Writing copy that sells weddings

Show notes:

Today I’m talking to Wedding Industry Copywriter – Andrea Shah. Do you struggle to know what to say on your website and social posts? Have you had updating your copy on your to do list for a while? If the answer is yes then this episode is going to help you! It’s time to start writing copy that sells more weddings.

Visit Andrea’s about page: https://andreashah.com/about-andrea

Follow Andrea on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/andreashahcopy/

Need help with your website? Listen to episode 34 of my podcast with Emily Lee.

Transcript:

Andrea: Remember that for a lot of wedding professionals at the end of the day, while well-written copy is important, they’re hiring you in part on the basis of your portfolio and your personality.

Becca: I am Becca Pountney wedding business marketing expert, speaker and blogger, and you are listening to The Wedding Pros who are Ready to Grow podcast.

I’m here to share with you actionable tips, strategies, and real life examples to help you take your wedding business to the next level. If you are an ambitious wedding business owner that wants to take your passion and use it to build a profitable, sustainable business doing what you love, then you’re in the right place.

Let’s get going with today’s episode. Today I’m joined by Andrea Shar, based in Miami, Florida. Andrea’s a copywriter for photographers wedding pros and ambitious creatives. Andrea’s goal is to help you find your voice so that you don’t sound like everybody else. You attract the clients you want, and you actually sound like you.

Copy is an area I think we could all do with some help with. So I can’t wait to dive in a little deeper today. Andrea, welcome to the podcast.

Andrea: Hello. So excited to be here.

Becca: I’m thrilled to have you. I love talking about copy, but before we get into copy, I need to let the listeners in to what we were talking about just before we hit record, which is one of my favorite things. Disney. And you’re thinking of coming to Disneyland, Paris, is that right?

Andrea: I am. We’re, we’re contemplating it. I’ve got a seven year old who would be really excited to go, so we’re thinking about it.

Becca: People who listen to the podcast know that I’m a huge Disney fan, so if you make it to Disneyland Paris, make sure you let me know about it.

And if you get over to London as well, then. We can exchange Disney tips and Disney memories over a drink, if that sounds good.

Andrea: Absolutely.

Becca: I would love that. Okay. Let’s get back in to what we’re supposed to be talking about, which is copywriting. Now, I think copywriting is an area that lots of people struggle with and I think that comes down.

First and foremost to just understanding what on earth it is. So let’s start with the basics. Like what is copy, what is a copywriter, and why does any of this stuff matter?

Andrea: Absolutely. So copywriting is in short, it’s the words on your website and it is designed to convince people to work with you. So we all need to have words on our site.

Photos aren’t, And the goal of those words is really just to persuade people to connect with you, to build a relationship with you before they ever get on the phone or on Zoom with you, and to understand what you do, who you do it for, and what makes you the right person to work with. And a copywriter is the person who crafts those words.

We talk to the business owner. A lot of times we talk to happy past clients. We send them surveys, we do interviews, and we also go through and find out what other people in your space are doing and what makes you unique. And then we convey that and we try to make it fun in the process, we try to add some of your voice and your personality into what goes on your.

Becca: And do you think that copy makes a big difference when it comes to a couple choosing which wedding professional to work with? Do you think it can be make or break depending on how good the copy is on their website, or is it just a nice added extra?

Andrea: No, absolutely. I think it can be make or break. I think it helps people see how you’re going to take care of them.

in the wedding process. I think it helps people see that they’re going to be able to relax and feel like they’re in good hands depending on who you are and what role you’re going to play on their wedding day. They’re gonna spend a lot of time with you on an important day, and they really wanna feel like they know you.

They’re not gonna feel awkward, and that you’re gonna make it a fun experience. You know, especially photographers, planners, that sort of thing. They want to have that sort of comfort level with.

Becca: So I’ve mentioned in the introduction that you specialize in working with creatives and wedding professionals.

That’s one of the things you say. So do you think when it comes to finding a copywriter to work with as a wedding professional, that it makes a difference to work with someone who understands the industry? Like why did you decide to go into that niche?

Andrea: I love working with people who are doing creative work, who are working with their hands, who are creating something.

