Conversion Copywriting: The Secret to Turning Visitors Into Customers!
Conversion copywriting has one goal: to get people to act.
It’s about the hard sell - but with subtlety. The Internet has made audiences so skeptical of sales pitches that these days, people have become cautious of old school techniques.
In the old days, there was no clear way to measure how a particular piece of copy performs. Oldschool copywriters had to earn trust slowly and calculatingly. But with the advent of the Internet, copywriters have become new age marketers. Every action taken on their copy can be recorded and measured, and if it brings in the moolah, companies everywhere are going to take advantage of a copywriter's services.
It has been proven that using specific copy techniques gets an audience to take specific actions. And so conversion copywriting was born. It's a blend of the best persuasion methods and direct copy. Now you can get creative to earn your audience’s trust - and get them to take the action you want.
Of course, that's only to a point. Creativity might win awards, but it doesn't always win conversions. Your creative copy must have a clear goal. It must instruct the visitor to perform or take that specific action.
To better understand what this new method is and isn’t, look to Joanna Wiebe, who championed the term. According to her:
“Conversion copywriting is there to take the best of direct response copywriting, that old school kind of stuff, and the best of what we know about human decision-making, the best of user experience styles, like we know about designing experiences, and moving people to act using an interface, or just the experience itself.”
Doesn’t that sound like a skill every new copywriter should have?
Here's how you can get started.
Ways to win at conversion copywriting
1. Set uber-specific goals for your copy
One of the best parts about writing for the web is that you can easily test and optimize your content (we'll discuss more on that later down this post), which means you should set specific, measurable goals before you begin.
A generic goal for a campaign might be: “I want to get more clients.”
A specific, measurable goal would be: “I want to increase sign ups to my webinar through this piece of content." Only when you have clear goals can you understand if a campaign is working well or not.
Now that you have that lofty goal, you need to outline the steps it’ll take to get there.
Typically, you don’t sell your product until your customer is at the bottom of your funnel, after they’ve been warmed up from a cold lead.
Here’s an example: You see you’re not bringing in enough revenue. You look at your product page and because no one is purchasing, you make drastic changes.
But in the next few weeks, your revenue plummets even more. What happened?
The truth is, your product page was probably working fine. You just incorrectly assumed that it wasn’t because it’s where customers make the purchase.
In reality, it was your webinar that wasn’t working. It didn’t turn cold leads into warm leads. Sure it was driving traffic to your product page, but the customers weren’t sold on your product yet.
What you could do instead is to set your webinar goal to increase email follow up click-through. Send your audience an email sequence after the webinar, and depending on the numbers, you’ll be able to tell if they’re getting warmer or not.
2. Understand your audience's awareness
Conversion copywriting looks at where and who your audience is.
Your audience will approach you at different awareness levels.
In the beginning, everyone in your audience will begin with very little or no knowledge of you or your service.
But look at a company that’s been around for years with multiple products. There’s going to be many different types of audiences. To keep it simple, there will be old audiences and new audiences.
You can separate that further. You might have old audiences who purchased a specific product and would love your new product, because they’re similar. Let’s call them Audience #1.
Or you might have an old audience who never purchased the product Audience #1 did. They know nothing about your new product. They’ll be called Audience #2.
Write a piece of content for Audience #2 assuming that they know nothing about your new product, and they’ll be left clueless.
Personalization and relevancy are major tools of persuasion. Without them, you’ll misunderstand your audience. They’ll never be motivated to act the way you want them to.
That’s why you need to determine your audience’s state of awareness before you create your content.
Are they at the beginning of the funnel?
They need to be educated on benefits.
Are they in the middle of the funnel?
They need an extra push with emotion.
Are they at the end of the funnel?
They need the call to action. It’s time to deliver.
3. Use structures and formulas
Conversion copywriting focuses on earning trust.
You can earn someone’s trust by sending them through a well-structured sequence. Below, you’ll see three methods that have never gone out of style. Because they work.
Notice how in each method, you’re not converting right away.
The structure is like a growing friendship.
It starts with an introduction, followed by a getting to know you phase, and then if you end up liking each other, a mutually beneficial friendship. You can also plug in a romantic relationship there as well.
