4 Writing Styles That Small Businesses Should Know About
There are four writing styles you should be familiar with as a small business owner. But when you start looking into types of copywriting, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the writing styles within marketing. There’s product copywriting, ad copywriting, website copywriting, direct response copywriting, and social media copywriting among many others.
And they all have their own approaches, techniques, and best practices.
But small business owners don't need to worry about all the niche styles. We’ve chosen our four favourites for small businesses and described them below.
Insider Tip: When we say “copy” we mean text. “Copywriting” just means writing text for marketing purposes.
Why is This Important for Small Business Owners?
To see why writing styles are important, we need to back up a little.
Every business should have specific goals for their marketing efforts. Generally speaking, these goals are centred around increasing brand awareness and understanding (branding) or inciting action (activation).
To achieve your marketing goals, you need carefully crafted strategies that are rolled out with intention. The best campaigns consider the details.
Specifically, the writing styles you use when creating your marketing assets will be different depending on your goals.
Get familiar with the following four styles of copywriting so you can make sure your company is taking advantage of every opportunity to move closer to your goals.
Commonly used for: activation
This type of writing is used to persuade the reader to take a specific action, like making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter. It uses consumer psychology to frame the offer in a way that seems irresistible. It’s like your best salesperson, but in written form.
Now, I don’t blame you if this sounds a bit dodgy. Persuasive copywriting can teeter near the edge of icky sales tricks if done carelessly. And these sales tricks give marketing a bad name. You have to make sure your irresistible offer is legitimate and helpful, and that you’re not twisting words to get a sale.
At London Road Marketing, we use ethical practices. One of our core values is “Only services we believe in,” meaning we’ll never pitch you a service that we don’t stand behind when it comes to performance or psychology. For example, we don’t use fake scarcity as an appeal.
Ex. “This deal ends in 2 hours, get it before it’s gone forever!” Anxiety much?
We do apply consumer psychology, but in ways that help the reader find solutions to their problems, instead of convincing them to buy things they don’t need.
When do you need persuasive copywriting?
When you want an ad that gets people to take action quickly.
When you need a landing page to give people more information and persuade them to take your offer.
When you’re sending automated emails to walk people through the next step in your customer journey.
When you want to generate new leads.
Why do small business owners need to know about persuasive copywriting?
Simply put, if you’re not taking advantage of persuasive copy techniques, you’re missing sales opportunities.
Copywriters never work mindlessly; there’s a reason for every word they use and that’s a power you’ll want in your corner.
Commonly used for: activation
UX copywriting (user experience copywriting) focuses on subtle copy that helps people navigate websites, apps, and products. This may sound miniscule, but a natural flow is absolutely essential and UX copywriting (along with UX design) achieves this.
When people land on your site, they should immediately know what you offer and how to get it.
UX writers will make sure there’s a clear path for consumers to follow. This could include finding appropriate copy for your buttons, writing descriptive headers, explaining FAQs before they’re asked, or just clarifying your offer.
UX writing can also be described as microcopy that helps users interact with a product or service. But while we’re here, let’s touch on microcopy.
Insider Tip: For our purposes, I would define microcopy as the small print you don’t notice initially, but once you read it, you’re glad you did. As we mentioned, it often gives pointers for the next step in the journey, but it can also be clever and witty. This kind of microcopy enhances user experience even more and can leave a positive impression.
The tabs on Bubbly cans have fun microcopy. This one says, "howdy" while others say "ooh" or "ahh."
When do you need UX copywriting?
When you’re revamping your website and reorganizing products and services.
When you have an innovative business model, product, or service, it’s essential to have someone on your team who understands how people interpret websites so you can walk people through your process.
When you sell ecommerce products or services that take online bookings.
Why do small business owners need to know about UX copywriting?
Your current site may be confusing people and losing you sales.
A clear purchasing process could improve your entire customer experience, leaving customers with a better brand impression and all the good things that follow (reviews, word of mouth, repeat purchases, etc.).
Commonly used for: branding
When prospective customers have a problem to solve and are considering their options, they do a Google search. You want your website to show up on the first page. SEO copywriting will help you get there.
Insider Tip: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a beast on its own that we would be happy to talk about, but we’re just focusing on the copywriting portion of SEO in this article.
SEO copywriting involves writing copy that is optimized for search engines. This includes using targeted keywords, descriptive headers, and internal links, but it’s also important to make the content well-written and useful to readers.
Websites should be created with SEO in mind, but you can also create consistent SEO-optimized content to increase your ranking over time (we’ll touch on that in the next section).
When do you need SEO copywriting?
When you’re creating a website from scratch or refreshing an existing one.
When you want to increase your search ranking.
Why do small business owners need to know about SEO copywriting?
Search engine ranking is especially important for small businesses; your website should show up on Google when people are considering their options.
If you’re not optimizing your site for SEO, you’re missing sales opportunities.
Commonly used for: branding
Content copywriting involves creating a wide range of written materials, such as blog posts or articles, how-to guides, infographics, newsletters, and social media posts. The goal of content copywriting is to inform and educate the reader, rather than directly sell a product or service.
If you have an innovative product, you can use content copywriting to teach people how to use the product in detail.
You can create content to attract new customers and to help current customers use your product better. Or perhaps you sell a service that works best at a certain schedule; you can write articles to explain the methods behind your recommendations. All the tips and tricks you tell your customers could be summarized in bite-sized resources online.
Many small businesses have a wealth of knowledge to share, they just need somewhere to store all this information for their audience to access.
Insider Tip: Yes, content copywriting overlaps with SEO copywriting. Another goal of content copywriting can be to increase search ranking over time, so it usually involves SEO copywriting as well. The two styles are related but I would separate them as follows:
SEO copywriting increases your search ranking.
Content copywriting educates your audience and builds brand awareness.
When do you need content copywriting?
When you have an innovative or detailed product or service to explain.
When you have information for your customers to help them get the best results from your product or service.
Why do small business owners need to know about content copywriting?
Making your knowledge easily accessible creates a better user experience and keeps your brand top-of-mind.
Content creation can build authority and credibility for your brand, positioning you as the expert in your field.
Copywriting is all about details. When you put effort into small tasks that sometimes seem meaningless, you’re setting your business up for long-term success. Small tasks like writing with intention make a big impact over time.
And if you’d like help choosing or implementing a writing style, please let us know.