PPC campaigns, email marketing, social media management, SEO optimisation or good old-fashioned word of mouth.
All are viable and potentially profitable methods to grow your brand. But they’re also all very different.
A PPC expert couldn’t run a successful email campaign, just as a social media guru might struggle to achieve better rankings in SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Marketing is a multifaceted beast. Yet, regardless of the different stratagems, approaches or “hacks” required for each marketing process, there’s one element that is present throughout:
Call me biased, but in any of the areas mentioned above, marketing would only fall flat with good copywriting.
- Keyword research is useless if you produce crappy content.
- Standing out on busy social media sites necessitates well-crafted messages.
- And PPC ads need to be compelling if they will solicit all necessary click-throughs.
Whatever marketing method you specialise in, the ability to communicate effectively underpins your success.
And that’s a lot harder than it appears.
You’ve got to understand how to tell prospective customers what you can do for them and how to do it in the most practical terms.
And you’ve got to go beyond just writing copy. You’ve got to focus on conversions and employ a method now commonly known as conversion copywriting.
What Is Copywriting in Marketing?
Copywriting for marketing refers to all the content created for marketing outside your content marketing plan. Your content marketing includes your blog and social media channels.
Outside, you have landing pages, banner ads, direct email campaigns, and product descriptions.
Here are a couple of examples:
Landing pages are meant to be a gateway for visitors who have found your site through organic search or Google Adwords.
That gateway sends people further into your site, calls upon them to sign up for your newsletter, gets them to buy something, or does several other conversion-based actions.
The copy is usually concise and purposeful, including a call to action to get people to convert.
Here is an example of a compelling landing page from Monday’s content planning tool.
The most successful direct emails use brief, conversational content that speaks directly to a specific audience. They invite people who have already signed up for emails or bought something to re-engage with your brand.
Here’s an excellent example from the work management app Asana:
The copy for these emails tends to be written in a friendly and helpful tone. It describes a problem and positions your product or service as a solution. Finally, it includes a call to action that helps visitors get closer to solving that problem.
What Is Conversion Copywriting?
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Even if few in number, the right words carefully chosen and arranged in the right way can be the most powerful message you can deliver.
Of course, images, CTA placement and sleek UX all help create a more streamlined path to purchase, but the words you write will convince prospective customers to take a chance on your brand.
And this is where conversion copywriting differs from regular copywriting.
Sure, both use words to communicate effectively with your audience. But conversion copywriting narrows its focus. Whatever the content, there’s always a singular goal:
To elicit an action.
Take a look at this example from Domino’s Pizza:
Their message is simple and enticing. For six bucks each, you can mix and match all their pizzas and sides and eliminate the hassle of deciding what to eat.
It’s about delivering the right message at the right time to the right people, a message so compelling your visitors would be fools to not take the action you want them to.
That action could be:
- Clicking a button
- Sharing on social media
- Adding an item to a cart
- Signing up for a list
- Simply staying on the page for a more extended period
Conversion copywriting is specific. It focuses on a single action and bends words, phrases and selling points to achieve that single action.
A conversion copywriter is not a jack-of-all-trades that can be employed across channels or goals. It’s the plumber hired to fix a leak, the electrician you bring in to repair that flickering light or the savvy marketer you get in to increase sales.
Conversion copywriting is a powerhouse of persuasion. It blends an intensely scientific analysis with creative flair to create a message so laser-focused that your target audience cannot help but take the action you want them to.
Here’s how the progenitor of the term, Joanna Wiebe, describes conversion copywriting:
“Conversion copywriting is there to take the best of direct response copywriting, that old-school kind of stuff, and the best of what we know about human decision-making, the best of user experience styles like we know about designing experiences, and moving people to act using an interface, or just the knowledge itself.
All those pieces come together to create conversion copywriting, where the goal is getting people to act.”
Conversion copywriting isn’t easy, and it isn’t purely art. Creating content that holds the attention and makes people want to click is no cakewalk.
There’s a lot that goes into creating a kick-ass copy.
You must channel your inner nutty professor if you want your words to convert. You’ve got to follow a scientific process to understand exactly what your readers want.
