Copywriting that Converts Readers into Buyers
Let's face it. Marketers and business owners are obsessed with website traffic. Every year, they are spending millions (if not billions) of dollars and are constantly trying to “crack the code” on ways to drive more traffic to their websites.
In the mad rush to grab more traffic, they often forget about something of far more importance and value – conversion.
This Is Critical To Your Online Marketing Success
That's right; when that traffic, those potential customers who can put more money in your bank account, gets to your site, what are you going to do to persuade them to stay? To look around, to come back to your site again and to do the thing you want them to do? Whether that is to buy right there on the site through your e-commerce setup, or download your latest White Paper, or call you for a phone consultation?
Those marketers who are concerned with and try to optimize conversion will work on lots of different tactics, including graphics and web design. But they will often overlook the critical factor that just might be the single most important piece of the conversion puzzle – copy that converts readers into buyers.
It's not enough to merely throw a bunch of random words on your site as an afterthought, it's not enough to simply educate readers about your product or service, and it's not enough to try to impress them with how great your company and product are (hint – they don't care. More on this in a moment...).
Your copy has to persuade them to want to do business with you. It has grab them by the eyeballs.
It has to get them so excited they can't wait to buy your product, join your email list or do whatever else you want them to do when they visit your site.
But before it can convert, it has to get read! It has to grab and keep your reader's attention. How? The first thing your copy piece, whether it's an article, sales letter, landing page or email, must have is a powerful title. You can have the world's greatest piece of persuasive writing, but without a title that grabs his attention and makes the reader want to drop what he's doing to pay attention to your copy, it won't get read!
What are the characteristics of a title that gets read? Consider using this tried and true formula for your next title – a powerful combination of curiosity, promise of benefit(s) and implied instant gratification for your reader.
To make our point about powerful vs. weak titles, let's consider a couple of examples:
Using Email Marketing
How Business Owners Like You Can Unleash The Power Of Email Marketing To Increase Website Traffic And Win New Customers, Starting Today!
Can we all agree the first title is weak? That it leaves a lot to be desired? That it's very unlikely to grab the attention of a potential reader, much less make him want to excitedly devour the article and read every last word?
The second title is much more likely to arrest the attention of business owners and make them want to keep reading. It speaks directly to them - “Like You”, it's going to arouse a lot of curiosity in the minds of a lot of people, it mentions two strong benefits - “Increase Website Traffic And Win New Customers”, and it implies instant gratification; if the reader keeps reading, he'll immediately gain new strategies to help him grow his business.
The title “sets the stage”, so to speak; it primes the reader's expectations of what's to come. But, the main job of the title is to get the first sentence of the article read. The main job of the first sentence is to get the second sentence read, and so on...
In copywriting, we call this the “slippery slope”. You want your reader to find your copy so thrilling, so refreshing and so easy to read, that he breathlessly reads every word until he “slides down that slope” and reaches the conclusion of your article, and then takes the exact action you want him to take. That is conversion!! Great copy and content make it much more likely. Without them, your conversion efforts will collapse like a house of cards in a tornado.
Avoid “Marketing Narcissism”
"No one cares about your product except you” David Meerman Scott – Author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR
Many marketers (if not most) try to capture readers' attention and impress them by talking on and on about themselves, their great company and their great product while rarely if ever mentioning the reader. There's a problem with this approach – It Doesn't Work!
The reader doesn't care about your company or your product. He cares about himself. He cares about his wants and needs. He has a problem and he's visiting your website, checking out your content, etc., because he wants that problem solved, and he's hoping you can help him solve it.
It's counterintuitive but true; if you want to grab a reader's attention, if you want to impress him, if you want to “get the ball rolling” on converting him from a reader into a customer, make the bulk of your marketing message about him, at least at first.
Starting with your headline, make the opening segment of your message about him, about the painful problem he's facing. Give him hope for a solution. Then show him that you have the solution to his problem, the solution he so desperately wants.
Now, even though you've given him hope, even though you've gotten his attention, chances are he's still skeptical. He's probably been burned by dishonest marketing and advertising before. You've got to overcome his skepticism. How?
“Proof”. Offer scientific data about your product. Give specific performance numbers from case studies written about your clients' happy experiences with your product. Show glowing written testimonials from your very happy clients. Your readers and potential clients are much more likely to believe what your clients say than what you say. Testimonials can be very powerful additions to your copy.
There's another reason you want to offer objective proof elements. People make buying decisions (largely if not entirely) based on emotion. But they justify those decisions with logic. This logic, in the form of hard numbers, studies and testimonials, will help them justify their decision to buy from you.
Write Like You Talk!
Remember this: your readers aren't suffering from “not enough on my plate” or “too little to read”. You've got to grab and keep their attention, and you've got to make your content easy to read.
Here's a rule of thumb – forget what you learned in college English. Copywriting isn't formal, academic-style writing; it's selling through the written word. Learn to write in an informal, “conversational” style that readers will enjoy. This isn't formal, academic writing. It's a “sales call in print”.
Write to “an audience of one”. As you write, imagine you are having a lively, free flowing visit over coffee or lunch with an old friend. This is a far cry from stiff, stilted academic writing. Your English professor will hate it, but your audience – your potential customers – will love it!
In keeping with the tip to ignore what you learned in college English, here's another way to help make your copy easy to read. Write at a fairly basic level – middle school or high school – not at a PhD level. Also, use short, choppy sentences and short paragraphs. To help keep your reader's attention, vary the length of your sentences and paragraphs.
And whatever you do, avoid long blocks of text. Think about it. What do you do when faced with the prospect of reading a paragraph 30 sentences long? Your mind rebels – Big Time! Even if you do make your way through that insanely long paragraph, how much do you remember? How well did you comprehend it?
Reading a huge paragraph like that is hard. Very hard! Your readers don't want content that's hard to read. They won't read it. They'll ignore it. So make it easy to read by keeping your sentences and paragraphs short.
Yes, traffic is important. Conversion is even more important. There are a number of things that can boost your conversion rate. Few (if any) will boost it like quality, persuasive, compelling copy and content.
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