As the name, ‘internet marketing’, implies, the business is about two things. These are rather obviously, the application of marketing skills using the technology of the internet. The technological side of the business requires a working knowledge of the internet, an ability to create websites and knowing how to use other technical gadgetry. The marketing side is the same as any other form of marketing. This involves being able to get your products or services in front of your potential customers in a way which makes them want to know more, and, ultimately, to buy.
In this article I will deal with a fundamental aspect of the marketing itself which is the use of words. Words are the chief weapon of any marketer, online or off. All use of words within internet marketing comes under the umbrella title of ‘copywriting’. The approach to copywriting for internet marketing will depend on the situation we are writing for. Sometimes we will be writing copy for an e-book. On other occasions we may be producing articles for posting on ezine sites. At other times we may be producing a sales letter or promotional material for a website. Each of these different situations requires a slightly different approach.
Sometimes we will be writing to inform our readers; – sometimes we will be providing content to interest or divert our readers; – sometimes we will be trying to entertain or amuse our readers and on other occasions, obviously, we will be writing to sell to our readers. Whereas there is inevitably common ground between all these different situations there will be differences both in approach and in the kind of wording we use. It is unlikely we will ever be writing to rival the artistic quality of Dickens or Tolkien, although in producing an e-book or newsletter we would be aiming to produce the best copywriting we could. The thing that really dictates how we write is what it is we are trying to achieve with any particular piece of copy.
There have been thousands of manuals, e-books, websites and courses created outlining how to write a sales letter so I am not going to explore that subject in any depth here. However, the predominant advice always given is to promote benefits and value above all else. Use emotive words and phrases and write with a punchy style. In a sales letter we are trying to get a message across to make our reader really ‘desire’ what it is we are offering. Sometimes this will mean writing in a way which is not grammatically textbook English but which hits the right buttons. However, always check the spelling, especially if you are taking a few liberties with the use of grammar.
When writing articles, we have a middle-of-the-road type situation. The aim of most articles is to get your reader to click the link in the resource box at the end which will direct them to a website, an opt-in offer or a sales page. In an article we are trying to create interest rather than to sell something. The selling pitch comes later. The wording we use should be as readable as we can make it whilst, at the same time, giving a sense of authority; – that we really do know what we are talking about (which, hopefully, we do!). If we want our readers to click our link, we need them to feel disappointed that they have reached the end of the article and so click on the link to learn more. If our articles are too dry or lifeless the link will usually be ignored.
So, to sum up, when planning a new piece of copywriting for internet marketing we must always ask ourselves the question, “what do I want this item to achieve?” and write with that in mind. We must put ourselves in the shoes of our readers and produce what they are most likely to be looking for and present it in a form which is most conducive to get the required response.