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How I Became a Certified Copywriter, And You Can (and probably should) Too!

What is copywriting?

Copywriting is the art and science of crafting words that sell. Regardless of what your digital specialty is…we’re all trying to sell something.

You might be trying to sell:

→The click
→The open
→The idea

Without words…your prospect doesn’t know what you want them to do.

What does copywriting do?

→It generates awareness of you, your product and service
→It helps build engagement with your brand
→It can foster excitement in your customers and turn them into raving fans!
→And…it improves conversions of course!

In short…copywriting is (and should be) a part of every step of the customer journey.

Who can be a copywriter?

The short answer: almost anyone.

You don’t have to have a degree in copywriting (not sure if that even exists), or a related degree (like English or Writing…although that wouldn’t hurt).

Many of us, myself included, have had on-the-job training, and are self-taught copywriters. We study the craft, follow the influencers, and read “the books” that have helped define modern-day copywriting.

There’s probably never been a better time to become a copywriter. You don’t have to have a Madison Ave. work address to be taken seriously and earn a good living as a copywriter.

While anyone can be a copywriter, that inclusivity doesn’t always help those who are trying to stand apart from the masses.

One way to stand apart is to add certifications to your resume.

Enter Digital Marketer Certification Programs

At my husband’s suggestion, I decided to sign up for the Digital Marketer certification classes.

My criteria for picking Digital Marketer from the other million online courses was pretty simple.

Digital Marketer claims to have the largest community of digital marketers in the world.

I wanted to learn from the pros with a proven track record. I wanted to come away from the training with a substantial certification and recognizable for excellence.

What I wanted to get out of this program

You don’t have to twist my arm to get me to believe in the power of good copy, I’m already sold! But, like all buyers, I come with certain expectations.

→I wanted to learn new things (that I haven’t already seen online)
→I wanted to increase my credibility as a copywriter
→I want to take the principles I’ve learned and apply them to better-performing ads, blog posts, email marketing campaigns and web-copy
→I wanted something affordable and easy to consume.

BONUS: Digital Marketer offers a 14-day free trial for their courses. I’m the type of person that wants to mine the depths of a course as quickly and cheaply as possible. So, I was able to gain 3 certifications in that free trial period!

So what was involved?

The Certification for Direct Response copywriting included:

6 modules
42 video lessons
15 handouts
6 quizzes
5.5 hours of training

Also Included in the Coursework:

Copywriting Research Checklist
Features vs. Benefits
Before & After Grid
USP Statement
Core Emotions
6 Different Leads
30 Top Performing Copywriting Samples
Copywriting Master Checklist

I found that the Digital Marketer’s collaboration with AWAI (American Writers & Artists Inc.) was a great benefit to me as the student. I have looked at AWAI programs in the past but have been put off by their price tag. Their a la carte offerings may appeal to some, but I felt that the Digital Marketer’s structure would offer me more bang for my buck, and give me a more well-rounded digital education.

Plus, I also appreciate the recognizable badge you earn at the end of the course, which you can use in your own marketing.

So without further ado…

Highlights from the Digital Marketer Direct-Response Copywriting Certification

Marketing is a lot like human relationships.

There is a sequence; an order in which to do things.

You don’t go on a first date, and then start naming your future children together. (At least, I hope you don’t!)

Don’t be like this creepy girl…

Therefore, as a copywriter, or a marketer of any type, you need to follow a progression.

According to the course, it is…

The role of marketing is to move prospects and customers seamlessly and subtly through each phase of the value journey they receive when they do business with you.

First, they feel emotion…which leads to desire…which leads to action!

“When your prospect becomes emotionally attached to a product, he will often buy automatically on impulse. The stronger the emotional reaction, the quicker your prospect will buy.” -Joe Vitale

How do you elicit emotion?

The ‘Before & After’

As a copywriter (and any other areas of marketing), you’ve gotta understand the journey, the transformation, the desire to take someone from their “before” state to an “after” state.

But how do you do this?

You’ve gotta walk a mile in their shoes.

