Short attention span, a legion of web distractions, a plethora of competitors waiting to grab your target audience – the troubles with copywriting are numerous! However, that doesn’t change the fact that you need a compelling copy to meet your business goals. So how does one write a copy that can brave all the troubles and is coercive enough to convert?
By following the nine best practices of copywriting, you will be able to improve conversion rates and rule the roost –
Possess clarity of purpose
Before you begin writing, ensure that you know exactly what your conversion goal is. A clear idea about purpose of the copy is essential to optimise it for favourable actions and facilitate conversion.
Say you want site visitors to sign-up for your newsletter, purpose of the copy will be to ensure that visitors agree with your offer and take a favourable action (that is, sign-up). So the copy should, therefore, answer the question “why should I sign up?” from the view of a potential customer. It should also help visitors evaluate the pains and gains of signing up in a manner that outweighs the benefits.
The copy, which would have normally said something generic like “get most recent updates straight to your email” will now be more purposeful. You will be compelled to get into the details of why a visitor should sign-up (example – to get case studies, podcasts, how-to videos, surveys and tests results) and how the pain of signing-up (filling up a short, two-section form) will surpass the gains.
There are three good questions you can ask yourself to ensure that your copy fulfills its purpose – why, what and how, and in that order.
- The why questions for target customers – a) Why would they say yes. b) Why would they say no.
- The what question for site visitors – a) What information will they need to say yes. b) What information will make them understand that the gains outweigh the pains. c) What will best convey the value of my offer.
- The how question for you – Specific to this purpose, how do I write a compelling copy?
Mind your language
You know what irritates customers the most? Being sold to! Unless the purpose of your copy is to sell a product or service, you don’t want to come across as overly self-promotional. Even while writing sales copies, avoid being too “salesy”. Take care of the language – the specific words and phrases you use in the copy to ensure that they do not push prospects away.
One good example is how all major e-commerce players choose to use “add to cart” instead of “buy now”. The latter carries a heavy sense of commitment that often pushes customers away. The former is easier to follow since customers feel they’re not being sold to and can back off whenever they wish to. “Buy now/purchase now” and other similar phrases have in fact been found to reduce conversion rates significantly and are best avoided.
Win them over with the right words
Certain words and phrases conjure more positive response than others. Five of the most powerful words a copywriter can use are – 1) New, 2) You, 3) Free, 4)Instantly and, 5) Because. Ensure that you make good use of them in headings, headlines, first and last paragraphs, CTAs and email subject lines.
Here are 20 more words that were shortlisted by the Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy’s as most influential words –
Suddenly, Announcing, Startling, Remarkable, Amazing, Introducing, Revolutionary, Now, Improvement, Sensational, Miracle, Wanted, Offer, Magic, Quick, Compare, Easy, Bargain, Challenge and Hurry.
Keep it simple
It is never a good idea to sacrifice clarity for creativity. Notice how none of the powerful copy-words are complex or fancy? Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication that you can add to your copy and it works to good measures. Simplicity also applies to how you present the copy. A good idea is to use bite-sized nibbles of information.
Use numbers, bullets, short paragraphs, italics and bold texts to make information easy on the eye and digestible. Use a white background and publish text in black or another solid, calm color. Remove unnecessary distractions around the copy on your webpage.
Say it with a picture
It’s not only words and words are not all you have to take site-visitors’ hearts away. Pictures have been proven to increase conversion rates. Add relevant images on your webpage wherever applicable. Follow best practices when using images – relevant hero image, no decorative pictures, eyes/arms of the hero image should point towards your CTA and so on.
Be the one with the benefits (and not just solutions)
Everybody offers solutions! Customer-centric benefits are what separate you from competition. Combination selling is the key to converting. Dress your features in such a way that they turn into benefits. “ Highest speed in the market so that you can ….”, instead of just saying “Highest speed ever”. Similarly, just before the CTA, present some incentives for favourable action in the form of benefits. “Join now to get it before everybody else.” “Become an insider.”
Be the one with relationships
You can humanise your copy with the use of an affectionate, conversational tone and small stories/examples/case studies with which your audience can relate. Human beings are hard-wired for connection. When calling visitors to action, appeal to their sense of belonging with phrases like “Come along”, “Join 5000+ of your friends”, “Become a member”, or “Become one of us”.
If you have received reviews and testimonials from customers in the past, use them to build relationships. For instance, if your B2B product allows smaller businesses to store, share as well as collaborate files over the Internet and you have a testimonial where a client mentioned that the product saved them from the pain of mailing files constantly, use it in the copy. “Put an end to the pain of constantly mailing files backward and forward.”
Remember: copy is a means and not the end
Optimise the entire page on which you’ll host the copy, with the goal of displaying the same message unanimously. A good idea is to plan all the webpages beforehand and then allocate resources to each page such that they align with the central value you want to convey.
Always be testing
One size never fits all. Not in a marketer’s world at least. Test, test and test your copy with different control elements to ensure that your page is constantly updated and optimised for more conversions.