But once you know, you can unleash the madness and implement those messages creatively.
We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to help you create copy that converts. We have also created a spreadsheet that makes referencing all your research 10X easier.
The spreadsheet and guide work hand in hand. Before you move on, click the link below and copy the spreadsheet to your own Google Drive.
Get Your Conversion Copywriting Spreadsheet
What Does a Copywriter Do?
Before creating a conversion copywriting plan, let’s discuss exactly what a copywriter does.
A copywriter writes the text for all marketing and promotional materials. On any given day, a copywriter is researching, writing, editing, and choosing images while staying on brand.
Copywriter ensures anything they create remains consistent with their company’s message, tone, and voice and that it addresses their audience in a clear and approachable way.
Let’s look at some of the responsibilities of a copywriter more closely.
SEO Content Creation
Content created for the web, particularly landing pages, must be optimised for SEO.
A good website copywriter will work with other marketing team members to find strong keywords to create the framework of their text.
Those keywords will inform titles and subheads.
Website copywriting not only includes primary and secondary keywords but will also match search intent.
Here’s an excellent copywriting example for SEO from TravelPirates. I searched for New Year’s Eve travel deals, and this was the first search result that wasn’t an ad.
The primary keyword is used in the title and subhead, and a secondary keyword, New Year’s Eve, is all over the page. They have user intent covered with search options like New Year’s Eve Parties and Where to Travel Based on Your Resolutions.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
Website copywriters are also responsible for creating text that boosts conversions.
Whether you want your visitors to sign up for your newsletter or buy your product, good copy on your site can help get visitors excited about you and push them toward converting.
This is another reason why landing page optimisation is essential.
Use SEO to get people to your landing page first, then optimise it for CRO to take your target audience further down the sales funnel.
Check out this landing page from Capital One’s Paribus app.
They tell you exactly why you should sign up for this app: to get money back from your purchases. Then, they make it easy to start an account using your email sign-in.
Why wouldn’t you want to do this?
Content for email blasts and targeted email campaigns also falls under the purview of the copywriter.
They create engaging text that draws visitors back to your site through personalised emails with actionable languages, like the Asana example I mentioned earlier.
The writing is clear to the point and invites the recipient to do just one thing: taking advantage of a sale or signing up for a webinar.
The sales copywriter creates copy for all sales materials: brochures, booth signage, presentations, whitepapers, etc. The goal for this type of text is lead generation. How can your message draw in new potential customers?
As an example, take a look at all the copy used by business printing brands and design company MOO at a trade show:
Suppose your business is in sectors like tech, healthcare or research. There will likely be a certain amount of technical writing in that case. Copywriters who do this kind of work usually specialise in a particular field. They are subject matter experts in the area for which they’re writing.
How to Become a Copywriter in 8 Steps
No matter what kind of content you create, there are specific skills that all copywriters must have beyond good writing skills.
Here are some practical tips on how to Copywrite.
- Know how to do your research: All copywriting projects start with research. What is the product or service? Who is your audience? Are there statistics to back up your claims? The key to good copywriting is to ask the right questions and know where to find the answers.
- Hone your interviewing skills: In some cases, your research will involve interviewing a source, whether an SME (subject matter expert) or an internal resource.
- Get comfortable writing for different formats: As I mentioned above, a copywriter creates content for various print and online materials. It takes practice, but you’ll need to be comfortable switching gears and writing for different formats often.
- Get familiar with SEO techniques: Read up on search engine optimisation. You won’t be successful if you’re not drawing in customers through organic search, and doing that means creating copy that ranks in search engines.
- Test your copy for CRO: Once you’ve drawn in visitors, you want them to convert. Write clear, compelling copy and actionable CTAs. Use split testing to determine which are the most effective.
- Understand your audience: A good copywriter is an expert in their brand’s target audience. They can write copy that pinpoints common problems using natural language.
- Learn how to conduct image research: Image research tends to fall on copywriters, particularly in smaller companies. The content creator would choose the image that best suits the text. You’ll need to understand which images draw in your audience effectively and know the best places to find them.
- Edit, edit, edit: A good copywriter is also a good copy editor. Edit for readability, clarity, voice, tone and branding. Learn how to be merciless with your own text.
Start at the End
One of the basic tenets of conversion optimisation is to stay on message.
“One page, one purpose” is the cry of many growth marketers, and with good reason.
Distractions destroy conversions.
And it’s easy to add those distractions when writing without a plan.
So before you write a single word of copy, you must first understand what it should achieve. And that begins with asking yourself: What are you trying to achieve?
The answer should be specific and actionable. Vague, BS business buzzwords as a goal aren’t going to cut it.
Increasing brand reach, getting the word out, and improving sales aren’t actionable on an individual level.
Sure, they’re the final result, but how are these goals achieved? Through small, individual actions.
- Customers don’t increase your list size; they sign up for a newsletter, lead gen offer or handout.
- A prospect doesn’t help you increase revenue; they purchase a product.
- You don’t get the word out; readers share a piece on social media.
These are the goals you need to set. You’ve got to drill down and understand what actions an individual visitor can take to achieve your goal.
This comes easier to some than others. Depending on how far along your marketing you are, you might already understand the explicit goal of an email, blog post, or landing page.
But for those who aren’t sure, I recommend asking the following questions in this order to help formulate a loose hypothesis.
Who’s your target audience?
Our target audience is young adults looking for cheap holiday deals.
What problems do they face?
Paying too much for travel.
How are you going to solve their problem?
Educate them on the best methods to find cheap flights / Offer a service that finds them more affordable flights.
Why: Why do you need to improve this piece of copy?
We need this email to help us increase sales. / This email needs improving because conversions are below industry standards.
What: What is the actionable goal of the copy?
We want people to click the email link to a purchase page. / We want more people to click the link in the email.
How: How are you going to achieve the goal?
The email will detail a time-sensitive offer before presenting a prominent CTA.
The answers above are nothing but placeholders for you right now. They’re based on your opinion, which, while valid, counts for little in the eyes of your audience.
What the answers do provide is a direction. Sure it’s fundamental, but writing out what you want to achieve will help you stay on track and quickly understand when you stray too far from the purpose.
I’ll drop a reminder later in the guide, but once you’ve completed your research stage, you should head back to amend your answers before writing.
Once you’ve mapped out the basics of your goals, it’s time to move on to understanding how you will communicate your key messages.
Every visitor to your business is fighting their own battle. And each person is at a different stage of that battle.
Some have only just discovered they have a problem, others know the kind of solution they need, and some are sold on your service as the solution already.
These stages are often referred to as the stages of awareness. You’ve got to understand which stage your prospective customers are at to hit them with the perfect message at the right time.
Eugene Schwartz outlined the primary stages of awareness. Knowing which awareness stage your prospective customers are at will affect the kind of copy you produce.
I’ve built on Schwartz’s stages below and added some extra information about the content you’ll need to produce.
People who know and trust your brand. They may even have purchased from you in the past.
Show them the product and tell them the price.
People who know what you offer. They’re likely comparing your product against your competitors to find the best deal.
These people are going to respond best to direct offers. They know what you offer, so they just need a push to take a chance on you instead of your competitor. Offering a discount is a very effective push.
They know their problem, and they know what the solution is. They just haven’t found a product that solves the problem.
You’ve got to show them why your product is better than others on the market. Offer proof and evidence of why your solution is so unique.
They know they have a problem but aren’t aware of the solution.
These guys are looking for help solving their problems. Content that exacerbates their anxiety and presents the solution is ideal.
Everyone else. They don’t have a problem and don’t need a solution.
The stages of awareness will significantly impact the kind of copy you produce in more ways than one. At the fundamental level, it will dictate the focus of your copy. It tells you what people at that stage need to see to progress to the next step.
It’s also going to affect the length of your content.
Take a look at these examples for a Capital One Credit Card.
The first is the number-one PPC result when searching “best credit card for travel miles.”
The search term signifies a solution-aware visitor. They know the kind of product they want and are narrowing their search to the best option.
