Today I'm having a conversation with a lady who helps SaaS, tech, and IoT companies from pre-seed to enterprise acquire more customers and more profitability through powerful conversion copy and messaging.
She has over 12 years of experience working in direct sales and conversion copywriting, and is the founder of Green Light Copy.
A warm welcome to The Strategic Marketing Show - Eden Bidani.
[You can find Eden over at GreenLightCopy.com.]
Watch the episode via your preferred pocast platform:
Topics discussed on this episode include:
- How does Copywriting bring a marketing strategy to life?
- Does every marketer need to be good at copywriting?
- Has good copywriting for the web changed much over the past few years?
- How do you recommend that a copywriter goes about explaining what a company or product does in a clear and powerful way?
- How different is website copy, app copy, emails, FB ads?
David Bain 00:00
Copywriting techniques and approaches for B2B companies - with Eden Bidani.
David Bain 00:10
The Strategic Marketing Show is brought to you by Insights For Professionals: providing access to the latest industry insights from trusted brands, all on a customized, tailored experience. Find out more over at InsightsForProfessionals.com.
Hey, it’s David. You may have a great marketing strategy; you may have embraced the most effective tactics, but if you don't know how to explain what your company or product does, in a clear and powerful way, nothing else matters.
Today I'm having a conversation with a lady who helps SaaS, tech, and IoT companies from pre-seed to enterprise acquire more customers and more profitability through powerful conversion copy and messaging.
She has over 12 years of experience working in direct sales and conversion copywriting, and is the founder of Green Light Copy. A warm welcome to the Strategic Marketing Show, Eden Bidani.
Eden Bidani 01:09
Hi, David. Thanks for having me here today.
David Bain 01:12
Well, thanks so much for joining us. You can find Eden over at GreenLightCopy.com. So, how does copywriting bring a marketing strategy to life?
Eden Bidani 01:22
So, a great question to kick this off with. Where copywriting really ties into marketing is, again, a copy is an interface between our marketing strategy and then what their experience is of that marketing strategy. Copywriting has a much bigger role to play than a lot of people realize. A lot of people say, “People don't read online.” or people say, “Well, everyone just watches videos.”, or “It's TikTok, it's YouTube Shorts, it's everything like that these days. No one actually reads.” It's only when you take copywriting away or copy out of a marketing asset that you realize that it's very, very hard to actually communicate those key messages that you want people to take away with as a result of interacting with your marketing.
It's not just, “Here's a headline, here's a subheading, here's some bullet points explaining what the offer is.” It's actually, “What messages do we want our target audience to have in their head as a result of engaging with us? What do we want them to take away? What kind of impact do we want? Do we want to move them from one stage of awareness to another?” Not every marketing campaign is going to result in direct leads but often, if it's a brand awareness campaign, for example, what do we want them to feel? Or what's that impact? What's that end result in them that we want to have? What's that shift in their understanding about the company that we want to see as a result of having them interact with these marketing assets? Or, if you are looking to generate those specific metrics, what kind of results, what kind of conversions, are you looking to drive as a result? What (as I mentioned) stage of awareness would you like people to be in as a result of having interacted with the marketing?
It's not as simple as saying, “copy should be long”, “copy should be short”, or “a copy is just words on a page”. It is that medium that people interact with and that's how they understand who you are, what you do, what your offer brings to the table, and how you can help them. And without it, it's very, very tricky to get that across - even in the space of a video.
David Bain 03:38
I mean, it’s certainly important, but I guess the challenge is that some marketers don't understand or really embrace the importance of it. I would think that some strategy professionals, some marketers that love video, for example, just might not get too excited about written copy.
How do you have that excitement and make people aware of how important it is?
Eden Bidani 04:02
One of the first things is just to that point exactly. For everyone who - and I am also a big believer in video. Just because the video exists doesn't mean that copywriting doesn’t or there's no need for copywriting anymore. Copywriting is what writes the script and directs the narrative of the video so that they actually achieved the purpose that we want them to achieve in the first place.
But, just to that point, you see that there's actually a market increase in engagement from videos, for example, that have subtitles, or that have captions automatically generated with them as a result. Simply because not everyone wants to listen with the sound or not everyone wants to listen. People like to read as much as they do like to watch at the same time. That's something that's really interesting. If we think that the copywriting doesn't actually matter, try putting out a video - one with captions, one without. And usually, the engagement on the one with the captions is much, much higher because people are actually reading it and making sure that they're grasping the full context of the video, or the messages that are being shared while they're watching the people talk at the same time.
