Welcome back, it’s #rainybrandingtuesday and it’s the first appointment of the year. Yay!
I know we already touched on this before (here and here) but copywriting is such a crucial skills for translators (and it does have a lot in common with sales and branding, for a change).
Advertising has changed so much over the years and customers are getting more and more demanding. Yet, the simple mantra still stands: people hate being sold to. That’s where good copywriting skills come into play. I recently took a course on copywriting at the Guardian that really confirmed my existing knowledge and encouraged me to follow in this direction. Writing well can help you sell more.
Some of the points I’d love to share are the following:
- it’s all based on emotions: create the illusion of intimacy, even if it’s a techie subject. Give people value, a story that convinces them, based on their needs and wants. It’s the so called “emotional manipulation” – not a nice concept maybe, but if we want to funnel people to act (buy) that is what we’re doing.
- Know your audience: read what they read, find their voice, find what they like and where they go. In other words: find a common denominator and talk to many as if one.
- be memorable: use concepts and words that have a long tail and can percolate through the mind and the emotional grid of your readers. Like Xmas
- prove you’re the authority without being patronising but instead showing you’re one of them. Leave jargon aside and be an expert in simple English. It shows you don’t need to impress because hey, you’re at the top of your game.
- don’t try too hard – it shows lack of confidence. when people realise that, it’s a deal breaker, the sale is off. And also never be boring or overfamiliar, because it can be off-putting.
- storytelling is key: try to not write about a product or service, sell a result instead. Something that is emotionally resonant (seen the ad from Thompson? Teddy bear) because you’re trying to persuade, to hijack your audience’s emotions to what you wish them to do.
- list the benefits: but make sure you list them as they solve a problem. Focus on the most appealing result and work your primary sell, then try and sell a second point. People are smart, give them a flaw and deny it to them, solve the problem. In translation this can be price or delivery timing, for instance. The go back to the primary selling point and make it stick in the memory.
- use power words: Free, Limited, YOU are some of the most amazing out there. Aren’t they? These trigger intimacy and safety and also a bargain opportunity. Why say no?
- We all have some inner driving forces that push us to take action and in general… live our lives as we do. You may leverage on:
Fear | Love | Vanity | Greed | Guilt | Nostalgia | Pride
So just offer people something that either amplifies or reduces these forces. And don’t forget: offer people something that can save them
How to apply this to our freelance translation business?
- Market research. Study your prospect audience using the W-questions: why? who? what? when? and identify your viable target.
- Find out what you want to sell and choose a channel. Translation? Interpreting? Whatever-you-can-think-of-for-a-fee? Find WHY your audience may need these products and HOW you’re going to improve their lives through them. Give them an example of your work, make the audience feel involved and part of it; tell them a story on how you helped interpreting for a very emotional situation and you saved the day. It could be the same for them and their business.
- Don’t brag. IMHO, there’s no real need to be showing off your degrees and qualifications too much on your website – unless they are relevant for your audience. I’d rather you explained why your qualifications make you the best (then if asked, you can provide more details on grades, certificates, CVs, etc). You’re the expert they chose, just prove it.
- Always list the benefits. And the problem you are solving for them (and sometimes help when they didn’t ask for it)
- In your copy, it’s WE you need to use. Refrain from overusing the pronoun “I” because it tends to create some degree of discomfort in the reader – they know it’s you they’re hiring but a more collective, reassuring we makes you look all the more reliable and close. Psychology, again.
- Write impeccably. And if you’re not cut for creative, compelling copy, it’s fine. Just hire the right person. It’s incredible how a change in a word or phrase can dramatically change the effectiveness of an ad.
If you want to expand on this: