Whether you realize it or not, your copy directly affects your conversions — and not always positively. Copywriting is supposed to be a means of persuading potential customers to take action, like buying your product or subscribing to your newsletter. You should be taking the time to make sure you are doing everything you can to write really good copy that will get customers to convert. Want to learn how? Read all about our top six copywriting tips below!
1. Write Great Headlines
I feel like it’s important to start with headlines here because the quality of your headlines will determine whether or not somebody is going to read what you’ve written. Think about it. As you’re scanning through a list of articles to read, what makes you choose the one you’re going to read?
The Headline, your content can be awesome, but if you half-ass your headline, your copy might get overlooked. A good headline should possess some of the following characteristics:
A Focus Keyword: Use a keyword that gives some sort of insight into what you’re going to be talking about.
Numbers: Numbers are easily digestible, and they give the reader an idea of what to expect.
WWWWWH: The old 5 W’s and the H, better known as, the who, what, where, when, why and how. Let the reader know that you are going to provide an answer or a solution.
Suspense: You don’t want to give everything away. Leaving a little bit of mystery is a good way to entice the reader to click thru.
A Promise: What’s in it for the reader? The reader should be made aware that after reading your headline, he/she will have learned something.
2. Verbs and Adjectives Work Best as a Team
For some time now, verbs and adjectives have been duking it out for a place as the copywriter’s right-hand man — a pretty pointless fight, if you ask me.
In copywriting, adjectives and verbs both play an important role as long as they are being used well and they are adding value to your content. You essentially want them to work as a team like the people in the picture above are. Each has its own pros and cons, so the best thing to do is figure out how to leverage the pros.
Boring Adjectives Are Boring
There are boring adjectives, and there are meaningful adjectives. Boring adjectives are your typical everyday adjectives, for example:
The band played an awesome show last night.
These are the kind of adjectives that get thrown around on a daily basis and don’t really have much value to them — the word awesome doesn’t evoke any emotion. Meaningful adjectives, however, are the perfect tools for evoking emotion from readers. For example:
The band’s performance last night was jaw-dropping.
Jaw-dropping really tells the audience that the show was more than awesome. In fact, it was SO awesome, it literally caused your jaw to drop. If you realize the distinction between boring adjectives and evocative adjectives and apply that knowledge to your copywriting, you will see a significant increase in your conversion rates.
According to Roger Dooley from Neuromarketing:
Other research by Dr. [Brian] Wansink found that descriptive menu labels increased sales by as much as 27 percent. He has divided descriptions into four categories: geographic labels like “Southwestern Tex-Mex salad,” nostalgia labels like “ye old potato bread,” sensory labels like “buttery plump pasta” and brand names. Finding that brand names help sales, chains are increasingly using what is known as co-branding on their menus, like the Jack Daniel’s sauce at T.G.I. Friday’s and the Minute Maid orange juice on the Huddle House menu, Dr. Wansink said.
Specify With Verbs
The verb makes its entrance when you’re trying to show the reader concrete facts because concrete facts hold weight. An adjective draws the emotion, but without proving your claims, the audience has nothing to go on but the word of the author.
Let’s go back to our friend Roger Dooley:
Action verbs force the writer to get specific — “created a series of ads,” “led a team of engineers,” “worked through a holiday,” and so on require actual examples of the behaviors or characteristics in question. A product might “outlast other brands by 10,000 hours,” or “cut maintenance costs by 25%.” These specifics will increase the credibility of the copy, in addition to providing more information than when the adjective-driven shortcut is taken.
So when it comes down to it, the question of, “Which is better?” is irrelevant. Both verbs and adjectives have their own individual strengths, but when they are used in conjunction, you have a recipe for some really great copy.
3. Pay Attention to the Nitty Gritty Details
In copywriting, it’s important to pay attention to the little things that may not seem like a big deal. Researchers from Carnegie Melon University did an experiment on the “Pain Of Paying” which concluded that the pain centers of the brain activate when people see prices that they feel are too high.
