You make your first impression in seven seconds of meeting someone.
In the real world, we use body language, eye contact and charm to win someone over. In the digital realm, our copy is a huge part of our first impression. It’s how we introduce and differentiate ourselves. It’s how we convey personality and trustworthiness.
To make a strong first–and then a compelling lasting–impression, you need to be authentic and original. It’s easy to default to cookie-cutter copywriting, but it won’t help you stand out.
Here are some ways to write something original, personal, and trust-building for your audience.
Clichés? Just say no!
How would you feel if you asked me for advice about a difficult situation, and I responded with:
- “That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.”
- “Better safe than sorry!”
- “The grass is always greener!”
You wouldn’t get much from our conversation besides an injury from eye-rolling.
Just as you don’t want your friends to talk to you like an inspirational poster in a guidance counsellor’s office, your customers and clients don’t want to be spoken to like you’re an infomercial from 1984.
When you’re feeling uninspired or unmotivated to sit down and write, it is easy to go on auto-pilot and write in clichės. They are accessible, familiar, and can help you hit a deadline early, but… they are boring. And even lazy.
Remember, the whole point of working on your copywriting skills is to create a strong voice for your brand, making you recognizable to people after only a few words and, of course, building trust.
It’s also great if it’s entertaining enough for people to share it with their friends.
Calling your product “amazing” or saying “do you find yourself…” or “say goodbye to…” might do nothing but put your audience to sleep (or at least keep scrolling on by).
There can be a time and a place for an excellent cliché if you’re able to put a fun spin on it.
Tushy is one of my favourite cliché remixers. A modern bidet that clips onto any toilet, it has some of the most clever marketing.
Instead of the cliché, “Tis the season of savings,” they changed it to something that applies to their product and is hilarious.
According to this article from Forbes, “…oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone” or the “bonding molecule,” is released during laughter. It is also called the “trust molecule.”
Science proves that making people laugh is a great way to get them to like and trust you. So if you do use a cliché, do so wisely and with a generous pinch of silliness.
Tell Your Unique Story
Instead of making big, sweeping statements about how a product will “change your life for the better,” like a politician making empty promises during election season, try telling a specific story so your customer can imagine themselves using your product or service.
In a recent blog post, marketing OG Seth Godin suggests “sharing the most specific possible example with impact and humanity instead.”
Don’t just say that your product is perfect for them; explain why. The more specific you are, the more telling details you use, the more likely it will resonate with them on a personal level. When you help them visualize themselves using the product, they are more likely to purchase it.
Storytelling also helps people feel connected to you and your brand, which, in turn, helps build long-term brand loyalty.
This doesn’t mean you need to dive into fiction writing. When telling a brand story, always make sure you’re telling a true story. Consumers are smart and BS-savvy.
The direct-to-consumer fine jewelry brand Mejuri uses every opportunity to tell the story of independent women who buy jewelry for themselves. They tell this story visually with their product photography, but you also see it written in various ways across their website.
On their “About Us” page, they tell us not only what they stand for but why. The founder shares a brief story about how her past experiences led her to start this brand. It gives us context and insight into her intentions, helping to build trust.
Along with the story of its brand’s roots, Mejuri shows who you could be if you bought a piece of its jewellery.
Do you want to be a fabulous, independent, stylish young person? Buy a piece of Mejuri jewellery! Do you want to shop sustainably and get great value, to boot? Buy a piece of Mejuri jewellery! Do you want to invest in something you’ll keep and love forever? You guessed it…buy a piece of Mejuri jewellery!
There are many ways to be frank about your brand. Talk about:
- How and where you manufacture.
- Sustainable practices you follow.
- Goals you’re working towards and how you plan to achieve them.
- Any recent product changes/improvements.
- Past struggles and how you overcame them.
People are increasingly choosing to shop and invest in companies that care about the earth and humanity. If those are your values, too, show them how you’re living them, even if imperfectly.
The clothing brand Everlane has been at the forefront of conscientious manufacturing and marketing for almost a decade. They even release an impact report each year, laying everything on the table for their customers.
This shows their customers that they don’t only talk the talk of a sustainable brand; they also walk the walk, which sets them apart and builds trust in a significant way.