Copywriting can make or break your business. Your skills, directly and indirectly, impact how well you communicate with your customers. Good writing brings out emotions, answers questions, and leads users toward the sale.
Before you ever start writing, think about what stage of the customer journey your reader is most likely in:
Awareness stage: Customers in this stage are beginning to articulate symptoms of their problem: “I keep getting drenched on the way to work.” When you write copy for people in the awareness stage, use language that responds to their symptom.
Consideration stage: The customer has done some research. They have articulated their problem, “I need a new raincoat that is stylish and keeps me dry.” When you audience is in this stage, speak directly to the solution to their problem: “Our raincoats are stylish and guaranteed to keep you dry.” For buyer in this stage, consider adding a direct call to action: “Invest in a raincoat that will change your commute forever.”
Decision stage: The customer is making a final decision on whether to purchase or not. Testimonials, reviews, and case studies can help convert them to a final sale.
Now, with your customers’ journey in mind, here are 10 copywriting strategies to help you improve your writing skills and boost your conversion rates.
1. Features versus benefits
When writing product and service descriptions, don't forget to include the benefits of what you're offering. Benefits include everything the customer should experience when they use your product, and generally hint at emotion, or how your satisfied customers will feel when they use your products.
For example, if you’re selling rain jackets, when you write your web description, don’t just list the material type and color: red waist-length raincoat.
Instead, add a little about benefits: maybe it’s guaranteed to keep them dry and looking stylish, but it’s also made of a breathable material, that won’t trap sweat inside, and that doesn’t make garbage bag type swishing noises when you walk. Is the fabric ethically sourced or made from recycled materials? Tell your customers that too. This makes purchasing much more enticing and justifiable as they can imagine exactly what they will experience.
Speak to pain points that customers may be feeling. You could mention that they won’t have to worry about arriving to work soaked anymore or getting their hair messed up.
2. Employ storytelling
Connecting with your audience is a great way to build trust and community. When users can relate to you and your business, they are more likely to become customers. One of the best ways to achieve this is through storytelling—giving real-life examples or anecdotes to illustrate your main points.
Let’s take Chris Haddad for example. He’s an entrepreneur that sells informational products on relationships. Originally, his product converted at 2 percent. By changing his copywriting to include stories of his own experiences, he increased his conversion rate by 400 percent.
There are a few ways to approach this. Consider the position a potential customer is in and talk about how you were once there too. If your product or service is geared toward aspiring entrepreneurs, share a little about your experience of starting a business and the challenges you faced. Maybe you were in a financial struggle before starting your business. Tell them about it and how you got to where you are now.
Storytelling can also be a lot simpler, like mentioning something recent you experienced that inspired your latest article. For example, copywriting is something I’ve personally been studying lately, which is exactly what inspired this article. After reading multiple books, attending seminars, and absorbing other material, I thought it’d be great knowledge to share.
3. Sound like an expert
If you sound like an expert on any given subject, people are more likely to trust your brand. When speaking or writing about your product or service, use statistics and numbers. This is surefire way to build credibility. Data that you use should always be legitimately sourced, and ensure that you refer back to who gathered it. Avoid making claims, especially grandiose ones, without real numbers to prove it.
For example, a study by Vennli indicates that:
89 percent of marketing agencies that have achieved a 50 percent or higher pitch success rate use primary research when crafting their pitches.
34 percent of agencies say that respect and credibility in the market is a major reason why they win pitches.
15 percent of marketers say that reputation influenced how they select which companies to work with.
If you’re able to source and share your own company’s data (and conclusions) and offer unique stats, it’s more likely to spread naturally. Anyone can assemble statistics from other sources online, but sharing proprietary information is powerful.
4. Use urgency
Imagine you're shopping online and there are 100 pairs of the shoes you want left in stock. Odds are, you wouldn't be in too much of a rush to purchase.
Now, if there were only a few left, it would probably be a different story. You’d be more likely to purchase so you don’t miss out.
Building a sense of urgency is a good way to motivate buyers to take action:
Announce that a sale is almost over
Display how many units are left of a product if it's low
Reminder customers that a coupon only lasts until a certain date
Strategies like these create push the customer to take action sooner than later. However, you must be careful not to create a false sense of urgency. Imagine receiving an email a few times per week, claiming that you’re missing out on the best deal of the year; you would easily see through this. Use urgent language sparingly.
5. Buy with emotion, justify with logic
The purchasing process is rooted in emotion, even if that seems counterintuitive. People are more likely to have an emotional response to a product (a desire) and justify that desire with a logical rationale.
An example would be fancy sports cars; some people are drawn to the allure of perceived power and prestige. This is pure emotion, of course, but they may then justify their desire, citing decent gas mileage and high tech features as the qualities that sold them.