Capital One has allowed solution-aware visitors to compare all the products they offer. Each entry is accompanied by its chief selling points, making it easy for someone to find the product that provides the right solution.
Now take a look at the screenshot below.
That’s the landing page from a Google search of “Capital One Venture Card.” The search signifies a visitor who knows the product they want.
And true to Eugene Schwartz’s advice, Capital One provides a shorter page that focuses on the product and offers a $0 fee to solicit a sale.
You can see that while both pages are pushing the same products, they have a very different focus and are very much tailored to another need.
Understanding a prospective customer’s awareness stage helps narrow the focus of your copy, along with dictating its general length.
Nailing the stage of awareness is critical to getting your targeting right.
Understanding What Your Audience Wants
We’ve got a goal for the copy and know the stage of awareness it’s aimed at.
We have one more research stage left before hitting the writing phase. And it’s a bit of a pain, to be honest.
But when done correctly, it’s not only going to give you the words, phrases, and tone your audience wants to hear, but it’s also going to take the hard work out of writing your copy.
Be sure to complete this stage. Brands that do end up with copy based on their opinion, which is a surefire way to create copy that will fail.
You’re going to throw yourself into the middle of your target audience. You’re going to learn everything about them. Their complaints, gripes, and the way they speak.
We’re not looking at a traditional audience persona here. We’re focusing on problems, desires, wants, and needs.
We will start with collecting some implicit data before heading straight to the target customer for their opinion.
Here’s how to get on the right track.
We’re going to collect a set of information from your target audience. We’re going to look into the way they talk about:
- Your brand
- Your products
- Your competitors
- Your competitors’ products
The key to diving into implicit data is to know what you’re looking for. Ignore any references that state a product/service is good or bad.
You really need to know the why. You’re looking to find what makes your target audience think that way.
Joanna Wiebe has written a few great articles about collating data and swiping your copy. She offers an excellent template for recording your findings.
You can find a slightly amended version of Joanna Wiebe’s approach in the second tab of your spreadsheet below.
Check Out The “Audiences” Tab of Your Conversion Copywriting Spreadsheet
You’ll notice four columns and fill them in with the following.
Problems: The problem your prospective customer faces / The problem a product solves
Benefits: The benefits of solving that problem
Shortfalls: What your target audience wants but doesn’t currently have access to
Language: Any standout phrases or wording
As soon as you come across something that fits one of the above essential areas, add it to the spreadsheet.
If something comes up twice, then add it twice. Don’t worry about duplicate entries or even the little highlights that might appear. We’ll come to them later.
Now let’s find out what people are saying.
Social media has become the go-to place for consumers to brag, complain or simply shoot the breeze. There’s a ton of information available on various social media networks. You just have to know where to look.
You can jump on a social listening tool like Social Mention or ViralHeat or set up a dashboard of relevant search terms.
The above is an example from Hootsuite. I set up a quick dashboard that monitors mentions of large airlines.
There are always complaints on social media, and they can be a great way to find what elements of a service customers like, dislike or feel are lacking.
Any instance of people getting a little positive or negative vocal is a great way to understand what customers want.
If I drill down into the complaints against British Airways on the right, we find the below rants:
And just like that, we have our first elements to add to the spreadsheet.
Once you’ve got a good deal of info from social networks, it’s time to see what people say in reviews.
The type of product or service you offer will dictate where you search for reviews. Apps will head to the App store, restaurants to Yelp, business software to G2crowd, etc.
No matter what service, product, or solution you’re selling, check out Amazon, as well — and not just for reviews on similar products.
Check out the reviews on Amazon books that address your key offering. The self-help sections are significant since they represent people actively seeking problem-solving assistance.
Let’s put it into context and stick with the flight theme. Imagine you have a course that teaches readers how to travel more cheaper.
You need to ask now, “What are the people you want to sell to going to be reading?”
For cheap flights, people might be looking for books that advise them on affordable travel.
The image below results from searching “Find Cheap Flights” on Amazon.
The top result has 64 reviews, so it’s a great place to start.
