Conversion centered copywriting — all marketers want to use this to promote products and services and drive subscribers and sales.
But if you’re feeling like your writing is a bit blah, how can you lift it from the doldrums? Check out these quick fixes as a starting point.
Step 1. Before You Start Writing
Before you type a single letter, make sure you understand exactly what the brief is. That’s the document or email that tells you what copy you need, what it needs to achieve and who the audience is.
Trust me, this is not a waste of time. If you know what you’re looking for with the copy, you won’t have to do as many rewrites later. Check out these examples to know what information you should have.
Make sure you know the brand voice inside out so you can infuse that into every piece of copy. If everything you write sounds like you, then start again. Unless you ARE the brand, this is a bad idea.
Do your research so you understand the audience. There are lots of ways to do this, but one of the most reliable ways to deliver what they are looking for is to use analytics and social media analytics to see what they are looking for.
If you have access to search data, you can find out what questions your target audience is asking and plan to answer them in your copy. This isn’t just good for copywriting; it’s also good for SEO.
Sometimes you’ll get a flash of inspiration, resulting in the perfect headline or subject line. When that doesn’t happen, take time to think. A good subject line is rarely built in a minute. You need to live and breathe the product and the audience to get it right. Need a shortcut? Check out the tips in part 3 of this article.
Step 2. Conversion-Centered Writing and Editing
Writing conversion-centered copy is about what you put in, what you leave out and sometimes about breaking the rules.
In other words, don’t put your writing in a straitjacket. If you’re writing in a young, friendly voice, don’t avoid contractions because they’re supposed to be evil. And if you’re writing for an audience that wants an approach with more gravitas, change your writing to suit.
Meanwhile, make sure your copy is active (passive voice doesn’t persuade and active voice is simpler for your target market to understand and act on). Include plenty of power words. See part 3 of this article for more on this. Make sure your writing passes the so-what test.
Whichever approach you choose, write like a human being. That brings me to the next point.
Lose the jargon. It’s almost a cliche to say this, but some people still write jargon-riddled copy, so it’s worth repeating. Alphabet soup and inside jokes may work for the people who already know what you’re selling, but if you want to attract new people (and avoid boring your existing audience), get rid of them.
Instead of that, tell a story — you don’t need more than a sentence — that blends your product and services with your audience’s wants and needs. Don’t be afraid to get emotional. If your customers match your emotion, they are more likely to take action. There’s some help on this in part 3.
ConversionXL has some excellent advice on writing headlines for home pages and product pages: say what it is, say what users get, say what they can do with it. In other words, describe your product or service and talk about features and benefits. That’s the essence of conversion rate optimization. Tweaking your copy with this in mind is sure to improve it.
Don’t forget about the call to action. It always has to answer what’s in it for the reader and tell them exactly what they are going to get. In other words, it’s like the headline.
User testing and A/B testing will help you refine your choice of headlines and calls to action. The data rarely lies, so pay attention to it.
Don’t forget regular editing tasks like proofreading and spell checking. Don’t trust the computer to do this for you; check every word yourself and read it aloud (or have the computer read it) to see how it sounds. If anything interrupts the copy flow or the emotion you are building, take it out. Then check it again.
Step 3. Self-Help for Copywriters
There are three more things you can do to take your copywriting to the next level.
First, keep a swipe file of what has worked. Include everything from headlines to calls to action, from button text to landing page copy. Keep each type of copy in its own file and mix and match to write conversion boosting copy every time. Of course, each piece has to be unique, but a swipe file gives you a head start.
While you’re at it, check your analytics data and use heat maps to see how the copy converts on the page. Any patterns will help you further refine your copy.
Second, know the buzzwords that lead most people to convert. You don’t have to do any work here; just grab Hubspot’s handy list of words that almost always convert. It covers power terms, shareable terms, plus terms that imply scarcity, exclusivity and lack of risk.
Copyblogger‘s got one too, showcasing the highest converting terms that you can include in your writing. Use these as a starting point, then add your own based on your analysis of your own audience and copy.
Third, use online tools to analyze and tweak headlines, subheadings and subject lines. The CoSchedule headline analyzer helps you check your headlines for common and uncommon words, power words and emotional words. It also assesses the headline type and sentiment.
Meanwhile, the Advanced Marketing Institute’s tool tells you the emotional value of your headline, plus which emotion it’s most likely to elicit in your customer (there’s only a choice of three, though).
Use these tips to ensure that your copy converts every time. And if you still need more, this guide from Copyhackers shows how to convert copy from boring to brilliant with a few tweaks.
What’s the most appealing headline or subject line you’ve ever seen?
Read other Crazy Egg articles by Sharon Hurley Hall.