With this in mind, always make sure to lead sales copy with emotion and then justify the purchase with logic. This ties in with the previous features versus benefits approach as well. Tell the customer how they will benefit but mention why the purchase is reasonable. Will they save money? Will it improve their health? That is how you finish it with logic.
Continuing the luxury car example, let’s look at how Rolls Royce uses this to advertise their new car model, the “Black Badge Ghost.” Their copywriting begins with “Black Badge is Rolls-Royce unleashed, its aura intensified. More power, more audacity, more spirit. The boldest expression of Rolls-Royce is crafted for those who will never conform.” The ending state is key. It speaks to their target audience and the overall message is emotional.
Further, in their copywriting, they include statements like “enhanced performance makes this the fastest Ghost ever,” “darkened chrome elements and carbon fibre composite wheels accentuate Ghost’s sculptural purity,” and “the horseshoe sweep design of the interior, cocooning you in a visceral experience of luxury.” This is a great example of finishing off copywriting with more logical statements about a product.
6. Offer exclusivity
Everyone loves feeling special and unique. This is how a lot of luxury companies brand themselves. If you purchase a product from them, you're part of an exclusive group.
Not all businesses can pull this off, but here are some ways to try:
Have a members-only area of a website.
Brand your product as rare and one of a kind
Sell limited edition products
Offer a private newsletter
Similar to what I mentioned with urgency, avoid disingenuous claims regarding exclusivity. If your product is not actually exclusive or rare, don’t advertise it as so. If customers are to discover this, it can hurt your brand and credibility, which as you learned is very important.
To promote genuine exclusivity, try creating limited collections or products that are only sold for a certain period of time. You can still have your main items, but you are able to take advantage of this copywriting tactic. Similarly, you could create products that use rare materials.
7. Use honesty
Being honest about your business is key to success. You may think that mentioning disadvantages or cons wouldn't be beneficial but it can help quite a bit. This makes you appear more trustworthy and credible since you aren't only focusing on the good things about your product.
Be honest about how your company started, what your products do and don't do, and what you can deliver. The last thing you want to do is surprise your customer or make them feel unsatisfied.
Volkswagen offers a good example of what not to do: They made false claims that a certain car model was more eco-friendly than it really was. The result? They had to pay a $2.8 billion penalty and lost many loyal customers. If Volkswagen was more honest from the beginning, they could’ve potentially avoided all of that.
8. Include calls to action
This is the first copywriting strategy almost every entrepreneur learns first, and it's also one of the most effective. A call to action is simply a phrase that tells users to take a specific action.
“Don't wait any longer”
“Contact us today”
“Get your free quote”
They are often short and sweet. It's enough to make a sale or lead a customer toward one. Let’s say that you are promoting a new feature of your product in a blog post. Some potential customers are very excited, but you don’t include any call to action or link to the product. Imagine how many sales you would be missing out on. Use calls to action for leading users through your sales funnel to avoid this.
9. Focus on formatting
Have you ever come across an article that was pure paragraphs of text? You probably took a few scrolls and left. Without good formatting, content is hard to digest. It makes it difficult to find the answer you need and understand what the article is going to discuss.
Some good formatting rules are:
Use header tags to break down different points within the content
Use lists and bullet points for organization
Bold certain keywords in every paragraph
Include useful links to other resources
Add images or video
10. Get them saying yes
When you understand your customers well enough, you can tailor your content perfectly to their personas. You should ask questions they are probably thinking throughout your sales copy. If the answer is yes, they are more likely to agree with the purchase later. It also is a wonderful way to build trust as it shows you understand them well.
“Have you been trying to build a website?”
“Struggling with SEO?”
“Are you thinking about X or Y?”
Small changes in your sales copy can make a big difference. It's an aspect that every business owner should strive to improve.
Here is a summary of the 10 above strategies:
Include how the customer will benefit from using your product or service, not just what it does.
Tell stories that relate to your audience.
Use statistics, studies, and data to sound like an expert.
Create urgency to entice customers to purchase.
Justify the purchase with logic.
Make your product appear exclusive or rare.
Be honest about your brand, history, and products.
Use call to actions.
Format your content so it's easy to digest.
Ask questions your audience would be thinking.
As you can see, copywriting doesn't have to be complicated. It's one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies for any business. Try one or a combination of the above techniques and experience the results for yourself.
But don’t stop there. Whether you’re writing for your product website or your blog, don’t just write it and then forget it. If certain pages or products don’t perform as well as you’d like, test out new language regularly, or you’ll be leaving sales on the table.
Read more about this at articles.bplans.com.