Remember when Joey decided that in order to get to Westminster Abbey, he had to get into the map?

via GIPHY

You have to get into the head of your prospect. Identify your avatar (another helpful exercise this course provided).

Then remember these 3 universal truths of selling…

3 Rules of Selling:

  1. People don’t like to be sold to
  2. People buy things for emotional, not rational, reasons
  3. Once sold, people need to satisfy their emotional decisions with logic. -Mark Morgan Ford

I bet most of us would agree, that when someone comes on too strongly with their sales pitch, we automatically tune out. I know I do. (There’s a reason car salesmen have a bad rap, right?) No one wants a high-pressure sell.

But if you put me in the car of my dreams, and I can envision how that car can solve my problems, then the only hurdle left for me as a customer is the logical one. (Can I justify this purchase?)

How to make the emotional connection with a product or service

As a copywriter, we have to move the customer through the steps of emotion (I need this), to desire (I want this) to action (I’m gonna get this). How do we get our prospect to feel emotion and desire?

  • Make your prospect a promise.
  • Identify a fear or desire … keeping him/her up at night or daydreaming about something
  • Tell him/her what you’ll do that eliminates fear or solves desire/daydream
  • But do it in a way that helps the prospect ENVISION the happy result …
  • Help her picture the promise in her minds-eye.
  • Try using the word “picture” in your copy
  • Describe what it’s like to enjoy that solution using all the senses
  • Consider drama to take them to that “new” place

Once the prospect has felt the emotion and desire for your product, you still have to make the purchase believable.

This is where you bring in the logic.

People may have purchased because you were able to use emotion to garner a response…but you’re not done yet.

Now you have to remind them why…

You can do this by providing:

  • Specific facts: statistics, findings, reports
  • Customers: before/after, testimonials, case studies
  • Authorities: doctors, professors, industry leaders
  • Recognition: awards, seals, “best of” lists

The last step: Now you close the sale.

The bulk of the work has been done. Your prospect has been convinced that you offer the solution to their problem (or at least their willing to give you a try). Now you have to seal the deal.

  • Make an irresistible offer
  • Be clear and specific
  • Add urgency to act right away
  • Make it easy to respond

How to Get the Most Out of Online Courses

At the time of this posting, I have 4 certifications. I’m systematically increasing my value as a copywriter and an online marketer, by obtaining these certifications. They are REALLY GOOD, and I’m adding value to my life like it’s my job. You can too!

These are my practices to get the most out of these courses:

Download and Save. At the start of every module, I would download all the resources into my own file. I will reference these materials for future projects, help writing headlines, content for future blog posts etc. Create a system that allows you to organize the provided resources, so you can reference them for later.

This is a job. You have to look at online courses as work. It’s hard to set apart 5 hours to watch videos when you’re schedule is already packed with work and family obligations. If you have to get up 30 minutes earlier each day and knock out a video or two, then you gotta be willing to do that.

Set a goal date for completion. My goal was to finish 3 certifications in my free 14-day trial. I could’ve probably done more if I had wanted to. If you know your schedule will open up in a few weeks, plan on signing up when you have a little more margin in your day.

Print off your certifications. I proudly display each certification on my cork board in my office. If a few days go by and haven’t done any further work, those are visible reminders to me to keep going (or get going again).

Tune in and tune out distractions. It’s becoming increasingly harder to focus these days. You’ll get the most out of this class when you really train your mind to focus on the material. As hard as it is, do what you need to do to tune out the distractions in your life. Hit “Inbox Pause”, or close your door, or get away from your normal environment so you can truly focus.

My Before, and My After

I love to learn new things, fill in the gaps in my knowledge, and I appreciate taking theoretical knowledge a making it more personal and applicable to my life.

I would absolutely say that I have had a transformation. Before, I was less-confident, less sure, and less-knowledgeable than now. I’m thankful I took this class, and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone (not just copywriters) in the digital marketing space.

Have you taken online courses? Maybe even Digital Marketer courses? Tell me what you thought? How have they added value to your life and your business?

More reviews coming…stay tuned!

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