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To get started, you’ll need a good understanding of your audience. It might sound cliché, but our exercises will force you to go deeper than the surface.

This framework won’t fix your copy problems if you haven’t done solid audience research before.

If that’s the case, you need to take a few steps back, bookmark this article, and come back whenever you’re ready.

And if you’re already there, congratulations and let’s get started!

But first, here’s a step-by-step plan of what we’ll teach you. In step four, you’ll learn just how important are plans like this one.

  1. Uncover the primal needs of your customers.
  2. Identify their roadblocks.
  3. Reverse-engineer the story of your visitors.
  4. Outline what happens next.
  5. Warn your customers about the consequences of not acting.
  6. Visualise their success.

Step 1: The primal needs of your visitors

Pretty much every website challenge is getting more leads, better brand awareness, or a higher revenue. But that’s not why people need you – that’s just the outcome.

In the first step, we want you to dig deeper to find their primal needs. Here are a few scenarios to help you get started.

  1. An interim Marketing Director might look to make the most impact and quickly improve their status and rapport with their organisation.
  2. A middle-manager could look for ways to impress their superiors and earn a promotion; they will need resources to advocate for your company.
  3. A marketing manager at an SME is looking to grow their tight marketing budget.
  4. An established executive nearing retirement would probably look to be as “hands off” as possible, without the need to revolutionise.
  5. An entrepreneur usually accepts much higher risk in return for a big upside, and approaches your company to create something great.

The primal needs here vary from earning “status points”, earning a promotion, all the way to revolutionising the industry.

This is why people want to work with you, and 99% of the time you won’t hear it directly from them.

Analyse where they’re coming from, write down a few needs, and proceed to the next step.

Step 2: What stands in the way of your customers?

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What’s the cost if they get it wrong?
  • Why haven’t they tried earlier?
  • Why are they acting now?
  • Are they ready to start?

Usually, you won’t be able to solve the problems you uncover here. But you’ll need to know them to address that concern. Just knowing that you understand their issues is a huge trust boost.

The examples range from a tight budget, through a useless marketing website, all the way to internal politics at the company. Like before, write these down

Step 3: Prove authority and empathy

We need to explain to your visitors why you’re the right company for the job. Not in the sense of tools, features, or skills – but authority and empathy.

However, the attention is still on your visitors, not you.

A great way to show empathy is going through the same journey your audience has, or is currently going through. This is one of the biggest things missing from the copy on websites.

If you’re not relatable, many people will ignore your offer, no matter how good it is.

In our example, we have two things that make this article relatable:

  • Our copy used to suck, and we want to share how we got here.
  • We talk with dozens of marketers each year, and most of them struggle with website content.

Coincidentally, the latter is also how we prove our authority. We’ve helped businesses solve these challenges in the past. We have testimonials and case studies, and you should use them too.

At the end of this step, you should’ve written down the stories of your customers that you relate to, and what you have done in the past to come out on top.

Step 4: Outline your plan for your customers

In the simplest terms, this is the post-purchase experience. People subconsciously look for a step-by-step plan. Without it, each step raises a ton of questions.

Attempting to answer the questions “as they appear” is tempting, but it might be too late. One uncertainty can lead people away from your website, so outline the plan as soon as possible – and then go into the details.

That’s exactly what we did at the start of this article.

As a rule of thumb, in sales, the plan should be about five steps long.

Once you have the plan, give it a name. You’ll often refer to it, so that will make it recognisable. It doesn’t have to be a clever trademark. For this article, it’s “website copywriting workshop” or “website copywriting framework”.

Step 5: Ask people if they can afford to not act

People need to know what happens if they fail to act on their needs. And you need to know it as well.

What’s the cost of not trying?

In step two, we ask ourselves to figure out why your customers are acting now, and why they haven’t done so before.

When people realise how expensive it is to keep the status quo, and then remember how long they kept the status quo by not acting, it creates a sense of urgency.

Note down all the consequences of not acting for your audience.

Step 6: Show them the success

Not made up success, but what you know they want.

If you went through the five steps before and had solid data to work with, you will know what it is.

It might be an outcome, a thing. It might be a feeling.

Did they get promoted? Is their company going public?

As was the pattern with all the previous steps, go below the surface. Subconsciously, making money and growing business isn’t the success everyone thinks it is.

Connect success to the primal needs.

How to use this framework to write copy

The primary reason for doing this exercise is to inspire you. If it’s not what you expected, don’t worry – we have practical instructions for you as well.

But first, we want to reiterate how important it was to get rid of the superficial “needs” and “goals” of your customers. Everyone can work with these, but that won’t do their company any good.

For long form copy, inspiration is the main outcome of running a workshop like this. You can do it individually or invite colleagues to get even more material. And if the team isn’t fully aligned, it’s a great way to figure that out early in the process – before writing a single paragraph.

But as a practical example, you can mix and match the notes from each step to create powerful taglines and headings.

You know people’s problems, struggles, and what success looks like. You have a plan for them. It should all fall into place. 

“We [solve a problem] to give you [success].”

“We [eliminate roadblocks] to [solve your problem].”

“We get you [success] by [eliminating roadblocks].”

And so on.

Now go and pimp the headings on your website!

Originally published Sep 23, 2023 1:49:20 PM, updated September 23 2023.

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