Open it up, head down to the reviews and start digging through to see what you can find.
A quick note – I’d recommend ignoring one-star reviews. Generally speaking, they offer little value.
They’re often written by those who aren’t the target demographic and are filled with irrelevant information and opinions. They usually offer little more than “this is not good,” which is useless to us.
The above is the first listed review.
We need to go super in-depth to the other pages of reviews to pull some useful information from these.
- There’s a lot of mention of the tips being common sense. (A pain point for individuals is seeing similar, obvious information regurgitated across the web.)
- Unsurprisingly, the cost is a massive factor for nearly every reviewer.
- There are a couple of mentions of the term step-by-step. (People want you to spell out the exact actions for them.)
- There are a lot of mentions of search sites people were unaware of. (People don’t know where to go to compare flights.)
Go through as many reviews of related products as possible to find what your target audience finds valuable about the information provided.
Mine the reviews for crucial points, problems solved, and the language they like to use.
Forums and Comment Sites
The final stage of implicit data collection revolves around forum sites.
Forums are unique places to gather data. They’re ongoing conversations; you’ll receive more information than a single review or opinion.
People love coming in and offering their take on a topic. The best conversations are those that are divisive. They usually have the longest comment streams and get to the heart of people’s thoughts.
Unfortunately, there’s not a massive selection of free tools that will allow you to search across multiple forums.
The aforementioned Social Mention, however, does include forums within its search parameters.
You can either use Social Mention and sift through the results for something relevant or head to various forums and social sites like Reddit, find the appropriate sub-Reddit or conversation and search for relevant comments.
Save Yourself a Little Time
Collecting implicit data is something that’s going to take an age. All the tools I’ve recommended so far are free.
However, you might have to invest in a paid service to cut down on time. Some great listening tools are available to collate data from all sources into one place, but for a price.
If you want to spend a little cash on saving time, check out Brand24.
It’s similar to many of the other paid listening services but also comes with a free demo period so you can see what value it can bring and whether it will be helpful to you.
Now let’s take a look at the secondary research stage.
Explicit Data Collection
Let’s face it, there’s no better way to understand the trials and tribulations of your target audience than to simply ask them.
You’ll not only discover what your prospective customers want and need, but you’ll also form a closer relationship with them by opening the dialogue.
But the success of your survey relies on you asking the right questions. And that’s why we collected implicit data first.
The implicit data you collect will help better target your survey questions. It will steer you away from generic questions that offer a shallow insight into the needs of your consumers.
Let’s return it to our fictional “travel for less” course.
If you’ve done no prior research, you’re going to have surveys full of generic questions like:
What problems do you experience when looking for flights?
- How often do you travel?
- If you could change one thing about travelling, what would it be?
- Why did you choose to use our service?
Don’t get me wrong. These questions are still important, especially for understanding your target audience’s language.
But the collated implicit data is going to help you better tailor them. You’ll know if any questions you would have asked aren’t necessary because they’re never talked about.
For instance, we know price is important (as is always the case). Still, we also know that people profoundly dislike “common sense” advice.
We could include a question determining what advice is determined by common sense. Any terms or gripes appearing numerous times are ones to address in your copy.
Despite its usual portrayal, surveying isn’t just about sending a mass email with a request to everyone on your email list.
Businesses are at all stages of product development and growth. Some have email lists to exploit, and some don’t. Some have significant levels of site traffic they can target, while others have a dozen visitors a month.
Thankfully there’s a survey method you can employ regardless of the stage your business is in.
For Those With No Audience
Most information around surveys says you’ve got to email those who are already invested in your brand. It’s good advice because those already invested in your brand are more likely to give accurate feedback.
But if you’re a new business and haven’t yet built a base, there are still steps you can take.
Google Surveys will present a survey of up to 10 questions to customers through their publishing network.
Customers are incentivised to complete the survey, so you should have a wide range of results.
Targeting is based on basic demographic filters, so you might not get the perfect prospects answering your surveys, but it’s better than nothing.
Amanda DiSilvestro has created a great guide on getting started with Google Surveys. You can check it out here.
