I’m back with my crystal ball (aka angel snow globe) with a few predictions on copywriting trends to watch for in the wacky world of copywriting over the coming year.
But, before I dig into those copywriting trends, let’s define what copywriting is.
Copywriting is writing promotional materials for businesses, nothing to do with protecting intellectual property or putting a copyright on something (notice the difference in spelling).
My specialty is a subset called “direct response copywriting,” which entails crafting copy that your ideal prospects directly respond to. For example, when you write an email asking your community to click on a link, you’re writing direct response copy. Those long sales letters you’re scrolling down forever, all-the-while asking yourself, “How much does this actually cost?” and wondering if anyone actually ever reads those things anyway … yep. That’s direct response.
(And by the way, the short answer is yes—people read them.)
The Internet is littered with direct response copy, mainly because it’s a fabulous way to leverage yourself and your marketing efforts, especially when you’re using the Internet to market yourself. Direct response copy does the selling for you, so you can market and sell yourself one to many.
But, as much good as it does, people still hate it. That’s partially because traditional direct response copy uses a lot of fear-based triggers (which doesn’t feel very good). It’s also because a lot of people just hate writing, and would rather not do it at all. (It’s okay if this is you, we’re all friends here.)
Needless to say, there’s a lot of misinformation around the future of copy, so I thought I’d take a moment to sort out the facts from the fiction—and what better way to do that than by talking about five copywriting trends I see happening now?
Without further ado, let’s dig into those copywriting trends.
Trend 1. Copywriting isn’t going away (and yes, that includes writing email copy). Yep, I hear those proclamations too: “Email is dead. Facebook is the place to be. No, maybe it’s videos. Or podcasts. Or …”
So, first off, nothing beats building your own sandbox versus playing in other people’s sandboxes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using Facebook and Youtube—you absolutely should have a presence on any platform your ideal prospects are on.
You just shouldn’t build your entire business on them.
An excellent way to market and build your business is to spend time in the places your ideal clients are hanging out, with the intent to inspire them to join you in your sandbox.
Ideally you’d love for them to join your email list, so you have permission to reach out when the timing is right for you. But, even if they regularly visit your blog or have subscribed to your podcast, that’s a step in the right direction, too.
And, for any of that to happen, it’s important to have harnessed the power of copy in your marketing. No, that doesn’t mean YOU need to do all the writing yourself—hiring it out is perfectly acceptable. But, you need to come to terms with the fact that as long as you own a business, you’re going to be generating copy (and likely a lot of it).
And that leads us to the second of the five copywriting trends.
Trend 2. Connecting with your ideal clients is key to future success. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when you could generate an awful lot of money simply by harnessing the power of “new” in your marketing.
That time has come and gone (and frankly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing, as I would argue very few entrepreneurs who had mastered the power of “new” actually had a solid, sustainable business.)
So, if you can’t use “new” to attract customers, clients and buyers, what can you do?
Easy. Focus on connecting and building relationships with your prospects. (And, if you are looking to attract more ideal clients to your business, connecting and building relationships is hands down the best strategy to use).
Copy is one of the best ways to connect and build relationships, especially when you use it in an email. (Emails are one-to-one medium: people are getting emails in their inbox, so by it’s very nature, it’s a personal connection. It’s just a matter of you remembering that, when you craft emails to your subscribers.)
But, this is just the first step to building more rapport with your ideal prospects.
Trend 3. Focus on giving your prospects exactly what they want. And I guarantee what they want is plenty of content, and maybe even to be entertained.
What they DON’T want? To be sold to constantly.
That’s why so many entrepreneurs have email lists that are, for all practical purposes, dead. They’ve sold to them so much that their prospects have stopped interacting with them.
(Note: Constantly sending your subscribers to other people’s “free” launch content, such as free books or videos or webinars, constitutes selling. Yes, yes, I know the content is usually pretty solid. But, it’s still designed to sell a program, likely a high-ticket item, and anyone who says “yes” to that free content WILL get inundated with emails for a few weeks. Your subscribers know this, and are tuning it out. I’m not saying not to promote other people’s launches or to stop doing your own; I absolutely still believe product launches are an important tool in your marketing toolbox. However, what I AM saying is to count those emails toward your “total sales emails” quota. You only have so many sales emails you can send to your list before they stop paying attention, so choose wisely.)
Your subscribers don’t mind some sales emails, but it’s important to balance those sales emails with what they’re really looking for, which is most likely content and entertainment.
But, there’s an even bigger prediction on the horizon (a.k.a. the fourth of five copywriting trends)…
Trend 4. Segmenting is the future. While this is a more advanced tactic, having a way to segment your subscribers and allow THEM to decide what sort of content and communication they want from you is going to become more and more important.
I’ve seen stats showing far better results when emails are tailored to your subscribers based on their answers to a few questions you ask them.
So, how do you do this? Some email programs, such as Infusion Soft (although there are cheaper email software programs that are coming out now that are offering these options) allow you to “tag” your subscribers depending on if they click a link, or how they answer a question. You can then send an email to just the people who were tagged.
For instance, maybe you send out an email asking, “If you’re brand new to business, click here,” you can then “tag” everyone who clicks on that link. Now you have a segmented list of new entrepreneurs, and you can send them content and offers that are tailored specifically to them.
See how powerful that can be?
It’s always been the case that the more you can speak directly to your ideal prospects concerns and what’s keeping them up at night, the more they’ll buy from you. Until the Internet, it was far more complicated to give them tailored offers.
Of course, this is a bit of a catch-22. Now that it is easier, it’s likely your ideal prospects will be expecting it more. Which means if you’re NOT segmenting, you could be losing potential clients, customers and buyers.
But, there’s still one last of the 5 copywriting trends that will also be important when it comes to writing copy.
Trend 5. Use passion, vulnerability, and stories in your copy. Remember, people want to do business with people. And, you connecting and building relationships with your ideal prospects is going to be even more important now, as it truly is one of the top trends in marketing and business.
One key way to connect with them using copy is to do things like tap into your passion, and show your personality. Reveal your vulnerabilities and share stories in your copy.
As humans, we’re wired to respond to stories. So, the more we can use stories in our marketing, the more our ideal prospects will pay attention to us. And, if they’re paying attention, they’re far more likely to become buyers, customers, and clients.
I know it can feel strange to use stories and share your vulnerabilities (business IS supposed to be professional after all, and if you came from corporate, it can feel even more alien), but sharing something you’re vulnerable about can go a long way in making you far more relatable.
And, now, for a last, bonus prediction (because 6 copywriting trends didn’t sound nearly as sexy as five).
Bonus Trend 6. Fear-based copy that focuses on shaming and scarcity is on its way out, and love-based copy is the new black. So, as the founder of the love-based copy philosophy and the love-based business movement, I get that this might seem more than a little self-serving.
It’s also not completely true.
While fear-based copy and marketing DOES still work, it’s definitely not working as well as it used to. I do believe it’s on its way out, and selling and marketing yourself with love is on its way in, but we’re not quite there yet.
As a species, we still psychologically respond to fear-based triggers. The more we do the inner work and shift to building our businesses and living our lives on a foundation of love, the less fear-based triggers will work.
And, if you want to dig into love-based copy at an even deeper level, you may want to check out my books: Love-Based Copywriting Method: The Philosophy Behind Writing Copy that Attracts, Inspires and Invites and Love-Based Copywriting System: A Step-by-Step Process to Master Writing Copy that Attracts, Inspires and Invites.