ll come to make a decision about whether or not to purchase your product/service (decision stage)

So how and why do our words need to be tailored to each of these stages?

Awareness stage

Avoid pushy, ‘salesy’ language at this stage. The buyer doesn’t yet know what they need, so avoid being presumptuous. Take a gentler approach by asserting your expertise confidently.

The buyer is addressing their pain point, so use language that assures them you understand their pain. You are an expert and you’re not trying to sell anything - you’re simply here to help and offer guidance.

Use words such as:

  • Help
  • Elevate 
  • Address
  • Solve
  • Learn
  • Improve 
  • How to
  • Guide

Steer clear of words with a negative connotation such as problem, sorry, or loss.

This example, from Equinet’s resources library, was crafted to help potential buyers at the awareness stage. 

Here the prospect is aware there is a need for them to grasp the concept of ‘modern marketing’. Their marketing strategy is tired and old and while they may have heard of ‘content marketing’, they aren’t sure how to implement it or how it can help their business.

The language is educational and informative without being condescending or patronising:

Before making buying decisions, today's customer wants to know and understand a company's products or services before they are ready to speak with their Sales Team. Your content, whatever its format (video, blog post, eBook, social media post), needs to respond to their learning process.

But have you considered what it takes to get modern marketing right? Have you got the internal resource or an ideal outsourced solution; do you have the expertise to devise a workable content strategy and plan the outputs you need?

Download this guide and discover:

  • how modern marketing generates leads and sales
  • the most successful content formats
  • how to devise a winning strategy
  • how to plan your content pipeline
  • and understand the common mistakes you need to avoid

Consideration stage

At this stage, the buyer has identified a need. In this example given, they have realised they need to start producing more compelling content that will resonate with today’s modern audiences, like video, but they don’t have a video department or a video strategy for that matter. 

This stage is about helping the buyer to explore their options. Again, avoid pushy or presumptuous language but opt for words that are success-oriented and aligned to taking action:

  • Create 
  • Discover
  • Master
  • Identify
  • Get 
  • Produce
  • Tailor
  • Increase

The copy below, taken from one of Equinet's landing pages, was crafted for a consideration stage eBook: A guide to producing compelling inbound marketing videos.

The steady rise in video’s popularity has transformed video production from novelty to necessity for the most successful inbound marketing strategies.

Strategically creating video content for different stages of the inbound methodology will help strike a chord with tentative prospects. Tailoring your video production to your audience can also increase viewership and improve your ROI.

Download this eBook to:

  • Learn how to produce a video marketing script
  • Get ideas on the types of video content you could create for each stage of the buyer's journey.
  • Discover how to measure your video marketing campaign success

Decision stage

Buyers at the decision stage already know you, they know your product, your values and your terminology. Here, you can afford to be direct and more familiar.

Avoid patronising language or anything overly descriptive. Chances are the buyer is almost ready to purchase. But there may be a few final obstacles for them to overcome, such as a third party or boss who is still sceptical about the purchase. 

Here, you need to use words that show rather than tell. Note the increased use of nouns rather than verbs: 

  • Formulas
  • Metrics
  • Tip sheet
  • ROI 
  • Revenue 
  • Studies
  • Demo
  • Free trial
  • Case studies

This is the final hurdle - what can you offer and why should the buyer choose you over competitors? Here's another example taken from Equinet's resources library which strategically addresses a barrier of the buyer persona - will their boss buy into inbound?  

How to really prove the ROI of marketing. As a marketer, you work tirelessly to map and measure across a whole range of metrics.

But when you are up against studies showing that over 70% of executives question whether marketing drives demand and revenue, you have to make sure you can prove the ROI of your marketing efforts. 

Do you know which metrics really matter to your boss? With this tip sheet, we share six metrics that do.

In this brief tip sheet, you will find:

  • Six marketing metrics that will prove the value of your marketing
  • Formulas and practical examples that will help you calculate those metrics
  • Why these metrics are important and how to interpret them

Fill out the form and we will send you the eBook immediately.

So next time you're tasked with writing a snippet of conversion copy, go back to basics. Which stage of the buyer's journey are you playing with here, what does the buyer expect?

I've written previously about how to craft email subject lines and call to action copy that convert, so take a look at these if you'd like to learn more about those particular elements. 

Armed with a knack for creating high-converting copy, you can expect to see evidence of your new talent in conversion rates, click-throughs and opens. Remember, copy is the oil that keeps your machine running smoothly. Without it, your marketing machine risks getting rusty and showing signs of deterioration. Don't wait until it's too late.

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Published by Jeremy Knight August 6, 2019
Jeremy Knight