Fun and visual and tangible. And I do think it makes a big difference to work with someone who’s familiar with the wedding industry, who knows what is on the minds of couples as they’re looking for a professional once stressing them out. What they’re looking for to make them happy. What are the different concerns?

You know, it’s not just budget. What are the trends that they have in mind? All of that sort of stuff matters, and it goes into the copy. It’s a little bit different than other forms of copy because you’ll sometimes hear copywriters talk about pain points. It’s a way of referring to people’s problems.

Couples who are looking for a wedding photographer or a florist, they don’t have pain points. They’re happy, they’re excited. They just need to find someone to fill this one particular role in their life for a short period of time, and it helps to have someone who understands. What their anxieties are, what they’re going through, and also what’s going to make their lives easier.

Becca: Yeah, it’s a really interesting point actually to think about the fact that they don’t really have pain points. We’re just trying to make the best day of their lives. Now, one thing that I think with copy is that it’s. often not that easy to spot, really good copy, but it is easy to spot, really bad copy.

And one thing I notice quite a lot when I look at people’s websites and look at their copy, look at what they’re doing, is that they use these cliches like, you know, the kind of taglines where everyone’s tagline is making memories you won’t forget. Like everyone’s tagline is the same, everyone’s copy is the same, and it all can kind of sound a little bit bland or a little bit cliche.

So what mistakes are you seeing people making like that in the wedding industry?

Andrea: I do think that that’s one that there tend to be taglines that get popular and people use them without really realizing it, not just taglines. There’s a lot of little expressions or people’s buttons will all say the same thing.

You know, there’s a lot of let’s do this on buttons and that sort of thing and, and it can just, it can start to all sound the same. And when you think about couples, they often have 10 tabs open on their browser for say, venues in their. And if all ten sound alike, they’re not gonna stick in in their mind.

So you need something that’ll be a little bit sticky. I do think people are sometimes afraid to let their personality show. You know, you tend to think, oh, I’m a professional. I need to sound professional. And there’s a way to do that and to convey your expertise in your professionalism while still sounding like yourself.

And another mistake I see people make is that they think there’s a single, if they’re on the luxury end of the spectrum, they think there’s a single luxury voice and it’s kind of stuffy and overly formal and they lean into that. When really luxury can be all kinds of things. You can be punk, rock and luxury.

You can be casual and still be very luxury. I mean, so I think that’s a common mistake. I see. And then one more mistake is you really wanna focus on the. When you’re writing the copy and the experience that you are creating for your couples and your clients, and sometimes people tend to like write an entire autobiographical page and that information is useful, but you need to frame it in why it’s beneficial for them, not just here’s some information about me.

Becca: Yeah, that’s so true. I’ve seen so many homepages, which are just boring because they’re all about the person whose business is, and I’m like, no one actually cares. Like whether you’ve got a degree in marketing from 1997, like it’s not a thing. So yeah, I a hundred percent agree with you. I think that’s really interesting.

Now, when I was researching for the podcast today, I took a look at your website, which is probably terrifying for a copywriter to have someone else looking at their copy. But your about page was one of my most favorite about pages that I’ve ever seen on a website. I really liked it, really enjoyed it.

I loved the way your personality has shone through. It felt like I really got to know a little bit about you through your likes and your dislikes and that kind of thing, like the fact you don’t like coffee and the fact I know. I know, but I love that. I kind of felt like, oh, I really feel like I know you, rather than that normal resume kind of about page

so. What is it about adding personality to people’s pages that matters, and do you have any just small tips around how to do that? And by the way, I will link to your about page in the show notes so other people can go and see what I’m talking about.

Andrea: Absolutely. Yeah. So I do think that one thing people.

Can do is add more detail, think about what you wanna say, and then go a level deeper, get a little bit more specific. So if you want to say, and it’s, this is a cliche, I’d avoid it, but if you’re talking about what your favorite thing to drink from Starbucks is or whatever for the, the Americans, I don’t know how big Starbucks is in the uk, but.

