Conversion copywriting does not relate to making copy look or sound good, but rather how it can drive customers to perform a profitable action.
A catchphrase or a witty headline may attract attention, but what comes next? Will it motivate a reader to make a decision or purchase? Or do they just take note of it and leave your landing pages?
Such outcomes are the common pitfall of copywriters and most content marketing agencies today.
When it comes to conversion copywriting, the process needs to be grounded on an approach that takes to heart the customers’ perspective. What exactly do they want, and why should they pick your brand, to begin with? Answering those questions is already a good start to understanding thoroughly this type of copywriting.
We all know how crucial copywriting is in an overall strategy. It is not just words plastered on a brand’s website, product, or ads, but rather stories that connect to an audience and influence them to take action.
If you are tired of writing copy that is not getting you anywhere in online traffic or sales, then it will be time to shift strategies towards conversion copywriting. Here’s how to do it.
Differentiating Sales Copy and Conversion Copy
Part of understanding conversion copywriting is setting it apart from what other copywriters typically do. We should focus on two specific types of copywriting that are wrongly interchanged: sales and conversion.
Both relate to the realm of influencing and persuading an audience to take profitable action, there is actually a fine line that differentiates copy made to sell, versus those that are made to convert.
Sales copywriting will be focused on attracting customers through engaging copy that can convince them to purchase what you’re offering.
This type of copywriting is what most businesses do since it is more profit-focused, giving users a reason to keep reading through copy until they are convinced to make a purchase. It is usually seen in making striking headlines, meaning the remaining two are the only people who will run through your whole copy.
Take for example online learning course platform Coursera’s headline which only uses three words (Learn Without Limits) and is followed by a subheader that identifies what this supposed “learning” pertains to. It is quick-witted, catchy, powerful, and even includes a free offer below.
Conversion copywriting is not just concerned with generating revenue but is more geared towards satisfying a customer journey. This means a conversion copywriter focuses on a more macro perspective of how copy can enhance a brand’s digital campaigns. They take into consideration such aspects as the digital advertising channels on which these ads will be discovered, among many other things.
Simply put, conversion copy integrates the various disciplines in writing for SEO, UX Design, Content, PPC, and Social Media. All these are grounded on a data-driven process that works well within a digital marketing framework.
One example of this can be the way SEO copywriters work versus social media copywriters. While one focuses on generating the quality and quantity of online traffic through keywords, the other is mainly geared towards creating engagement. Conversion copywriting involves both disciplines to ensure that overall branding and tone are consistent across all channels.
Consider the hygiene trimmer brand, Meridian, which uses the language of its customers in referring to their private areas as “below-the-waist” or “down there.” They lifted such verbal cues from reviews and used customers’ voices to determine what copy should sound like. This messaging also carries over to social media channels.
What works better for copywriting then?
This is not a knock-on sales copy, but it remains important to understand that this is just a subset of the whole picture painted by conversion copywriting.
As mentioned earlier, sale copy focuses on profit while conversion copy is customer-driven. There is also an intricate, data-driven process involved in conversion copywriting.
The most distinguishing trait of a sales writer that should be included in conversion copywriting is the command of persuasion techniques that get people to buy a product or service. If you want to enhance that field, consider taking these copywriting tips to improve the overall appeal and storytelling of your copy.
3-Step Guide on Conversion Copywriting
Propelrr approaches conversion copywriting in three steps:
1. Customer research
Everything that revolves around market research is the data set for customer research and conversion rate optimization strategies.
The intent here is to discover the voice-of-customer (VOC) and identify the exact purpose of why they are looking for your brand. This can also determine the precise pain point of an audience and even look at how competitors are trying to address these on their respective channels.
At the end of the day, the objective is to come up with a hypothesis on the copy that can create an impact on your customer journey based on the research you have conducted.
There are many ways to do this, but for the context of copywriting and content, focus on:
- Message mining;
- Product messaging. and;
- Emotional content strategy (ECS)
This is a method of scouring the internet or other customer feedback sources for reviews and top concerns about your product or service.
These sources should come from a credible channel such as Google Reviews. Social media feedback that your community management efforts pick up may also contribute to your research.
From here, categorize customer feedback and categorize it based on factors that affect customer conversions like motivation, value, and anxiety.
The results of your message mining can provide you organic customer insights about a company, competitors, and even niche industry. Small companies do well to benefit from this process especially as they seek out to establish a proper and solid brand message across all platforms.
It is also important to evaluate the overall messaging of website copy including a competitors’, which can be done with the help of heuristic analysis.
The whole process of product messaging heuristics helps answer specifically designed questions that assess a page’s coherence and clarity when it comes to communicating the objectives it was designed for.
For conversion copywriting, if the scores of the heuristic review are non-satisfactory then it is time to improve or revise the copy of a website and landing pages to align them with brand objectives.
Emotional content strategy (ECS)
Consider a qualitative approach using CXL Institute’s ECS analysis to determine if the copy is suited to your website’s top-to-bottom. This ranges from an evaluation of your choice of words, the psychological attachment behind the color and design, and what emotion your current copy is currently trying to tap.
An ECS SWOT table helps collate current emotional targeting to look for ways how to improve on strengths and alleviate the threats for branding when writing copy.
After collecting all data from customer research, create a hypothesis on how copy can convert. The merit is that you’re not basing it off gut feel but rather from VOC data straight from the customers’ mouths.
