Copywriting For Startups – Your Complete Guide

Copywriting For Startups – Your Complete Guide

If you want to grow your startup and gain a competitive advantage over your bigger competitors, learning how to write copy is one of the best things you can do.

Copywriting is how you create compelling messaging that directly targets your perfect customer’s pain points, wants, needs, greed, and desires so you’re able to attract new customers even if you don’t have a massive marketing budget.

In this guide, we’re going to break down 5 foundational copywriting strategies you can use to immediately improve the messaging you create.

When you’re done reading, you’ll be able to attract prospects and convert them into customers even in the most competitive markets — while making your brand recognizable.

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Strategy #1: Benefits, Then Features

As a founder, it’s natural to want to talk about you, your mission, and why you’re building your company. You’re enthusiastic about what you’re building and could talk about it for days.

When it comes to copywriting, though, that type of copy doesn’t actually convert attention.

Because the people reading your messaging only actually care about what’s in it for them.

That means you’ll need to write about how your product is going to help your prospects in their lives, whether that’s at work, in their business, or with their health, however, it helps.

The easiest way to shift the frame from being about you and your mission to making it about your prospects and what they want is to focus on the benefits.

To give you an example, let’s look at ClickFunnels 2.0 and the Course Creator feature.

If all we did was mention that it was a feature, not many people would see the true value.

If we talked about how the Course Creator feature helps eliminate third-party integrations that usually malfunction, how it eliminates the need for a third-party course host & payment processors, and makes it easy to have everything in one central location, it’s more valuable.

When you’re writing your own copy, make sure you’re telling people what the features are.

But also make sure you’re telling them why those features matter.

Here’s an example of benefit-driven copy:

Here’s an example of benefit-driven copy:

The copy focuses on the benefit of stress reduction rather than the feature of the product.

Being able to selectively hide apps and websites during screen sharing helps eliminate their potential embarrassment and stress of having people see things they shouldn’t see on screen.

Then, later, the copy starts diving into the features that make the benefit possible.

Being able to selectively hide apps and websites during screen sharing helps eliminate their potential embarrassment and stress of having people see things they shouldn’t see on screen.

The example focuses on why people should care about the features of the product — not just the features, themselves.

This shows readers how it’s going to solve a problem and what the end result of solving that problem should look and feel like.

Strategy #2: One Ideal Customer at a Time

The next strategy revolves around WHO you’re selling to.

Many times, founders want to target anyone and everyone possible, thinking it will be the key that leads them to more sales.

But when Russell started ClickFunnels, he didn’t try to capture the entire industry.

Instead, he focused on people who were frustrated with websites, who wanted a simpler way to sell their products online and entrepreneurs who were tired of dealing with tech stacks that always broke and cost them money.

By focusing on these perfect customers for the company he was able to gain major headway in one of today’s most competitive markets.

If his marketing were focused on anyone who wanted a website, he would have had a significantly harder time gaining traction.

This may seem counterintuitive since you’re effectively limiting your overall reach into the market because when you talk to your one perfect customer you eliminate everyone else.

What happens when you do, though, is that your messaging becomes even more effective at targeting that one perfect customer — so you’re able to convert their attention into a sale.

Here’s an example of this strategy in motion:

This tool helps record online meetings and talks specifically to people who work on building the products — the product managers.

It can be used to record ANY meeting but they have niched down to talking to their ideal customer only in an effort to keep from competing with bigger companies like Zoom.

The copy focuses on words that product managers would use in their daily work: “voice of customer” and “product workflow”.

People outside that specific niche market wouldn’t use those words, so the copy wouldn’t effectively target them.

Product managers, though, see those words and immediately resonate with the copy, wanting to dig deeper and figure out how else this offer might benefit them.

Product managers, though, see those words and immediately resonate with the copy, wanting to dig deeper and figure out how else this offer might benefit them.

Here’s another example from an agency that caters only to brands and companies that sell products directly to women:

Here’s another example from an agency that caters only to brands and companies that sell products directly to women.

By focusing only on companies who sell products to women, they have effectively eliminated 66% of their market (generalist agencies and agencies who cater to men), but have made their copy far more effective for companies who focus solely on serving women.

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Strategy #3: Bring Them into the Story

Every one of your prospects has a story they’re telling themselves.

If you can convey this story and tie it back to your brand, you will get more conversions.

You can use the “Hook, Story, Offer” framework to grab attention, tell the story you know your prospects are telling themselves, and then showcase the transformation your offer provides.

There are a few elements you want to include in the story: characters, the conflict, the resolution, and the transformation.

The characters are your audience — not you. This means your copy needs to be focused on them and what they’re going to get out of the offer if they take you up on it.

The conflict is the struggles or frustrations that they are currently facing.

The resolution showcases how your product/service resolves that conflict.

And, finally, the transformation is the outcome that your prospects expect to receive when they say yes to your offer.