Don’t just say that you get a coffee, tell people that you get the cake pop shaped like a deer and you get, you know, and be really specific layer in detail. So like I said, I’m not a coffee drinker, but maybe you say you get a London fog, chai latte or whatever, and just be a little bit more specific.

Those details stick with people. They resonate with people. They don’t have to like the exact same. But it, it tells them a little bit about you, and it just helps them remember you. And so every time you think you’ve dug down deep enough and given more detail, usually for most people, they can go a level deeper on the detail.

Like you said, you like Disney. But if you were writing here about page, you might talk about your absolute favorite ride at Disney or something like that. So rather than just saying you like to go to Disney World, you could say you love the Haunted Mansion because this, that, the other thing I might have missed.

The mark on that one. I don’t know.

Becca: I’m terrified of the haunted mansion, like I can’t even go on the Haunted mansion, but you will find me having breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle and sipping on a glass of something fizzy.

Andrea: There we go. See, that’s the sort of detail that people want. That’s the sort of detail that sticks in people’s mind.

So that’s one thing. Another thing is to think about writing. Like you talk and think about the words you use, the expressions you use regularly. Whether you want to, you know, people can curse in their copy or they cannot, and that’s fine too. But if you’re a person who is cursing up a storm, your people might be those people who respond to that.

And you don’t want too much of a disconnect between how you show up online and how you show up in person. So you wanna convey a little bit of that personality as well.

Becca: Yeah, I think that’s so important. So often I meet wedding pros in real life and they’re really fun and I, I really get on with them and then I look at their website and I’m like, you don’t sound like the same person that I met.

Like if your couples met you in real life, they really wanna work with you. But you sound so formal. People seem to talk all the time as if they’re this massive company, even though it’s them. So like, yes. Are there common things that people are missing when it comes to their copy? Are there common things that people are emitting or doing that, they shouldn’t be.

Andrea: Definitely the two formal. As part of it, you really wanna relax a little bit. You know, there are a few people who I’m sure formal is their brand and it really works. But I think most people could stand to be a little bit more casual with their copy and a little bit less stiff and formal, especially in the wedding industry.

I see like people have kind of an elegant visual branding, and then they feel like their copy has to be very formal. To match. And that’s not really true. It can be, it can be fun, it can be playful. I think the other thing people forget is you don’t have much time to grab someone’s attention online. You have, there’s all kinds of statistics, but a couple seconds at best to get someone to read the hero section on your homepage.

So the most underrated thing about your copy is clarity. It needs to be clear what you do and who you do it for. And if someone can’t get that from reading, say the very top section of your home page, you might lose them right away. So that is an underrated thing. There’s a lot of people in the copywriting world who will say it’s important to value clarity over being clever.

Being clever is really fun, but first, you wanna make sure you’re crystal clear on all of the aspects of your business so that people understand what the value you provide is.

Becca: And how do people make sure they don’t take it too far? Because I know one of the concerns that sometimes some of my clients have is that they start injecting their personality into their copy and then they panic.

Like, what happens if people don’t like it? What happens if people stop wanting to work with me because I’ve become too informal? How do we know that we’ve got it right?

Andrea: So one tip that I received from a mentor of mine is that you can start your first draft of your copy by turning your personality up to an 11.

And then go back and dial it down in subsequent drafts. So definitely do multiple drafts. Have someone you trust in the industry. Read it through for you. And I say in the industry, someone who’s maybe targeting the same sort of couples you are. You know, if you are a photographer, you might ask a friend who is a baker to read it or something like that so that they can give you an outside perspective.

Don’t necessarily ask friends and family because what they like might not be what actually works for your. But the other thing I always like to tell my clients is that you can’t work with everyone. It’s not humanly possible to work with every couple out there. And it is okay for your copy not to land with certain people as long as it is resonating with the people who you want to work with.

In fact, sometimes it’s really important. One of the things we use copy as a tool to do. Is to weed out people who aren’t a good fit for your brand. You know, if you are an informal casual person, the person who wants a more formal wedding might not be a good fit, and we can convey that through your copy.

Likewise, if you are selling packages at very high end prices, there are things we can do within the copy to indicate your pricing and the experience you deliver, and hopefully weed out some of the people who are going to ask if you can actually do a package for half the price that you normally charge.

