• Kaya Lemaire

5 Foundational Copywriting Tips for Startups With a Bottleneck

Updated: Aug 16

Copywriting can be a pain for beginners. Actually, it can be a pain for everyone sometimes.

I don’t need to tell you how copywriting helps businesses, because you already know that. That’s why you’re here.

Just slapping some words on the page doesn’t mean they’ll resonate with your customers. And if the goal is better connections, longer retention, and more sales - you need to put your reader first.

The copywriting tips and tricks in this article put your customer at the forefront of your mind when you’re crafting copy for your website, landing pages, emails, or social posts.

Remind yourself who the most important person is for your business: your prospect. Now go ahead and reconnect with them, tell them what they want to hear.

Copywriting Tip #1: Write for One Reader

Okay, maybe you have more than one persona/target/audience/segment in your sights.

Maybe your business has B2B and B2C products.

Maybe you’re not 100% sure who your target is yet!

Take a deep breath. It’s all good. Because everything will be instantly simplified by writing for one reader rather than many.

First, take some time to nail down who your ‘ideal’ persona is. If you have multiple products and need multiple personas, that’s fine, just find your ideal for each product.

This ideal is your # 1 fan - they love your product or service and want to buy/use it again. More importantly, this ideal persona is based on your research. So you know for a fact that this type of persona exists (you didn’t just dream it up while chopping onions last night).

Flesh out who this person is: Where do they like to sit while working? Do they work from home? Do they have a partner? Are they a quick decision maker or like to read things through?

Go deeper than age/sex/income.. get to know this persona better than you know yourself. And make sure it is as realistic as possible, aka: based on your research.

If you have this ‘one reader’ at the forefront of your mind, all of your copy becomes instantly more targeted, more clear, concise, and specific to that person’s needs. And this person is your ideal customer - they want your solution and more of it.

Why would you sell your peaches to a store full of people looking for different fruit? Find the one that’s hunting for peaches.

Get clear on your one reader and write for them.

You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to reach across the vast expanse of the web and tap into exactly what that reader needs in a personal, authentic way.

Make a connection with your one reader and watch how much easier it is to write copy.

Copywriting Tip #2: Write with One Big Idea in Mind

Notice when you read a page, a story, an article, this post… There is usually one underlying message that pulls on your attention.

The writer intentionally chooses a (not so) hidden message that pierces through the surface level words to touch your heart and mind in a moment of vulnerability or acute self awareness.

The message is often one that we could all resonate with at some point or another. This Big Idea touches the part of us that is human.

When you write with a ‘big idea’ in mind, you tap into the collective experience that groups of people share at one time or another in their lives. Ideally you tap into the group that collectively needs your solution.

Big Ideas will guide the overarching theme of your copy and are echoed throughout the page that you’re focusing on. Whether that’s an email, landing page, section of the website, and ad, and so on… Focusing on one Big Idea guides you to write more targeted and powerful copy.

Some examples of Big Ideas:

  • There must be an easier way

  • If I could jut get X life would be better

  • I’ll never be good enough

Big Ideas can sting! After all, they’re based on the human experience. And when a human suffers, they want a solution for that suffering (your solution 😉).

Here’s a lil’ something I wrote. What do you think the Big Idea is? (I chose one of the 3 examples above.)

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Copywriting Tip #3: Showcase One Offer and Promise

If you’ve followed along so far, you might be seeing a theme here. One, it turns out, is **not the loneliest number** in copywriting. They say ‘one’ is bad for business - one sale, one customer, one product. But in copywriting, one is an incredibly powerful tool. One allows you to focus, hone in, and sharpen your message to hit the nail on its receptive lil’ head. So while you’re focusing on the idea of singularity, hone your attention now on your offer and promise to the reader. Your one offer for the page/email/ad in question should be optimized (that’s a whooole blog post waiting to happen) and your reader should be ready for it by the time you introduce everything you’ve got. Here I’m also tying in your One Promise. This is something you should confidently stand behind and that you can deliver on. Often it is just your offer repositioned or repackaged into an attractive promise. Your offer should be tied to your reader’s level of awareness of your product. Your promise should enhance the offer by making it more desirable. Here’s an example: Conversion copywriting will not only boost your revenue, but also forge more authentic and trusting relationships with your prospects. Get a 30 minute copywriting consultation half off, today only. Leave feeling more confident about your brand’s copywriting, or get your money back. I explained my offer (30 minute consultation call) with a special discount. A promise of copywriting confidence and a money back guarantee. Ideally my landing page/email/ad that led you here to this offer would have gone in hard on the promise (boosting copywriting confidence with actionable conversion techniques), while writing for my one reader with my one big idea in mind.

I’ll love you and leave you with this thought that just came to me: If you’re not focusing on one, you can’t attract many.

Copywriting Tip #4: Use Specificity to Hit Home

Being specific always hits harder than vague comment.

Crisp adjectives. Descriptive nouns. Adverbs that liven up the page. Numbers and figures that matter.

This is your target for today: give your copy some depth and breadth with words that paint a picture for your reader.

Specificity will set your copywriting apart from all the drab, monotonous pages across the web. And you definitely want to do this if you want your reader to engage with your product or service.

Let’s check out an example - which do you like better?

  1. When stepping into the warm, inviting street-level bar at the new Rendezvous I found myself wondering what would be in store for the evening. My expectations only reached so far as some raw, soul-baring performances, and a hearty cup of soup to go with them.

  2. When stepping into the bar at the new Rendezvous I found myself wondering what would be in store. I only expected some performances and a cup of soup to go with them.

One of these clearly paints a picture, the other.. is less than lackluster. Can you guess which ended up in the blog?

