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39 Writing Techniques That Drive More Conversions from Your Website Copy

by Neil Patel

Your most powerful marketing tool is copy — words, sentences, and paragraphs.

Your website has the potential to either drive sales or drive away customers. It all depends on how well you can create that copy.

What should you do? Apart from hiring a crazy-expensive sales writer, how do you fine-tune the words on your website to drive more sales? I created this 39-point list of techniques for that exact purpose.

If you follow these methods carefully, I can almost guarantee that your website sales will go up.

1. Use the word “you.”

You is a word that engages the user directly and powerfully. It’s a fail-safe way to get right at your audience. They know you’re speaking to them, and are more likely to convert because of it.

2.  Write your headline first.

The headline helps set the direction for the rest of your article, and keeps you on track. When you write your headline first, the rest of the article will be laser-focused and right on topic. Focused pages get more conversions.

3.  Forget about SEO, and focus on the user.

Instead of trying to rank for certain keywords or terms, just write for the user. If you want your copy to be truly optimized for search, it will be optimized for users. Plus, it will be optimized for conversions, too.

4.  Know the customer.

Everything else in copywriting is useless unless you know you customers. If you don’t have one already, create a detailed persona of your target customer. People don’t care about your product unless you care about them.

5.  Know what the user wants.

User intent refers to what the user is trying to gain when he or she types in a query. Make sure you actually understand what the user wants before you try to write an article for them.

6.  Understand the user’s hot-button issues.

If you want to create electrifying copy, you need to know what turns your users on. “Interesting copy” doesn’t refer to the style of writing as much as it refers to the substance — topics that get users interested, angry, or passionate.

Know those areas, and speak directly to them. Once you do, they’ll be more motivated to buy.

7.  Know your product before you write about it.

If you expect to be able to write about a product or service, it’s important to know everything there is to know about that product or service.

View your role as more than a copywriter. Test the product, explore the product, research the product. Become the master of the product, so you can become a teacher about that product.

8.  Know the product’s unique selling proposition.

The unique selling proposition (USP)  is the whole reason why a user would want to buy the product or service. Entrepreneur defines the USP as “the factor or consideration presented by a seller as the reason that one product or service is different from and better than that of the competition.”

You are responsible for taking the USP and making it as powerful and exciting as possible. Keep it in mind at every stage of the writing process. Doing so will allow you to create copy that directly targets conversions.

9.  Know how the product alleviates the customer’s pain.

Writing content involves a lot of emotion.  You should understand how your product can remove the user’s pain. Speak to that pain so you can help alleviate that pain.

10.  Focus on the verbs.

Verbs are the engine of your content. What users really crave isn’t sparkling words and glistening adjectives. Instead, they salivate over verbs, the action words of copy. The fastest way to improve your writing for conversions is to write better verbs.

11. Create an outline before you start writing.

An outline is like a map for your website copy. Instead of plopping down and just writing, create an outline first. It will take a few extra minutes on the front end, but it will save you hours of time in the long run. Plus, it will allow you to broadly structure your content in such a way that it is conversion-focused.

12. Write like you talk.

People don’t want to read boring essays or research papers. They want to hear you talk. If you have trouble getting your words to come out right when you type them, then stop typing. Record yourself talking. Then, transcribe what you just said.

Chances are, people will enjoy reading it more. More significantly, they’ll be more likely to convert.

13. Ask the user to do something,.

It’s easy to get caught up in the call to action, wondering what exactly it is, how to state it, and where to put it. Forget the whole “CTA” business for just a second.

All you need to do is as the user to do something or buy something. You’re writing copy to sell, not just to state facts. Nudge them to make a decision by telling them what to do. You don’t have to be salesy, but you can be direct.

14. Prove your points.

If you make a claim, back it up. It’s not good enough to declare that Alaska is the state with the highest percentage of Star Wars fans. You have to back this up with a link. Your content will be far more compelling if it’s reliable, credible, and backed by authorities.