So, to answer that I'd say, all you need to do is actually look at what's currently happening in the world. I mean, with the availability of so many different devices, so many different platforms, so many different avenues for connection and communication with our customers. People, at this point in time, they are so fragmented. Their attention spans are very much fragmented. They're easily distractible. They've got 3001 things happening in their lives simultaneously - not just even in the content that they're viewing on these different social platforms and mediums that they're using. It could be email, social, or even just as they're browsing through their favorite blog. They've got so many different distractions and things happening at the same point in time and they've got things that are happening in their life, in general, that are happening in the background as a whole outside of these five minutes that they're now browsing social.
You have to have that understanding of how you're able to connect with them in the shortest possible amount of time. Creative messages are great, and they can deliver a big impact, but they take a lot of time for people to process. Strategic messages, they're great and they can also deliver a big impact, but not everyone - in that five minutes of time that they have - is in a position to buy, right this second. Often, the strategic marketers are really targeting people that are looking to buy right this second and the creative ones are looking for people to make an impact. But the people that you're trying to speak to literally have these, maybe, five minutes of their time that they're spending, or that you have this window of opportunity that’s only five minutes big from either perspective. And then, people might not be in the right frame of mind to purchase, or they might not be in the right frame of mind to process a really creative message, because it takes a lot of time to actually digest that message and absorb it in the middle of what they're doing in that five minutes on the platform in the first place
Copywriting, we find, is the shortest way. It's actually the fastest way to communicate who you are, what you do, and why you're awesome at it in the shortest space of time. If you can have that crunched down into one to two sentences, it makes an instant impact with someone. They understand who you are and what you do. Even if they then keep browsing past your message, keep scrolling through the feed, and keep watching other videos, you've made an impact. You've been able to reach them, and you've got a message now stuck in their head. And that's a message that they can keep carrying with them throughout the rest of the day, when they leave the platform. That's a message that they can take with them in their mind.
For some creative messages, it takes a lot of time. The cognitive load is high, it takes a lot of time to process it. They might not have processed it enough to be able to take the true impact of that away with them in that little slice of time that they had. The same is true for the more strategic marketers are really focused on performance. It might not have had that, if they saw that you pressed too hard to push them to buy right now, a lot of people will say, “Well, I'm not interested in buying right now.” They will dismiss the message without actually looking at the bigger impact of what you're trying to express. Copywriting is able to marry the best of both worlds in that sense. You do end up achieving performance, because you're able to get it stuck, literally, inside someone's head with one or two sentences that keep bouncing around in there. You’re able to be held there in their subconscious, so when they are ready to buy, you’re the first name that comes to mind.
And the same with creative. You have a message, and that message has gotten through, so it has made an impact. It's made them feel something as a result of connecting with it. When people understand - when the value of what you deliver is clear and when people understand that - it's huge. Just having that. My favorite saying lately is, “clarity is persuasive.” Just that natural clarity is persuasive. You don't have to be particularly creative, don't have to be particularly strategic, but that clarity of messaging is just so persuasive. Because it helps people be able to process all that information about your company and then remember it, to be able to act on it afterward.
David Bain 09:13
You mentioned a couple of sentences a couple of times there, and I think that many online copywriters are perhaps guilty of spending a lot of time on the body content and just writing as much as they can - on researching that, and making sure that's relevant, and they've got the volume that they're being asked to produce - but probably not much time on the headline for the content.
So, what kind of mistakes do you generally see with headlines? And what are a few tips that you could give to write headlines more effectively?
Eden Bidani 09:48
Yeah, absolutely. With regards to headlines specifically, it depends on what kind of marketing asset that you're looking at or what the purpose or goal of the campaign is, as well that you're working on. With headlines specifically, a lot of headlines make the mistake of trying to do everything at the same time.
There's a current trend in conversion rate optimization, for example, whether you say the hero section on the landing page or a homepage should tell people everything they need to know. So that they can make the decision whether to stay on the page and keep reading, if this is something that resonates with them, or if they should actually just bounce back, it's not relevant. But one of the things that's difficult is that, if you do give away all that information in the hero section - in that headline of the homepage - people judge the entire website, then, based on that one headline. And if it doesn't pull them into actually reading the copy, it doesn't make them interested in wanting to read more, then they're gonna bounce anyway. They're gonna think, “I know everything now. It's not worth me browsing the site.” and they will actually go away.
One of the things a lot of headlines make the mistake of is trying to do too much. They become too broad, and they become too fluffy. It's like, “Grow Your Business”, “Win More Customers and Grow Your Business”, or “Sell More Online”. Any company can say that. It might be true, that's what your customers are looking to do, but really everyone - all companies in the world - will say, “We're either going to help you make more time, or save more time, or make more money or save more money.” It all comes down to, whether it's related to time or money, everyone can say those things.
