8 Tips for Extraordinary EdTech Copywriting

Photo by Leah Kelley

Educators are known for being strong communicators. Perfectly able to use language in an adaptable way to suit every sort of learner. You’re able to inspire, inform and ignite the internal passion within for users of your products and services. But, there is one caveat. You're constantly in a tiring struggle to sell your vision, expertise and EdTech platforms to those who can benefit enormously from them. So what should you do?

While there isn't a single correct answer as each case is different, there are changes you can make that can make a profound difference to your bottom line. You can start by implementing these simple yet slick, copywriting tricks…

1. Think Critically. Bear in Mind That You are What you Write.

Know who you are and what you stand for.

Just as you are what you eat, you are what you write. Attractive writing makes consumers attracted to you and your business. Junk writing makes them critical and even repulsed.

Think critically about the key messages of the brand, you can not be everything to everybody, unless you are wilfully commoditising yourself which means you will not make money. A confused tone of voice coming from your businesses is reflected in customers. They can easily detect if you are not sure about your identity.

Just imagine that you're in a garden centre and you politely ask a pair of store assistants "Where are the Gardenia's?" One answers by mumbling and saying he is unsure and the other says "They are over this way, follow me" while she mentions the garden centre positively. Which one would you trust more?

Even if the more headstrong and confident second one is wrong and gets lost on the way, it is incredibly likely the customer has followed her- the business is a lot closer to another sale than it would be with only the other store assistant. There is much more in this story besides demonstrating the power of brand clarity. It is a microcosm of the points I'm about to make.

The second store assistant provides a clear call to action, is helpful and direct, straight to the point and pleasant. She puts effort into sincerely helping the customer. This is what your copy should do, even if it is merely moving your customer along a sales journey (or around a garden centre!).

The other wisdom nugget from this little anecdote is that copywriting should be dynamic. It's about more than a single touchpoint. It's about the whole experience, in many transactions there is copy at every stage and it should tie in well with the brand. All aspects should work well together such as the design, space and service.

Think carefully about what you want to portray about your business. Ensure that all your writing reflects a consistent persona. Or a handful that you have chosen for certain situations. For instance you may have products and services for both businesses and consumers, so you may have two clear voices for each. This should be informed by market research so if you haven't done this yet go away and come back when you've got this sorted out. It's pointless to have goals and targets when you have no idea who you're aiming at.

You should be aiming to always benefit the customer. What I call a customer benefit surplus which I'll blog about when I get round to it. In the meantime now that your tone of voice is sorted you can move swiftly on…

2. Features are Great, But Benefits Get the Sales.

Copywriting should never stray too far from the end goal: make sales.

Copywriting provides education businesses with the opportunity to build trust among audiences while putting their best foot forward. Savvy website copy can help position you in your marketplace or even appear to be a downright breakout innovator on the cutting-edge of your niche. Needless to say this can easily improve your sales to no end.

As a copywriter that focuses on the education sector, one of the common mistakes that I see companies make is focusing far too much on the features of their products or services.

EdTech companies especially, tend to focus on the specifications of their product, rather than persuading their audience with the benefits. Although the features are significant, so are the underlying messages used to persuade customers to buy.

Often when copywriting professionally you use a grid to separate features and benefits and to link benefits to features. This is often done to help with understanding how to write about a product or service. I've taken it a step further so that the minute differences between benefits can be understood. And consequently be presented effectively.

For me there are typically three categories: features, logical benefits and emotional benefits. A point that you may make in a sales pitch, for example , will consist of briefly introducing the feature then talking about the rational benefits of it. Next you'll talk about the emotional or underlying benefits of that feature. At least half of that point will be the emotionally-driven benefits. Why? Because humans are incredibly irrational.

