As a creative small business owner, you’ve gotta communicate well in your copywriting phrases in order to sell. Right? But, you may feel like you’re no Don Draper copywriter or master wordsmith—and when you tip-toe towards persuasive communication with your dreamboat clients, it comes off either robotic and impersonal.
(Or, you sound like the dressing room attendant that always tells you the most expensive dress makes you look like a smoke show, when you KNOW it doesn’t … know the feeling? No thank you!)
Mailbag time! Today’s blog post dives into just that, with a mailbag question I’ve gotten this week:
“Hey Ashlyn! I have no trouble connecting with my audience, but I have a difficult time ASKING for the sale. I’d love to book out my consultations more consistently, so I need help to find out what I’m doing wrong in that area! I’ve done some tweaks but I always feel like I’m either too salesy or too sappy. I need to find a way to balance that and really convey my worth to future clients.”
You’ve got a potential client, course student, or bride on the hook, and it’s time to communicate and reel ‘em in with expert copy and woo-worthy messaging that they can’t refuse.
Let’s figure out how to be persuasive—not pushy.
In this post, you’ll learn
… and more!
Shift to these copywriting techniques to convey value in your communication, and swipe this list below to keep when it’s time to be persuasive (but not pushy!).
p.s. This post was first published in 2016, but went viral 😳 … it’s been updated with new learnings and resources to help you out!
Before we break into this, here’s why I think it’s important to have a toolbox of persuasive copy on hand.
Like any other job, as creatives, we lean on three things:
The writing/selling part of being a business owner is no different—you still need (1) skill, (2) a bit of experience learning how to write your own copy, and (3) a stud toolbox. Hopefully, I can help you out there!
I’m CRAZY about helping creative women learn how to DIY their sales copy, so they don’t have to hire a copywriter every single time. We’ll always have to write as long as we own small businesses, right?
So, what’s in your copywriting toolbox? The basics would include your brand voice guide, loads of target audience research, and a jam-up swipe file (I call them copy banks, and you can learn how I set up my Copy Bank system over in The AW Shop).
I’m about to hand over something for your swipe file, but let’s check in for a quick sec.
Simply put, some words are just stronger than others when it comes to selling.
As we get to those 16 phrases—and we will, hang on!—know they’re going to be more simple than you may be expecting.
And they’re supposed to be.
“All words are equal, but some words are more equal than others.” -Animal Farm
Clarity trumps cleverness when it comes to copywriting, but there’s one other component to these super simple phrases …
… they’re powerfully persuasive.
So, an ideal client’s checking out a product or service. Ya know … trying it on for size.
Her thoughts are rapid-fire working to weigh perceived value against the asking price. Harvard Business Review pulled together a hierarchy of what we value — on a large scale, at least — recently.
“These elements fall into four categories: functional, emotional, life-changing, and social impact. Some elements are more inwardly focused, primarily addressing consumers’ personal needs.”
In a nutshell (and read the whole article—it’s a knockout!), you’ll do well to communicate two or three of these proven valuable points to your target audience.
If you just go be-bopping around in your welcome magazine, website words, and caption copy with this swipe file (or ANY swipe file) without thoughtfully using the phrases, I doubt you’ll see instant results.
The same way if you play madlibs with some other creative’s website copy and DIY your own, you won’t get results.
You need to understand WHY these words work, and WHY your brand voice is what it is.
That’s how you start using swipes well.
I’ve sorted this swipe file into three key phrase families:
These three kinds of copy connect from the heart and cut through the noise, giving you power to sell well and close the deal.
This isn’t a list of words that sell (Click here for a good one from Buffer if you want that).
This is a list of phrase switch-ups that may work a little better than what you’re currently working with.
But why amp up flatlined communications with these phrase families?
Well, because showing value matters. A lot.
Saying “you” matters … a lot.
And putting your own spin on swipes is how you write copy like a pro.
Let’s get practical now, and get your toolbox some new swag.
Where do I picture these phrases going? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Freshly sharpened pencil bouquet ready, I'm here to make sure you stand out as a copywriter and calligraphy. I help women like you steward your story well, so you can work from a place of rest—not hustle.