March 1, 2021 | Sean Foo
Everyone in the world recognizes Apple.
We know the brand as a creator of sleek devices, an innovator in tech and a genius when it comes to delivering amazing experiences to their customers.
But that’s not all.
If you look under the hood and really read through their sales pages, you will realize the people in Apple aren’t just marketing maestros, they are masters in copywriting.
They are prodigies when it comes to communicating and convincing readers through the power of the written word.
And truthfully, they have to be!
With Samsung as the current market leader of smartphone sales (Apple being placed only #4 in 2020), Apple will have to fire on all cylinders to stay competitive.
That means creating top-notch sales experiences that get sales. And when it comes to selling online, Apple does this phenomenally on their landing pages by crafting copy that simply outshines the messaging of their competitors.
Copy that transforms their products from just another shiny product on the shelf to a beautiful object of desire and need.
Copywriting and persuasive elements that speak directly to the hearts and minds of their readers – making it near impossible to walk away empty-handed.
In this post, we’ll be going through how (and why) Apple’s copywriting is so effective at captivating attention, building desire and inspiring readers to take action.
Each of Apple’s landing pages takes you through a journey with the copy whispering seductively as you continue to scroll.
Going beyond just time-tested sales copywriting principles, Apple utilizes persuasive elements that engage and convince readers that they truly do desire the product and that there is nothing else like it on the market!
Here’s 16 copywriting techniques Apple uses that you must know (and how to use them for your own copy!)
We live in a world of short attention spans and unless you capture attention within seconds, your readers will leave.
Apple knows this and focuses on showcasing one single big idea – one big takeaway that summarizes everything about their product.
While the standard practice for writing headlines is to focus on your biggest or most unique benefit, Apple bucks this trend by focusing on what they want their audience to takeaway.
A single commanding idea that speaks not just to the logical mind, but to emotions and ego.
Even without reading the rest of the copy, readers have a clear idea that the Macbook Pro is the best laptop for smart people looking to do great things.
However, Apple isn’t hesitant to use a benefit-oriented approach to their big idea headline.
The competition for tablets is fierce with price being a big factor that affects the purchasing decision.
Apple’s big takeaway idea for their iPad focuses on how versatile and useful it is while being affordable (even though it is an Apple product).
By using the adverbs ‘delightfully’ and ‘surprisingly’, Apple adds more depth and stokes curiosity in their reader to the benefits – enticing them to read on and discover why.
As David Ogilvy famously mentioned “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
What is the one central idea you want your reader to leave with?
What is the big benefit of your product or service that makes it unique?
Focus on just one big idea and make it stick.
Most copywriters follow the conventional wisdom of presenting benefits first and then justifying them with the product’s features.
Apple bucks this tradition by showcasing their product features first – including it in their subheadings and then highlights what the features can do as a benefit.
By championing their ‘8-core CPU’ feature of their Macbook Air and then highlighting how energy efficient and performance-focused it is, Apple subtly elevates a simple feature that many modern computers have into something that seems unique and premium to the Macbook Air.
The copy doesn’t just relay information to the reader, the copy itself is alive.
It possesses character.
It has spirit.
It is brimming with the intangibles that elevate good copy to great copy.
While it is good practice to always lead with your product’s benefits first, sometimes it pays to put your features first.
But should you use this strategy when you write copy?
Here are 3 things to ask yourself:
– Am I selling a unique product or a bespoke service?
– Is the price point of my solution premium? (meaning more expensive compared to others in the market)
– Am I trying to increase my product’s (and brand’s) perceived value beyond its actual utility?
If you get 2 or more ‘yeses’ then consider leading with features first!
From iMac desktops to the Apple Watch, Apple sells a variety of products to different groups of audiences – and that means the need to communicate differently in their sales copy.
Apple cleverly designs each of their landing page and crafts copy that is best suited to the specific buyer persona that their product is truly meant for.
The copy is crafted to speak to a specific archetype, someone whom the product is truly created for – and if anyone else buys the product, great.
While Apple is known to get really technical in the details, they focused on making the copy for their iPad light-hearted, fun and simple to understand for their target audience – casual users.
From students to creatives and even seniors, the copy for their iPad’s sales page is approachable, filled with vivid color and is highly benefit-driven first.
Contrast this to the copy for their Mac Pro – Apple’s premium workstation (priced from US$5,999) meant for serious work by serious professionals.
Packed with rich technical information about the product features, Apple understands that going deep into the details is what is important to their audience here.
If you are making a serious investment into your computer hardware as a professional, you want to know everything about it – and you probably know the significance of each component.
You don’t need a superficial reminder of benefits from Apple, you want to know the machine’s technical capabilities.