Those headlines that are trying to encompass everything about the company are often going too broad, and then it becomes actually meaningless because any other company can make that same argument. Or, again, by going too broad or too high-level - by trying to communicate everything about the company in that small section that you have - they're actually losing the attention span of people who are reading it.
I'll just give you a small example. A company that I worked with a while ago, they were struggling. The bounce rate was pretty high on their page - I can't recall the exact number off the top of my head, but the bounce rate was quite high for the homepage. And the headline that they had was very action-focused; it was talking about what you can do with the product. It was like “Buy, Sell, and Hire”, or something like that. It was very, very action-focused. Five to six words that fit all the headline requirements, but people weren't staying on the page to actually read any of the other copy. What we simply changed the headline to was, “There's a Better Way to Work with Contractors.”
Eden Bidani 12:33
That's it. Literally, that's what we changed. “There’s a Better Way”. Then the subheading actually expanded a little bit on that, it gave more context, but it didn't give all the juiciest bits of information away. It simply gave them enough time to understand what we're talking about here, and what's the problem that the product is solving. We did try and make any other changes on the page. and the CMO implemented those changes in the meantime, and it cut the bounce rate in half, it doubled the scroll depth, and it pretty much doubled the time-on-page as well. Simply a matter of making sure that the headline was actually pulling people into reading the copy. There is something interesting for you to discover here, rather than just trying to give them all the information upfront.
It’s like with a sales pitch. When someone goes to the sales pitch, they don't start rattling off a long laundry list of benefits of the product. It's too much for people to process. They actually lose focus. Then the pitch often ends with the customer saying, “Oh, I’ll think about it.” and they go away. It's the same thing with the hero sections or with these headlines. “Okay, sounds good. I'll think about it.”, and people go away. Rather than trying to pull them in gently saying, “Look, this is something interesting; there's something waiting for you to discover here.”
David Bain 13:57
I love your example there: There’s a Better Way to Work with Contractors” is a really nice headline. You can just imagine it's playing to someone’s challenge that they're actually having at the moment, but not providing the answer. So, people do have to scroll down and actually find what the answer is and engage with your page a little bit more.
What I'm thinking though, from that particular headline, is it may make you on a collision course with SEOs. Do you ever butt heads with SEOs to actually come up with content? And if so, how do you deal with that?
Eden Bidani 14:33
Yeah, absolutely. A great question. A lot of the good EOs that I've worked with lately, they've been telling me to make sure that the page is first designed for conversion - that the pages are converted first. Actually, with the Google helpful content update that was released recently, that is the whole focus of SEO pages.
It's not just if it has the right terms on the pages or the right number of short-tail keywords, long-tail keywords, repeated the right number of times. It's not a numbers game anymore. It's, “Can the user find the information that they're looking for? Is the page engaging for them?” That's a huge indicator for Google, in terms of how relevant that content actually is. It's not just, “Did we hit the right keywords?” it’s, “Did we hit the right keywords, plus, is the page actually designed for a good user experience.?”
There are creative ways that you can still work on hitting those keywords - even if it's not in the H1, or if it's in a subheading and throughout the rest of the page. There are things, for example, like what we call “eyebrow copy”. You'll see it sometimes when you go on a website. There'll be a big headline, then there'll be a tiny, tiny strip of a couple of words just above the headline. It might have a couple of keywords in there, so you still get some keywords in the hero section, where you make sure that the keywords that you're looking for are in the alt text of the image, or that they're actually in the subheadings or something like that.
David Bain 16:01
There are many different uses of copy and one significant use of copy for B2B marketers is email. Do you have any thoughts on what you see as good practice or not-so-good practice in copywriting for the medium of email?
Eden Bidani 16:19
That’s really a great point. The biggest thing that I find with email is - again, it depends on the type of email. For example, a cold email that you're sending - that marketing is helping create for their SDRs, for their Sales Development Reps, to send out - it's very different from nurturing campaigns that customers are seeing, or even the regular email newsletters that they might be sending out to their list.
There are a couple of different things that play. For example, with cold emails, a lot of people try to sell in the cold emails, but the cold emails should be looking at opening the door to a conversation. You can't really force a sale, especially the higher up the price of the product and what it is that you're selling. The higher the ticket price climbs, the more difficult and longer the sales cycle is going to be anyway. Cold email should be looking at opening the door to conversation rather than trying to sell immediately. Likewise, for email newsletters and for nurturing emails that people might be sending. For nurturing emails - for example, if someone signed up for a free eBook or opted into a webinar and you want to try and nurture them into a lead - I would take the same approach, as a cold email. You want to open the door to a conversation, not overwhelm them with information or make people feel like they're being spammed.