Remember to plug all findings in a Hypothesis Prioritization Framework (HPF) since you’ll be reassessing these after the A/B split testing and the results come out.
2. Writing the copy
Since you have solid data set on customer insights about a brand’s strengths and weaknesses, it is time to start writing the actual copy.
Here are three essential components to create high-impact copy when it comes to conversion copywriting:
- Developing your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
- Creating your message hierarchies
- Writing and editing your copy
Developing your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
A common mistake that brands tend to make when coming with their respective UVP is that it comes straight from the brainstorming sessions of execs and higher-ups without factoring in the customer insights about their service and industry.
As a result, customers have a hard time thinking about how a brand is different in providing for their needs.
You will not be brainstorming from scratch since you have already done the groundwork of customer research. These are the building blocks that make for a great UVP.
The best UVP does not come from a single source but rather it is an overlapping mix of different insights grounded on data between your audience needs, what you are offering, and how it is any different from competitors.
Marketing automation and email service provider Mailchimp does this by showcasing what users are looking for and what they do (“Build your brand, sell online…”), and highlighting how they do it differently (“…all in one place”).
Creating your message hierarchies
Now organize the messaging of copy into three main conversion aspects categories which are:
- Motivation. The who, what, and why of your copy mainly highlighting the UVP and how your service is different. Copy should give the user a reason to scroll further down the page giving them the desired outcome as well if they go with your service or product.
- Value. This is where you expound on the features of your brand, communicating thoroughly the UVP offered. Remember to be more about the customer and less about your company, since you’re adding value for them, not your brand.
- Anxiety. The make-or-break portion of copy since it discusses how a service or product can alleviate a user’s existing pain points. This is the conversion aspect that leads to your user performing your intended call-to-action (CTA).
All these can be properly visualized in the classic story arc framework that begins with your Setting (Motivation), Rising Action (Value and Anxiety), Climax (CTA), and Falling Action and Resolution (completed conversion).
Writing and editing your copy
Building from message hierarchies, you can begin your first draft. Here is a guide to follow when writing the copy:
- Just say it. Clarity trumps persuasion. An audience cannot read your mind which is why you have to be specific about your copy. The moment a person asks something that is not clear with the copy, then there is an issue involved with your copy.
- Match the readers’ mindset. A well-researched, message-matched headline often outperforms an un-researched “persuasive-trick” headline.
- Message-match with a question. Come up with questions that your UVPs can answer. Do not be afraid to be conversational.
- Blow your customers away with value. Make it all about them, how can they not see the value in what you are offering?
- Show an exhaustive list of specific, happy outcomes. These can come in the form of reviews, which may back up the UVP of your copy. Remember that word-of-mouth holds great influence on the customer journey.
- Use quantifiable proof, if possible. Whenever you make an outrageous offer or claim with your copy, make sure to back it up with proof of truth. This may come in the form of a case study, a customer testimonial, or anything quantifiable that adds weight to your copy.
- Be specific. Generic is bad. Do not focus on being the “best” or the “largest”, but rather on how specifically you can help eradicate a customer’s pain point with your product or service.
- Don’t just talk, Paint a picture. Be creative in the way you write and present your headlines. This is where the techniques of persuasion that sales copywriters possess come in handy.
- Cut anything that’s not doing real work. This is not an academic paper or study. If your copy is lengthy or contains highfalutin words, it can actually do your conversion copywriting more harm than good. Revisit your VOC to determine how your audience talk.
In conclusion to writing your copy, ask yourself the following questions after writing and editing your copy:
- Is it reflecting/matching motivation?
- Is it conveying (or clarifying) value?
- Is it proving a claim?
- Is it addressing a specific anxiety?
- Is it adding authentic specificity?
Now that you’re done with writing and editing your copy, it’s time to test it out and see how it works.
3. A/B Testing Your copy
After all the groundwork is done and the copy has been written, it will be time to test if it can actually perform well.
A solid data-driven approach to see how effective your copy are is through A/B testing or split testing.
A/B testing is a strategy that compares versions of an ad, app, email, or website to see which version performs better. Through this strategy, you can optimize your conversion rate and discover ways to drastically improve your marketing performance.
You can use it for sales landing page optimization, different social media formats and styles, ad copy, and more. It will guide you towards discovering the ways in which you can improve your campaigns.
Applying this strategy to your copy can give you a basis if your efforts are well worth it or if you need to further improve your conversion copywriting. The results of the A/B tests are that you can prove or disprove your findings from the Hypothesis Prioritization Framework we mentioned earlier.
Here are the key takeaways you should carry along in your process:
- Capitalize on your VOC data. Many brands think that customer reviews are there just to heighten credibility and reputation. They are not wrong to assume that, but these data sets hold crucial information on how you can communicate your UVPs in an organic way. Make sure to message mine reviews thoroughly to understand how your audience feels about your brand.
- Conversion copywriting is customer-driven. Put people before the brand. Settle in the fact that you are not the only provider out there and that consumers are smart to determine the value you put on them just by reading your copy. If you notice, our foundation for this data is customer research, without it, we’d all just be blind copywriters in a sense.
- Collect, collate, and improve on your results. In the context of A/B testing, it is important to document the results thoroughly on how you can improve the next batch of copy. A quantitative approach can be including an analytics heatmap as well since this can help you determine the user behavior on your page which answers the question of whether they’re reading your copy.
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