To further illustrate this, suppose a HR platform solution may feature a central hub which connects all aspects of the app into a calendar automatically. The logical benefit of this is that the information is easier to see as it's all in one place and because it is automated users in the organisation will not worry about forgetting to add the information in separately as they no longer have to. The emotional benefit is that everybody saves time and less minutes are required to be spent on boring, mundane tasks. The wider business benefit to the management team is that the workforce will be more streamlined and can spend more time on value generating tasks, maximising revenue for the business. Making more money is ultimately an emotional benefit.

This point brings us naturally to the next one...

3. Never Omit the Emotive Language

Make your prospects 'feel' the engagement.

Customers only buy when they become emotionally connected to your product or service. Emotional copywriting time after time has proved itself to be really persuasive. If you know what makes your customers happy, you can tap into their psyche and gently encourage them to take action.

Whether you're aware of it or not, most buying habits are based on emotions. These emotions trump logic when making a purchase decision. People buy things because ‘it feels right’ rather than because ‘it makes sense’. Some punchy opening lines for introducing an emotive element include:

‘You know that feeling when…’

‘How good will you feel when you…’

‘There are very few feelings worse than…’

‘Nobody likes that horrid feeling…’

'Make your friends and family envy you...'

If you think that these examples are brazenly candid, you're right. Good copywriting is fearless. It addresses those feelings head on and instantly provides a way for the relevant audiences to connect with the words on the page. People like the easier option. Customers like to have their ego-stroked and products or services that not only make them feel better but are marketed and explicitly state that they will make them feel better are more successful.

By appealing to your customers’ deepest emotions, you will reinforce familiarity. People are more likely to make a purchase if they feel familiarity with your brand. Emotive copywriting suggests that you are ‘in tune’ with your customers’ needs. On a deeper level it suggests that you 'are like them'. Most people are group focused and surprisingly narrow-minded, appearing to be like your customer makes you innately more trustworthy due to the way the brain works. Use language that reflects your passion for your product. Words like ‘love’, ‘guarantee’ and ‘effective’ can all boil up the right kind of emotions that encourage people to buy.

On the subject of the brain...

4. Use Subliminal Messaging Appropriately.

Now this isn't the most appropriate.

EdTech businesses often find it difficult to strike the ever evasive, sweet balance between commanding and passive language known as persuasive copywriting. They are frequently far too information-heavy when it comes to words. Although customers - especially for larger purchases- like to know the facts before they buy, subliminal messaging can be an effective way of getting them more rapidly through the buying process.

Subliminal messages are subtle commands that are designed to be picked up by the subconscious mind. Another way to think of this is to relate them to the end benefit as in the example below.

Embedded sales messages can be worked into your copy as a persuasive trigger for your customers to make a purchase. They can be used to entice your customers to take up your call to action. This is done subtly using language that makes it clear what you want the user to do while not making the point too overt.

An example of a subliminal message in B2B education business copy might go something like this:

‘Imagine how proud you’ll be when you're promoted to Headteacher all because of one simple, stress free purchase. Visualise yourself celebrating with your subordinates and the school council. Your destiny starts here. Our platform will revolutionise the administrative processes for all the teachers in your school. Get yours today while we still have our 15% discount.’

Subtlety is one thing but obscuring your message is a common issue that needs to be nailed out first...

5. Keep your Language Light and your Specifics Simple.

Keep things understandable. Most text is best written at the reading skill level of a 14 year old.

In other words, ditch that distasteful language inspired by academia. It may be necessary when writing class papers at university. But when trying to spread the messages of your business it will not get you very far. Instead of impressing potential customers it can confuse them or - markedly worse - put them off your product or service entirely. This can even happen with prospects who were sold on an idea. One incorrect use of superfluous language can completely put them off. It's a competitive world and every business must realise that even the most trivial of errors on their part can dissuade prospects completely.

Convoluted copy on a sales page will make even the most accomplished academic agitated, such that no engagement can be expected. Academic language can cloud your message and leave the reader lost. After which there is a high chance you'll lose that customer. Your copywriting should use simple and unambiguous language. This way your customers will know exactly what you’re offering.