Again, it comes down to this idea of: how much time does someone actually have to read and process their emails? How many emails sit in their promotions tab unopened? How many emails do they actually get a chance to read and go through in-depth? You have to try and reach to a person. The emails that get responded to are ones that are opening the door to conversation, ones that ask a question that is going to prompt, and that they're going to want to answer as a result.
The general email copy through newsletters and things like that, it's just a matter of making sure that what you're sending is really relevant to them and is really helpful to them. I was interviewing once a VP of Marketing for another client, who was a digital marketing agency. I asked, “So where do you go to get news and information from? Do you have an email newsletter that you follow? Do you have blogs that you like to visit or anything like that.? And she said, “I just ask a friend.” She said, “I don't have time. I sign up for webinars that I don't attend, I download eBooks that I don't read. I just don't literally have the time.” Though she said it for her, it's actually the same for all of us. A lot of us, we have all these things that we'd like to do but then we don't actually have any intent on following through with.
You can't try to force someone to have that intent to read or intent to buy. You can help promote it and encourage it by delivering them email newsletter content that's short and to the point. Something that's really interesting, actually, for them and really helpful for them. Not just, “Hey, here’s some company update.” Again just, at the same time, making sure that it's personalized and relevant; it's something that they're going to want to read and something that they can consume quickly. You want to really help them get into a habit of engaging with your emails - that there is something interesting. If they’ve found something interesting in this email, they will expect the next email to also be interesting for them. Try to figure out what matters to them the most and then make the emails about that, rather than just what the company is doing at this point in time.
There are all sorts of creative ways people can work through it. I saw someone in a Slack group the other day, they mentioned they did something very roped into the holiday season encouraging people to answer a survey that they wanted their email list to respond to. They did it, and you were able to make a donation, or they had a Secret Santa or something else going on so some people would get a prize. They tied it in, and they made it actually fun and engaging, instead of just saying, “We've put the survey out and we'd like you to answer it.” It's just a matter of trying to make sure that you're really trying to reach through to the person on the other side and not just sending something out because you have to send it out from the strategic perspective.
David Bain 20:19
Let’s move on from what works now to planning for the future. In your opinion, what's the biggest marketing trend or challenge for marketers over the coming year?
Eden Bidani 20:29
I think the biggest challenge is definitely going to be differentiation. Right now, what has happened as a result of a lot of conversion rate optimization, or even copywriting best practices, is that a lot of companies are starting to sound the same. The space is getting more crowded – especially, for example, if you look at SaaS, or MarTech, or any of these companies. The spaces are getting more crowded, online spaces are getting more crowded, even though there are still multiple channels and places for people to market. Everything is so much more noisy, and so much more crowded.
The only way to really make sure that people are going to listen to you is to come with a really strong and opinionated message or a really strong point of view - a really unique and different direction. It doesn't mean that the company or the product necessarily has to be better than competing products but, in order to actually get someone's attention in the first place, you have to have a very strong way of presenting that message. You have to make sure that you're really niching down, and you're being very specific with your copy for the right target audience. Not “Win More Customers and Grow Your Business Online”, because that's what literally everyone online can say, everyone who is marketing themselves online. But really drilling down to what that actually means: “There's a Better Way to do X”, “Here is One Important Thing That You Can Achieve”, or “Here's an Idea That We Want You to Hold On To”.
For another company that I was working with recently, they wanted to go down the path of, “Let's be as broad as possible to attract new customers.” But after we worked together on a headline for quite a bit, we realized that by narrowing the focus, it would make it much more attractive. The new headline, for example, became: “Unlock Your Company's Most Powerful Asset.” So instead of coming from the approach of “Keep Your Employees Engaged and Communicating with Each Other”, it was actually “Unlock Your Company's Most Powerful Asset.”, which is their people. It's a real juxtaposition between what sounds like it's trying to reach the largest group of people as possible, and this is a stronger message that’s going to actually cut through that noise. It's still going to reach a large number of people, but it’s going to reach more of the right people. It's actually going to make more people sit up and pay attention to what you're doing.
David Bain 22:52
I've been your host, David Bain. You can find Eden Bidani over at GreenLightCopy.com. Eden, thanks so much for being on the Strategic Marketing Show.
Eden Bidani 23:00
That's all right. Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
David Bain 23:05
And thank you for listening. Here at IFP, our goal is simple: to connect you with the most relevant information, to help solve your business problems, all in one place. InsightsForProfessionals.com.
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