MSP Copywriting Tips – Part 1
Why Bother Learning Copywriting?
For an MSP owner, understanding the basics of sales copywriting is a woefully under-appreciated skill. Good sales copy is the bridge connecting your services to potential clients. By grasping at least the essentials, you can have the tools to communicate your value proposition effectively, address pain points directly, and build trust with prospective customers.
Whether it’s through email campaigns, website content, or promotional materials, a well-written copy can drive engagement and conversions, setting the foundation for long-term business relationships.
On the flip side, neglecting this skill will almost certainly lead to missed opportunities. Without a persuasive and clear message, prospects will struggle to understand the benefits of your services and you’ll have to work harder to get the same result which wouldn’t make sense.
In summary, while an MSP owner isn’t expected to be a professional copywriter, a basic understanding of sales copywriting will make them more money with less hassle – it’s that simple.
With that in mind, this guides adapts some of MKLINKs earlier work when we produced a quick & easy reference guide primarily for ourselves as a reference tool when helping clients improve the conversion rates of their websites. This is what we’ll be covering in the following sections.
It always seems amazing me how many businesses still have a website with something like “Hi and welcome to our website” on the first part of their homepage page, which then proceeds to explain how the company was formed by their grandfather and that they offer great service and competitive pricing and they’re really lovely people. Or something similar to that theme.
Whilst their visitors might well be interested in them and their business and all the niceties, it’s likely this information would be better placed elsewhere i.e. possibly later on in the page or even a different page. Ideally, the first thing that the visitor should see is information that gives them a real benefit for staying on the page and confirms they’re in the right place.
Could you imagine the front page of the Times Newspaper having the headline “Hello and welcome to our Newspaper” then going on to talk about how good they are and that they care about their readers and that they’re offering a better service than the other papers? Of course not, so don’t do it either. Think like a newspaper editor and ensure that your page actually gets read.
Copy has to be tuned into “WII-FM” for the reader, i.e. What’s In It For ME.
If you take nothing else away from this guide, just remember that whatever your website (or advert) does, it should :
- Get their Attention.
- Make an Irresistible Offer.
- Get Visitors To Take Action.
Soon, you’ll be able to create effective sales copy (or at least ensure someone can do it properly for you) which is a valuable skill (in any industry) and it’s usually missing from most MSP’s websites.
This is one of the most important, lucrative and rewarding business skills you can develop so it’s a great reason to learn it and ideally practice it too.
Different Types Of Copy
The historic interest within copywriting at MKLINK is within web marketing and to a lesser extent direct mail. Even just within web marketing, you’ll need sales copywriting skills for websites, landing pages, emails, blogs, article directories, online PR, attracting joint-venture partners, developing social media and so on, the list is getting bigger all the time. People write differently on WhatsApp than they do on a letter and so it’s helpful to remember the media where the copy will be read.
Offline copy and advertising tends to work best with different fonts, such as Times New Roman or Courier (as opposed to Verdana or Ariel for online content). Also, people read differently online and ‘skim’ more and typically have less patience. Patience and attention has been declining in recent years and so have the styles and expectations of writing.
For the purposes of establishing a framework to use, I suggest that it’s a good idea to understand the time-proven basics of a good classic (offline) sales letter. This can then serve to underpin any subsequent copywriting even if it is a different style or format.
In this guide, I am attempting to list all the main ideas, triggers and methods that apply to a classic sales letter, which can be modified to suit the situation, even if it’s something completely different such as a short advert on LinkedIn for a new technical apprentice.
How and When To Use This Copywriting Guide.
It’s our intention that our readers use this guide like we do at MKLINK, i.e. use it as a checklist. The best way to learn is to see what experts are doing and then do it yourself. The key word here is ‘do’. If you wait until you know everything there is to know about copywriting (triggers, headlines, closing etc) you’ll never start and consequently miss out, so just get practicing after reading this guide.
Therefore, our goal here is for you to immediately write your own sales copy, using a framework that you can learn here and then go through a checklist process to ensure that you have added certain ideas and principles and removed any of the more common mistakes. By simply using time tested formulas you can swipe here and applying your own content, you’ll be much further forward and avoid a lot of mistakes than by simply starting from scratch. Plus, the more times you use it, the more often you’ll remember it by heart.
Master copywriters can spend days or weeks (or months) on their sales copy, tweaking testing and perfecting it and they’ll cheerfully charge clients accordingly, with varying degrees of value.
It’s assumed that if you’re anything like us at MKLINK or the hundreds of MSP owners we’ve spoken with, you don’t have any time to spare and want quick results and so we need to keep this as short and practical as possible. Hence, it’s a quick guide for technical MSP owners and not a lengthy book for professional sales people. Consequently, what’s here is what we think are the best bits from numerous copywriting books we read along the way, so that you can zip through at high speed.
For the majority of this guide, unless otherwise specified, we’ll assume you are writing copy for a website. We’re also assuming you want to get things done quickly and that you have IT products and services to sell and that you want to generate more inbound leads from companies looking for managed services. To be clear, this has little to do with content writing for IT.
The Problem With Writing A Guide Like This
Not everything in life fits neatly in the right pigeon-hole, which is especially true of a quick reference-guide that also tries to act as a checklist. Writing good sales copy requires knowledge about influence, psychology, website-conversion and usability and other disciplines too and you can expect the tips in the relevant sections, nevertheless, a lot of it simply doesn’t fit properly so if you want to get more detail about anything further, get in touch for some suggested further reading.
You may have heard it said that we buy on emotion and justify with logic. If you’ve ever seen someone like Derren Brown (an excellent hypnotic entertainer and illusionist from the UK) doing their “Jedi-mind-tricks” on people, you’ll know just how susceptible we all are, whether we admit it or not. It’s rather scary when you realise just how easily influenced we can be.
When you consider that everything from building skyscrapers, putting man on the moon, fighting wars or simply choosing one brand of coffee over another is all ultimately guided from a bunch of braincells (which evolved to work for us as best they could as we descended from more primitive lifeforms like fish!) which are influenced by their perception of the world around them. We live in a world of thought and beliefs and it’s getting weirder all the time as we enter into an increasingly virtual universe that doesn’t really exist outside, so hang on in there!
Therefore, there will be included a mish-mash of the clippings, quotes, finding, theories, experiments that are pertinent here, although it can seem pretty strange at times!
Next time – we’ll be covering a super-simple-sales-structure you can use to get things moving very quickly.
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