You want the information to do your own research.
Always write for your intended audience – that means placing yourself in their shoes.
All too often, it is easy for marketers to write copy that is self-serving or using the same approach across their different products and services.
This is especially true when you are writing B2B copy, they do not play by the same rules as compared to the B2C world.
If you are writing B2B copy, remember to first flesh out your customer persona – it will be the roadmap to their desires and how you should craft your message to resonate with them.
Even in politics, sound bites such as the “Green New Deal” help to capture attention and allow audiences to remember and refer to an entire movement, policy or proposal in just a few simple words.
They stand out in a sea of words, get straight to the point and most importantly – they are highly memorable.
To describe the power of their new M1 CPU chip, Apple uses a sound bite to succinctly capture the essence of the M1 chip that was specifically designed for their Macs.
“Small Chip. Giant Leap” is a sound bite that uses the power of rhymes, allowing readers to remember the key takeaway of their new chip – small in size but much more technologically advanced.
Writing sound bites is a winning formula when it comes to writing copy – especially if you are trying to convey a complex idea or bring attention to a key benefit.
Just remember the 3 universal traits of good sound bites:
‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ was the headline of Apple’s first marketing brochure in 1977 and is still a guiding principle for the brand when it comes to their product development and of course in their copywriting as well.
People today scan for key phrases, headlines and keywords – they don’t really read every piece of copy until they encounter something that catches their attention that they care about.
Apple understands this and keeps their copy concise, sharp and witty – a powerful combination to quickly grab and command attention.
Note how Apple uses the witty idiom ‘Blow out of the water’ (a term that means ‘to thoroughly defeat’) in a way to highlight how superior their iPhone’s water resistance is compared to the competition.
Instead of diving into a long exposition on how rigorous the testing is, this simple line captures all the necessary information for the reader to digest and then moves along to the next section.
Complexity is good, but simplicity is even better.
When you have the chance to explain a feature or a benefit simply, it is smarter to just use a few words when you can than an entire paragraph to deliver the same meaning.
The saying ‘Fortune favors the bold’ doesn’t stop as just a life lesson, it is an effective marketing strategy to use – especially if you know your product is unique, novel or just downright superior.
Being bold after all is a law of business power.
Apple showcases sell their iPad Pro through bold statements that show supreme confidence in the product and what it can deliver.
From being a ‘magical piece of glass’ to being able to ‘transform reality’ with speeds that ‘most PC laptops can’t catch up’, Apple is holding nothing back.
However, the true show of confidence lies in the headline ‘Your next computer is not a computer’.
By making such a statement, Apple has already assumed the sale.
Apple immediately captures attention authoritatively and frames their product as being the superior option in the market.
Being bold with your claims doesn’t have to be simply stating you are the best.
Apple challenges their reader to find a better alternative to the iPad Pro’s display, immediately framing the feature as being the best around.
Using bold statements is great, but unless it is done tastefully, it can reach the point of arrogance.
To incorporate this effectively into your copy, here are some rules to remember:
The end goal here is to trigger an emotion that will lead to your reader investigating further by reading the rest of your copy.
Copy vs design – which is more important when it comes to conversions?
The true answer is both.
Apple does this perfectly by harmonizing their copy with the design and images – they created an effective visual hierarchy that leads readers down a path to truly appreciate what their product can do and then visualize themselves using it.
By leading with a benefit-driven headline and copy before unveiling more cool features as the reader scrolls down, they have effectively created a browsing experience that is immersive and attention-grabbing.
Visuals and design are just as important as the written message you are trying to convey.
Whether you are selling on a landing page or an email, ensuring you have established a solid visual hierarchy is key to allowing the message to flow smoothly.
Do it right and you would have enhanced the entire sales experience for your reader.
While Apple is known for going highly technical in their product descriptions for their tech products, they understand the value of going deep into the details for even seemingly unassuming features.
Take the copy describing essentially what is a watch strap on the Apple Watch Hermès.
By going hyper-detailed into the description of the strap, Apple transform this simple leather strap into a work of art which makes it core to the experience of the overall product
Going detailed and being specific in calling out details such as a ‘40mm stainless steel case’ and ‘wraps elegantly twice around the wrist’, Apple subtly invokes a sense of precision and attention to detail not just to their product, but the Apple brand itself.
This is exactly how luxury and recognized brands like Steinway pianos craft their messaging – with deep attention to detail.
Going deep into the details might build the perception of the value of your product, but is it always the right move for you?
If the price point of your product is purposefully low or the audience you are speaking to just views your product as a commodity, it pays to get straight to the point and only showcase what’s needed.
When you are selling a personal product, something that would be used daily by your customer – getting personal and making it all about them and their needs is the winning formula.
