Every product, service and business needs to have strategic, effective marketing to be successful, and every effective marketing strategy needs engaging advertising copy. For freelance developers, tech startups and other small software businesses, impactful blogging and strong content marketing is even more crucial, as the vast majority of your business will come directly from (or at least filter through) your website.
Unfortunately, developers and IT professionals are not always the most powerful writers, as their technical expertise does not always translate well into readable content. You may be able to write the most accurate and detailed article about application performance management software, but effective content needs much more than technical accuracy. It must be engaging, impactful, targeted and beneficial for your readers– all while promoting your products without blatant promotion.
Successful content marketing combines elements of writing, sales and marketing– in addition to whatever area of focus or topic of the written article. You must obviously be knowledgeable about your own products, services and industry, but you must also be entertaining, convincing, genuine and helpful.
In today’s world of blogs and user-generated content, the importance of good copywriting can be overlooked in favor of keyword-stuffed SEO articles. But as search engines have continued to grow more sophisticated, relevance and quality have become more important than ever.
In this way, marketing trends have essentially cycled back to the same critical concept that helped create the industry: effective advertising copy. While there will be countless variations and variables depending on the field or industry of each business, developers and software companies can have success by sticking to a few basic concepts.
1. Engaging the Reader
This is the first on the list because it is the first thing that should be accomplished by your articles. Your copy should immediately capture the attention of the reader and engage them in an issue that would be important to your target audience. Headlines are generally effective tools for gaining a reader’s attention at the start, but you must remember to keep them engaged throughout the article.
2. Explaining Specific Benefits
Marketing copy is more than just a list of features or product specifications; it should be designed specifically to tell your reader how your product or service will meet a need or solve a problem. You must always focus on the benefits of the product/service, as opposed to any features.
For example, if your products cater to other developers, you may write an article about 3 types of Java profilers or best practices for 3 ways to understand errors and logging. If your products are geared towards gamers, your posts could include top 10 multiplayer games of this year or beginners tips for building a gaming PC.
3. Offer Proof
Although your writing should explain how a potential customer will benefit from your product/service, they are unlikely to be convinced without evidence. While explaining the benefits and advantages you should provide authoritative, factual evidence to prove it. This could come in the way of statistical data, customer reviews, example scenarios and a number of other techniques, as long as they are viable.
4. Be Subtly Persuasive
Since your overall goal is to gain the reader’s business, your copy should be persuasive above all else. However, modern consumers– especially those from the younger generations– are instinctively skeptical and wary of blatant advertising. As developers, a large portion of your clients are likely to be relatively young and well-informed, so you must always try to keep this delicate balance in mind.
The best way to ensure this is to put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customer. Think about what they want from your product or service and what they would need to understand in order to buy it.
5. Always Include a Call to Action
If your copy is engaging, convincing, benefit-oriented and subtly persuasive, it’s time for the clincher– a call to action. This is the element that inspires your reader to act now and take the intended next step. It could be a pop-up for an email list, download of an e-book, phone call to your sales team, free product demo or any other number of possibilities.