This information can change the way we look at copywriting because we now know just how much the presentation of a price can affect a customer’s buying tendencies. For example, the difference between:
“a $10.00 fee” and “a small $10.00 fee”
could make a huge difference in the decision-making process. Some people might look at that “$10.00 fee” and it might be just enough to make them not want to purchase a product or a service.
Simply changing the phrase to “a small $10.00 fee” is often enough to calm the customer’s nerves just enough to go through with the purchase.
4. Know Your Audience
In order for content you write to be successful, you must target its readers. Create profiles or buyer personas for your business’s audience, and then determine which of those profiles you are actually writing to.
Who are you trying to reach?
You have a following, but not every piece of content you are pushing out is going to suit every single member of your audience. Research your audience, and figure out how you can best target your content to the individuals who will benefit from reading it.
General Facts About Your Reader
Before sending out a piece of content to everyone in your mailing list, make a checklist and answer some general questions about your average reader. What is your average reader’s:
- marital status?
- level of education?
- employment status?
- religious affiliation?
- annual income?
You Reader’s Relationship with Your Company
Consider how the reader has interacted with your company up until this point:
- Is he/she a visitor? A lead? Already a customer?
- Is the reader a competitor?
- Is the reader an individual?
- Is the reader a service provider?
Your Reader’s Response Habits
Next, think about your reader’s response habits to your content:
- How long has the reader been on your mailing list?
- Does the reader open your emails?
- Is the reader marking your emails as spam?
- What types of content does the reader respond to?
5. People Don’t Read, They Scan
People have short attention spans. According to Statistic Brain, web users only read 28% of words on an average (593 words) web page. So chances are, most people aren’t actually reading all of your copy.
Keep Your Copy Clean, and Concise
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should be shortening your copy, it just means you need to craft it in a way that will get the important information across to the scanners. Here are a few things you can do to make your key points stand out:
- Use bold fonts for important messages. When skimming through a page, bold font stands out and will capture a reader’s eye.
- Use images. Images help break up the text and they act as a good visual aid which can account for some of the unread text.
- Remember the 3 – 5 line rule. When paragraphs are too long, people tend to lose interest. Keep your paragraphs around 3 – 5 lines in order to break things up and keep the audience reading.
- Use bullets and numbering to break things down. A lot of the time readers are looking for a quick solution. Bullets and numberings usually signify a place for answers, so readers tend to stop and pay attention to lists.
As a copywriter, you’re trying to deliver a message that will persuade your readers to do something, and the longer it takes you to deliver that message, the less likely it is that your copy will accomplish something. It’s easy for your message to get lost in verbose writing, so make sure each sentence and each paragraph is serving a purpose.
Nielson Norman Group did a test measuring five different versions of the same website and learned that a site with concise, objective and a highly scannable copy has 124% better usability than a site with a wall of text.
6. Testing Your Ad Copy
This is where it all comes together. Have you ever sat there and thought for a while struggling to choose which word to use, wondering which one would convert better? With A/B testing you can create two different versions of your copy with minor differences and see which one converts best. Want to learn more about A/B Testing? Read our article here!
Whether you are writing copy for a landing page, a blog post, or a small PPC ad, testing ad copy should be a crucial part of your advertising strategy because testing allows you to figure out what versions of copy resonate best with your audience. Here are some things to think about when testing your copy:
Create several versions: Create 2 or 3 different versions, and change things like the color, the placement of your CTAs, testimonials, etc., and see which version gets the best results.
Be consistent: In order to properly measure your results, place each different version up with the same circumstances – e.g., time of day, amount of time. If you are inconsistent with your testing, your results will get skewed and you won’t have accomplished anything.
Running tests to measure the effectiveness of your copywriting is must do if you want to see higher conversion rates. A test will help you choose the best headline, pick the right adjective or the right verb, and gain insight into the type of people reading your content.