Ready to upgrade your copywriting skills? Four nursing skills transfer beautifully, helping you get better results from your copy…
Even if you aren’t the best copywriter on the planet…
And even if you’ve been told you can’t write.
When someone tells you you can’t do something, it makes you want to do it even more, doesn’t it? It did me when a more Senior Nurse took “the difficult patient” because it would be “too much for me.”
Did I feel a little smug when she couldn’t get the 14-year-old to take her meds? You bet. But jeez, the kid had been in hospital her whole life and was on her second heart and lung transplant for the sake of her parents. She was done!
I went in. We had a conversation. Then she necked all 21 pills in one go.
That’s when I realised the power of words. The wrong words got no action. The right words drove the right actions — the actions we needed our patient to take to improve her health.
This same power can be leveraged to improve your copywriting skills, so you can create more powerful marketing materials and attract more clients you love.
Think you’re not a writer? Don’t worry. We all make mistakes starting out. But you can avoid many of them if you incorporate the practices of our nation’s finest — no matter what your solopreneur business.
Keep reading to learn four lessons I learned as a nurse, that will boost your copywriting skills, even if you’re not a writer.
1. Give awesome value to build your client’s trust in you
You don’t even want to imagine your child in Intensive Care. As a Mother of two, I get it. I won’t put you in that situation.
But I’m sure you can understand that a parent comes to ICU scared, feeling as if their heart is being ripped from their chest. And yet, the ward being what it is, at any point they may be asked to leave.
The child’s nurse may only have one chance to give these parents a positive opinion, the confidence that the nurse can be trusted with their kid. Done right, the nurse will reap the rewards of a relaxed parent for the rest of their stay in hospital.
So what do they do? They give value.
They share clear information on what can be seen, on what they are doing, and even some easy-to-comprehend science to explain why.
Value builds trust.
It’s the same in marketing. People buy from people they know, like, and trust.
Shockingly, between 70 and 92% of people who land on your website will never return. Even more challenging, most people decide how long they’ll interact with your page in the first 15 seconds.
We literally have shorter attention spans now than a goldfish.
To make sure they stay, you need to clearly show visitors how your business can help them. Do this on your homepage, above the fold (the bit above where they need to scroll). This is the perfect place to give value… with images of smiley, happy people.
People react well to happy, smiley people, according to Dr J.J Peterson from Storybrand. Except for clients who are seeking help for stress, loss, and depression. In those cases, they’re done with seeing people leading better lives than them.
In these cases, copywriter Gill Andrews recommends that you use reassuring images showing visitors what to expect in your clinic (or business) instead.
2. Perfect your persuasive skills
Nurses have to be masters in persuasion. They must be able to persuade the kids for the sake of the parents, and parents for the best interests of the child. Then there are team and funding dynamics.
When you write your copy it’s not hard to understand the customer’s. It should be easy to speak to that need and be persuasive.
You want people to buy your shannazzle. It’s kinda a given.
But this is the digital age. Your reader has wised up.
The greatest skill of a nurse is getting a patient to take medication when they don’t want to. The greatest skill of a copywriter is selling without the reader realizing they’re being sold to. The days of sleazy sales copy are dead.
3. Who are you talking to? Know your audience
I once witnessed a mother run up to a surgeon doing their rounds, saying, “Thank you so much! Just look at her running around. Doesn’t she look amazing?”
The surgeon called back over his shoulder. “You should see her from the inside.”
It’s why nurses sit in on rounds. Surgeons are great with their hands, not so good with communication.
Not all parents are created equal. Some have never stepped into a hospital in their life. Others have spent most of their child’s life living in one. You talk to one with empathy and the other as if they’re another nurse. Get that the wrong way round and neither party is impressed!
Solopreneurs can make this same mistake. They don’t know who they are talking to.
If you try to talk to everyone you talk to no one.
Eugene Schwartz, in his classic book, Breakthrough Advertising, talks about the customer’s level of awareness and stage of sophistication. It’s a good reminder that not all clicks are created equal.
Sales pages with less copy are known to convert better, but that’s because their audience tends to be more aware, not only of their problem but also their desire to fix that problem.
Your advert must meet them where they’re at. You must speak to their desire or problem. That can build trust, making it easier to sell to them.
Of course, if you miss your target, you can build resistance, not trust. Then, you’ll feel the need to write more words to convince them. But they’re not likely to convert, because they’ve only just been introduced to you. They don’t know, like, and trust you yet.
Like the parent who knows and understands hospital life, if you give them too many words, you’ll lose their trust because they’ll feel bored and unseen.
Not only do you need to know who your words are landing on, you also need to understand the market you’re interacting in.
Once upon a time, you could sell a mobile phone by telling people you could make calls with something in your pocket. Now companies realise that the market is uber-sophisticated.
Consumers know what a phone is — all its features and benefits don’t impress. Phone companies have to go one further and share their values as a brand. That way buyers can buy into them as a business and not merely their products.
Remember, people buy from Apple to be part of a tribe.
4. Keep your roots in research-based practice while you reach to embrace new technology
Words are words. Copy, though, is a nuanced blend of art, science, and sheer hard work.
Nursing best practices come from years of experimenting and recording to ensure the best, most consistent care is given to every patient who walks through the door.
In turn, copy should be tested and tweaked after you put it out in the world. It’s the only way to ensure you’re getting the results your service deserves.
Artificial intelligence is doing part of the copywriter’s job. It’s coming up with the basic blog and email scripts. But it will never have the personality of a human copywriter. And it can never add your unique flair.
So don’t resist new technology. Use the tools available to you to get good results — just as intensive care nurses use pumps and ventilators to look after patients. The introduction of advanced tech doesn’t de-skill nurses. It does the complete opposite. It upskills them.
Trust me. New technology will upskill you as well.
How to learn from nurses and improve your copywriting skills
Nurses have shown that to have your client know, like, and trust you, you need to share your amazeballs knowledge with them.
Give it away for free and they’ll still buy.
Especially if you use persuasive, non-sleazy sales copy that’s backed by science and tried and tested with your audience.
Talk to one person. Know who that is and how they want to be spoken to.
Some clients have been hanging about a bit and others are new on the scene. Make both feel heard by targeting words directly to them, both in awareness of where they’re at on the buyer’s journey and the problem they came to you with in the first place.
As more businesses take to the internet, there’s no such thing as a unique selling point any more. Your client is buying into you and what you stand for. So don’t be afraid to share your brand’s attractive stories and belief system.
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