Ethical copy does sell—but how do you write it?
If you read the last blog post I wrote about why ethical copy does convert and empower you to run a profitable and sustainable online business, you might be wondering a little more about practical ways to write copy that is ethical. (If you missed that blog post, click here.)
In this blog post, we’ll look at practical ways to make sure you are writing copy that converts—in a clear, connection-based, and ethical way that will result in you building a community that trusts you as well as a brand that is profitable over the long term.
Prioritize serving over making money.
Let’s start with a mindset shift that goes back to the foundation of your business. Why does your creative business exist? Is it only to put extra cash in your pocket?
It isn’t bad to need money. God has given us the marketplace as a way to feed our families and live lives that are safe, fed, and cared for. That is totally okay. But you need to go underneath that need and think about why you are offering your product or service. Service should be at the heart of your business. If you are in your business only to “pad your pockets” with extra cash, it will likely be hard for you to write ethical copy. Once you make the shift to caring more about how you can help your clients than how they will help you, you will unconsciously demonstrate that in your marketing (and the rest of your business).
Be transparent and descriptive in your offer.
Sometimes, I think we underestimate the power of just telling it like it is. As you write your copy, prioritize the facts! What does your customer get? What does it look like? What are the deliverables? How much time does it take? Is your product or service luxurious or classic or modern? Be clear and informative about the details, and your clients will thank you! No one will buy from you if they don’t understand what you offer—and if your copy was written in a vague, dreamy way, clients will likely be dissatisfied that the logistics of what they purchase aren’t what they thought.
Make your copy invitational.
Our generation is perhaps more aware of manipulation and gaslighting than any other generation has been. We tend to be jumpy and sniff out anything that even *hints* of being coercive and forcing us into something.
Your clients are no different. Don’t insist they buy what you offer. Don’t scream at them with your words. Invite them into your service or to buy your product in the same way that you would invite someone into your home, or to go out for coffee!
Invitational copy doesn’t mean that you can’t be fun, or funny, or honest about the fact that you want your clients to buy! But do not demand it.
Show positive results and examples.
Testimonials are still one of the most effective ways of demonstrating to clients that your service or product is worth their investment. Show examples of projects you have completed, what the process was like, and how your client or customer felt afterwards. (Do make sure your client/customer is okay with you sharing, first.)
I do want to caution you though—don’t hide behind good reviews. You might have the best reviews in your industry—and lots of them!—but if your potential clients can’t find real information about what you sell, they aren’t going to know if they want to purchase from you.
Ashlyn Carter, the original Copywriter for Creatives, talks about the fact that different people buy for different reasons. Some make emotional purchases, and some make logical purchases. I would argue that even if all your customers purchase because you made them feel like they needed to, you should still have facts and statistics about your business or offer and how it can help them. How many people have you worked with? How many products have you made? Why is your service important? Some hard numbers can be very helpful in a decision-making process—and it’s kind and ethical to have them in there so your potential clients can see the data for themselves.
Say why you think your clients will love your offer.
The key word here is why you THINK they will love it. It is okay to bring some emotions in and say why you think your offer will make your clients happy, or confident, or successful. You should be honest about those things, too. Ethical copy does not mean discouraging your potential clients/customers from buying! However, do not make a guarantee that you cannot keep. Instead of “MY OFFER WILL DEFINITELY CHANGE YOUR LIFE,” say “Here is why this could change the game for you,” and give reasons.
Assume the intelligence of your clients.
Our current era of technology has made most of us a kind of expert on marketing. We know when businesses are trying to sell us something. So, as you write your copy, assume that your audience can see through your marketing. Don’t talk down to them or be patronizing in any way. Be straight-forward and assume they are smart! They know you are offering them something, so don’t pretend you aren’t.
Present information beautifully—or at least readably.
Information gets lost in the abundance of it. If you want to make sure your clients can understand your copy, make sure you lay it out in a format that is easy to read and intuitive in how it is laid out. Break up paragraphs. Use bullet points. Have clear headings. Make your copy easy on the eyes. Design isn’t everything, but it is something—it’s important.
Make sure your offer is solid.
Maybe we should have started with this, but if your service or product is actually bad, writing clear copy isn’t going to help you very much. Continually improve your offer, and look at it critically, often! Client experience is one of the most powerful marketing tools, so don’t neglect it.
Let me reiterate—it is possible to write copy that converts, ethically. You don’t have to stoop to click bait, semi-racy headlines, or the equivalent of online screaming. Prioritize your people, and write your copy in a way that will serve them as well as you possibly can.
Download the free guide
The starting point for writing any type of messaging or copy is knowing exactly who you dream of working with. I made a free guide that will walk you through HOW to find that ideal client. Click here to download it and be on your way to clear copy for your brand and website!