Copywriting has always been about communicating with people. But online, your customers get to choose who they listen to.
“A copywriter should have an understanding of people, an insight into them, a sympathy toward them.”- George Gribbin
Many of your customers are avid searchers who know exactly what they're looking for. If your website doesn't speak to them at a glance, they’ll up sticks and leave. But you can run this little test to see how you're doing.
Here at Articulate, we write a lot of copy for and about tech. We’ve written about speaking to your customer before which means, ahem, not talking about specs and features all the time (it’s okay, we’re nerds too). This week, we've been digging deep to find you the best examples of human-to-human copywriting in tech.
1. Hi, hello and howdy
Many tech companies are now adopting the tone of a trusted advisor. Tech is there to assist us. It’s our partner. Mozilla’s use of the word ‘code’ signals a friendly, approachable culture - but it’s a nod to the nerds too.
2. Keep it short and simple
3. Understand their problems
Honeywell – helping this poor sod since 1977. We’ve said it before on our blog: the man in the mirror is not your customer. Talk to your readers about their issues in their language, not your products in your language.
4. Put them in a story
SlideShares are a great marketing format - they're easy to digest and work well to educate your customers. This is from one by Sprint. We know that telling stories in business works, but putting the reader in the story works better.
5. Help them on their journey
The secret to selling tech is to help people be 'a bit better than human.’ This ad from Kano is actually aimed at young adults, but you wouldn’t have guessed it. Good marketing makes people feel at ease with your life-changing (and perhaps intimidating) technology.
6. Talk about your feelings
Messaging app Slack is all about user experience. At Articulate, we use it everyday and, yes, we are riding unicorns and hugging cats in a world of rainbows and ice cream. Slack’s copy is clever because it combines hard data statistics with emotions. Left brain meet right brain.
7. Tell it like it is
Trello uses hyphens and casual words to create a conversational tone. By focusing on the annoying stuff, it really taps into people’s everyday issues with manual data.
8. Or just get real with copy
Spotify are the luckiest SOBs in tech – they have the whole world’s music collection to play with in their marketing. Here, they don’t convey emotion through words. They say it. Political copy is not always a good idea, but in this case, it works.
9. Be a comfort blanket
Like Panorama9 and Basecamp, many tech companies are going back to basics with nostalgic computer text. Salesforce have used this to good effect in their SlideShares too. Perhaps it’s to calm our overloaded minds in an age of constant tech development?
10. Hide wit in unexpected places
Error pages are a great opportunity to show how you deal with a crisis (and, you know, distract your customers while you figure stuff out). Surprise and charm them by referencing things they love. In this case, GitHub’s audience probably knows the Star Wars script by heart.
11. Say I’m sorry properly
Microsoft went the trouble of completely rebranding their Blue Screen of Death when they launched Windows 8. The old messages with complicated hexadecimal codes were totally freaking people out.
12. And make them feel great
This is a snapshot from our own logging system, Points Mean Prizes. It pops up when we log a delivery and always makes us smile. Let’s face it, if you can’t come up with great copy, just flatter your readers and show them a cute kitty. Works every time.
Know of any other great examples of copywriting in tech? Let us know in the comments below!
(Hat tip to Getty for the featured image)