Here’s a great example that showcases storytelling:

 Here’s a great example that showcases storytelling

The copy starts by focusing on the story their prospects are telling themselves — that the way they buy SaaS offers at their company is broken.

Then it moves into what these prospects believe the solution could be — or introduces what solving the problem could look like.

Next, the copy shifts into the transformation and the outcome that will happen if people say yes to the offer and enroll — saving upwards of $600,000 per year by eliminating SaaS fees.

When it comes to writing your own copy, keep the focus on them and what they want, and use the “Hook, Story, Offer” framework that Russell breaks down in DotCom Secrets.

Strategy #4. Understand the Platforms

When it’s time to start driving traffic to your sales pages, the style of copy you use needs to evolve with the platforms you’re publishing your copy & ads to.

Each platform has its own nuances in how the traffic interacts with the platform and the mindset they’re in when they’re on it.

To give you an example, let’s look at YouTube versus Facebook.

People browsing YouTube have a significantly higher attention span than people who are browsing Facebook.

That means you can use longer copy to get and keep their attention on YouTube than you could on Facebook.

Likewise, people on Twitter are expecting to see 140 characters, while people on Facebook might slow down to read a slightly longer post.

To make your copy as effective as possible, adapt it to the platform you’re using.

Take a look at this Ad on Facebook:

Take a look at this ad on Facebook

It’s more inspirational and engaging – but short enough to keep attention on Facebook.

The statement “You would not have the dream if you didn’t already have what it takes to make it happen” is motivational and connects emotionally with the reader.

It’s not trying to sell them anything right away. Instead, it’s driving a click to a landing page.

The statement "You would not have the dream if you didn't already have what it takes to make it happen" is motivational and connects emotionally with the reader.

Then, on the landing page, the copy is more direct and to the point.

It highlights the offer (free audio coaching) and the value proposition (turning big dreams into a reality).

The language stays with the same inspirational and motivational message that was in the ad that drove the click, but it’s more specific and outlines exactly what the visitor will receive.

Then, on Twitter, Marie focuses on getting people thinking while building her brand’s voice.

The language stays with the same inspirational and motivational message that was in the ad that drove the click, but it’s more specific and outlines exactly what the visitor will receive.

Her messaging is varied from platform to platform based on how users on that platform interact with the content they’re seeing.

If you adapt your messaging based on where you’re publishing it, your campaigns will be more effective than trying to shoehorn the same message onto every single platform.

To fill your funnel with even more of your dream customers – no matter where you’re publishing your copy — check out the free Traffic Secrets Masterclass.

Strategy #5: Develop Your Brand’s Voice

With a strong brand voice, it’s easy to set yourself apart from the competition.

Getting your audience to think and feel something about your company when they see your logo and read your messages is how you build a business that sticks around.

Some of today’s biggest companies understand this.

Your brand’s voice encompasses everything about your brand, from the language and words you use in your messaging, to the images you use and the personality you develop.

To help you get started developing your brand’s voice, check out this Brand Voice chart:

Brand Voice AttributeDescriptionDoDon’t
ProfessionalFormal, authoritativeUse industry-specific termsUse slang or jargon
InnovativeFuture-focused, tech-savvyDiscuss new ideas, technologiesStay in the past or resist change
FriendlyApproachable, warmUse conversational languageBe cold or overly formal
TrustworthyReliable, transparentShare clear, honest informationMake false or exaggerated claims

Then, think about well-known brands and how their messaging stands out.

Innocent Drinks, for example, is known for its fun, cheeky, and informal brand voice, reflecting its playful brand personality and appealing to its youthful audience.

Strategy #5: Develop Your Brand’s Voice

A distinctive brand voice, like Apple’s innovative and forward-thinking tone is great too.

A distinctive brand voice, like Apple's innovative and forward-thinking tone is great too.

Drawing inspiration from the brand’s adventurous spirit, the product descriptions in the J. Peterman website are known for their lengthy, narrative style, which often includes detailed anecdotes or whimsical adventures related to the product.

This unique brand voice gives the company a distinctive edge.

This unique brand voice gives the company a distinctive edge.

Your brand’s voice will evolve over time but it’s worth spending a bit of time upfront deciding what personality you want to convey when you’re putting together your marketing assets.

Final Thoughts

When you’re in startup mode, it can be hard to figure out how to stand apart from the competition and separate yourself from the noise in the market.

Using the strategies we’ve given you in this guide, though, climbing that hill and getting sales rolling in becomes significantly easier.

Remember to focus on the benefits and understand who your one perfect prospect is before you get started.

Then, spend some time developing your brand’s voice and tailoring your messaging to the platform you’re publishing it to.

Finally, use the “Hook, Story, Offer” framework to show your prospects you understand their pain and frustrations and that you’ve built your offer to specifically resolve those issues.

To make your copywriting even more effective, grab a copy of Jim’s Copywriting Secrets book that breaks down even more practical tips you can use to set yourself apart and help your startup grab more market share.

Get Our Top Copywriting Secrets Here!

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