15. Use short sentences.

The average sentence is 15-20 words. If you go longer than 20 words, your readers might tune out. Short sentences help to engage readers. They will pay attention, stay focused, and be more likely to convert as a result.

16. Don’t use big words.

Choose your words carefully. But try not to choose big words. People won’t be impressed by a big vocabulary. They’ll just be confused.

17. Ask questions, then answer them.

What’s one of the easiest ways to explain yourself? Anticipate questions, and answer them. One of the clearest ways to do this is by asking the question and then answering it right in your content.

A lot of times, I use the question, “What do I mean by this?” or “What does this look like?” It’s a technique that helps draw the user in while also explaining things in a clear and understandable way.

If you ask all the right questions and answer them, the user will be more ready to convert.

18. Stop talking and show them.

Break your text up with videos, images, and diagrams. Using a quick video clip breaks up the monotony of text. Besides, a well-placed video or image can explain things better than you can.

19. Show a picture, and talk about it.

You can drone on and on for thousands of words, and never get any close to helping the user understand. One technique that will help readers to really get it is to show them a picture or example and then talk about it.

If you’re in ecommerce, and your product is visual, then having great optimized product images are crucial.

20. Stay away from cliches.

A cliche is a common expression like, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Often, such cliches are present in sales copy. Instead, come up with unique metaphors or expressions. These will capture your reader’s attention far better than some overused phrase.

21. Know the words that always connect with customers.

Some words are always powerful. What are these words? It depends on your customers. It’s up to you to figure out the sales-worthy words and then use them in your copy. For starters, check out Buffer’s Big List of 189 Words That Convert.

22. Cut the jargon.

Nobody loves reading jargon. Drop it from your content for an instant quality upgrade. Jargon can sound pretentious. Instead of adding clarity to your copy, it usually obscures the true meaning.

23. Break grammar rules intentionally.

Nobody respects typos and grammar boo-boos. But if those grammar violations are intentional (and egregious), you’ll gain some style cred.

24. Establish credibility.

If you’re writing an article, you are the author. As the author, you are free to refer to yourself. Maybe this was a no-no in high school composition class, but you’re not in high school composition class.

The words “I,” “me,” and “mine” are fair play. It actually helps the reader when you refer to yourself, because it builds up the credibility of the copy. When you do so, you can create content that has a higher likelihood of converting skeptical users.

25. Focus on relevance

People will read what they think is interesting. Relevance is your biggest ally. Keep in mind that your audience isn’t the whole world. Your audience is the single persona that you’re targeting.

26. Sound positive.

In public speaking as in public writing, positivity is key. People like to listen to anything that makes them feel good, positive, strong, and upbeat. While negative copy has some sharing potential, it doesn’t produce the greatest amount of conversion power and sales sizzle.

27. Write as quickly as possible.

Write out everything as quickly as it comes to mind. Don’t edit. There will be time for that later. In your first rough draft just get your thoughts out. Chances are, it will sound better than you expected.

A first outpouring of your words is better than a slow and painful ordeal of overthinking every word.

28. Use short paragraphs.

People will read short paragraphs. Long paragraphs? People’s eyes will glaze over. A paragraph that goes longer than five or six lines tends to get short shrift.

29. Tell a story.

Stories are a powerful form of communication. Since humans are wired to listen to stories, you are virtually guaranteed to capture and keep your audience. Short, powerful, personal and memorable stories work best to gain conversions.

30. Anticipate what your readers are thinking.

Good writing flows smoothly. One of the reasons why it does this is because the writer knows what her readers are thinking, and she speaks to those things. When you anticipate your readers thoughts, you can directly speak to them. This approach will make your content more engaging and compelling.

31. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Remember that good writing isn’t about your product, your service, and how awesome you are. Ultimately, you’re writing about and for the customer. You’re trying to solve his needs, take away his pain, and compel him to make a purchase. Write for your customer, not for yourself.