Apple focuses on the potential buyer and what their Apple Watch can deliver to them.
Just in the hero section itself, the word ‘your’ was repeated four times (and over 52 times in the entire sales copy).
The copy is all about the potential buyer and what they can benefit from it – it’s a showcase of benefit after benefit from the perspective of the wearer.
Apple identified a unique selling point of their Apple Watch – the health monitoring aspect and went full force into making it all about how it can benefit the customer.
All too often, we tend to showcase what we feel is awesome about the product and not put ourselves in the shoes of the customer.
Whether you are looking to champion a specific feature or a big overall benefit, ask yourself:
“How can my customer really benefit from my product?”
“What is important to them that I need to highlight?”
Then angle them into the copy from the perspective of the person using your product (or experiencing your solution).
One of the most effective copywriting techniques is storytelling. Stories are memorable and done right, allowing your reader to really appreciate your solution or product even more.
To highlight the development process of their ‘EarPods’, Apple wrote a mini-story on their website on the pains and efforts taken to perfect the earpiece:
The development story paints a picture for the reader of how rigorous the tests are, from running in harsh conditions while moving vigorously. This stirs the imagination and adds a deeper meaning compared to a static claim of how hardy and resilient their earphones are.
By incorporating a story into their sales copy, readers could appreciate the depth of research, tests and hard work that went into the creation of the EarPods.
While it is easy to write the inception story of your company, writing a story about your product itself sometimes is much harder.
Think deeply about how your product and ask yourself:
Stories are powerful tools and if you can utilize them, don’t miss the chance!
Good copy informs clearly, but masterful copy leaves the reader wanting to learn more and one of the key principles of stoking desire is to build intrigue.
Have you ever read a sentence that didn’t reveal what it meant entirely but captured your curiosity so much that you just had to read the rest of the content?
Congratulations – you had been intrigued.
Apple cleverly uses hints, misdirection and hides powerful features behind seemingly outlandish statements that begin with the reader scratching their head before smiling in amazement and awe.
While the term ‘rearrange your face’ could mean anything from changing your facial expressions to a consequence of getting into a physical altercation, Apple boldly uses it to capture the attention of readers.
This focuses their attention on the rest of the copy as it explains this powerful feature of customizing the face of the Apple Watch.
This same strategy is used as the hook to get the reader to learn more about their rather complex ECG app feature built into the Apple Watch.
The leading sentence ‘Your finger can tell you a lot about your heart’ is intriguing and lures prospects into reading the rest of the copy to learn what it really is about.
Building intrigue in your reader is one of the hardest copywriting techniques to pull-off, but the pay-off is great, especially if your offering is unique, premium or limited-edition.
The key is to create a ‘curiosity gap’ in your headlines or subheadings and not to give away the whole story.
Your aim is to create a ‘knowledge and understanding gap’ in your reader that requires them to dive deeper into your content to satisfy their itch.
Describing product quality can get tricky.
You don’t want to lead your reader down a rabbit-hole of information filled with jargon that they probably won’t care about (or even understand its significance).
Thankfully, you can use analogies to link a characteristic or trait already known in your reader’s mind to your product quality.
Apple intelligently links the quality of their iPhone’s aluminium casing to that of aerospace-grade quality (or technology) – making it seem more premium due to its precision engineering.
Analogies are powerful and are easily understood, especially if your product is something novel.
However, using the right analogy is critical and should fulfill the following criteria:
A picture speaks a thousand words, however, it pays to use your copy to enhance the visuals and allow your reader to really experience and visualize what your product can really be.
While Apple could just drop a headline, slap on a picture and leave it be, they took the time to describe to the reader what exactly they are seeing and how the experience with the retina display will be.
Think of it this way – Apple is giving the reader a concierge museum tour, where the artwork is described to the viewer, unlocking new ideas and ways of seeing things they probably never would have realized.
This allows for greater appreciation of the product, giving it a level of reverence – and in marketing speak, that means premium pricing!
Illustrations and pictures add enormous value to the context of your sales copy, but sometimes it pays big to use copy to enhance the visuals.
To do this well, think about the feature you are trying to tell (or sell). What do you want your reader to take away that they wouldn’t realize even after viewing the image.
Then take the chance and use your copy to tell a story that is appealing, informative and most importantly – persuasive!
When it comes to building trust in your product, social proof is hands-down the most effective persuasive tool in your arsenal.
To help identify their Macbook Pro with excellent performance for serious work on the go, Apple utilizes a mixture of targeted influencer endorsements and customer testimonials to establish credibility with their audience.
This endorsement from Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer, Oak Felder, immediately underscores how powerful the Macbook Pro is and how even the best use it to make their music.