Your writing doesn’t have to be so poetic and you don’t have to spend hours thinking about this. Instead, you can scan through the copy you already have and see where a nice lil’ adjective or extra flair could be added in to make the sentence more punchy.

Keeping your readers engaged means not only speaking to them in their language, but taking them through a sensory journey by invoking feelings, memories, and nostalgia whenever appropriate.

A strong emotion or memory does wonders for your conversions and engagement.

Copywriting Tip #5: Tap Into Emotion with these Tools

A doll crying

We all get a lil’ emotional sometimes. Especially when money is on the line.

Making a decision to buy, subscribe, enroll, or sign up might seem like ‘no big deal’ on the surface. But you are asking someone for their time, their energy, and might be stirring up some emotions in them (unbeknownst to you, the stranger on the other side of the screen).

Picture this: you’ve been eyeing some tickets to an upcoming panel event on product-led growth. It costs 150 bucks for a ticket and you’re wavering on the tippy-top of that fence, unsure if you can put down for such a steep price point.

You know the event comes with Q&As, a goodie bag, and some networking (which you desperately need since your prototype is finally ready for a demo). But something is holding you back - maybe it’s the car payments coming up, it’s tax season, you have a really busy week at your other job (that you’d love to quit) and aren’t sure if you have the energy for networking anyways…

There are a lot of hurdles to overcome before tapping your credit card details into that payment form.

You don’t know what’s going on in your prospects life that is holding them back from saying ‘yes’ to your solution. (Hopefully you have a relatively good idea based on all the customer research you’ve been doing, but a 100% guarantee is impossible to reach.)

The point is, your prospect might need some nudging to finally get that solution they needed.

Because we all need a cheerleader in our corner, a guide to take us through the next steps of our journey, or some targeted copy to coach the conversion.

Here are a few tools to help you get started.


Fear of Missing Out. This one is powerful.

We all fear missing out on one thing or another. Maybe it’s good times, great deals, heartwarming memories, or delicious meals. Nobody wants to miss out on something amazing that they could have had themselves.

How you can use this in copywriting:

Based on our example of the product-led growth event, what do you think could be teased for the ‘FOMO’ effect to grip your reader?

Here are some ideas.

One time only: The chance to meet [famous product-led growth mentor] in the flesh, bounce ideas, and participate in a small-group mastermind

Psst… We’re releasing a teaser of our panel topics (don’t say that so loudly!) oops, the secret’s out! With your ticket you’ll get: [list fascinations here to tease the content so good they can’t miss out]

2. Urgency

Prod your prospect into action with URGENT messages.

This is marketing bread n’ butter. It works well when you have a timeframe around your offer, like a sale or limited time offer.

The key with this technique is to butter up your customers with the right messaging before you inject some urgency into their lives.

An example of the wrong approach is Wix. Every freakin’ month I get at least 1 or 2 emails from them (out of nowhere) saying ‘limited time 50% off’… and then another one comes.

Obviously it’s not urgent, they are constantly having ‘sales’ and dress it up poorly.

Urgency should come at the end of a drip/sales campaign you are running, or temporarily on a landing page during the actual last moments of a campaign. Not randomly emerging from the woodwork.

It should also be used sparingly and live up to its word. Don’t be like Wix.

Here are some ideas.

Last chance! Get $20 off your ticket before sale ends Friday

Only 1 more week to get tickets at the Early Bird price (keep that $40 for something special)

3. Scarcity

Scarcity is also a very powerful tool when used after the offer has been painted (read: optimized) as attractive as can be.

People need to want your offer to care about whether it’s scarce or not.

Painting the scarcity picture also requires strategic timing. A large percentage of sales happen in the last day of a campaign, because people get antsy.

If you’ve done it correctly, you’ve poked a nerve for your reader.

They realize they need your solution but obstacles and distractions have gotten in the way. Now it’s crunch time when they have to put their money where their mouth is.

Commitment can be scary. As a first-rate procrastinator/terrible decision-maker I’ll be the first to say that scarcity and urgency (done well) totally work on me. That’s how I ended up buying my Copyschool membership and becoming a conversion copywriter.

They know how to sell you on what you need.

So, moral of the story, optimize your offer/opportunity, then frame it as a scarce resource.

If your offer isn’t actually scarce, can do reframe it by adding a ‘limited edition’ tier that is your normal offer dressed up with an extra frill that costs you nothing. Think about what you can offer to make your solution more attractive while minimizing your overhead.

Here are some ideas.

Only 3 tickets left at this price (get yours NOW)

We’re only accepting 5 more applicants to this once in a lifetime mastermind during [Product-Led Growth Event]

Bonus: A nice example from Copyhackers that I just got in my inbox-

We're calling it The Intensive.

This first cohort is open exclusively to people in Copy School (that's you!) who've completed 10x Web Copy and 10x Sales Pages. And the whole thing starts September 5, Kaya.

If you'd like to see how to apply and what to expect, you can register here for our July info session.

Wrapping Up How Copywriting Helps Businesses

These copywriting tips and tricks are great to get you started on improving your copy. Elevate your web pages or emails easily by scanning and seeing where you can apply some of these tools to make your writing *pop*.

Of course... using these tricks will help, but it would be even more effective if you hire a copywriter to work on your website, ads, emails, and other online content.

Doing it yourself can be time consuming, grueling, and won't always be as effective as bringing a trained professional into the mix. If you need some backup, I'm your gal. But if you want to brave it alone I hope this piece helps you along the way.

As they say in mandarin- 加油 (jiayou) which literally translates to 'Add Oil', but we can just say good luck!💥