Becca: I wanna come back to something that you mentioned earlier, which. Buttons on websites. Now, this is an area that I definitely see people struggling with and sometimes I struggle with myself, where you are trying to get people to take action, do a call to action, and as you said earlier, you often are left with the cliches of, let’s do this, let’s get going.

Have you got any tips around how to word. The copy on those buttons because it’s such a small amount of space and you want people to take action. Any ideas for us?

Andrea: Yeah, I definitely think if you’re stuck and you’re trying to do it, the first thing is clarity again. So even something as simple as book a call, set up a chat, something like that.

Can work if it gets people to go through and, you know, look at your website analytics and see when people are clicking. If you get a lot of traffic, it can make a difference to see and then play around with it. Change it a little bit if people aren’t clicking, but you can also, I’ve done really playful ones.

I’ve done ones that were longer and that fit the style of a client, but they can get really playful as long as it’s clear. That it is a button and that it fits with the rest, rest of the text. In terms of personality, you can get really playful. I know I had one for a client that was like mentioning her some of her favorite foods or something like that, and basically like, let’s meet together over fajitas or something like that, you know?

But it was, it was silly. It was playful. It went with the rest of the tone of voice that we had for the site. And the other thing is I’m not a designer. If you do get playful with your copy, make sure it’s crystal clear that those are buttons, so make sure that the text and the button color are contrasting with the rest of the page and it really stands out so that someone knows that’s where they’re supposed to click.

Becca: That’s really helpful Now. , obviously the best option is for people to go out there and hire someone like yourself, hire a copywriter. But we know, depending on where people are in business, that that’s not always possible. So if they have got some budget, but they can’t afford to outsource everything, what things should they prioritize outsourcing and what things are easier for them to do themselves?

Andrea: So I think if you have the budget to do a couple pages on your website, obviously your homepage is a big deal. You’re gonna wanna do that. That’s what get people’s attention. That’s what funnels them to the other pages on your site. I know that people love to outsource their about page just cuz it’s a pain to write.

You know, you were talking about my about page, the number of hours I put in because writing your own about page is just a different level of difficulty than writing for someone else. So that’s another popular one to outsource. And then a lot of times I work with clients on. Their actual experience or package pages because sometimes people struggle to convey what goes into a package and it ends up being just a list of bullet points, which is useful and should be on there, but they’re not giving people a sense of the experience.

What I think you can definitely DIY when you’re starting out is you can do a lot of your emails and a lot of your social media copy yourself. Especially that stuff really comes straight from the. And so it’s perfectly fine to do that yourself. Blogging is another way. If you have the time, you can blog yourself, you know, learn a little bit about SEO to, to maximize the benefit, but that you can do yourself and pages with like the investment and that sort of thing.

If you have an investment page. That’s something you can do yourself. You know, that’s a pretty simple, straightforward page, and I’ve seen great websites that people have done themselves. I’m not here to discourage anyone from writing their own copy. I’ve seen amazing websites that people have written themselves.

What’s most important? and where you probably need to invest most of your time in the beginning is making sure you really understand who you’re talking to and who wants to purchase your services.

Becca: Yes, that’s incredibly important. Which brings me on to my next question, which I’m hoping you’re gonna be able to add to some of that with.

So if someone’s sitting there thinking, right, I need to update my website copy right now, I don’t have any budget, I’m gonna have a go at doing it myself. Like, have you got some tips about where they should start with that? Is there a process they should follow? , obviously they should be looking at who they’re talking to, but do you have any other quick tips about how they can get going with that?

Andrea: I think one of my favorite things to do is reach out to a past client, someone you really liked working with, preferably someone who’s going to be a good fit for the services you’re currently offering. So if you’ve made a big pivot, maybe not someone you worked with before that pivot and ask them if you could have 20, 30 minutes of their time to just sit down and understand what they were looking for, what their constraints were in terms of terms of budget, in terms of time, in terms of other needs, and then why they chose you.