However, not everyone is a superstar and only having Oak Felder as social proof might foster a disconnect with users who just want to do their best work.
By utilizing Laure De Mey’s testimonial, Apple lets readers know that professionals who are likely on their level also trust the power of Macbook Pro to get their everyday work done.
Harnessing the power of social proof today is fast becoming non-negotiable, however, the question to ask is what type of social proof should you utilize?
From customer testimonials and ratings to influencer endorsements and brand logos, not every type of social proof is best suited for your product or audience.
In fact, using the wrong type of social proof could backfire.
It is key you fully understand your customer persona and what influences them first.
Here’s a list of the 8 most common types of social proof you can leverage to establish trust on your sales page.
The twin brother of analogies, metaphors are a figure of speech that describes something in a way that isn’t literally true, but helps make a comparison and explain a concept or idea.
Heard of the phrases ‘heart of gold’, ‘black sheep’ and ‘couch potato’?
Metaphors allow you to immediately link an idea with an existing saying your reader already knows – it helps to represent abstract concepts and give them life and color.
Apple’s landing page for their AirPods Max is littered with metaphors that serve to present complex features such as audio quality in a way that has a deeper meaning.
Take the design of the AirPods Max, trying to convey exactly what the designers of the product think about their precious creation to the reader would take paragraphs upon paragraphs of copy – ruining the reading experience.
But through the use of metaphors such as ‘A radically original composition’, readers will be able to appreciate how intricate and groundbreaking the design is.
After all, the metaphor of an ‘original composition’ links the idea to that of a musical composition – the fruit of a painstaking and creative process.
To describe the audio quality, Apple used a dual metaphor ‘Sounds like a dream’ to imbue two distinct meanings to the feature:
This is copywriting mastery at its finest, very subtle but extremely effective.
Need to add color to an idea but find it hard to find the correct words?
Use metaphors to do the heavy lifting for you!
Here’s a great guide by Copyblogger on how to effectively use them for your sales copy and content creation in general.
It can be easy to assume that a brand like Apple prefers the understated and ‘classy’ approach to copywriting – but that’s not exactly the case!
Power words and proclaiming your product is superior have always played a significant part in amping up the persuasiveness of any sales copy.
Apple is no exception to the rule and embraces the use of power words such as ‘Exclusive’, ‘Powerful’ and even ‘Free’ when the situation calls for it.
The word ‘best’ is often overused everywhere, from a normal conversation to tv commercials.
But Apple understands its power and confidently utilizes it on their sales page pitching their suite of products to higher educational institutions.
By using the word ‘best’ twice here, Apple seeks to convey supreme confidence in their products and how it can help unlock the full potential of the students – something every university seeks to accomplish.
Power words might seem cliche and sometimes even sleazy, but they do play an important role when you want to emphasize an aspect of your product or service.
Just be sure you select the right power word (here’s a comprehensive list) that fits the context and message of your copy.
After writing it down, ask yourself one simple question – is this true and can I back this claim up with 100% confidence if anyone asks me about it?
If the answer is yes – then go ahead and use it!
When it comes to planning the content and copy of your sales page, always be prepared to pre-emptively address the doubts and concerns your audience has.
Showing how awesome your product is only half of the persuasion picture.
Apple’s sales page to their corporate clients addresses a big concern that businesses, big or small, have with new IT products – how difficult it is to effectively deploy the new devices.
By putting this front and center, Apple confidently assures their corporate prospects that with Apple products, deployment is swift, easy and seamless.
And if you are slick enough, you can combine knocking away an objection with one of the features of the product itself!
Apple does this brilliantly by understanding the difficulties of students lugging their laptops to and around their university campus – the weight & how cumbersome it can be.
The copy ‘light in your backpack’ cleverly tackles an objection of how heavy their iPad might be with its inherent light-weight feature.
A Macbook Pro 16” starts from US$2,399 – a high price tag for what is essentially a laptop. While they might have a loyal fan base looking to get a new Apple product, many can’t afford it.
Apple knows this and price is always a concern and potential objection. To address this, they specifically feature their trade-in scheme at the end of the landing page when a decision was to be made.
Finding objections is simple, deciding on the right ones to feature is the hard part.
Ask yourself 3 questions to figure out which objections to address in your sales copy:
If the answer is yes to all three of these questions then it is highly likely you want to pre-emptively address the objection.
Whether you are selling an awesome phone or not, your sales copy is going to be a big deciding factor whether you get the conversions you desire or not.
So take the time to first understand your buyer and investigate what truly matters to them before you write a single word.
Keep in mind what makes your product special and utilize the copywriting techniques above, if it worked for Apple – it’ll likely work for you too!
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