Site Visitors but No Email List
First things first. What the hell are you doing without an email list? Sort that out before you do anything else.
If you have a decent traffic level but need an email list, consider using a customer decision analysis tool like Qualaroo.
Surveying Your Current Audience
This is the best option. You should have an email list of potentially interested people for your product or service.
These are the people who are going to be purchasing from you, which makes them the best guide for choosing copy that will have the maximum effect.
When it comes to an existing customer base, you can jump on one of the services like SurveyMonkey to ask the right questions.
Customer Survey Best Practices
When creating your survey, steer well clear of multiple choice.
Multiple choice is pretty useless when finding the right words to sell to your audience.
Remember, we’re looking for the language they use to describe their troubles, so you want to let them ramble on a bit.
Along with using open-ended questions, you’re going to want to follow these guidelines:
- Keep your survey as short as it can be without compromising quality.
- Each question should have one objective.
- Ask questions neutrally. Don’t lead the customer. You’re trying to find out what they think.
- Devise a logical question flow.
Finding What’s Important
At this stage, you’ll have a spreadsheet full of your target audience’s pain points, thoughts, and needs.
But not all of that is going to be helpful.
You’re going to have to cut out single references and solitary issues. Yes, you’re creating a targeted message. Still, you need that targeted message to appeal to as many people within your audience as possible.
So sift through your collected information and tally how often a pain point or desire is mentioned.
The more often mentioned, the more critical it is for you.
If you downloaded our spreadsheet, there’s already a formula highlighting duplicate entries for easy identification (the first eight language entries are automatically copied over to tab three, “Final Report,” for you).
I recommend cutting duplicates from this sheet and pasting them into the relevant section on sheet 3. It just collects all valuable data in one easy-to-use space.
Suppose you’re not using our free download (or even if you are, do this as a double-check). In that case, I recommend sorting the first three columns alphabetically. Just as a reminder, those three columns are:
That’ll help group your entries that begin with the same letter together, so you’ll have an easier time noticing where entries are duplicated.
Copy and paste any duplicates that you’ve missed into sheet 3.
This is where we take a step back and look at our hypothesis.
Use the information you now have at your disposal to revisit your initial thoughts and bring them more in line with the desires of your customers.
Get Your Wireframe Right
So now you know what your customers want, and you have a sheet of their language.
It’s time to dive into the creation of your copy. And the first step is figuring out where everything is going to go.
And remember, copy dictates design. Your copy delivers the message, so base design around your copy elements.
Don’t worry too much about figuring out how to present your messages. There are plenty of tried-and-true formulas you can (and should) use to help structure your message.
While numerous formulas exist, I’d recommend starting with one of the following.
Learn more about the AIDA framework here.
Learn how to leverage PAS here.
Use these formulas with your research to structuring your message for maximum effect. Draw up a wireframe and list precisely what points you want to address at each stage. Include a few of the noticeable language points you picked out.
Writing Your Copy
You know what you want to say, and thanks to the framework you’ve chosen, you know how you will structure your message.
All that’s left now is to write.
But hold your horses.
This isn’t a case of sitting down, staring into the middle distance and waiting for inspiration to hit.
All that research wasn’t to gain a general idea of what to say. It’s a prepared cheat sheet containing the message you want and the right way to deliver it.
The language your prospects use to describe their problems, needs, and desires are the same language you should use to inform them about your product.
You’ve got to serve their own language back to them.
It’s partly due to expectations. If your prospect sees a headline that perfectly mimics their thoughts, they’re likelier to click.
If you can mirror more of the language your audience use back to them, they’re more likely to take note of what you’re saying.
But that mimicry of language also helps build trust.
In an old but still highly relevant study by Northwestern University, mimicry of language was found to have a direct correlation to trust.
Let’s put it in relatable terms. You’re reading this, so I assume you know more than a little about online marketing.
Now imagine you head to a digital marketing conference and are approached by a salesman trying to win you as a customer.
He says all the right things to grab your attention, throws out some relevant buzzwords and has that oh-so-lovable salesman demeanour.