Conversion copywriting makes use of a warmer approach. It’s the approach of a brand that wants to know their audience and help, instead of a cold approach of looking at customers like strangers, only meant to serve the bottom line.
Awareness – The audience first learns of your brand.
Interest – The audience understands the benefits of your brand.
Desire – The audience wants your brand.
Action – The audience converts or purchases.
Why AIDA: Uses a simple yet effective method of moving the audience from no interest to wanting to act. Action is only taken after a lead understands the benefits and desires of your brand, so there will be plenty of warming up with content before the end goal.
Problem – Understand what your audience needs. Let them know that you understand as well.
Agitation – Arouse emotions caused by their problems. Warn of possible repercussions.
Solution – Offer a way out with your product. Fix their problem.
Why PAS: A more emotional method than AIDA, but still focuses on identifying an audience’s pain points and solving them. If your offer solves a more painful problem than most, then you might want to choose this over other methods. It is less complex and flexible than AIDA.
The Four Ps:
Promise – Describe how your audience will be helped.
Picture – Use emotion and imagery to show their improved life after converting.
Proof – Bring out the facts. Use truths to back up your claims.
Push – Explain why your audience needs to act now. Your product is center stage here.
Why the Four Ps: A more thorough approach than PAS. The Four Ps is different from AIDA in that it first makes a promise to the audience, instead of introducing the brand. It takes the audience through an emotional ride until it gets to the proof section, where facts are laid out before pushing to convert.
3. Create a Unique Selling Proposition
A unique selling proposition is what sets your business apart.
The key word in understanding USP is "unique": having no like or equal.
A unique selling proposition can help immensely in all stages of an audience’s awareness. Use it to introduce your brand and how it’ll solve a major problem. Then use it to stir emotions. Finally, your unique selling proposition should in itself be an offer, so use it to seal the deal and push your audience toward the sale.
Let’s take Alibaba Group’s USP of “To make it easy to do business anywhere.”
By taking USPs and formulas from above, you can easily develop a conversion funnel.
We’ll use the PAS formula for this example.
Say you are looking for a specific item, anything at all. You want good quality, you want affordability, you want options. But you're in a place with no malls in sight. How can you get what you want when there's nowhere to get them? It's turned into a problem.
Then you start seeking information on how to solve this problem. You start doing research and at the same time, you're also seeking ways to solve your problem fast and easy but you can't have both - or can you? This is the agitation phase. You feel the frustration of not having it immediately available to you.
Finally, you find a solution. Not only will you be able to get your item, but you'll also be able to choose from hundreds if not thousands of items, compare prices and quality, and have it brought to your doorstep. All this done at your fingertips.
Alibaba takes it even a notch higher by also offering financial transaction methods, deliveries, and so much more. As a result, they are now the world's largest retailer as of April 2016.
You can now see how combining formulas + USPs creates powerful conversion funnels.
4. Test and Optimize
Writing copy changed a lot once the Internet came of age. It’s not only because we interpret the messages on a screen differently, and sure, the proliferation of ads online is much more common.
But there’s also the ease of testing and optimizing to look at.
Conversion copywriting is less complicated to test and optimize.
If you were marketing on a billboard, it would be tough to test. You’d need to figure out how many people are driving past your message and when and how they’re acting on your offer.
It’s almost impossible to get a solid number.
To determine if one headline would work better on a billboard over another, it would require a lot of time, effort, and money.
Meanwhile, online when we’re doing A/B tests, it can be as simple as a click of a button.
Take advantage of your ability to test. It wasn’t always so easy.
Tools to help with A/B testing:
conversion copywriting = A smarter, better copywriter
Conversion copywriting uses the best copywriting practices of today.
It’s a method that should be in every expert’s toolkit.
One could argue that all successful marketing includes conversion copywriting.
By successful, we mean that it has driven the audience to act. It is about seeing real numbers, analyzing, and taking into consideration all parts of your funnel and your audience’s awareness.
Using these in-depth methods to create your copy can put you in another league. You could become a go-to copywriter, one that major businesses will flock to for results.
Seeing how effective conversion copywriting is, that doesn’t sound too far-fetched at all.