32. Be as specific as possible.

Specific facts, figures, and data points are more believable than generic claims. Which of the two sounds more credible: 1) “67.4% of the U.S. population has a sleep disorder,” or 2) “tons of people find it hard to sleep at night.”

You probably picked the first one. Such is the power of specificity. If you want to be more persuasive, then be more precise.

33. Get to the point as quickly as possible.

Rambling copy will bore your readers. If you have something to say, just say it. Preambles or let-me-get-to-the-point introductory material is a waste of your time and your reader’s time. Chase down your point as fast as you possibly can.

34. Write a conclusion.

Any article, landing page, home page, or evergreen page needs a conclusion. Don’t leave readers dangling in confusion. Wrap things up neatly, and let them know that the copy has ended.

35. Don’t run from emotion.

Emotion is what sells. People don’t make cold, analytical decisions. They make emotional decisions. Therefore, make your copy emotional.

36. Cite experts.

You may lack credibility as an individual author, but you can draw upon the authority and expertise of others. If you are trying to persuade your readers to your side, then cite experts who agree with you.

37. Write in the first person.

Use “I,” “me,” etc. People care about you in the sense that they want to know who’s writing this copy and why he matters. When you write, you are describing yourself as an authority. Your readers will respect or, at least, listen to your thoughts, opinions, viewpoints, and feelings.

38. Be funny.

Your copy doesn’t need to have the same hilarity as The Oatmeal, but don’t hold back from being funny. If you can pull it off, let the funnies roll. Funny is not required. It’s just nice.

39. Make your audience want something in 15 seconds.

15 Seconds. That’s all you’ve got. In the time it takes you to read this paragraph, you should try to make your audience want something.

Your product. Your service. Your article. Something.

Conclusion

Powerful, strong, sales-worthy copy is completely within your reach.

You don’t have to be a genius or a big-name copywriter. You just have to know your audience, know your product, and pull out a few stylistic firecrackers.

The process is simple, even if the execution isn’t. But don’t worry. The more you write, the better you’ll get. And the better you get, the more people will buy.

What are your favorite conversion-creating copy tips?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

7 Comments

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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  1. Michael B Terry says:
    November 15, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Great tips!

    The only one I might stay away from is the “I” and “me” writing.

    If you are a professional writer, then you want to convey that the person you are writing for – especially a professional business – has more resources at their disposal, and is operating on more than a “one-man-show” type level.

  2. Silas Knight says:
    July 11, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    These are some great copywriting strategies. I like how your second tip here is the headline, which is the first thing people will see. You are right, if the headline is a effective, it works as an outline for the rest of the article.

  3. Cassie says:
    July 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips Neil!! You have such a clear voice that makes reading your articles very enjoyable. My favorite tip would definitely be #38 Be Funny. It is so true how people want to hear the facts but get some laughs and connections with the piece. Who doesn’t love a good pun 🙂

    • Anonymous says:
      June 22, 2017 at 8:22 am

      Awesome tips Neil!
      Writing like you talk is a great one. I really try to do this in all my posts, but i admit it’s easy to get off the track now and then.

  4. July 27, 2015 at 4:27 am

    Awesome tips Neil!

    Writing like you talk is a great one. I really try to do this in all my posts, but i admit it’s easy to get off the track now and then.

    15 seconds is a short time to impress someone. Better give ’em something with punch!

    Jargon is also a good one. Recently read a great article on here about that 🙂 “Stop Jargon From Killing Your Conversions”

    The last one that really resonated with me is “make a claim? back it up!” – i see too often that companies say something without delivering any credible information to trust them.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    Jasper Oldersom

  5. Michael says:
    July 27, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Thanks for your extensive instruction on this subject. This will definitely help me to write better posts on my verious blogs.

  6. Sudarto says:
    July 22, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    It is very nice article. Writing article is not easy. Moreover, the article to market a product.
    Articles must be able to explain the products you offer and be able to motivate the reader to buy. It is often not easy for many people.

    With 39 instructions, your article is very important for those who want to successfully make sales article. It’s really great.

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