But something doesn’t feel right. So you ply him with in-depth questions about the product. All that’s returned are the same tired buzzwords every other salesman on the floor is spewing.
“We’ll help increase your conversions, create custom omnichannel experiences”, and so on.
But when it comes to the specific terms you believe to be necessary, statistical significance, banner blindness, latent conversion, etc., they haven’t a clue.
Now, where does your trust in that brand lie?
Sure, they know the general buzzwords anyone could learn after 10 minutes on a digital marketing website. But they don’t understand some pretty key terms for success.
Would you trust them to handle your conversion optimisation? Or are you now questioning their ability?
Using the correct language to convey the right message at the right time is what this is all about.
Use the research you’ve completed understanding the issues your target audience faces and how they talk about solving them. You’ve got a recipe for maximum effect copy.
Editing for Maximum Impact
There is an ongoing – and rather furious debate – in copywriting. One that’s been going on for longer than most of us has been marketing.
And yet, there’s still a significant division on who’s right.
Is a long copy really more effective than a short copy?
Every so often, a new article will come up detailing how a brand increased conversions by increasing the length of its copy.
A few weeks later, another study will appear outlining how a rival brand cut copy by 50 per cent and saw a healthy uplift in conversions.
So what should you do? Write short, to-the-point copy or long-winded high-value copy?
Stop thinking about length. The length of your copy is not what determines its success. What does is how useful it is.
Your copy should be as long as it needs to be and no longer. Don’t take 1000 words to say what could be communicated in 500.
This will, of course, differ depending on the content goal and stage of awareness, but the point stands, say what you need to without useless fluff.
It’s unnecessary, frustrating, and will lower conversions because people don’t want to read fluff.
Write everything you need to communicate in full. Use the language you collected in your research. Then, channel your inner slasher movie antagonist and cut everything that doesn’t directly contribute to your crucial conversion goal.
Here’s a quick rundown of editing tips I use to decrease word count without losing effect.
Massive caveat: These are very general editing guidelines. They should be used on all the copy you write yourself. The words, phrases, and imagery you pull from prospect reviews and opinions are sacred. Don’t touch that stuff. That’s the stuff that will best resonate with your audience.
Cut Useless Linking Words
Brevity in conversions is something of a contentious issue.
Brevity is widely lauded as the key to compelling copy. But sometimes less isn’t more; more is.
Case in point.
The word supplement is crucial to the product. Sure one word has been added, but the title is still succinct.
And that’s the key. Keeping things succinct.
You’ve got to get rid of terms unrelated to the product. Increase word count by all means, but before you do, ask yourself if what you’re adding helps clarify the offering, adds more value, or simply bloats your word count.
If the latter, then get rid of it.
If you’re not sure, then run an A/B test. I could be wrong.
Grabbing attention is difficult. But people are predisposed to find specific words more attractive.
Words like free, save, and their ilk are favourites of CRO advice across the web.
Below is an example of how Rich Page increased conversions by 316 per cent using a few of the web’s favourite conversion copy words like free and miss out.
Read through your copy and replace any non-quotes with more powerful words more likely to gain attention.
Word to the wise: Editing is a crucial stage of creating more compelling copy, but don’t get caught in a loop. Don’t continue to edit if it’s delaying your publication date.
The most valuable editing advice and optimisation data come after publication and when you see how your visitors react to the live piece. Which, unfortunately, means that when it comes to conversion copywriting…
It Never Ends
So you’ve researched, found your key messages, and created a kick-ass copy that solves problems, addresses concerns, and uses the same language.
Job done, right?
Come on now. You’re smarter than that.
A CRO’s work is never done. The steps listed here are the only way to get some good copy on your site.
But you want to turn that good copy into an excellent copy. You must monitor, measure, and improve it over time using split (A/B) testing.
When you split-test your copy, you’ll see which variants and messages best resonate with the people who read your writing.
You’ll also have actionable data that will help you improve your conversions.
I understand that this is a long and arduous methodology. But it’s worth it.
Nail your copy, and you’ll have created a round-the-clock salesperson who continues to convert and bring in the dough.