And try to get a little bit of a profile of yourself and understand the things about you that make you unique so that you can highlight those in your. . I also suggest trying to get written testimonials from past clients. This is something that, you know, as a copywriter, I spend a lot of time going through people’s testimonials and reviews, editing them down a bit, and trying to get them placed correctly.

You suggest where they should go on the page so that people have really vivid social proof. So that’s another really easy way you can spice up your webpage is. Trim down your testimonials to make sure that they’re highlighting the most important factors. Freshen them up. You know, have you gone through and added new testimonials in the past six months or a year?

That’s a really easy way to start. And then of course, your headline is worth a ton of money, so make sure it’s crystal clear and make sure that you know someone knows where you do your work. If it’s location based and. Anything that you can add to convey in just one line your experience, and I know that’s a heavy lift, your experience and what you offer clients, that’s gonna be really beneficial.

Becca: And how do people share their experiences and what they can offer without it? Number one, sounding like they’re just reeling off why they’re great. And number two, without just sounding like a big, long resume. So

Andrea: I think it is important to remember. That what people are hiring you for on their wedding day is a vibe and experience a feeling.

Yes, they very much care about the end product that they’re gonna get, but they also wanna feel like they’re in good hands with you. So sometimes just listing off your experience isn’t necessarily going to convey that. What you can do is maybe walk them through what a day looks like for your clients.

Give them case studies, sketch out what the experience they’re going to get from you is, and remember that it’s a lot about feelings, it’s a lot about emotions. And while they don’t necessarily have pain points of any kind, they do wanna feel like they’re in good hands. They wanna feel like. You know, most important day of their lives with a lot of people watching, you’re gonna show up and take care of them, and they can trust you.

Trust is hugely important. And so that’s one thing your experience comes in, in showing that other people have trusted you. So again, that social proof, those testimonials, and that you can handle what a wedding day is gonna throw at you. But again, you don’t wanna list off, you know? A bunch of bullet point stats right away because they’re probably not that concerned about.

Becca: Yeah, that’s really helpful. And trust is huge. If they can’t trust you, they definitely won’t book you. Now, we’ve talked a lot about website copy, but copy is obviously everywhere in all that we do. Emails, social media we’ve talked about briefly. So how should people go about approaching the copy when it comes to things like their

instagram captions or their Facebook posts, should they keep the same tone of voice as their website? Should they think as much about their copy on those things as they do about their website? Have you got any tips around how to translate this kind of bigger copy on the website into those daily posts?

Andrea: Yeah. I do feel like while it’s nice to write your posts on Instagram and Facebook in the same brand voice it is okay to be more casual on those. They’re social media. They’re social. If you look at a lot of people, Websites, they’re going to be written at a slightly more difficult reading level than those social media captions.

Social media, you’re trying to stop people’s thumbs. You’re trying to get them to stop scrolling, and so you need to have a good hook. The first line really matters, but also I. This is speaking a little bit from my personal perspective as someone who’s not great about who sometimes lets the perfect be the enemy of the

yeah, the perfect be the enemy of the good on social. Don’t let obsessing over the details get in the way cuz so much of what you do on social is about consistency and showing up. And it is okay to be slightly imperfect. Nobody expects every post on your social media to be as well written as the website that you paid someone to professionally write for you if you’re showing up and sharing valuable information.

That’s going to be okay. At the end of the day,

Becca: perfectionism is such a problem for so many of the wedding pros I work with, so it’s It’s great to hear that that’s a bit of a struggle for you as well sometimes. Can you just speak a little bit into that of how you’ve overcome that with your own work?

Because I know that this is a problem that they face when they’re looking at things like their own websites or their own marketing collateral, or even when they’re doing work for clients, feeling like it’s never quite perfect. So if you’ve got any tips around how. Overcome that or how you make sure that that doesn’t hold you.

Andrea: Yes. I think one of my favorite tips is to let your work sit. So don’t tell yourself you’re gonna write your website in one day and be done with it. Write what you can and then walk away for a day, maybe two days, maybe a week, and then come back with fresh eyes. And a lot of times you’ll see that you actually really like what you wrote, and you can be a little bit more clear-eyed about what needs changing.