However, information that is useful to readers and appropriate for a given web page or section of a brochure, will get you far...

6. Focus on Adding Value, This is Especially Important in EdTech.

I'm making this point with mainly content writing in mind but it's important for all copywriting.

Adding value to customers and site visitors requires effort. Your copy has to demonstrate your expertise without being impossible to read or reeking of arrogance. Your copy has to be helpful to web visitors by sharing insights such as useful tips or even if a page is merely to sell, making crystal clear what it is that you're offering. Helpful information always ranks higher and results in better business over the long run.

Content should inform, educate and entertain. It may also be actionable. At a minimum it should be one of these four things. These are generic tips that apply to all copywriting and there are plenty of resources across the web explaining this in detail. What's less often mentioned is that copy should also sell. Whether that's an idea, method, opinion, product, service or whatever.

Persuasion is often the reason words are even put on a page in the first place. Shopping list. To make you remember to buy the right items. Music playlists. To remind yourself of the music you should listen to. Road signs. Product packaging. Notes in a journal. Persuasion is the underlying reason for the words being where they are.

Freely sharing tips and knowledge in the form of content is not (just) a friendly business gesture on your part: it is the norm these days. There is no longer much money to be made selling information that only you have access to, as you probably aren't the only one with it. It will likely be free or extremely inexpensive. Due to the internet and it's continuous advent into every part of our lives, most knowledge is easily searchable on Google. That's why your EdTech business should be serving these hungry web searchers with valuable content.

Unfortunately, consumers hold all the cards in regards to which companies they choose to do business with. Companies no longer can mislead customers as easily (because of reviews on Google/access to information) and globalisation means that price pressure is high as consumers have a world of choice when selecting EdTech product providers. The companies that survive and thrive in the current climate offer value upfront, content is one of the prime ways they do this, especially digital businesses. So why not join them?

Adding value is what results in your success online but only when one thing is clear to customers...

7. Have a Consistent, Clear (and Possibly Creative) Call to Action.

Create customers that wear you on their sleeve (and take immediate action).

What do you want your prospect to do?

Obviously a direct action is the CTA for web users such as navigating to a certain web page or buying a product. Offline a less direct action that doesn't always warrant an immediate action is often common. This could be calling your business at some point. Think carefully about this question.

Keeping your language simple makes it easier for readers to understand your call to action. What do you want your customers to do after reading your copy? Is the message sufficiently clear. Your call to action is arguably, the most important part of your copy, as it instructs your customers to take action (remember what I said earlier about subliminal messaging). Calls to action are most effective when they use a tone of urgency. Perhaps your product or service is limited? Tell your customers exactly how long it will take them to follow your instruction and make it sound quick/effortless. When searching for products and services online, it only takes people 23 seconds to decide if they are going to buy from you, so it’s important that you make the process sound easy. A clear, effectively-written call to action might be like this:

‘Don’t miss out! Our offer is available until …. It only takes 47 seconds to purchase our HR package using Paypal (we’ve timed it). All you simply need to do is click the link below and you’ll be taken to Paypal’s secure payment page.’

Try using these techniques to improve the copy in all of your marketing materials. Use simple, straightforward, emotive language with a clear call to action and watch your customer engagement improve and sales shoot towards the stars.

8. Speak to Me

I'm passionate about Edtech.

Have you tried all the above to no avail? Have you not the time to manage or write marketing materials yourself?

I'm a copywriter with experience in the EdTech niche. I'm based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK.

I'll help you to market your EdTech product in an enticing way that results in more revenue and bigger clients. I know how to convince powerful corporations to take interest and line up to work with you.

Some examples of the writing I can produce include: sales collateral for exhibitions, video transcripts, sales letters and pitches, web page copy, social media plans, PPC ads and more. I work on copy for both offline and online mediums.

Feel free to leave a comment too and share any tips you have for EdTech copywriting.

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