But if you really get in the weeds and you are, you’ve been focusing on the same page of copy for a. Time to take a break. It’s time to step away. Give yourself the luxury of a little bit of time. Like I said, having someone else look at it too, they’ll point out things that are done really well, and they can also point out some opportunities where you can clarify things that are crystal clear to you, but they’re not so obvious to a reader.

But then also remember that for a lot of wedding professionals, at the end of the day, while well-written copy, is important, they are hiring you in part on the basis of your portfolio and your personality. I always like to think of it as your portfolio, your personality, and your process. So if you can get people on a call with you, if you’ve got a good portfolio, you can usually close the sale.

My job is to come in, highlight that personality a little bit more in the written text and also make sure that your process is really clear that it’s shown and people have fewer questions before they get on that sales.

Becca: Really, really helpful. There are so many great tips in here. Now, if we were to go to copywriting school 1 0 1, would you say there are any rules that we should be following?

So when we’re back at school learning English teachers say to us things like you mustn’t start sentences with the word, and when it comes to copy, are there basic rules that we should be following, or is it a free for all?

Andrea: You can definitely break some of those rules, start sentences with, and be playful with your copy.

That’s fine. But the key rule that most people will recommend you follow is to think about one reader. So when you are writing a page, try to get a clear picture of who you’re writing for and write for one person in this. It’s probably two people. It’s a couple, but you want to write with a single couple in mind.

You don’t wanna be jumping all over the place and thinking of seven different types of clients you might have. You want a clear picture? Write the page for one client. For example, with photographer websites that I’ve worked on, obviously photographers often have. Different types of clients within a business.

They might do weddings, but then they also might do some portraits or some brand photography. So what we’ll do is write the vast majority of the website, focusing on the specific client that they want to attract, say. Bridal couples, and then we’ll write one single page focused on maybe their senior portrait business for, for American high school portraits.

And we’ll address that specific customer on that specific page. But we wanna try and address one person at a time. Anytime you start to try to address multiple groups of people. You can confuse your messaging and start to lack that clarity that’s so important. So one reader, that’s the rule.

Becca: So know who your one reader is, get ’em in the front of your mind and make sure you’re talking just to them.

Yes, we have covered so much ground, Andrea, it’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you. Now, before we wrap things up, I always end my interviews with the same question, which I’m gonna post you now, which is this. What’s one thing you personally wish you’d known sooner in your own?

Andrea: that marketing is a marathon and not a sprint.

It is so tempting to think that you’re gonna make one Instagram post and get a bunch of new clients that you’re going to launch a website and 10 clients will come rolling in right away. And the truth is, all of that stuff is out there. It’s doing work for you. You have to keep producing consistently, keep working on it, but it’s not no one thing unless you’re super.

Is going to produce a ton of clients right away. You have to create a system and trust it and then stick to it and be consistent.

Becca: So true and so refreshing to hear you say that as well. Andrea, it’s been such a pleasure to chat to you. If people wanna find out more about your services, more about what you do, where’s the best place for them to find you?

Andrea: They can find me on my website. It’s my name andreashah.com. Not especially creative, but it gets the job done. And then you can also find me on Instagram. My username is Andrea Shah copy. And there I’ll share some copywriting tips and just other information as well as my fair share of memes. Because I can’t help myself.

Becca: Fabulous. I will make sure I link to all of those places in the show notes, and of course you’re about page so people can go and check out what on earth I was going on about and why I loved it so much. Andrea, it’s been so good to chat to you. I hope you make it to Disneyland, Paris. If you want any tips, let me know.

Andrea: Absolutely. Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. Take care. Bye.

Becca: I loved chatting with Andrea, wasn’t she great? Loved all of her tips, and to be honest, anyone who’s happy to talk to me about my Disney obsession is always gonna be a new friend. Hopefully you got loads of great tips on how to improve your website copy, and if you do make any changes and want other people to have a look at them, why not go ahead and share them in my free Facebook community Wedding Pros who are ready to grow, and drop me a message on Instagram and let me know how you got on.

If you’ve got a wedding industry friend who you think would find this episode helpful, then why not share the podcast with them? We’re here to help. I’ll see you next week.

Becca xo

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